FBI Tracking Device Teardown

May 9, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Disclaimer: We love the FBI. We’ve had the opportunity to help them fight crime on several occasions. We’ve helped them with instructions on gaining entry into certain devices. We have nothing against them, and we hope they don’t come after us for sneaking a peek inside their nifty tracker.

Now that we’re in the clear, it’s teardown time!

We partnered with Wired to bring you a peek inside an FBI car-tracking device. The device was loaned to us by a person who found the device on their car, and is similar to the one Yasir Afifi recently found underneath his own vehicle.

The hand-assembled device is comprised of a GPS unit for receiving the car’s position, an RF transmitter for relaying your location to the interested authority (aka the FBI), and a set of sweet d-cell lithium batteries that power the whole enchilada.

But we didn’t stop there, of course. Read on to find out exactly what components make this device tick.

Opening the transmitter

Opening the transmitter

Final layout

Final layout

iMac 21.5″ (EMC 2428) Teardown

May 4, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We got up this morning to news that the new iMacs were out, so we knew what we had to do: start sharpening our suction cups!

Our suction cup gamble paid off. We found very soon that this model iMac opens in the same way as previous generations. All you have to do is pull off the magnetically-held display glass with two medium-size suction cups, and then remove the screws holding the LCD in place.

But what lies inside? We knew of only one way to find out…

The 21.5″ iMac (EMC 2428) scored a very respectable 7 out of 10 Repairability Score. Most of the disassembly is pretty straightforward and accomplished using a T10 Torx screwdriver and suction cups. A casual user can easily replace the RAM, and it’s moderately difficult to access the hard drive and optical drive.

However, more adventurous users (those wanting to upgrade the CPU/GPU) will have to take out the logic board, which is a tricky process; they will also have to void the warranty if they replace the CPU. It’s also quite difficult to reassemble the LCD and glass without a dust mite getting stuck in between the two.

Teardown highlights:

  • The LED display is manufactured by LG and is denoted by its model number LM215WF3. This is the same display used in the previous generation 21.5″ iMac.
  • Similar (but not exactly the same) to the Thunderbolt IC we found in the latest MacBook Pro 15″, the iMac features the Intel L102IA84 EFL Thunderbolt port IC.
  • The optional SSD appears to reside beneath the optical drive — that’s the only space we could find where something was clearly missing. There’s three mounting points under the optical drive that have nothing attached to them in our machine, since this option is only available on 2.7 GHz 21.5″ iMacs.
  • If you want to remove the logic board, you have to snake it out from the rest of the iMac — a combination of pulling up, as well as away from the casing. After a little bit of jiggling, it comes right out.
  • In usual Apple fashion, one heat sink is reserved for the CPU, while the other oversees the GPU. And, in usual Apple fashion, you have to void the warranty in order to get a peep at the CPU processing power underneath.
  • Of course, we’ll do almost anything in the name of science.
  • After popping off the CPU heat sink, we can get a good look at the Core i5 processor. Our machine is powered by a quad-core 2.5 GHz Core i5-2800S CPU with 6 MB of Intel Smart Cache.
  • With a bit of magic, the GPU heat sink detaches from the logic board, exposing the AMD GPU board. You heard that right, folks — you don’t have to replace the entire logic board if your GPU explodes from too much l33t gaming. You can just swap out the GPU board for another one.
  • The main chips on the GPU board include the AMD Radeon HD 6750M GPU, as well as four Hynix H5GQ1H24AFR T2L 1 Gb GDDR SDRAM chips (totaling a cumulative 512 MB).
  • Thankfully, both the CPU and GPU on this machine have proper amounts of thermal paste applied, a happy departure from the gobs applied to the MacBook Pro we recently took apart.
  • At the heart of the Bluetooth board lies a Broadcom BCM2046 Bluetooth IC, as well as 256 KB of SST 39VF200A CMOS Multi-Purpose Flash (MPF). We found this same Broadcom chip a long time ago in the first MacBook Air. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
  • Key players on the logic board include:
    • 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-2800S CPU with 6 MB of Intel Smart Cache.
    • Intel BD82Z68 Platform Controller Hub
    • Broadcom BCM57765B0KMLG Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and Memory Card Reader Controller
    • Cirrus 4206BCNZ audio controller
    • SMSC USX2061 (we believe this a USB 2.0 Hub Controller Family)
    • Intersil ISL6364 CRZ Single-Phase Synchronous-Buck PWM voltage regulator for GPU core power applications
    • Intel L102IA84 EFL Thunderbolt port IC
Taking off the CPU heat sink

