Surface Studio Teardown Shows Microsoft's AIO Not That Repairable With RAM, CPU And GPU Soldered Down

Microsoft recently announced its first desktop PC, the Surface Studio, a sleek looking all-in-one with some unique features. As is the trend these days, the Surface Studio is pretty thin. It's also not a system that is easy to repair at home, a teardown analysis reveals. Much of the reason for that is because Microsoft opted to solder several key components to the motherboard.

Getting into the 21-pound Surface Studio isn't all that difficult, though finding a pathway isn't all that obvious, either. Flipping the AIO on its base reveals a strip of air vents that border the entire bottom panel. In each of the four corners there is a rubber foot. Each one hides a Torx screw that must be removed in order to open up the Surface Studio.

Surface Studio Open

The two screws on the front corners are extra long, though it's better than having to deal with adhesive. Microsoft could have glued the whole thing shut, as device makers like to do these days, but decided not to. Score Microsoft some geek points for that decision.

Once the screws are removed, there are still several clips to contend with before removing the heavy bottom cover. The reward for all that effort is a glimpse of the guts, but only a glimpse—most of the parts still are not accessible after removing the base, as there's a mid-frame that gets in the way.

Surface Studio SSD

Lifting away the mid-frame reveals the Surface Studio's innards all neatly arranged. Up top sits the gum stick-sized M.2 SSD, which is easily removed and upgraded. There's also a SATA hard drive visible, though getting to it requires the removal of a cooling solution that gets in the way.

"It took a little work to get here, but it seems there is indeed a complete storage upgrade path for your $3,000-4,000 desktop machine, as there should be," iFixIt notes.

Surface Studio Parts

Digging even deeper isn't all that difficult, though there is only so much that is user serviceable. On the plus side, the entire display assembly can be replaced as a piece rather than having to dismantle the display or base. However, the RAM, CPU, and GPU are all soldered to the board and can't be upgraded. The Surface Studio also lost points because a few components embedded in the display (buttons, front sensors, and speakers) are a bit difficult to replace if they fail.

When the tallying was done, the Surface Studio earned a 5 out of 10 Repairabilty Score.