From the Forums: Enough storage on Surface tablets, Xbox Surface concept

Welcome to another From the Forums, where we bring you the latest discussions from our community, which is arguably the busiest Windows Phone forum out there. Highlighting a handful of threads that are popular with readers, what's been happening this week that you may have overlooked?

Is 32GB enough for today's computing? Is 1TB even enough? When it comes to the Surface Pro, that's what forum member wpguy has asked the community. Set to arrive in both 64GB and 128GB versions, will the Surface Pro sport enough room for everything consumers will need to store?

"Available free storage space on the Surface Pro 64 GB is reportedly 19 GB, and 83 GB on the 128 GB model. Is that enough? Sure you also get an additional 7 GB storage with SkyDrive, but you can't use that for running apps and applications. Sure you can plug in an external drive, but there goes portability. Should Microsoft also have a 256 GB option?"

Most consumers, especially those who build their own systems opt for 500GB or 1TB hard drives. These are still the traditional spin disk drives, but solid state drives are slowly catching on. The latter remains fairly expensive and solutions generally hit 100GB. As the Surface Pro is a tablet, is 64GB minimum enough?

What are your thoughts on storage and Microsoft's range of Windows tablets? Be sure to head on over to "Surface Pro: Is 19/83GB free space enough?" and add your $0.02.

Xbox Surface concept

Xbox Surface

Smileyctp has published a concept for the proposed Microsoft 7-inch "Xbox Surface" and how the UI may look for consumers. The above image is one of designs that shows an adapted Charm bar. SmartGlass is also seen to be integrated fairly heavily, which isn't a bad thing. The company is looking to further tie products together, which this would enable.

"As you can see, there are now four tile sizes, but the extra-large tile is reserved for the app powering each one of the hubs. With the music Hub Tile (as I will call them), you are able to play, pause, and skip music, or just launch the app. A few of the small tiles will perform hub-specific functions--the two here are to create a new Smart DJ and to play a playlist. Artists and albums can also be pinned to the hub screen, as seen with Billy Joel and Boston's album. Social music updates, which Microsoft has promised in an update to Xbox Music, will show up on a separate live tile."

A lot of the design has been borrowed from Windows Phone, which both complements the mobile platform as well as offering a unique experience for those on the mobile gaming device. The question we put to you is: what do you believe Microsoft will work with when it comes to the Xbox Surface? Windows Phone or Xbox 360? Add your thoughts on the above concept in the "Xbox Surface Concept" thread.

Miscellaneous: The Android Lumia Copycat

Lumia Copy

Many companies make use of designs that have been successful before, but there are those times when simply taking a smartphone and using some elements is taking just a bit too far. The "CloudFone Thrill" (pictured above) is such a device that looks strikingly familiar, right? While it's an Android smartphone, the similarities are just overbearing.