Taking off the CPU heat sink

Final layout

Final layout

Nikon D5100 Teardown

April 26, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

It seems as though all the hot new electronics these days are tablet-this, phone-that. Frankly, our engineers had enough. Their spudgers were getting soft; we needed to do something that would present a *challenge* and get them sharp again.

They were desperate for something more mechanically complex to chew on than the cell phone and tablet fare we’ve been feeding them lately. And we knew exactly where to turn. We’ve already written a Nikon D70 repair manual, so we know first-hand how difficult it is to take apart a professional  SLR camera.

What better way to infuse a bit of fun in our teardowns than taking apart another SLR camera? Enter the just-released Nikon D5100.

Teardown highlights:

  • The D5100 utilizes a 16.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor to capture images. This sensor has the same specs of the sensor used by the Nikon D7000.
  • Chipworks reports that each pixel on the sensor is 4.8 µm wide. That’s about half the diameter of a red blood cell.
  • The sensor has a special glass cover that turns red when viewed at an angle, but is completely transparent when viewed head-on. Neat!
  • Unlike other recent teardowns, the battery can be easily replaced by opening the compartment with your thumbnail.
  • The 7.4 V 1030 mAh EN-EL14 Li-ion battery is used by the D5100, D3100, and the COOLPIX P700. Sadly, it’s not compatible with other cameras in the Nikon lineup, such as the D90 and D7000.
  • Definitely make sure to discharge the large-and-in-charge 330µF flash capacitor if you attempt any repairs on the D5100. Otherwise you risk accidentally killing your camera.
  • The camera has roughly 4 billion screws holding it together. We had to skip a lot of the “unscrewing this screw” pictures in order to keep the teardown interesting, since we took out 37 of them to get to the teardown layout shot.
  • You can easily access the motherboard by removing the rear cover. You just need to remove twenty-ish #00 Phillips screws, disconnect 9 ribbon cables, and desolder a few wires…
  • The D5100 contains a lot of the same chips found in the Nikon D7000. Key players include:
    • Nikon EXPEED 2 EI-154 1051 Z05 image processor
    • Samsung K4T1G164QF-BCE7 1Gb DDR2-800 SDRAM (total of 3 Gb = 375 MB)
    • MXIC MX29GL128EHXFI-90G 128 Mb parallel flash memory
    • Toshiba TMP19A44FEXBG low-power microcontroller
    • Nikon EI-155 M4L1BA00 00151044
    • Nikon NHHS-2 049M8
  • There’s a light blue pad wedged between the bottom of the flash capacitor and the bottom camera frame. It conducts heat away from the capacitor to cool it down during flash-intensive shooting.
  • The top cover is a feat of engineering by itself. Within its walls are contained: Main control wheel, shutter/aperture control wheel, live view lever, On/Off switch, “info” button, record button, shutter button, exposure compensation button, IR sensor, AF lamp, flash, flash control circuitry, flash actuator, and the microphone.
  • The flash is actuated by a linear solenoid that pushes on a lever to release the spring-loaded flash — either automatically if the sensor detects a low-light situation, or when the flash button is depressed.
Taking off the D5100 top cover

Taking off the D5100 top cover

Final layout

Final layout

iPad 2 GSM & CDMA Teardown

March 29, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Apple decided to offer the iPad 2 in a number of flavors that would make Baskin Robbins proud: two colors, three drive capacity sizes, and three connectivity choices (Wi-Fi only, 3G GSM on AT&T, and 3G CDMA on Verizon). All in all, that’s 18 different versions of essentially the same device.

Our original iPad 2 teardown featured the black, 16GB, Wi-Fi only version. There’s absolutely no reason why we’d take apart 17 other iPads, but we felt it worthwhile to at least document the differences between the Wi-Fi only, GSM, and CDMA versions. Enter the iPad 2 GSM & CDMA teardown, which compares the three major versions of the new iPads!

