Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ Review Part III: The Upgrades Cannot Justify the Price中文

2023-03-28 09:22:57 | Source:song1118FairReviews | Writer:song1118
This is the third or last part of "Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ Review", with more than 6,000 words and 60 pictures.

中译英:王新/Chinese to English: Xin Wang


This is the third or last part of "Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ Review", with more than 6,000 words and 60 pictures.

The Chinese version was first published on FairReviews’ Chinese website (https://www.song1118.com). 

The whole review runs to more than 17,500 words and nearly 200 pictures, which has been divided into the following parts:


Part I: Let Me Take on the Task Now That Foreign Reviewers Cannot Do It!

Review: Let me take on the task now that foreign reviewers cannot do it!

Purchase: It is really a good deal from goofish.com with fast delivery!

Unboxing: I enjoy unpacking the nicely boxed laptop so much!

Appearance: "Zero Gravity" hinge is inherited from its two predecessors.

Accessories: They are with good workmanship yet Dial is absent regretfully.

Booting: The operating system will be left until later.

Guess: How will it fare in the coming comprehensive tests?

Part II: Coming from Thoughtful Design, It Owns Both Merits and Faults.

Entire laptop: It owns the impressive DNA of Surface family though without big upgrades.

System: Needless to say indeed as it is Microsoft’s own product with proven competence.

Display: It is pretty good and accurate still with some weaknesses inevitably.

Keyboard and mouse: They are fashionable and exquisite yet a little bit uncomfortable.

Dial: It possesses advanced concept yet with many limits as well as a high price.

CPU: Its performance is not good enough fortunately it’s able to maintain stability. 

GPU: It can be counted as a fairly good choice with reasonable performance.

Memory: The fully soldered low-power RAM is not replaceable or upgradable.

Storage: The only regret lies in the single storage drive and it’s better to add a SSD slot.

Overall performance: It fares better than its peers and deserves to be in the leading group.

Part III: The upgrades cannot justify the price!

Stress Test: The performance of GPU is restrained due to high operating temperature.

Temperature: A question mark hangs over the hot CPU and GPU inside a warm case.

Disassembly: It is packed with compact internals yet a relatively weak cooling system.

Expansion: It is with optimized allocation of graphics cards and powerful Thunderbolt 4.

Others: Non-Windows operating system GUIs generate nothing but a fuzzy screen.

Conclusion: How could you be so expensive with such limited upgrades?

Imagination: If the next generation Surface Studio were to be released in 2025...


Now let’s get started with the last part of the review.

Stress Test: The performance of GPU is restrained due to high operating temperature.

3DMark Stress Test

Since the beginning of the testing, this SFS2+ has been benchmarked with 3DMark Stress Test for many times, yet it failed all the way. 


It can be seen when the graphics card was under long-running heavy load, the scores of this SFS2+ in the 20 loops presented obvious fluctuations, that is to say, it’s not able to maintain a consistent performance.

Is it triggered by unstable GPU or CPU, or both, or something else?

In previous CPU performance test, Cinebench R15 Multi Loop benchmark also ran multiple times, which verified the CPU had a relatively stable performance under long-running heavy load. Thus, it seems the problem did not arise out of the CPU. 

To find out whether this is really the case, let’s continue with the tests and analysis.

In the following tests, the CPU and GPU of this SFS2+ were stressed individually or simultaneously with Stress Test software. The data was recorded by HWiNFO64 and analyzed by Generic Log Viewer. The entire power consumption (minus the display) was detected by an external power meter. At a room temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius, the SFS2+ was tested after the BIOS had been updated to the latest version 15.2.143.

AIDA64 Stress FPU Test

Using the Stress FPU subtest in AIDA64 System Stability Test, I stress tested the CPU of this SFS2+ for more than 60 minutes. Below is a screenshot of the test:


Then, the data recorded by HWiNFO64 was analyzed by Generic Log Viewer as shown in the picture below.


The peak temperature of CPU Package was 100 degrees Celsius, the valley value 47 degrees Celsius (it was in idle state in the first 10 seconds, similarly hereinafter), and the average value was 93.61 degrees Celsius. When the test has run for nearly 27 minutes, the CPU Package temperature significantly dropped close to 90 degrees Celsius, and remained so until the end.

The GPU temperature was between 51.5 and 66.8 degrees Celsius with the average value at 63.95 degrees Celsius. It shouldn’t go unheeded that the graphics card hit such a high temperature under low workload.

