Dell Adamo First Look

April 10, 2009 Teardowns — Miro

iFixit partnered with TechRepublic to show off the fine inner details of Dell’s all-new Adamo. Dell has clearly positioned the Adamo as a competitor to the MacBook Air. Does it have a chance? Dell’s industrial design team is certainly giving Apple a run for their money. First Look Highlights:

  • Dell created a clever locking system that snaps the bottom plate of the computer into place. This allows them to completely avoid screws on the bottom of the computer, giving the Adamo a cleaner look than the MacBook Air. However, the Adamo does have larger gaps between the bottom plate and the computer frame, slightly exposing the internals.
  • Dell labels a lot more parts than Apple does. This definitely makes our job easier, even though it’s not quite as photogenic.
  • The 11.1 V battery is rated at 40 Watt hours, an improvement over the MacBook Air’s 7.2 V, 37 Watt hour battery. The Adamo’s advertised operating time is 5 hours, outliving Apple’s claims for the MacBook Air by 30 minutes.
  • According to the manual, the battery weighs in at 489 grams. That’s 27% of the Adamo’s weight. In comparison, the MacBook Air’s battery weighs in at 287 grams, only 21% of the Air’s total weight.
  • The Adamo is not a ‘value’ computer. Apple has demonstrated that people are willing to pay Steve Jobs more for their luxury products, but are people willing to grant Michael Dell that same premium?
  • The standard SSD (although you’re paying for it) is a nice touch compared to the Air.
  • Dell managed to eschew the standard Windows and Intel stickers for elegant integrated logos on the bottom plate. This is a first in the PC marketplace, and we’re told it took quite a bit of convincing on Dell’s part.
  • The hinge on the Adamo feels solid, but time will tell how well the hinge design will hold up. Hinge problems have plagued a number of MacBook Air owners.
  • The Adamo is not nearly as light as the MacBook Air, but a quick glance at our photos shows the reason. Adamo packs in a lot more technology than the Air into a thinner package.
  • An amusing aside: Dell’s manual says the Adamo has 803.11n wireless. Is Dell employing technical writers from the future? What else can they teach us?

View Adamo First Look

Nintendo DSi First Look

April 7, 2009 Teardowns — Miro

We bought a brand-new Nintendo DSi as soon as it went on sale and immediately took it apart! The look and feel of the device is incrementally improved over its predecessor and we found some  interesting things inside.


  • The DSi’s new matte black skin feels rougher than the DS Lite. The roughness allows for better grip of the system and should be far more scratch-resistant.
  • The overall size and shape are quite similar to the DS Lite. It’s 3 mm thinner but 4 mm longer and 1 mm wider.
  • Battery capacity is substantially less than the DS Lite. The DSi uses an 840 mAh battery compared to the DS Lite’s 1000 mAh battery.
  • The Game Boy Advance port is no more. In its place is a new SD slot and the ability to download DSiWare through Nintendo’s online download library.
  • The DSi now includes two integrated cameras. Unfortunately, each one only boasts VGA resolution (0.3 megapixels). This is certainly a bit underwhelming considering most mainstream phones have cameras of at least 1.3 megapixels.
  • An experienced hand can completely disassemble the DSi in less than ten minutes using standard tools. This is the first Nintendo system we’ve taken apart that does not require a tri-wing screwdriver. This should make repairing and tinkering with the DSi substantially easier. The DSi is definitely not as complex as an iPhone!
  • Nintendo is using Samsung MoviNAND integrated 256 MB Flash memory and MMC controller. The custom ARM CPU + GPU is stamped with the revision code ‘TWL.”
  • Our DSi’s components all had manufacture dates around September 2008, indicating that Nintendo has been stockpiling these devices for quite a while prior to the big North American release.

iPod shuffle 3rd Generation First Look

March 12, 2009 Teardowns — luke

Lately, Apple just keeps releasing new products, so we’ve been quite busy here taking new things apart. Today, we got our hands on the tiny new iPod shuffle, and opened it up to find out what was inside.

Shuffle Lineup

The usual suspects -- can you find the shuffle?

Here are the highlights:

  • Normal headphones can be used without any adapters, except that the user cannot do anything but play music (no pause, go to next song, etc.)
  • The battery is extremely tiny — about the size of a dime — and consequently has a paltry capacity of 73 mAh. That’s less than half the size of the batteries used in previous shuffles.
  • The weight of the entire shuffle is less than 11 grams, but the headphones add another 9 grams.
  • The rear cover and clip weigh as much as the rest of the shuffle.
  • With the casing removed, the electronics and battery weigh only 4 grams, less than the weight of a single sheet of paper.
  • There is only one screw in the shuffle.
  • The shuffle is not too challenging to open, but the rear cover can deform easily if the user is not careful while opening it.
iPod Shuffle 3rd Generation

All four parts of the iPod Shuffle 3rd Generation

Mac mini First Look

March 6, 2009 Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We got our Mac mini at the same time as the iMac, but we decided to take our time and investigate the hardware thoroughly. Our efforts paid off: Mac mini disassembly.

