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Microsoft's Surface Pro, iFixit rates it 1 out of 10

New gadget lands at the iFixit labs, and the good folk there give it a teardown. Microsoft's Surface Pro is this week's lucky slab of silicon to hit the bench. The good news is that a removable battery and SSD will make swapping those out a charm. That's pretty much it for the good news though. The less good news is the sheer number of screws you're going to have to contend with (over 90 by iFixit's count). The bad news is that screen is a real fiddle to remove, and there are globs of adhesive to navigate (holding that battery and screen in place for example).

All this earns the Surface Pro a repairability rating of just one out ten (ten being the best). Better treat yours with the love and care it deserves then.

iFixit tears down Microsoft's Surface Pro, rates it 1 out of 10 for repairability


iFixit report: Microsoft Surface Pro Teardown - iFixit
 

Coke Robot

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Kind of unfortunate as I thought the SSD was soldered on, but it's mSATA, which is nice because theoretically one could pop in a 256 gig mSATA SSD and have more room for activities.

What I find preposterous at this point in time is the redundant designs of the mobile PC chassis. Some have an access panel to the RAM and/or hard drive, but NEVER to the CPU heatsink. RARELY ever! It's so freaking annoying!! You have to tear the WHOLE laptop apart just to clean off the heatsink that has lint trapped in it and causing overheating issues. So stupid.

One laptop in particular I feel in love with, not because it was pretty or anything, but is so simple to get access to the internals. It was this ASUS K-series laptop. Take off two screws, slide off the back panel, and you have access to the hard drive, RAM, CPU heatsink, and battery. Why other OEMs can't do that is just bewildering.
 

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Ray8

Banned
The other issues with mSATA drives are that they can be slower than SATA III SSDs, can be up to 50% more expensive and won't be able to compete with max capacity with SSDs because of format. Considering that the Surface Pro is almost identical in size to my Gigabyte S1080, which has a 7mm SSD, plus a lot of other features, I'm surprised that they have gone this way.

I also like the fact that I can remove the back of the Gigabyte with four screws and have access to every component inside, including CPU, and can easily clean everything. For anyone that especially uses such a tablet outdoors, the inside can get very dusty.

This is what you should be able to do with all tablets:

s1080.jpg
 

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The other issues with mSATA drives are that they can be slower than SATA III SSDs, can be up to 50% more expensive and won't be able to compete with max capacity with SSDs because of format. Considering that the Surface Pro is almost identical in size to my Gigabyte S1080, which has a 7mm SSD, plus a lot of other features, I'm surprised that they have gone this way.

I also like the fact that I can remove the back of the Gigabyte with four screws and have access to every component inside, including CPU, and can easily clean everything. For anyone that especially uses such a tablet outdoors, the inside can get very dusty.

This is what you should be able to do with all tablets:

View attachment 16626

I think you're wasting your talent here Ray, you should be the head of the WWTO.
 

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Coke Robot

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I don't understand why it's so hard to design a well built tablet or laptop for that matter, to have removable access panels. I means, just make a metal back panel with sides that wrap around the device chassis and put a number of torx screws in place. BAM! Easily serviceable tablet PC!
 

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    ASUS R9 270
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    1 TB Seagate Barracuda (starting to hate Seagate)
    x2 3 TB Toshibas
    Windows 8.1 is installed on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB
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    A current work in progres as I'll be building the physical case myself. It shall be fantastic.
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rmeigs

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I don't understand why it's so hard to design a well built tablet or laptop for that matter, to have removable access panels. I means, just make a metal back panel with sides that wrap around the device chassis and put a number of torx screws in place. BAM! Easily serviceable tablet PC!

:) Because most buyers, including me, could care less how easy it is to service. When it breaks, if within the warranty period, we return it. If outside the warranty period, we cry then upgrade. iFixit's ratings have little bearing on the general public's buying habits.
 

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revmike

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Because most buyers, including me, could care less how easy it is to service. When it breaks, if within the warranty period, we return it. If outside the warranty period, we cry then upgrade. iFixit's ratings have little bearing on the general public's buying habits.

Well said.
 

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Coke Robot

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I don't understand why it's so hard to design a well built tablet or laptop for that matter, to have removable access panels. I means, just make a metal back panel with sides that wrap around the device chassis and put a number of torx screws in place. BAM! Easily serviceable tablet PC!

:) Because most buyers, including me, could care less how easy it is to service. When it breaks, if within the warranty period, we return it. If outside the warranty period, we cry then upgrade. iFixit's ratings have little bearing on the general public's buying habits.
Which is unfortunate in general with all thin technology. If something breaks, you send it in or have to buy a new one versus repair one part. Some things can be replaced, like the screen, hard drives/SSDs, battery, sometimes RAM. The Surface Pro's battery isn't soldered on, so it can be replaced with difficulty though.

