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Teardown: Inside Apple MacBook Pro

Jun 27, 2012 (11:06 AM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=240002836


In this picture the back panel is opened. As with all MacBooks, it's pretty busy in there. We'll zoom in on the images to come. But it's immediately clear that the MacBook Pro, as we reported recently, is almost impossible to repair and probably quite difficult to recycle. Many components, such as RAM, are soldered to the motherboard. Some parts, such as the display and battery, are glued in, making access to other components difficult or impossible.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in two flavors. Both have a 1280 x 800 display. The base model has a 2.5-GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 500GB hard drive. It's .95 inches thick and weighs 4.5 pounds, and offer seven-hour battery life. It starts at $1,199. For those who want a slight spec bump, the 13-inch MacBook Pro can be had with a 2.9-GHz dual-core i7 processor and a 750GB hard drive instead, for $1,499.

The 15-inch model starts at $1,799 for the base model. A step up from that will run you $2,199. Here's what $1,799 will get you: a 2.3-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, and a 500GB hard drive. The 15-inch model is just as slim--.95 inches thick--as the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The $2,199 MacBook Pro will score you a 2.6-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, and a 750GB hard drive.

The MacBook Pro with special Retina screen is the first major MacBook Pro redesign in several years. It's even thinner, at .71 inches, and equipped with a screen that has an 2880 x 1880 resolution, giving it a pixel density of 220ppi. Both of the available models have a 720p FaceTime HD camera, USB 3, and a newer, thinner MagSafe 2 connector.

The base model starts at $2,199, and has a 2.3-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L memory, 256GB of flash memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000, an Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, and automatic graphics switching.

The $2,799 model features a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, and 512GB of flash storage. This is the model used in our teardown.




In this picture we can see the custom solid state drive at the top right. The wireless chipset is in the center, to the left of the big fan. To the left of the wireless module is the system RAM, soldered to the motherboard.

TechInsights has created a separate teardown on the solid state drive in the MacBook Pro, including x-ray images.




Proceeding with the disassembly.




Lifting out the motherboard.




Zooming in on the motherboard, we find the following components:

  • an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU (the chip in the center-bottom with a green edge and blue center).
  • a 2.6-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache (the big rectangle to the right of the GPU).
  • Hynix H5TC2G83CFR DDR3L SDRAM (the 16 chips above the CPU).
  • an Intel DSL3510L Thunderbolt controller (the big square above the SDRAM).



  • Here's what makes up the solid state drive:

    • Samsung S4LJ204X01 controller (the big chip on the left).
    • Samsung K9UHGY8U7A NAND chips (the four chips on the right).
    • Samsung K4T2G314QF 2Gb DDR2 DRAM cache (between the controller and NAND).

    TechInsights has created a separate teardown on the solid state drive in the MacBook Pro, including x-ray images.




    This is the HDMI/SD unit. Below the second port from the right you can see the PS8401 HDMI jitter cleaning repeater. To the left is the larger BCM57100 memory card reader controller.




    Finally, the wireless module, with the cover removed:

    • Broadcom BCM4331 single-chip 802.11n dual-band wireless solution (big chip in the middle).
    • Broadcom BCM20702 single-chip Bluetooth 4.0 HCI solution with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support (smaller chip to the left of the 802.11 chip).