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Surface Pro as Laptop/Desktop replacement

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  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    I was hoping the Surface Pro finally show us that Microsoft was serious about redefining Windows. Unfortunately just like the Surface RT they blow it on the free disk space issue. 23 GB free on a 64 GB drive? Who are they marketing this to? They'd need to put out a 256 GB version to have enough capacity for the work I do. The 128 GB/ 83 GB free may be big enough for some office workers but we all know as apps and Windows bloat over the years this space will hardly be enough.

    Are they assuming people will buy these every year like iPads and start fresh? Having all you data in the cloud would make a wipe and reload less painful? (and let's forget about the need for a local cache for our cloud-based files)

    This really feels like Microsoft is finally trying to push the world the Network Computer.

    Read it and weep...

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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    Kental2

    Assuming you were planning on getting a Surface Pro to do real work on (typically requiring a desk, keyboard, etc.) can't you connect an external hard drive to it?  External storage space is extremely cheap.  If you're making the argument that it should come with everything it needs to "just work" out of the box and be ready to go, I can respect that, but I don't see how you could call that a laptop/desktop replacement.  When I personally think of laptop/desktop replacement I think of at least something resembling a docking station: external monitor, keyboard, mouse, et al.  Part of that would have to include an external hard drive for me.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    Is 23GB enough to install Visual Studio 2012?

    -Josh

    edit: nevermind, it should.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , Kental2 wrote

    Assuming you were planning on getting a Surface Pro to do real work on (typically requiring a desk, keyboard, etc.) can't you connect an external hard drive to it?  External storage space is extremely cheap.  If you're making the argument that it should come with everything it needs to "just work" out of the box and be ready to go, I can respect that, but I don't see how you could call that a laptop/desktop replacement.  When I personally think of laptop/desktop replacement I think of at least something resembling a docking station: external monitor, keyboard, mouse, et al.  Part of that would have to include an external hard drive for me.

    I do agree that a rich docking station experience is extremely valuable and one Microsoft should pursue to help show how well Surface can fit into an office environment. That said I don't need an external hard drive for my laptop today (dock or no dock). Having to lug around an external drive for travel really defeats the portability factor.

    IMO, Microsoft had an opportunity to do better than the competition here and once again they chose the "also-ran" strategy. They really should have stayed away from the 64GB version and just issued a 128 & 256GB versions. If they want to play smoke & mirrors why not market it as "64GB SDD with a 64GB FREE UPGRADE". I think people would forgive the fact that the 128GB version only has 83GB available space if they think they are getting an extra 64GB free in the first place.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , JoshRoss wrote

    Is 23GB enough to install Visual Studio 2012?

    -Josh

    edit: nevermind, it should.

    And Office (+Visio), and a giant OST, and database tools, and LOB apps and their local databases, and all of those wonderfully useful Windows 8 Store Apps.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    Maybe this just isn't obvious enough, but The Surface Is Not A Laptop. It is a Tablet.

    Buying a Surface Pro to be your main development machine is nearly as silly as buying an Android Phone or an iPad to be your main development machine.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    @evildictaitor: Or just as silly as a business user with Office, a few LOBs apps -- some with local data storage, and a whopping OST thinking they can use Surface instead of a laptop. Some sales guys I know will clog even that 128GB model up in no time. IMO, the 64GB doesn't have a prayer.

    So that leads back to the questions of "What is Windows 8"? "What is Surface?" I thought Microsoft's big stick in this game was that Windows 8 (and as an example Surface Pro) could provide both your tablet experience and your desktop experience. I'd even be willing to limit the latter to "your laptop experience". In the end it's none of the above. 

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @DeathByVisualStudio: My main development machine is using 193GB. Both Program Files directories (it's a 64bit install) total about 16GB. So, 45GB is used for the exact same thing as is used on the Surface Pro. OK, not quite. My desktop doesn't have the 8GB recovery partition... but I blow that off of Surface as well. So, 45GB - 8GB + 16GB means not including data I'll use roughly 53GB of the 128GB drive, leaving me 75GB of space for data. Obviously my current desktop is using more than that, but it's data. On can put data offline in various ways: cloud, SDXC card, USB HD, etc. There's very little in my current 193GB that I'd need/want to have on the main storage of the device.

