New "Unibody" MacBook Pro Dissected

The enterprising lads over at iFixit sure like to take stuff apart. Then again, that's at the heart of their bread-and-butter--they take the risks with potentially broken parts and lost screws so that they can assemble comprehensive DIY guides for instructing you how you can repair your own Apple products, such as MacBooks and iPods. If you don't know how to take it apart, how are you going to know to put it back together?

Their latest disassembly was of the new "unibody" MacBook Pro that was unveiled only two days ago.  Here are some highlight of what they discovered during their dissection:
 The removable battery
Bottom plate removed
 The system board
(Credit: All photos from iFixit)

  • They found the glossy screen to be highly reflective. For those who dislike glossy displays, you might like the glossy displays on the new MacBook Pros even less.
  • The keyboard is now black; it was silver on previous MacBook Pro models.
  • The bottom edges of the unit are now more rounded.
  • They tried to use the bundled Application DVD with iLife in an older MacBook Pro without success.
  • The MacBook Pro does not come with a DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter. As DisplayPort is the only video-out port on the MacBook Pro, chances are you will need to plunk down another $29 in order to use the new MacBook Pro with an external display, unless you have one of the new DisplayPort-based Apple LED Cinema Displays.
  • The single FireWire port is a FireWire800 port. To connect FireWire400 peripherals you'll likely to need to fork over another $29.95 for a 9-pin-to-6-pin FireWire 800/400 cable.
  • Yay! The battery is removable!
  • With the battery out of the way, the "industry standard SATA notebook drive" can be swapped out following the removal of four screws.
  • The memory modules are not easily user accessible. You have to remove the system's bottom plate (eight screws) to get to them. The maximum amount of memory that the MacBook Pro support is 4GB.
  • The system board and components are all attached to the top-portion of the case (the "unibody").
  • There are two fans inside the case. iFixit claims that the fans have a "high number of fan blades [that] allows them to achieve moderate airflow with low RPM."
  • The iFixit folks discovered that the optical drive is SATA based and claim that this is a first for the MacBook Pro--previous models used PATA-based optical drives.
  • The three large chips on the system board are the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (with 3MB L2 cache), the Nvidia GeForce 9400M IPG (using 256MB shared memory), and the Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT GPU.
  • iFixit also provides a word of warning: "Our sources say that Apple is treating [the unibody upper case] as a single replaceable part. This means that if you break a key on the keyboard, you'll have to replace the entire upper case. That could get very expensive." They did manage to remove the keyboard, but they had to remove 56 screws in order to do it.

So thanks to the iFixit team for giving us an in-depth look inside the new MacBook Pro. For anyone looking to save some money and perform their own repairs on a MacBook or iPod, check out the iFixit repair guides.