Inside the new MacBooks: LSI, Battery, HD, and RAM

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's new MacBook and MacBook Pro models contain more innovation than just their case design and graphics. Here's a look at other details, from LSIs to battery, hard drive and RAM features.



Inside the new MacBooks series



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A closer look at Apple's move to NVIDIA chipsets, DisplayPort



Keyboard, battery and indicator



All models can accommodate a backlit keyboard, although it comes standard only on the MacBook Pro and the higher end MacBook model.



The MacBooks use a 45 Watt hour, Li-Poly battery and a 60 Watt power supply, while the MacBook Pro uses a 6 cell, 50.4 Watt hour Li-Poly battery and an 85 Watt power supply. Both use Magsafe connectors and can be alternatively powered by the new Magsafe-equipped power feed from the new 24" Cinema Display. Both are rated for 5 hours of "wireless productivity."



The batteries expose their charge status through an integrated display on the front corner of the left side of the unit, as the batteries are now covered by a back panel rather than being exposed as in earlier MacBook models. This also allows Apple to lock the battery in place on unattended laptops, as an attached locking cable will prevent the back panel from opening.



Liquid submersion indicators



As with the iPhone and MacBook models release earlier this year, the new MacBooks contain "liquid submersion indicators" or LSI, small patches affixed internally around the keyboard bay that change from white to red when subjected to moisture. These are in place "to help discover accidental damage to the computer," according to sources familiar with Apple's phrasing, but are clearly in place to prevent users from demanding that Apple fix damages caused by liquid spills.



The 13-inch MacBook's 4 LSI are indicated by red dots in this diagram passed on by sources.



Some users in humid climates have complained that the sensors may indicate accidental liquid spill damage when in fact there has been none. In such a case, a user with a bad logic board might find it difficult to get it repaired under warranty without being forced to prove they they did not cause the failure themselves. The location of the LSIs are noted in by the four small round red dots in the graphic below top. An additional four LSIs are located on the bottom section of the case, as shown below bottom.



The 15-inch MacBook Pro's 4 LSI are indicated by red dots in this diagram also passed on by sources.



Hard Disk



Also hidden behind the lockable panel is the hard drive and RAM. The hard drive is held in place under the removable panel with a simple bracket attached with a single screw. Unscrew the strip and the drive pulls out for easy access and replacement.



This is a slight improvement over the original MacBooks, which put the hard drive behind a plate with three screws, and a vast improvement over the MacBook Pros, which required removing a handful of screws to detach the entire back cover in order to access the hard drive.



Any standard SATA laptop disk drives or solid state drives can be used. Apple offers a 128GB ($500 option) solid state drive as build to order options on the high end MacBook Pro. It also references a 256GB SSD option in internal documentation, although that isn't currently presented as a build to order option.



RAM



The new machines all ship with 2GB of RAM, apart from the high end MacBook Pro model which ships with 4GB of RAM. For best performance the RAM must be installed in matching pairs, and the system only supports 1GB or 2GB parts for a total of either the 2GB minimum configuration or the 4GB maximum.



There are no 4GB parts available yet in the 1066 MHz, "PC-8500" specification, but the MacBooks only support a total of 4GB of RAM anyway. It appears, but is not definitely confirmed, that the new machines will not ever be able to support 4GB parts for a total of 8GB. In the past, Apple has sometimes listed maximum RAM limits that were later extended as newer RAM densities became available. As post Santa Rosa-style architectures, the new MacBooks can fully address all 4GB of RAM, but there is no reason for believing that they could address more than 4GB.



The two RAM slots are only accessible after removing the battery bay cover, the battery, and then taking off the back cover which is held in place by 8 screws. This is more work than the RAM slots that were accessible from inside the battery bay on the MacBooks, and slightly more complicated than removing the partial cover on the previous-generation MacBook Pro.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    Am I the only one not too super excited for these?



    Maybe it's because I already a fairly new computer...
  • Reply 2 of 52
    rokkenrokken Posts: 236member
    "A backlit keyboard can be ordered as a custom option on the lower end new MacBook"



    How do I order this as a custom option? I didn't see it when I ordered it, neither do I browsing the configure the page now.
  • Reply 3 of 52
    Anyone knows if the Nvidia chipset supports DDR2 RAM? I've two sticks of 2gb DDR2 that would be going to waste if the new MacBook doesn't support them.
  • Reply 4 of 52
    neilmneilm Posts: 917member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The two RAM slots are only accessible after removing the battery bay cover, the battery, and then taking off the back cover which is held in place by 8 screws. This is more work than the RAM slots that were accessible from inside the battery bay on the MacBooks, and slightly more complicated than removing the partial cover on the previous-generation MacBook Pro.



    However now that Apple supplies a workable amount of RAM (2GB) to start with, and charges a price we can at least live with for the bump (4GB total for another $150), installation isn't really that important an issue. Even if you do it yourself it'll be a one time thing.
  • Reply 5 of 52
    "A backlit keyboard can be ordered as a custom option on the lower end new MacBook."



    How can this be ordered and from whom? It isn't one of the options that are selectable when you add the 2.0Ghz model to the cart.
  • Reply 6 of 52
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by epiphany View Post


    Anyone knows if the Nvidia chipset supports DDR2 RAM? I've two sticks of 2gb DDR2 that would be going to waste if the new MacBook doesn't support them.