Apple still managed to infuse something different for each iPad 2 flavor. The logic boards are probably the best example: both the CDMA and GSM variants had WWAN boards — which of course contained completely different chips — attached to the logic boards, while the Wi-Fi version had empty space. But the empty space was magical, per Apple rules, although startlingly devoid of anything.

Logic board comparison. From top: Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA models.

Logic board comparison. From top: Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA models.

But not all differences were restricted to the logic boards. There GSM, CDMA, and Wi-Fi units also had different numbers of antennas that handle the WWAN reception for each model. Notice that the CDMA version has one additional antenna connector when compared to the GSM version:

Back cover comparison. From top: GSM, CDMA, and Wi-Fi.

Back cover comparison. From top: GSM, CDMA, and Wi-Fi.

For more iPad on iPad on iPad goodness, you’ll have to take a look at the iPad 2 GSM & CDMA teardown!

iPad 2’s Smart Cover Teardown

March 14, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We never took apart a case before, but the Smart Cover piqued our interest as soon as Steve Jobs announced it alongside the iPad 2. We knew it worked with magnets, but exactly how? What did it attach to? How can something so simple be so multi-functional? A Smart Cover went under the knife (literally) to provide the answers to these questions.

We were also curious to see if Apple used magnets with special properties — such as the awesome correlated magnets developed by Correlated Magnetics Research — for the Smart Cover. Correlated magnets have multiple poles that could be contributing to the unique functionality of the cover.

The Smart Cover received a 0 out of 10 Repairability Score. Apple had the audacity to bring a product to market that was absolutely unrepairable. Imagine our surprise when we cut up the entire thing, only to have it be totally destroyed! (We joke, of course.)

Teardown highlights:

  • There are a total of THIRTY ONE magnets within the iPad 2 and Smart Cover: 10 magnets in the iPad 2, and a whopping 21 magnets inside the Smart Cover. They’re the reason why the cover works so well with the iPad 2.
  • We used magnetic viewing film to reveal the magnets before taking our stuff apart. The film has special properties that allow it to react to a magnet’s poles, and it worked wonders in showing the magnets hidden beneath the Smart Cover and iPad 2.
  • Sadly, none of the 31 magnets inside the devices had any special properties. All of them were the standard, two-pole kind, but they were arrayed in such a way that made clamping the Smart Cover to the iPad 2 quite easy.
  • The Smart Cover has one dedicated magnet that turns off the iPad 2’s screen. The rest are used to either clamp to the iPad on the right side (the far-right column of magnets), or to form the triangular shape used to create a stand for the iPad 2.
  • A steel plate on the far-left side of the Smart Cover attaches to 15 of the cover’s magnets (on the far-right) in order to form the triangular base.
  • The far-right row of magnets clamps the Smart Cover to the iPad 2. The magnets in the iPad 2 had their polarity displayed: + – + – . The alternating polarity of the magnets in the iPad 2 was complemented by the opposite alternating polarity of the magnets in the Smart Cover (- + – +), ensuring that the Smart Cover always sits in the same orientation on the iPad 2.
  • There’s also a row of magnets on the left side of both products. The iPad 2’s magnets are actually encased into the side of the device, and are used to securely clamp the iPad 2 to the Smart Cover’s frame. Interestingly, these magnets’ polarities were manually marked — a blue dash written with a marker — instead of having a machine stamp/engrave the polarity into them.
  • It turns out that the Smart Cover doesn’t work nearly as well once you remove the magnets, steel plate, and plastic structural supports. Go figure!
iPad 2's sleep sensor and magnets

iPad 2's sleep sensor and magnets

Final layout

Final layout

iPad 2 Teardown

March 11, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Prior to starting the teardown, we guessed that the glass front panel was no longer held in place by tabs. We were correct. The new tapered edge on the iPad 2 prevents any kind of tabs from being used; instead, Apple engineers used generous helpings of adhesive to keep the front glass in place.

Consequently, the front panel is very difficult to remove — it’s nearly impossible to open the iPad 2 without shattering the glass. We’ll be working hard in the forthcoming weeks to provide a solution to this problem, but for now: please don’t open your iPad 2.

