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Inside Apple's 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro

By - Source: iFixit | B 21 comments

What's Apple hiding under the hood?

Apple gave us a quick peek at the inside of its new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display during its event in San Francisco on Tuesday. However, if you thought the tech world would be satisfied by that, you've got another think coming. No, we wouldn't be enthusiasts if we didn't want to see every aspect of the MBP 13-inch with Retina splayed out under the cold, harsh lighting synonymous with a great tear down.

 

iFixit took it upon themselves to pick up one of these machines and tear it asunder. It seems Apple is still determined to discourage folks from getting inside its gadgets. iFixit reports it took five different screw drivers to perform the tear down (a 5-point pentalobe, a Phillips 00, and T5, T6, and T8 Torx screwdrivers).

But, enough about how they got in, what did they find when they did? First, there's the bits we already know about: the 13.3-inch 2560x1600 pixel (227 ppi) Retina display Apple proudly boasted about on Tuesday, along with the 2.5 GHz Core i5, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 128GB/256GB of flash, 8GB of DDR3L, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, and HDMI I/O. Then there's the nitty-gritty that Apple didn't bother talking about on stage on Tuesday: that SSD is a Samsung MZ-DPC2560/0A2 unit and the RAM is Hynix H5TC4G83MFR DDR3L SDRAM. There's also an Intel BD82QS77 platform controller hub, an Intel DSL3510L Thunderbolt controller, a Texas Instruments Stellaris LM4FS1AH microcontroller with integrated ARM core, an SMSC USB2512B USB 2.0 Hub Controller, a Cypress Semiconductor CY8C24794-24L programmable SoC, a Maxim MAX15119 Apple-specific IMVP7 CPU/GPU power controller, a Cirrus Audio 4206BCNZ audio controller, and a Texas Instruments TPS 51980.

Overall, the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display scored a two on iFixit's repairability scale. And yes, that scale is of the one-to-ten variety, ten being the easiest. Head on over to iFixit for the full gallery and details of the teardown.

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  • 9 Hide
    emperor piehead , October 25, 2012 11:08 PM
    do you even need 2560x1600 on a 13in. screen anyways? With my 1366x768 laptop i can't notice really any pixels.
  • -3 Hide
    wildkitten , October 25, 2012 11:15 PM
    Emperor Pieheaddo you even need 2560x1600 on a 13in. screen anyways? With my 1366x768 laptop i can't notice really any pixels.

    I would imagine video and pictures would look much crisper and vibrant on it.
  • 7 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , October 25, 2012 11:34 PM
    wildkittenI would imagine video and pictures would look much crisper and vibrant on it.

    Pictures, maybe. Video? Pointless waste of time. Highest resolution you can find movies these days are 1080p, with the odd exception. It won't be for another few years before we actually get 2k or 4k video as market default. Until then, such a resolution on such a tiny screen is just a waste of time and money. I've got nearly that resolution on my 27 inch screen and with that it does serve a purpose, but that's because you can actually read text at the normal DPI settings, so you actually have added screen real estate.
  • 4 Hide
    esrever , October 25, 2012 11:34 PM
    Emperor Pieheaddo you even need 2560x1600 on a 13in. screen anyways? With my 1366x768 laptop i can't notice really any pixels.

    people paid for the ipad's retina display which is smaller than this.
  • 0 Hide
    panini , October 25, 2012 11:45 PM
    How come this got a 2 and the 15" got a 0?
  • 1 Hide
    bryonhowley , October 26, 2012 12:50 AM
    So when one of the ram chips go bad you though the whole laptop out and buy a new one!
  • 1 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , October 26, 2012 1:03 AM
    Emperor Pieheaddo you even need 2560x1600 on a 13in. screen anyways? With my 1366x768 laptop i can't notice really any pixels.


    it's basically a 1280 x 800 display just with twice the ppi than normal laptops. You can adjust the screen resolutions to get different sort of effects.

    Saw a friend's 15" Retina (2880 x 1800) which basically becomes 1440 x 900 with twice the ppi (220) than most laptops.

    Viewing pictures, looking at text looks way nice and sharper.
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , October 26, 2012 1:33 AM
    xbeaterPictures, maybe. Video? Pointless waste of time. Highest resolution you can find movies these days are 1080p, with the odd exception. It won't be for another few years before we actually get 2k or 4k video as market default. Until then, such a resolution on such a tiny screen is just a waste of time and money. I've got nearly that resolution on my 27 inch screen and with that it does serve a purpose, but that's because you can actually read text at the normal DPI settings, so you actually have added screen real estate.


    with gpu driveing the video, you can get a decent upscale, not as good as a pre bake but still decent.

    that said, photos, good, but on a 13 inch that 2560x1600 is wasted, and the fact that the whole thing is cheaper than most decent 2560x1600 monitors for the pc is an insult to injury on our part.

    esreverpeople paid for the ipad's retina display which is smaller than this.


    that honestly annoyed me even more than this... WHY CANT WE GET THESE RESOLUTIONS ON THE CHEAP YET?

  • 2 Hide
    yobobjm , October 26, 2012 2:05 AM
    I feel like with intel hd graphics 4000 this basically can't do anything graphically intensive at that resolution.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 26, 2012 2:54 AM
    The Retina looks great for photos and text. Can't imagine what else.

    Checked out the one on display at Best Buy. Went to view the sample photos, and the first thing it did was tell me "Generating high-res thumbnails, please wait". I just walked away

    Laptops aren't ready for 2560x1600 displays yet, unless you don't need to do anything productive with them other than read. Just get a freaking iPad
  • 2 Hide
    cjl , October 26, 2012 10:33 AM
    Really guys? You're complaining because someone finally decided that laptops with crappy screens needed to go?

