MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Late 2013 Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

We took apart the new 15" Retina MacBook Pro with the hopes that Apple made it more repair-friendly than the debut Mid 2012 model. Unfortunately, things didn't really work out in our favor; in fact, they took a turn for the (slightly) worse.

Even the headphone jack is now soldered to the logic board, which is definitely a component that can wear out over time. Users don't have to be malicious or aggressive when using the port — cyclical stress can cause it to fail either way.

For those of us who care about repair, do note that this is now your only 15" option; Apple stopped selling the non-Retina 15" MacBook Pro.

Want to learn more about repair, and inspire yourself to fix something? Check out iFixit.org.

Image #1

Edit Step 1 MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Late 2013 Teardown  ¶ 

  • This top-tier machine from Apple packs some impressive specs:

    • 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

    • 8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L onboard memory

    • 256 GB of PCIe SSD goodness

    • Intel Iris Pro Graphics

    • 720p FaceTime HD camera

    • 802.11ac Wi‑Fi wireless networking

    • Bluetooth 4.0

Image #1

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • As we saw earlier this year with the MacBook Air refreshes, Apple is switching to PCIe-based solid state drives across the board.

  • The slightly-revamped MacBook Pro 15" Retina was finally invited to this speed-gains party, with a new Samsung PCIe SSD.

  • The Samtastic players involved in making this SSD a speedy storer:

    • Samsung K4P4G324EB-FGC2 512 MB Mobile DRAM

    • Samsung S4LNO53X01-8030 SSD Controller

    • Samsung K9HFGY8S5C 32 GB NAND Flash Modules (8 chips for 256 GB total)

Image #1

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Easy-upgrade #2: Add a new AirPort card that supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

    • Apple's go-to provider of 802.11ac support is again at work. The Broadcom BCM4360 on this AirPort card enables operation on the 5 GHz band at speeds up to 1.3 Gbps.

    • A Broadcom BCM20702 Single-Chip Bluetooth 4.0 Processor gets Bluetoothy things done for your convenience.

    • Also in residence are a pair of Skyworks SE5516 dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WLAN front-end modules.

Image #1

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • One of the few differences: The 15" MBP now has a sleekified heat sink with just a single thermal pad, thanks to the more closely integrated GPU—which we attribute to the "Haswellification" process, as we call it.

  • Another effect of Haswelling your MacBook: This model claims to deliver an extra hour of battery life with the same capacity cells. The more efficient processor likely contributes much to that extra hour of looking at pictures of cats on the internet.

Image #1

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • The most noteworthy revisions come on the logic board, including the all-new Haswell Core i7 processor, Iris Pro Graphics, and Thunderbolt 2 support:

    • 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz) with 6 MB shared L3 cache and Iris Pro graphics

    • 128MB eDRAM cache

    • Elpida J4208EFBG 512 MB DDR3 SDRAM (16 chips for 8 GB total)

    • Intel DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 Controller

    • Intel Platform Controller Hub

    • Cirrus 4208-CRZ Audio Codec, similar to Cirrus CS4207

Image #1

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Back of the logic board:

    • SK Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 512 MB DDR3 SDRAM

    • Broadcom BCM15700A2

    • Cypress Semiconductor CY8C24794-24LTXI Programmable System-on-Chip

    • Texas Instruments TPS51980

    • The headphone jack is now soldered onto the logic board—break yours (easily doable through normal wear and tear) and you're looking at a thousand dollar repair

Image #1

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • The moment of truth is now upon us—is the battery any easier to take out than the previous, horribly glued-in disaster?

  • We're holding our breath as we gently test the waters with a plastic card...

  • ...And half an hour and several skinned knuckles later, we exhale that breath in a great sigh of disappointment. The battery has the same excessive adhesive, and is just as nearly-impossible to safely remove as before.

  • So much for evolution of design.

Image #1

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15" Late 2013 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

  • Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.

  • 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.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T5 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Cards

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

iFixit Lock Pick Set

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Inspection Scope

$39.95 · 50+ In stock

Frictionless Ratchet

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Portable Anti-Static Mat

$34.95 · 43 In stock

Popular Device Products

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

$8.95 · 50+ In stock

Arctic Silver ArctiClean

$7.95 · 50+ In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

Wow, that is insane! and scary at the same time. I just got the 16G model and 512HD. wow

John hale, · Reply

Hi all ! I have a one year old 15" retina MbP. Could it be possible, if the part becomes available somehow, to replace the Wifi card on my mac with an ac one like on the new model ? Or does the form factor change ?

Phil, · Reply

Would really like to know the same, except, I have a last gen 13" Retina MbP. Thx for answers. (if you already know where to buy these cards, any help would be appreciated!)

Marc Nunkesser,

You read my mind, I was wondering the same thing.

Joshua Ray,

yeah, it would be really nice to take advantage of the 802.11ac technology!