But no, no one normal really cares about those things, it's mostly the tech nerds and mechanically inclined. :) Laptop disassembles don't scare me, not even smartphone's. I usually pop off the screen on my Nokia Lumia 900 every month or so to clean the crum out of the seams around the display. But when it becomes difficult to even replace a hard drive or clean a heatsink, holy crap! I could care less about how easy it is to fix a device, I just want an access panel to the CPU's heatsink! Is that so much to ask?!
 

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    Memory
    16 gig DDR3
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    ASUS R9 270
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Seagate Barracuda (starting to hate Seagate)
    x2 3 TB Toshibas
    Windows 8.1 is installed on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB
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    OCZ 500 watt
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    A current work in progres as I'll be building the physical case myself. It shall be fantastic.
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Ray8

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The issue is that many may wish to have the potential to upgrade the device. They may purchase the lower specced version, say less RAM and a smaller hard drive initially, and then later buy more RAM and maybe increase the drive size as prices invariably drop. The way things are now, you have to buy less than what you may need in future, or more than you may ever need at a cost.

It's the lack of options that's the issue. Every laptop/notebook that I've ever owned, has allowed me to add memory or change the hard drive. Why shouldn't a tablet be designed in a similar way? Clearly there is no reason why you couldn't, other than marketing reasons.
 

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Coke Robot

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The issue is that many may wish to have the potential to upgrade the device. They may purchase the lower specced version, say less RAM and a smaller hard drive initially, and then later buy more RAM and maybe increase the drive size as prices invariably drop. The way things are now, you have to buy less than what you may need in future, or more than you may ever need at a cost.

It's the lack of options that's the issue. Every laptop/notebook that I've ever owned, has allowed me to add memory or change the hard drive. Why shouldn't a tablet be designed in a similar way? Clearly there is no reason why you couldn't, other than marketing reasons.
I think it's just more clean design/sturdy design. You can't say the Surface Pro can't feel stable and solid in hand with all those screws and adhesive.

The same sort of applied to the Nokia Lumia 920. They didn't add in a microSD card in it. They could, but decided against it because it would compromise the design. Their words.
 

My Computer

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  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
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    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS
    CPU
    AMD FX 8320
    Motherboard
    Crosshair V Formula-Z
    Memory
    16 gig DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS R9 270
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Seagate Barracuda (starting to hate Seagate)
    x2 3 TB Toshibas
    Windows 8.1 is installed on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB
    PSU
    OCZ 500 watt
    Case
    A current work in progres as I'll be building the physical case myself. It shall be fantastic.
    Cooling
    Arctic Cooler with 3 heatpipes
    Keyboard
    Logitech K750 wireless solar powered keyboard
    Mouse
    Microsoft Touch Mouse
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, but I might go back on KIS 2014

Ray8

Banned
I think it's just more clean design/sturdy design. You can't say the Surface Pro can't feel stable and solid in hand with all those screws and adhesive.

The same sort of applied to the Nokia Lumia 920. They didn't add in a microSD card in it. They could, but decided against it because it would compromise the design. Their words.

I don't know how solid, solid has to be, but my Gigabyte doesn't feel weak in any way and it gets put through a fair bit of jolting etc when I'm in the bush. It's the same size and weight of the Surface, but seems to be able to incorporate far more features than the Surface.

Another thing about making devices fully sealed, is that it can restrict their use in a number of organisations. I know for a fact that the Australia Defence Force does not allow any camera equipped devices, amongst other things, to be used in an official capacity. When they buy laptops, for example, cameras are physically disabled by the suppliers prior to delivery. You can't do that with a Surface.
 

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Coke Robot

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I think it's just more clean design/sturdy design. You can't say the Surface Pro can't feel stable and solid in hand with all those screws and adhesive.

The same sort of applied to the Nokia Lumia 920. They didn't add in a microSD card in it. They could, but decided against it because it would compromise the design. Their words.


Another thing about making devices fully sealed, is that it can restrict their use in a number of organisations. I know for a fact that the Australia Defence Force does not allow any camera equipped devices, amongst other things, to be used in an official capacity. When they buy laptops, for example, cameras are physically disabled by the suppliers prior to delivery. You can't do that with a Surface.
You can, just stab out the camera/drill it out. :cool:
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS
    CPU
    AMD FX 8320
    Motherboard
    Crosshair V Formula-Z
    Memory
    16 gig DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS R9 270
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Seagate Barracuda (starting to hate Seagate)
    x2 3 TB Toshibas
    Windows 8.1 is installed on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB
    PSU
    OCZ 500 watt
    Case
    A current work in progres as I'll be building the physical case myself. It shall be fantastic.
    Cooling
    Arctic Cooler with 3 heatpipes
    Keyboard
    Logitech K750 wireless solar powered keyboard
    Mouse
    Microsoft Touch Mouse
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, but I might go back on KIS 2014

snoop101

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I don't understand why it's so hard to design a well built tablet or laptop for that matter, to have removable access panels. I means, just make a metal back panel with sides that wrap around the device chassis and put a number of torx screws in place. BAM! Easily serviceable tablet PC!

I completely agree with you. I loathe having to watch a 30 minute tutorial about taking apart a laptop to change the keyboard, clean heatsink..... etc.
 

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