The 13″ MacBook Pro Retina Display Teardown

With the MacBook Pro 15″ Retina teardown out of the way, we focused our dissection magic on its 13″ brother. While the 15″ sported only iterative changes, this guy was a whole new enchilada.

We opted for the base 4 GB RAM version, and of course all four jiggabytes were soldered to the logic board. So what if we want to upgrade to 8 GB? Tough luck — our $1300 computer doesn’t have a slot for such shenanigans.

MacBook Pro 13

What about replacing the aging battery three years from now? That will take more heating and prying than before. How about replacing a non-responsive trackpad? Now it’s stuck (literally) underneath the battery, and guarded by a glued-down metal plate. These demerits — and more detailed below — add up to a terrible 1 out of 10 repairability score.

More troubling is that Apple appears to be phasing out the non-Retina MacBook Pros, which were much more fixable, upgradable machines. The 15″ non-Retina is gone as of this year, and we’re placing our bets that the non-Retina 13″ will disappear next year.

The 13″ MacBook Pro Retina Display Teardown

Our very own Gwendolyn esplainin’ things through them moving pictures:


• By now, we’re not even surprised to find the lower case held in place by pentalobe screws. Just… disappointed.

• It looks like this new revision has lost its cool—or at least half of it, as we’re now down to a single fan.

• Apple’s holiday redecorating didn’t stop there: rearranged cabling, a displaced SSD, and a drastically revised battery now deck these halls.

• As ever, Apple warns of tragic consequences if we attempt to service, remove, or engage in polite conversation with the battery.

• Taking a peek under the covers of the revised AirPort Card, we find:

  • Broadcom BCM4360 5G Wi-Fi 3-Stream 802.11ac Gigabit Transceiver
  • Broadcom BCM20702 Single-Chip Bluetooth Processor
  • Skyworks SE5516 Dual-Band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN Front-End Module

• Here’s the muscle: coming in at 71.8 Wh, this 11.34 V battery is ever-so-slightly down on oomph from last year. But thanks to other improvements, Apple claims a 9-hour battery life during normal use.

• As Apple rolls out Intel’s new Haswell processors and Iris Graphics, we’re seeing a massive heat sink consolidation trend—the CPU and GPU are now close neighbors, and get to share a pad on the heat sink, making for a cleaner and more streamlined design.

• Here it comes, the component we’ve all been waiting for: the logic board! Here’s what we’ve got for ICs:

  • Intel SR18A Core i5-4258U Processor
  • Micron D9PXV 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • Cirrus 4208-CRZ Two-Channel Low Power HD Audio Codec
  • Intel DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 Controller
  • Fairchild Semiconductor DD18BB 220A
  • Texas Instruments 58872D TI 37 CF61 E4
  • Micron D9PXV 4 Gb (512 MB) DDR3L SDRAM
  • MXIC MX25L6406E 64M-bit CMOS Serial Flash
  • Texas Instruments Stellaris LM4FS1EH Microcontroller
  • Cypress CY8C24794-24LTXI Programmable System-on-Chip
  • Broadcom BCM15700A2

• We’re happy to see that the MagSafe 2 port resides on its very own connector, meaning that if you need to replace it, you won’t need to replace any extra parts along with it.

• This display, as with its predecessors, must be replaced as an assembly; there’s no parting out this bad boy.