    The chipset might, but the Macbooks certainly don't. Different physical pinout for DDR3 vs DDR2.



    /Adrian
  • Reply 7 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A backlit keyboard can be ordered as a custom option on the lower end new MacBook



    Not true.
  • Reply 8 of 52
    chocho Posts: 5member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BrettInLJ View Post


    "A backlit keyboard can be ordered as a custom option on the lower end new MacBook."



    How can this be ordered and from whom? It isn't one of the options that are selectable when you add the 2.0Ghz model to the cart.



    This is what I was looking for too. The memory & HD I'll probably upgrade myself as it's so simple, and Apple's prices are so !



    That's the only upgrade I was miffed about on the £949 model (I'm in the UK) .
  • Reply 9 of 52
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BrettInLJ View Post


    "A backlit keyboard can be ordered as a custom option on the lower end new MacBook."



    How can this be ordered and from whom? It isn't one of the options that are selectable when you add the 2.0Ghz model to the cart.



    I'm not sure where Price got this information. I've removed that line of text until I can get some clarification from him. Sorry guys.



    K
  • Reply 10 of 52
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BrettInLJ View Post


    "A backlit keyboard can be ordered as a custom option on the lower end new MacBook."



    How can this be ordered and from whom? It isn't one of the options that are selectable when you add the 2.0Ghz model to the cart.



    Yesterday's page for the 2.0Ghz model said that the backlit keyboard was standard. Today, when I checked the page, the error had been corrected. As far as I know, the backlit keyboard is not an option for the $1299 MacBook.
  • Reply 11 of 52
    But my money is on the next iMac upgrade which will be early next year will be able to handle 8GB and why wouldn't you with Snow Leopard on the way.
  • Reply 12 of 52
    I was also under the impression the backlit keyboards were standard on all Apple's new laptops.
  • Reply 13 of 52
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post


    Yesterday's page for the 2.0Ghz model said that the backlit keyboard was standard. Today, when I checked the page, the error had been corrected. As far as I know, the backlit keyboard is not an option for the $1299 MacBook.



    OK it appears Apple made some last minute changes and hasn't updated all their documentation properly. We have source material that listed this as an option (Prince should have double checked the online store). And as you mention, Apple also listed a similar error on its public pages.



    Sorry again for the false alarm, guys.



    K
  • Reply 14 of 52
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Keyboard...



    All models can accommodate a backlit keyboard, although it comes standard only on the MacBook Pro and the higher end MacBook model.



    Not true: It cannot be added on, in any way, shape or form, to the 13" 2.0GHz (aluminum) MacBook. It's simply not an option.



    In fact, I know this isn't merely a mistake on the website cause Steve mentions it in the stream of the event. To get a backlit keyboard in a 13" model you have no choice but to choose the 2.4GHz one.



    EDIT: Just saw your post above this one Kasp.
  • Reply 15 of 52
    wingswings Posts: 261member
    Yesterday when I attempted to place my order for the $1299 MacBook, the backlit keyboard option was already checked, meaning that it came as a standard feature. Remembering that Jobs' slide clearly showed it was only a feature of the $1599 model, I called Apple. After the tech went off to check on this (twice), he finally stated that the website was in error. No backlight is available for the $1299 model, period. To ease my disappointment he offered a $50 discount on the $1599 model. I took it.
  • Reply 16 of 52
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wings View Post


    Yesterday when I attempted to place my order for the $1299 MacBook, the backlit keyboard option was already checked, meaning that it came as a standard feature. Remembering that Jobs' slide clearly showed it was only a feature of the $1599 model, I called Apple. After the tech went off to check on this (twice), he finally stated that the website was in error. No backlight is available for the $1299 model, period. To ease my disappointment he offered a $50 discount on the $1599 model. I took it.



    That's good service. Though a big disappointment.
  • Reply 17 of 52
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    Is this keyboard backlighting?







    I know the [oval highlight] is the sleep light, but what is that thing I highlighted with the rectangle?



  • Reply 18 of 52
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Is this keyboard backlighting?







    I know the [oval highlight] is the sleep light, but what is that thing I highlighted with the rectangle?







    Yes, those are the keyboard brightness controls. That rectangle next to the sleep light is most likely the infrared window for the Apple Remote.
  • Reply 19 of 52
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Yes, those are the keyboard brightness controls. That rectangle next to the sleep light is most likely the infrared window for the Apple Remote.



    Thanking you.
  • Reply 20 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post


    Yesterday's page for the 2.0Ghz model said that the backlit keyboard was standard. Today, when I checked the page, the error had been corrected. As far as I know, the backlit keyboard is not an option for the $1299 MacBook.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    OK it appears Apple made some last minute changes and hasn't updated all their documentation properly. We have source material that listed this as an option (Prince should have double checked the online store). And as you mention, Apple also listed a similar error on its public pages.



    Sorry again for the false alarm, guys.



    K



    I remember seeing it as standard on the $1299 model yesterday also. However, Jobs said that it would only be on the pricier model. That being said, you're correct in that it was on the $1299 version yesterday but not today!
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