MacBook teardown highlights improved battery tech, new SSD controller

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A teardown of Apple's 2016 12-inch MacBook suggests that the computer's better battery life stems from a mix of optimizations and a slightly larger battery, while its improved SSD speeds are linked to an updated proprietary controller.

The new MacBook has a 4 percent greater battery capacity, rated 41.41 watt-hours at 7.56 volts, repair firm iFixit said on Monday. The rest of the computer's improved battery life — an hour longer than the 2015 model — is allegedly tied to the latest power-efficient Intel Core M processors, and possibly some hidden changes on Apple's part.

The system's SSD speeds, which include 80 to 90 percent faster writes, are said to originate from a new generation of Apple controller (manufactured by TSMC). This is distinguishable by a new model number, 338S00066, and the fact that the updated part sits separately instead of under SDRAM, as in the 2015 design. Apple has promoted the use of PCIe in the computer, but not offered any direct claims of its own about performance.

Separately, iFixit noted that the MacBook is about as difficult to repair as ever, with many core components soldered, glued, or otherwise fused together. The one improvement is the replacement of tri-wing screws with standard Phillips screws, but there are also "tamper-evident" hinge screws that will make it obvious if someone had unofficial repairs done, voiding Apple's warranty.

The new MacBook launched last week in a surprise announcement. Benchmarks put CPU performance about 20 percent faster, and graphics some 25 percent faster. RAM is likewise clocked higher at 1,866 megahertz.


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