What do you make of the copycat? Be sure to add your thoughts over on the "Lumia Copy" thread. Thanks to WanderingTraveler for highlighting it.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I would even think a 512GB option would be nice, but with SSD prices the way they are it won't be affordable. I will look to buy the 128GB but at the end of the day. We all are held back by price. :(
  • Exactly my sentiments as well. Its not enough storage space, no. As we progress, programs are getting bigger and more demanding. But the price of hardware doesn't support a marketable 256+ device right now. Someday soon I'm sur, but right now, it does not.
  • How could the 64gb version only have 19 GB free. That has to be an error?
  • It was just a guess based on info on the 128GB version.  My 32GB tablet run W8 Pro and it has more than 15GB available outside of OS.
  • Just add a 64 GB or 128gb micro storage and use SkyDrive desktop to sync what you need. I keep all my data at home on a server, and access it independently. I don't need lots of local storage on one machine anymore.
  • Is that solution fast enough for video streaming?
    I'm srsly looking for a solution right now. My Laptop currently has 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD in the Optical drive bay. It's a almost 4 years old Studio XPS 13. I'd like to get an ultrabook, but none of them offer the space I currently need. Yes I'm really using those 1TB, since I have tons of videos and Music on there, and I'm a quality addict -> losts of flac and 1080p mkv. And that's only the stuff I'm carrying around. There's another 4TB on external drives that I usually leave at home.
    I'm really looking for a solution that let's me enjoy my library everywhere, preferably lag free.
  • It is supposed to be an lightweight, more powerful (think Intel) alternative to the Ipad. You can pop in a 64 GB SD card and have storage to go.
  • If 19gb is correct the 32gb version is just not enough. Would soon fill that with office and games. Guess it depends what you want it for.
  • You are looking at 20gb for the OS, I can see 40gb after the format & OS, not 19gb.
  • You're forgetting a bunch of preinstalled stuff, notoriously Office
  • office is not included with the pro version
    otoh, i think those guesses are way too far out, i mean you can take a general guess by looking at the current crop of "pro" windows 8, the size is only 10~15GB depending on what's installed, im going to say you would have at least 35~40GB available to use
  • How dare someone defile the Lumia with a android like design :P never gonna happen. Now I agree that there should be more space.
  • If you want a TABLET with more ample storage space, you have the option for a Windows RT device, which will have much more disk storage space available.
    The storage occupied by a Surface Pro device includes more than an OS.  First off, a 128GB SSD has only 119GB usable.  Then add the Windows OS, drivers and additional applications, recovery partition (which can be offloaded to increase local storage space),  performance related paging file (4GB RAM = 4GB paging file), etc.  
    If you pick up a MacBook Air with 128GB SSD, you are also not getting 128GB of storage.  This isn't anything new.
  • As various users have already pointed out, an SD card solves the memory problem so its pointless to complain. What would be the point of offering a bigger storage option if the price is ssds is still to expensive and therefore a 200 GB surface would cost way too much. Having an external 1 terrabyte drive for emergencies will take care of the any additional memory issues
  • Micro SD cards have very very slow write speeds and slow read speeds (significantly slower then normal SD cards which are also significantly slower then any ssd or even hdd) They are ok for storing and playing back media, but they are way to slow for installing applications on or editing a lightroom library on, ECT.
    Personally I think 128 GB is enough, but the idea that a micro SD card solves storage problems is bogus.
  • I'm not saying using micro SD cards is ideal, I'm saying that until ssd hard drives (which on tablets are even more expensive that regular ones) come down in price it is a stupid idea to sell a version of surface with more space that has a ludicrous price and no one will buy.
  • "pointless to complain"? They present a turd-sandwich with the line "oh well you can always scrape off the turd and put chicken in it" and we shouldn't complain?
  • Clearly you don't pay much attention to the SSD market. A 256GB drive can be had had well under $200.00USD.
  • People keep thinking these tablets are using regular ssd's but they aren't. The surface as well as a few other MS tablets use msata drives which are currently more expensive.
  • For the RT models space is less of a concern for the Pro models simple due to the fact you can install anything immediately makes space a premium. Making lots of SKUs available is certainly an option but the fact is with management it just becomes a comprimise that one is making the same as having an array of dongle or not having a DVD ect.
  • And then, you've the ASUS Transformer Book with 128GB or 256GB SSD + 500GB HDD in the dock system... That's much better ! And you have still 8 hours of work with the Core i7 option and 13,3" display !!
  • i will be getting the 128gb option and i will be getting office which comes with 20gb cloud. that is all i need as at work i will be connecting to a network server. no big games will play all that great on it and you can store media on the cloud to play on surface or xbox. would need a whole lot of programs to put a dent in a 83gb.
