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iFixit: New Macbook Pro is Least Repairable Notebook to Date

By - Source: iFixit | B 59 comments

iFixit has dubbed the new Retina Display MacBook 'the least repairable laptop' they've ever taken apart.

T'was just the day before yesterday when Apple announced the launch of a brand new Retina Display MacBook Pro, but same-day availability means many people already have the new notebook sitting on their desks. Among those is the crew at iFixit. However, rather than use the computer for, you know, computing, our reliable friends have torn it apart. What did they find when they ventured inside? All the things they hate. Apparently, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a repairman's worst nightmare.

" [...] even though it packs lots of gee-whiz bells and whistles, we were thoroughly disappointed when we ventured inside," the site said in an emailed statement. "This is, to date, the least repairable laptop we've taken apart. Apple has packed all the things we hate into one beautiful little package."

With Pentalobe screws and its RAM soldered to the logic board, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro shares a few features with the MacBook Air. Considering the MacBook Pro is now nearly as thin as the MacBook Air, this makes a lot of sense, but the MBP also has some unique assembly features that we haven't seen before. Chief among them is the display assembly, which is is completely fused with no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire assembly. Yikes.

Leaving aside the fact that the laptop is literally glued together and the RAM and SSD aren't upgradable, iFixit found the following major chips inside: Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M GP, an Intel Core-i7 3720QM 2.6 GHz processor, what appears to be an Intel E208B284 Platform Controller Hub, Hynix H5TC2GB3CFR DDR3L SDRAM, and an Intel DSL3510L Thunderbolt controller.

Check out iFixit's full teardown for more pictures and a total rundown of how they came to score the new MacBook Pro a 1/10 on the repairability scale. Ouch.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 12:52 AM
    Here's a good idea.. STOP BUYING THE STUFF. :) 
  • 22 Hide
    Branden , June 14, 2012 1:46 AM
    me: "i want to upgrade my PC notebook from 4G to 8G"
    newegg: "that'll be $50"
    iSheep: "hello, i'd like to upgrade the RAM in my 15" macbook pro from 4G to 8G."
    "Genius": "that'll be $2300."
    iSheep (with vacant stare): "i will obey."
    8 year old chinese kids making macbooks: "why does this thing cost 5 years salary again?"
    Steve Jobs in grave: smirking.
  • 17 Hide
    bustapr , June 14, 2012 12:50 AM
    the biggest FU to people here is that the Drives are superduperglued to the chassis and the ram is frikin soldered to the board. why, oh why the hell would you solder ram to the board other than to say FU to people that wont buy an overpriced apple upgrade.
Other Comments
    Display all 59 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    kcorp2003 , June 14, 2012 12:14 AM
    i checked the price its about 2k-3k but thats why its the "pro". The only thing i like about it is the screen resolution! - 2880×1800. According to wire news they said "Retina Display Gives Apple 1-Year Lead on Ultrabooks" i'm crossing fingers for 1080p ultrabook before my fall semester starts.
  • 8 Hide
    kryzzay , June 14, 2012 12:23 AM
    Total build cost? $500 if that. These prices are a joke. Macbook Ripoff Pro.
  • 16 Hide
    bigpoppastuke , June 14, 2012 12:29 AM
    Keep in mind that the RAM is soldered in too. No upgrades in the future. If you want 16gb, you'd better buy it that way for an extra $200. Also, with only 1 year warranty and 90 days phone support, chances are you'll need that extended warranty. Tack on another $389.

    So in reality this computer is worth (apple's idea of worth) closer to $2818 - $3418.
  • 4 Hide
    gorfmaster1 , June 14, 2012 12:34 AM
    its a typical Apple move to make it harder to work on their laptops. but what else is new. apple greedy for more money so you buy a new OS AND laptop at the same time with no upgradeability.
  • 12 Hide
    punahou1 , June 14, 2012 12:39 AM
    A few years back I picked up an imac for a guy in my office. After two years the video card went bad and to my surprise it too was soldered to the motherboard. As a result, the cost of fixing a $60 video card was $800. I guess with this things can only be worse...
  • -1 Hide
    K2N hater , June 14, 2012 12:49 AM
    Apple is not gaining a single customer with that. Instead - they lose the already few remaning computer literate customers they had.
  • 17 Hide
    bustapr , June 14, 2012 12:50 AM
    the biggest FU to people here is that the Drives are superduperglued to the chassis and the ram is frikin soldered to the board. why, oh why the hell would you solder ram to the board other than to say FU to people that wont buy an overpriced apple upgrade.
  • 31 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 12:52 AM
    Here's a good idea.. STOP BUYING THE STUFF. :) 
  • -2 Hide
    bebangs , June 14, 2012 1:01 AM
    i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    iHATEit. it's getting annoying!
  • 10 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , June 14, 2012 1:06 AM
    Why? What if i accidentally drop lemonade on this macbook pro, and it damages the RAM, but everything is okay. Do i have to spend $900 on a new logic board, just to replace a damaged ram? (This happened with my sister's 4 years old macbook pro, that only the ram failed when i diagnosed it, but specialized "Mac experts" claimed that she had to spend $700 on a new screen and logic board).

