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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    rjlcoolrjlcool Posts: 27member


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

  • Reply 2 of 33
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 641member


    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.

     

  • Reply 3 of 33
    seanie248seanie248 Posts: 174member


    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.

  • Reply 4 of 33
    doh123doh123 Posts: 323member

    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?
  • Reply 5 of 33
    seanie248seanie248 Posts: 174member

    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

  • Reply 6 of 33
    neilmneilm Posts: 587member


    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.

  • Reply 7 of 33
    knightlieknightlie Posts: 282member
    neilm wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    panupanu Posts: 135member


    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.

  • Reply 9 of 33
    johndoe98johndoe98 Posts: 278member

    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...

  • Reply 10 of 33
    applegreenapplegreen Posts: 421member

    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?

  • Reply 11 of 33
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


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

  • Reply 12 of 33
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 611member


    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.

  • Reply 13 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    knight lie wrote: »
    …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?
  • Reply 14 of 33
    panupanu Posts: 135member


    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.

  • Reply 15 of 33
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member

    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".

  • Reply 16 of 33
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 33
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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. 

  • Reply 18 of 33
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member


    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.

  • Reply 19 of 33
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,115member

    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. 

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