PS3 Slim Teardown Video on G4 TV

September 16, 2009 Hardware, Teardowns — Miro

We caught G4’s eye recently with out PlayStation3 Slim Teardown. They invited Kyle to their studios in Hollywood to show how to disassemble the PS3 Slim. G4 filmed the whole process and also interviewed Kyle about iFixit’s teardown platform. Watch the video below or click on the HD icon to visit G4’s website to watch it in HD!

Microsoft Zune HD Teardown

September 15, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — luke
Following up on our slew of iPod teardowns last week, we’ve just finished taking apart the new kid on the block: the Zune HD. Microsoft has taken a long time to get to market with this device, and the hardware shows it. It’s lighter than the iPod touch, smaller in two dimensions (skinnier and shorter, but 0.4 mm thicker), claims better battery life with a smaller battery, and beat Apple to market with an OLED screen.
Highlights:
* The Zune has a Samsung-manufactured 3.3 inch OLED display. This part is likely the most expensive item on the Zune’s bill of materials, and contributes to the improved battery life.
* The OLED screen is incredibly thin (1 mm) and seems more rugged than a traditional LCD panel.
* We can confirm that the Zune HD does NOT have 802.11n support. Instead, it’s got a super efficient Atheros AR6002GZ 802.11g chip: http://www.atheros.com/pt/bulletins/AR6002Bulletin.pdf
* The Zune has an Nvidia Tegra 2600 processor, supporting OpenGL ES 2.0 and programmable pixel shaders. In a stark contrast to Apple’s relationship with Samsung, NVidia’s product page (http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_tegra_apx_us.html) actually has a link to buy the Zune HD.
* The battery capacity is 660 mAh. That’s about 16% less than the 789 mAh battery in the new iPod touch. However, Microsoft promises a longer run time than the touch for both music and videos. They may have pulled it off– Microsoft certainly had a lot of motivation to push for super low-power hardware solutions in this device.
* Toshiba supplied the NAND flash in our unit, and Hynix provided the SDRAM. However, we’ve had reports that Microsoft is using a few different suppliers for these parts.

Following up on our slew of iPod teardowns last week, we’ve just finished taking apart the new kid on the block: the Zune HD. Microsoft has taken a long time to get to market with this device, and the hardware shows it. It’s lighter than the iPod touch, smaller in two dimensions (skinnier and shorter, but 0.4 mm thicker), claims better battery life with a smaller battery, and beat Apple to market with an OLED screen.

The Zune HD in 9 easy-to-assembly pieces

The Zune HD in 9 easy-to-assembly pieces

Highlights:

  • The Zune has a Samsung-manufactured 3.3 inch OLED display. This part is likely the most expensive item on the Zune’s bill of materials, and contributes to the improved battery life.
  • The OLED screen is incredibly thin (1 mm) and seems more rugged than a traditional LCD panel.
  • We can confirm that the Zune HD does NOT have 802.11n support. Instead, it’s got a super efficient Atheros AR6002GZ 802.11g chip.
  • The Zune has an Nvidia Tegra 2600 processor, supporting OpenGL ES 2.0 and programmable pixel shaders. In a stark contrast to Apple’s relationship with Samsung, NVidia’s product page actually has a link to buy the Zune HD.
  • The battery capacity is 660 mAh. That’s about 16% less than the 789 mAh battery in the new iPod touch. However, Microsoft promises a longer run time than the touch for both music and videos. They may have pulled it off– Microsoft certainly had a lot of motivation to push for super low-power hardware solutions in this device.
  • Toshiba supplied the NAND flash in our unit, and Hynix provided the SDRAM. However, we’ve had reports that Microsoft is using a few different suppliers for these parts.

iPod shuffle stainless steel SE

September 11, 2009 Hardware, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

If you like shiny things, Apple has an iPod for you. It’s like getting a free mirror! And it’s only $20 extra.

Pulling apart the new Shuffle SE

We’ve already taken apart one of these little guys, but we took apart the $99 iPod shuffle Special Edition because we were curious about the new case material. This iPod features an incredibly shiny stainless steel enclosure. According to Apple’s marketing-speak, “It’s as brilliant as your taste in music.”

