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Teardown of 13" Retina MacBook Pro finds redesigned battery, Samsung flash, soldered RAM

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display isn't just a shrunken-down version of its 15-inch counterpart, as a teardown of the device has found key changes to its design, including a rearrangement of the battery cells.

Teardown


By redesigning the battery in the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, Apple was able to "cleverly" hide the solid-state drive underneath the device's trackpad assembly, iFixit discovered in its disassembly of the new notebook. There's even an empty space next to the SSD, which the repair site found to be "very un-Apple."

The solutions provider attempted to fit a 9.5 millimeter Crucial solid-state drive into the space under the trackpad, but it couldn't be closed. They suggested that a thinner 7-millimeter or 5-millimeter hard drive could fit in the space, which could allow upgrades for even greater capacity than Apple's flash memory can allow.

Teardown


The flash storage in the 13-inch MacBook Pro taken apart by iFixit is a Samsung MZ-DPC2560/0A2 unit rated at 3.3 volts and 2.39 amps with 256 gigabytes of storage.

The disassembly discovered that the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro has the same AirPort card as its 15-inch counterpart, while the heat sink has been slightly scaled down to fit into the smaller notebook. Apple has also once again used fans with asymmetrical blade spacing to reduce fan noise.

Teardown


And like the 15-inch model, the RAM is surface-mount soldered to the logic board, meaning no upgrades are possible. Apple does not offer any more than 8 gigabytes of RAM on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The chips found on the system's logic board are:
  • Intel Core i5-3210M 2.5 GHz processor (Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz)
  • Hynix H5TC4G83MFR DDR3L SDRAM (8x4 Gb front and back for a total of 64 Gb or 8 GB)
  • Intel BD82QS77 platform controller hub
  • Intel DSL3510L Thunderbolt controller
  • Texas Instruments Stellaris LM4FS1AH microcontroller with integrated ARM core
  • Hynix H5TC4G83MFR DDR3L SDRAM
  • SMSC USB2512B USB 2.0 Hub Controller
  • Cypress Semiconductor CY8C24794-24L programmable SoC
  • Maxim MAX15119 Apple-specific IMVP7 CPU/GPU power controller
  • Cirrus Audio 4206BCNZ audio controller
  • Texas Instruments TPS 51980

Teardown


Another strange inclusion found in the notebook is a flash memory chip on the trackpad board. The same feature is also found in the 15-inch model, but iFixit doesn't know why a trackpad would require flash memory.

As a device repair site, iFixit rates the repairability of the electronics it disassembles. They found that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is a slight improvement over the 15-inch model in terms of recyclability and repairability, specifically with relation to the removal of the device's batteries. Still, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display could only earn a repairability score of 2 out of 10.
post #2 of 53

You don't make money on 'tear downs' so not surprised iFixit is not happy with current models. Take what they write with grain of salt, and consider Applecare for some of these latest MacBooks.

post #3 of 53
i am not happy with a battery i cant swap, and a hd and ram i cant upgrade . All those points will prevent me extending the life of my machine. gone are the days of buying a cheap mbpro and pimping it beyond the available specs on apple store. Apple is starting to suck hard!
post #4 of 53
Fusion drive coming to MBPs? This is exactly what I was hoping for before the 15" got the redesign. Maybe next year.

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post #5 of 53
I'm not sure I like the path apple is taking with these new machines. I'm really glad I got the last generation MBP15 which is user upgradeable and has an extra space for a second hard / SSD drive, en lieu of the optical drive.
post #6 of 53
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
Fusion drive coming to MBPs? This is exactly what I was hoping for before the 15" got the redesign. Maybe next year.

 

I would think by the decisions they've made you could tell that they've decided to supersede that entirely in the laptops. By next year I figure the retina models will be cheap enough to bring down to standard pricing, so the old models would be dropped. 

 

Fusion Drive exists on the desktops because of the continuing sheer cost and lack of capacity of SSDs. It's a way to get the speed of an SSD and the cheap capacity of a spinning drive. It's basically a stopgap until large, cheap SSDs can replace drives entirely. 

 

I've been warning a drive like this for at least five years, and it's not too little too late, but it's close to irrelevance. 

