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Non-Retina Mid-2012 MacBook Pro Torn Apart

It's been a busy week of Apple teardowns for iFixit, with the firm announcing today that it has completed its work on the non-Retina version of the Mid-2012 MacBook Pro.


Given that the non-Retina version has retained the same form factor for a number of years, there are few changes to the internal layout of the components, but a fresh look inside now that the redesigned Retina MacBook Pro has been released offers some interesting comparisons of how Apple is working to reduce the size and weight of its machines.

In particular, iFixit focuses on the hard drive and RAM differences between the two machines, noting that the proprietary solid-state drive used in the Retina MacBook Pro measures only 3.16 mm thick compared to 9.45 mm for the traditional hard drive in the non-Retina version. On the RAM side, Apple has soldered the chips directly to the logic board in the Retina MacBook Pro, while the non-Retina version still retains removable RAM modules in a stacked configuration measuring 9.15 mm thick.


Logic board of non-Retina Mid-2012 MacBook Pro with CPU (orange), NVIDIA graphics (red), and platform controller hub (yellow)

While the Retina MacBook Pro received iFixit's lowest repairability score ever for a notebook at just 1 out of 10, the non-Retina version receives a score of 7 for its use of mostly-standard screws and its easily-accessible battery, optical drive, hard drive, and RAM. But as evidenced by the popularity of the MacBook Air and the strong reception to the Retina MacBook Pro, repairability and upgradability appear to be taking a back seat to size and weight savings in the minds of consumers as Apple pushes the envelope with highly-customized components fabricated to meet the company's design goals.

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32 months ago
I prefer upgradable hardware, but it's pretty obvious most consumers don't.

They're going to do what they're going to do.
Rating: 20 Votes
32 months ago

I'd say the reason behind that is because outside of memory the only other upgradeable component is the hard drive ;)


I disagree. I work in IT, as well as teach IT related courses. The vast majority of users don't even know they can upgrade their machines. A laptop is limited of course, but even the concept of putting a stick of RAM in a machine makes most users glaze over. Folks buy machines to use them, when they don't work anymore or are too slow they buy new ones, simple as that.
Rating: 11 Votes
32 months ago

The most important factor for me is screen size. The bigger the screen, the better. Next is RAM, followed closely by HD space. Battery life comes next, followed by a good keyboard. If my 17 inch MBP were to mass twice as much, I would not care. Laptops are light; I don't understand why anyone would have a hard time carrying one around.

If they were to shave off a few pounds on the MP, without harming performance or upgradeability, I would not be that upset. Not that I take my MP out to work in the field.

What, you don't want to be one of these people? :D:cool:
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Rating: 11 Votes
32 months ago

But as evidenced by the popularity of the MacBook Air and the strong reception to the Retina MacBook Pro, repairability and upgradability appear to be taking a back seat to size and weight savings in the minds of consumers as Apple pushes the envelope with highly-customized components fabricated to meet the company's design goals.


Exactly. People buy machines, use them for a practical life cycle, without that much concern about repair logistics outside of the warranty, especially with Applecare giving you 3 years of not having to worry.

It’s not like 2-3 year old notebooks from any source are all that repairable. I’ve got old notebooks from a number of manufactures with bad motherboards, keyboards, trackpads, displays, none of which have a replacement source.
Rating: 8 Votes
32 months ago
I'll take thinner, lighter, and longer battery life over upgrade options any day. I'll just buy the specs I want up front even if its costs a bit more and don't yet require it.

Apple also needs to know that replacing the board is going to be expensive so consumers aren't going to like it if they can't get it replaced cost effectively after the AppleCare expires. I seriously would spend a little more to get an extended 4 or 5 yr coverage rather than spend 800-1500 to replace internals.
Rating: 8 Votes
32 months ago
Good to know the new MBP is still easy to upgrade. Mine should be here next tuesday or wednesday. :)
Rating: 7 Votes
32 months ago

Other than memory, I would say 99% people never upgrade anything on their laptops.


I'd say the reason behind that is because outside of memory the only other upgradeable component is the hard drive ;)
Rating: 7 Votes
32 months ago

But as evidenced by the popularity of the MacBook Air and the strong reception to the Retina MacBook Pro, repairability and upgradability appear to be taking a back seat to size and weight savings in the minds of consumers as Apple pushes the envelope with highly-customized components fabricated to meet the company's design goals.

There is no causation. People are just buying the new shiny and getting whatever they get as regards repairability and upgradability.

Rocketman
Rating: 6 Votes
32 months ago

For me, upgrading sucks anyway. Suppose I get a laptop with 8 GB and decide to upgrade to 16 GB. Now I have to pay for 16 GB of RAM, replace it, and then what do I do with the old 8 GB? Try to sell it? Give it to someone?


.


I looked at upping the RAM in my Mum's 13"MBP at the point of sale, they wanted £280 for 8GB in 2011. She managed fine with 4 GB for 8 months then I replaced it with £36 worth of 8 GB Corsair RAM. Simple choice but only if they let it be a choice. I intend to swap in a 256GB SSD when they become more affordable too. Apple wanted £800 for one when it was bought......
The 4 GB I took out of her MBP I sold on to a nice young lady for £20, including fitting it in her i5 iMac. She was overjoyed cos she had no clue where to put it.

Upgrades extend lifespan of good quality machinery like the stuff Apple make.
Soldering and gluing in easily replaceable items forces you away from such extensions of lifespan. I have a 3 year upgrade cycle on non upgradeable tech, my Mac Pro will still be busting its chops to do its job long after.
2008 - 2012 and still trucking on 2 RAM upgrades, 2 GFX card swaps and an extra 3 TB of storage, some of it SSD.

To use another silly car analogy, you don't replace the whole engine when your exhaust rots through, so why weld it to the block?
Rating: 6 Votes
32 months ago
Natural progression. How many people work on their new car these days?
Rating: 6 Votes

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