Apple's MacBook sports user-replaceable hard disks

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
First on AI: Owners of Apple Computer's new MacBook consumer notebooks will find that upgrading or replacing the computer's hard disk is as simple as adding more memory.



The notebooks, which are some of the most redesigned personal computers to emerge from Apple's Cupertino, Calif. design labs in recent years, also pack such novelties as heat-staked feet that are designed not to fall off. In fact, you can't remove them if you try.



The again, only Apple would affix two screws to the left side of the computer purely for cosmetic purposes. That's right -- they serve absolutely no function other than to sit there and look pretty.



Where the MacBook really struts its stuff is under the hood. There, innovation takes center stage -- primarily in the front-most portion of the computer, beneath the wrist-rests.



Flipping a MacBook upside down and removing its rectangular lithium-polymer battery reveals two RAM slots, placed side-by-side on one wall of the battery cavity. Two metal levers aid in releasing or securing RAM in the slots.



Each RAM slot is capable of accepting up to 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, for a max of 2GB. For the best performance, Apple recommends that RAM modules be installed as pairs, with an equal amount of memory in each slot.



Below the two RAM slots (at the base of the battery cavity) is where you'll find the MacBook's hard disk drive. Without disassembling the notebook, users will be able to quickly removing some protective aluminum shielding and lift the drive out of the computer.



Apple's previous line of consumer notebooks, the iBook, required that an authorized service provider perform all hard drive replacements -- a process that would typically take at least 10 minutes for technicians and possibly days in turnaround for the owner.



While the MacBook clearly takes a few steps forward with its industrial design, other aspects of the notebook have already drawn some concerns from insiders.



Like Apple's MacBook Pro professional notebooks, the company says the new MacBook has a tendency to produce a significant amount of heat. Though the notebook's operating temperature falls within national and international safety standards, it runs much hotter than the iBook G4s it replaces. Apple is offering these tips to customers who are concerned over the heat of their new MacBook.



Click here to view more MacBook Photos



Another potential concern is the notebook's keyboard. Apple redesigned the MacBook's keyboard to sit flush against the bed of the computer for a sleeker, lower profile. Though it offers a firmer touch, the keyboard is built-in as part of the MacBook's enclosure. Users who damage a key or two could find themselves having to replace the notebook's entire bottom casing and trackpad -- a potentially hefty expense.



Speaking of costs, customers leaning towards a black-colored MacBook will find themselves feeding Apple's profit margins. For a mere 20GB of additional storage and the matte black finish, the company is charging a whopping $200 extra. Otherwise, the $1499 black MacBook is identical to the $1299 offering in white.



Each MacBook also supports Apple's extended desktop feature, allowing users to widen their horizons with a second display.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    WOW! thanks Apple you got a few more few things right...



    Removable Hard-drive and extended Desktop... Cheers!



    P.S. I'll wait a while till you repeal your new colourist policy...
  • Reply 2 of 42
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    Like Apple's MacBook Pro professional notebooks, the company says the new MacBook has a tendency to produce a significant amount of heat. Though the notebook's operating temperature falls within national and international safety standards, it runs much hotter than the iBook G4s it replaces. Apple is offering these tips to customers concerned over the heat of their new MacBook.



    I'd like to challenge this and say this statement is false referencing the linked Apple doc. The document generalizes "Apple Notebooks" and the search strings at the bottom do not contain "kmb" for MacBook.



    Quote:

    Another potential concern is the notebook's keyboard. Apple redesigned the MacBook's keyboard to sit flush against the bed of the computer for a sleeker, lower profile. Though the new keyboard offers a firmer touch, it's built-in as part of the computer's enclosure. Users who damage a key or two could find themselves having to replace the notebook's entire bottom casing and trackpad -- a potentially hefty expensive.



    Then don't break it or give it to a 5-year old kid.



    Quote:

    The again, only Apple would affix two screws to the left side of the computer purely for cosmetic purposes. That's right -- they serve absolutely no function other than to sit there and look pretty.



    I understand keeping things "balanced" but I call BS.



    Quote:

    Speaking of costs, customers leaning towards a black-colored MacBook will find themselves feeding Apple's profit margins. For a mere 20GB of additional storage and the matte black finish, the company is charing a whopping $200 extra. Otherwise, the $1499 black MacBook is identical to the $1299 offering in white.



    Ah, the price of being the cool kid on the block.
  • Reply 3 of 42
    robin hoodrobin hood Posts: 513member
    Don't you see that by pricing the black model higher, Apple is making it even more attractive? I actually liked white, but now that I see I have to pay more for black, I am already starting to want it. Clever marketing.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    naterivernateriver Posts: 13member
    Hmm...well, you know, I'd have to see it in person, but the white one looks better...not cleaner like people like to say, but more lighthearted and spacious looking...the black has a very edgy profile - personally I would prefer white. What ever happened to multiple colors eh?
  • Reply 5 of 42
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    If heat comes with THAT much speed, I'll take it!



    Screws for looks alone? Apple would rather NOT have screws. If AI found them to be non-functional then I believe it, but I bet there's some other weird story there to explain why they're there. Like they are a holdover from a previous design iteration, and it wasn't worth fixing the error or something.



