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MacBook teardown shows new polycarbonate unibody

updated 09:05 pm EDT, Tue October 20, 2009

Form factor now matches aluminum unibodies

iFixit has already dissected the new polycarbonate-unibody MacBook, exposing several minor changes to the internals. Externally, the redesigned housing features curved surfaces similar to the MacBook Pro models with aluminum unibodies. The device also adopts the multi-touch glass trackpad and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics components.

The new model is slightly lighter than its predecessor, although it is still heavier than the 13-inch Pro. Despite the plastic upper housing, the bottom panel is produced from aluminum with a rubberized coating on the contact surface.

Internally, the most significant change involves the new battery. Apple has continued its transition toward lithium-polymer cells that are not designed to be swapped by users. The new entry-level MacBook offers the same 60 watt-hour capacity as its aluminum counterpart.

The plastic MacBook now uses PC3-8500 RAM, allowing users to upgrade past 4GB of total capacity. The hard drive is a bit more complicated to swap, although it is still a relatively simple operation requiring a T6 Torx driver for new HDDs.

Apple is currently offering the new MacBook with a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo CPU for $999.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    My iBook has ~40 parts aside from screws, this one here has 14.

    - A

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What makes it a "unibody" construction. Looks like a top part and a bottom part to me. Bibody construction.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not really bibody...

    Even Formula One cars have nosepieces and rear engine covers that attach to their unibodies. Apple appears to be stacking pieces on the main unibody. In other words, the main frame is done from a solid billet. I'm not trying to contradict you as I really haven't seen a close up of the construction, but that's how it appears to me from the photos.

    I've seen carbon fiber racing motorcycles that really just can't be built from one piece even though they use the engine to help keep the carbon fiber frame stiff enough, but other things like the front cowl/windshield have to made separately. So I'm sure the unibody only refers to the main structure in certain designs.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Optical drive

    The teardown really does show what an incredible waste of space the optical drive is for those who seldom use it. It appears to take up about 20-25% of the interior! Personally, I would like a laptop that is smaller and lighter but I don't care about the thickness e.g. the MBAir. If you also own desktop machines, the optical drive becomes truly redundant, especially if the laptop has an SD slot, although one that fully accepts the card rather than having it sticking out the side would be nice(r).

  1. Triath.lon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Optical drive is a waste of space

    I tend to agree with Feathers.

    I don't know about others, but i don't think i used my optical drive on my MacBook Pro since i bought it. I would opt for a USB powered external version, even if it came at an extra cost, like it does for Air, and have a second battery instead.

    A Mackbook with about 12 hours of actual battery time - wouldn't that be nice?

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