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Apple TV Teardown Shows A4 CPU, 256MB of RAM

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 25 comments

Apple's second generation Apple TV is very small; in fact it's a quarter the size of the old one. How did they fit everything inside? More importantly, what the heck is in there?

As always, we have some burning questions when faced with a new gadget and, as always, the iFixit team is more than happy to step up to the plate and tear apart the latest piece of electronics in the name of science. Their latest victim was Apple's Apple TV settop box. Inside they found 256MB of RAM (just like the new iPod touch and the iPad), as well as Apple's A4 CPU and 8GB of NAND flash.

Check out the pictures of the disassembly session below and be sure to click on through to iFixit for the full step-by-step teardown and gallery.

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  • 14 Hide
    Darkerson , September 30, 2010 11:43 PM
    Pretty interesting how they crammed all that inside there like that. It looks like a decent amount of thought was put into how it was laid out. Granted, I probably wont buy it, but its still neat none-the-less. And Im sure theyll make a pretty little penny off it, considering it probably costs like $20-$25 to make.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Darkerson , September 30, 2010 11:43 PM
    Pretty interesting how they crammed all that inside there like that. It looks like a decent amount of thought was put into how it was laid out. Granted, I probably wont buy it, but its still neat none-the-less. And Im sure theyll make a pretty little penny off it, considering it probably costs like $20-$25 to make.
  • -5 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , September 30, 2010 11:47 PM
    Old news maybe? I feel like that Jobs said himself that the A4 chip was in the Apple TV during the press release.... maybe I'm crazy.

    And this new Apple TV is one of the better products released by the Apple camp as of late. Was playing around with one the other day and I was rather impressed. Still not sure if it is worth $100 though. Hooking up the 3rd output on my video card to my TV is working fine for me.
  • 2 Hide
    imapc , September 30, 2010 11:48 PM
    What happened to the "next gen Apple TV to use AMD Fusion chip" article?
  • -5 Hide
    ben850 , October 1, 2010 12:46 AM
    i'm starting to call BS on this blue "tool" being used in EVERY disassemble photo set.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 1, 2010 12:46 AM
    I'm still failing to understand the point of this thing.
  • 9 Hide
    tu_illegalamigo , October 1, 2010 1:06 AM
    Well desgined, but HDMI with no 1080p? Wrong.
  • 5 Hide
    JMcEntegart , October 1, 2010 1:07 AM
    ben850i'm starting to call BS on this blue "tool" being used in EVERY disassemble photo set.


    It's a separation tool. The pros use/sell those, the rest of us use credit cards/gift cards.
  • 0 Hide
    miloo , October 1, 2010 1:28 AM
    apple decided to go black now ~ interesting ~
    99 bucks ? nah, thanx for the offer ~
  • 0 Hide
    theoutbound , October 1, 2010 1:30 AM
    It's a well built machine, but until it's feature set improves I will stick to HTPCs.
  • 0 Hide
    Simple11 , October 1, 2010 3:16 AM
    My pops bought an AppleTV a while ago. I think they are great and nifty, but with all the techy stuff out there, and using my HTPC as a media server works better for me.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , October 1, 2010 3:22 AM
    wow great, thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    bmw2go11 , October 1, 2010 3:54 AM
    WHAT!! 30PIN?!?!
    The jailbreak is just around the corner. And now that we have the guts exposed..
    Solder a 30pin connector on there and slap on the UFAD001973 cram it all in the case with a usb hub that draws from the psu and make some holes in the side for connectivity.
    I think apple just wanted to give a little challenge to the hackers.
  • 3 Hide
    L0tus , October 1, 2010 8:38 AM
    eddieroolzI'm still failing to understand the point of this thing.

    It looks cool and sexy.

