MacBook Air 13″ Mid 2013 Teardown

If they build it, we will come and disassemble it. And that’s exactly what we did with the 13″ MacBook Air that Apple announced at WWDC on Monday.

The most striking thing about the updated 13″ Air is the lack of major internal revisions. In fact, the newest Air generation is almost identical to the previous one, save for a handful of minor changes: a smaller SSD module, an updated AirPort card, a Samsung flash controller, and a new heat sink clamp.

The Air’s repairability didn’t undergo any dramatic changes, either. Like the previous generation, the 13″ MacBook Air clocked in at a 4 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

MacBook Air 13

Teardown highlights:

• Externally, the 2013 MacBook Air is nearly identical to its predecessor, including the model number (A1466). There is only one noticeable change to the outer case: two ports for the dual microphones along the left side.

• We played “spot the differences” between the 2012 and 2013 MacBook Airs, and nitpicked a few design changes:

  • Smaller SSD module
  • Updated AirPort card
  • No separate platform controller hub
  • New heat sink clamp
  • Opposite-facing speaker cable connector

• The 7.6 V, 7150 mAh battery inside this year’s Air is an upgrade from the 2012’s 7.3 V, 6700 mAh power source and contributes to the claimed 12-hour battery life.

• To get “up to 45% faster” flash storage than previous models, Apple switched from SATA to PCI-E and turned to its best pal in the industry—Samsung—to get it manufactured. Here’s what ol’ Sammy contributes to the Air’s SSD:

  • Samsung S4LN053X01-8030 (ARM) flash controller
  • 8 x Samsung K9LDGY8SIC-XCK0 16 GB flash storage
  • Samsung K4P2G324ED-FGC2 512 MB RAM (on the SSD!)

• At the heart of the redesigned AirPort card we find a Broadcom BCM4360, which enables operation on the 5 GHz band at speeds up to 1.3 Gbps and communication via Bluetooth 4.0.

• Integrated circuit findings:

  • Fourth generation Intel Core i5 processor, with integrated Intel HD 5000 Graphics
  • Intel Z246TA38 Thunderbolt controller
  • Linear Technology LT3957 inverting controller
  • 4 x Elpida F8132A1MC DDR3L RAM, total of 4 GB
  • Broadcom BCM15700A2
  • Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 4 Gb synchronous DRAM
  • MXIC MX25L6406E 64 Mb serial flash
  • Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck controller