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #7 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel655 View Post

i am not happy with a battery i cant swap, and a hd and ram i cant upgrade . All those points will prevent me extending the life of my machine. gone are the days of buying a cheap mbpro and pimping it beyond the available specs on apple store. Apple is starting to suck hard!

For now at least you have the option of a non retina MBP which is more accessible. Or have the latest incarnations of those got soldered in RAM too? It's getting hard to keep up these days!

Having said that, my previously held personal view that I couldn't really tell a retina from a non retina display took a hit last night when I found my iPad 2 was out of juice so I used my wife's retina iPad to watch Netflix! OMG what a difference. Now I am ticked off as I was considering a non retina MBP so I could customize it myself!
Edited by digitalclips - 10/25/12 at 7:41am
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post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I would think by the decisions they've made you could tell that they've decided to supersede that entirely in the laptops. By next year I figure the retina models will be cheap enough to bring down to standard pricing, so the old models would be dropped. 

Fusion Drive exists on the desktops because of the continuing sheer cost and lack of capacity of SSDs. It's a way to get the speed of an SSD and the cheap capacity of a spinning drive. It's basically a stopgap until large, cheap SSDs can replace drives entirely. 

I've been warning a drive like this for at least five years, and it's not too little too late, but it's close to irrelevance. 

I agree, it is only a stop gap. I wonder how far off inexpensive SSDs in large capacities are ... Any guesses?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Fusion drive coming to MBPs? This is exactly what I was hoping for before the 15" got the redesign. Maybe next year.

 

No space in the rMBP.  Possible in the old-style 13" and 15".  The new Mac mini has the Fusion drive.

post #10 of 53
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
I agree, it is only a stop gap. I wonder how far off inexpensive SSDs in large capacities are ... Any guesses?

 

Depends on what you want to call acceptable capacity. A terabyte SSD existed in… gosh, when was it. Maybe 2009. You may guess the price, however. lol.gif

 

Spinning drives just hit 4TB (Seagate only, external only, soldered into the case like an idiot), so we'll call that the goalpost. I figure a 4TB SSD in… early winter 2014 for… again, guess the price.

 

Good news is they can only really move that goalpost once. 5TB is the theoretical maximum for perpendicular recording, isn't it? So once we have drives with 5 1TB platters, it's over. 

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #11 of 53

The lack of a dedicated GPU with the Retina display makes the 13in not very Pro and a non starter IMO. You can kind of get away with it in the 'standard' Pro, but HD4000 is not very future proof.  Glad I have the 15in. 

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post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel655 View Post

i am not happy with a battery i cant swap, and a hd and ram i cant upgrade . All those points will prevent me extending the life of my machine. gone are the days of buying a cheap mbpro and pimping it beyond the available specs on apple store. Apple is starting to suck hard!

 

The answer is obvious.  If the fact that you *can* do those things was making you happy previously and that happiness has now been taken away, then building your own laptop from scratch or making a hackintosh laptop will obviously make you even happier.  

 

In other words, go make your own laptop and stop whining about something that isn't going to change. 1smile.gif

post #13 of 53
SSDs have come down in prices, in March I bought a 256GB for 300, and now I can get a 512GB for 300, so hopefully by next march we should be able to get a 512GB for 150 or 768GB for 300.
post #14 of 53
I wonder if the RAM in the trackpad is for some sort of connection between a device and the trackpad. Maybe laying a phone on the trackpad to transfer data, recharge, etc.?
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Depends on what you want to call acceptable capacity. A terabyte SSD existed in… gosh, when was it. Maybe 2009. You may guess the price, however. lol.gif

Spinning drives just hit 4TB (Seagate only, external only, soldered into the case like an idiot), so we'll call that the goalpost. I figure a 4TB SSD in… early winter 2014 for… again, guess the price.

Good news is they can only really move that goalpost once. 5TB is the theoretical maximum for perpendicular recording, isn't it? So once we have drives with 5 1TB platters, it's over. 

