MacBook Air 2018 teardown: What’s inside?

Chris Burns - Nov 8, 2018, 11:29 am CST
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MacBook Air 2018 teardown: What’s inside?

Today we see inside the MacBook Air 13-inch Retina (late 2018), behind the keyboard, and under the metal. This is the model with a 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS “Retina” display with 2560 x 1600 resolution and a 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor under the hood. The version we’re looking at here is GOLD – though compared to some of the more standard “yellow” golds, this one’s positively rosy. You’ll be happy to find that the color of the screws holding this device together are matched with the color of the casing.

The teardown you’re about to read about was done, physically, by the folks at iFixit. Their step-by-step process is the golden standard for the art of tearing down devices in an easy-to-understand way, and has been for several years at least. What we’re doing today is analyzing the parts that they’ve found inside the 2018 MacBook Air 13-inch Retina model laptop.

SEE TOO: MacBook Air 2018 Review roundup

This is Model A1932, with code EMC 3184 besides. As iFixit mentions, this and the most recent 13-inch MacBook Pro look very, very similar. The processor isn’t as powerful in this version, and it’s a lot more thin, but they’ve got a similarity between them not nearly so indistinguishable as previous generations.

As it is with many MacBooks over the years, this unit is relatively simple to open in at least one respect. Gone are the days of massive sticky-coated sheets of metallic material, and we’re once again looking at a very neatly organized computer. That does NOT necessarily mean it’ll be easy to repair – but it’s nice that the inside looks organized before any repairs need to be made.

According to iFixit – and shown by their photos of the insides of this device, in the mix are the following identifiable parts:

• Cirrus Logic CS42L83A audio codec
• Intel SREKQ Core i5-8210Y Processor
• Apple APL1027 339S00535 T2 coprocessor
• Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Controller
• SanDisk SDSGFBF12 043G flash
• Intersil 95828A HRTZ X829PMJ
• 2x SKhynix H9CCNNNCPTAL LPDDR3 RAM
• NXP 80V18
• Macronix MX25U3235F serial multi I/O flash memory
• Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck converter
• Texas Instruments CD32-15C00 power controller

Of note is the fact that the storage and the RAM are both soldered in, meaning you’re not going to be able to upgrade the innards of this device without some serious (nigh impossible to have as an average everyday user) teardown and fixing skills – and a soldering gun. The battery is replaceable, as is the keyboard, but both are relatively difficult to access and/or remove.

It’s apparent that a lot of the makings of this computer might seem similar to the MacBook Pro on the outside, but the insides are different. We’ve got literally different parts, here, not just parts re-arranged for a more compact end size. The display is “almost the same” as the MacBook Pro, but its peak brightness sits at 3/5ths of that of the MacBook Pro. Also the MacBook Pro’s display has P3 wide color gamut support, while the MacBook Air does not.


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