    Microsoft hasn't screwed anything up here. There's no difference between the Surface Pro and any other PC, be it laptop, ultrabook, tablet, desktop or server. There's nothing new here. 128GB is small, but usable, and anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that nothing has changed with the "revelation" here. I'm going to replace my desktop with a device like this. Doesn't matter if it's the Surface or one of the competing devices, they will all have the same storage characteristics. And these numbers have been basically the same for years. Windows 7 had the exact same footprint.

    And before you claim Windows is bloated and other's are doing better, the MacBook Air has roughly the same characteristics. The 128GB MBA has 93GB free when you purchase it. That's 9GB difference, which is almost entirely accounted for by the recovery partition, where Apple provides an over the air recovery option. We can argue about that 9GB and whether or not it would be better to not have a recovery partition (there's pros and cons, and I won't argue which is the "right" choice), but the reality is that 9GB is roughly 7% of the space and not very relevant, especially when you realize you have the option to reclaim every bit of that space.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    @evildictaitor: Or just as silly as a business user with Office, a few LOBs apps -- some with local data storage, and a whopping OST thinking they can use Surface instead of a laptop. Some sales guys I know will clog even that 128GB model up in no time. IMO, the 64GB doesn't have a prayer.

    So that leads back to the questions of "What is Windows 8"? "What is Surface?" I thought Microsoft's big stick in this game was that Windows 8 (and as an example Surface Pro) could provide both your tablet experience and your desktop experience. I'd even be willing to limit the latter to "your laptop experience". In the end it's none of the above. 

    If your job role doesn't require you to spend large amounts of time entering text, and doesn't require vast quantities of information to be simultaneously available on screen, Surface is a perfectly valid option for a business user. If you're spending your time writing powerpoints, doing finance, entering data into a metro app, Surface Pro might be great.

    The problem is that Visual Studio is a perfect example of an application that will pretty much always suck on a small screen. It's text heavy (so tablets are a bad input mechanism), it's information heavy (you have a solution explorer and a toolbar and an error dialog and lots of text) and it's going to be window-heavy as well since when you press F5 it's going to open other windows like browsers or Windows Forms.

    Or to put it another way, given the fact that most development machines are big, have multiple monitors, fast CPUs and lots of hard disks, it's a bit astonishing that anyone ever thought that a device with a tiny screen, no keyboard by default, a design-focus on power management and a tiny disk to improve portability would ever be a good fit for that demographic of use.

    That's not to say that the Surface isn't good for business customers. It's just to say if your business is writing code, it's bad fit for being your main development machine.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    If your job role doesn't require you to spend large amounts of time entering text, and doesn't require vast quantities of information to be simultaneously available on screen, Surface is a perfectly valid option for a business user. If you're spending your time writing powerpoints, doing finance, entering data into a metro app, Surface Pro might be great.

    The problem is that Visual Studio is a perfect example of an application that will pretty much always suck on a small screen. It's text heavy (so tablets are a bad input mechanism), it's information heavy (you have a solution explorer and a toolbar and an error dialog and lots of text) and it's going to be window-heavy as well since when you press F5 it's going to open other windows like browsers or Windows Forms.

    Or to put it another way, given the fact that most development machines are big, have multiple monitors, fast CPUs and lots of hard disks, it's a bit astonishing that anyone ever thought that a device with a tiny screen, no keyboard by default, a design-focus on power management and a tiny disk to improve portability would ever be a good fit for that demographic of use.

    That's not to say that the Surface isn't good for business customers. It's just to say if your business is writing code, it's bad fit for being your main development machine.