The iPad 2 received a 4 out of 10 repairability score, mainly for the extreme difficulty of accessing anything inside. But if you do manage to get in, you’ll find that all screws are of the Phillips variety, and the LCD can be easily taken out once you separate it from the front panel glass (but separating it from the glass is difficult, of course).

Teardown Highlights:

  • We did a quick glass and LCD thickness comparison:
    • iPad 1: lcd = 3.2 mm glass = .85 mm
    • iPad 2: lcd = 2.4 mm glass = .62 mm
  • The thickness of these components — especially that of the glass — could drastically reduce the durability of the device, especially the glass’ resistance to shattering. We’ll see in due time if the percentage of folks with broken iPad 2 front glass is dramatically different than that of the original iPad.
  • Lifting off the LCD exposes the iPad 2’s battery. We found a 3.8V, 25 watt-hour unit. That’s just a hair more than the original iPad’s 24.8 watt-hours, so any improved battery performance should be attributed to software and other hardware improvements.
  • We confirmed via software that the iPad 2 indeed has 512 MB of RAM.
  • The markings on the 1 GHz Apple A5 dual-core processor appear to be Samsung’s, but Chipworks will investigate in the forthcoming days to find out for sure.
  • Other components that power the iPad 2:
    • Toshiba TH58NVG7D2FLA89 16GB NAND Flash
    • Broadcom BCM5973KFBGH Microcontroller
    • Broadcom BCM5974 CKFBGH capacitative touchscreen controller
    • Texas Instruments CD3240B0 11AZ4JT touchscreen line driver
    • Broadcom BCM43291HKUBC Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM tuner combo chip
    • S6T2MLC N33C50V Power Management IC
    • ST Micro AGD8 2103 gyroscope
    • ST Micro LIS331DLH accelerometer
  • There’s also an Apple-branded 338S0940 A0BZ1101 SGP chip. This looks like the Cirrus audio codec Chipworks found in the Verizon iPhone, but they’ll have to get it off the board to make sure!

iPad 2 Teardown In Progress

March 11, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We’re in the midst of our iPad 2 teardown, and we just got a chance to peek at the innards. Here’s what the inside of the iPad 2 looks like:

We’ll be blogging our findings as soon as the iPad  2 is completely torn apart. But for the time being, you can watch our progress — just refresh the page every once in a while to see all the newest findings.

Nintendo 3DS Teardown

March 3, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Hot off a plane from Japan comes no other than our very own Nintendo 3DS unit. We wanted to give our 3D friend a thorough shakedown — it seemed fitting, given that its older brethren graced our teardown pages in the past. Exactly how much did that 3D screen change things internally, we wondered… And then we snapped out of it, got a Phillips #00 screwdriver, and wondered no more.

The Nintendo 3DS received a 5 out of 10 repairability score, mainly for the extreme difficulty in accessing the top half of the unit. Everything was coming apart just hunky dory: we removed all the Phillips screws and easily disconnected all the components on the bottom half. But then we tried to access and remove the top display, and the disassembly went awry from there.

To continue the disassembly, we had to separate the hinges and do a bunch of cringe-inducing threading of ribbon cables through the 3DS’ hollow hinges. Even with our super-careful hands, we still managed to break a couple of the ribbon cables. We decided that threading the upper display and camera cables through the tiny hinge tube is something that Nintendo undoubtedly accomplishes with robotic machinery, and should not be attempted by human souls unless they’re willing to potentially destroy their device.

Teardown highlights:

