A closer look at Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
The first Intel-based Apple MacBook Pro professional notebook computers have begun to arrive in the United States, allowing sources and contacts to take a closer look at the system's internals.



Processor not upgradable



One of the most interesting finds so far is that the MacBook Pro's Core Duo processor is soldered to the main logic board, rather than on a socket, and therefore is not not upgradeable after purchase. The only way to upgrade a MacBook Pro to a faster processor is to select the 2.16GHz (+$300) option when ordering a 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo from Apple's online store.



No more wireless combo card



Similar to changes made to the iMac as it transitioned to Intel chips, the MacBook Pro's AirPort and Bluetooth wireless controllers are now located on two separate system boards. Apple's previous line of PowerBook G4 computers used a single "combo card" for the wireless technologies.



In what appears to be a huge step for Apple, the new AirPort card is a mini-PCI Express card that should improve bandwidth and compatibility. Mini-PCI express is a standard socket, which allows for a variety of upgrades to be done internally, however it's unclear if Apple will fully support the technology in this fashion.



Meanwhile, a closer inspection of Apple's Bluetooth implementation reveals that the antenna has been repositioned to rest in front of the MacBook Pro's hard drive, in the front left corner of the unit.



MagSafe and SuperDrives



Interestingly, sources note that the magnets used to connect the MagSafe power adapter connector are located inside the MacBook Pro unit, rather than on the MagSafe connector itself. As a result, Apple has reportedly asked some of its service partners to warn customers about placing magnetized items near the power port of the MacBook Pro.



The 85W portable power brick which ships with the notebook also appears to be somewhat larger than the brick Apple shipped with its now discontinued 15-inch PowerBook G4.



While the SuperDrive included with the MacBook Pro is incapable of burning double-layer DVD+R discs, it can read them, sources added.



System software



The first batch of MacBook Pros leaving Apple's manufacturing facilities in the Far East are shipping with Mac OS X 10.4.5 build 8G1453, Boot ROM version 0044.02, System Management Controller version 1.2f7 and Infrared Firmware v109, sources said.



The only other Mac OS X software distinction noticed with the notebooks is the addition of "Play Front Row sound effects" option under the Sound Effects tab of the Mac OS X Audio preference pane.



Apple's online store continues to list wait times of up to four weeks for new MacBook Pro orders, regardless of the configuration. Sources have recently weighed in with their assessment of the delays, which they blame on a shortage of unspecified common components that are shared between both the Intel iMac Core Duo and 15-inch MacBook Pro.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,945member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    One of the most interesting finds so far is that the MacBook Pro's Core Duo processor is soldered to the main logic board, rather than on a socket, and therefore is not not upgradeable after purchase.



    What about a hack upgrade by resoldering a resistor like the old Powerbooks?



    http://www.voelker.com/service/void_...owerbookg4.php



    Did this to mine (for educational purposes, of course) and it worked like a charm.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    Ohh boy....I just got a mental picture of a case screw being sucked into the power connector of some poor macbook pro user....<POW>!
  • Reply 3 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rittmuller

    Ohh boy....I just got a mental picture of a case screw being sucked into the power connector of some poor macbook pro user....<POW>!



    That shouldn't happen, since the Mac is magnetic, not the cable. Right?
  • Reply 4 of 62
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,945member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by minderbinder

    That shouldn't happen, since the Mac is magnetic, not the cable. Right?



    Right, but having the magnet inside the connector on the Mac makes it possible for a small screw to get pulled into it, which would be very difficult to get out (needle-nose pliers or tweezers to get it out maybe?). It would be much easier to get a screw off the male ended cable than out of the female ended connector (no innuendo intended).



    The service manual for the MacBook specifically states that technicians who are servicing it should put tape over the connector to avoid this from happening.
  • Reply 5 of 62
    "No more wireless combo card?"



    ....now located on two separate system boards. ..





    NO. Why does they system say "Intel Pro Wireless Chipset"? If you look these up it's all under one chip.



    Is there any pictures showing bluetooth and wifi separate? Intel has the "pro wireless chipset"
  • Reply 6 of 62
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by auxio

    Right, but having the magnet inside the connector on the Mac makes it possible for a small screw to get pulled into it, which would be very difficult to get out (needle-nose pliers or tweezers to get it out maybe?). It would be much easier to get a screw off the male ended cable than out of the female ended connector (no innuendo intended).





    Um, completely wrong. If you look at pictures (or a real MBP), you'll see that it's a flat surface that just happens to be magnetic. There is no "in" into which things get sucked. If a screw sticks, it just sticks onto what is, for all intents and purposes, the side of the MacBook Pro. Easy as hell to remove.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    This seems strange to me. Why would Apple put the Airport and Bluetooth on a separate card instead of just soldered to the mobo? Are there no Intel mobos that include these chips?



    Using a separate card I can see if these were BTO items, but they are not.



    Sheesh, if they are going to waste space on a socket and a card, they should do that with the video instead of the wireless. Who the hell is going to upgrade their wireless?
  • Reply 8 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    This seems strange to me. Why would Apple put the Airport and Bluetooth on a separate card instead of just soldered to the mobo? Are there no Intel mobos that include these chips?



    Using a separate card I can see if these were BTO items, but they are not.