The highest CPU Package Power was 61.28W while the lowest 5.295W (it was in idle state in the first 10 seconds, similarly hereinafter), with the average value hitting 41.21W. Likewise, towards the 27th minute, CPU Package Power fell to around 40W and maintained this level afterward.

The CPU PL1 remained constant at 55W throughout the test.

The GPU Power fluctuated between 24.91 and 30.37W, averaging 26.45W, which was obviously higher than other models.

The CPU Core Clocks-avg peaked at 5,667MHz from the rock-bottom of 1,248MHz and averaged 3,398MHz. Similarly, it slid from 3,500MHz to 3,350MHz towards the 27th minute, and fluctuated slightly thereafter.

The GPU Clock stayed 1,485MHz all the way.

FurMark GPU Stress Test

Applying FurMark GPU Stress Test, I carried out a continuous stress test for no less than 60 minutes. Below is the screenshot of the test:


Below is Generic Log Viewer’s analysis of the data recorded by HWiNFO64:


It can be seen:

The highest GPU Temperature was 81.5 degrees Celsius and the average value was 74.79 degrees Celsius;

The GPU Power peaked at 106.2W with an average value of 82.29W;

The GPU Clock averaged 1,211MHz.

In fact, the above peak and average values can be skipped since the green GPU data curves alone have clearly demonstrated:

During the entire 60 minutes stress test, only in the early two minutes or so and three times (nearly 1 minute each time) in the middle phase, power consumption of the RTX 3060lp in this SFS2+ reached and maintained at about 106W, at the same time the temperature climbed to 81 degrees Celsius, clock frequency approaching 1500MHz, which stayed at 82W, 75 degrees Celsius and 1250MHz respectively the rest of the time.

This indicated that under long-running high load, the performance of the GPU in this SFS2+ was basically restrained except for the initial two minutes and the three times in the middle stage when it managed to stretch itself for around a minute.

And this, I reckon, should be the reason why the SFS2+ was unable to reach Frame Rate Stability of 97% and failed the 3DMark Stress Test all the way.

AIDA64 Stress FPU+ FurMark GPU Stress Test

The CPU and the GPU were stress tested simultaneously by AIDA64 Stress FPU and FurMark GPU Stress Test for no less than 60 minutes solid. Below is the screenshot of the test:


The recorded data was analyzed by Generic Log Viewer as shown below:


This is the first time since I started testing PCs that I have seen such an analysis that defies simple description.

To provide a clear and concise interpretation, I cannot but turn to the data generated from the test.

First of all, let’s focus on the average values of the key data.

Temperature: CPU/GPU=88.28/75.73 degree Celsius

Power: CPU/GPU=30.12/62.58W

Clock: CPU/GPU=2,858/724.4MHz

Next, let’s see how the GPU and the CPU took turns to take the stage:

When the GPU Power peaked at 105W, the GPU temperature began to climb all the way to the highest point. Subsequently, as the GPU Power plummeted to less than 60W instantly, the GPU temperature dropped gradually.

With the sharp fall of the GPU Power, the CPU Package power started to rise from 30W. When it reached to just above 40W, the CPU Package temperature had crept up to above 90 degree Celsius from 86 degree Celsius, where it stopped mounting abruptly and began to fall.

During the test, the PL1 acted as a good dancing companion of the CPU Package power, so to speak. Its initial value was 55W, then plunged and stayed at 30W afterward except for the four times when it hit 50W momentarily.

Therefore, the fact is:

1. Under dual stress, both the CPU and the GPU of this SFS2+ were able to maintain a total power consumption of 135W (30W+105W) during the initial 2 minutes of the test.

2. Subsequently, the CPU and the GPU operated with a total power consumption of 93W (30W+63W) and the performance of the GPU was greatly restrained.

3. As regards those rare moments when the CPU Package power reached above 40W and the GPU Power rose to 105W, they were surely not a mirage. Yet they lasted for merely 30 seconds or so, like a few flashes of lightning in the darkened dream. Bright as they might be, they cannot light up the whole dream; instead, they can only hurt the eyes and the feelings of the users...

Consider also the GPU’s performance in the FurMark GPU Stress Test, we may reasonably draw the conclusion:

When the CPU and the GPU of this SFS2+ were both under long-running high load, the performance of the GPU would be restrained to a great extent and unable to maintain stability. Once in a while, it managed a sudden burst lasting for more than 20 seconds within the early 40 minutes. Afterward, it was trapped in the darkened dream with a power consumption slightly above 60W—roughly equivalent to half of the specified 115W TGP.

