Microsoft Surface Studio
Two PCs in one? Almost.
The Surface Studio is big, expensive and powerful. But is this a machine for creative pros, or a me-too entry in the modern wave of fashionably disposable hardware?
MAJOR TECH SPECS
28-inch adjustable PixelSense display with 4,500 x 3,000 resolution (192dpi), supporting sRGB, DCI-P3, Vivid colour profiles, plus 10-point multitouch 6th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU, with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB RAM configuration options Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M GPU (paired with 2GB GDDR5), or GTX 980M (paired with 4GB GDDR5) 1TB and 2TB hybrid storage options 802.11ac Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0/Xbox Wireless built in Surface Pen and Surface Dial≠
We tip the Studio on to its back and inspect the base, hoping to find a way in. A strip of air vents borders the bottom panel, and at each corner, we find a round rubber foot, concealing ≠ a Torx screw. The two on the front corners are of the extra-long variety. As manufacturers continue the fight against visible screws, we’re OK with this solution — it’s certainly better than gluing the entire thing shut. Screws jettisoned, the heavy bottom cover still holds on by way of several clips. So we apply a little suction power to yank it free. Pulling the back cover off reveals a myriad of components. There’s a strict order of operations here. First out are two fans, but they remain anchored by wires with hidden leads. That midframe will have to come out before we can proceed further. As we lift it away, it brings an attached speaker out with it, along with a third wire tethered to the motherboard. Finally, we have access to some guts. We start with the high-powered half of the hybrid storage: a standard, removable, 64GB SanDisk Z400s M.2 SSD. On board, we find two SanDisk 05466 032G 32GB NAND flash storage modules, and a Silicon Motion SM2246XT SATA 6Gbps DRAM-less SSD controller. It’s time to return to that huge 28-inch glass display. Unsure what kind of adhesive lies in wait, we throw down a pair of iOpeners to soften it up. Many swipes of the iMac opening tool later, and we’re ready to call this glue the in-between. It’s not the overkill tar of the Surface Pro, but it’s also not slice-it-down-the-middle clean iMac adhesive. It’s in between. ≠ A bit of a struggle, but not impossible. Repairability Score: 5 out of 10 ≠ (10 is easiest to repair). The base is easy to open and home to several modular components that can be replaced without disassembling ≠ the display. The entire display assembly can be replaced as a piece, without dismantling the display ≠ or the base. The RAM, CPU and GPU are soldered to the board and cannot be upgraded. You may want to think twice about that 8GB configuration. ≠ A few components embedded in the display would be difficult to replace ≠ if they failed.
Fortunately, that display is fairly easy to replace if damaged.