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Teardown of 13" Retina MacBook Pro finds redesigned battery, Samsung flash, soldered RAM

Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display isn't just a shrunken-down version of its 15-inch counterpart, as a teardown of the device has found key changes to its design, including a rearrangement of the battery cells.

By redesigning the battery in the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, Apple was able to "cleverly" hide the solid-state drive underneath the device's trackpad assembly, iFixit discovered in its disassembly of the new notebook. There's even an empty space next to the SSD, which the repair site found to be "very un-Apple."

The solutions provider attempted to fit a 9.5 millimeter Crucial solid-state drive into the space under the trackpad, but it couldn't be closed. They suggested that a thinner 7-millimeter or 5-millimeter hard drive could fit in the space, which could allow upgrades for even greater capacity than Apple's flash memory can allow.


The flash storage in the 13-inch MacBook Pro taken apart by iFixit is a Samsung MZ-DPC2560/0A2 unit rated at 3.3 volts and 2.39 amps with 256 gigabytes of storage.

The disassembly discovered that the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro has the same AirPort card as its 15-inch counterpart, while the heat sink has been slightly scaled down to fit into the smaller notebook. Apple has also once again used fans with asymmetrical blade spacing to reduce fan noise.


And like the 15-inch model, the RAM is surface-mount soldered to the logic board, meaning no upgrades are possible. Apple does not offer any more than 8 gigabytes of RAM on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The chips found on the system's logic board are:

  • Intel Core i5-3210M 2.5 GHz processor (Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz)
  • Hynix H5TC4G83MFR DDR3L SDRAM (8x4 Gb front and back for a total of 64 Gb or 8 GB)
  • Intel BD82QS77 platform controller hub
  • Intel DSL3510L Thunderbolt controller
  • Texas Instruments Stellaris LM4FS1AH microcontroller with integrated ARM core
  • SMSC USB2512B USB 2.0 Hub Controller
  • Cypress Semiconductor CY8C24794-24L programmable SoC
  • Maxim MAX15119 Apple-specific IMVP7 CPU/GPU power controller
  • Cirrus Audio 4206BCNZ audio controller
  • Texas Instruments TPS 51980

Another strange inclusion found in the notebook is a flash memory chip on the trackpad board. The same feature is also found in the 15-inch model, but iFixit doesn't know why a trackpad would require flash memory.

As a device repair site, iFixit rates the repairability of the electronics it disassembles. They found that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is a slight improvement over the 15-inch model in terms of recyclability and repairability, specifically with relation to the removal of the device's batteries. Still, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display could only earn a repairability score of 2 out of 10.