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Microsoft Surface: Security concerns responsible for the lack of Thunderbolt & upgradable RAM (allegedly)

Microsoft Surface: Security concerns responsible for the lack of Thunderbolt & upgradable RAM (allegedly)
Microsoft Surface: Security concerns responsible for the lack of Thunderbolt & upgradable RAM (allegedly)
The lack of Thunderbolt 3 on Microsoft's Surface Laptops has been a problem for years. Such expensive products are just expected to support this standard. Now a video surfaced where an alleged Microsoft spokesperson names the reason for the lack of Thunderbolt 3 as well as upgradable RAM: Security.
Benjamin Herzig,
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Microsoft has engineered some very exciting devices under the Surface brand in the last years. From the original hybrid tablet line Surface Pro to the Surface Book and the Surface Laptop: All of these Microsoft Surface devices have delivered quality designs with great screens, especially since Microsoft switches to the 3:2 aspect-ratio for the screens.

However, as all devices, they are not perfect. If there are two consistent weak-points to be named, one would be a lack of upgradability – Microsoft surface devices have been notoriously hard to repair. Another is the inexplicable lack of Thunderbolt 3. The powerful standard that enables advanced accessories like external GPUs is just not available on any Surface laptop or tablet. Even USB-C was long missing, with Microsoft only recently adopting it instead of the obsolete miniDisplayPort. However, Thunderbolt 3 is still not present.

We may have an explanation as to why that is: In a leaked presentation about the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, a Microsoft spokesperson explains that Microsoft omitted Thunderbolt 3 out of security concerns. According to him, the port grants direct memory-access, which is a security liability that Microsoft wanted avoid. Security concerns are also the reason why the Surface Laptop 3 lacks upgradable RAM, as someone could freeze the removable RAM stick to read out private data.

Of course, without an official confirmation from Microsoft, this should be taken with a grain of salt. In any case, it would interest us if our readers find this argument convincing or not. After all, leaving out those features has other advantages as well. Thunderbolt 3 chips cost a few dollars per device and upgradable RAM does take up some space compared to a soldered solution.

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Benjamin Herzig
Benjamin Herzig - Managing Editor - 922 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I was an ardent reader of Notebookcheck’s laptop reviews even back in school. After writing reviews as a hobby, I then joined Notebookcheck in 2016 and have worked on device reviews and news articles ever since then. My personal interest lies more with laptops than smartphones, with business laptops being the most interesting category for me. Technology should make our lives and work easier and good laptops are an essential tool for that to happen. This is why laptop reviews are not just my work but are also my passion.
contact me via: LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 04 > Microsoft Surface: Security concerns responsible for the lack of Thunderbolt & upgradable RAM (allegedly)
Benjamin Herzig, 2020-04-26 (Update: 2020-04-26)