In terms of the CPU of this FS2+, it fared stably as it did in the previous Cinebench R15 Multi Loop test. Its performance was not restrained much. The power consumption in single stress test was a little more than 41W while it was slightly above 30W in dual stress test, which was close to the TDP Core i7-11370H claimed.

Why was the performance of the GPU in this SFS2+ restrained heavily under long-running high load?

Was it caused by poor cooling system?

Or, was it owing to insufficient power supply?

Let’s start with the temperature to find out if there is any problem with the cooling system.

Temperature: A question mark hangs over the hot CPU and GPU inside a warm case.

Internal Temperature:

The temperatures of the CPU and the GPU in this SFS2+ under long-running high load have been presented in the preceding charts, and here they have been put into a table which is more clear and concise:


The CPU Temperature peaked at 100 degree Celsius which was also the threshold value, and averaged at around 90 degree Celsius.

The GPU Temperature topped out at 86.1 degree Celsius which was close to the threshold of 87 degree Celsius, with the average value at about 75 degree Celsius.

Both the CPU Temperature and the GPU Temperature hovered between 47 and 55.7 degree Celsius even when they were in a cool room (with an ambient temperature of  around 15 degree Celsius) and the SFS2+ was in the idle state. This suggested it was rather hot inside the case—much like a senior car mechanic’s description of my car: “You’ve got an overheating American car...”

External Temperature:

When the SFS2+ was operating under long-running high load, the external temperatures were measured.

AIDA64 Stress FPU and FurMark GPU Stress Test had run for two hours continuously at an ambient temperature of around 15 degree Celsius, and the external temperatures were measured. Below are the results:

Thermal image taken at the front:

The front of the screen measured around 22 degrees Celsius.

The upper shell of the base stayed below 40 degrees Celsius.

However, there was an air vent on the right side of the base, resulting in a higher temperature of 42.5 degrees Celsius on the surface of the desk near the air vent.


Thermal image taken at the back:

The upper shell of the base remained below 40 degrees Celsius.

The surface of the desk near the air vent on the right side of the base (the left side in this picture) hit 49.8 degrees Celsius (this might result from different viewing angles and directions).

The surface of the desk near the air vent on the left side of the rear of the base (the right side in this picture) reached 47.1 degrees Celsius. 


Thermal image taken at the back of the base:

The shell of the back of the base remained cooler at no higher than 30 degrees Celsius.

The air vent on the back of the base reached 50.9 degrees Celsius.


Thermal image taken at the back of the screen:

The back of the screen measured about 22 degrees Celsius, almost the same as the front side.


Thermal image taken on the right side of the base:

The shell on the right side of the base manged to keep the temperature below 40 degrees Celsius.

Yet the air vent on the right side of the base measured 55.6 degrees Celsius.


Thermal image taken from above:

The hottest spot on the upper shell of the base was the bottom left corner, hitting 39.8 degree Celsius.

The two air vents on the right side and the back of the base gave rise to two marked hot locations on the surface of the desk.


In terms of the underside of the base of this SFS2+, I didn’t take temperature measurements. In view of the design of the ventilation system as well as the fact that there was no airflow path on the bottom of the base and that hot air usually rises up as per physical laws, I deduced that the temperature underneath the base would be more or less the same with that of the upper shell, that is, below 40 degree Celsius.

Besides, both the front and back of the screen measured around 22 degree Celsius, and the Zero Gravity Hinge also stayed cool, which indicated the SFS2+ did not transfer heat from the base to the screen through hinge to dissipate heat by virtue of the large area at the back of the screen.

To sum up:

1. The two air vents both measured above 50 degree Celsius.

2. The shell of the base remained below 40 degree Celsius.

It seems we cannot judge whether the SFS2+ has a good cooling system based solely upon the above data. 

What if the temperature data of the CPU and GPU generated from the preceding tests is added here?

Could these jointly form convincing evidence?

Indeed I think we should check the internal structure of the SFS2+ before drawing a conclusion.

So I’m going to disassemble this SFS2+.

Disassembly: It is packed with compact internals yet a relatively weak cooling system.

I want to make it clear, first of all, that I will try to leave the display and the heat sink as is in the process.

The disassembly starts from the base part. I tried placing the SFS2+ in various angles and find the most convenient and safer placement for disassembly is to have it lie flat with its screen facing the desk as shown below.

