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Teardown of non-Retina MacBook Pro finds thicker RAM slots, hard drive

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Apple's updated MacBook Pros featuring the same design as the last generation are thicker than the new Retina display model thanks to stacked RAM slots and a 2.5-inch hard disk drive.

iFixit took a peek inside the new 15-inch unibody MacBook Pro and found the individual RAM models are 3.15 millimeters thick, but the modules are stacked, leading to a total thickness of 9.15 millimeters. That's more than half the entire thickness of Apple's newly redesigned 18-millimeter thick Retina MacBook Pro.

Another component adding to bulk in the legacy design of the MacBook Pro is its hard disk drive, which is a standard 2.5-inch serial ATA drive. It's 9.45 millimeters thick, compared to just 3.16 millimeters for the flash memory in the Retina display MacBook Pro.

Obviously another key part to the bulk of the legacy MacBook Pro design is its inclusion of an optical disk drive. iFixit noted that a "significant portion" of the weight cut from the new Retina display MacBook Pro came from ditching the disc drive.

The solutions provider said it appreciates the inclusion of the optical drive in the MacBook Pro, because it can be removed to add in a second hard drive. In fact, it gave the non-Retina MacBook Pro a repairability score of 7 out of 10, compared to the 1 out of 10 given to the Retina display MacBook Pro.

Teardown 1


Another advantage for the legacy design is Apple's use of regular screws. The new Retina display MacBook Pro uses a proprietary pentalobe screw type that prevents users from cracking it open.

Teardown 1


The legacy MacBook Pro also features the same capacity as last year's model, with 77.5 Wh at 10.95 V. It's also the same size, and is 13.8 millimeters in thickness.

Teardown 1


In comparison, the battery in the new Retina display MacBook Pro varies in thickness from 5.25 millimeters to 8.60 millimeters, and it has a plastic frame around some of the cells.

Teardown 1


iFixit previously took apart the new MacBook Pro to discover it has soldered RAM and a proprietary solid-state drive, and also took a closer look at its high-resolution Retina display. The repair company also disassembled the new MacBook Air and found a revised flash memory connector, but the remaining design was largely the same as its predecessors.
post #2 of 34

IFixt must be having a sigh of relief as business for the non retina MACs is still possible.

post #3 of 34

This might be a really minor point, but pentalobe screws do not prevent users from "cracking open" the Retina MBP.  The pentalobe screws do mean that users need to buy a pentalobe screwdriver or bit to open the thing.  Of course, if they do just want to crack it open, no screwdriver is really needed.
 

post #4 of 34

Has AppleInsider been hacked? When I go to the home page I get an advert that loudly proclaims to me and all in my office, in audio, that I have won. Looks like a scam advert.

 

If you havent been hacked and are putting up adverts like that then I think its off to MacObserver for me from now on.

post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post

Has AppleInsider been hacked? When I go to the home page I get an advert that loudly proclaims to me and all in my office, in audio, that I have won. Looks like a scam advert.

 

If you havent been hacked and are putting up adverts like that then I think its off to MacObserver for me from now on.

 

 

nothing weird like that for me... sure you typed the address in right?
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by doh123 View Post

 

 

nothing weird like that for me... sure you typed the address in right?

Yes, quit your browser and and come back to the home page. You get this , complete with Audio. Very suspect. Then again, the adverts on this site have taken a quality nose dive recently anyway, so i am not too surprised. 

 

appleinsider.png

post #7 of 34

So a 2.5" hard drive is thicker than an SSD circuit board, and a pair of stacked RAM modules are thicker than memory on one board.

 

Another triumph of the obvious by AI.

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

So a 2.5" hard drive is thicker than an SSD circuit board, and a pair of stacked RAM modules are thicker than memory on one board.

Another triumph of the obvious by AI.

Agreed. This article seems heavily biased against the "bulk" of the "legacy" MacBook Pro ("legacy," as in "still being manufactured and sold"), and appears to be sponsored by iFixIt, too.

