Late 2013 Retina MacBook Pros Almost Non-Repairable, iFixit Teardown Finds

Retina MacBook Pro-ifixit

Last year the MacBook Pro with Retina display was a disappointment for the guys at iFixit in terms of repairability. And after they had torn down both the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro introduced a couple days ago, they found that things have got slightly worse — once again in terms of repairability. Here is why.

Those who care about repair, and who are after a 15-inch MacBook Pro, had better look up on eBay some of the older models, because Apple has stopped selling the non-Retina 15-inch model.

The bad news is that Apple has made both models as irreparable as they could: they even soldered the headphone jack to the logic board. In other words, unless you have some soldering skills, replacing the headphone jack will cost you roughly $1,000, because you will need to replace the whole logic board. Another thing noticed by iFixit is that the batteries in both 13-inch and 15-inch models have actually shrunk, which suggests that Apple is relying more on the performance of the Haswell processors, as the MacBook Pros still come with an 8–9 hours of battery life.

After taking the 15-inch MBP apart, iFixit found that it is essentially the 2012 unit with a couple of performance upgrades. Here are some highlights of the 15-inch Model.

  • As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can’t upgrade.

  • The proprietary SSD has changed to a PCIe format, but still isn’t a standard 2.5″ drive. However, it is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.

  • The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

  • The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire, extremely expensive assembly.

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro late 2013 scored 1 out of 10 for Repairability (10 being the easiest to repair). (13-inch MBP / 15-inch MBP teardown)

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  • bionicmonk

    What really sucks is the lack of the dedicated gpu on the cheaper MBP Retina. It sucks the big one. If you are a gamer you are literally forced to buy the 2600$ unit, and by ‘literally’ I mean in a first-world-problem kinda way. Still, suckage. Haswell cpu’s are nice n’ all if you are banging out spreadsheets in an airport but its not going to help to pwn noobs in WoW.

  • Mark

    Agreed, was hoping to see a dedicated GPU on the 13″ as well. Will wait for some reviews & benchmarks to come out but am thinking I’ll still upgrade to the 13″MBPr to get the bump to 16GB RAM and quicker CPU over my 2012 MBA
    It’s a matter of time before the 13″ has a dedicated GPU I think – prolly next year.

  • hub2

    It seems there’s little point in a discrete GPU for 13″ laptops. Even the 13″ PC notebooks that have them, have underpowered ones that have worse benchmarks than last year’s Intel HD4000 integrated GPU.

    Sure it’d be nice to offload video RAM instead of sharing system RAM, but what’s the point? Your graphics performance will actually be worse, and with Mavericks the borrowed VRAM is dynamically allocated as needed now.

  • Rio

    I guarantee you there will never be a dGPU on the 13in! As it is it will be phased out of the 15in. The 650m only has a 6-8% advantage on Intel’s iGPU and the 750m only has a 10-12%.

    Soon enough all the laptops will have an iGPU, that seems to be the way apple is pushing intel.