    As far as I'm concerned, the problem is that it's taken this long for this to happen - we've been stuck at miserable resolution for a long time, and I'm ecstatic that someone (even though it's apple) has finally decided to push display quality as a feature in laptops. Maybe this will finally convince the other manufacturers that they need to include decent displays with their computers - I'm sick and tired of 1366x768 TN panels on laptops.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , October 26, 2012 11:26 AM
    cjlReally guys? You're complaining because someone finally decided that laptops with crappy screens needed to go? As far as I'm concerned, the problem is that it's taken this long for this to happen - we've been stuck at miserable resolution for a long time, and I'm ecstatic that someone (even though it's apple) has finally decided to push display quality as a feature in laptops. Maybe this will finally convince the other manufacturers that they need to include decent displays with their computers - I'm sick and tired of 1366x768 TN panels on laptops.


    yea... 13 inch is about a quarter the size of my screen, and it has more resolution in that 13 inch that my whole monitor has.

    im willing to bet money that if you put that 13 inch and a normal resolution at 13 inch side by side, at a comfortable distance, i doubt i would notice which was which is the ui was the same size.

    that essentially means its pointless.

    are their uses, yea
    but i look at it this way,
    i have a 1920x1200 monitor.
    my zoom level for toms hardware is at 175%, to make it easy to read at a distance, most websites i go to get zoomed atl east to 150%
    extra realestate... not really used if i full screen everything, and the applications i could take advantage of 2560x1600 are not doable on a 13 inch laptop.

    for me all this would do is make browsing the web annoying as every site i go to i would have to zoom in
    i look at images alot, so i have mouse buttons assigned to zoom + zoom = and zoom 100% it would suck useing that thing without easy to hit commands like that.
  • 0 Hide
    john_4 , October 26, 2012 12:44 PM
    Emperor Pieheaddo you even need 2560x1600 on a 13in. screen anyways? With my 1366x768 laptop i can't notice really any pixels.

    Have you looked at iPad with retina? It's looks great and I'm sure these high density screens on the Macbooks will be same. The price is too high for me right now and my 13" Macbook Pro has years left in her.
  • 0 Hide
    jecastej , October 26, 2012 2:02 PM
    In fact almost all printed material you can find is 300 dpi or a retina resolution as this has been a standard worldwide for decades. So it is very natural to read text or see an image on a display at 300 ppi but that is at a reading position and assuming you have a good sight. But 300 ppi is very close on average to the human sight limit and why Apple use a term like "retina display".
  • 0 Hide
    del35 , October 26, 2012 2:56 PM
    Quote:
    do you even need 2560x1600 on a 13in. screen anyways? With my 1366x768 laptop i can't notice really any pixels.


    Yes, you do if your tech IQ is as low as an iTard's.
  • 0 Hide
    del35 , October 26, 2012 3:00 PM
    Quote:
    So when one of the ram chips go bad you though the whole laptop out and buy a new one!


    Yes indeed. Good reason to use an aluminum chassis. It makes for good land filling.
  • 0 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , October 26, 2012 3:41 PM
    alidanyea... 13 inch is about a quarter the size of my screen, and it has more resolution in that 13 inch that my whole monitor has. im willing to bet money that if you put that 13 inch and a normal resolution at 13 inch side by side, at a comfortable distance, i doubt i would notice which was which is the ui was the same size. that essentially means its pointless.are their uses, yeabut i look at it this way, i have a 1920x1200 monitor. my zoom level for toms hardware is at 175%, to make it easy to read at a distance, most websites i go to get zoomed atl east to 150%extra realestate... not really used if i full screen everything, and the applications i could take advantage of 2560x1600 are not doable on a 13 inch laptop. for me all this would do is make browsing the web annoying as every site i go to i would have to zoom in i look at images alot, so i have mouse buttons assigned to zoom + zoom = and zoom 100% it would suck useing that thing without easy to hit commands like that.


    I don't think you understand resolutions and ppi.

    The laptop is displaying at 1280 x 800 but at twice the ppi.

    Do you think the new smartphone 1080p displays on 5 inch screens are the same ppi as your 1080p monitor? Seriosuly, they're at ~440ppi, that's nearly quadruple the ppi of your monitor. These Retina Laptops are twice the ppi of your monitor.

    Everything is not super small with lots of real estate, its the same size with twice the quality. Web pages look great on the Retina display, the text is really, really sharp. Zooming in is like pinch zooming on smartphones and tablets with really good ppi there's high level of details.

    You can install Windows and get that to display as 2560 x 1600 and have everything super tiny, but that's the only way I've seen the resolution with the regular ppi of most other laptops on these Retina laptops.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 26, 2012 3:54 PM
    For 13 inch? This resolution is most welcomed. I might recommend one to an artist friend of mine who does illustrator. But he is waiting for one he can use a stylus with, right on the screen.
  • 0 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , October 26, 2012 3:59 PM
    jacobdrjFor 13 inch? This resolution is most welcomed. I might recommend one to an artist friend of mine who does illustrator. But he is waiting for one he can use a stylus with, right on the screen.


    Interesting lots of artsy people I know like to use the stylus + pad that have higher accuracy than a stylus on a touch screen.
  • 1 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 26, 2012 4:37 PM
    wemakeourfutureInteresting lots of artsy people I know like to use the stylus + pad that have higher accuracy than a stylus on a touch screen.

    I would argue that this is more of a problem with stylus technology than a need to change how he wants to use the product. The way he sees it, he wants to 'ink' the same way he would on paper, just on a computer screen. Therefore, using a tablet is something he is shying away from...
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