Here's how the Surface Pro 4 will keep cool with its 'hybrid liquid cooling' system

The just-announced Surface Pro 4 tablet will use a liquid cooling system inside, and now an image and more information about that system has been revealed. The same kind of system will be used inside the Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones as well.

Surface Pro 4 cooling

The information, along with a diagram of the system, was posted by Sean Org, who is a Senior Engineer at EMI Consulting and a major fan of Microsoft's Surface devices:

"The SP3 had all the heat concentrated in one spot (that hot spot in the corner). The SP4 actually boils/evaporates liquid inside a metal tube that touches the processor, and that vapor travels to two places inside the SP4 to condense back into a liquid: one to the fan, and the other under where the kickstand normally rests. The one under the kickstand allows the fan to rarely run, unless under extremely demanding tasks. So for web browsing, and normal day-to-day activities, you'll no longer have the fan run as you did in the Surface Pro 3. And when the surface is under pressure with the fan running, the heat will be more evenly distributed - not all concentrated in a big hot spot - making the SP4 feel a bit cooler."

Pre-order the Surface Pro 4 at the Microsoft Store starting at $899 (opens in new tab)

Source: Sean Org (imgur)

87 Comments
  • Now that's what i call "Innovative" Good Job Microsoft...
  • Shut up dude, only Apple makes innovative things, LOL :) They copyrighted the INNOVATION word and will sue anyone who will try to use it, haha.
  • I've started hating that word Apple!
  • I like the word cuz i like apples and when it comes to the rip off company named Apple ... well, I just ignore it and staying happy that i am not one of those millions of sheeps that got ripped off for a 2 years old technology :)
  • That's why I only eat oranges now.
  • And I like to eat Windows too :p
  • What about your tongue though? Doesn't it get cut?
  • Reminds me of the guy who eats glass. https://youtu.be/YCbOKOj8krw
  • But their new products are awesomerer.
  • And brillianterer. Oh, and just one more thing-ier
  • Dont cry u r a grown up man now.
  • Having built a handful of water cooling rigs myself, I'm happy to see this method being utilized here and in the Lumia 950
  • In the 950 to.. That's me sold
  • Me too :)
  • Wow factor
  • Cool. But not spending a thousand more bucks for that and speed. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Compared to?
  • Anything. If you have any device, you're gonna spend 899 plus tax plus maybe a keyboard. So 1000 more bucks outta your pocket. Btw I'm no hater. I love the sp4 but all I'm saying is I'm not. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I think u missed other features of surface pro 4
    Like 50% faster than mac book pro
    New Surface pen, and many others
  • That's mostly it though. My original comment addressed speed. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Compared to the SP3, SP4 is more powerful, thinner, lighter, bigger screen by having a smaller bezel, higher resolution, has a new pen without a need for a keyboard loop.  The increased battery life alone is reason enough for me to switch.
  • Fyi the surface book is 50% faster than BMP, not the surface pro. 
  • The Surface Pro 4 is 50% faster than a MacBook Air. The Surface Book is 100% faster than a MacBook Pro.
  • Its meant as a "replacement device" rather than an "in addition to your other computer device".  Plan to replace my mother's Kindle Fire and 27" iMac with this in the near future.
  • Well for that it's great but to replace sp3 meh. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You don't need to buy every new iteration of something that comes out on a yearly basis
  • That's my point! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Hogwash.
  • Your SP3 probably isn't a in a 'need to replace' state :P
  • That's exactly my point! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If that's the case, you shouldn't upgrade. Only upgrade when your device is trully obsolete and cannot deliver what you need anymore. Replacing PC every year is pointless. Heck, I still using my MacBook Pro from 2011 and no plan to upgrade yet.
  • Exactly my point. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So, what was your point?
  • I and everyone else have both said that upgrading is not necessary in certain scenarios. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Has someone suggested that everyone (or even most) with a SP3 should upgrade to a SP4? I think that's why people were so confused about your point... most of us would assume that those with SP3 would not upgrade yet.
  • Idk. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Point exactly my. Windows for App the via Android Central Posted
  • Exactly my point is nothing.
  • Makes sense. For the price equivalent you can get a great laptop. The tablet just packs everything in.
  • I just hope it will not dissipate the heat to the battery, since it would shorten its life time
  • Heat pipe.
  • Not a big deal (Probably a small typo) but isn't his name Sean Ong?
  • Wish sp3 had this, the heating corner is annoying especially after win 10 update where typical browsing causes the fan go off. 
  • Same. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Or causes your SP3 to shutdown and force you to revert back to 8.1.
  • I've not hasn't this issue on my SP3. you're a rare case.
  • It likely depends on the processor you have. I have an i7 and the hotspot is real. It was real even with Win8 and is just worse with Win10. The fan seems to be always running on mine now.
  • I deliberately stayed off i7 because I knew there would be heat issues. i5 is plenty enough for a tablet and the fan on my SP3 rarely goes off in normal use, even though I live in a hot country and don't have an AC.
  • I wonder if you could just 3D print a corner holder with a place for a coolant like freezer bag gel. (almost like those iPhone zoom lens clip-ons) It would add bulk to a corner, but it would certainly cool the area.
  • I'm a big fan of Surface! I think the device is cool. Now i only need to evaporate a couple of thousand of my liquid assets to get me one..
  • Nice, good typical reference.
  • looks like a simple heat pipe going to a vapor chamber and a fan, maybe that's why its 100$ more expensive now, and if it was hard to repair before consider it completely unserviceable now
  • Wonder how big of a difference this makes and how much money it costs to implement. Is it worth it? Will the phone run out of liquid since there's no fan? Or if it does have a fan will it be able to produce enough liquid to keep up?
