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Video Overview

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Microsoft Surface Go, use our service manual.

  1. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown, Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 1, image 1 of 2 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown, Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 1, image 2 of 2
    • As always, our teardown begins with a cursory in-spec-tion:

    • 10” IPS multi-touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1800 × 1200 resolution (217 ppi)

    • Dual-core 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 615

    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB optional)

    • 64 GB eMMC storage (128 GB NVMe SSD optional), with additional storage via microSDXC

    • 8 MP primary camera with 1080p video; 5 MP / 1080p selfie camera

  2. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 2, image 1 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 2, image 2 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 2, image 3 of 3
    • Compared to the Pro, the Go looks to have smoother curves, rounder edges, and a vaguely more iPad-y aesthetic.

    • The Surface Go doesn't believe in the fewer-ports-is-more-ports trend. This tablet packs a USB-C port, headphone jack, a couple proprietary connectors, and an SD card reader.

    • Hunting for that SD port, we accidentally woke the sleeping Go—presumably a magnetometer notices when the magnet-toting kickstand moves.

    • Peeking between the slightly redesigned hinges, we spy FCC info, the model number (1824), and storage and memory specifications.

  3. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 3, image 1 of 2 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 3, image 2 of 2
    • There's more than one way to teardown. Our way takes a while, so our friends at Creative Electron give us the X-ray version.

    • Preliminary intel: two battery cells, lots of circuit board—and no visible heat pipes! Looks like the Surface has been on a low-copper diet.

    • If we've learned one thing after five years of Surfacing, it's how to open these things.

    • Our well-used iOpener brings the heat, then a suction handle and opening picks (just a few this time) attack the ample adhesive.

    • We encounter the same kind of goopy glue as before, but the smaller, sturdier display makes the opening procedure seem a little less scary.

    • The display's off, and we're pleased to see that Microsoft allowed it a fairly long leash.

    • A long display cable makes it easier to disconnect the display without damaging the cable, for safer and easier display removal.

  4. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 5, image 1 of 2 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 5, image 2 of 2
    • One last obstacle before the display is free—an EMI claw shield guarding the display ZIF connector.

    • With the display free, we turn our attention toward the bottom edge, and discover a few display chips in their natural environment:

    • Likely MegaChips S15 series LCD timing controller

    • i7248 H717690

    • 18996MB N746547

    • KTH6212MAYS

    • To our great surprise, the Surface Go has an immediately disconnectable battery! With no need to fully remove the motherboard, repairability is looking up.

    • Or is it? Removing the battery is just like the bad ol' days—two giant pads of adhesive put up a staunch fight against our adhesive remover and plastic cards.

    • Glued-in batteries prevent consumers from easily extending the life of their device, and they increase costs for recyclers at the end of the device's life.

    • The battery in the Go is a lot smaller, at 26.12 Wh, than any of its pro-level predecessors—even the similarly sized iPad 6 packs a 32.9 Wh powerbank.

    • A Texas Instruments BQ40Z50 series Li-ion battery pack manager is the brains of this operation.

  5. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 7, image 1 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 7, image 2 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 7, image 3 of 3
    • Turning our attention to the Wi-Fi antennas, we fully expect to find them mangled after that hack-and-slash display separation.

    • Having the display cover glass glued right over the top of the Wi-Fi antennas has wreaked havoc on many a Surface Pro repair attempt. Most times, the antennas don't survive display removal.

    • This time, we have to keep looking... and looking.

    • These antennas are actually tough to spot, and seem miraculously unscathed. That's one of our poor 5th-gen Surface Pro antennas up top, for comparison.

    • They've definitely been redesigned—perhaps with slightly less of a nail-biting repair experience in mind?

    • Our journey beneath the Surface doesn't get any easier as we move on to the motherboard.

    • Thankfully there's no glue here, but we're forced to excavate our way through seemingly endless layers of shields, tape, and hidden screws in order to unearth the board.

    • Luckily, we have our Manta Driver Kit to keep us company, and to deal with any fasteners we find.

    • Finally, we relieve the motherboard of the last of its restraints, and free it from its metal and plastic prison.

    • Even with the motherboard free, we keep digging, through shielding and fabric stickers, to find the silicon that lies hidden underneath.

