As part of the now annual Microsoft Surface event, Panos Panay announced the next member of the Surface family, the Surface Studio. The Studio is ultimately a prosumer all-in-one device promising more functionality and versatility than any other desktop all-in-one PC by allowing the device to also turn a desk into a studio.

Front and center in what makes the Studio impressive is the size of the display: a 28-inch thin-bezel LCD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, coming in at a 4500x3000 resolution and 192 pixels per inch. By contrast to 4K, this is 13.5 million pixels compared to 8.3 million in UHD, and Microsoft is promoting True Scale with the studio such that two A4 pieces of paper can be rendered side by side at full resolution and at a higher DPI than most standard office printers. The display is 12.5mm thin, with Microsoft redesigning the LCD stack to ensure a slim profile.

The display connects to the base via a specialist hinge, featuring 80 machined parts on each side for what Microsoft calls a ‘Zero Gravity Hinge’. This allows the display to be moved seamlessly and for any plausible angle, as well as taking on extra weight in studio mode. The display has two buttons on the right-hand side for power and volume. On the top of the display is the Windows Hello-enabled camera, with a 5.0 MP element capable of 1080p video (we assume 30 FPS). The Studio supports the Surface Pen, which can attach to the side of the display.

For color reproduction, Microsoft is advertising the display as supporting both DCI-P3 and sRGB with a simple toggle on the Windows sidebar to switch between the two. While Microsoft says that the displays are calibrated for both, this has fundamental issues with color reproduction.

In the base is a set of arguably last-generation specifications: 6th generation (Skylake) Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processor options (probably 65W desktop parts?) paired with up to 32GB of DDR4 memory (probably DDR4-2133). This comes with a NVIDIA GTX 965M 2GB for two of the three options, and a GTX 980M 4GB on the high-end model. Connectivity comes via USB 3.0, rather than USB 3.1/Thunderbolt. Storage is labeled as ‘1TB or 2TB Rapid Hybrid Drive’ options, which in the presentation looked like an M.2 drive but as yet it has been unstated if this is SATA or PCIe (or if a Rapid Hybrid Drive actually means an SSHD).

Microsoft Surface Studio
CPU Intel Core i5
Intel Core i7
Intel Core i7
GTX 965M 2GB
GTX 980M 4GB
Storage 1TB 1TB 2TB
'Rapid Storage Drive' (SATA? PCIe? SSHD?)
Display 28-inch 4500x3000 LCD Display
12.5mm thin
10-point MultiTouch
Magnetic Pen Support
Connectivity 802.11ac WiFi (Intel AC 8260?)
Gigabit Ethernet
Xbox Wireless
IO 4 x USB 3.0
Full-Size SD card reader (SDXC)
Mini DisplayPort
3.5mm Headset
Camera 5MP Front Facing
Windows Hello
1080p Recording
OS Windows 10 Pro
30-day Office Trial
Dimensions Display: 637.35 x 438.90 x 12.50 mm
Base: 250.00 x 200.00 x 32.2 mm
Weight: 9.56 kg / 21 lbs
Price $2999 $3499 $4199

Connectivity comes via four USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD card reader, a mini DisplayPort output and a 3.5mm headset jack. WiFi is provided by an 802.11ac unit, although Microsoft does not say which one (I’d hazard a guess and say Intel’s AC8260 2x2 solution). The unit also supports Xbox Wireless, allowing for Xbox controllers to also be connected for gaming.

The whole unit weighs in at 21 lbs (9.5 kg), and Microsoft has stated that it will be available only in limited quantities during Q4, with the official release date as 15th December. Current configurations available will be:

$2999 : Intel Core i5 (Skylake), 8 GB DDR4, 1TB, GTX 965M 2GB
$3499 : Intel Core i7 (Skylake), 16 GB DDR4, 1TB, GTX 965M 2GB
$4199 : Intel Core i7 (Skylake), 32 GB DDR4, 2TB, GTX 980M 4GB

Windows 10 Pro is included with a 30-day Office trial.

Edit: Originally this piece was posted with the incorrect Intel Generation code name in the title. It should read 'Skylake', not 'Haswell'. The piece has been edited to clarify.

Source: Microsoft

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  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    AIOs have never been a good value.

    If you want a box of pretty specs, then you know where to find it.
  • stepz - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    Not everything needs to be all things to all people. It's obviously not a gaming machine. The amount of people who can justify the cost of the display and who want it to double as a gaming machine is not exactly huge.
  • lefty2 - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    I'm guessing it's going to be pretty noisy with a 980M in that tiny chasis
  • Toss3 - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    I get that this is something really special and unique, but why oh why did they go with these kinds of specs? 4 Gb of VRAM is never going to be enough for people wanting to edit 4k movies on this thing, and why didn't they pick one of the never pascal-based GPUs? And why is 8Gb of ram even acceptable for something marketed towards creative professionals, not to mention the lowly 2Gb of video memory for the base and mid-tier models?
  • p1esk - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Well, I'm not a content creator, but I still want to have this machine as my everyday desktop, just because of the screen. I wish they release a monitor like that one day.
  • cbf - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Are the pen and the hockey puck (aka "Surface Dial") included in those prices?

    You guys need to find a picture of the hockey puck.
  • ymcpa - Monday, October 31, 2016 - link

    Yes they are. It also includes the new keyboard they announced. They will be selling the hockey puck as a separate accessory as well for use with other computers. You won't be able to place it on the screen to access the radial menu, but the other features they showed will work with other computers.
  • fanofanand - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    I thought Nvidia eliminated their "M" branding on mobile GPUs? Does this mean it's a 2015 part? I agree with the previous poster, this is the most "apple-like" move they have made. So Apple's profits have started to slide, 3 quarters in a row of reduced revenue, yet every other company continues to try and be like Apple. Google Pixel, Microsoft surface all-in-one, etc. So who will pick up the mantle of making hardware for the "everyman" now?
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Yes, the 980m is actually from late 2014. It would probably be replaced by the laptop 1070.
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    I think that Surface Studio should have been just a Surface Display ... A 28" monitor with touch/pen input that connects to any PC. Instead, it's just a ridiculously over-priced all-in-one.

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