Microsoft’s Newest Surface Pro 3 Tablet Cracked Open

If thin is in, then thinner must be…inner. Microsoft made serious strides, taking their Surface Pro series closer to the laptop frontier than ever before, while still keeping up with the tablet game. Result: a slim, uber-powered tablet with paper thin display glass, and severely limited upgradeability and repairability. The Surface Pro 3 traded the 2’s 90+ screws for some seriously hideous adhesive, and consolidated even more components into un-modular land. You’ll spend less time with a driver, but repairs won’t be any easier. The Surface Pro 3 inherited a repairability score of 1 out of 10, proving the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 in pieces after the teardownTeardown highlights:

  • A cursory look is all it takes to tell us we’re gonna need to bring the heat for a display-first invasion. Unfortunately, the Pro 3’s weak point is just that—a point of weakness. As the glass cooled around an opening pick, it shattered. The Pro 3’s biggest advancement is a display that’s harder than ever to remove.
  • In disconnecting the display we find something novel: a springy metal bracket pinning the display connector in place. At the other end of the cable, another dubious connector with a sliver of a contact board in tow.
  • Safety first! We disconnect the battery before charging forth. This battery connector requires a relatively uncommon T3 Torx bit. This Surface is packing a 42.2 Wh, 7.6 V, lithium ion time bomb.
  • We find a cooling system more akin to one found in a laptop than a tablet: a beefy heat sink that draws into a single fan.
  • We’re happy to see that Microsoft still provides a microSD card slot. While it is not exactly all we hope and dream for in terms of expandable storage, it is a welcome inclusion.
  • CHiPs action:
    • 1.9 GHz dual core Core i5-4300U with Intel HD Graphics 4400
    • Samsung K4E8E304ED-EGCE 8 Gb (1 GB) LPDDR3 RAM (total of 4 * 1 GB = 4 GB)
    • Marvell 88W8897 WLAN + BT4.0 + 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