Surface Book iFixit Teardown Shows Microsoft’s Next Big Thing Is Practically Unrepairable


Even the handiest man and woman could face a serious challenge in trying to repair Microsoft's new laplet, the Surface Book. The fixers and deconstructors at iFixit tore down the Surface Book and scored the laptop tablet hybrid a 1 out of 10 in terms of user serviceability.

Separating the display, which contains the brains, from the keyboard is simple by design. But that's where the simplicity drops off dramatically.

After having torn down the Surface Pro 4, there was a degree of familiarity with the slightly larger one of the Surface Book. Still, the iFixit team says experience didn't make accessing the display's guts a less "nerve-wracking" ordeal.

"The Surface line has come a long way, but we'd love to see an upgrade to their opening procedure," the team stated. "Maybe something that doesn't threaten to send glass shards flying at the slightest misstep..."

With the glass lifted, there were two ribbon cables serving as the umbilical cord between the display and the motherboard. With a steady hand and some tweezers, the cables can be disengaged.

From there, the team had no trouble removing the camera bar. But they also found that all of the Surface Book's peripherals are hardwired to the motherboard. And the hardwiring scheme didn't end there.

The other sensors were secured by PCB bars. Those include the microphone, infrared emitter, infrared camera, ambient light sensor, privacy indicator LED and chat camera. Each of these sensors could be removed, but the glue and solder took this teardown out of the realm of user serviceability.

From there, the team had to work through a mess of cables and tape on the way to the motherboard.

Then finally, "finagling frees the speaker connectors, allowing us to lift and remove the nightmare of a motherboard assembly," iFixit noted. "This is a motherboard only a mother could love."

The key components of the motherboard are built in, of course. That includes the Intel Core i5-6300U CPU, GPU, 16 GB of Samsung RAM, the Realtek ALC3269 audio engine, the Intersil voltage regulator and others.

From the teardown, it can be seen that because most of the Surface Book's components are fused, glued or soldered together, it would take a lot of work just to replace even the simplest of parts — making the laplet practically unrepairable.

So the moral of this story is: get a warranty to secure the Surface Book with sure hands, firm arms and a solid chest.

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