We got our hands on Apple's newest MacBook Pro 15" on February 24, 2011. This is Apple's first laptop to sport a quad-core processor, and also adds a brand-new I/O technology with a Thunderbolt port. Follow us on Twitter to get all the latest updates.

Questo smontaggio non è una guida di riparazione. Per riparare il tuo MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Early 2011, usa il nostro manuale di assistenza.

  1. We got our hands on Apple's latest Unibody laptop. This is Apple's first portable to sport a quad-core processor: Intel's Core i7.
    • We got our hands on Apple's latest Unibody laptop. This is Apple's first portable to sport a quad-core processor: Intel's Core i7.

    • This machine includes Thunderbolt, a new I/O connection that combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into a single connector.

    • Thunderbolt claims to provide 10 Gbps throughput for both input and output. It appears that both PCI Express and DisplayPort receive their own 10 Gbps data channel. That's nice, as you don't want your display competing with your external hard drive for bandwidth.

    • You can chain up to 6 Thunderbolt devices including up to 2 HD displays. That's not a problem today as we're not even aware of 6 products that support Thunderbolt yet. If the connection becomes widespread, the 6 device limit might be a problem for some people.

    • In comparison, FireWire supports up to 63 devices in a daisy-chain, while USB does not support daisy-chaining.

  2. This machine is still model A1286. Apple's been using that same model number since October 2008.
    • This machine is still model A1286. Apple's been using that same model number since October 2008.

    • Apple still includes the warning to not throw your MacBook Pro in the trash. These warnings were missing on the Verizon iPhone we took apart a few weeks ago.

    • The lower case is secured by ten Phillips #00 screws. There are no pentalobe screws since Apple still considers the RAM and hard drive to be user-replaceable. However, like the machine this replaces, the battery is not user-replaceable (at least according to Apple).

    • The RAM in this machine is PC3-10600 RAM. That's the same RAM used in the 2010 revision of the 21.5" and 27" iMacs, but different from earlier Apple laptops. PC3-10600 RAM is backwards compatible with the PC3-8500 RAM in older MacBook Pro Unibody machines, but you can't use older PC3-8500 RAM in this machine.

    • This machine boasts a 77.5 Watt-hour battery. That's the same capacity as the previous revision, but the reported battery life has gone from 8-9 hours to 7 hours. Has performance really decreased, or is Apple being more realistic with their estimates? We don't have 7 hours to wait and find out, so we'll have to leave that investigation to someone with a fully-assembled unit.

    • Just like the previous revision, the battery is secured by Tri-Wing screws.

    • A spudger makes disconnecting the battery easy enough.

    • On this model, you're able to disconnect the battery without having to remove it from the laptop. It's a nice design choice since you need to disconnect the battery before performing any repairs.

    • The wireless card includes support for 802.11n wireless with 3 antennas as well as what seems to be a dedicated antenna for Bluetooth 3.0.

    • After removing a soldered EMI shield, we find 802.11n wireless connectivity provided by a Broadcom BCM4331 "Single-Chip 802.11n Dual-Band 3x3 Wireless Solution." Bluetooth 3.0 support is handled by a BCM2070 in a separate, shielded section of the board.

    • According to Broadcom, the BCM4331 chip provides "three transmitting and three receiving streams of data in both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. Increased number of streams and antennas results in faster speeds, longer range, fewer dropped connections, and better overall wireless coverage."

    • The BCM2070 Bluetooth controller is described as follows on the Broadcom site: "The Broadcom BCM2070 is a monolithic, single-chip, stand-alone baseband processor with a high performance integrated 2.4-GHz RF transceiver. It is fully compliant with Bluetooth 3.0 and all prior standard features...using advanced 65-nm LP CMOS technology,"

    • The wireless card bracket is aluminum, rather than the plastic in previous revisions. Perhaps this change was made for thermal reasons, as a visible pink thermal pad is used to transfer heat from the board to its aluminum bracket.

    • Like most 15" Unibody laptops, there are two fans. To make sure things stay cool, there's a plethora of temperature sensors scattered throughout the machine, including near the trackpad, in the battery, and on the logic board.

    • The main board lifts out along with the heat sink still attached. This is a nice feature, as this way you have to remove the heat sink and reapply thermal paste only if you're completely replacing the logic board.

    • This machine features not only the large primary heat sink, but also two smaller heat sinks.

    • Holy thermal paste! Time will tell if the gobs of thermal paste applied to the CPU and GPU will cause overheating issues down the road.

