Microsoft contacted me today about a Surface Pro 3 issue that many attribute to the device overheating. Apparently, that's not what's happening, but the company will issue a fix for the device regardless, because there is an underlying problem that is triggering the temperature gauge icon some users are reporting seeing on Intel Core i7 versions of Surface Pro 3.
The problem—whatever it is—no doubt stems from the fact that Microsoft has wedged a powerful, high-end Intel Core i7 processor into the almost impossibly thin form factor of the two topmost Surface Pro 3 models. As with various Ultrabooks, the Surface Pro 3 has to throttle the CPU as needed and work some active and passive cooling magic to keep the thing from imploding. But when you consider the thinness of this device, it should be no surprise that it runs pretty hot with i7 guise.
Maybe too hot, some are reporting. Over the weekend, there were stories that i7 versions of the Surface Pro 3 were overheating, and some users posted photos online of a thermometer icon on the boot screen that seems to indicate as much.
However, that's not what's happening, Microsoft says.
"The Surface Team is aware of a very small number of Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i7 devices that are temporarily restarting and incorrectly showing a 'Thermometer Gauge' icon while attempting to boot up," a Microsoft representative told me. "Our investigation reveals that the system is triggering this event sooner than it should for some people, only when the device restarts, and this does not occur when the device is booted and running. We have an update that will address this that will be ready for our customers as soon as possible."
The firm also confirmed my contention that the unique and thin Surface Pro 3 form factor created a unique engineering challenge when used with a Core i7 processor.
"The i7 version of Surface Pro 3 is a first-of-its-kind tablet delivering i7 processing power in a thin and light package," the spokesperson noted. "As such, the increased power calls for the fan to spin more regularly and at higher speeds and for the unit to run slightly warmer. If customers have any questions or concerns, they should contact Microsoft Support."
Given the schedule, I assume that the fix will appear on or before the next Patch Tuesday, which is September 9. That's the normal day for Surface firmware updates.