Not really sure why I still visit AI. At least DED isn't hijacking it as often lately.
My Android phone is the worst phone I've ever owned.
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My Android phone is the worst phone I've ever owned.
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post #9 of 34

Then is always THE ONE WHO writes three-letter words in CAPs, even if they ARE NOT acronyms. THE most common errors ARE MAC AND FAX. MACs, being machine addresses ARE NOT repairable, Macs ARE. The article is about Macs, not MACs.

post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post

Has AppleInsider been hacked? When I go to the home page I get an advert that loudly proclaims to me and all in my office, in audio, that I have won. Looks like a scam advert.

 

If you havent been hacked and are putting up adverts like that then I think its off to MacObserver for me from now on.

 

Use adblock...

post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by williamh View Post

This might be a really minor point, but pentalobe screws do not prevent users from "cracking open" the Retina MBP.  The pentalobe screws do mean that users need to buy a pentalobe screwdriver or bit to open the thing.  Of course, if they do just want to crack it open, no screwdriver is really needed.
 

You really crack me up !!

 

Why do I suddenly feel like making an omelette?

post #12 of 34

Great find, iFixit! I wondered whether there might be an optical drive in there!

post #13 of 34

Pentalobe prevents users from opening the device?

 

Thank the stars Apple has found classified technology to prevent users from opening the device.  Wait, what?

 

Oh, I see - by "prevents" you actually meant "delays them while they go buy the screwdriver from about a dozen online sources but only after they learn how to spell "pentalobe"".  

 

Got it.

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by knight lie View Post

…the "legacy" MacBook Pro ("legacy," as in "still being manufactured and sold")…

So you wouldn't call the iPhone 3GS a legacy product, despite it being three years old?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #15 of 34

It's 7 out of 10 on the repairability scale? I'm not sure. There aren't Apple employees sitting around wearing top hats and twirling handlebar mustaches, chuckling in glee that OWC can't expand the memory or the SSD in a MacBook Pro with Retina display. The very existence of these guys probably doesn't even enter into their consideration at all.

 

Apple is thinking about the geniuses in the Apple Store, which probably number in the thousands. Geniuses don't have to repair the machines or send them to a repair center, and customers don't have to wait. They just swap it out, letting someone in a central location puzzle out the repair at leisure for resale, eliminating back-room mistakes by geniuses, and increasing customer satisfaction. That probably cuts costs all over.

 

The memory chips will fail in the beginning or not at all. Apple has designed batteries that can be glued into the machine because they last the life of the machine. By the time the machine needs repair or a replacement battery, it will have been overcome by technology and the customer will want a new one anyway.

 

Optical disks will be in museums, next to the gramophone cylinders.

 

If Apple repairs my computer in the back room or Texas, they don't have time to go over it with a fine-toothed comb and refurbish it for me. Neither does any third-party repair facility. If the computer is a sealed device, they have to swap it out. I go home with a fully tested, completely refurbished computer! I don't have to wait five days or even overnight; I only have to transfer my data. iCloud takes care of my contacts, addresses, and appointments without any action on my part. If I keep my media in the cloud, it's even quicker and easier.

 

I remember when there were TV repairmen who came to the house and replaced tubes and capacitors. Those days are long gone. You can't replace the individual components of a TV any more, and you don't need to. For the most part, if they are not defective in the manufacture, they are immortal. Problems show up the first week or not at all.

 

If these guys were old-style TV repairman, what would my HDTV rank on their "repairability" scale?

 

I'm not interested in how easy it is to repair my computer. I'm interested in how unnecessary it is to repair my computer. On that scale, I give the MacBook Pros a 9 out of 10.


Edited by Panu - 6/20/12 at 7:42am
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

 

Use adblock...

Yeah, that's just a typical popup that could show up anywhere, as part of sold advertising space.  Not the greatest thing to see with regard to how your favorite sites are selling their ad space, but easy to kill.  Safari, IIRC, can only block all or none but since some sites need popup blocking disabled to use it's easy to use one with a selective "whitelist".

post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


So you wouldn't call the iPhone 3GS a legacy product, despite it being three years old?

Has the iPhone 3GS been updated (aside from going to 8GB SSD) since its release? No.

 

Has the MacBook Pro? Yes.