    I can't tell you the number of devs I know that get by coding on 14" laptops. So it's not quite as bad as you make out. That said, we have a lot of devs here that do really serious development work with those 14" laptops by docking them, where they get full size keyboards, mice, multiple 24" monitors, etc. I can do the same with the Surface Pro. So, why shouldn't I expect to be able to use it this way? DeathByVisualStudio is claiming the HD space would prevent that, but I call BS there as well.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , wkempf wrote

    *snip*

    I can't tell you the number of devs I know that get by coding on 14" laptops. So it's not quite as bad as you make out. That said, we have a lot of devs here that do really serious development work with those 14" laptops by docking them, where they get full size keyboards, mice, multiple 24" monitors, etc. I can do the same with the Surface Pro. So, why shouldn't I expect to be able to use it this way? DeathByVisualStudio is claiming the HD space would prevent that, but I call BS there as well.

    Well, you can dock a Surface Pro and do dev on it, but since the Surface Pro is really underpowered for a general purpose dev machine, it's kind of pointless. You're basically paying lots of money for a machine that's optimised for low power, low weight and ultra-portable, and then asking it to do CPU intensive things whilst plugged into a docking station, which seems a bit like a waste, when instead you could just get a desktop PC with much more power for the same cost because they don't need to optimise for power or portability (which you don't want, 'cos you're going to dock it anyway).

    I guess the point is if your tablet is going to spend most of it's time docked, why not get a laptop or a desktop PC instead? Complaining that Microsoft's tablet debut isn't a very good general purpose desktop PC sounds like you've missed that it's a tablet and not a laptop.

    It's like saying my Microwave isn't a very good coffeemaker. Well, duh. It's a microwave. If you want to make coffee, use the coffee-maker.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Surface Pro is an x64 tablet device with keyboard cover and stylus. It's got a fast CPU and GPU. It runs both Windows Store Apps and Win32 apps. As is the case with any tablet device, it's not meant to be a desktop replacement. It's a new tablet form factor. It's a different kind of computing device.

    The happiness of AND...
    C

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    , evildictait​or wrote

    but since the Surface Pro is really underpowered for a general purpose dev machine, it's kind of pointless. basically paying lots of money for a machine that's optimised for low power, low weight and ultra-portable, and then asking it to do CPU intensive things whilst plugged into a docking station, which seems a bit like a waste,

    It has an i5 (IvyBridge) and 4GB RAM. Why wouldn't it perform well for general development? Unless building a game engine is part of your definition of "general"...

    But, your main point stands...if all you're going to do with Surface Pro is sit down at a desk to code all day, you'd might as well get a PC which would be cheaper and much more powerful. 

    Though, I'm the type of person who'd want to move around and hit the coffee shops to work on stuff. For this type of scenario, a Surface Pro would be just fine (though, an Ultrabook would work as well).

     

    Now, a Haswell Surface Pro, on the other hand ... Devil

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , wkempf wrote

    @DeathByVisualStudio: My main development machine is using 193GB. Both Program Files directories (it's a 64bit install) total about 16GB. So, 45GB is used for the exact same thing as is used on the Surface Pro. OK, not quite. My desktop doesn't have the 8GB recovery partition... but I blow that off of Surface as well. So, 45GB - 8GB + 16GB means not including data I'll use roughly 53GB of the 128GB drive, leaving me 75GB of space for data. Obviously my current desktop is using more than that, but it's data. On can put data offline in various ways: cloud, SDXC card, USB HD, etc. There's very little in my current 193GB that I'd need/want to have on the main storage of the device.

    Microsoft hasn't screwed anything up here. There's no difference between the Surface Pro and any other PC, be it laptop, ultrabook, tablet, desktop or server. There's nothing new here. 128GB is small, but usable, and anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that nothing has changed with the "revelation" here. I'm going to replace my desktop with a device like this. Doesn't matter if it's the Surface or one of the competing devices, they will all have the same storage characteristics. And these numbers have been basically the same for years. Windows 7 had the exact same footprint.

    [tap][tap][tap] is this mike on? You totally missed my point. My beef is with the 64GB version. You could make a case for the 128GB version for a lot of people but there will be many undeserved by even that amount of storage. What did you think I meant by these statements?

    , SomeDumbAss wrote

    *snip*

    They really should have stayed away from the 64GB version and just issued a 128 & 256GB versions.

