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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56


    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.

  • Reply 2 of 56
    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!
  • Reply 3 of 56
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Fusion drive coming to MBPs? This is exactly what I was hoping for before the 15" got the redesign. Maybe next year.
  • Reply 4 of 56
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    00010001 Posts: 1member


    I think Apple would do right to release a line of super customizable/repairable laptops. It would make a lot of people happy, but I guess that's not exactly a big focus of Apple's mission statement. Oh well. 

  • Reply 6 of 56


    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. 

  • Reply 7 of 56

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 0001 View Post


    I think Apple would do right to release a line of super customizable/repairable laptops. It would make a lot of people happy, but I guess that's not exactly a big focus of Apple's mission statement. Oh well. 



    It would make almost no one happy.

  • Reply 8 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,144member
    marcel655 wrote: »
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,144member
    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?
  • Reply 10 of 56
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 0001 View Post


    I think Apple would do right to release a line of super customizable/repairable laptops. It would make a lot of people happy, but I guess that's not exactly a big focus of Apple's mission statement. Oh well. 



     


    It would make 0.01% (or less) of their customers slightly happier than they are now, and cost billions.  Worth it?  


     


    As an aside, here's something that makes no f*cking sense about these iFixit tear downs ...


     


    - They say this one is "slightly better" than the 15" because it "only" took them 15 minutes to pry the battery loose from the glue. 


    - People in the recycle industry say this is irrelevant because they just use solvent on the glue and the battery comes right out.


    - Why (the f*ck), doesn't iFixit use solvents to get the glue out?  


     


    They spend 15 minutes with a spatula, twisting and pulling the battery (puncturing it even in the case of the 15"), possibly (almost certainly) scratching the aluminium beneath etc. and we are supposed to believe these people are disassembling experts?  Just because your average computer repair shop doesn't currently have the habit of using solvents doesn't mean that it's wrong to do so. 


     


    These guys are just living in the past and refusing to change their techniques to keep up with the changes in manufacturing techniques.  It's their definition of "repairability," and the tool set that they insist on using that's at fault here.  A simple jar of whatever it takes to soften the glue and a brush and the 15 minutes of scratchy hell would turn into an easy five minute job.  

  • Reply 11 of 56

    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.

  • Reply 12 of 56


    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. image


     


    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. 

  • Reply 13 of 56


    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. 

  • Reply 14 of 56
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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. image

  • Reply 15 of 56
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    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.?
  • Reply 17 of 56


    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.?

  • Reply 18 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,144member
    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:

    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 :)
  • Reply 19 of 56
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 56
    This upgrade may save me money. Non-upgradable RAM removes one of my key reasons for getting a MacBook Pro over a MacBook Air.
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