So, if you’re using your Surface Pro 3 (or Surface Pro/Pro 2 for that matter) to game or for some other processor intensive application, you might want to consider getting a fan to help cool it.
I realize it’s not optimal but just wishing your Surface would run cooler isn’t doing anything helpful so, you might as well try putting a fan on it.
No, I’m not kidding. I’ve done this for some time when I have my Surface Pro 2 docked and playing games. Of course, when you’re at your desk, you can use pretty much any electric fan you have laying around.
But, what about when you’re on the road or away from your desk? How can you help keep your SP3 cool then?
The answer, of course, is to use a USB powered fan. It WILL impact your battery life but it can help keep your Surface cool so it is a good trade-off.
Keep your Surface Pro 3 Cool: Portable Options
Based on our experience and some input from your fellow readers, we came up with a couple of USB powered fans we like, including one you can use even when you’re in tablet mode.Arctic Breeze Mobile Fan: This fan is a great option if you are always on the go. It’s goose neck design allows you to point the fan right where it needs to be and is even usable in tablet mode (if not a little bit awkward).
On top of that, at around $8 USD, it’s definitely a low-cost solution to the Surface Pro 3 heating concerns.Thermaltake Mobile Fan II: This fan is better suited for use on a desk or table.
Unfortunately, it won’t let you point the fan right at the top of the tablet (where it’s most effective). However, the airflow from this fan seems to be stronger than from the Arctic Breeze model. As a result, this fan is still effective at helping to whisk away the heat generated by your Surface.
Keep your Surface Pro 3 Cool: Position the Fan
Now that you have your fan, you’re going to want to make sure you position it correctly to get the maximum cooling effect. In the illustration below, you can see a (rough) representation of the internal arrangement of the Surface Pro 3 (as viewed from the front).
In my experience, the best way to help cool the Surface is to have it sweep the top of the Surface to help whisk heat expelled by the internal fan away from the case.
With a 12″ electric desktop fan, this is pretty easy since the air-stream encompasses nearly the whole tablet. With a small US-powered fan, however, you need to be a bit more precise so, pay attention to your positioning. Below, you’ll see my suggested placement using the Arctic Breeze fan as an example.
Done correctly, it can really help keep your Surface Pro 3 cool.
Keep your Surface Pro 3 Cool: The Extreme Option
If the little fans I outlined above aren’t doing the job for you, you could look at making a SP3 USB Duct.
It’s going to cost you around $60 USD in parts and some time but, it’s custom designed to help cool your Surface Pro 3 by placing a full size laptop cooling fan fan right over top of the internal fan and, essentially, forcing the heat out.
Since the fan is larger, it can remove the heat faster than the small internal fan could ever hope to.
Like I said before, I know it’s not optimal. But if you want to keep your Surface Pro 3 cool, complaining or casting blame won’t do you any good.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.