I'm thinking $100 a TB is a price I like 1smile.gif
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post #16 of 53
I rather the upgrades just be cheaper so I don't feel like I am getting the shaft on the upgrades. It is a pain to shop around for the best price on RAM, SSD and then install it.
post #17 of 53
This upgrade may save me money. Non-upgradable RAM removes one of my key reasons for getting a MacBook Pro over a MacBook Air.
post #18 of 53
I hardly think the majority of consumers will buy a laptop based on its user-upgradability. Upgrading is a one-time thing, and you can do that at the Apple when you buy it. And if something malfunctions, most consumers will just take the laptop for repair. That's how most people would do it, and I'm glad Apple is the first company to realize that and design products that suits people's needs.
post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

No space in the rMBP.  Possible in the old-style 13" and 15".  The new Mac mini has the Fusion drive.

This article states there is an unusual space that will fit a single-platter HDD, hence my comment.

I've been using a "poor man's" version of this for years in my 13" MBP. I don't think is consider buying another one unless it had that capability.

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post #20 of 53

This buisiness of soldered/non soldered RAM does not make much sense to me I have an iMac with two slots of 2 GB giving 4 GB RAM there are no slots left and the two soldered slots can take no other RAM. I can take them out and play with them as they are not soldered but I cannot have any more RAM.

If the max RAM you can have is 8GB the it makes no difference if it is soldered or stuck in with chewing gum.
 

post #21 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel655 View Post

i am not happy with a battery i cant swap, and a hd and ram i cant upgrade . All those points will prevent me extending the life of my machine. gone are the days of buying a cheap mbpro and pimping it beyond the available specs on apple store. Apple is starting to suck hard!

 

The cheapest MacBook Pro is still customizable, except for the battery. The RAM and HDD are easily replaceable. 

 

If this is your goal, simply don't purchase the Retina model.

post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post

I hardly think the majority of consumers will buy a laptop based on its user-upgradability. Upgrading is a one-time thing, and you can do that at the Apple when you buy it. And if something malfunctions, most consumers will just take the laptop for repair. That's how most people would do it, and I'm glad Apple is the first company to realize that and design products that suits people's needs.

 

This isn't just a consumer machine though, it's a Pro model. 

 

My MBP has been upgraded several times as technology has improved, increasing the HDD size and the amount of RAM. The low upgradability isn't a deal breaker for me but I know that a lot of pro users are disappointed.

post #23 of 53

I feel sorry for that poor computer being torn apart. 

post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

The lack of a dedicated GPU with the Retina display makes the 13in not very Pro and a non starter IMO. You can kind of get away with it in the 'standard' Pro, but HD4000 is not very future proof.  Glad I have the 15in. 

 

"Not very Pro" is a particularly narrow point of view. There are lots of people who use MacBooks for their livelihood (jobs) that will never make heavy use of the GPU, because the applications they use do not require a GeForce chip. DJs, recording artists, sound engineers, Photoshop or Final Cut Pro users. Sure, there are folks that run Cinema 4D, Maya, or do OpenGL/CL programming, but one type of user isn't more "very Pro" than the other.

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post #25 of 53
Any specific reason why they went with the core i5 3210 and not say the core i5 3317?
post #26 of 53
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post
Any specific reason why they went with the core i5 3210 and not say the core i5 3317?

 

Is there a difference in TDP on those?

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post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display isn't just a shrunken-down version of its 15-inch counterpart, as a teardown of the device has found key changes to its design, including a rearrangement of the battery cells.

 

The 13" MacBook Pro apparently never was a "shrunken-down" 15" model.  From Wikipedia's "MacBook Pro" entry:

 

 

Quote:
At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 8, 2009, it was announced that the 13-inch unibody MacBook would be upgraded and re-branded as a MacBook Pro,[38] leaving only the white polycarbonate MacBook in the MacBook line.

Edited by SockRolid - 10/25/12 at 10:01am

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post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel655 View Post

i am not happy with a battery i cant swap, and a hd and ram i cant upgrade . All those points will prevent me extending the life of my machine. gone are the days of buying a cheap mbpro and pimping it beyond the available specs on apple store. Apple is starting to suck hard!

