Upgradeable memory confirmed for HTC Surround

It doesn’t seem that difficult to get to actually, just a bit of disassembly required. It apparently comes with a SanDisk Class 4 16GB microSD card.

There are 9 screws to remove from the Surround before you can get to the two PCBs inside, and with it, the microSD card. Four of the screws are tiny phillips heads, the remaining 5 are Torx T-5 screws. Two of the Torx screws are marked with void stickers that must be perforated to unscrew the screws, so be warned. Disassembly is relatively easy though.

There’s been a bit of confusion about to what extent Microsoft supports users upgrading storage on their own with a microSD card of their choice. There’s a Microsoft knowledge base document now posted about it, but the state of affairs still remains confusing. The long and short of it is that only certain microSD cards meet the requisite performance requirements to be considered compatible with WP7. SD card class refers solely to sequential write performance (the class number refers directly to the speed in MB/s), but says nothing about that all-important 4K random read/write speed. Because WP7 uses onboard flash and the storage card in a JBOD, it’s possible that after you fill up the internal NAND and start writing on the microSD part of the storage space, some applications will feel fast, others slow. Interestingly, the card in the HTC Surround is just a class 4 16 GB SanDisk.

The other interesting thing is that cards initialized on WP7 are locked to a specific device, and moreover, stop being recognized on the desktop – perhaps permanently. I took the card out of the Surround and spent considerable time trying to make it format, first on Windows, then OSX, and finally linux by trying to write  zeros and random data to the disk using dd. This failed, as I only managed to get ‘medium not present’ errors every step of the way – in fdisk, gparted, every trick I know for really nuking storage. If you decide to upgrade your WP7 device, just be warned that it’s probably one-way for your card.

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