Apple MacBook Pro 2011: 15-inch Teardown Inside Look

The refreshed MacBook Pro line for 2011 was announced and released yesterday and it hasn’t taken very long at all for a teardown to take place and we have news of that for you today. We’ve written many articles on the new MacBook Pros already including a look at the FaceTime HD feature, pricing and a comparison with the MacBook Air.

One of the major highlights of the new MacBook Pros is the Intel Thunderbolt technology (previously known as Light Peak) and we’ve also reported on a hands-on look at that. The new lineup has received a lot of positive press already and our teardown news comes from the team at iFixit, who are known for these things. As usual we should point out that we don’t recommend you use the teardown to have a go yourselves, it might be better to leave it to the experts!

iFixit got their hands on the new MacBook Pro 2011 15-inch Unibody model and noticed the model number is still the same as it has been since 2008, A1286. The RAM and hard-drive are considered by Apple to be user-replaceable but sadly, as on the previous models of Pros, that’s not the case for the battery which is 77.5 watts. Rather oddly battery for the previous revision was the same capacity and had a reported battery life of 8 – 9 hours while now it’s being reported as 7 hours, which seems altogether more realistic.

IFixit goes on to notice an improvement to the wireless card which now has four antennas instead of three and then there’s a look at the wireless connectivity which uses a Broadcom BCM4331 chip. After then removing the main board one thing that was found slightly alarming were the globs of thermal paste found on both the CPU and GPU so it will be interesting to see if this causes any problems with overheating after more use. A new chip found under the heat board is then found, that is believed to be the new chip which supports Thunderbolt.

Detailed images show the Thunderbolt port, AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU and then the quad-core Intel i7 processor which is also new to the refreshed MacBook Pros. Near to the conclusion of the teardown some concern is expressed about the quality control of the new models as first a stripped screw near the subwoofer is found and then an unlocked ZIF socket. After all, the MacBook Pro range is not cheap and you would not expect errors like this in brand new hardware. Finally the MacBook Pro Unibody 15” Early 2011 notebook is given a repairability factory of 7 out of 10. It’s certainly an interesting look inside the new MacBook Pro 15” and you can see step-by-step information and images by checking out the full teardown at the iFixit link above.

Meanwhile if you want to find out more about the new MacBook Pro 2011 line then head to apple.com here for all the information you could need. What are your thoughts on the teardown and the minor problems noticed by the iFixit team? Let us know by sending us your comments.

  • James Perry

    Steve Jobs & Mac are right on the fast track, & I’m impressed how Mr.Jobs has his finger on the pulse of the action all around the world, like his thoughts on the situation in Japan.