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Teardown reveals Microsoft Surface Studio has limited user upgradeability

The internal hard drive is the only major component that can be replaced by the end user. (Source: iFixIt)
The internal hard drive is the only major component that can be replaced by the end user. (Source: iFixIt)
Most major components are soldered on and cannot be replaced. However, the device appears to be fairly repairable.

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The repair experts over at iFixit have published a teardown of Microsoft’s new Surface Studio, showing off the components that make up the innovative machine geared towards creative professionals. The Surface Studio is a unique All-in-One (AIO) device with a 28-inch 4500 x 3000 touchscreen attached to a fairly powerful and compact base. The Surface Studio can be equipped with:

  • 6th Generation Skylake Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor (SKU unknown)
  • 8, 16, or 32 GB of RAM
  • up to 2 TB of "Rapid Hybrid Storage"
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M (2 GB GDDR5) or GTX 980M (4 GB GDDR5)

The base also sports four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, a mini DisplayPort, a full-size SD card slot, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

The teardown revealed that the CPU, GPU, and RAM are all soldered onto the motherboard and are not replaceable. Users won’t be able to upgrade these components after purchase, so they will need to make sure to customize the machine to their expected workload from the outset.

iFixit also found that the storage options are replaceable, as there are slots for both an M.2 SSD and a standard SATA HDD or SSD. Interestingly, the machine that was disassembled had a slower 5400 RPM HDD connected via SATA II instead of the more common (and faster) SATA III. It is currently unknown if the interface is capable of SATA III 6 Gb/s speeds, or if the connection is indeed limited to SATA II at 3 Gb/s.

Overall, iFixit gave the Surface Studio a “Repairability Score” of 5 out of a possible 10. The device seems to be fairly repairable, with plenty of pieces (including the display) able to be replaced independently of others. Earlier teardowns of Microsoft’s original Surface Book and Apple’s new Macbook Pro with Touch Bar, also targeted at creatives, both yielded abysmal repairability scores of 1 out of 10.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2016 11 > Teardown reveals Microsoft Surface Studio has limited user upgradeability
Sam Medley, 2016-11-29 (Update: 2016-11-29)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.