A brand new Surface Pro 3 tablet has fallen into the hands of the iFixit repair team, and what do you think they did with it? As usual they took it apart, but what's unusual is that the engineers broke the display during disassembly, showing us the downsides of an ultra-thin device.
The Surface Pro 3 is held together with copious amounts of black sticky mastic and tape. This means that despite the fact that the tablet is kitted out with what could otherwise be a replaceable battery and mSATA flash drive, getting into the device to replace or upgrade these parts without causing mayhem and damage is unlikely given that the iFixit team — folks who spend their days opening devices — broke the screen getting into it.
That means the chances that you or I could make it inside this tablet are slim indeed. Now you might argue that few people bother to repair and upgrade their devices, and that's certainly true, but for people who care about such things, this is a problem.
Once inside the Surface Pro 3 the team discovered:
- A 1.9 GHz dual core Core i5-4300U with Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Samsung K4E8E304ED-EGCE 8 Gb (1 GB) LPDDR3 RAM chips, four in all giving 1GB of RAM
- Marvell 88W8897 WLAN + Bluetooth 4.0 + NFC Combo Chip
- Winbond 25X20CL1G 2M-Bit Serial Flash Memory
- Winbond 25Q128FVPQ 128M-Bit Serial Flash Memory
- Infineon SLB 9665 TT2.0 Security Cryptocontroller for Trusted Platform Modules
- NXP CBTL06GP213 Six-Channel Multiplexer
- Atmel UC256L3U 256KB Flash, 32-bit AVR Microcontroller
- Winbond 25X40CL1G 4M-bit Serial Flash
- Realtek ALC3264 Audio Codec
- SK Hynix H27QEGDVEBLR 32 GB NAND Flash (four ICs for 128 GB total)
- SK Hynix H5PS2G63JMR 32 MB DDR2 SDRAM
- Link A Media LM87800AA SSD Controller
- N-trig DS-P4196 Touch Controller
- 42.2 Wh/7.6 V Lithium ion battery
- A huge heatsink and fan assembly, which, according to iFixit, is "more akin to one found in a laptop than a tablet"
The iFixit team gave the Surface Pro 3 a repairability score of 1 out of 10 (a scale on which 10 represents the easiest to repair). Not only is removing the screen difficult (made harder by the fact the display assembly is made up of a fused glass panel and LCD), but the abundant use of adhesive along with non-standard connectors make disassembly fraught with risk.
"The Surface Pro 3 traded the 2's 90+ screws for some seriously hideous adhesive, and consolidated even more components into un-modular land," iFixit told ZDNet in an email.