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Surface Pro 3 landscape docking station teardown

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Comments (6)
  1. mike says:

    aloha dan!

    I produce music for a living and, like you, I really love the sp3 (although colleagues either think i'm crazy or a liar that it can perform as a daw computer). I really would like to make a custom dock so this teardown helps out a lot before I go running out and buying an extra dock to break. if you had the time, I had a couple of questions if you wouldn't mind:

    the 40 pin connector; I know you said that it's magnetic, but does it hold in place on its own (ie if I was using it like the portable charger)? I don't know if this is something you tried

    short of messing up pins/frying the board/being clumsy, i'm guessing it would be safe to assume that if I only removed the vertical part of the docking station and reconnected everything correctly (basically everything except step 4), the dock would function normally/safely (of course covering/sealing any open or exposed parts)?

    thank you for your time!

  2. Danchar4 says:

    Mike, thanks for the interest.

    Aside from the built-in 2-channel audio, the SP3 is quite competent with Ableton, Reaper, etc. An external USB audio interface is certainly a good bet.

    After closer inspection, the 40-pin connector isn't magnetic like the 12-pin connector on the end of the factory power supply. However it could still work exactly as you describe. I just posted an article with more details:


    Were you planning to build something like this?…/surface-pro-3-in-1-vesa-mounted-dock.aspx

  3. AutomotivEivind says:

    Thank you very much! This helped me a lot when I was stuck disassembling and started googling. – I didn't realise there was a sticker underneath, the surface of the sticker being so similar to the plastic casing.

    So glad I didn't use to much force breaking anything before I knew there was more than clips and glue holding the base together.

    I have the original Surface Pro (1) by the way. It is assembled in a very similar fashion.

    Planning on mounting the dock to the the center console in my car, I need to make a bracket and had to disassemble to know where it's ok to put screws through the casing.

    Thanks again!

  4. Danchar4 says:

    @AutomotivEivind. Your project sounds great! Can you please post pics when you get a chance?

  5. Nate says:

    Awesome work Danchar4!  

    I have one question that perhaps you are the best person in the world to answer outside of Microsoft:  does the Gigabit Ethernet port on the Surface Dock have direct lines via the 40-pin connector back to the Surface Pro 3 tablet?  Or is the GigE port converted into a USB 3.0 interface on the Dock and therefore shares bandwidth with other USB 3.0 devices connected to the Dock?

    I'm wondering because 3rd-Party GigE-to-USB3.0 converters (such as that which you can get from StarTech and others) to add GigE support to a USB-only computer are actually not capable of reaching full GigE speeds (I've tested several).  However, my testing of the Surface Pro 3 Dock's GigE port has shown full speed operation, so I'm wondering if that's because there is a direct Ethernet line to the tablet via the Dock connector, or because Microsoft's solution for converting GigE to USB 3.0 is superior at the HW or driver level.


  6. Danchar4 says:

    Hi Nate,

    There is no direct connection from the 40-pin connector to the GigE as far as I can tell. It is through the USB 3.0 hub chipset and ultimately shares bandwidth with other devices. If you attach a fast USB 3.0 hard drive and copy content to the tablet while simultaneously using the GigE network, you likely see a saturation of the bandwidth. As far as I know, all the chips in the Dock/tablet are of the highest quality and the circuit boards are painstakingly designed to perform as is expected with Microsoft's premiere brand. So its no surprise that you're seeing higher speeds than average off-the-shelf solutions.


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