MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Teardown



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

We disassembled this computer on October 15, 2008.

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Edit Step 1 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Teardown  ¶ 

  • Apple boasts that, "The new MacBook packaging is 41 percent smaller than the previous generation" and is made from recycled material.

  • Smaller packaging, they say, means fewer planes to transport the same number of products.

  • Follow our updates on twitter.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • It looks like a MacBook Air from the top, but it's about 25% thicker than the thickest part of the Air, and almost 6 times thicker than the thinnest part.

  • To be fair, though, it's about 12 percent thinner than its predecessor (0.95 in vs. 1.08 in) and 10 percent lighter (4.5 pounds vs. 5 pounds).

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • In the box:

    • 85-page user's manual

    • Restore DVDs

    • 60-watt AC adapter

    • AC adapter extension cable

    • Cleaning cloth

  • As with previous MacBooks, there's no video adapter included. There's an empty spot in the box where it would fit nicely, but there's no adapter to be found. Apple offers the DisplayPort adapter for $29 extra.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • There's a new Mini DisplayPort (fourth from the right), and a complete lack of a FireWire port.

  • It may be hard to tell from the image, but there are now 8 lights on the battery indicator, and it's conveniently located where you can actually see it.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Opening the battery latch.

  • For those hurt by the financial crisis, a coin is no longer required.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • The hard drive is on the left, and the battery is on the right.

  • The new MacBook uses the same hard drives as previous MacBook models.

  • Shameless plug: If you're not ready for a new machine, you can upgrade the hard drive in any Apple laptop. We have free guides for most models that make hard drive replacements easy.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • The battery is 45 watt-hours compared to 55 on the previous generation. It's also almost 20 percent lighter (302 g vs. 402 g).

  • Still, Apple claims that you'll get 5 hours of wireless productivity (with the display brightness set to 50 percent).

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • The hard drive is held down by a single Phillips screw.

  • Like the last black MacBook, the standard hard drive on the 2.4 GHz model is 250GB SATA and 5400 rpm.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Disconnecting the hard drive.

  • To replace the hard drive, you'll need a T6 Torx screwdriver to transfer the hard drive mounting screws to the new drive.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • The bottom panel is attached by 8 screws:

    • One 3 mm Phillips in the top left corner.

    • Four 3.5 mm Phillips along the bottom.

    • Three 13.8 mm Phillips along the top.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Removing the bottom panel provides access to the RAM, optical drive, display hinge, fan, and logic board.

  • It looks like the only really hard part to replace will be the upper case and keyboard.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Removing the RAM

  • 2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM are included. Apple will upgrade the RAM to 4GB for an extra $150.

  • Apple claims this machine maxes out at 4GB RAM, but the Montevina chipset appears to support up to 8GB.

  • Shameless plug: You can upgrade your existing MacBook or MacBook Pro to 4 GB. We'll also be offering the RAM for the new Unibody machines in the near future.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • We've now exhausted the installation instructions Apple printed on the back of the battery cover.

  • Disconnecting the subwoofer and optical drive cables.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • The optical drive is held in by the following 4 screws:

    • Three 2.5 mm Phillips.

    • One 3.7 mm Phillips.

  • Apple gives the following specification: 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW).

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • The optical drive, now SATA.

  • The optical drive shows a manufacture date of October 2008. That drive sure got from the factory to us fast!

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Removing the logic board.

  • This may be the most beautiful laptop we've disassembled. Apple has a right to be proud of their engineers and manufacturing team.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • The bottom of the logic board.

  • Part numbers found thus far:

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Removing the right speaker and subwoofer.

  • The new MacBook received a welcome speaker upgrade. In the second image, the old plastic MacBook's speakers are on the left, and the new MacBook's speakers are on the right.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • The elegant new glass and Aluminum display assembly.

  • Amazingly, the new display assembly weighs slightly less than the previous MacBook's plastic display assembly.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • All major components - only 4.5 pounds, not bad for a full-featured, metal laptop.

  • Looking for more pictures? We've also disassembled the new MacBook Pro.

Required Tools

Anti-Static Wrist Strap

$7.95 · 50+ In stock


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 32 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 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

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Comments Comments are onturn off

It's been tested... 6GB max. Why? Who knows, but the computer will not recognize 8GB (and a 4GB chip for this machine is still stupid expensive...)

fairleymac, · Reply

I am having a hard time disconnecting the subwoofer cable from the logic board. Does it pop straight off? Is there a trick?

pjohn07, · Reply

I'd love some more detail on which screws need to be removed in order to remove the logic board.

pjohn07, · Reply

Quote from pjohn07:

I'd love some more detail on which screws need to be removed in order to remove the logic board.

This is a teardown, and should not be used as a repair guide due to many missing steps. The repair guides for this machine can be found here.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

If you were to double or triple the resolution of the huge image, then we could read the part numbers and perhaps help in mapping out the circuit

Tom Dowad, · Reply

SN802043 is the actual part number (The numbers 87K JR7C G4 are different on each IC batch produced). This part is hard to get (unless you live in USA) and is not listed in Texas Instruments website If anybody in UK has this part, please Add a comment.

Gurjinder Virdee, · Reply

could this be replaced with a newer macbook air 13.3inch screen thereby increasing this macbooks resolution?

Calum Macrae, · Reply

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