There is a rubber foot in each corner of the bottom of the base.


The four rubber feet are bonded to the base with double sided tape. I take them off the bottom carefully. Then, what come into view are four flat head Phillips screws securing the bottom lid of the base. 


Remove the four screws, we can see they come in two lengths, so it’s easy to identify where they should stay, and if any of them is put in the wrong location in later re-assembly, I will be aware of that immediately .


As I remove the bottom lid of the base, I’m greeted with the full view of its internals. 


Viewing from this angle, we can see there are a small cooling fan and a bigger one on the left side. In the bottom right corner, sits a L-shape power supply component made by Liteon. 


It is simply called Microsoft Switching Power Supply, whose model number is PA-3271-06M1.


This built-in power supply is not with a single output like laptops. Instead, it has dual outputs, one of which comes in 12V-19.6A with the max power of 235.2W theoretically while the other 33V-1.06A with the max power of 34.98W as stated in the specs of the power supply—Maximum DC output power shall not exceed 35W.

Actually, the SFS2+ has been equipped with laptop versions of CPU, GPU, RAM and Storage, which is to say, it will turn into a laptop essentially if it switches to a built-in laptop primary battery. Yet the SFS2+’s display is not applicable to most of the laptops, besides there are two DC outputs, from which I infer:

The DC12V*19.6A=235.2W output is to serve the system unit of SFS2+;

The DC33V*1.06A=34.98W output is designed for the display solely.

Let’s continue with the disassembly. Remove the five screws holding the two cooling fans in place. With the fans taken off, the heat pipes and heat sinks are now exposed.

Pleased be noted the cables connecting the fans with the motherboard are very thin and the cable connector is, as yet, not in view. It is inadvisable to disconnect the fans from the motherboard by force since that might damage the cables or cable connectors.


Then, remove another seven screws and loosen a cable to detach the frame of the base.


This is an alloy frame with fine workmanship, and the grids running all around function as airflow paths.

There are also a few pieces of sponge playing the role of seals or cushions inside the edges. At the top left of the frame sits a black component which is the built-in speaker module.


The bottom of the frame is marked with “20220604-001”. If this represents the date when the mold was fixed, this suggests the design of SFS2+ was finished just four months before the official launch.


With two screws undone, the speaker module can be detached from the frame. There are a pair of speakers, sitting on the left and the right respectively, with a roomy chamber to enable the SFS2+ to produce adequate volume with good audio quality.


With the frame removed, we can have a better view of the internal components of the SFS2+.

Judging from the external shape, the two small heat pipes on the upper left are to dissipate heat from CPU, and the air outlet is located on upper right—the back of the base when SFS2+ is placed upright.

And the two big heat pipes on the lower left serve GPU, and the air outlet is located on lower left—the right side of the base when SFS2+ is placed normally.

These two sets of heat pipes share a bigger heat pipe sitting between them.


There is a rectangle part extending from the right side of the CPU heat sink module, on the right of which is the black sealed CR2032 back-up battery.

Based on the position and the shape, I gather M.2 2280 SSD has been installed under this rectangle part.


The left part of the Zero-Gravity Hinge in the upper right corner of the picture below (equivalent to the left rear corner when the base is placed normally) is supported by two compression springs. 


On the left of this Zero-Gravity Hinge sits a black ribbon cable which connects the motherboard with the webcam of the display, or the ambient light sensor, or the microphone array or the wireless antenna, running through the hollow supporting arm of the hinge.

In addition, we can also see a small panel on the back of the base where the three Thunderbolt 4 interfaces lie, which is connected to the motherboard with two cable connectors. 


Similarly, the right part of the Zero-Gravity Hinge in the upper left corner of the picture below (equivalent to the right rear corner when the base is placed normally) is backed by two strong springs. 


Below this Zero-Gravity Hinge stands the connector connecting the screen cable and the motherboard, with the cable running through the hollow supporting bar of the hinge.


Below is a feature on graphics card part, with the TGP of 115W, RTX 3060lp is cooled by merely two heat pipes and a simple heat sink. No wonder the GPU power of this SFS2+ has been restrained at around 60W under long-running heavy load.


The small CPU cooling fan and the bigger GPU fan are both Brushless DC fans made by Delta, with a power of DC12V*0.50A=6W.


With the frame of the base removed, the two cable connectors connecting the cooling fans and the motherboard can be safely taken off now.