  • Good questions... I can hardly believe a phone would have a fan
  • Highly doubtful there is a fan in the phone.  Steve Jobs is more likely to rise from the dead and strike down Tim Cook with the Apple Pencil.
  • I would bet if the processor got hot enough to keep all the liquid in a gaseous state, you'd be able to fry an egg on it. Or since all that heat started out as stored energy in the battery, you'd probably drain the battery before the egg finished cooking.
  • This would make it a 3 in 1.  Tablet, PC, Hotplate.
  • You just need an area for a vapor to dissipate heat and condense. Fans are not required for this process, however they do help improve the effectiveness. If you notice in the image above, the large cooling plate extracts the heat from the vapor, condensing it back to a liquid, similar to the region where the fan is. The only difference is that the fan can remove heat at a much greater rate than the plate, which is useful when the performance load on the device increases. So yes, it will still work on a phone.
  • I was able to speak to one of the engineers that worked on this yesterday, pretty cool...it's like 50% water in those 2 tubes and some other proprietary substance, that is like a solid type fluid that when it heats up liquefies and travels to the right places to keep things soluble and then goes back to where they start and solidify back to their original state. So there's no leaking or any type of dissipation of the insides that might be of concern...these guys really have done their homework and I can only butcher the process with my layman's words...I'm not dumb, but I'm not quite as smart as those guys/gals. =)
  • They need to make air conditioning units for the home O.o
  • Better spent properly insulating homes than overengineering an air conditioner.
  • Now imagine beanies with liquid cooling technology! And some already have a propeller on top to keep things cool. Moreover, they'd also replace tin foil hats.
  • that copper plate in front of the battery looks like a fragile design. I hope there is some isolation plate behind that copper plate to isolate the battery from that copper venting plate. If th plate is too hot it could influence the battery life.
  • Precisely! I'm assuming there is some shielding. Would love to know if that is the case.
  • Considering they would want to dissipate the heat to the outside, most of that heat needs to flow into the case itself. It would be senseless to just transfer the heat to other internal components. I'm sure the Microsoft engineers understand thermodynamics well enough to send the heat in the right direction.
  • I was thinking the heat from the copper plate could dissipate heat in the form of convection and radiation. But if radiation was able to radiate back into the device (after all radiation goes in any direction withough redirection from correctly implemented isolation), I could see part of the battery heat  up. The only question remains if the local temperature will rise high enough to cause significant damage to the battery.  I'm sure the engineers have thought of this, but from the image it does raise a question. And I can read on the image the text in the right side statement a warming about not letting a heat source near the batttery. You are right it would be senseless to heat other internal components. But I'm wondering if they perhaps an unforseen 'side effect" of this heat sink plate placement in relation to the battery based on this image. Fingers crossed (will probably be okay. Guess we'll know more from Daniel or Mark on this matter in due time.
  • Anyone know if i5 are also skylakes or just i7??
  • Both.
  • M3, i5 and i7 all Skylake.
  • The parenthesis was only next to i7 at the specs, so I thought it was only that.
  • First Universal apps and now universal cooling?
  • Liquid cooling - interesting setup. I'm concerned about the battery and its position in relation to the main copper plate, otherwise this is an excellent addition, with the increase and ram and the lower power draw of skylake this is a beast! I'm on the 16gb i7 when it arrives on the UK. Shame the pciessd can't be easily addressed, otherwise this would be my dream machine! Or the surface book, though I'm not a fan of the wobble one gets on the screen.
  • You can make any laptop screen edible if you shake it, do this is nothing new. Also hinges on laptop have broken or become loose for years now albeit overt time. There's always going to be items that can be improved hence multiple iterations of products. will continue to be made.
  • Do the laptop screens taste like chicken?
  • That's an expensive meal
  • So you will have water on phone which is not clean till its destroyed ?
  • I am fascinated by this line of reasoning, please expand.
  • Lol!
  • Lmao Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Damn! Still can't believe that they are using the same tech in the phones.
  • Ugh...signed, Surface Pro 3 user
  • This isn't technically liquid cooling. It's a heat pipe. Some that you would find on a good heat sink on a desktop with heat pipes. Liquid cooling has to transfer the liquid from the heat source to a radiator. It can't just sit still inside and use the metal to help it transfer the heat. With this being said I'm proud that Microsoft is finally getting it together on using things like this for marketing. Most of the market have no idea how this really works. They are finally getting it! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It really is though, they have 50% water and a proprietary liquid mix inside two flat metal tubes, they are hollow inside and sealed. It also when in the process, travelling between the two points in order to cool the system and remain viable.I got to see a really cool demo at their event afterparty and they had these cool displays of the components under glass showing how its made. Really awesome stuff, they really do know what they're doing... =)
  • Hey, Does the Surface Book have the same cooling system as the Surface pro 4? Trying to find information on this and cant seem to find any.  
  • No fan would obviously be preferable, but until then seeing the line about the fan rarely running unless under extreme load is pleasing.  The fan in the Surface Pro 3 could be somewhat annoying.
  • Seems like the heat plate will kill the battery very fast. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Heat plate kill battery fast? No it wont. Heat Plate is passive, uses zero battery. The fan is what will kill the battery.