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panu View Post
...  I'm not interested in how easy it is to repair my computer. I'm interested in how unnecessary it is to repair my computer. ...

 

Great post.  I think this part sums up the whole thing though.  

 

I would only add that as someone who has repaired untold gazillions of computers myself and seen the results of many more repairs by third parties, that very often a third party repair is just the beginning of a much longer (and often nightmarish) story of repair.  Third party repair shops generally don't have great knowledge of the peculiarities of each model of Apple computer, often even accredited repair shops of long experience and with all the training haven't seen a single model of your computer before you bring it in.  They will use common sense and experience to wrestle out the dead hard drive or optical drive and they will upgrade the RAM with whatever the Internet tells them is a compatible type, but that's really the limit of their knowledge.  

 

In the case of the original MacBook Air for example (which is constructed very similarly to this new retina MacBook), most of the problems I saw with it were ones that were in fact created by a (attempted) third party repair.  The tiny wire that goes around the hard drive would be crimped by the bracket or the hinge or the motherboard would be toasted by an incorrect screw or scratch or simply not taking off the connectors with enough care.  Even before Apple started integrating components so much, these laptops are so finely constructed that a "repair" is almost as likely to kill the device as it is to resurrect it unless the third party repair person knows *exactly* what they are doing. 

post #19 of 34

The pricing for the new MBPs and RMBPs is interesting, in that even though the RMBP is expensive and may be seen as *too* expensive for one's needs, when you go over and take a look at the non R line you don't really save anything for giving up the R and thinness.  You do get some aspects that are dropped in the R, but most of them you don't need or could talk yourself out of needing.  It seems as if Apple really wants to push into the next era and not sell many non R laptops.  I'm sure a lot of people who could would have been happy with the new model of the older profile ordered a RMBP just due to not perceiving much of a final cost difference.

post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Great post.  I think this part sums up the whole thing though.  

I would only add that as someone who has repaired untold gazillions of computers myself and seen the results of many more repairs by third parties, that very often a third party repair is just the beginning of a much longer (and often nightmarish) story of repair.  Third party repair shops generally don't have great knowledge of the peculiarities of each model of Apple computer, often even accredited repair shops of long experience and with all the training haven't seen a single model of your computer before you bring it in.  They will use common sense and experience to wrestle out the dead hard drive or optical drive and they will upgrade the RAM with whatever the Internet tells them is a compatible type, but that's really the limit of their knowledge.  

In the case of the original MacBook Air for example (which is constructed very similarly to this new retina MacBook), most of the problems I saw with it were ones that were in fact created by a (attempted) third party repair.  The tiny wire that goes around the hard drive would be crimped by the bracket or the hinge or the motherboard would be toasted by an incorrect screw or scratch or simply not taking off the connectors with enough care.  Even before Apple started integrating components so much, these laptops are so finely constructed that a "repair" is almost as likely to kill the device as it is to resurrect it unless the third party repair person knows *exactly* what they are doing. 

That is my experience as well. Worse yet, I see new repair shops like CPR Cell Phone Repair opening every day providing unauthorized repairs by untrained personnel.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panu View Post

It's 7 out of 10 on the repairability scale? I'm not sure. There aren't Apple employees sitting around wearing top hats and twirling handlebar mustaches, chuckling in glee that OWC can't expand the memory or the SSD in a MacBook Pro with Retina display. The very existence of these guys probably doesn't even enter into their consideration at all.

 

Apple is thinking about the geniuses in the Apple Store, which probably number in the thousands. Geniuses don't have to repair the machines or send them to a repair center, and customers don't have to wait. They just swap it out, letting someone in a central location puzzle out the repair at leisure for resale, eliminating back-room mistakes by geniuses, and increasing customer satisfaction. That probably cuts costs all over.

 

The memory chips will fail in the beginning or not at all. Apple has designed batteries that can be glued into the machine because they last the life of the machine. By the time the machine needs repair or a replacement battery, it will have been overcome by technology and the customer will want a new one anyway.

 

Optical disks will be in museums, next to the gramophone cylinders.

