Microsoft unveils updated Surface Studio 2+ with RTX 3060 graphics

Tudor Cibean

Posts: 172   +11
Staff
In context: Microsoft Surface Studio lineup of all-in-one PCs is likely aimed at enterprise customers, where the high price point and relative lack of upgradability aren't such sore points. Even so, it would've been nice to see a current-gen CPU in a machine that costs this much.

At its Surface Event 2022, Microsoft finally unveiled the successor to its four-year-old Surface Studio 2 all-in-one desktop. The new Surface Studio 2+ features upgraded internals while the exterior remains mostly the same, which might explain why the company didn't think it was worth bumping up the version number.

Microsoft's AIO PC keeps all its components in a small Mac mini-like enclosure that acts as the base of its stand, allowing the screen to be thinner. It ships with Intel's 11th-gen Core i7-11370H, a CPU launched in January 2021. It's disappointing that Microsoft didn't opt for a more modern Alder Lake processor — or even an AMD alternative such as Rembrandt — especially considering the price of this computer.

The graphics card has seen a massive upgrade, moving from an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 to an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU with 6 GB of VRAM. Surprisingly, the Surface Studio 2+ only has a single configuration, with 32 GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1 TB SSD awaiting users out-of-the-box. However, if the device is anything like its predecessor, these parts should be user-upgradeable.

Microsoft kept the 28-inch PixelSense screen with 4,500 x 3,000 pixels (192 PPI), but it now has Dolby Vision support. The Zero Gravity hinge makes adjustments effortless and allows users to tilt it almost horizontally, making it easier to draw or take notes on the touchscreen.

Connectivity is another area that saw some improvements bringing it more in line with modern machines. The new Surface Studio 2+ has three USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4 ports (with external display support), two USB-A, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 1 Gbps Ethernet port. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, and Microsoft even added an ambient light sensor.

The Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ is priced at $4,299 by itself or $4,499 if you want the Surface mouse, keyboard, and stylus bundled in. You can preorder it today, and it will start shipping on October 25.

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brucek

Posts: 1,352   +2,033
Did the prior models sell at this price? Is it because the monitor resolution or capabilities are hard to come by elsewhere? Or maybe it includes special software support? I'm not getting why a business would choose to spend on this vs. say beefier hardware.
 

Tinckerbel

Posts: 26   +37
Have been eyeballing this machine from day one but the outdated specs are always holding me back, it's basically a laptop and not a fast one. If they would just release this as a monitor / touchscreen input device, they would sell these like hot cakes to creators everywhere, hell some would even hook them up to their Mac's. Ah well, one can dream I guess.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,579   +6,901
Have been eyeballing this machine from day one but the outdated specs are always holding me back, it's basically a laptop and not a fast one. If they would just release this as a monitor / touchscreen input device, they would sell these like hot cakes to creators everywhere, hell some would even hook them up to their Mac's. Ah well, one can dream I guess.

Everyone is waiting for the tablet that becomes a second screen and drawing device for PC when its connected. Why this doesn't exist yet is unfathomable. Or maybe it does, but I've yet to run across one.
 

azicat

Posts: 179   +227
Have been eyeballing this machine from day one but the outdated specs are always holding me back, it's basically a laptop and not a fast one. If they would just release this as a monitor / touchscreen input device, they would sell these like hot cakes to creators everywhere, hell some would even hook them up to their Mac's. Ah well, one can dream I guess.
Same. Seems like there's only 3 drawcards for the Studio: the Surface Dial, its sketch-compatible screen, and its form factor. Wacom and various control decks get you pretty close to that experience, just without the refined form factor.
Everyone is waiting for the tablet that becomes a second screen and drawing device for PC when its connected. Why this doesn't exist yet is unfathomable. Or maybe it does, but I've yet to run across one.
There's the Wacom One and XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP, amongst others. The latter has 92% AdobeRGB colour gamut and 4K. Not standalone tablets, but very close to the Studio in their features. Several apps also let you use an iPad as a sketch tablet.
 
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CrisisDog

Posts: 273   +159
Well, that is quite a steep price tag, but just remember Apple's iMac Pro was in the $4k range and higher, and let's not forget the more powerful "Ultra" Mac Studios, without a monitor, are going for $5k or more. Just targeting the same market, I guess....
 

Eldritch

Posts: 528   +1,000
Not even for that because as soon as a user gets it covered in fingerprints after first-use they'll stop using the touch function of said screen. Plus, greasy, fat fingers aren't precise enough for CAD or even the illustrative arts.
This is the reality and those who have actually used touch laptops know it. Anything above tablet is hassle to use touch with because of smear, huge touch area and as you are supposed to sit away from the device.
The device is beautiful, kudos to the designer but not worth anywhere near $4,300.
 

Bao Nguyen

Posts: 118   +88
This is the reality and those who have actually used touch laptops know it. Anything above tablet is hassle to use touch with because of smear, huge touch area and as you are supposed to sit away from the device.
The device is beautiful, kudos to the designer but not worth anywhere near $4,300.

They don't have a real competitor for this form factor, and there are actual demands for these kind of devices, mostly for businesses, not necessarily design or creative business, but just businesses in general, so they can price anyhow they want I guess.

It also falls into my category of things that I "want to buy" but not "need to buy", so until I have spare cash flying around, not gonna get one for personal use. The device is actually pretty cool to be honest, definitely want one.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 404   +267
Did the prior models sell at this price? Is it because the monitor resolution or capabilities are hard to come by elsewhere? Or maybe it includes special software support? I'm not getting why a business would choose to spend on this vs. say beefier hardware.
It's not about the CPU or GPU it's about the display which is designed for artists, designers, architects..etc. As a PC enthusiats I don't understand how they can put such low specs on such an expensive computer, but it's all about the display. I don't know if Microsoft would make as much profits on just selling a stand-alone display, but I wished that was an option.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,352   +2,033
Thanks, that makes sense. Seems sad they'd doom a valuable display to low volume = increased cost by marrying it to an unappealing base computer. Why not focus on just the monitor which would allow a much larger volume and therefore add more value to the Windows ecosystem? They could keep selling the integrated unit too if they thought the all-in-one was appealing to some customers.
 

Tinckerbel

Posts: 26   +37
Have been eyeballing this machine from day one but the outdated specs are always holding me back, it's basically a laptop and not a fast one. If they would just release this as a monitor / touchscreen input device, they would sell these like hot cakes to creators everywhere, hell some would even hook them up to their Mac's. Ah well, one can dream I guess.
So I learned it is capable of having an external GPU via Thunderbolt 4, so you could actually power that thing with a RTX 4090, that would be some kind of solution, still the CPU is meh. I just don't get it why they throw money at this thing, it is so out of touch with what customers actually want.

Customers want the power of the Mac Studio with the screen of the Surface Studio attached to it, or they want just the screen and touchscreen and hook it up to their own (powerful) PC under the desk. Is it that hard to grasp, who are their focus groups?

Panos Panay who I like for his user centric focus and attention to detail, is always focused on the 'you' and the 'user experience' but misses the mark each time with their halo product. I just don't get it.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,984   +6,471

Bobbydpue

Posts: 404   +267
Thanks, that makes sense. Seems sad they'd doom a valuable display to low volume = increased cost by marrying it to an unappealing base computer. Why not focus on just the monitor which would allow a much larger volume and therefore add more value to the Windows ecosystem? They could keep selling the integrated unit too if they thought the all-in-one was appealing to some customers.
Agreed. If they sold just the monitor with the same type of stand I would buy one for sure just to learn to create with it. I'm thinking the computer is probably less than 1/8 of the price.