updated 07:21 am EDT, Fri October 25, 2013
Larger MacBook Pro less repairable than 2012 model
The latest versions of the MacBook Pro notebooks with Retina displays are both very difficult to repair, according to a new teardown by repair outfit iFixit. Though the internal design of the 15-inch model has received a few updates compared to last year's model, the 13-inch version is said to have a completely reworked interior.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is claimed to be slightly harder to fix when compared to the 2012 model of the same notebook, revealed at the time by the team to be the "least repairable laptop." Using a PCIe-based Samsung SSD instead of an mSATA drive, as well as a "sleekified heat sink" with one single thermal pad, which iFixit attributes to "Haswellification" and a more closely integrated GPU. A new Broadcom-based AirPort card for 5GHz Wi-Fi connections, a Bluetooth 4.0 processor, and two Skyworks dual-band WLAN front-end modules are also included.
The logic board is where things worsen for the MacBook Pro. Onboard, it has a Haswell Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Pro Graphics, SDRAM chips from Elpida, Intel's Thunderbolt 2 controller, and Cirrus providing audio. The headphone jack is now soldered onto the logic board itself, making it harder to replace without careful soldering work or replacing the entire logic board.
Turning to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, it features the same AirPort card, a PCIe SSD from SanDisk, similar heatsink consolidation, and a relatively similar list of components on the logic board. The fused display assembly with no protective glass, the heavily-glued lithium-polymer battery covering the trackpad's screws, and soldered RAM all count against it, along with Apple's use of proprietary pentalobe screws.
The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina each receive a score of one out of ten for repairability, where ten out of ten is for a highly-repairable device.