    Sheesh, if they are going to waste space on a socket and a card, they should do that with the video instead of the wireless. Who the hell is going to upgrade their wireless?








    maybe it was cheaper to have it on two separate cards
  • Reply 9 of 62
    So, does that mean something could ground it out? Not a likely senario but definately something I will consider when (and if) I decide to take the plunge and purchase one since I tend to be around stuff like that on a daily basis. Although I do have to admit that it would be funny to watch how fast they would change the connector (make the cable magnetic) if this does indeed prove to be a problem.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by m01ety

    Um, completely wrong. If you look at pictures (or a real MBP), you'll see that it's a flat surface that just happens to be magnetic. There is no "in" into which things get sucked. If a screw sticks, it just sticks onto what is, for all intents and purposes, the side of the MacBook Pro. Easy as hell to remove.



  • Reply 10 of 62
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Interestingly, sources note that the magnets used to connect the MagSafe power adapter connector are located inside the MacBook Pro unit, rather than on the MagSafe connector itself."



    That's a VERY good choice. I can keep track of where my laptop is easily... but the power brick's cord could flop around all over my bag. This way you don't have to keep track of "is the end of my power cord going to shift close to my iPod?" etc.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rittmuller

    So, does that mean something could ground it out? Not a likely senario but definately something I will consider when (and if) I decide to take the plunge and purchase one since I tend to be around stuff like that on a daily basis. Although I do have to admit that it would be funny to watch how fast they would change the connector (make the cable magnetic) if this does indeed prove to be a problem.



    How would it ground out? The power is going INTO the computer. If the cord were magnetic, that could attract metal and short out since it's connected to the wall. On the computer, the connector isn't a source of power so it wouldn't do anything. If you took the plug on an unplugged lamp and connected the two prongs with a piece of metal, would it do anything? Of course not.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally posted by minderbinder

    How would it ground out? The power is going INTO the computer. If the cord were magnetic, that could attract metal and short out since it's connected to the wall. On the computer, the connector isn't a source of power so it wouldn't do anything. If you took the plug on an unplugged lamp and connected the two prongs with a piece of metal, would it do anything? Of course not.



    But a lamp doesn't have a battery in it either! have you ever short circuited a battery? They get very hot very fast!
  • Reply 13 of 62
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    This seems strange to me. Why would Apple put the Airport and Bluetooth on a separate card instead of just soldered to the mobo? Are there no Intel mobos that include these chips?



    Using a separate card I can see if these were BTO items, but they are not.



    Sheesh, if they are going to waste space on a socket and a card, they should do that with the video instead of the wireless. Who the hell is going to upgrade their wireless?




    I can think of several reasons.



    I think the reason is to make FCC, CE and other certifications easier. The same card could be used across the entire model line, and have fewer certification hassles to deal with, certifying one wireless card rather than certifying the wireless portion in every model revision, every board revision and potentially every speed bump.



    It might also be cheaper from a volume perspective, if it is an off the shelf Intel component, then the economies of scale may mean it is cheaper to put the card in a slot than it is to solder it to the main board. Another might be maintainability, if the wireless dies, the entire system board would have to be replaced to fix the problem.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by m01ety

    Um, completely wrong. If you look at pictures (or a real MBP), you'll see that it's a flat surface that just happens to be magnetic. There is no "in" into which things get sucked. If a screw sticks, it just sticks onto what is, for all intents and purposes, the side of the MacBook Pro. Easy as hell to remove.







  • Reply 15 of 62
    ct77ct77 Posts: 49member
    Any word on what battery life is like, real-world use, on these new MacBook Pro machines?
  • Reply 16 of 62
    lorrelorre Posts: 396member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders









    Indeed... but it still seems fairly easy to remove a screw if it would get stuck in there...
  • Reply 17 of 62
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders

    Quote:

    Originally posted by m01ety

    Um, completely wrong. If you look at pictures (or a real MBP), you'll see that it's a flat surface that just happens to be magnetic. There is no "in" into which things get sucked. If a screw sticks, it just sticks onto what is, for all intents and purposes, the side of the MacBook Pro. Easy as hell to remove.











    No need to post pictures -- I saw three real ones ones at the CambridgeSide Apple store just today.



    Yes, there's an indentation. Obviously. But it's not "in", as in the sense that the PowerBooks have a deep hole that goes in, into which things can get lodged, especially if magnetic.



    If there's a screw on the MagSafe port, you flick it off with your finger. It's not deep enough, for *me* at least, to count as something that's "in".
  • Reply 18 of 62
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ct77

    Any word on what battery life is like, real-world use, on these new MacBook Pro machines?



    When I unplugged one at the Apple Store, it said "18 hours remaining". Briefly. Then it said 3 hours.



    So it's around 3 hours with normal settings.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    BATTERY LIFE is about 3 hours and 20 minutes. I have one and after one-time calibration process I was getting 3 hours 20 minutes with the screen at the brightest setting and some websurfing.



    and it should improve as LiPo battery gets improved.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally posted by syklee26

    BATTERY LIFE is about 3 hours and 20 minutes. I have one and after one-time calibration process I was getting 3 hours 20 minutes with the screen at the brightest setting and some websurfing.



    and it should improve as LiPo battery gets improved.




    plus if you are on battery power you probably wont want/need full screen brightness
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