    I won't recommended laptop Macintosh to anyone, if it ain't repairable, it ain't good.
  • -1 Hide
    AidanJC , June 14, 2012 1:08 AM
    Ah great.. Another reason to have to buy AppleCare.. =[
  • 6 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , June 14, 2012 1:11 AM
    KenTXHere's a good idea.. STOP BUYING THE STUFF.

    Now that is a novel idea.

    Don't get me wrong, I use Macs religiously for work (and Windows for play) since the early 1990s, so I am by not any means an anti-Mac person.

    But common Apple, give me a bone here. I love the monitor but there is no way I am going to drop cash on a laptop that I can't even upgrade! Which means I would have to buy a laptop that is pre-built to last me 3-5 years.... which means that $2200 list price all of a sudden turns into a $3800 laptop, not to mention all of the accessories I will have to buy since it doesn't even have a Firewire or ethernet port, and the warranty to protect my $3800 investment.

    Thanks, but no thanks. I'll stick to buying the older Macbook Pro design.
  • 8 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 14, 2012 1:21 AM
    This has always been my problem with Apple. Yes, they can make amazing machines with nice little bells and whistles, but I have always hate not being able to do at least the simple stuff. Drives fail all the time for numerous reasons. I don't need to drive all the way to some store someplace, or wait on shipping my entire computer off somewhere, just to replace a bad drive, or upgrade my memory. I would love to hear their explanation of why they feel they had to do that.
  • -4 Hide
    d_kuhn , June 14, 2012 1:32 AM

    It seems I'm the odd man out... when my laptop gets old enough that I'd think about upgrades I inevitably replace it - so the lack of upgradability doesn't bother me. What does bother me is the difficulty with repairs... I guess the thing is like a BMW... great to own as long as you're in warranty.
  • -4 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , June 14, 2012 1:33 AM
    DRosencraftThis has always been my problem with Apple. Yes, they can make amazing machines with nice little bells and whistles, but I have always hate not being able to do at least the simple stuff. Drives fail all the time for numerous reasons. I don't need to drive all the way to some store someplace, or wait on shipping my entire computer off somewhere, just to replace a bad drive, or upgrade my memory. I would love to hear their explanation of why they feel they had to do that.


    They don't sell the new Macbook Pro design with a mechanical hard drive... they only sell it with an SSD. I'm not sure about most people's experiences... but I've never had an SSD fail on me on any of my machines. So that design decision makes sense.

    That said... non-upgradable memory makes no sense. It would make sense if they shipped the computer with 8GB standard (they could even solder it onto the board)... but at least make one memory slot available to upgrade the laptop's memory down the road. But perhaps they thought of that, and they decided to ditch that idea due to the complexity of matching memory timings and whatnot. Who knows

    Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing laptop, but the price is going to scare away most people (including me).
    Luckily, Apple was smart enough to continue to sell an upgraded version of the old Macbook Pro design for those who are not willing to take the risk.
  • -4 Hide
    jryan388 , June 14, 2012 1:33 AM
    Quote:
    Total build cost? $500 if that. These prices are a joke. Macbook Ripoff Pro.



    If you're going to be an ignorant fanboy and flame, you might as well get your facts straight. For the cheapest $2200 model, you could make up $500 from the ssd and processor alone. Don't forget the screen (probably several hundred too), the battery (gigantic, as always with apple), the 650m, and the case and mobo and ram and all that other stuff
  • 11 Hide
    PTNLemay , June 14, 2012 1:36 AM
    kryzzayTotal build cost? $500 if that. These prices are a joke. Macbook Ripoff Pro.

    I know right? I can get 2880 x 1800 at my corner store... They're like... 75 bucks, easy.
  • 4 Hide
    A Bad Day , June 14, 2012 1:42 AM
    Quote:
    Leaving aside the fact that the laptop is literally glued together and the RAM and SSD aren't upgradable


    No, just NO. FU off Apple, especially with the standard wallet-gouging price tag.
  • 22 Hide
    Branden , June 14, 2012 1:46 AM
    me: "i want to upgrade my PC notebook from 4G to 8G"
    newegg: "that'll be $50"
    iSheep: "hello, i'd like to upgrade the RAM in my 15" macbook pro from 4G to 8G."
    "Genius": "that'll be $2300."
    iSheep (with vacant stare): "i will obey."
    8 year old chinese kids making macbooks: "why does this thing cost 5 years salary again?"
    Steve Jobs in grave: smirking.
  • -3 Hide
    Kamab , June 14, 2012 1:55 AM
    bustaprthe biggest FU to people here is that the Drives are superduperglued to the chassis and the ram is frikin soldered to the board. why, oh why the hell would you solder ram to the board other than to say FU to people that wont buy an overpriced apple upgrade.


    Connectors aren't cheap. Plus, the more they can lock up the product, the things they need to support. This all equates to bigger profit margins and less expense if you ignore stuff like customer satisfaction (specifically people that would want to upgrade)
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