Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core M3 Suffers from Coil Whine

The Surface Pro 4 is an amazing 2-in-1 tablet computer. In particular, the cheapest Core M3 version is completely fanless, and thus caught my interest as soon as it was announced. Even though the cooling solution on the Pro 4 seems to be improved over the Pro 3, a fanless solution is always better as there is no chance of fan noise becoming an issue under any circumstances.

Unfortunately, I may have to return the Surface Pro 4 I got on launch day (update: I did return it) because of one reason: coil whine. If you saw my Open Air Gaming PC guide, you’ll know that coil whine from the graphics card was the culprit that prevented me from having a completely silent desktop computing experience until recently. Alas, even though I managed to eliminate coil whine from my desktop build, I now suffer from it with my portable in the form of the Surface Pro 4.

While doing anything or nothing at all, it is possible to hear electrical buzzing noises coming from near the top and right sides of the device. It isn’t quite as annoying as fan noise, but it has started to get on my nerves over the past few weeks. I often like to work or read in silence, and that is when the coil whine is most audible.

There are a few other issues with the Surface Pro 4, such as:

  • instability (display driver crashes and even the recent 11/12 TH2 update had a BSOD while installing the first time)
  • the touchscreen suddenly not responding until the device is rebooted (which is especially annoying when using in tablet mode with no type cover)
  • color shifts where the display becomes yellowish when videos are on the screen (this may have been fixed already, as I don’t notice it recently)

While the rest of these problems can probably be fixed with future updates, the coil whine probably cannot. Granted, it could just be my machine instead of a widespread problem. My recommendation for the Surface Pro 4 is to be wary and see if coil whine is present if you are considering it.

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