1. Reflexx's Avatar
    The top end Wacom Cintiq 27" HD Touch is about $2700. It has MUCH lower resolution and a slightly lower color gamut. It's their halo device. Their Corvette. And it just got its world rocked.

    The Surface Studio's screen is stunningly amazing. The pixel density and color space are superior to the Cintiq. The dimensions are more artist friendly. The pen is still behind Wacom's because it doesn't have tilt sensitivity, but there is less parallax with the Surface Studio pen.

    But Microsoft's device comes in at $3000 WITH a PC. That's right. For a mere $300 more than the Cintiq, MS is bundling in a PC.

    ...and that's why it won't usurp Wacom... for now at least.

    A big reason that Wacom Cintiqs are so popular with artists is that it is a peripheral that can move from PC to PC. With every PC upgrade, the Cintiq (which might be the most expensive computer part) doesn't need to be replaced. The investment pays off because it can be used for many years.

    I think there's a good market out there of artists that would be more than willing to shell out $2700 for the Surface Studio monitor. Heck, they may even pay $3000.

    They would be less inclined to pay $3000, $2700, or even $2500 for an All-in-One PC.

    Don't get me wrong. I expect the Surface Studio to have robust sales. It's more than enough for many 2D atists that won't be pushing their computer to its limits. But 3D, FX, Motion Graphics and Video Compositing artists may often upgrade their PCs. They don't need the beautiful tiny little box for their computer. They need the extra wide tower with a motherboard capable of holding two Xeons. Or 128 GB or RAM. Or full size 8GB graphics cards.

    But MS doesn't want to necessarily take on Wacom. Why? Windows.

    The Surface Studio exists to promote Windows, and that's why it only comes as an All-in-One. The goal isn't to have people buy these monitors for their Macs. The goal is to win those Mac users over to Windows.

    So while I will dream of having a stand-alone Surface Studio monitor, it may not happen until MS feels like they have already succeeded in luring those Mac users and turned them into Windows users.
    Last edited by Reflexx; 10-28-2016 at 04:07 PM.
    James8561, jmshub, ananve and 1 others like this.
    10-28-2016 03:40 AM
  2. jmshub's Avatar
    I'm an IT professional, so I can't claim to know the workflow of the creative professionals they are aiming the Surface Studio at. But it seems to me that an AIO would be a great form factor for this. No plugging it into your existing computer and then spending the rest of the day searching for drivers and configuring settings. If the Studio works as well as Microsoft wants it to, plug it in, turn it on, and you're off working. All major software packages that designers use is already cross platform these days, so there really isn't a compelling reason that these folks need MacOS to do their jobs, it's just the self declaration that creatives use Mac. I think Microsoft destroyed that premise with their event. Not only building beautiful, functional devices like the new Surface, but showcasing their drive to creative professionals to the point that they declared the shipping name of Redstone 2 to be Windows Creative Update.

    Gotta say, this is smart on the part of Microsoft. While MS struggles in mobile, they own desktop computing, but as often pointed out, personal computers are a shrinking market. Microsoft tailoring to businesses, even specialties like this, that will continue to be using computers in the "post-PC era" is the best way to keep Windows relevant.
    10-28-2016 10:15 AM
  3. Blacklizted's Avatar
    I'm an IT professional, so I can't claim to know the workflow of the creative professionals they are aiming the Surface Studio at. But it seems to me that an AIO would be a great form factor for this. No plugging it into your existing computer and then spending the rest of the day searching for drivers and configuring settings. If the Studio works as well as Microsoft wants it to, plug it in, turn it on, and you're off working. All major software packages that designers use is already cross platform these days, so there really isn't a compelling reason that these folks need MacOS to do their jobs, it's just the self declaration that creatives use Mac. I think Microsoft destroyed that premise with their event. Not only building beautiful, functional devices like the new Surface, but showcasing their drive to creative professionals to the point that they declared the shipping name of Redstone 2 to be Windows Creative Update.