  • Contrary to Apple’s typical claims of “smaller packaging to save the environment,” this iPod’s packaging is 65% larger than the original 3rd Gen shuffle.
  • The new shuffle weighs in at 17.2 grams, nearly 61% more than the 10.7 gram aluminum shuffle.
  • The black 3rd generation had a black screw, while our silver special edition had a silver screw. It looks like Apple gives you matching screws.

After removing the internals, the stainless steel casing weighs 12 grams. That doesn’t seem like much, except that the iPod itself only weighs 5 grams. Over 70% of this iPod’s weight comes from its shell!

Removing the logic board and battery

iPod Shuffle case, logic board, and battery

iPod touch 3rd Gen: Where’s the camera?

September 11, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — luke

Another day, another teardown. Today we took apart the new 3rd Generation iPod touch!

Getting inside

Getting inside

Our analysis reveals a Broadcom BCM4329 chip, which supports 802.11n. This is a big deal, as even the iPhone 3GS doesn’t support 802.11n. The iPhone 3GS has a BCM4325 wireless chip, which only supports 802.11 a/b/g. We don’t know yet if 802.11n will be supported in software, but at least the hardware’s there.

This reminds us of last year when we broke the news that the 2nd Generation touch had Bluetooth support in hardware. Apple didn’t enable software support until 9 months later with iPhone OS 3.0.

The Broadcom chip also supports FM transmission. There’s Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and a FM receiver and transmitter packed into this chip. If they built in the antennas, and if Apple adds software support, you could theoretically stream music to your car stereo without any external hardware. But that’s a lot of ifs.

New Broadcom BCM4329 chip

New Broadcom BCM4329 chip

We also analyzed the internal layout of the iPod, and it appears that Apple left room for a camera in the top of the device. There is a 6mm x 6mm x 3mm space between the Broadcom chip and the wireless antenna. There isn’t enough depth for an iPhone-style autofocus still camera, but just enough room for the camera that Apple used in the 5th Generation iPod nano. We did not find any headers on the board for a camera cable.

Space for a camera?

Space for a camera?

Video Camera Unveiled: iPod nano Teardown

September 10, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We took apart the new 5th Generation iPod nano! We have finished our hardware analysis and high-resolution photos of the internals.

This iPod employs copious amounts of glue and adhesive to hold everything together. That makes it easy for Apple to put together, but hard to take apart. We had to remove the camera bezel before we could start the disassembly.

Complete parts disassembly

Complete parts disassembly

This iPod employs copious amounts of glue and adhesive to hold everything together. That makes it easy for Apple to put together, but hard to take apart. We had to remove the camera bezel before we could start the disassembly.
As expected, the main ARM processor dwarfs everything else on the board.
Toshiba is the source for the 8 GB of flash memory. Our memory chips were made in Taiwan in July of this year.
There is no space for a larger camera in the 6.2 mm thick iPod without reducing the size of other components.
The speaker is very similar to the speaker in the iPod touch. The audio simply comes out the bottom of the iPod.
The new 240×376 display boasts 17.5% more screen real estate than the previous model.
The tolerances on this iPod are incredibly tight. There’s no wasted space inside.

Things we noticed:

  • As expected, the main ARM processor dwarfs everything else on the board.
  • Toshiba is the source for the 8 GB of flash memory. Our memory chips were made in Taiwan in July of this year.
  • There is no space for a larger camera in the 6.2 mm thick iPod without reducing the size of other components.
  • The speaker is very similar to the speaker in the iPod touch. The audio simply comes out the bottom of the iPod.
  • The new 240×376 display boasts 17.5% more screen real estate than the previous model.
  • The tolerances on this iPod are incredibly tight. There’s no wasted space inside.
The nanos little video camera

The nano's little video camera

Size comparison:

  • iPhone 3G: 12.3 mm thick
  • iPhone camera: 6 mm + rubber mount
  • iPod nano: 6.2 mm thick
  • iPod nano camera: 2.75 mm
  • iPod touch: 8.5 mm thick

Including the mount, the iPhone camera is thicker than the ENTIRE new iPod nano!

Unlike the nano, the iPod touch could conceivably support an iPhone-sized camera, although it would certainly be an engineering challenge.

