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Teardown of New Mid-2013 MacBook Air Reveals Smaller SSD, Increased Battery Capacity

The teardown experts at iFixit have just taken apart the new 13-inch Mid-2013 MacBook Air that was announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday, and while there aren't too many drastic changes in the internals there are a few differences that are worth noting.

The team found that the PCIe-based SSD module from Samsung is smaller than the previous model's Toshiba SATA module, which also means that the drive is not compatible with previous MacBook Air models. As noted earlier by AnandTech, the read/write speeds of the flash storage approach 800 MB/s.

samsungssdmacbookairSamsung SSD in Mid-2013 MacBook Air 

When Apple announced the Haswell-based MacBook Airs yesterday, perhaps the main highlight of the introduction was the "all-day" battery life topping out at 12 hours for the 13-inch model. And while the processors are a large part of the claimed all-day battery life, iFixit found that the new Airs also sport batteries with increased capacity driven by higher voltages: increasing from a 7.3 V, 6700 mAh power battery to a 7.6 V 7150 mAh power battery.

Other changes that the iFixit team found include a redesigned AirPort card that provides 802.11ac Wi-Fi and an expanded heat sink covering both the CPU and platform controller hub (PCH), although the PCH does not have any thermal compound applied to assist with transferring heat to the heat sink.

The 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999 with a 128 GB hard drive, while the 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1099 with a 128 GB hard drive. Both lines are available at Apple's Online Store and at the company's retail outlets.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

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18 months ago

No thanks. I need something with hard drive capacity. Casual System would be fine, but I have a HUGE iTunes Library of just under 400 GB, mostly movies.


There is a 512GB version.

All though I agree with others that it seems a bit odd to carry 400GB of movies around in an Air.
Rating: 22 Votes
18 months ago

No thanks. I need something with hard drive capacity. Casual System would be fine, but I have a HUGE iTunes Library of just under 400 GB, mostly movies.

Let me have an Air with a large capacity HDD or SSD then we will talk :D


Do you really need ALL of your movies with you at all times? The Macbook Air is built for portability. Why don't you put your media on an external HD and transfer a few movies over to the Macbook beforehand when you know you'll be watching?

Crazy to lug extra pounds for movies that you probably won't watch again.
Rating: 18 Votes
18 months ago

...
The team found that the PCIe-based SSD module from Samsung is smaller than the previous model's Toshiba SATA module, which also means that the drive is not compatible with previous MacBook Air models.


:eek: What are the people on this forum who have said they will not buy Samsung products going to do??? Hopefully they are not in the market for the new Macbook Air.
Rating: 15 Votes
18 months ago

No thanks. I need something with hard drive capacity. Casual System would be fine, but I have a HUGE iTunes Library of just under 400 GB, mostly movies.

Let me have an Air with a large capacity HDD or SSD then we will talk :D


First off, there is no HDD that will fit into an MBA. Second, you have the option to upgrade to a 500 GB SSD. Not enough? What -- you need constant access to your collection of Seinfeld reruns and Star Trek wherever you are? As one of my virtual gfs used to say, back in the usenet days: puhleeze!!!
Rating: 14 Votes
18 months ago

All day to me is 24 hours but hey, 12 is still pretty darn good even though real world will most likely be 9+ hours.


24 hours is all day and night. :D
Rating: 14 Votes
18 months ago

Other changes that the iFixit team found include a redesigned AirPort card that provides 802.11ac Wi-Fi and an expanded heat sink covering both the CPU and GPU, although the GPU does not have any thermal compound applied to assist with transferring heat to the heat sink.

If I'm not mistaken the GPU is integrated on the same die as the CPU which is why it's so rectangular. The second smaller die is the platform controller hub which has been brought on package and doesn't have a high thermal output which is why it doesn't need thermal paste.
Rating: 9 Votes
18 months ago

No thanks. I need something with hard drive capacity. Casual System would be fine, but I have a HUGE iTunes Library of just under 400 GB, mostly movies.

Let me have an Air with a large capacity HDD or SSD then we will talk :D


Can't you just iTunes Match that library and stream as necessary to save all that disk space?
Rating: 8 Votes
18 months ago

my only question is can the SSD and RAM be upgraded by the user and judging by this, it looks like the SSD can, but does anyone know about the RAM?


The memory is soldered to the board just like in the previous generation.
Rating: 5 Votes
18 months ago
i just bought the NEW macbook air today, its the cats gonads

heres my review:
Working off formerly a 13" macbook air mid 2011, I just bought this new 2013 model with the Haswell CPU and low power consumption infrastructure.

Off a full charge, I disconnected 3 hours 40 mins and had an external drive connected the entire time, restarted 4 times, and did NONSTOP heavy application installs (Office suite, Photoshop etc.), a total of 23 applications, and ran youtube vids in the background the entire time, and after all of that nonstop heavy loading, I had 76% on my battery, of which id have around 35% on my older Macbook Air.

Further still, the entire unit has run UTTERLY COOL during this EXTREMELY heavy loading, installing and heavy 1080P video graphics play. My other Macbook Air would be almost too hot to touch underneath near back under same conditions.

Even without 802ac (new Wifi connection thru the new Air), I notice roughly 25% faster throughput on likewise file downloads using my new Macbook Air than that of my older version airport extreme.

My Macbook Air has been without a question my most treasured gem of "go-to" Mac product hands down, I own all of them (2 Airs, Macbook Pro, MacMini etc),...I was skeptical when I shelled out $1099 today for the new Haswell Air and its presumed prognosticated "crazy long" battery life and improved speeds overall; but the hype isn't hype, its real and amazing. The mere NOTION that I can overload this Air with App installs, and have a 2.5" HD attached for nearly 4 hours, run 1080P Youtube vids,...and still be at 76% Batt life is just, well, its stunning.

Tested out the NEW dual (stereo) mic and it IS much nicer in record, additionally the camera/vid is much sharper and crisper than my other Mac Air. Considering the price point is lower on these new Airs than the older ones, I give the new Macbook Airs a "110%". Having repaired laptops (non mac) in the past, and owned at least 20X more laptops than most consumers, I don't lightly conclude this is the cornerstone workhorse for everything I dare consider doing, fast got faster, and battery life now is enough to make a crusty "hates everything" person like myself nearly cry with joy. Congrats Apple! Homerun on this lovely gem.

This new Macbook Air brings TRUE definition to "disconnected" and "portable" to those who want to do a LOT of work free of power socket! Genuine portable is finally here, ...no more staring at the battery % to rush to shut down!
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago

Stupid question, but can one get around that or is it too risky?


Nah, it's piss easy. Just pop the air into the microwave for a few minutes to soften up the solder, get yourself a pair of long nose pliers a ball peen hammer and 3 large toothpicks, and a piece of blue tac or chewing gum, I think there's a video on youtube. Oh yeah, most important do not do this upgrade without an anti static wristband.
Rating: 4 Votes

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