 

This is the way the entire industry is moving. Deal with it. The important and relevance of upgrading specs is also much less than it used to be. There's a very small number of people who feel the need to do it, and Apple would rather cater its design and engineering decisions to the majority. Yes, those days are gone. But that doesn't mean Apple 'is starting to suck hard'. It's something thats been inevitable, and fits in their core philosophy. For 95% of people the advantages of having a thinner, lighter, more reliable device outweigh the cons. 


Edited by Slurpy - 10/25/12 at 10:44am
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Is there a difference in TDP on those?

The 33xx series has the same tdp. The only thing I can think of is it gives them more profit vs performance.

post #30 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

"Not very Pro" is a particularly narrow point of view. There are lots of people who use MacBooks for their livelihood (jobs) that will never make heavy use of the GPU, because the applications they use do not require a GeForce chip. DJs, recording artists, sound engineers, Photoshop or Final Cut Pro users. Sure, there are folks that run Cinema 4D, Maya, or do OpenGL/CL programming, but one type of user isn't more "very Pro" than the other.

 

 

This is kind of misleading.


First off, having a dedicated GPU would seem even more important with a retina display -- pushing 3k+ pixels isn't easy.  But a number of professionals also use an external second monitor, which is also heavily benefited by a dedicated GPU.

 

This is a pro model.  I was generally ok with it when the MB Air had soldered ram, etc.  That is the line for individuals who are more casual users.

 

Clearly the standard MBP line is a stop-gap that is on the road to phase-out as soon as the price of the retina displays comes down to earthly levels (think 12-18 months).  Once the current MBP line is removed, Apple is left with pro models that do not permit upgrading.  And the smaller pro models have no dedicated GPU option.

 

In perspective, this is a diametric switch from the pro models of 3-6 years ago.  Those tended to actually be designed for professional use.  They could be upgraded.  They had rugged GPUs.  They offered disk-based HDDs (many professions still require bulk file storage). 

 

It's one thing to push the MB Air to the limit as far as making it slim, etc., but the pro's primary goal should be productivity and adaptability.  The new retina pros have none of this.   I am not saying that they aren't fantastic machines -- because they are!  But as a "pro" model, they leave a lot to be desired.

 

But this may just be a natural shift in Apple's intentions and product orientation.  With mainstream users buying (probably) 99.5% of all "pro" models, making them "professionally equipped" has probably fallen as a priority.

post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I'm thinking $100 a TB is a price I like 1smile.gif
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK. See you in 2016.

post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

The answer is obvious.  If the fact that you *can* do those things was making you happy previously and that happiness has now been taken away, then building your own laptop from scratch or making a hackintosh laptop will obviously make you even happier.  

 

In other words, go make your own laptop and stop whining about something that isn't going to change. 1smile.gif

If everyone just takes what Apple gives us without complaining, we'll never get anything better. You think Apple would now talk about non-reflective screens (the new iMacs) if everyone had just shut up about it?

post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchnellFowVay View Post

 

 

This is kind of misleading.


First off, having a dedicated GPU would seem even more important with a retina display -- pushing 3k+ pixels isn't easy.  But a number of professionals also use an external second monitor, which is also heavily benefited by a dedicated GPU.

 

This is a pro model.  I was generally ok with it when the MB Air had soldered ram, etc.  That is the line for individuals who are more casual users.

 

 

I don't know why you answered my post with more generalities about what you personally think "pro" means.

 

I was being very specific: there are many "Pro" applications used by people who get real work done that do not benefit from a dedicated GPU over the Intel HD 4000. If you're using Logic, FCPX, Photoshop, XCode, or heck, even Microsoft Office. They don't need a GPU for one reason: these applications aren't making heavy (or any) use of OpenGL/CL. A GPU is for running pixel and vertex shaders. You don't need a dedicated GPU to display "3k+ pixels" or even 4 million pixels. Show me that the HD 4000 is inadequate for these applications.

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post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Depends on what you want to call acceptable capacity. A terabyte SSD existed in… gosh, when was it. Maybe 2009. You may guess the price, however. lol.gif

 

Spinning drives just hit 4TB (Seagate only, external only, soldered into the case like an idiot), so we'll call that the goalpost. I figure a 4TB SSD in… early winter 2014 for… again, guess the price.