Gibran Malheiros,

So, why are we sad that this uses the new standard for SSD instead of a decades old format that makes zero sense for anything other than spinning disks? It's fair to complain about the non-standard cards in the old Macbook Airs, but this is just silly.

Jesper Monsted, · Reply

Probably because it is NOT a new standard, but rather a proprietary design only deployed in Apple devices.

Martin,

Well, as things are going increasingly wireless and solid state we have a curious mix of SS and old hardware like headphone jacks. If you were to break your headphone jack I presume you could get one of the zillions of USB sound cards with headphone jack that offer better sound anyway. I also presume you could still stream music via wi-fi with an Apple TV or AirPort Express or via AirPlay devices or bluetooth headphones. So much ado about nothing? Apple already gave up on user-replaceable batteries ages ago so this is nothing new. And the last generation had non-upgradeable RAM as well - nobody buys an iPad thinking they can upgrade the RAM later... this is how things are going. So the practical advice is: max this puppy out if you want one but don't lament the other stuff. AND BUY APPLECARE if you're going to invest the big bucks in one of these.

EvidenceBase, · Reply

How many wifi antennas are there? An Apple senior tech told me that this is not public info.

Tom R, · Reply

Is the Cypress Semiconductor CY8C24794-24LTXI Programmable System-on-Chip removable? I can't really tell from the picture. Where is the EFI chip? And is that removable? Thank you.

applecranberry, · Reply

Thanks for the teardown guys.

One question left. Why did you buy a 512 SSD Version but not the GeForce Graphics Model? Would've been nice to see where the Chip is located on the board.

Arne, · Reply

I did buy the 15" Macbook Pro with the 1TB SSD and 16GB Memory with the 2.6GHz QC i7. Would be great to see where they fit in the Graphics card in that compact space. I daren't open up my new rMBP when it does arrive on wednesday. I was really hoping that the iFixit guys would shed some light on how the added graphics card looks. Looks like I may have to buy the proprietary screw driver and open it up myself. I've had a 2011 MBP with the 2.4GHz Quad Core i7 and was manually able to upgrade the Memory to 16GB DDDR3 and added a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD and a 1TB 7200RPM ssd in the CD Bay. I still couldnt get the performance I needed to run multiple VM's smoothly. I am hoping to get that kind of performance out of this new machine with 2 1920x1200 monitors in addition to the rDisplay. The 2011 MBP I have constantly runs the fan at high speed and its quite a conversation-starter. Lets hope that adding the nVidia 750m doesn't have the same problem... with an additional fan. Anybody?

Vikram Jairam,

Thanks for the good work guys!

Gabe, · Reply

i take mid 2012 mbp with my 16 gb ram , nvidia 650m , Apple is go out of mind , i hope they sell few this time , they are simple against ppl in tecnology, i so i ll go again in window , sorry

bob Desnos, · Reply

hello guys, happy new year to all and thanks for the guide !

i wanted to know, for people who want to replace the MBPr battery themselves if it is possible to get the battery as a spare part ?

i tried to do some researches about it but that was unsuccessful.

thanks

ipodede, · Reply

if this was truly good design, it would allow you to take it apart to upgrade when funds permit. Same with the iphone, it could look just as it does and still be able to open it without tools to swap out the battery when its flat by lunch time.

the 'form follows function' times of apple are well and truly over in favor of the biggest $.

Jayme Capurso, · Reply

Since you have torn down both the new 13" and 15" rMBPs, can you advise whether the PCIe SSD modules are cross-compatible between models (and with the mid 2013 Airs)? I.e do they use the same PCIe connector and are they the same physical size?

I would hope after much chopping and changing that Apple has finally settled on a common module design, making it easier to repair / upgrade one of the few remaining user-replaceable parts.

AmusedToDeath, · Reply

To answer my own question, after analyzing the photos of the PCIe SSD modules in the new Airs (mid-2013) and the new rMBPs (late 2013) it appears they are all exactly the same size (when photos are scaled to the connector) and share the same connector pinout. This should mean fewer headaches for 3rd party module manufacturers and more availability of replacements/upgrades. A small win for repairers, but a win nonetheless. :)

AmusedToDeath, · Reply

Sandisk is now doing M.2 for SSD, which has two notches on the edge connector, while Samsungs M.2 has one.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a110...

http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/...

So what gives.

B Louis, · Reply

Looks like Toms Hardware has wrong photos. M.2 PCIe card appears to be close to a standard with one notch. Wikipedia says M.2 SATA has two notches. Tyco Electronics designed the M.2 (NGFF) connector to support multiple uses on different pins - "keys A, B, E, and M". mPCIe white paper is silent on connectors. Can't find an "official" standard source. Sounds like a standard isn't in existence yet....

