How well can the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 run music software, virtual instruments and plugins? Well, let’s find out.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is a marvellous device that integrates a touchscreen interface with laptop versatility. This is not an iPad; this is a proper computer running proper desktop software and hardware. When I first saw the Surface platform, I thought it could be a wonderfully creative machine for music making and so since the Surface Pro 3, I have been testing and tweaking every generation to give it the best chance of running audio and MIDI music production software. And now it’s the turn of the Surface Pro 9.
And I should say at this point that with every generation I’ve been completely able to tweak the machines into being totally brilliant little music machines. Awesome for live performance, fantastic for medium-sized projects and great as a mobile synth and recording machine. This is about showing you how we get there.
The video is long but also unexpected because the testing didn’t entirely go according to plan. You will see why if you follow the adventure. If you’re looking for the instructions on how to enable Ultimate Performance mode and disable Turbo Boost then you’ll find those below.
How to enable Ultimate Performance mode.
This is the same as it was since the 2004 and 20H2 updates for Windows 10. Works just as well on Windows 11.
Right-click the Start button or press the Windows key plus X to bring up the advanced menu. Select “Terminal (Admin)” to run the old Command or Powershell Window.
Then copy this line in and press enter.
powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61
The this one and press enter.
reg add HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power /v PlatformAoAcOverride /t REG_DWORD /d 0
You should now be able to select Ultimate Performance mode in the Power Options.
Disabling Turbo Boost
In the information I found to do this, the first step was to enable Processor Performance Boost. This is what I believe enabled the processor to unexpectedly go up to 4.4GHz. Normally speaking the Surface Pro 9 would have Efficient Performance Boost enabled which gives it access to speeds up to 3.3GHz. I’m not sure if this first step is required but it’s what I did in the video – this definitely needs some further investigation but here it is for your information and experimentation.
Open the Terminal (admin) again and put in this command:
powercfg -attributes sub_processor perfboostmode -attrib_hide
Perhaps what this does is allow us to view the power settings with this command because it unhides some attributes:
powercfg -q scheme_current sub_processor perfboostmode
This will list all the current power modes and show you that the AC Power Setting at the bottom is set to 2, or at least something other than zero. We need to switch it to zero to disable Turbo Boost.
powercfg -setacvalueindex scheme_current sub_processor perfboostmode 0
Then, I’m told, it should be saved using this command:
powercfg -s scheme_current
To then re-enable Turbo Boost you use the command:
powercfg -setacvalueindex scheme_current sub_processor perfboostmode 2
However, overall, I think the Surface Pro 9 is best left alone to run its own show.