    Gotta say, this is smart on the part of Microsoft. While MS struggles in mobile, they own desktop computing, but as often pointed out, personal computers are a shrinking market. Microsoft tailoring to businesses, even specialties like this, that will continue to be using computers in the "post-PC era" is the best way to keep Windows relevant.
    I agree. Businesses still uses Windows 10. Our creative services team still uses Windows. I know one company who bought Macs for their sales team and they are struggling to open Excel with macros in it, pivot even, just because the Director thinks its cool to carry around Macbooks.
    Player Piano likes this.
    10-28-2016 01:21 PM
  4. Reflexx's Avatar
    I'm an IT professional, so I can't claim to know the workflow of the creative professionals they are aiming the Surface Studio at. But it seems to me that an AIO would be a great form factor for this. No plugging it into your existing computer and then spending the rest of the day searching for drivers and configuring settings. If the Studio works as well as Microsoft wants it to, plug it in, turn it on, and you're off working. All major software packages that designers use is already cross platform these days, so there really isn't a compelling reason that these folks need MacOS to do their jobs, it's just the self declaration that creatives use Mac. I think Microsoft destroyed that premise with their event. Not only building beautiful, functional devices like the new Surface, but showcasing their drive to creative professionals to the point that they declared the shipping name of Redstone 2 to be Windows Creative Update.

    Gotta say, this is smart on the part of Microsoft. While MS struggles in mobile, they own desktop computing, but as often pointed out, personal computers are a shrinking market. Microsoft tailoring to businesses, even specialties like this, that will continue to be using computers in the "post-PC era" is the best way to keep Windows relevant.
    The problem with it being an AiO isn't because of the OS.

    I'm a professional 3D artist. The VAST MAJORITY of 3D artists use Windows. Many of my friends/colleagues are 3D artists, animators, 2D artists, and designers.

    There is genuine excitement for this device, but for some of us (especially the 3D people), it being an AiO is a deal breaker because our hardware needs can be pretty extreme. It's not uncommon for 3D freelancers to work with dual Xeon workstations with 64+ GB of RAM and Quadro graphics cards. Even those of us with regular day jobs and don't freelance too much still have some fairly robust home computers. While the Surface Studio might be powerful enough for me working on personal projects, the thing I worry about as a 3D artist is how long it will be before I need to upgrade.

    Many of us upgrade PC components every 2-3 yrs. Spending $1000 on a new workstation parts every 2-3 yrs isn't that big a deal. Just like other monitors, the Cintiq doesn't need to be replaced when I replace my workstation. I just can use my Cintiq on the new workstation.

    For a studio, imagine that with 20 computers. A studio could make a one time purchase for a Cintiq and it will last 10 yrs. Or they can have to pretty much repurchase the monitor (because it's part of an AiO) every time they refresh their hardware.
    10-28-2016 04:17 PM
  5. jmshub's Avatar
    As I said, I'm not a professional. I was just giving my take on the matter. Don't most 3D shops push the rendering off to to render farms?
    10-28-2016 04:37 PM
  6. Reflexx's Avatar
    As I said, I'm not a professional. I was just giving my take on the matter. Don't most 3D shops push the rendering off to to render farms?
    It depends on the type of 3D work they are doing. If they are primarily doing pre-rendered animations they might use a render farm, but that can get expensive. You'll often do test renders of some frames on your workstation before sending something out to a render farm.

    For games, you rarely hear abour render farms being used. Most cinematics are probably outsourced to studios that specialize in prerendered stuff.

    But for 3D there is more than that.

    The GPU will be important for viewport performance. This determines how many polys you can work with in your software. Viewports need to render in real-time, so you can think of them like game engines. When looking at 4 different views simultaneously, you're basically rendering 4 real-time 3D scenes as you move things around.

    There are also hardware rendererz out there that are gaining in popularity. Those make use of CUDA cores for making pre-rendered scenes.

    The CPU is used heavily when working with things like dynamics simulation in software like Maya. For 2D, Rendering out video composites is also CPU heavy.

    Most traditional rendering is CPU heavy, and if you're working on single frame images you're probably not using a render farm. My buddy's frelance workstation takes 10 minutes to render a scene that would take some of our cheap work computers an hour.

    Software like zBrush (digital sculpting) is very CPU and RAM heavy.

    Honestly, the needs of digital artists can get pretty ridiculously insane.
    ananve and jmshub like this.
    10-28-2016 07:45 PM
  7. Christopher Lindsay's Avatar
    Depending on the customizing choices of the dial it could work great in music studios. I'd love to add it to mine but that dial would have to have some serious programmability to work for me.
    10-29-2016 01:27 PM
  8. Krystianpants's Avatar
    It depends on the type of 3D work they are doing. If they are primarily doing pre-rendered animations they might use a render farm, but that can get expensive. You'll often do test renders of some frames on your workstation before sending something out to a render farm.

