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  • Surface Dock comes up short

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Surface Dock comes up short

    This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by

     b 3 months, 1 week ago.

    • Author
    • #339632 Reply

      Da Boss

      Great tweet from @digitalmediaphile Barb Bowman: You gotta wonder who makes the decisions…
      [See the full post at: Surface Dock comes up short]

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #339643 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Microsoft’s Surface Dock is a valuable piece of hardware many professionals rely on every day. But it’s time for the company to update and release a new version of the aging device. Here’s why.
      Why Microsoft needs to release a new Surface Dock — now (15 months ago!)

      Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/"Sucker" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1903

    • #339753 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      “You gotta wonder who makes the decisions….”

      There’s someone who makes the decisions? I hadn’t realised that. Given the nature of the decisions recently I assumed they just happened by chance or accident.

    • #339886 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      When I had the Surface Dock with the Surface Book, I thought mine did disconnect power off an on and cause my Surface Book to intermittently go on and off of battery power.

      Yet another example why Surface hardware simply isn’t ready for prime time yet.

      Nathan Parker

    • #339889 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      How do they not think this through? Seems so mindless, blindsighted.

      Windows 8.1, Linux Mint 19.1, NEVER 10. Group B.

    • #339909 Reply


      Somehow, the name Surface doesn’t give me a positive vibe for sure

    • #339923 Reply


      when I plug into my Surface Dock and try to play games, Battery 2 (The Base Battery) drops to 4% within 20 minutes of gaming and the GTX1050 automatically disconnects, making the game hang.

      It’s clearly switching completely over to the battery and staying there if it’s depleting the battery that fast.  I know that gaming laptops (which the Surface isn’t, but the principle is the same) often utilize the battery to provide extra current when the power supply “brick” reaches its maximum and it isn’t enough, but the Surface shouldn’t be switching completely over to the battery when the power supply is connected.  I have a gaming laptop that I’ve previously documented using the battery to supplement the PSU, and to verify that my belief about how it works was correct, I put it to the test.

      I downloaded Furmark, a Windows video card benchmarking program, and ran it using WINE.  Since I did not use DXVK, the frame rate was much reduced from what it would have been in Windows, but it was more than enough for the test here.  I also ran Prime 95 (native Linux) with twelve threads in the in-place large FFT mode (which the program says give the maximum power consumption) at the same time.

      As expected, the power consumption quickly overwhelmed my 130W power supply.  Right when my Kill-A-Watt type meter exceeded 135w, Linux immediately reported that the laptop had gone into a discharge state, which was what I was aiming at.  The power meter dropped to 125w.

      I opened KDE Info center and went to the Power tab, which shows a realtime graph of the laptop’s power consumption and a numeric reading of the instantaneous power consumption.  It read 35w, and I confirmed that the power meter still read 125w, for a total of about 150w.

      Note that the reading from the power meter was the total power consumption, including the amount that was lost by the PSU.  The PSU rating is only for the wattage it delivers to the computer, and does not include its own power consumption.  The loss I saw was somewhere between 5-10w, which is not bad when the PSU is pushing 130w.  It’s evidently pretty efficient at its maximum, with an efficiency of ~92-96%.  That’s pretty good at its efficiency peak of about 65w (50%), but at max, it’s quite impressive.

      These results show that when the power consumption became more than the 130w PSU could handle, the laptop drew power from the battery to prevent having to throttle.  It did not switch completely over to the battery, though; if it had, KDE Info Center would have reported a battery draw of around 150 watts when the system reported that it had switched to a discharge mode, not 35w.  The PSU’s measured input power would have dropped to 0, or close to it, but it remained at only ten watts below its peak, at 125.

      Whatever PSU is in use, the PC should be able to use it and the battery at the same time to provide the power the system needs with as little battery drain as possible.  This is what happens with the device’s own power adapter, but not the Surface dock. I don’t think it has anything to do with the difference in capacities, as it is only ten watts.  Either PSU is going to have a hard time keeping up with a gaming load, so my guess is that there’s something in the dock PSU that causes it to shut itself off when the Surface goes into a partial discharge mode, for whatever reason.  It may not have been engineered to work with a laptop with the unusual power needs of a machine with such high peak power needs.  Laptops without discrete GPUs would probably not ship with an adapter that can’t keep up with the power load even at max power consumption, so this particular thing would never be an issue.

      I have a Targus universal laptop power brick (which I bought ages ago, more than ten years) that has various tips that fit lots of laptops, and also control the voltage.  It worked fine with my laptops over the years, but it had one annoying issue.  If the power cord was disconnected from the laptop while under load, the brick it would turn off.  The bright blue LED on the brick would continue to glow for a short while from the charge stored in its internal capacitors, but it would soon dim and go out, and stay that way if it were then plugged back in at the laptop end, with the laptop on full battery despite having a plugged-in AC adapter.  Unplugging the AC power plug and plugging it back in would restore it to full function.

      I suspect the momentary loss of charging status is doing something similar to the PSU in the dock (or, more specifically, to its control circuitry). For whatever reason, my guess is the dock PSU is shutting off as soon as the laptop goes from a charge regime into a discharge regime.  The PSU brick that comes with the unit is meant to run with a laptop that will often go from charge to discharge to charge, so it works fine.

      Ms. Bowman was right to call out the MS helper for such a useless answer, but that’s always been my experience on MS Answers.  The most useful answers don’t come from MS employees, but other MS customers.  The employees are generally fairly useless.  Every now and then they’d surprise me, but more often than not, their answers are just spam that does nothing but take up space.

      My guess is that there isn’t anything wrong with the Surface 2, just that it wasn’t fully compatible with the dock.

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16 & Kubuntu 18.04).

    • #339935 Reply


      Seems M$’s hardware designers do not know how to add.

      Surface laptop = consumes about 65W
      2 large screen monitors = 2 X 40W = 80W
      4 USB 3.0 devices = 4 X 5W = 20W

      Maximum power drawn when the Surface Dock is connected and all ports used for a desktop setup = about 165W, but the Surface Dock can only provide 90W maximum.

      Surface Dock’s 90W means M$ expects the users to only power 1 monitor and use non-power-hungry apps/programs while in desktop setup for extended use = battery power is not drawn. Otherwise, the battery will soon be depleted to zero, eg if use 2 monitors and/or do 3D online gaming = users need to stop online gaming for a few hours to allow the battery to be recharged to full capacity before they can resume.

      • #339948 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        Surface Dock doesn’t supply power to monitors.

        Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/"Sucker" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1903

    • #339936 Reply


      The proprietary Surface Connect port/plug is a non-standard, similar to Apple’s proprietary Lightning port/plug = so that M$ and Apple can milk their users some more with expensive adapter cables and hubs/docks, eg the Surface Dock costs US$180(= can buy a new OEM netbook) = smart users should stay away from M$/Apple devices.

      • #339949 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        But it’s extremely convenient to connect power, network, audio, monitors x2 and USB x4 via a single magnetic connector which doesn’t get damaged if you disconnect accidentally, e.g. trip on the cord.

        Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/"Sucker" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1903

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