Microsoft Surface -- The teardown

Microsoft Surface -- The teardown

Summary: Microsoft's Surface tablet has landed, and after undoing 17 Torx fasteners the folks at iFixit had a chance to see just how easy it is to take this tablet apart and what makes this device tick.


Microsoft's Surface tablet is out and the folk from repair firm iFixit have got their hands on one and taken it apart so we can see what makes it tick!

Getting into the Surface involves undoing 17 T5 Torx fasteners -- ten under the kickstand and a further seven under the camera cover. Also, breaking into the device means getting past a tamper-evident seal, which essentially means any attempts at repairs voids your warranty.

Once inside the Surface we find that it is powered by a 7.4 V, 31.5 Wh battery made by Samsung. The capacity is between the iPad 2's 25 Wh battery, and the iPad 3's 42.5 Wh battery.

On the mainboard is a 1.4GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor (red box), 32GB of Samsung flash storage (orange box), 2GB of Micron RAM (yellow box), a Marvell wireless MIMO chip (blue box), a Wolfson audio codec, and a Cypress touchscreen controller (black box).

On the rear of the mainboard is a light sensor (red box) and two microphones (orange box).

The Surface tablet is easily to repair than Apple's iPad, with several components being modular and replaceable without requiring desoldering. The battery is also easy to remove once the tablet is opened.

However, there are downsides. The rear panel is hard to remove, and the keyboard connector impossible to get at without removing the display. The LCD and glass are fused together, meaning both have to be replaced, and getting at the LCD or the covering glass will require a lot of patience.

With this in mind, iFixit have given the Surface a reparability score of 4 out of ten (where ten is easiest to repair). This is better than the 2 scored by the iPad 3, but nowhere near as good as the 7 scored by the Kindle Fire HD or the Nexus 7.

"The Surface's design allows you to open it without fear of shattering the display glass, but it's not a trivial procedure," writes iFixit's Chief Information Architect Miroslav Djuric. "And you'll have to dig through the whole tablet in order to get to the LCD/glass, which will be the most likely reason you're scratching the Surface to begin with".

Image source: iFixit.

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Tablets, Windows

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  • .

    "The Surface tablet is more easily to repair than Apple's iPad..."

    You mean "easier to repair than Apple's iPad"?
    • statuskwo5....IT'S EASIER TO REPAIR

      Over and Out
    • I guess it depends on who interprets the data . . .

      "iFixit has dissected Microsoft Surface to get a look at its innards and found it only slightly easier to dissemble than many of the latest Apple gadgets . . ."
      • Ummm...

        Thanks for a re-link to a more condensed version of what is posted here. It seems Gizmodo agrees.. What was the point?
  • Battery by Samsung, Flash by Samsung

    It seems that Samsung will benefit if the Surface becomes a success. After all, Microsoft is just as dependant on components from electronic suppliers as Apple is (although Apple is at least designing some of its own chips).
  • What a load of bunk

    This product is being "dumped" to gain Marketshare, And the DOJ should open up an investigation into the illegal acts committed by Microsoft. Oh wait the sold less than 1 million, maybe there is no interest beyond the typical Microsoft fanboys lol.
    Troll Hunter J
    • Fanboy huh...

      and you are Fanboi of what? Probably a Linux troll since that is about all Linux is good for on the consumer end of the internet (i.e. this forum). When I need to serve garbage on the internet I use Linux, when I need a laughable OS that costs too much I use Mac/iTard platforms, when I need to accomplish all of the above and play my video games I use Microsoft. Love it or hate it, MS is still the middle-choice of Apple-ocracy and Linux-ology. Best of both worlds -- supported by a multi-billion dollar corporation but not subject to preferred hardware and proprietary implementation of Java.
      But even as a Microsoft-preferred consumer I cannot see a real use for the Surface that really gains advantage over traditional available designs, and in fact has more limitations. Maybe I missed the purpose but my phone seems to do about everything this can, the Surface just has a larger screen and keyboard option.
      • You don't know anything about Linux.

        Enjoy your botnets, served up on a Surface now.
        • Really?

          Do you really think that an ARM-based version of Windows where the only way to install software is via a download from a curated "store" is going to be serving up botnets? Windows and OSX (and Linux) are *much* easier targets. Phones and tablets running iOS are much more prevalent. And, then, there's Android...
  • Troll Hunter J....hey Loverock Daviidson purchased 5 in Pink

    The color speaks nicely for Lovie :-)
    Over and Out
  • The battery issue

    Battery not being readily accessible means portability ends in 2 or 3 years for heavy users that work relying on battery mostly.
    There are no miracles battery have limited life.