    For games, you rarely hear abour render farms being used. Most cinematics are probably outsourced to studios that specialize in prerendered stuff.

    But for 3D there is more than that.

    The GPU will be important for viewport performance. This determines how many polys you can work with in your software. Viewports need to render in real-time, so you can think of them like game engines. When looking at 4 different views simultaneously, you're basically rendering 4 real-time 3D scenes as you move things around.

    There are also hardware rendererz out there that are gaining in popularity. Those make use of CUDA cores for making pre-rendered scenes.

    The CPU is used heavily when working with things like dynamics simulation in software like Maya. For 2D, Rendering out video composites is also CPU heavy.

    Most traditional rendering is CPU heavy, and if you're working on single frame images you're probably not using a render farm. My buddy's frelance workstation takes 10 minutes to render a scene that would take some of our cheap work computers an hour.

    Software like zBrush (digital sculpting) is very CPU and RAM heavy.

    Honestly, the needs of digital artists can get pretty ridiculously insane.
    I don't think it's meant for the extreme artist doing 3d rendering. More than anything it's for the average consumer who also enjoys art and wants to get the best experience without investing way too much. That is the driving force for mainstream popularity. The ability for anyone to engage in their hobby right from their pc. MS and partners can do software optimizations for the studio. It's Hardware will always be the same. Kind of like a console in gaming. The console can squeeze quite a lot out of games while PC's require much more horsepower due to less optimization. But of course the horsepower they do contain is so insane it's still better. Though this is mostly due to the console life cycle. Often times consoles come out they are close in power to what's available on PC. Aside from extreme niche audiences that double down on cards and other things.

    My friend does 3d animation and I recall him using blender software where the actual better results came from a lower end Nvidia GTX 570Ti(don't recall the exact one) because it was super optimized for it. So instead of buying the better card for gaming which he also does he bought this one specifically to do animation with this software. Goes to show you what optimization is capable of.
    Last edited by Krystianpants; 10-29-2016 at 04:55 PM.
    Reflexx likes this.
    10-29-2016 04:22 PM
  9. techiez's Avatar
    The top end Wacom Cintiq 27" HD Touch is about $2700. It has MUCH lower resolution and a slightly lower color gamut. It's their halo device. Their Corvette. And it just got its world rocked.

    The Surface Studio's screen is stunningly amazing. The pixel density and color space are superior to the Cintiq. The dimensions are more artist friendly. The pen is still behind Wacom's because it doesn't have tilt sensitivity, but there is less parallax with the Surface Studio pen.

    But Microsoft's device comes in at $3000 WITH a PC. That's right. For a mere $300 more than the Cintiq, MS is bundling in a PC.

    ...and that's why it won't usurp Wacom... for now at least.

    A big reason that Wacom Cintiqs are so popular with artists is that it is a peripheral that can move from PC to PC. With every PC upgrade, the Cintiq (which might be the most expensive computer part) doesn't need to be replaced. The investment pays off because it can be used for many years.

    I think there's a good market out there of artists that would be more than willing to shell out $2700 for the Surface Studio monitor. Heck, they may even pay $3000.

    They would be less inclined to pay $3000, $2700, or even $2500 for an All-in-One PC.

    Don't get me wrong. I expect the Surface Studio to have robust sales. It's more than enough for many 2D atists that won't be pushing their computer to its limits. But 3D, FX, Motion Graphics and Video Compositing artists may often upgrade their PCs. They don't need the beautiful tiny little box for their computer. They need the extra wide tower with a motherboard capable of holding two Xeons. Or 128 GB or RAM. Or full size 8GB graphics cards.

    But MS doesn't want to necessarily take on Wacom. Why? Windows.

    The Surface Studio exists to promote Windows, and that's why it only comes as an All-in-One. The goal isn't to have people buy these monitors for their Macs. The goal is to win those Mac users over to Windows.

