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Teardown of Retina MacBook Pro Finds Low Repairability with Custom Components

Following yesterday's teaser teardown of the updated MacBook Air, iFixit has now given Apple's new Retina MacBook Pro the same treatment.

Apple of course showed off a fair bit of the machines internals during the keynote in order to promote all of the innovations included inside, but iFixit's teardown still provides an interesting hands-on look at the internals.

Unsurprisingly, the Retina MacBook Pro is not designed to be user-accessible, with the slim form factor requiring a number of proprietary components that are designed and assembled for maximum space efficiency rather than upgradeability and repairability. This has resulted in iFixit dubbing the machine "the least repairable laptop we’ve taken apart".

Taking a number of cues from the MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pro uses RAM soldered directly onto the logic board, as well as custom solid-state drives that include a new connector incompatible with existing third-party drives on the market.

Front of Retina MacBook Pro logic board with CPU (orange), NVIDIA graphics (red), and RAM (green)

Apple has even taken to gluing the large battery into the body of the Retina MacBook Pro, with iFixit ultimately giving up on trying to remove it for fear of puncturing a battery cell. The glued-in battery pack also covers the trackpad cable, making it nearly inaccessible and susceptible to damage if users attempt to remove the battery.

Otherwise, the internals of the Retina MacBook Pro are fairly straightforward, with a large and densely-packed logic board with left-side ports integrated, a separate I/O board for the right-side ports, the asymmetric fan touted by Apple, and custom speaker assemblies.

Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago
Well i guess no MBP retina for me then :rolleyes:
Non removable ram and ssd sucks ass, absurd prices for memory/ssd upgrade in the online applestore
Rating: 70 Votes
29 months ago
If AppleCare wasn't justifiable before, it is now.
Rating: 67 Votes
29 months ago
So if you have any battery problems they essentially have to replace the entire machine?
Rating: 63 Votes
29 months ago
It's a give and take. If you want newer, slimmer, lighter form factors, the manufacturer needs to break away from the designs we've been seeing the last 10 years. I'm all for it, I quit fiddling with the physical aspects of computers a long time ago.
Rating: 61 Votes
29 months ago
I'm not happy with them moving everything to proprietary.

Rating: 53 Votes
29 months ago
I know I am shocked. Just shocked. I will definitely leave Apple now to find something much bigger and heavier that I can take apart with my walmart screw drivers.

Or I could just enjoy using a lighter machine with a beautiful display.
Rating: 50 Votes
29 months ago
Being members to a tech blog like we all are, I think we forget there are a lot of people who have no desire to open up their machine to tinker with it, and will be more than satisfied with what comes in the box.
Rating: 47 Votes
29 months ago
Can't upgrade the RAM yourself now.
Rating: 40 Votes
29 months ago

If AppleCare wasn't justifiable before, it is now.

For laptops - applecare was always justifiable.
Rating: 37 Votes
29 months ago
I would have at least liked the ram and 'ssd' to be upgradable. Those are the only things I upgrade anyway. As the previous poster noted, it sure makes Applecare more justifiable.
Rating: 33 Votes

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