Introduction

Microsoft has decided once again to grace their laptops tablets Surfaces with numbers. This year’s Surface Pro 6 comes with a sleek new black paint job and the first-ever quad-core processor in a Surface device! What else will we find inside? Only one way to find out—let’s tear it down!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to keep up with all the latest teardowns. For teardowns delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Microsoft Surface Pro 6, use our service manual.

  1. New Surface, new specs (sorta):
    • New Surface, new specs (sorta):

      • 12.3" PixelSense display with 2736 × 1824 resolution (267 ppi)

      • 8th-Gen (Kaby Lake R) quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Intel UHD Graphics 620

      • 8 GB RAM (16 GB optional)

      • 128 GB solid-state storage (256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB configurations optional)

      • 8 MP rear-facing camera with 1080p video, and 5 MP / 1080p front-facing Windows Hello camera

      • USB 3.0, microSDXC, Mini DisplayPort, SurfaceConnect, and 3.5 mm audio ports

      • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

    Add Comment

  2. Looks like we have an extra Surface Pro 6—err, wait, one of those is last year's Surface Pro.
    • Looks like we have an extra Surface Pro 6—err, wait, one of those is last year's Surface Pro.

    • Well, on the outside not much has changed from last year. Still the same case, hinge, and relatively healthy number of ports.

      • Noticeably absent for 2018, however, is the ever-popular USB-C port that found its way onto the Surface Go.

    • We have to look pretty close to tell these Surfaces apart, but eventually we find a new model number hiding under the kickstand: 1796.

    Pro 6 and Pro 5 are same model number?

    pk2281 - Reply

    • The Surface Pro series has a few different configurations, and they all come standard with upgraded adhesive.

    • Fortunately, we've got a tried-and-true recipe for Surface screen separation success:

      • Step 1: apply iOpener liberally.

      • Step 2: grab an Opening Pick and a Suction Handle, and fight for dear life through Microsoft's gauntlet of adhesive.

      • Step 3 (optional): get impatient, break screen.

    • Luckily, we don't run into any surprises as we free the display—everything's pretty much the same as before, save for an extra display cable compared to the Surface Go.

    Add Comment

    • We interrupt this disassembly to bring you display chips!

      • Microsoft X904169 06 CL1706, possibly N-Trig's Surface Pen controller.

      • Microsoft X904163 01 CL1708

      • Analogix ANX2604, possibly a DisplayPort converter.

    • LG makes this display, which seems suspiciously similar to the one we found on the Surface Pro 5.

      • Could they be cross-compatible? Yes they could—we dropped last year's display into our Surface Pro 6, and it worked almost like someone planned it that way.

    Add Comment

  3. Spread Fixmas Cheer
    Get $12 off your purchase of $50 or more with code FIXMAS12
    Spread Fixmas Cheer
    Get $12 off your purchase of $50 or more with code FIXMAS12
    • With the display out of the way, we can get to the good stuff.

    • It seems Microsoft has been meddling with their passive cooler a bit—it looks like last year's, but with an extra little pipe down the left side—plus some funky heat-spreading pads.

      • It's impressive to see Microsoft continue to bump up processing power without much additional heat management. It will be interesting to see how well this new setup handles the heat under load.

    • Looking south, the similarities continue, with a quad-cell battery taking up most of the case.

    • On the plus side, all the screws so far are standard Torx. Let's get to twirling them out!

    Add Comment

    • Searching for the gold at the end of the heatsink, we peel back some ... things. The Surface Pro 4 had a copper heat spreader, but these look like graphite.

    • Looking under those heat spreaders didn't lead to any gold, but we're free to remove the heatsink now.

    • With the heatsink dispatched, we have access to the heat generators—all that silicon!