    So while I will dream of having a stand-alone Surface Studio monitor, it may not happen until MS feels like they have already succeeded in luring those Mac users and turned them into Windows users.

    its not a cintiq killer (yet) but an imac killer, post the creators update you might see a surface tablet to compete with cintiq
    10-29-2016 11:53 PM
  10. Reflexx's Avatar
    I don't think it's meant for the extreme artist doing 3d rendering. More than anything it's for the average consumer who also enjoys art and wants to get the best experience without investing way too much. That is the driving force for mainstream popularity. The ability for anyone to engage in their hobby right from their pc. MS and partners can do software optimizations for the studio. It's Hardware will always be the same. Kind of like a console in gaming. The console can squeeze quite a lot out of games while PC's require much more horsepower due to less optimization. But of course the horsepower they do contain is so insane it's still better. Though this is mostly due to the console life cycle. Often times consoles come out they are close in power to what's available on PC. Aside from extreme niche audiences that double down on cards and other things.

    My friend does 3d animation and I recall him using blender software where the actual better results came from a lower end Nvidia GTX 570Ti(don't recall the exact one) because it was super optimized for it. So instead of buying the better card for gaming which he also does he bought this one specifically to do animation with this software. Goes to show you what optimization is capable of.
    I think this is mainly aimed at 2D artists. Both hobbyists and professional.

    It seems a little weird considering how much emphasis they put on 3D during the presentation, but maybe they have some big plans for a year or two from now.

    The Surface Studio is still a beautiful aspirational device, and if I didn't have to worry about things like "practicality" I'd surely be buying one. It's like a Corvette. I want one, but I can't justify it even though I'm a professional artist. I'm just the wrong kind of artist for this version of the product.

    As for the older graphics cards being better than newer...

    That's normally a driver issue. 3D software can be finicky. Especially with gaming cards. Gaming cards are built for brute force speed, with quality and error correction being secondary. Workstation cards focus more on quality and consistency, sacrificing a bit of speed. It's mostly in how the drivers are written. So it may take a while before some nice stable drivers that work well with the software are out.
    10-30-2016 05:05 PM
  11. Cane Prevost's Avatar
    The idea behind the Surface Studio is "everybody is a creator." It's aimed at consumers who want to create websites, edit photos and video, and create digital illustrations and animations. Graphic designers will love it as will photographers. These machines will be perfect for them. The market is huge. Basically everyone who comfortably uses an iMac.
    11-03-2016 06:52 PM
  12. DCW1000's Avatar
    Whenever I hear that the existence of some Machine X is a death blow for some similar but not identical Machine Y, I kind of lean back and take a deep breath. Every machine dies eventually, so it's only the timetable we're talking about for either machine -- not a lethal relationship. In this specific matter, I will just point out that when I had a choice to set up a Cintiq environment, I didn't. When I had a chance to order a Studio, I did. If the Studio turns out be an "almost but not quite" machine for me, I have the option to let it go and move into something more powerful.
    11-03-2016 08:51 PM
  13. Tsang Fai's Avatar
    Many of us upgrade PC components every 2-3 yrs. Spending $1000 on a new workstation parts every 2-3 yrs isn't that big a deal. Just like other monitors, the Cintiq doesn't need to be replaced when I replace my workstation. I just can use my Cintiq on the new workstation.
    You can simply sell your old Surface Studio after 2-3 years, and then buy the new Surface Studio. Hopefully you can sell it for half the original price (about USD1500 for the base model), assuming Surface Studio is still popular after 2-3 years. So you may just need to spend about USD1500 for the upgrade.
    Reflexx likes this.
    11-04-2016 01:32 PM
  14. Cane Prevost's Avatar
    Microsoft is not going after the Wacom crowd with this device. If they were they'd have opted for Wacom technology instead. If you have or use a 3000 dollar Wacom device then most likely this is not the machine for you. That crowd is very small though and not a great target audience for this machine. For photographers for example, this machine is going to be brilliant. The ability to retouch right on the screen and create editing masks with a pen is going to be huge for them. For everyday consumers who want to create digital content this machine will offer a compelling choice. If I were in the market for a desktop I'd spend a bit more and reach for this device for the added functionality over an iMac right now. That says a lot because I've never owned anything that wasn't Apple.
    Flurrycat and Reflexx like this.
    11-04-2016 02:09 PM
  15. Reflexx's Avatar
    My needs would be better served with a Cintiq.

    ...but I WANT the Surface Studio.
    11-21-2016 09:39 PM
  16. cavicord's Avatar
    Surface studio is best ever
    12-03-2016 02:18 PM

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