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Poll Thinktank - An idea for Surface, a challenge for Microsoft

Would you like to see such a dock?

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I'm not sure if this idea is new it may have been banded around already but I think it would be awesome so here goes. Surface replaces your laptop and tablet, now rather convincingly. I use my Surface for work at the office and everything in between; save for one place. My desk at home. I really cannot see what is preventing Microsoft going all the way. Create the device that replaces your Laptop, Tablet & Desktop. If you use a desktop computer you already have a monitor, keyboard, mouse and hard drives. Surely there could exist a "dock" that meant that your Surface had a powerful GPU (gamer alert), extra storage slots for hard drives, the list could go on. Of course the challenge that presents is you need some sort of killer connecter to send the relevant information to the GPU, HDDs etc but get over that and I'll sell my PC and have one device to rule them all!

High end PC £800, laptop £500, tablet £200
Surface: £900 Dock (with GPU): £300
Savings: £300

So what's stopping it? A few challenges I can see are powering such a device (needs about 500-600W), cooling the dock, creating a connection type which supports all of the parts. Is it too niche? Discuss...


Super Moderator
Staff member
You already have
Ethernet port,
Mini DisplayPort Daisy chain two or three Monitors
and five USB ports –
three USB 3.0 ports: HDD, SDD, additional gig Ethernet port
two USB 2.0 ports: Printer/scanner/fax/card readers - Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

The only thing you don't have is an external GPU and that one could be a problem as there's not anything in the Surface to support it. well there's PCIe but it's not brought external.

What else did you want?
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Super Moderator
Staff member
If you were referring to a future Surface then with USB 3.1 and 10 gbps bandwidth it might be possible to get 44-45% of the external GPU performance.... which would cause a lot of complaining... so not really feasible with that. Even if thunderbolt 2 was implemented, not likely, you wont see the full benefit of an external GPU unless its a very weak one and what's the point of that?

If you implemented an external PCIe bus you could do it BUT there are risks with this so I doubt it would ever happen.


100% in on this idea, ive thought about it many times. keep the surface simple but put the docking station on steroids. ive allready got cd rom, mouse, keyboard,fan, and monitor hooked up the the poor docking station..


Active Member
There are many people with Use Cases for a desktop with all its interface ports, slots, drive bays, etc.; a mobile device such as the Surface should not attempt to compete with such stationary-based devices.


Active Member
Maybe it's just me, but I like my gaming rig and I don't see the SP3s CPU being up to the task of running my games.

With the current dock, you can basically replace all three devices if you wish, however this new dock would target the more enthusiastic, power hungry market and not deliver what it needs to.


Active Member
Technically it is possible now. MSI just released their GPU dock, so did Alienware. And solutions for third party have been available for years, although it needs either Thunderbolt or ExpressCard port. Neither is currently supported on the SP3.

But theres hope, if the vaguely-stated Thunderbolt support in the charging port turns out to be true, the technology is there already. Its just a matter of time for somebody to build the adapter to support the standard Thunderbolt port, and applying the ViDock or other GPU docking stations.

And here, I quoted my own post from a few months ago
My wish for the next dock:
1. Put the same wonderful hinge!
Some of you wish to be able to use SP3's own hinge. I disagree. Lots of people open and close the kickstand 5-10x a day, hence it would be a lot better if we have another hinge for use at the desk, instead of stressing the same hinge over and over again.

2. Move away from the slider mechanism
It made sense in the SP1/SP2 era since we needed ports from both sides, but there should be a more practical, easier solution for the SP3. I would vote for Acer W700-style L-shaped docking station

2. USB Type-C ports
On the tablet as well. USB Type-C is super important for hybrid computers like the SP3, as it allows thinner, sleeker design without compromising flexibility. This is a big thing for Microsoft, and they should endorse it.

3. Multiple mDP ports
I know that some monitors do support daisy-chaining, but remember that some other don't. It doesn't make so much sense to replace a perfectly-working monitor just because it doesn't support daisy-chaining.

4. GPU support
As the SP3 is targeted for students, the kind of people who, beside study, also play games with intensive GPU usage, I would say that GPU support would be a killer. That would save us from buying separate PCs, managing multiple PCs, since we can just buy a $300 gaming GPU to play games better than $600 desktop PCs. Students are not going to pay $200 for a docking station, but they would definitely buy it if it could provide financial benefit over a separate desktop PC or gaming laptop. That alone would greatly expand the userbase of the docking station. And this is not just gamers, this is also important for 3D CAD designers, and other people with cool jobs that happen to love the Surface Pros

Minor requests
1. Front ports
Two or three USB ports and a multicard reader would be really handy.
2. Silver color?
The tablet got a new color, but the docking station didn't. Why?

And, btw, I disagree with your calculation: the dock is NOT going to cost £300 with the GPU included. I am pretty sure that, given the current docking station costs £200 with no GPU support whatsoever. That price is reasonable for a GPU-supporting dock, but youd still have to get the GPU yourself. (and yeah, I was too optimistic a few months ago. After I saw the MSI and Alienware docking stations, and how much they cost, I changed my mind)


I think most gamers would be happy with the i7. I think that would be a pretty decent match for my current rig, not as good but I'd compromise. I didn't realise MSI and others have already done it. Do be honest this is pretty much it...


The price shouldn't be more than £200 (without GPU) in the end it's just a box with fans, PSU and adaptors. I guess it all hinges on the connector. If they made a connector that supported a PCIe x16 output I think people could manufacture their own after market boxes if needs be.


Active Member
The price shouldn't be more than £200 (without GPU) in the end it's just a box with fans, PSU and adaptors. I guess it all hinges on the connector. If they made a connector that supported a PCIe x16 output I think people could manufacture their own after market boxes if needs be.
Theoretically, sure. The BOM cost wouldn't even reach 3 digits. However, we are talking about big-name companies, where they have to test their products extensively, and risk their name on it. That's why name-brand products are more expensive. Moreover, we are specifically talking about Microsoft, the company that sells a thin keyboard, with neither Bluetooth nor battery, for $130.


Well-Known Member
Well I have my bluetooth mouse and audio connection that automatically connect to my Surface when I plonk it on my desk... all I have to do is plug in the Mini DisplayPort cable to my external monitor and there we go :) a desktop replacement, which is exactly what's it's been performing as for over 18 months now!

So, personally, I don't really see the need for anything additional. Hell, I considered the official dock for a while, but I just couldn't justify any real improvements.