    Maybe they even add Wi-Fi reception
  • Reply 6 of 42
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by nagromme

    Maybe they even add Wi-Fi reception



    Or they retract out for better reception booyakasha
  • Reply 7 of 42
    cactuscactus Posts: 44member
    crees, stop being such a douchebag.
  • Reply 8 of 42
    fuyutsukifuyutsuki Posts: 293member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by OfficerDigby

    WOW! thanks Apple you got a few more few things right...



    Removable Hard-drive and extended Desktop... Cheers!



    P.S. I'll wait a while till you repeal your new colourist policy...




    Quite right.



    I've been elbows deep in PowerBook G4 myself and can speak from experience that the user replaceable hard drive improvement is a major plus point!



    Makes it easier to try those flash drives which are around the corner from Samsung et al. Boy am I looking forward to Intel power and flash silence.
  • Reply 9 of 42
    knnethknneth Posts: 14member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Robin Hood

    Don't you see that by pricing the black model higher, Apple is making it even more attractive? I actually liked white, but now that I see I have to pay more for black, I am already starting to want it. Clever marketing.



    I second that



    I wouldn't be surprised if the black model comes out best or second best in terms of sales amongst the new consumer MacBook models.
  • Reply 10 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by crees!



    Then don't break it or give it to a 5-year old kid.




    That's a bit much for a product ostensibly designed for student use. iBooks had a reputation for being durable, it would be a shame if the MacBook had developed flaws in the key mechanism and required a major overhaul to fix. That's over the top in light of many other notebooks needing only a few minutes and a replacement keyboard to replace it.
  • Reply 11 of 42
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,880member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by crees!

    Then don't break it or give it to a 5-year old kid.



    I had two keys snap off on my old Tibook from normal use. Luckily, I was able to find a place online which sold single keys (although the shipping cost about 3 times as much as the replacement keys, so it wasn't that cheap to fix).



    A coworker of mine also had a key snap off on his Albook. Seems to be a fairly common problem on notebooks.



    Hopefully this new keyboard design will prevent the problem. However, if it doesn't, it's going to be a lot more costly than it used to be to fix it.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    Like Apple's MacBook Pro professional notebooks, the company says the new MacBook has a tendency to produce a significant amount of heat. Though the notebook's operating temperature falls within national and international safety standards, it runs much hotter than the iBook G4s it replaces.



    I think Apple should takes its own advice "think different" on this, not just comply with international and industry standards but stays within temperatures reasonable for confortable on-lap use. It would have been nice if that page cited exactly where to find those standards and what they are.



    To be honest, I was surprised Apple put 2.0GHz chips in there, I would have considered a 1.5 Core Solo unit if the slower chip meant the unit ran reasonably cool.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    minderbinderminderbinder Posts: 1,703member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    To be honest, I was surprised Apple put 2.0GHz chips in there, I would have considered a 1.5 Core Solo unit if the slower chip meant the unit ran reasonably cool.



    I don't know that the slower (or single) chips run that much cooler.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    I for one am ecstatic that I can get 2.0ghz core duos AND have the ability to upgrade my hard drive--I think I might have died and gone to heaven.



    As to the price for the black one, I was all for doing it, but then I realized when it comes time to sell I will never get anything close to the difference back...it simply isn't worth it. Also, there are places that will paint ( i guess that is what you call it) it any color you want for a lot cheaper--and it doesn't void the warranty!!
  • Reply 15 of 42
    archer75archer75 Posts: 204member
    So now you can easily replace your hard drive on a macbook





    Just like every other notebook on the planet.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by minderbinder

    I don't know that the slower (or single) chips run that much cooler.



    On the frequency, it mostly depends on how they are sorted. Power consumption of a given CMOS chip is approximately related to the square of the frequency. If you take one chip rated to run at 1.5GHz and clock it to 2.0GHz, it will consume about 80% more power than it would have at 1.5GHz. The monkey wrench is that because of variations in the silicon fab process, the higher consuming chips could be given a lower clock rating so as to not exceed thermal specs at the rated clock. The cores are supposedly where most of the power is consumed, if you don't have the extra, I think it is reasonable to suggest that there may be a significant heat reduction without the extra core.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mikehackman

    I for one am ecstatic that I can get 2.0ghz core duos AND have the ability to upgrade my hard drive--I think I might have died and gone to heaven.



    As to the price for the black one, I was all for doing it, but then I realized when it comes time to sell I will never get anything close to the difference back...it simply isn't worth it. Also, there are places that will paint ( i guess that is what you call it) it any color you want for a lot cheaper--and it doesn't void the warranty!!




    The only one I am aware of is Colorware and their work is a lot more than $150 on a Mac, they want an extra $500+ on a MacBook Pro.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    scavangerscavanger Posts: 286member
    Jeff, thats aftermarket custom. The cost for Apple to produce at a specific color is far far lower then $150. Aftermarket mods are general expensive, just look at the tuner car scene.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by scavanger

    The cost for Apple to produce at a specific color is far far lower then $150.



    That will always be the case for ANY commercial product. For a lot of products, the actual cost to make might only be 10% of the list price, it is a regular rule of thumb in some sectors. In this case, there might not be any actual material cost, other than inventory management which could cost a considerable amount in its own right.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    ringoringo Posts: 328member
    The black MacBook comes with an 80 GB drive and the white MacBook comes with a 60 GB drive. Since the upgrade to the 80 GB drive is $50, the black case is only (haha) a $150 premium.
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