The big box we’ve been waiting for finally arrived. That’s right, Apple’s Thunderbolt Display crashed the party, and not a moment too soon. After managing to hoist this beast onto our operating table — while being mindful not smudge its 500 square inches of arsenic-free glass — we promptly grabbed our scalpels and went to work.
We got the warm fuzzies when we found out that no proprietary tools were required to dissect Apple’s colossal display. In fact, all you really need to pull the guts out of this machine are some heavy duty suction cups, Torx T6 and T10 screwdrivers, and maybe a spudger here and there.
All in all, we were struck by the Thunderbolt Display’s ease of disassembly, and its 8 out of 10 repairability score reflects our admiration. But what did we find inside? Lots and lots of goodies that usually don’t come standard with an LCD monitor. Although monitors usually don’t cost as much as a laptop, either.
- The LG display found inside is model number LM270WQ1. It’s the same display found in the iMac Intel 27″ from October of 2009, as well as the same basic LG display found in Dell’s competing 27″ monitor — though the Apple version uses LED backlights as opposed to Dell’s traditional CCFL. Dell’s version is also matte, something that lots of Mac users have been complaining about since the old 30″ Cinema Display was discontinued.
- The 27-inch (diagonal) TFT active-matrix LCD has a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, the standard for displays of this size and price. Its 12 ms response time and 16.7 million colors, however, fall short of the 6 ms response time and 1.07 billion colors of Dell’s comparable display. We might be splitting hairs here, but those hairs would be viewed with 1,053,300,000 less colors on Apple’s display. Just saying.
- The fan is easily removed simply by detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws. Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display cool and quiet.
- Interestingly enough, the Thunderbolt cable that routes into the display also plugs into a standard Thunderbolt socket on the logic board. Apple could have just soldered the cable wires to the board, but instead chose to implement a cover that prevents the cable from being detached from the logic board’s Thunderbolt socket.
- Both sides of the logic board are packed with enough chips that it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside this display. Standouts include:
- Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller
- L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller
- Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor
- NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller
- Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter
- SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller
- Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier
- LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface
- Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller
- Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC
- We found some massive speaker enclosures near the side edges of the Thunderbolt Display and eagerly removed the screws holding them in place. Turns out the Thunderbolt Display comes with a 49 Watt 2-speaker sound system, including a miniature subwoofer.
- We made quick work of the few screws and connectors that held the Flextronics power supply in place and found that this puppy provides 250 watts of maximum continuous power!
Taking out the LCD panel
- Disconnecting the Thunderbolt cable from the logic board
A wallpaper made from one of the Thunderbolt Display's chips. Click to view in native 2560 x 1440 resolution.
This morning we published a teardown of the iPhone 4′s vibrational gyroscope. We tried our best to explain how vibrational gyroscopes function and have documented their internals at a microscopic level.
The pictures were worth a thousand words. Everyone was thrilled to see Chipworks‘ images of vibrational gyroscopes, and one user even made an iPhone wallpaper out of them.
We loved the “gyroscope wallpaper” idea so much that we re-created the same wallpaper for everyone to enjoy, and included an “iPhone 4 Internals” wallpaper to boot:
Just click on the pictures above within your iPhone’s browser to access the full-resolution images. If for some reason you cannot click on the images, you can use the Gyro and Internals links, respectively.
iPhone 2G, 3G & 3GS users, do not fret — the images are 2:3 ratio and will look just fine on your phones.
This is a buy zero, get two free promotion, practically unheard of outside of iFixit. Enjoy!
Hey folks, here’s another great iFixit wallpaper for you to enjoy! We snapped a few photos of the iPad internals during the iPad Wi-Fi teardown and correctly cropped them so you could peer through the LCD in your iPad.
Predictably enough, we encountered one small problem after we put the wallpaper on our tablet: the iPad’s uncanny ability to rotate the display, including the wallpaper itself. During “quality assurance testing,” the portrait wallpaper didn’t look too appealing in landscape mode, and vice versa. But we realized that most iPad users keep it locked on a specific orientation most of the time, so we created both orientations to mitigate the problem.
So here are two iPad “internals” wallpapers, one for landscape mode and one for portrait mode.
How to set it as your wallpaper on your iPad:
- Click on the links above or pictures below to view the whole wallpaper.
- Long-press on the image to save it.
- Go to your images, find the right wallpaper image and click the options button in the top-right corner to set it as wallpaper.
This is how the iPad wallpapers look like when on the iPad itself:
When the 27″ iMac wallpaper came out, we got plenty of emails asking us for iPhone wallpapers. We definitely heard your cries, oh iPhonians. So we aligned the stars and got down to work.
These wallpapers were taken from two — yes, two! — iPhone 3GS phones. That was the only way we could incorporate both the blue and green logic board colors, as well as the “looking through the EMI covers” look of the second wallpaper.
Both flavors are rendered in the iPhone’s 320 x 480 resolution and look exactly as if you had X-ray vision and could peer through the iPhone’s LCD.
Oh, and iPhone 2G/3G owners — we won’t tell anyone that the wallpaper’s from a 3GS. You have our blessing to use it.
Red Pill: Logic board chips are fully visible beneath the EMI covers.
Blue Pill: EMI covers are only partially transparent, showing off the logic board chips below.
Which looks better? The choice is up to you. We suggest you download both and then see which one you prefer on the phone. Leave us a comment and let us know — we’re divided almost 50/50 at the iFixit office. I’m partial to the second wallpaper, but what do I know? I own a Droid.
Quick tip on how to load the wallpaper on your iPhone:
- Visit this page on your iPhone.
- Hold your finger for three seconds on the image you want to save.
- Select “Save Image” on the menu that appears.
- Go to your Camera Roll photo album.
- Choose the image and set it as your wallpaper.
Back in October we had a chance to take apart a brand-new 27″ iMac and show to the world its internal goodies. At the end of the teardown, we reassembled the machine back to its original state, but managed to snap a photo of the internals just before the LCD was put back on. The 27″ iMac wallpaper was born, and people loved it.
We recently got our hands on the new 27″ iMac’s smaller brother, the 21.5″ iMac. We’re in the midst of creating a set of repair guides for it, but we wanted to share a sneak peek of the internals with you.
So here’s the 21.5″ iMac wallpaper!
The 3410 x 1918 wallpaper looks great when scaled down to the 21.5″ iMac’s 1920 x 1080 native resolution, but still preserves as much detail as possible.
To further pique your interest, you can compare the two machines by their wallpapers:
21.5" iMac Internals
27" iMac Internals
We’ll release the new 21.5″ iMac guides very soon. Check them out in a week or two if you are looking to do some upgrades!
Our 27" iMac (it's turned on!) with our new wallpaper.
One of our staffers came up with a great idea, an idea so fun that we dropped everything we were doing and started reassembling the 27″ iMac.
He thought it would be awesome to take a picture of the iMac internals and make it into wallpaper. So we did exactly that.
We reassembled the iMac to the point of how it would look like as if you just opened it: no glass, no LCD, and no iSight. We took the wallpaper shot, then fully reassembled it and put our fresh wallpaper on the machine. The results were nothing short of wonderful.
We learned a long time ago that “sharing is caring,” and didn’t want to keep this accomplishment all to ourselves.
So here it is, in its 2560 x 1440 glory. Enjoy!