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Gallery: MacBook Pro teardown exposes Thunderbolt

This MacBook Pro gallery shows off the debut of Intel's Thunderbolt, a controversy over the amount of thermal paste, and many other details involved in the laptop's construction.
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By Andy Smith on
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1 of 35 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Last week, Apple updated its lineup of MacBook Pros with quad core processors and Intel's new Thunderbolt high speed I/O technology. iFixit.com, a site DIYers must visit for repairing their tech gadgets, grabbed an early  updated 15-inch MacBook Pro and proceeded to tear it apart and show what's inside.

This gallery shows off the Thunderbolt hardware used for the first time ever, a controversy over the amount of thermal paste used, and many other details involved in the laptop's construction.

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Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The new MacBook Pro. (gallery)

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The model number of the MacBook Pro A1286 has been the same since 2008.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The bottom of the MacBook Pro is secured by 10 #00 screws. Since the hard drive is considered by Apple to be replacable no pentalobe screws are used.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Once again, the battery is not user replacable.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The motherboard contains PC3-10600 RAM, the same type that was used in 2010 iMacs.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Battery warnings.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The MacBook Pro's 77.5 Watt-hour battery is the same as before but its reported usage life has decreased from 8-9 hours to 7 hours.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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A spudger, a special tool used by Apple Certified Technicians to repair Apple computers, makes disconnecting the battery easy. You can disconnect the battery without removing it.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The battery.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The 802.11n wireless card appears to have 3 antennas - plus one for Bluetooth 3.0.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Removing the wireless card.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Wireless is provided by a Broadcom BCM4331 802.11n card.

"Broadcom says its chip provides "three transmitting and three receiving streams of data in both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. Increased number of streams and antennas results in faster speeds, longer range, fewer dropped connections, and better overall wireless coverage."

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The other side of the Broadcom wireless card.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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iFixit notes that the is aluminum in the new MacBook Pro rather than plastic used in previous models. They theorize that it could be used for thermal reasons.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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There are two cooling fans.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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In addition to the fans, there are several temperature sensors.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Removing screws to release the main board.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The main board can be removed with the heat sink still attached - allowing you to remove it without needing to appy more thermal paste.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The main board.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Removing the heat sinks. The main board has a large heat sink and two smaller ones. Earlier models only had one heat sink.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The amount of thermal paste uncovered under the main heat sink has been cause for concern.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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One of the smaller heat sinks covers what is most likely the Thunderbolt controller.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The Thunderbolt port is on the top left of this picture. If you follow the connect, it will lead you to what most likely is the hunderbolt controller IC.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Here is the is the AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Here is the quad-core Intel i7-2630QM Mobile Processor.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Here's the front side of the logic board which houses the Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub,  the AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU (labeled as AMD 216-00809000), Quad-Core Intel i7-2630QM Mobile Processor (labeled as 2V041112A0127), the Broadcom BCM57765B0KMLG Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and Memory Card Reader Controller, the Intel L051NB32 EFL (Thunderbolt port controller?), Parade PS8301 U08FUC, and TDK 6T213HF 1045 H.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The other side of the logic board houses TSamsung K4G10325FE-HC04 1 Gb (128 MB) GDDR5 SGRAM graphics memory, a total of 2Gb (256 MB), the Cirrus 4206ACNZ audio controller, the SMSC USB25138 USB 2.0 Hub controller family, a Lattice Semiconductor LFXP2-5E Low-Cost Non-Volatile FPGA (Field-programmable Gate Array), one Intersil ISL6263 CHRZ and ISL6236 IRZ Single-Phase Synchronous-Buck PWM voltage regulators for GPU core power applications, and a Cypress CY8C24794-24L.

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The SuperDrive is model number UJ8A8 which is different from earlier MacBook Pro versions.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Small plastic plates keep the data bundle stationary when the display is opened and closed.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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The bottom cover.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Quality control may have been a little shoddy. Here's a stripped screw.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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Here's an unlocked ZIF socket for the IR sensor.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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A final look at the inside of the new 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Photo credit: With permission from iFixit.com

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