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Cracking open the Apple MacBook Air (2011 11-inch)

TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler cracks open Apple's 2011 11-inch MacBook Air. Inside the ultra-thin notebook he found hardware from Intel, Samsung, and Broadcom.
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In July 2011, Apple released the 3nd generation MacBook Air. As with the 2nd generation Airs, the 2011 notebooks are available in 11-inch (A1370) and 13-inch (A1369) models. We cracked open the 1st generation MacBook Air (released in 2008) and 2nd generation MacBook Airs (released in 2010). And earlier this year, I cracked open the 13-inch 2011 MacBook Air.

Follow along as we go inside Apple's ultra-thin laptop.

To disassemble the new MacBook Air you'll need a screwdriver with Torx T5 and T8 bits and either a very small Phillips screwdriver or special pentalobe bit.

For a more in-depth analysis of the hardware inside the MacBook Air, check out my post, MacBook Air (2011 11-inch) Teardown: Ultra-efficient internal design.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The 2011 MacBook Air is available in four basic configurations--11-inch with 64GB of storage, 11-inch with 128GB of storage, 13-inch with 128GB of storage, and 13-inch with 256GB of storage. Within each of these divisions, you can further customize the processor and RAM.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Our $1,199 MacBook Air (11-inch) came with a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel i5 CPU, 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 128GB flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 384MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM, and an 11.6-inch LED-backlit display.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Our 11-inch 2011 MacBook Air has the same dimensions as the 11-inch 2011 model. The 2011 Air measures 0.11-0.68 inch (H) x 11.8 inches (W) x 7.56 inches (D). It weighs 2.38 pounds.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The MacBook Air has an 11.6-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display that supports several resolutions--including 1366 x 768 pixels (native).

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Apple added a Thunderbolt port to the 2011 MacBook Air. Unlike the 13-inch Air, the 11-inch model does not have an SD-card reader.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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As on the 2010 MacBook Air and some iPhone 4's, Apple used tamper-resistant pentalobe screws on the 2011 Air's bottom cover. Using a small Phillips I was able to remove the screws, but not without damaging one of the screws beyond future use. I'll be looking for replacement screws before reassembling this laptop.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The left-side PCB contains the MagSafe power connectors, USB port, and headphone jack.

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As with the 2010 MacBook Air and 13-inch 2011 model, the 2011 11-inch MacBook Air is simple to disassembled, once you remove the bottom cover. Apple's use of tamper-resistant pentalobe screws, makes the Air very difficult to open.

For a more in-depth analysis of the hardware inside the MacBook Air, check out my post, MacBook Air (2011 11-inch) Teardown: Ultra-efficient internal design.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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