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MacBook Air internals revealed in tear-down photos

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
The folks over at iFixIt are the first to issue an illustrated report after having completely torn-down their HDD-based MacBook Air. Some photos and notes from their efforts follow.

Of particular interest is iFixIt's claim that they'll soon be among the third-parties who plan to manufacture and sell replacement batteries for the Air. The firm's extensive tear-down can be seen here, highlights of which are available below.

Meanwhile, high-resolution shots of the front and back of the MacBook Air's petite logic-board are also available.

MacBook Air Tear-down Highlights

A temperature sensor sits on an external board glued between the CPU and graphics chips.The hard drive sits beneath the USB, micro-DVI, and audio ribbon cables.The Air is the first Intel-based Mac to run on 45 watt Power adapter. THe MacBook uses a 60-watt and the MacBook Pro an 85-wattEarlier MacBook MagSafe power adapters work, but won't fit when the Air is placed on a flat surface.The Air is held together by approximately 88 screws.19 screws require removal to reach the battery -- 10 to dislodge the bottom case and another 9 securing the battery to the chassis.The entire display assembly weighs only 465 g (slightly more than a pound), 34 percent less than the functionally-equivalent display assembly on the MacBook.The actual LED display panel is less than 3mm thick.A substantial engineering effort went into designing robust Wi-Fi antennas.The speaker board is located beneath the arrow keys on the keyboard.The Air's RF Module includes a Broadcom 802.11 chip with the markings BCM4321KFBG.The heat sink is made of very thin aluminum and looks totally different from anything we've seen in a Mac before.There are 16 Micron RAM chips (eight one-gigabit chips on each side of the logic board) for a total of 2 GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM.The graphics chip is an Intel North Bridge GS965.iFixIt also identified a Silicon Image SIL1392CNU HDMI video chip and Texas Instruments TPS51120 dual current mode synchronous step-down controller (power management).A Broadcom BCM5974 touch screen controller chip on the interconnect board is the same chip you'll find in the iPhone and iPod Touch.

post #2 of 23
Not sure I like the vents on the bottom- Thats one reason I want to buy a Mac so I don't have to position the vents away from my legs when I'm sitting with my computer.
post #3 of 23
Love the static mat that they have all the components laid-out on, and the wrist guards they are wearing while handling the electronics.
post #4 of 23
Like I suspected, it looks like this finally shows that the tapered edges aren't all wasted space, there's a lot of stuff out there, in both the base and the screen / lid. The stuff gets pretty close to the edge, as you can see in the 5th picture.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Love the static mat that they have all the components laid-out on, and the wrist guards they are wearing while handling the electronics.

Eeww- Don't like those dirty fingernails.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuneman07 View Post

Not sure I like the vents on the bottom- Thats one reason I want to buy a Mac so I don't have to position the vents away from my legs when I'm sitting with my computer.

Although angled down, wt least they're not on the totally flat bottom. They're on the curve the rises up to the back edge. (And it looks to me like the left and right ends of the hinge on top may be vents too.)



And the open lid hags down in back--which may be of some help keeping fabric from getting stuffed right up against those vents:



Someone will have to sit on the Apple Store countertop and try
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Although angled down, wt least they're not on the totally flat bottom. They're on the curve the rises up to the back edge. (And it looks to me like the left and right ends of the hinge on top may be vents too.)



And the open lid hags down in back--which may be of some help keeping fabric from getting stuffed right up against those vents:



Someone will have to sit on the Apple Store countertop and try

Wow, those fotos are really dark and minimal and moody. Really love those.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Like I suspected, it looks like this finally shows that the tapered edges aren't all wasted space, there's a lot of stuff out there, in both the base and the screen / lid. The stuff gets pretty close to the edge, as you can see in the 5th picture.

What? There is almost nothing in the edges except things that are required because of the edges like the plug pay and the rotated power socket. There are flat bits of metal used to fasten the battery, but these wouldn't be required if there was vertical edge. Ditto for the cables running along them and the other minor parts.

The tapered design is a complete waste of space and increases the footprint. That's really obvious. The MBA is form over function.
post #9 of 23
I can't wait to see how much the Air costs to make.
OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

I can't wait to see how much the Air costs to make.

You'll have to keep on waiting forever, then. The cost tear-downs that we see now and again are estimated component costs and do not include the manufacturing cost, shipping costs, duty, development costs or overheads.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

What? There is almost nothing in the edges except things that are required because of the edges like the plug pay and the rotated power socket. There are flat bits of metal used to fasten the battery, but these wouldn't be required if there was vertical edge. Ditto for the cables running along them and the other minor parts.