 

If Apple repairs my computer in the back room or Texas, they don't have time to go over it with a fine-toothed comb and refurbish it for me. Neither does any third-party repair facility. If the computer is a sealed device, they have to swap it out. I go home with a fully tested, completely refurbished computer! I don't have to wait five days or even overnight; I only have to transfer my data. iCloud takes care of my contacts, addresses, and appointments without any action on my part. If I keep my media in the cloud, it's even quicker and easier.

 

I remember when there were TV repairmen who came to the house and replaced tubes and capacitors. Those days are long gone. You can't replace the individual components of a TV any more, and you don't need to. For the most part, if they are not defective in the manufacture, they are immortal. Problems show up the first week or not at all.

 

If these guys were old-style TV repairman, what would my HDTV rank on their "repairability" scale?

 

I'm not interested in how easy it is to repair my computer. I'm interested in how unnecessary it is to repair my computer. On that scale, I give the MacBook Pros a 9 out of 10.

 

Excellent post. The fact that people are claiming that Apple made this huge effort specifically to make the MBP difficult/impossible to upgrade r repair is ridiculous. It wasn't even a factor, rather a consequence of their design, weight,  and engineering goals. It's a compromise thats completely worth while, as every single person who buys the machine will benefit from the reductions in size/weight and increase in reliability, while only a fringe who have fringe needs will be affected by the non-modal nature of the machine. 

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

 

Use adblock...

Why don't you just advocate piracy while you're at it.

 

People, if there is a specific type of ad that is a problem, block just that ad, and maybe tell the site why you're blocking it. Many ads are geotargeted, just because YOU see it, doesn't mean everyone is. My blacklist contains exactly that ad (that comes from cdn.morningfalls.com) and a few ad systems that spawn new windows. That's it. The default behavior of adblock is to wholesale block every script in a very long and outdated blacklist plus images of typical ad sizes. You're killing the performance of your browser by using it.

 

Anyway...

 

About the Macbook Pro itself, The MBP is largely more repairable than a Dell or HP laptop, because to clean them you have to take out an absurd amount of screws just to take the back off. Most people just let it cool down, and use a vacuum cleaner or compressed air and attempt to blow the dust bunnies out the way they came in. I'd honestly never recommend attempting to repair a laptop made after 2006, as many laptops produced after 2006 don't use socketed CPU's, so there's really nothing worth fixing beyond the back panel in the MBP or the plastic panels in Dell's and HP's. The round-trip shipping of replacement parts will cost more than the labor saved in not just shipping the entire thing in the first place to be fixed.

post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


So you wouldn't call the iPhone 3GS a legacy product, despite it being three years old?

 

Legacy denotes an outdated product that is no longer available, but still in use and is thus supported.

 

Last I checked, I could walk into any AT&T store and walk out with a brand new 3GS in a matter of minutes.

 

So to answer your question, no, I would not call the 3GS a "legacy" product.

post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa View Post

The default behavior of adblock is to wholesale block every script in a very long and outdated blacklist plus images of typical ad sizes. You're killing the performance of your browser by using it.

Not in my experience, for both performance and hiding things that aren't ads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Legacy denotes an outdated product that is no longer available, but still in use and is thus supported.

Legacy also denotes products superseded by their successors, regardless of their own status.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #25 of 34
Well Appleinsider and the quality of the articles here have hit a new low. This would have been a good place to discuss the new MBPs features and capabilities. Instead we get a non sense article about what makes it thicker than the RMBP.

Come on guys, if AI can't do better than this it is time to close up shop. Many of us would prefer an actual review of the machine, by somebody that actually has their hands on a machine.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Yeah, that's just a typical popup that could show up anywhere, as part of sold advertising space.  Not the greatest thing to see with regard to how your favorite sites are selling their ad space, but easy to kill.  Safari, IIRC, can only block all or none but since some sites need popup blocking disabled to use it's easy to use one with a selective "whitelist".

Safari has never been successful in blocking pop-ups for me. Maybe a bunch of pop-up ads are blocked (I don't really know), but some websites seem to have learned how to get around Safari's blocking, with pop-up surveys and all sorts of other stuff, including ads.

