updated 05:30 am EST, Fri February 25, 2011
Shows large dedicated Thunderbolt chip
The iFixit team has wasted no time in tearing down Apple's fresh Macbook Pro 15-inch Unibody Early 2011 model just released yesterday. The point of most interest surrounded the discovery of a very large controller IC for the new Thunderbolt 10Gbps I/O. The team plans on handing the part over to Chipworks for an x-ray to see what lies inside what it found to be the fourth largest chip after CPU, GPU and logic-board controller.
On the repairability front, the new Macbook Pro scored a "respectable" 7 out of 10 as it is relatively easy to access all the major components in the device. The only component that was problematic to repair or replace was the LCD, as removing the glass panel could easily result in shattering it.
Other components of note included the RAM, which has been upgraded to the same PC3-10600 used in the current line of iMacs. The wireless card now has four antennas, up from three previously so users should expect greater range and a more stable wireless connection. The Wi-Fi chip is supplied by a Broadcom BCM4331.
The built-battery is the same 77.5 Watt-hour battery as in the previous generation, but run time has been downgraded by Apple from 8-9 hours to 7 hours. This is likely to reflect Apple's new real-world battery life benchmarking more than any marked increase in the power consumption of the second-generation Core i7 quad-core processor, which is now standard fitment.