    Add Comment

    • New chips and stale chips (mostly the latter):

      • Intel Core i5-8250U processor

      • Samsung K4E6E304EB-EGCF 2GB LPDDR3 DRAM (4 chips for 8 GB total)

      • SKhynix HFB1M8M0331A (BC501) 128 GB NVMe SSD

      • Winbond 25Q128JVPQ 128Mb serial flash memory

      • Marvell W8897 802.11ac, NFC, and Bluetooth SoC

      • Nuvoton NPCT650SBCWX Trusted Platform Module

      • RTS5343 microSD card reader controller

    Still DDR3 though? The MacBook Pro and most other laptops are running DDR4…

    djlobb01 - Reply

    Not DDR3 but LPDDR3. It is limited by intel processor which supports LPDDR3 and DDR4 only. intel processor does not support LPDDR4x.

    JJ Wu -

    Is the NVMe SSD replaceable?

    Hoa Le - Reply

    As it is soldered onto the motherboard, replacing it would be highly unlikely. However, it may be possible to install additional memory, as there seems to be a spare empty pad for lower memory configurations (see area left of yellow marking in Step 7).

    Arthur Shi -

    • On the flip side:

      • Freescale/NXP M22J9VDC Kinetis K22F 512KB 120 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 based MCU

      • Texas Instruments BQ25700A battery buck-boost charge controller

      • Realtek ALC3269 audio codec

    Add Comment

    • We've once again come to that inevitable junction in any Surface teardown: take out the heavily-glued battery, or leave it be?

      • Considering there are no stretch release battery tabs, and we've had our fill of prying, we opt to let the beast slumber for now.

    • This battery weighs in at 45 Wh (7.57 V x 5940 mAh), exactly the same as last year.

    Add Comment

    • Really scraping the bottom of the barrel case, hoping for something new, we pull out the speakers and cameras.

      • The cameras are still hidden under the bracket holding the antennas (which are incredibly easy to mangle upon opening).

      • The speakers are still corner mounted triangles for that surround sound feel.

    • I guess there's not much this tablet could do to raise its repairability score at this point.... But a fixer can dream...

    Add Comment

    • Here's a shucked Surface for your viewing pleasure! In theory this is a tablet, but in our reality it was a pain in the butt!

    • The Surface Pro 6 brings more processing power (and heat) without changing its cooling solution much. Will the new thermal spreaders on the heat sink be enough to handle the power boost? Only time will tell.

    • After hearing rumors of a modular Studio, we were hoping this generation of Surface Pro would steer that direction. Alas, it's just as un-upgradable and un-repairable as ever, and it doesn't even get a USB-C port.

    Add Comment

  4. Final Thoughts
    • To the extent that screws are used, they are all standard Torx fasteners.
    • This tablet still has a headphone jack, which is modular and replaceable, if you can get to it.
    • All repairs require first removing the display assembly—which is stubbornly glued in place, expensive, and prone to shattering.
    • The battery is firmly glued in place, with its connector pinned under the motherboard—requiring near-total disassembly for service.
    • Once upon a time, Surface Pro storage was removable—but not in this version.
    • Complex construction makes all disassembly and reassembly tedious in comparison to other tablets.
    Repairability Score
    1
    Repairability 1 out of 10
    (10 is easiest to repair)

5 Comments

Is it better a SKhynix HFB1M8M0331A (BC501) 128 GB NVMe SSD instead of a a SSD m.2 slot like in the surface 4? now there is no way we can change the ssd :/

Gabriel BEck - Reply

Excellent tutorial, the director of IFIX I suggest on the page add a translator of languages ​​in Spanish as well as activate the multilanguage translation of the videos of YOUTUBE so you will socialize the knowledge of your pipelines in all languages! Not the whole planet speaks or reads in English!

johan fernandez - Reply

Hi Johan! This teardown has been translated into SIX non-English languages, including Spanish! Hope this helps!

Sam Lionheart -

What kind of a world do we live in where an iPad gets a higher repairability score than a Windows tablet?

Rocky Carr - Reply

Apparently, the Windows device manufacturers have taken a lot of profitability cues from Apple. At least in technology sector, the history seems to be somewhat cyclical.

Michael Han - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 152

Past 7 Days: 1,086

Past 30 Days: 6,308

All Time: 27,632