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Safari has never been successful in blocking pop-ups for me. Maybe a bunch of pop-up ads are blocked (I don't really know), but some websites seem to have learned how to get around Safari's blocking, with pop-up surveys and all sorts of other stuff, including ads.

And I've not once had a single pop-up since starting to use Safari a decade ago. Not even on some stupid sites whose functionality magically breaks if it doesn't have that popup. What sort of sites do you visit where you have this trouble?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa View Post

Why don't you just advocate piracy while you're at it.

People, if there is a specific type of ad that is a problem, block just that ad, and maybe tell the site why you're blocking it. Many ads are geotargeted, just because YOU see it, doesn't mean everyone is. My blacklist contains exactly that ad (that comes from cdn.morningfalls.com) and a few ad systems that spawn new windows. That's it. The default behavior of adblock is to wholesale block every script in a very long and outdated blacklist plus images of typical ad sizes. You're killing the performance of your browser by using it.

Anyway...

What the hell does Piracy have to do with this?

Also, I have a 25mbps internet connection so webpages load up in seconds. I'm not too worried about browser performance. I can wait a couple extra miliseconds to see my content.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

What the hell does Piracy have to do with this?
Also, I have a 25mbps internet connection so webpages load up in seconds. I'm not too worried about browser performance. I can wait a couple extra miliseconds to see my content.

AdBlock works and it's awesome, ignore the SEO troll. We're taking back the web browsing experience, one ad at a time.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #30 of 34
Genius, or Avarice?
 
I use to be able to buy the 15" MBP with the standard spec's and upgrade it on my own for a faction of the cost. I could buy a 512 GB SSD for around $300 oppose to the $900 Apple wants. I could also upgrade my own RAM to max it out at 16GB for less than $100, while Apple wants almost $300 to do the same.
 
So thats $600 - $700 more for upgrades I could do myself...
 
It appears that they are capping the non retina display model to 8 GB of RAM (hope that is not true)...
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loyalizer View Post

It appears that they are capping the non retina display model to 8 GB of RAM (hope that is not true)...

Of course it isn't true. "Capping"? Drop 32 GB* of your own in there. Why would you want to buy regular RAM from Apple anyway? lol.gif

*Once 16GB sticks start to exist. Should be a year or two.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #32 of 34

I agree that Apple probably wasn't thinking about repairs when they designed the new MBP. It was designed to meet certain specs without any other concern.

 

I think the relative ease of fixing the old MBP was primarily because hard drives fail and business customers want to be able to replace them in-house. Making the RAM slots accessible just made sense when you're already making the HD accessible. Now that the drive is an SSD card they see no need to allow any access to the interior.

 

I expect most people in the market for a new MBP don't care about repairability. Those in the market for a pre-owned Mac, however, have no choice but to worry about it.

 

Of course Apple doesn't care about the used computer market. It only generates a small amount of income for them by accelerating purchases of new machines by people who would otherwise not be able to afford it and from selling parts for out-of-warranty machines.

 

Apple may claim their new batteries will get 1000 charge cycles, but I'll believe that when I see it. My wife's last MacBook battery lasted only 100 cycles before getting to point where the machine would shut itself off without warning 45 minutes after coming off the charger. Glued in batteries are going to be a major pain in the ass to get out and a lot of parts are going to get broken in the process.

 

In the long run these more easily repaired MBPs may hold their value much longer than their retina cousins.

post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Of course it isn't true. "Capping"? Drop 32 GB* of your own in there. Why would you want to buy regular RAM from Apple anyway? lol.gif
*Once 16GB sticks start to exist. Should be a year or two.
 
I'd like to just drop in an 8G RAM stick.... oh.
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panu View Post

Apple has designed batteries that can be glued into the machine because they last the life of the machine. By the time the machine needs repair or a replacement battery, it will have been overcome by technology and the customer will want a new one anyway.

I don't know, I think some amount of concern over the battery is warranted. My 2007 MBP is on its third or fourth battery, the first one or two were recalled. The third battery, now dead, is about a third thicker now, just sitting on a shelf. And I do run it through the battery cycling recommendation according to the instructions.
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