The tapered design is a complete waste of space and increases the footprint. That's really obvious. The MBA is form over function.

It seems like you must be looking at different pictures from the ones I'm looking at.

A tapered design like this makes perfect sense when one of the key design aims is to minimise weight. You design the casework to wrap as closely around the internals as possible.

The only place where space might look like it is "wasted" is in the monitor bezel. But if your machine base is a given width, making the screen narrower would just look dumb; it's also doubtless necessary for structural rigidity of the screen.

Actually, having said that makes me realise that the probable design order of the MacBook Air casework was:

1.) Decide on 13.3" widescreen and full-size MacBook Keyboard.
2.) Determine minimum screen casework width that delivers acceptable rigidity in tandem with minimal thickness.
3.) Now that width of machine is determined, design base casework and internals in tandem to minimise weight and thickness.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

1.) Decide on 13.3" widescreen and full-size MacBook Keyboard.
2.) Determine minimum screen casework width that delivers acceptable rigidity in tandem with minimal thickness.
3.) Now that width of machine is determined, design base casework and internals in tandem to minimise weight and thickness.

No, no that's crazy talk, of COURSE the real answer was:
1) Decide on a cool look that Steve Jobs could be thrilled about.
2) Make sure it fits inside an interoffice memo envelope.
3) Make it the world thinnest, damn the consequences.
4) Eliminate extra ports that could easily fit just to piss people off and be cutting edge.

At least that's what I infer from many of the comments on the Internet. Remember, it's all about "form" and "style."
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

What? There is almost nothing in the edges except things that are required because of the edges like the plug pay and the rotated power socket. There are flat bits of metal used to fasten the battery, but these wouldn't be required if there was vertical edge. Ditto for the cables running along them and the other minor parts.

Even the "minor parts" have to go somewhere. I see radios, latches, hinges, the power connector, the IO bay, the speaker & audio electronics, an IR reciever and a few other bits. Given how much "excess" area there is because of the screen bezel, the majority of it is used and not just empty space. On the lid, it looks like the "extra" space is taken by a frame with some cables running through the frame channels.

Most of these parts were not shown in the Keynote diagram, leading people to believe there was absolutely nothing there on the 1" perimeter other than completely empty space, when it was in fact a diagram that showed only the parts relevant to what was being shown. Leaving details out is a common illustration technique, and that was part of my point.
post #14 of 23
It will be interesting when someone does a part costs breakdown to determine how much Apple has into the MBA.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

No, no that's crazy talk, of COURSE the real answer was:
1) Decide on a cool look that Steve Jobs could be thrilled about.
2) Make sure it fits inside an interoffice memo envelope.
3) Make it the world thinnest, damn the consequences.
4) Eliminate extra ports that could easily fit just to piss people off and be cutting edge.

At least that's what I infer from many of the comments on the Internet. Remember, it's all about "form" and "style."

I hope you're being sardonic........ (o/w, I'd have to conclude that you're being stupid. )
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I hope you're being sardonic........ (o/w, I'd have to conclude that you're being stupid. )

More sarcastic than sardonic. The latter is too negative.
post #17 of 23
the hinges look weak..
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

More sarcastic than sardonic. The latter is too negative.

sarcastic and sardonic are synonyms.

you can use them interchangeably, and in fact the etymology of sarcasm is more "negative" than sardonic.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post

sarcastic and sardonic are synonyms.

Synonym can mean words have meaning either "exactly" or "almost" the same as each other. In this case it is "almost", and according to my dictionary, "sardonic" is certainly nowadays "more negative" than "sarcastic"; you should therefore not use them interchangeably.
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post #20 of 23
Which main board is smaller, the one of the MacBook Air or the one of the Mac mini? I guess the smaller one could be used to build the ultimate light (400 g or so) and small (pocketable) full Mac, much as the Axiotron ModBook, but as light and small (pocketable) as the OQO model 2+:

http://www.axiotron.com
http://www.oqo.com

Is that possible with video-out and USB2 port? That would be awesome for Keynote and PowerPoint presentations, because even the MacBook Air is too heavy and too large. So, you make the presentation on the larger Mac, and then use the pocketable one for the classroom, meeting, home, etc for the video presentation.

Thanks.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWintoxication View Post

the hinges look weak..

They are not weak BTW.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post

sarcastic and sardonic are synonyms.

you can use them interchangeably, and in fact the etymology of sarcasm is more "negative" than sardonic.

Grammar police?
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Love the static mat that they have all the components laid-out on, and the wrist guards they are wearing while handling the electronics.

+1! I think they look pretty good.
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