We wish Apple would a little effort into making iPods repairable, instead of forcing people to throw them away when they break. Recent iPods have become increasingly difficult to successfully repair. (One positive note is that unlike the iPhone, we haven’t seen many issues with broken glass on the nanos.)

Our iPod nano teardown is here:
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Nano-5th-Generation/1157/1

Sliding out the Nanos internals

Sliding out the nano's internals

Taking out the iPods click wheel

Taking out the iPod's click wheel

Camera surgery

Camera surgery

Retrieving a Stuck CD is as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

September 2, 2009 Hardware, Site News — walter

Hi there. Have you ever found yourself troubled by a nasty optical drive that just won’t let go of your favorite CD? Did you ever wish you could just tear that sucker apart and retrieve your long-lost companion? Worry no more, we here at iFixit have released a new jammed optical drives guide for such moments. All you need is a Phillips #0 screwdriver and a bit of patience to accomplish the task.

It’s a quick three-step guide that will surely help you rescue your precious CD from the treacherous grips of your optical drive. Our guide walks you through the most daunting procedures:

  • Removing the screws from the optical drive.
  • Lifting the top cover from the optical drive.
  • Obtaining inner peace by retrieving your CD.

Actually that pretty much covers the guide. Who knew happy and everlasting peace could be found in just three simple steps?

Take a look at our new guide and give us your comments, your opinions, your huddled thoughts yearning to breathe free. Do you know of any other methods to recover a CD from within an optical drive? We’re always looking to improve our guides!

PlayStation 3 Slim Teardown!

August 26, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We have just taken apart the new PlayStation 3 Slim!

Sony clearly took cooling very seriously with this machine, which is quite easy to take apart but requires special security-bit Torx screwdrivers to dismantle.

We made a video of the result as well. Feel free to check it out on YouTube!

Highlights from the teardown:

* Sony stuck with a lot of the same chip manufacturers as the original PlayStation 3. We were expecting them to shift suppliers more, especially with commodity components like Apple has done.

* The upgraded 120 GB drive is a Toshiba-manufactured, 5400 RPM standard notebook SATA drive.

* The interior of the device is dominated by the fan, heatsink, and desktop computer-sized Blu-ray drive.

* The fan is an innovative design, with a massive 95mm diameter and whopping 17 blades!

* Sony used a Marvell Ethernet controller, Panasonic HDMI controller, and their own Sony-branded AV multi-out controller.

* The design aesthetic of this machine is a bit more bare-bones-functional than Apple’s, but is still beautiful in its own way.

* It’s evident that Sony’s chief design focus was effective heat dissipation. Sony used a large piece of custom molded plastic to route air from the fan over the heatsink. Time will tell how successful they were.

* This PS3 feels quite rugged. The plastic is stiff and high-quality, and the machine is very easy to service once you have the right Torx screwdriver.

Some pictures from the teardown:

Taking out the logic board

Taking out the logic board

The Cell processor

The Cell processor

We Tear Apart a Barista!

August 13, 2009 Hardware, Teardowns — Miro

We just finished a teardown of the Barista, Starbucks’ most iconic and longest-selling consumer espresso machine.

The Barista has a sturdy, elegant design that has stood the test of time quite well. Its popularity is reflected by the fact that it’s still available at a reasonable price.

It’s easy enough to buy the machine and start using it — but what about all the people who were part of creating it? The guy who slaved for hours in creating the perfect spring for the reciprocating pump? The person in charge of making sure the Barista doesn’t burn a hole in your kitchen counter? This one’s for you, friends.

We are expanding our teardowns to include all sorts of other gear. We want to show people that appliances such as the Starbucks Barista have a lot of sweat, thought, and engineering put into them — even though they may not make the cover of the latest electronics magazines.

Removing the boiler:

Using our makeshift flathead screwdriver:

Spills that kill

July 31, 2009 Hardware, Repair Stories — Miro

How to prevent spills.

That’s right, people spill. All the time. Even the best of us can be caught off-guard and let something slip. Sometimes the spill is harmless, such as tipping over a glass of water on the counter. Sometimes, however, a MacBook logic board meets its demise.