    , AnotherMoron wrote:

    *snip*

    The 128 GB/ 83 GB free may be big enough for some office workers but we all know as apps and Windows bloat over the years this space will hardly be enough.

    , CheeseMoverHater wrote:

    *snip*

    IMO, the 64GB doesn't have a prayer

    Suggesting people make the effort to squirrel away their data on USB stick, memory card, the cloud, etc is just more friction for adoption.

    wkempf wrote

    And before you claim Windows is bloated and other's are doing better, the MacBook Air has roughly the same characteristics. The 128GB MBA has 93GB free when you purchase it. That's 9GB difference, which is almost entirely accounted for by the recovery partition, where Apple provides an over the air recovery option. We can argue about that 9GB and whether or not it would be better to not have a recovery partition (there's pros and cons, and I won't argue which is the "right" choice), but the reality is that 9GB is roughly 7% of the space and not very relevant, especially when you realize you have the option to reclaim every bit of that space.

    I didn't claim that Windows is bloated. Apps grow with data & updates and Windows grows with Windows Updates -- you know all of that stuff in Windows\Installer & Windows\WinSxS. All of that clogs a drive.

    That's great Apple has OTA recovery option. Why not Microsoft? They didn't even reach "also-ran" status here.

    And why blow away the recovery partition? What about sales guys in the field? They'd loose the ability to recover from a bad update or some other catastrophe. I thought Microsoft put that there for a good reason? Feature, no? Or did they do it wrong?

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    Well, you can dock a Surface Pro and do dev on it, but since the Surface Pro is really underpowered for a general purpose dev machine, it's kind of pointless. You're basically paying lots of money for a machine that's optimised for low power, low weight and ultra-portable, and then asking it to do CPU intensive things whilst plugged into a docking station, which seems a bit like a waste, when instead you could just get a desktop PC with much more power for the same cost because they don't need to optimise for power or portability (which you don't want, 'cos you're going to dock it anyway).

    I guess the point is if your tablet is going to spend most of it's time docked, why not get a laptop or a desktop PC instead? Complaining that Microsoft's tablet debut isn't a very good general purpose desktop PC sounds like you've missed that it's a tablet and not a laptop.

    It's like saying my Microwave isn't a very good coffeemaker. Well, duh. It's a microwave. If you want to make coffee, use the coffee-maker.

    I have a desktop and am not going for a desktop replacement in my case however we have sales people who want to replace their laptops for W8 tablets because they thought Microsoft had the best of both worlds (tablet and laptop) all in the Surface Pro. The 64GB version isn't an option because of lack of available space. The 128GB may be an option for some but for others it will mean a constant grooming of the SDD in 6 months to a year. I have to wonder what the Windows Blue update will do to those machines. Historically service packs haven't been to kind to disk space.

    My old laptop (which I did development on while on the road) had the same screen resolution as my W8 Build tablet. The tablet has the same amount of memory and better processor. While the screen is small I have no problem working in Visual Studio nor Eclipse. Both actually run faster on the tablet than the laptop. The tablet packs down smaller even with dock, keyboard, and mouse and is a joy to travel with. I don't sacrifice performance for power.

    So in the end it sounds like you are saying the the Surface Pro is a tablet that in some niche cases can serve as more. And here I thought the Surface Pro was going to be everything that  Surface RT was not. At least that's what some people said when others complained about the limits of Surface RT and Windows RT devices in general. Oh well...

     *Edit*: Typos

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    It's like saying my Microwave isn't a very good coffeemaker. Well, duh. It's a microwave. If you want to make coffee, use the coffee-maker.

    And so now I'm a moron? And people wonder how these threads go so negative so quickly.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    Charles

    @DeathByVisualStudio: He was making a point by way of a comparison. I don't see where the moron notion comes from. You're being engaged in debate.
    C

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    @Charles: Ok, I'll remember that for the future. Thanks. It's like code: abstract it out enough and it's all good.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Remove travel app and you free up 200MB. All Win8 suffer the same storage issue anyway because of the Metro recovery feature. It is a cool feature, but, not so great for tiny HDD devices.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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