What you need to know
- A Reddit user fixed thermal throttle issues in a Surface Book 2 by adding a fan and inserting a copper heat pipe.
- The process resulted in significantly better performance, lower temperatures when under load, and the laptop using fans less frequently when not needed.
- Performing the hack required quite a bit of technical expertise, so we don’t recommend trying it yourself.
The Surface Book 2 is a powerful and versatile laptop. Microsoft worked hard to have the system dissipate heat, but some people have run into issues with high temperatures after extended use of the laptop. One Reddit user, curie64hkg, upgraded their Surface Book 2 by adding a fan and a copper heat pipe. During the same process, they swapped the system’s SSD as well.
For context, the Surface Book 2 has fans in the top portion of the device, which can be detached and used as a tablet. Ventilation and active cooling are utilized in the base, which is where the GPU sits.
Here’s what our editor-in-chief Daniel Rubino had to say about the laptop’s thermals in his Surface Book 2 review:
“Microsoft did an excellent job of thermal dissipation with the Surface Book 2 15. That’s due in part to having fans in the tablet area for the CPU and adequate ventilation and active cooling for the GPU in the base.
During intense gaming, while maximizing the CPU and GPU the bottom of the Surface Book 2 15 did get warm peaking at 106 degrees F (41 degrees C), but it was never hot or uncomfortable. Likewise, the back of the display where the CPU resides also got warm, but never got hot to the touch.”
The experience of curie64hkg seems to be rather different than that of Rubino. They saw thermal throttling, poor performance under load, and lag when playing 4K60 videos. To get around these issues, they added a fan, replaced an SSD, and added a copper pipe.
An extensive breakdown of the process includes before and after benchmarks, images of the disassembly and assembly, and a summary of the final results.
The biggest changes were to system temperatures. Tablet mode no longer slows down or heats up when drawing, according to curie64hkg. Fans stay off when simply browsing the web as well. Idle temperatures and temperatures under load all dropped as well.
A job like this is rather extreme, so we can’t recommend it to the average user, but it is fun to see someone tinker with a Surface Book 2 and see such dramatic results.