MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

The latest teardown by the folks at iFixit of the new MacBook Pro gives us a first glimpse of the technology behind Intel's new "Thunderbolt" high-speed connection port.

The latest teardown by the folks at iFixit of the new MacBook Pro gives us a first glimpse of the technology behind Intel's new "Thunderbolt" high-speed connection port.

The Thunderbolt integrated controller is the fourth largest chip on the logic board after the CPU, GPU and logic board controller.

Here is a snap of it:

Here is the AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU:

And, for completeness, here is the Core i7 CPU:

Other highlights from the teardown:

  • The lower case is secured by Phillips #00 screws, while the battery is secured by Tri-Wing screws -- just like the predecessor. No Pentalobe screws are used either inside or outside the device.
  • This new model has the same 77.5 watt-hour battery as the earlier model, but at the same time Apple has decreased their run-time estimate from 8-9 hours to 7 hours. Either Apple's being more realistic with their battery testing, or the new quad-core i7 is more power-hungry than its predecessor.
  • RAM has been upgraded to PC3-10600. That's the same RAM used in the 2010 revision of the 21.5" and 27" iMacs, but faster than earlier MacBook Pros.
  • The wireless card received a make-over and now includes four antennas instead of three.
  • The logic board features four primary chips:  - Intel i7 Quad-Core Processor  - AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU  - Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub  - Intel L051NB32 EFL (which appears to be the Thunderbolt port controller)
  • This machine is still designated Model A1286. Apple's been using that same model number since October 2008.

iFixit did make a few worrying quality-control related discoveries. During the teardown they discovered a stripped screw holding the subwoofer enclosure in place, along with an unlocked ZIF socket connecting the IR sensor. Not big problems, but still, this is a $1800 system we're talking about. The teardown also revealed excessive amounts of thermal paste being used on the CPU and GPU, something which could potentially lead to overheating issues.

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