    Apple customers need no reasoning beyond that point.
  • 0 Hide
    g00fysmiley , October 1, 2010 12:57 PM
    i hope somebody develops a crack to allow usb to an external hard drive and retool for a cheap video player/ internet browser on tv.

    hundred for the box hundred for a 1tb external and you're good :D 
  • 3 Hide
    megamanx00 , October 1, 2010 4:10 PM
    And yet I just don't care
  • -3 Hide
    scubadave , October 1, 2010 4:43 PM
    The point of the Apple TV is actually pretty easy to see honestly. Basically as a co-worker told me.. You basically use it to replace your cable TV, and use Netflix to provide your regular TV experience. As Netflix can stream through the Apple TV, you would have access to roughly as much content you'd get through normal TV (less new stuff, however an incredible amount of other stuff. I.E. older movies, episodes, etc.) Now if I get an Apple TV, and cancel my Cable TV, once you add in what I'm paying for things like HBO and Showtime + On Demand, I stand to save around 50-60 bucks a month by paying for only my cable internet and Netflix. So after two months.. I've completely returned my initial investment.

    Now true.. The whole "renting" movies and stuff sucks.. Lord knows I don't want to pay Apple more than I have to.. But at 99 cents a show, or like what.. 2.99(maybe) for full length 720p movies.. I'd still have to "rent" between 16-20 movies or 50-60 shows, or a combination of both, etc.

    Honestly.. It's not too hard at all to see the benefits it has. I can save hundreds a year($600-$720 if I don't rent at all and just dl/torrent movies and stream them through iTunes) with it.. and lord knows I don't even watch TV much anyway. I basically only watch it to fill the voids when I'm eating dinner, or having a family movie night. However.. I'm still not sure if I'm going to buy one now.. Or wait until they upgrade it to include full 1080p support.

    Which I'm sure they will.. If it's as successful as I hope it is.
  • 0 Hide
    thearm , October 1, 2010 4:43 PM
    lol Just like Apple. Always paving the way for other better products.
  • 2 Hide
    mbmcavoy , October 1, 2010 6:20 PM
    @scubadave - If you are already have Netflix, you won't need to rent so many movies & TV shows from iTunes.

    Also, I fully expect Hulu+ to be on it within 6 months, along with an explosion of apps. (WWDC 2011 at the latest!) Like the original iPhone, it took some time before the dev tools were made available for 3rd party apps. I think the primary reasons for this was to mature the tools and documentation, but most importantly for developers to experience the Cocoa Touch UI approach and change their thinking prior to them porting desktop designs over. (Windows Mobile anyone?)

    The AppleTV is iOS based, but the UI layer obviously isn't multitouch, and there need to be different interaction paradigms. Apple would want to get people used to their "Cocoa TV"-based apps, so the apps get a consistent quality, look and feel. Most of iOS is mature, but Apple will probably need to spend time cleaning up the new parts before opening them up.

    Now, I suspect that jailbreakers get apps within a month, perhaps XBMC or Boxee will make an appearance! (Drool from a guy is has no interest in jailbreaking his iPhone here)

    I'm kind of split between the AppleTV and Roku. As of today, I think the Roku has better value, but the AppleTV has better potential value. I could buy both for less than a Boxee Box, or three months of cable. Almost disposable!

    The HTPC route is interesting, but I don't think will be a good fit, and a bit more expensive.
  • -1 Hide
    scubadave , October 1, 2010 6:56 PM
    @mbmcavoy - Absolutely correct. +1. I'm just trying to point out to people who may not see the value in Apple TV. But as far as Netflix is concerned.. They don't get access to all the new content as quickly as say, HBO, On Demand, etc. Thats the only reason I may/may not rent movies or shows from Apple. So while I can save up to a possible $720 a year.. I bet my actual will be more likely about 500-600ish.

    But at the end of the day, Apple TV is/can be a very simple and elegant solution for TV that might better fit a person's lifestyle, myself included, for a relatively cheap price tag. Not to mention I bet the power requirements for this thing would be well under the power draw for a typical HTPC setup(a review I'd be most interested in seeing btw), not to mention the costs of making/maintaining one.

    However, as I said before.. the only thing that might keep me from addopting this solution would be 1080p support. And that, I think, will all depend on how successful the new Apple TV is. On the bad side however.. I bet a 1080p version would likely double the price. Which sucks, but even that is still cheaper by far than what I'm paying for now.
  • 1 Hide
    failboat , October 1, 2010 11:06 PM
    boxee or xbmc won't run on powerpc
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