  • The 3DS’ top display produces 3D images through the use of parallax. A layer in the top LCD responds to adjustments in the 3D slider and changes the image slightly between each of the viewer’s eyes. When it is viewed from the recommended distance, the image appears to be 3D.
  • Nintendo is no stranger to 3D gaming, considering its past experience with the ridiculously cool and underrated Virtual Boy. That device used slightly different means to achieve a similar 3D effect.
  • The 3D view *should* work for most people, but one iFixit employee (out of about 10 that tried it) had trouble viewing it. To him the screen looked different, but not 3D.
  • Unlike previous DS consoles, the entire back cover of the 3DS comes off as one piece rather than having a small door to access the battery. This makes for a cleaner look, but also means that replacing the battery will take a little longer.
  • The 3.7V, 1300mAh, 5Wh Li-Ion battery provides a measly 3-5 hours of battery life. Even when playing original DS games, the 3DS lasts only 5-8 hours on a single charge. The battery life is most likely diminished by the reported faster processor, dual LCD elements in the top display (to control the parallax effect), and more hardware intensive programs.
  • With the short battery life in mind, Nintendo ships the 3DS with a charging cradle for convenient charging. According to them, a full charge takes 3.5 hours.
  • We found an interesting little feature of the 3DS by accident while blowing away some dust with canned air: external mics on the 3DS pick up the characteristic noise of wind blowing by the device and spin the live icons in the background of each menu as if they were in a tornado.
  • Nobody is really certain what the infrared port on the 3DS will do just yet, but we’re thinking it’s for some 3DS to 3DS line-of-sight communication. The IR controller IC is manufactured by NXP and has the markings: S750 0803 TSD031C
  • The digitizer on the bottom display is much thicker than those found on most cellphones, most likely due to the fact that the touch display is used with a stylus, rather than a fingertip.
  • Whereas older versions of the DS had four rubber screw covers on the front display bezel, Nintendo opted for a sleeker approach for their new system by adhering a front panel to the bezel to hide the screws.
  • We had to call forth the use of a heat gun and a plastic opening tool in order to gain access to the upper display screws.
  • All three cameras are connected together via one ribbon cable. We’re finding this to be a trend amongst the smaller multiple-camera devices, and it makes sense — the info needs to go to the same place to be processed.
  • It’s official — this is the most camera-laden device we’ve ever taken apart.
Final layout

Final layout

Motorola Xoom Teardown

February 25, 2011 Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

It’s no secret that Motorola/Verizon set up a convoluted procedure to get your Xoom upgraded to full “4G”* speed: spend X hours backing up your data, optionally encrypt and reset your Xoom, ship it to Motorola, and then wait up to 6 business days to get it back. While this procedure still beats a day at the gulag, we’re quite curious why it has to be so convoluted — especially after we snuck a peek inside our unit.

It looks like the Xoom was specifically designed with this upgrade in mind. We had to fully delve into the device to find all the clues, but we believe this is the procedure Motorola will perform on your behalf:

  1. Use a T5 Torx screwdriver to unscrew two screws on the bottom, and then slide the back panel to expose a mysterious circuit board that immediately becomes accessible. In fact, there are retaining clips on the back of the rear panel that prevent it from sliding any further (which of course we immediately circumvented).
  2. Disconnect two antenna connectors, unscrew the two Torx screws holding the board in place, and swap it out with a 4G LTE board.
  3. And… That’s it. Here is a picture of the dummy board we found in our Xoom, which we believe currently acts as a routing path for the antennas.

A seasoned technician can perform this swap in less than 10 minutes. Heck, a donkey could probably pull it off in less than two hours. We have no idea why a customer couldn’t just go to a Verizon store and have on-site representatives enable 4G on the spot, just like they’re able to transfer mobile contacts and perform other activation procedures.

Aside from the upgrade goofiness, the Xoom is a fine tablet in terms of assembly. Its repairability score was 8 out of 10, with slightly unfavorable marks given for a total of FIFTY-SEVEN screws by our count. That’s a lot for a full-fledged laptop, let alone a 10″ tablet. Yet, those screws (of the T5 and T7 Torx variety) allow just about anyone to take apart the device, but they may have Popeye forearms by the time they’re done. As added bonuses, most components attach via individual cables, and the LCD easily separates from the glass — meaning that part replacement cost shouldn’t be outrageous.

