Surface Book 2 drains battery while gaming even when plugged in

Between the two, the Surface Book 2 is supposed to be more powerful than the Surface Pro, whose main selling point is portable productivity. It seems, however, that Microsoft may have artificially leveled the playing field a bit by giving the Surface Book 2 a handicap. Running its own tests, The Verge confirms complaints about battery drain issues when using the Surface Book 2 for graphics-intensive tasks, like gaming, even when it’s connected to the official charger. Reading between the lines of Microsoft’s response, it is all by design.

The Surface Book 2’s claim to power comes from its extra battery in the keyboard base as well as the discrete NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card, also in the keyboard base. Dedicated GPUs are often utilized for more graphics intensive applications, like CAD, 3D rendering, image and video editing, and, of course, gaming. The latter, however, doesn’t seem to be a valid use of the Surface Book 2 in Microsoft’s eyes because of how it has set up throttling and power management.

Users of the 15-inch Surface Book 2 have been noticing that the Surface Book’s battery still drains even when plugged in, though this only happens when using the device for gaming. Microsoft says that it is all within expected behavior when using the “best performance” setting. It will never, however fully drain the battery.

The Verge theorizes that this happens because the 95 watt power brick can’t supply enough charge to the Surface Book 2 when both CPU and GPU are running at max speeds, eating up to 35 watts and 80 watts, respectively. Microsoft’s solution is to throttle the hardware down to “better performance” or “best battery” settings, neither of which are great for most games you’ll need a GPU for.

In other words, while the Surface Book 2 is well-equipped for gaming, sooner or later, you’ll run into power-related problems that will either have you draining your batter or dropping frame rates. Some games might still be playable under those circumstances, but those who expected more from the portable workstation aren’t going to be happy at all.

VIA: The Verge