  6. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 9, image 1 of 2 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 9, image 2 of 2
    • At last, we're rewarded for our hard work with a treasure trove of silicon:

    • Intel Pentium 4415Y processor

    • SK Hynix H26M74002HMR 64 GB eMMC5.1 NAND flash memory

    • 2x SK Hynix H9CCNNNBKTAL 16 Gb LPDDR3 SDRAM (4 GB total)

    • Texas Instruments BQ25700A battery buck-boost charge controller

    • ON Semiconductor NCP81216 phase controller

    • Qualcomm QCA6174A Wi-Fi/Bluetooth SoC

    • Parade Technologies PS87430 (likely USB host switch)

  7. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 10, image 1 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 10, image 2 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 10, image 3 of 3
    • More front-side chips:

    • Qualcomm QCA6174A Wi-Fi/Bluetooth SoC

    • ITE Tech Inc. IT8987 LPC bus controller

    • Realtek ALC298 audio codec

    • Back-side chips:

    • NXP P3003

    • Atmel ATSAMD20E ARM microcontroller

  8. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 11, image 1 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 11, image 2 of 3 Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 11, image 3 of 3
    • All that silicon, and yet this Go is fan-less and heatpipe-less. This thin copper shield and some thermal paste will have to do the heat sinking for this would-be PC. (Then again, you can always run it in a freezer...)

    • It's certainly a radical departure from those thick copper tentacles we found on the 5th-gen Pro, on the right. Hopefully it'll be enough for the Go's power-sipping, non-Turbo'd processor.

    • Now to pluck the final strings of this teardown. Such as: the Windows Hello camera, the 5 MP front-facing camera, and the 8 MP rear-facing camera (complete with piggybacked LED) all sitting in a row.

    • Finally, the modular microSDXC port with Realtek 5227S card reader controller—which is technically upgradable storage!

    • Not exactly the kind of upgradability we were hoping for, but we'll take what we can get.

  9. Microsoft Surface Go Teardown: step 12, image 1 of 1
    • Here are all the bits lurking beneath the Surface. Thanks for joining us!

    • And thanks as usual to Creative Electron for their X-tastic imagery!

  10. Final Thoughts
    • The smaller form factor seems to make the glass easier to remove without breaking, but it's still terrifyingly hard.
    • If this is expected to replace a PC, the lack of upgradability will severely limit the device's lifespan.
    • The lack of modularity, especially on high-wear ports, makes repairs unnecessarily expensive.
    • Adhesive holds many components in place, including the display and battery.
    • Replacement of any part requires removal of the display assembly, an easy (and expensive) part to damage.
    Repairability Score
    Repairability 1 out of 10
    (10 is easiest to repair)


Do you think the Surface go 128gb uses a different motherboard? This 64gb model has the eMMC ssd chip, but I don’t know if there are any pin compatible nvme ssd single-chips packages that feature the same pcb footprint and signaling as an eMMC part. I’m pretty sure an NVME ssd has to have a separate controller and nand at this point in time. I have not seen any one-chip packages yet. Even the new MacBook Pro 15" Touch Bar 2018 teardown revealed a multi-package configuration (controller + 2 nand packages) for the integrated nvme ssd. It doesn’t look like there’s room for a m.2 nvme drive in the surface go either, so I think the 128gb/256gb model uses a different motherboard. Let me know what you think! :D

Anthony Kouttron - Reply

I looked into mainboard’s picture and found many blank area on the top left. Probably it was designed for SSD and will be used on 128GB model. I don’t think Microsoft will spent too much money to design and manufacture another type of mainboard.

Huang Junjie -

Looks like the empty solder pads on the back of the main board between the USB-c and charge connector have space to solder a NVMe connector. May also need controller though as Al2Me6 mentioned on 08/04/2018. I would like to know if an NVMe drive can be added to the EMMc version I have.

Bran Man -

I own this product and it is not that great. All you can do is search the internet and its so slow, my phone works faster! I had to re-install windows 10 Pro just to get some speed out of the unit that ships in windows 10 S mode, The S is for slow lol… The S is for secure and locked down to windows store apps, which is not much. You can opt out of S-Mode but then you get windows 10 Home. you can not even CMD or run a simple bash command in S mode. Expect a ton of returns from uneducated general public. There is no fan, but there is no vent, the back becomes extremely hot. the 9 hour battery life must have been conduced by someone who does not know how to tell time or possibly the “watchman” cause I’ve had a number of test and im getting around 3 hours.

There is no reason for the 4GB 64GB $399 table to exist, Windows is around 30GB storage after all updates needed. Its a shame that truly for a okay slow Surface is $760 with a keyboard after tax for the 8GB configuration.

My keyboard stopped working, it bent.

Jimmy Schaefer - Reply

I agree that on Windows 10, as with all reviewers, this product is pretty much useless. That said, for me, it is incredibly useful only because, as a few other people have done, I wiped the drive of Windows and installed Linux (Ubuntu). This gets around all of the performance issues and it works great for general programming tasks and even low-end gaming.

sitt.evan -

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