Apple MacBook & MacBook Pro dissected: Expensive to repair?

Oct 16, 2008

Some people, in the excitement of unboxing a new tech-toy, forget to stop until they're down to bare metal.  That seems to be the continual problem over at iFixit, where they've been dissecting the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops.  You can check out our video unboxings of both machines here; more internal shots and analysis of the two unibody Apples after the cut.

A couple of things to note are flagged up in the breakdown.  First is Apple's insistence on sticking with 32-bit chipsets for their notebooks, which means you won't be able to upgrade this generation of MacBook or MacBook Pro beyond 4GB of RAM.  There's also, in iFixit's opinion, little way that the dual NVIDIA graphics implementation could fit into the MacBook Air, as they occupy a surprisingly large amount of the logic board.

Worryingly, the Bluetooth cable is sandwiched between different layers of the LCD, which could make future servicing problematic and, even, require the whole screen be replaced.  The upper part of the keyboard, too, including the keys themselves, the metal surround and the touchpad, are apparently being treated as a single replaceable part; it's possible that, in trying to fix a single broken key, Apple will charge you for the whole assembly.  iFixit have managed to undo all the individual screws around the keyboard and believe it's possible to replace them individually, however.

On a more positive note, the notebooks should run relatively quietly even under high-load, as Apple have used a unique fan with more than the usual number of blades.  That allows them to lower the spin-rate, while still moving the same amount of air.  Also, servicing in general should be easier, as the internal design is apparently slicker than in previous models.  The MacBook speakers have been upgraded to a more substantial set, and its display - despite being glass and metal - weighs less than the older, plastic MacBook (in the image below, the new speakers are on the right and the old speakers on the left).

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