B Louis, · Reply

The chip marked by Orange is the Crystalwell eDRAM, 128MB in total. This can be used by both the CPU cores and The Iris Pro GPU that is still integrated in to the main core chip (the one marked by red).

Magnus Rydningen, · Reply

Yep, Magnus, tried to fix it, but edit was denied by Miroslav Djuric.

Martin,

Does anybody know what kind of SSD Apple uses for the MBP. Are this TLC, MLC or SLC cells SSDs?

Paul, · Reply

See step 2. The Part number of the Samsung chips has a link which leads to the spec. The third character is an H which leads to this conclusion: MLC.

LetMeGoogleThatForYou,

Yeah, "2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz) with 6 MB shared L3 cache

Intel Iris Pro Graphics" is wrong, the larger die is actually the eDRAM for both processor and GPU, the smaller die is both the processor and the GPU.

tipoo, · Reply

Just edited it, then saw this comment. Been bugging me since this teardown was made. Unsure why they keep on disallowing the edits.

simonhowes, · Reply

i have a 15" MBP (recent one with GT 750m discreet graphic), and i MIGHT wanna open it up and change the thermal compound with a better one (arctic Mx-4), bcos the laptop get heats up quite abit. this teardown is gonna be my guide, but b4 opening it, whats ur thought of the thermal compound applied to it? is it too much like the previous MBP? need to know :) and IF i open it up, i might take a picture of the GT 750m, bcos everyone wan to look at it :D

Shynn Ng, · Reply

The bigger one in CPU is GPU+CPU, smaller one is eDRAM Crystalwell cache, not other way around.

Jarno Matikainen, · Reply

I wondered what's the model # of the intel i7 quad core cpu was used for this laptop? It's an i7-4702mq or other model? Why you mentioned the model # of cup, i5-4258u, in the Macbook pro 13" Teardown report, but not mentioned in this report?

gwo jong, · Reply

Just like the new 13" MBP, there's 512M of RAM hanging out near the GigE controller. Still no idea what it's for, and a GigE controller certainly doesn't need half a gigabyte of RAM.

Scott Morrison, · Reply

It is a packet buffer. Unsure why it is so large, is the controller capable of 10GigE? Just wondering if we may see some 10GigE Thunderbolt Ethernet adapters? I also think this is controller for USB3 as well.

simonhowes,

Why evolution of design? I as a design engineer would do the same thing. I would never make my products easy to be taken appart. So it might not be easy for none profesionals but the authorized repair 'handlers' will know how to remove the battery. It is surely not 'user' friendly for repairs yes that is true.

Tibidor, · Reply

That's probably the most important thing about that battery. An uncased battery such as what Apple uses can be very dangerous if damaged. The average consumer doesn't know exactly how delicate those are, so Apple tries to limit access with pentalobes. Also the adhesive is there to help the battery from moving around in the casing, further reducing the possibility of damage. Sure it's hard to repair, but it's much safer.

Bryan Elliott,

@Tibidor: the philosophy of making products easy to take apart (note spelling) worked for manufacturers like Citroen and Land Rover in the engineering domain. In the case of Land Rover, the primary reason that they won military contracts was that an untrained soldier could pull the damaged bits off, add replacements and get going without resort to authorised repairers. And these so-say authorised repairers are not immune from error - most of the time I've found that a generic skilled mechanic was a far better bet for servicing than main dealerships, who were over-priced and arrogant with it.

An example: I lost a control dial; an authorised repairer told me I needed a new centre console at £200 plus £200 labour, the skilled and theoretically unqualified mechanic fixed the problem for £30 all-in.

I honestly don't believe electronics is any different.

James McLaren, · Reply

I want one but the only thing that is holding me back is the evolution of design. I have a early 2011 13 inch Macbook pro that I have added a 1.5 TB drive and 16gb ram. Nice to be able to do that inexpensively and later. The $3K price tag for a machine with 1TB drive and 16gb soldered ram is also a key point. I need the machine for work but having to get the everything now and not being able to replace hardly anything myself is holding me back. Battery, Ram, SSD minimally should be user replaceable, processor would be nice but not as necessary. SSD should be the best you can afford and in a common format to keep down costs.

abrahambloom, · Reply

I've read somewhere that the batteries can be removed easily when pulled the glue stripes like Tesa power strips. have you tried this?

Great job - doing all the tear downs and repair manuals. they are very helpful! Thank you!

riessi, · Reply

Is the display assembly compatible with the early 2013?

Tiago Ferreira, · Reply

Does the circuitry change if i have the one with a higher-end graphics card? Mine has 16GB RAM, nVidia GeForce GT750M and a 2.6GHZ processor. Also, where is the battery located on this device? I have the exact same macbook, but with better specs

Dhiren Sajjan, · Reply

View Statistics:

Today: 39

This Week: 1,542

This Month: 8,248

All Time: 217,191