We’re people, after all, and accidents happen whether we like it or not. Heck, I managed to get a bit of egg white on my old Dell Inspiron “kitchen” computer last weekend. Thankfully the egg white landed on the speakers, which only “work”  when I wiggle the headphone jack (thanks Dell). Other people aren’t as lucky, and they come to our forums asking for help after the spill.

Some notable spills of late, which occurred on all sorts of laptops, phones, music players:

  • Water on laptop that was placed under a window overnight
  • Coffee Patron (didn’t know they even made Coffee Patron)
  • Coffee, sugar, and milk
  • Good old coffee, black
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Egg whites

We’ve had people contact us about giving their iPods/iPhones a good wash in the washing machine or dropping them into the toilet. We even had a soldier from Iraq ask about an iPod that was dropped into 2,000 gallons of jet fuel. The iPod got a new battery and ran fine — but we’re not sure how it smelled after that ordeal.

These are but a few of the liquids people manage to spill. The more pressing question is, however, what to do once the accident has occurred. Unfortunately the answer varies from case to case, depending on the type and amount of liquid, as well as where the liquid lands.

For example, we had a co-worker’s friend accidentally knock over an entire mug of beer on his MacBook. He was obviously at the scene of the accident (compared to leaving your MBP under a window overnight) and so he managed to react quickly. He immediately disconnected the charger and battery, and flipped the MacBook upside down. He let it air dry for a day or two, crossed his fingers, and turned it on. Thankfully nothing was damaged, but he currently has one of the manliest-smelling MacBooks around.

So here’s a few tips in case a spill ever happens to you, whether it’s on a laptop any other electronic product:

  • Don’t panic. Panic just complicates things.
  • Remove power to your device as fast and soon as possible. If that means not saving your blog post, so be it. You can always view the auto-save, but there’s no auto-save function for your logic board.
  • Shake out any liquid as soon as the device is turned off.
  • Let the device dry in a manner that is conducive to getting the liquid out. If it’s a laptop, place it upside-down on a counter and let it relax for a day or two.
  • Possibly disassemble parts of the device to verify that it’s dry, and/or to use a hair dryer to finish the job.
  • Cross your fingers, and turn the device on.

At this point you may or may not still have a functional device, and potentially any component may have been affected. For example, if your MacBook doesn’t turn on, it may be the logic board is fried, or just that a component on the upper case failed. Liquid damage can be one of the worst accidents to have to diagnose, but hopefully the steps above will prevent any major damage from taking place.

Spilled something unique? Want to share? Post a comment and we’ll add you to the list above!

Updates to Three iPod Guides

July 28, 2009 Hardware, Repair Guides — Miro

We come across plenty of iPods and Macs on a daily basis. Over time we’ve become very proficient at opening them up, using techniques that we possibly didn’t consider when we originally made a particular guide.

On the other hand, sometimes we get a tip from an Apple insider (or another crafty person) which makes us totally rethink the way we open a device.

Either way, we understand that improved techniques are of great value to a person opening their device for the first time. That’s why we continuously improve our existing guides as much as we can, in addition to rolling out new ones on a consistent basis.

This week we’re announcing revisions to the case opening guides for the iPod nano 1st Generation, iPod 3rd Generation, and iPod 4th Generation/Photo devices. We’ve grouped them together because the guides have similar modifications made to them:

  • Easier opening procedure. The text and pictures reflect an opening procedure that we’ve found to be easier than the one in the previous pictures.
  • Brand-new case opening pictures. We’ve upgraded our studio since the guides were originally created, and we now have a better setup. The new case opening pictures are definitely clearer and higher-resolution than the old ones.
  • Updated text. Coming back to a guide a while after making it lets us take a fresh look at the overall feel. Are the instructions clear? Where could they use improvement? Did we omit something important, or ramble on about something unnecessarily? We answer these questions and make any appropriate changes.
  • Less overall steps. Each step now has the ability to contain three pictures, whereas before we had only one picture per step. We are able to decrease the number of overall steps by putting related pictures on the same step. For these particular guides, we were able to have three support pictures showing the overall action of opening the case. That many pictures would have taken several steps in the old one-picture-per-step format.

We certainly have a lot of fun sharing new ways of doing stuff with our user base. New methods pop up all the time, and we’re happy to include them in our guides whenever we can. Do you have a cool method you’d like to share? Let us know!