Xoom highlights:

  • A dummy SIM card is included in the Xoom, with the inscription “Replace with SIM only after 4G upgrade.” Verizon’s 4G LTE network requires a SIM card, so not every Verizon device will have 4G. Right now the list of compatible devices is very short: the Motorola Xoom and the still-unreleased HTC Thunderbolt.
  • According to Motorola, the Xoom weighs 730 grams, exactly the same as the iPad 3G — although the Xoom is noticeably thicker.
  • The Xoom features a 5 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera. At least for now, Motorola’s got Apple covered in the tablet camera arena. And unlike Motorola’s other recent device, the Atrix, both cameras are connected to the motherboard by separate cables. You won’t have to replace a ton of other stuff if just your camera fails.
  • The 3250 mAh, 24.1 watt-hour lithium ion polymer battery boasts a healthy 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and video playback, and a massive 3.3 days of MP3 playback. It’s also just as beastly as an iPad’s battery, taking up a very good chunk of internal real estate.
  • Major players on the motherboard include:
    • Nvidia Tegra T2 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and ultra-low power GeForce GPU.
    • Toshiba THGBM2G8D8FBA1B NAND Flash
    • Samsung K4P4G154EC DRAM
    • Qualcomm MDM6600 supporting HSPA+ speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps
    • Broadcom BCM4329 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and FM Tuner
    • Hynix H8BCSOQG0MMR 2-chip memory MCP
    • AKM 8975 Electronic Compass
    • Texas Instruments 54331 Step Down SWIFT DC/DC Converter with Eco-Mode

MacBook Pro 15″ Teardown

February 25, 2011 Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

The Thunderbolt port — or the “Thunderport,” as we started calling it around iFixit — is the latest evolutionary change from the folks at 1 Infinite Loop. We were super-excited to try out the port itself, but had to first peek at it from the inside.

The Thunderbolt port (we keep wanting to type “Thunderport” — it just feels so natural) has its own controller IC. The IC is quite prominent on the logic board, being the fourth-largest chip after the CPU, GPU, and logic board controller. We’ll have to wait until a company like Chipworks places an SEM on the puppy to see what’s *really* inside, but we believe the chip’s footprint is a testament to the potential of this port.

The MacBook Pro earned a very respectable 7 out of 10 repairability score. This revision allows you to disconnect the battery without removing it from the laptop. It’s a nice design choice since you *should* remove all power before performing any repairs. The unibody design also allows for easy access to most of the other components, so it won’t be terribly hard to replace things on the machine. The only tricky repair is LCD replacement, which could easily result in shattering the front glass panel.

Thundering highlights:

  • You can chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. That’s not a problem today as we’re not even aware of six products that support Thunderbolt yet. But if the connection becomes widespread, the six device limit might be a problem for some people. In comparison, FireWire supports 63 devices and USB supports up to 127 devices.
  • The lower case is secured by Phillips #00 screws, while the battery is secured by Tri-Wing screws — just like the predecessor. Thankfully there were no pesky Pentalobe screws inside or outside. Apple still considers the battery to be not user-replaceable, and we still disagree.
  • This machine boasts the same 77.5 watt-hour battery as the earlier model, but Apple has decreased their run-time estimate from 8-9 hours to 7 hours. Either Apple’s being more realistic with their battery testing, or the new quad-core i7 is more power-hungry than its predecessor.
  • We’re a tad concerned about Apple’s quality control. We found a stripped screw holding the subwoofer enclosure in place, and an unlocked ZIF socket connecting the IR sensor. They’re not huge issues, but they’re not fitting for an $1800 machine.
  • RAM has been upgraded to PC3-10600. That’s the same RAM used in the 2010 revision of the 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs, but faster than earlier MacBook Pros.
  • The wireless card received a make-over and now includes four antennas instead of three. Wireless connectivity is provided by a Broadcom BCM4331 “wireless solution.”
  • The wireless card bracket is aluminum, rather than the plastic found in earlier MacBook Pro revisions. We believe this change was made for thermal reasons, as a pink thermal pad is visible and used to transfer heat from the Broadcom chip to the aluminum bracket.
  • The logic board features four primary chips:
    • Intel i7 Quad-Core Processor
    • AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU
    • Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub
    • Intel L051NB32 EFL (which seems to be the Thunderbolt port controller)
  • We uncovered gobs of thermal paste on the CPU and GPU when we removed the main heat sink. The excess paste may cause overheating issues down the road, but only time will tell.
  • This machine is still designated Model A1286. Apple’s been using that same model number since October 2008. That’s why we still need to come up with creative names — such as MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody Early 2011 — in order to differentiate between machines. Thanks Apple!