  • just to add usb3 is quite fast and connecting a external ssd drive or hybrid drive would be quite speedy. it would also be quite portable.
  • Often, when I think of how much storage I actually NEED versus how much would be "nice to have", I identify lazy habits on the storage front that contribute to "data sprawl". Things like needing to "keep" downloaded program installations are a by-product of "dial-up days". When I take an honest look at my "Downloads" folder, for instance, it's an eye-opening experience. What are the chances I'll need to reinstall something in a remote desert with no WiFi? All kidding aside, I then start looking at my music folder. Hmm, why do I need to keep all that when I can pay a small amount monthly to be able to stream any music I want "on-demand"? Pictures. Well, all of the ones I would want to show someone are easily accessible in the Cloud and even handy in FaceBook, etc. Documents and Email? Again, Office 365, DropBox, etc. You get the point. With Surface, I knew that for running our company, I would be purchasing the 128 GB Surface Pro on day 1 and was happy to see the 128 GB level. I had already decided I could get by with 64 after taking an HONEST look at my data, how much of it was actually needed when working remotely at clients sites, plants, etc. I then weighed that against my current tool for that, an HP TM2 TouchSmart "laptop/tablet" that is heavy enough to make things difficult to truly move about with impunity. It has a 500 GB hard drive and even with sloppy data sprawl, as an IT Professional I've only managed to fill 300 GB, and of that, my honest analysis of the data I was carrying around with me showed that, in essence, I "needed" only about 50 GB "at hand" at any given time. So, 128 GB gives ME plenty of room to groove, so to speak. It also forces me to not relive the bad data habits that I've learned over the years. Though my data is always backed up with a hybrid cloud approach, this is not the case for most folks. Many of them are "running around by the seat of their pants" with nearly 500 GB of data that they can't afford to lose, much of which are irreplaceable (photos/videos). Think about that a minute. Which devices get the most abuse? The thin, light, portable ones. Anyhow, though admittedly we'd all like to think we want as much storage as possible, there are some definite cons to that thinking.
  • I've definitely been lazy with my laptop.
    I've been trimming down my laptop since the Pro's specs were announced.  I've gone from ~420 GB used down to 117 GB today.  I'll lose about another 10 GB when I finish moving all of my source control to my hosted servers, and I know I'll be losing about another 50 GB when I setup primary and backup 2TB drives on my router and create a personal cloud.  I'll pop in a 64GB SD card, too, for music and videos on-the-go ... probably take the one out of my RT and configure the RT to use the 2TB drives on the network.
    Funny how just the Pro's announcement caused me to organize my digital assets.  Heck, I'll be getting rid of my WHS server even ... it will be nice to not pay for that thing to run.  When I bought my RT and two Nokia Play speakers, I gave away a lot of stereo equipment and freed-up a whole shelf.
  • Yep, I had the same "satisfied" feeling when I thinned down my data sprawl. Funny how the Surface Pro forced me to address it. Not many devices impress me enough for that. This will, in fact, be my first "day 1" electronics purchase. ;-)
  • Its bs that Microsoft bloated up win8 to take up that much hd space .when you buy a 32 GB device you should have no less than 26 GB. I hope ms is sued foe this
  • You realize the Office suite is installed on Windows RT as well right?
  • Anyone else disappointed that Office will not be included as part of the Surface Pro price?
  • Didn't expect it to be. They learned their lesson with the Surface RT. Their thought was that people would see the value of having the embedded Office 2013 Home & Student Apps when pricing it the way that they did, but completely failed on the marketing front (they have more losses than wins in that department, but at least they are starting to learn how to market). If they had dropped Surface RT without the Office Suite at $250 and then charged $50 for the app for those that wanted Office, or if they had simply marketed the price as "Includes a free device-lifetime subscription to Office Home & Student" and released it in June 2012 to catch pre-college students and existing college students before the Fall Semester, it would have FLOWN off the shelves. It's the perfect choice as opposed to a true laptop for the college student due to the ability to throw it in a backpack and do everything their iPad cannot, namely Office and the ability to have a real keyboard. This and the deep-penetration into the college environment (READ: Pre-Corporate familiarity) would have yielded benefits down the road in Microsoft's favorite environment: the Enterprise. In addition, it would have spurred interest in Windows Phone 8 launch in October by having Windows 8 in consumers hands for 3-4 months in a digestible form so that people would understand "Live Tiles" and why they distinguish Win8 devices from the crowd.
    Oh well, once Surface Pro launches, they will either need to reduce the price of Surface RT to that $250 level (and give Office away for free) or otherwise incentivize that platform because they missed a critical window. At that price, I'll replace the Kindle Fire my kids now use with a Surface RT. ;-9