    • The Mid 2010 15" Unibody was equipped with only one large heat sink to cool just the CPU and GPU. Also for that revision, the graphics switching chip seen in the second image was present, but didn't receive a heat sink.

    • The chip under the heat sink in the third image is a new chip that is most likely the Thunderbolt controller.

    • The Thunderbolt port is shown in the top left corner of the first picture. Also seen are the traces leading to what we think is the Thunderbolt controller IC.

    • In the second picture is the AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU.

    • If you're wondering about the AMD GPU, ATI was purchased by AMD in 2006. However, only within the last few months has AMD retired the ATI name and begun branding their graphics chips with AMD.

    • In the third picture is the quad-core Intel i7 processor.

    • Front side of the logic board (gigantic version can be seen here):

      • Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub

      • AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU (labeled as AMD 216-0809000)

      • Quad-Core Intel i7-2630QM Mobile Processor (labeled as 2V041112A0127)

      • Broadcom BCM57765B0KMLG Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and Memory Card Reader Controller

      • Intel L051NB32 EFL (we assume this is the Thunderbolt port controller)

      • Parade PS8301 U08FUC

      • TDK 6T213HF 1045 H

    • Back side of the logic board (gigantic version here):

      • Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04 1 Gb (128 MB) GDDR5 SGRAM graphics memory, a total of 2Gb (256 MB)

      • Cirrus 4206ACNZ audio controller

      • SMSC USB25138 USB 2.0 Hub Controller Family

      • Lattice Semiconductor LFXP2-5E Low-Cost Non-Volatile FPGA (Field-programmable Gate Array)

      • ST Microelectronics 6640 N053

      • Intersil ISL6263 CHRZ and ISL6236 IRZ Single-Phase Synchronous-Buck PWM voltage regulators for GPU core power applications

      • Cypress CY8C24794-24L

    • Aside from the logic board differences, there really isn't much else that makes this machine different from its 15" Unibody ancestors.

    • Small plastic plates adhered near the display hinges seem to keep the display data cable and antenna cable bundle stationary while the display is opened and closed.

    • The SuperDrive used on this machine has the model number UJ8A8, making it presumably different from the model UJ898 used in the Mid 2010 15" Unibody.

    • One thing that has us a little concerned about the new models is their quality control.

    • A stripped screw near the subwoofer enclosure and an unlocked ZIF socket for the IR sensor should not be things found inside a completely unmolested computer with an $1800 base price.

    • MacBook Pro Unibody 15" Early 2011 Repairability Score: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • Easily removable bottom panel and readily accessible battery connector allow for easy repair of most components without touching the battery screws.

    • Unibody design allows for easy access of most components with minimal amounts of extra work needed to get to them.

    • Absurd amounts of pre-applied thermal paste may cause problems down the road.

    • Tri-wing screws limit the average person from replacing their own battery.

    • LCD replacement is still very tricky, which could easily result in shattering the front glass panel.

Is the processor model right? The i7-2629 is a 25 W, dual core (not quad core) part.

marinelayer - Replica

This may be a really stupid question, but would it be in any way possible to replace the superdrive with an (SSD) harddrive?

Joost - Replica

My thoughts exactly! I asked MCE about Optibay here:

Martin Cleaver -

Unfortunately, preliminary reports indicate that the optical drive is connected to an SATA-II port, which may be affected by the Sandy Bridge bug, so I would hold off until the situation is clearer.

Paul Vernaza -

Paul - thanks for the heads up on this. So I did some digging - the best assurance I can find is on : "Earlier this year, Intel discovered problems in the chipset of Sandy Bridge processors that were shipping, but Apple vice president of worldwide Mac hardware marketing David Moody told Macworld that the company was using the latest updated versions, which corrected the flaw."

From I understand that as delivered, the motherboard is designed to work with an optical drive on the optical drive port (3gb/s) & a SSD or HDD on the main 6gb port.

Open questions for me:

1) Where's the actual quote of what David Moody said?

2) What might "corrected" mean?

3) Given that he is a hardware executive, is it reasonable that they did a hardware correction, (rather than a software patch)

4) Can we trust that Intel's budget for the recall replaces for full HDD support on the optical drive port?


Martin Cleaver -

Visualizza Statistiche:

Ultime 24 Ore: 37

Ultimi 7 Giorni: 292

Ultimi 30 Giorni: 1,366

Tutti i Tempi: 1,146,234