Microsoft began shipping its first Surface Studio units last week, complete with a dedicated support line. However, some enthusiasts prefer to take things apart themselves, and iFixit has completed a teardown of the unit already.
The verdict is about as you would expect for a 2-in-1. Those looking to upgrade will be sore, as the RAM, GPU and CPU are all soldered to the motherboard. That means those buying the models with 8 GB of memory won't have an easy out. It might be worth saving up the extra $500 and getting the 16 GB model if you want to be future-proof.
Fortunately, there are still options to upgrade storage. The hard drive and SSD can both be replaced without taking the display apart, sitting in the base of the computer. You can also replace the Surface Studio's display fairly easily, as it comes off in one piece.
However, the teardown did bring some small surprises. iFixit reports a hidden ARM chip sitting behind the screen. ARM processors are usually found in tablets and mobile devices, so it might seem a little strange to find one in a x86 Intel PC. According to The Verge, the chip helps power the 28-inch PixelSense display, which makes sense.
All in all, iFixit gave the Surface Studio a 5/10 for repairability. The base was apparently quite easy to open, meaning hard drive issues can be resolved with a simple replacement. Though the display is difficult to get behind, problems with the display assembly can be resolved via the base of the PC.
Other than the soldering, another negative is the components Microsoft has embedded in the display. Things like buttons, front sensors and speakers will all be a struggle to replace if they fail from wear and tear.
In essence, it's probably a good thing Microsoft has created a dedicated support line. The Surface Studio isn't an easy device to repair, and internal customer support agents are more likely to know specifics. No doubt many customers will prefer to send their PC for repair rather go through the complex teardown process.