MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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11 comments
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  • Still speculating about the Light Peak Port on the iPad 2?

    So is the option of the iPad 2 having a light peak port much more plausible now? After all, your primary complaint was that there was no system on the market that could have taken advantage of the port and now there is.

    Is light peak on an iPad 2 still a stupid idea and a silly rumor? I don't think so.
    nucrash
    • Doubtful? Well, actually...

      @nucrash Although Apple is not known as the most accommodating company, I can't see them adding it without adding another, more useful, port. Unless they want to make a lot of money on adapters, which is not like Apple at all...

      Nevermind. I could see them putting a LP port on the thing.
      rlorenz
  • battery estimates

    Apple changed their battery estimate testing to be more accurate... thats why the decrease.

    For example, the white plastic MB used to have a 10 hour estimate, and it now has a 7 hour estimate and its the same exact machine.
    doh123
    • RE: MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

      @doh123 This is correct as I made the same mistake. The 7 hour lifespan is more of a "DVD play" test rather than a "browse the internet test"
      nucrash
  • WOW!!!

    Some chips and a circuit board. How ever do they do it!
    james347
    • Well, to be fair..

      @james347 - if you made the same comment about the space shuttle, you'd be saying "some metal, plastic, and ceramic, how ever do they do it!" Sometimes the real work is a bit deeper in the details.
      daftkey
      • RE: MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

        @daftkey OMG you did NOT just mention the Space Shuttle! That flying heap of junk, is the Tax Payers nightmare. It kills people, is outdated, is held together by 1980's technology that should have been scrubbed years ago. "Hey let's set fire to a whole bunch of gasoline and hope it gets up into space" just brilliant.
        james347
    • The space shuttle is a tax payers nightmare?

      Nasa's entire budget is only $18 billion dollars, that's about 1.5% of the $1.2 trillion dollar budget deficit. You must be one of those folks (tea baggers) needing remedial math, as the shuttles are only a fraction of the Nasa budget.
      @james347
      GoPower
  • RE: MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

    "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."
    Gee, I wonder if Apple was rushing these things to market?

    Additionally Apple's battery estimates were never realistic. Now they are giving realistic estimates. Reminds me of how Toyota was overestimating the horsepower ratings on almost every vehicle they built before the SAE standards were revised to catch cheaters like Toyota.
    Goldie07
  • RE: MacBook Pro teardown gives us first peek at Thunderbolt technology

    Thunderbolt: Nice Port, anyone announcing peripherals to connect to it? I have only seen LaCie and Promise with external storage devices. Apple does not have any listed on their website.
    mlaflin@...
  • Thunderbolt and... Lightfoot ?

    Considering the original version ran ten times faster, and used optic fibre, I can see an upgrade path already.
    The only benefit of the current (slower) version is the ability of the computer to provide power to attached devices.
    alan_r_cam