Above them, there is another cable connector to connect the motherboard with the speakers fixed in the framework. 

The thick multi-color cables at the lowest part connect the power supply unit to the motherboard.


Connected to the external electrical socket, the input power cable enters SFS2+’s base at the top (equivalent to the back side of the base when the SFS2+ is placed normally), bypasses the CPU cooling module and gets into the power supply along the hinge at the right side.

It can be seen, on the motherboard of the SFS2+, the upper left and right corners are occupied by the two hinges exclusively, the L-shaped bottom right corner can only be employed by the power supply, and the ports are all deployed at the top (equivalent to the back side of the base in normal placement), all of which suggest the motherboard of the SFS2+ is inapplicable to any other existing Surface PC. Thus, the rumor that the reason for SFS2+’s adoption of an 11th generation CPU is to free from inventory of motherboards of Surface laptops simply cannot hold water.


As of now, we have been clear about the following four points:

1. The SFS2+ is with a peak output power of 270W theoretically, with the screen using 35W and the other 235W being applied by the system unit.

2. The inadequate GPU cooling is the main reason the GPU power is restrained at around 63W under long-running heavy load.

3. The shape of the motherboard and the layout of the components prove that this motherboard is designed for SFS2+ solely and cannot be used by other Surface laptops.

4. The motherboard of SFS2+, built with quality materials, features compact and neat layout.


Now that the above has been confirmed, there is little point in further disassembly.

In addition, it seems the rectangle part covering the M.2 2280 SSD is integrated with the CPU cooling. I don't want to dismantle neither the silicone grease coated part nor the screen panel, so the disassembly of SFS2+ ends here.


The above disassembly also verified that if the average users want to upgrade, replace or expand the internal hardware of the SFS2+, the only thing they can do is to change the hard drive to improve performance and increase capacity.

Apart from that, they can only turn to external interfaces for expansion.

Expansion: It is with optimized allocation of graphics cards and powerful Thunderbolt 4.

Expansion of display

As I mentioned in last part, the SFS2+ is not in the usual mixed graphics cards state but a rare discrete graphics card state as shown in the NVIDIA control panel. 

Theoretically speculate, the SFS2+ must be with unique MUX or special hybrid graphics card settings.


To get to the bottom of it, I set about the first expansion test: connect the SFS2+ with multiple displays to figure out how the RTX 3060lp discrete graphics card and the Iris Xe integrated graphics card are allocated. 

Compared with its predecessor, SFS2+ has dropped the SD card reader and two USB-A ports. Instead, it has two USB-A ports, one RJ45 Ethernet port, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, and one 3.5 mm headphone jack.


Therefore, the SFS2+ can be connected with three external displays simultaneously.

In this aspect, the SFS2+ has a huge leap over its two predecessors.

And it is definitely the envy of most of the users of both predecessors.


With limited space in my study and merely two displays available, the SFS2+ is just connected to two external displays as shown in the picture below. Indeed, the 43-inch DELL P4316Q on the left can display images from up to four different sources, which is to say, the SFS2+ is virtually connected with three external displays, allowing a total of four screens—the SFS2+ screen and three external screens—to be displayed all at once.

As shown below, the DELL P4316Q has the PIP function enabled and acts as both the 3rd and the 4th displays of the SFS2+ at the same time.


Based on my tests, theoretical verification and official parameters, I’m deeply convinced that the SFS2+ can simultaneously achieve a combined output of 38,383,200 pixels, including 4500x3000@60Hz of its own and three 3840x2160@60Hz of the external displays.


Then, let’s go back to the graphics cards of the SFS2+ to find out how they serve these four displays simultaneously.

And it turns out the SFS2+’s own display use the RTX 3060 discrete graphics card exclusively while all of the three external displays are handled by the Iris Xe integrated graphics card.


Therefore, the foregoing strange state of mixed graphics cards lingering in my minds is self-explanatory now: the SFS2+ does not employ complicated MUX to switch between the two graphics cards; instead, it has its own display apply the discrete graphics card alone, leaving external displays in the charge of the integrated graphics card. Simple as it seems to be, it does work, as I see it.

It has avoided the increase of cost to deploy a complex MUX circuit.

It has averted the problem resulting from MUX that system programs may not make a timely response.

It has ensured the stable graphics performance of SFS2+’s own 4500x3000 high-resolution display.

It has made full use of the idle integrated graphics card to achieve graphics expansion.

