We’ve covered the highlights. Here are a few more shots of the Acer’s internals.
Here is the notebook’s I/O daughterboard. See? No visible sign of damage. And yet...she’s dead, Captain.
This is fairly standard issue for a notebook motherboard. The vaguely P-shaped design, with the scoop for the heatsink, has been around for a long time.
If you’re curious about how the trackpad mounts in, check this:
And finally, here are a couple of exploded views with everything laid out.
All told, I didn’t find the Ultrabook to be a radical departure from the internals of traditional notebooks. After all, we're seeing mostly the same components, with enclosures miniaturized to facilitate smaller form factors, enabled by lower TDPs and higher efficiency. Clearly, there are some notable exceptions, with the battery design topping the list. But in the end, by and large, things are simply thinner. Ultrabooks are harder to work on that most traditional laptops, but not insurmountably so, and at least our Acer didn’t require any special tools. Just go slow, keep electrically grounded, don’t force anything, and you’ll be fine. Probably.
Don't take our example as indicative of all Ultrabooks, though. Other models may employ motherboard-down memory or proprietary storage interfaces, which pretty quickly take away any opportunity you might have had to swap out parts. Scalability is one of the compromises made in order to get very specific thermal envelopes into enclosures as thin as some of the Ultrabooks we've handled. At the end of the day, there's very little reason to bother opening up one of these machines. We mostly wanted to see how everything was laid out inside.
[Author's note: Special thanks to Josh at J. Lucas Photography for his camerawork.]