A Mini Progression

A mini progression (PowerPC on left, 2009 model on right)

Here are the highlights:

  • Both the hard drive and RAM are easily upgradeable once you remove the upper case.
  • The processor is now soldered to the logic board. Those people who had grown accustomed to upgrading mini processors will be greatly disappointed by this.
  • As usual for the mini, a putty knife is required to disassemble it. (we sell this tool)
  • The SuperDrive used in the new Mac mini is finally SATA, as in the new iMacs and MacBooks.
  • If you install 2GB RAM in a $599 low-end mini, it recognizes and uses 256 MB of video memory.
  • Apple’s ‘high end’ $799 mini is a complete rip-off. For $200, you only get 1 GB extra memory (market price $20) and 200 GB additional hard drive space (market price $50).
Mac mini

Mac mini

New iMac Disassembled

March 4, 2009 Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We took apart our first iMac! Here’s a summary of what we learned:

Disassembling 20

Disassembling the new 20" iMac

  • The processor is socketed (not permanently mounted), but there’s “Warranty void if removed” sticker covering the current processor.
  • As Apple announced, Firewire 400 is no more. Apple threw in an extra USB port to placate the mournful.
  • The display still uses an older CCFL backlight, rather than a LED backlight used in Apple’s new notebooks.
  • The low-end model that we received only has a 320 GB hard drive; unfortunately, replacing the hard drive is quite involved.
  • The Superdrive is finally SATA, and it’s 12.7mm high instead of the slimmer 9.5mm drives in the MacBook Unibody notebooks.
  • There’s space in the low-end model for an additional heat sink. This is assumedly included if you order the model with a higher end graphics card.
  • The only Phillips screw is a single screw on the RAM access door. All the internal screws are Torx.
Removing the glass

Removing the glass

Amazon Kindle 2 First Look

February 24, 2009 Teardowns — luke

We disassembled Amazon’s Kindle 2 e-reader!

Here’s what we found:

  • The Kindle 2 sports a 532 MHz processor, clocking in faster than an iPhone 3G. Amazon used a 90nm ARM11-based Freescale MCIMX31L multimedia processor.
  • The interior of the Kindle 2 is very functional, but not as aesthetically balanced as some of the devices we’ve disassembled.
  • As expected, the E-Ink display uses no power to maintain an existing image. We completely disconnected the screen from the battery, and the content on the screen remained crystal clear even though there was no power to it.
  • Pound for pound, it’s more expensive than the MacBook Pro 17″ Unibody we took apart last week, since the Kindle 2 weighs only 10.2 ounces.
  • As many have reported, the text-to-speech was remarkably clear and surprisingly listenable.
  • The Kindle 2 is thinner than the iPhone 3G, but a hair thicker than an iPod Touch.
  • Completely disassembling the Kindle 2 is simple once the case is opened — we removed only 26 screws and disconnected four connectors.

Interesting photos:

Let us know if you have questions or would like to see anything else. We plan on putting our Kindle 2 back together and using it after satisfying everyone’s curiosity.

MacBook Pro 17″ Unibody Disassembled!

February 17, 2009 Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We took apart the MacBook Pro 17″ Unibody!

Here are the highlights:

  • Even after paying Apple $2799, this computer STILL doesn’t come with a Mini DisplayPort adapter.
  • There are three tri-wing screws holding the battery to the Unibody case. Apple did this to intimidate people out of swapping the battery, but a small flathead screwdriver works fine to remove the screws.
  • You can replace the battery by removing 13 screws and a replaceable sticker.
  • The battery is HUGE. It weighs 20.1 ounces (1.25 pounds). That’s 20% of the computer’s weight!
  • The Bluetooth board is much easier to access and repair than it is in the MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody, where it is tucked away inside the display assembly.
  • As expected, the 17″ design and internal layout is very similar to the MacBook Pro 15″. Most of the extra space is occupied by the battery. The Unibody case does make the computer feel much more solid than the 17″ Aluminum, which had a lot more torsional flex. This is a very solid computer.

Interesting photos:

If we find anything else, we’ll post news about it here.

MacBook Pro Unibody broken down!

October 15, 2008 Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We finished our first look at the MacBook Pro Unibody.

Macbook Unibody take apart!

Macbook Pro Unibody Internals

MacBook Pro Unibody tidbits:

  • Upgrading the RAM and hard drive is very easy, but you do need a Torx screwdriver to replace the hard drive.
  • Contrary to some fears, the keyboard in the MacBook Pro is user-serviceable. It’s a fair amount of work to remove (you have to remove 56 screws).
  • The AirPort and Bluetooth boards are in the display assembly. The AirPort card is user-serviceable, while the Bluetooth board is not.
  • We identified the dual Nvidia chipset

MacBook Pro Unibody Teardown

We took apart the MacBook Unibody!

October 15, 2008 Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We completed the disassembly of our MacBook Unibody:

Macbook Pro Unibody disassembly!!!

Removing the new MacBook logic board

Cool things we learned:

  • Apple’s new hardware is significantly more elegant due to their use of the new “Brick” manufacturing process.
  • The design of both machines is significantly inspired by the MacBook Air. As a result, the MacBook and MacBook Pro designs have significantly converged and are much more similar than they used to be.

MacBook Unibody tidbits:

  • The new MacBook is really a 13″ MacBook Pro. It uses the same design, and same manufacturing quality. Bridging the gap between consumer and professional model.
  • The Superdrive is the same in the MacBook and MacBook Pro.
  • We showed the parts to some industrial engineers familiar with manufacturing processes. Overall, they were extremely impressed by the build quality of the machine and the cutting edge mass-produced unibody.

MacBook Unibody Teardown