 

Good news is they can only really move that goalpost once. 5TB is the theoretical maximum for perpendicular recording, isn't it? So once we have drives with 5 1TB platters, it's over. 

 

I agree, the progress should speed up now, the demand for SSD is getting higher & higher.
we have seen capacities move up & price drops in USB drives & HDD.

Hopefully SSD is cheap enough & have the capacity when the HDD hits the wall on upgrade-ability. 

 

PS on a different note, someone needs to update the dictionary on the spell check here, doesn't have basic works like USB or ones commonly used here like iPhone or iPad.
 

post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

[...] my previously held personal view that I couldn't really tell a retina from a non retina display took a hit last night when I found my iPad 2 was out of juice so I used my wife's retina iPad to watch Netflix! OMG what a difference. Now I am ticked off as I was considering a non retina MBP so I could customize it myself!

 

It's not quite an even comparison with the Mac because some apps are not yet resolution independent. That means they actually look considerably WORSE on a Retina display due to scaling. Take a look at any Adobe product on a Retina Mac. It's so bad I don't think I could stand to work that way.

 

Obviously if all you're using is Apple software it doesn't matter, and eventually major apps will be updated, but for now we're in that awkward, yucky transitional phase.

post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by superjunaid View Post

SSDs have come down in prices, in March I bought a 256GB for 300, and now I can get a 512GB for 300, so hopefully by next march we should be able to get a 512GB for 150 or 768GB for 300.

 

None of that helps the owner of a Retina MacBook Pro though, because they don't USE the otherwise universally adopted and standardized 2.5" format that benefits from that kind of economy of scale. No, instead, in order to achieve that oh-so-important goal of shaving one-eight of an inch off the thickness of the machine (a characteristic that will yield a benefit of 0.0% to my productivity) they elected to use a custom format flash memory card. Those are NOT widely available, and the few you CAN buy are NOT cheap -- like $600 for 480GB.

 

As an aside, where the hell did you find a 512 for $300? Best I can find around here is $400 for a Crucial.

post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The answer is obvious.  If the fact that you *can* do those things was making you happy previously and that happiness has now been taken away, then building your own laptop from scratch or making a hackintosh laptop will obviously make you even happier.  

 

In other words, go make your own laptop and stop whining about something that isn't going to change. 1smile.gif

 

Complaining HERE won't do any good, but complaining to Apple might. Might not, but at least then you've had your say:

 

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

 

Funny that you bring up the "DIY" idea. I was thinking today that we should ask Apple to let someone else have OSX, please. It's obvious they've lost interest in it (for perfectly understandable reasons), but we still really like it and would like to be able to use it on "pro" grade hardware. If they don't want to build workstations, and that's fine, it would be nice if they would let someone else supply us. One business operator I know has given up on waiting for new towers and just bought a Hack.

post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This article states there is an unusual space that will fit a single-platter HDD, hence my comment.

 

Not a standard 9.5mm drive. It will fit in the opening but then the case won't close. The article says you could get a 5mm or maybe a 7mm drive to fit.

post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"Not very Pro" is a particularly narrow point of view. There are lots of people who use MacBooks for their livelihood (jobs) that will never make heavy use of the GPU, because the applications they use do not require a GeForce chip. DJs, recording artists, sound engineers, Photoshop or Final Cut Pro users. Sure, there are folks that run Cinema 4D, Maya, or do OpenGL/CL programming, but one type of user isn't more "very Pro" than the other.

 

Shift sound engineers into the other category. These days it's all about sound for picture. The computer requirements for audio post can now be pretty similar to what they'd be for video editing. Personally I cheat... I take the high-bandwidth 4:2:2 video and downconvert it in Final Cut to create an h.264 proxy that the machine can play without disrupting Pro Tools. Even then though, an inadequate GPU is immediately obvious as the system buffers the video every time you hit Play or move the playhead.

post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

Not a standard 9.5mm drive. It will fit in the opening but then the case won't close. The article says you could get a 5mm or maybe a 7mm drive to fit.

Which is why I wrote single-platter HDD. Are you aware of any single-platter HDDs that are 9.5mm thick? I'm not.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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