It has killed "four" birds with one stone so to speak, and can be counted as a model design taking into consideration cost, performance, quality and functionality.

Thunderbolt Expansion

The three Thunderbolt 4 ports of the SFS2+ support not only Display output but also USB-C data transfer and Thunderbolt devices connection.

To accelerate the test, I have decided to connect the five external ports to three Thunderbolt 3 and two USB-A devices respectively all at once.


The three Thunderbolt 3 devices are:

DELL TB-16 Thunderbolt 3 Dock;

CY TB-023 Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD Enclosure;

GIGABYTE Aorus RTX 2070 Gaming Box Graphics Dock.

The above three Thunderbolt 3 devices along with the two USB-A devices all fared normally based on my test.


Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 support Daisy Chain Topology, connecting multiple Thunderbolt devices in a daisy chain network—data and video signals can flow from the computer and down the daisy chain into five additional devices on one connection. The Thunderbolt 4 technology possesses a new feature, allowing a docking station to have up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports for the users to connect multiple Thunderbolt 4 devices into a single hub or dock. 

The three Thunderbolt 4 ports enable SFS2+ to connect lots of Thunderbolt 4 devices simultaneously the total quantity of which will be, theoretically speaking, 3+3*4+3*4*4...—a total of five tiers in the chain, and here you are invited to calculate the total number.


With all the three Thunderbolt 4 ports used, this SFS2+’s is with a distinctive layout of bus.

The sole built-in M.2 SSD and the three Thunderbolt 4 devices are connected to the CPU directly—PCIe 4.0x16 totally.

Yet the discrete graphics card RTX 3060lp is connected with the PCH. Thus, the reason why the bus interface of RTX 3060lp is PCIe 3.0 x 4 (as found in the GPU performance section of last part) goes without saying.


In conclusion, the SFS2+ has gained incredible expansion capability from the three Thunderbolt 4 ports, though the only way to achieve internal upgrade is to replace hard drive which is all but impossible for the average users.

If I’m deeply attracted to the 4500x3000 resolution display and want to employ the SFS2+ as my workhorse regardless of the i7-11370H CPU, I will have to seek support from Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect multiple Thunderbolt NVMe SSDs. 

Others: Non-Windows operating system GUIs generate nothing but a fuzzy screen.

This section is mainly about my attempts to install non-Windows operating systems in the SFS2+. It seems to me that the sole rival of Microsoft Surface Studio series is Apple iMac, the imagined enemy. I have always approved of the optimization and stability of Apple's integrated hardware and software, yet I also despise the closed autocracy of this integration—these are perhaps two irreconcilable sides of the same coin, and such philosophical issues should not be delved into in a digital product review.

Thus the attempt to install Mac OS operating system in this SFS2+ has been dropped.

Likewise, the plan to install Windows Longhorn has also been abandoned since I could not spend too much time on this given that the PCs to be tested have stacked up.

At last, I only tried installing two versions of Linux operating systems.

Please be noted non-Windows operating systems could not be installed in the SFS2+ following the normal procedure, otherwise a message will pop up, stating that it couldn’t find a bootable operating system.


We need go to “Surface UEFI” settings interface, click “Security”, and select “None” in the Secure Boot Configuration pop-up window to give up security so as to boot with another operating system that does not have a Microsoft security certificate.


With the above settings finished, restart the SFS2, and the white Unlock marker appears on a red background at the top of the screen still with the Microsoft Windows marker sitting in the centre.


The first operating system I’m attempting to install is Kali highly recommended by one of my online friends. I’m guided and come to the installation interface smoothly, but the mouse has difficulty to operate on the 4500x3000 resolution display as there is no proper driver to well serve it yet. Fortunately, the SFS2+ supports touchscreen and the Surface digital pen functions normally.


With the latest kali-linux-everything ISO downloaded, the installation gets started offline. It goes swimmingly and is completed soon. Restart the SFS2+, and I’m greeted with a boot menu.


Click the “Kali GNU/Linux” option, what comes into view is nothing but a fuzzy screen, which, without doubt, arises from the absence of a suitable graphics driver for SFS2+.

Is it because Linux does not have competent drivers for RTX 3060lp?

Or, is it caused by the mixed graphics cards design of SFS2+ whose own display is served by the discrete graphics card solely?  


In non-GUI, the Linux operates normally yet the command-line interface in the 4500x3000 resolution display is...


