Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch 2011 Teardown: Upgradable SSD

The MacBook Air refresh for 2011 has just been announced and we’ve already given you details of specs and pricing and earlier today compared the MacBook Air update 2011 vs. the MacBook Air 2010. Now we have news that a teardown giving us a good look at the inside of the Air has already taken place and one of the significant things that it shows is that the new Air features an upgradable SSD, contrary to rumors it may not.

The brilliant team at iFixit sent us details of the teardown and as usual we’d caution you not to use this as an example to deconstruct your own device. That’s something best left to the experts. The first thing that iFixit noticed about the new MacBook Air 2011 is that the physical appearance is very much the same but IO controllers and the chipset are greatly improved. Both the 11-inch and 13-inch Airs now have the new Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors. Sadly the USB reinstall stick is no more but the SSD is not soldered to the logic board meaning upgradable SSD is available and that will please many consumers. Conversely though, RAM is not upgradable so you’d do well to remember to get one with plenty of RAM for your needs from the off.

Thankfully as the teardown progresses, iFixit note that the excessive thermal paste seen in other Apple product teardowns (see MacBook Pro teardown) recently is not evident in the MacBook Air refresh. Some of the main elements on the logic board include an Intel Core i5 Processor-2557M with integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics, Hynix H5TQ2G838ZR 4 GB RAM, SMSC USB2513B USB 2.0 Hub Controller and the Intel E78296 01PB10 / E116A746 SLJ4K Platform Controller Hub. The addition of the Platform Controller Hub with Thunderbolt support has been fitted in by using built-in graphics this time around. The 2011 MacBook Airs also have the backlit keyboards that many had wanted and the upper casing shows a network of LED’s.

Many of our readers had been hoping for FaceTime HD but this doesn’t feature and iFixit notes that the sheer thinness of the display was the reason why this didn’t appear. If you want to take a look at the step-by-step teardown with images check it out at the earlier iFixit link. Once again the team at iFixit have given us a fascinating look inside a device but the unfortunate part of this teardown is that the new Apple MacBook Air only scored a 4 out of 10 repairability factor with Apple obviously preferring that people didn’t tinker with their latest devices.

What are your thoughts on the teardown? Were you surprised at any of the findings and are you happy that the SSD’s are upgradable? Lets us know with your comments.