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These are the 3 big reveals from Microsoft's Surface event

Blair Hanley Frank | Oct. 27, 2016
Surface Studio, Surface Book and new Windows 10 features abound

Microsoft unleashed a ton of Windows and Surface news on the world from New York on Wednesday, revealing new Windows features and brand new hardware. Here's the run-down on the biggest news from the company's two-hour-long presentation.

Surface Studio takes a fresh look at the Desktop PC

There were a ton of rumors about a forthcoming all-in-one Surface desktop, and Microsoft brought the thunder. The Surface Studio is an all-in-one PC with an ultrathin, 28-inch, 4.5K touchscreen. The screen is mounted on a pair of hinges that let it sit up vertically like a traditional desktop computer, and lower down to a drafting position, where the display is only inclined to the desk by 20 degrees.

surface studio cutaway Blair Hanley Frank

A special version of the Surface Studio with a clear case reveals some of the device's inner workings.

The Surface Studio's base is what holds the computer's brains. The base model features a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX965M GPU with 2GB of VRAM. That can scale all the way up to a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 2TB of storage, 32GB of RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX980M GPU with 4GB of VRAM.

Buying a Surface Studio will set people back quite a bit. The base model costs $3,000, and the top of the line Studio costs $4,200. It's not a price tag for the faint of heart, and means that the Studio probably won't be the right computer for most people.

But it's an opportunity for Microsoft to show off what a PC can do and try to spur other manufacturers to follow suit at a more affordable price point.

panos panay writing surface studio 
Panos Panay, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Surface Computing, writes on the new Surface Studio at the company's press event in New York City on October 26, 2016.

Most of all, it seems like a direct attack on Apple's desktop offerings, with its focus on creative output. Macs have been the computers of choice for many creative professionals, but it's clear that Microsoft is aggressively going after that market with this launch, trying to capitalize on Apple's aging product lines.

What will be interesting to see is how use of the touchscreen ages. One of the big issues with touchscreen desktops is that users often keep large monitors at arm's length, which means that touching the screen for even a short period of time can get tiring very quickly. The Studio's drafting configuration, which brings the screen close to the surface of the table, may help alleviate some of this problem, but it'll take long-term testing to prove that out.

 

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