Therefore, I switch to SUSE Linux which has been in favor with me all the way. I have picked SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from the official site of SUSE, which should be a perfect match for SFS2+ in my view. With download completed, I get two ISO files, one of which is 12.1GB and the other 24.7GB.

I say to myself: with such a big package incorporating diverse drivers, this SUSE Linux must be competent to cope with the special dual graphics cards of SFS2+.



However, the SUSE installation interface is instantly followed by a pop-up message as shown in the picture below:


The green chameleon marker appears on the screen of SFS2+ when the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop installation is completed. I take a photo of the screen right away, keeping as a memento.


Then, once I get to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop GUI, I’m welcomed with a fuzzy screen again...


As I mentioned, my time is limited, so I could not but put an end to my attempt to install other operating systems.

Conclusion: How could you be so expensive with such limited upgrades?

Up to now, I have finished the set tests of this SFS2+.

As for the time-consuming process of installing 3A games and playing a trial, this is usually outside the scope of my tests, unless I receive a gaming product to test when I have no choice but to do so.

Yet so far, there has already been 5,400 words in the text along with more than 60 pictures so I won’t let them continue spilling out like the Yellow River1 running unceasingly.

(Note:The Yellow River is the second longest river in China (after the Yangtze River), and fifth longest in the world, with a length of 3,395 miles (5,464 kilometers) across nine provinces in the country. It is often called the “cradle of Chinese civilization”, or the "mother river of China".)

I would now like to summarize the month’s testing of this SFS2+, during which there are up to 40 days of winter vacations and Chinese New Year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it is less than 40 hours that this SFS2+ was powered up to perform various tests and install Linux operating systems.


As usual, first of all, let me give my opinion of Surface Studio 2+ in one sentence:

Surface Studio 2+ is currently the sole model with a 28-inch 4500x3000 resolution display supported by Zero-Gravity Hinge, better satisfying the needs of graphic artists, yet also an up-to-date niche product with restrained performance and high price.

Then comes the detailed explanation as below:

1. currently the sole/28-inch 4500x3000 resolution display/Zero-Gravity Hinge/up-to-date niche product: Surface Studio 1 and 2 apart, is there any other model possessing these features?

2. better satisfy the needs of graphic artists: It has a 4500x3000 ultra-high resolution display backed by Zero-Gravity Hinge, can transform from Desktop Mode to Studio Mode (or drafting-board mode) conveniently, also with superb Color Accuracy and fairly good Gamut, multi-touch haptic support, as well as Surface Pen and Surface Dial. Is there any graphic artist who does not need these configurations or functions at all?

3. restrained performance and high price: The CPU has a stable yet weak performance, the GPU is able to have a sudden burst yet its power is restrained to slightly above 60W  under long-running high load, the 32GB RAM is reasonable yet not upgradable, and there is only one 1TB SSD slot, still the selling price of SFS2+ is more than RMB30,000. If we deny the restrained performance and the high price of the SFS2+, maybe even Bill Gates, the former richest person in the world, cannot bring himself to agree with us. 

Here I would like to invite you to judge whether the above points are justified.

At last, let me stress my opinion:

The very pillar of existing Surface Studio series products is the 28-inch 4500x3000 resolution touch screen as well as the Zero Gravity Hinge design, and the price of SFS2+ is set at RMB32,000, based on which I gather the base is worth RMB3,000 while the display and the hinge RMB28,500, with the rest (RMB500) covering the mouse, keyboard and box.

Imagination: If the next generation Surface Studio were to be released in 2025...

Please be noted this is just imagination.

If Microsoft launched Surface Studio 3 in 2025, which were still with 4500x3000 ultra-high resolution display supported by Zero-Gravity Hinge, yet powered by 15th generation Intel Core HX mobile processor and 24GB RTX 5100 Ada Generation pro laptop graphics card, equipped with 128GB 7200MHz soldered RAM and two 4TB PCIe 5.0 x 4 M.2 2280 SSD...what should I do? After all, I estimate the Surface Studio 3 with such an outstanding configuration would be priced at more than RMB100,000, much more expensive than ASUS ProArt StudioBook One W590G which cost me RMB70,000 in 2020. 


I know the 2025 model Surface Studio 3 with the above exceptional configuration may just be a castle in the air. Yet as long as it could add a port for video input (preferably Thunderbolt or USB-C port), I would by all means buy one and use it as an external display of a laptop; as for the base, it could play the role of a back-up PC..

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