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New Apple Macbook Pro RAM is soldered to the motherboard | Ian Chilton (ichilton.co.uk)
131 points by ichilton on June 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 310 comments



Sorry but you have got to be a fucking idiot to buy one to be honest if that is the case.

Apple are making an attempt to turn generic computers into disposable appliances with moves like these. I would never accept a compromise like that with a computer that I owned.

My rationale is as follows: If I pay £1800 for one of those machines, I expect to be able to repair common problems easily. That's a lot of money sitting in one component waiting to fail and considering the warranty is a year (or 3 if you are extorted for even more cash by Apple for their expensive AppleCare service).

First it was the batteries - now no longer replaceable by mere mortals, then the SSDs were brought in with proprietary interfaces, now the RAM is soldered on the board.

In the average 5 year life span of a computer, I have found that you will need to replace the battery between 1-2 times, the memory will need to be upgraded at least once and the disk will need to be upgraded. These are observations but rational ones.

I'm now sitting on a Lenovo T61 which is 5 years old. EVERY component in this machine can be replaced for literally nothing and very rapidly.

Sorry but stuff like this is just pandering to consumerism if it is disposable by design.

The design is retarded.

EDIT: It appears the battery is GLUED in so that's not replaceable any more either, even with the aid of a screwdriver.


Making components replaceable increases volume, weight, and cost.

If you want replaceable components, go buy a computer for which that is a feature - and know that you will get a machine which is larger, heavier, and more expensive (all other factors being equal). Swapable components require additional casing, connectors, testing, sales channels, etc. You're not going to get a 3/4" 5-lb 7-hour 256GB-SSD 8GB-RAM MBA Retina for $2200 and be able to swap out darn near everything; something's gonna give.

Some of us DON'T want to replace components, having learned over the years that by the time we're replacing components we'd rather replace the whole computer outright. If I need more RAM, it's best matched with a new CPU. If I need more storage, I'll need more RAM to throw around more data. When the battery dies, all those other components are gettin' obsolete anyway. I also know from experience that upgrading parts doesn't always go as planned, and time wasted upgrading can very quickly add up to the cost of a new machine outright. I'd rather have a notebook which is very thin, very light, very fast - and just replace the whole package when the time comes as I see fit.

You're welcome to a different POV, and there is a market happy to serve our different needs & desires.

However, just because we have a different POV doesn't make me a f*ing idiot.


Specifically in reply to the battery: I work in an enterprise environment where Macs make up about 50-60% of the installed machines. Of these, about 30-40% are laptops. In my experience, Mac laptop batteries have a high rate of failure, higher than our significantly more dated PC hardware. With the most recent revs, replacing the battery has become a huge problem, since relatively new hardware (1-2 years old) is now completely shot, unless we buy a proprietary screwdriver (not a big deal, but every time they change the screw, we have to find a shop that sells it), or send it to a Mac repair shop. Now, if we upgrade to the Retina Macbook Pro, we will not have the considerably cheaper and faster option of replacing it ourselves. Unfortunately, our userbase is such that they "require" Mac hardware, so it puts IT in a rough position (having to explain why we're essentially outsourcing our work, and spending money to do so).

Now, this isn't necessarily a typical case, but if you were a regular consumer and your battery died, it isn't that hard to buy a replacement battery for the majority of laptops, though this kind of thing is becoming more prevalent. I would also like to mention that it's not just Apple (I'm looking at you, Ultrabooks), though I would say that they are the trendsetter.


Why did you put quotes around "require" when describing your userbase and Mac hardware?

I'm genuinely curious - do their stated reasons for using Macs differ from how you think they are actually using their machines?


You should tell your users to unplug their Macbooks more often. If you leave them plugged in 99% of the time the battery will fail a lot faster. It should drain and recharge every once a while.


At this point, this should be a configurable option in the hardware and system software. Configurable, so that if you want to use it, you can tell it when. (E.g. I work from home on Sundays, so run from battery down to n percent charge before switching on recharging. And/or alert me when I exceed the recommended runtime between charging cycles. Etc.)

I suspect, however, that the cost/benefit -- from the manufacturers' perspective -- for implementing this is not favorable.


I can't find any reference anywhere that what you say is true, can you point me in the right direction please? As far as I know, the complete opposite is true for the Li-ion batteries that Apple uses, each discharge reduces its life.

Cadmium batteries have a memory effect and need to be drained every once in a while but Apple doesn't use those.


While each full charge cycle reduces the overall life, Apple recommend going through at least one charge cycle a month: http://www.apple.com/batteries/

This isn't the same as 'run it down to 0% and then fully charge', though, it could be 'run it down to 75% and then fully charge, four times'.


This certainly applies to the pre-2008 models but I thought that was not true for the recent models any more.


+1 I am with you on this. Although I have a MacBook Pro as a hot backup, I do all of my work and writing using a 13" MacBook Air. For me it is a commodity device that I have no interest in upgrading. If it breaks, a new one can be configured using a Time Machine backup while I enjoy a cup of coffee.

Life used to be different: I spent a lot of time with extensible PCs, tweaking and running Linux, etc. I have come to realize that this "fun" had an opportunity cost that I am no longer willing to pay.

I also tend to replace Apple gear more often but it is easy to find relatives or friends who appreciate being given slightly outdated gear.

I like having an easily replaceable commodity laptop in sort of the same way I like server assets sold like electricity (e.g., AWS, Heroku, AppEngine).

Ultimately time is the most precious resource. The older I get the more I care about using it wisely.


Your assumptions are completely wrong, and it only shows that Apple target customers are not really doing any kind of serious computing. Sometimes your processes are not CPU bound at all, sometimes they are I/O bound. Sometimes in RAM caches can increase performance quite a bit etc. This means swapping HDD and putting faster SSD is enough to speed certain things up. Also, updating RAM only is enough to speed things up in certain other criteria.

Besides it is well understood in technical circles where Apple is headed. Make no mistake. Their goal is to kill general purpose computers, and replace them with appliances they control.


Your assumptions are completely wrong, and it only shows that Apple target customers are not really doing any kind of serious computing.

This is true. I for one do all my computing with a goofy grin on my face, while riding a unicycle.

In all seriousness, this product will be perfect for me. The lower weight will help with my unicycling, and the 4-core i7 will look great with my butterfly wings.


You're having an argument with a bunch of InstantExperts™ who are clearly motivated by other sources or tied to luddite ideologies. They're more interested in presenting Apple as an evil empire because this fits their personal objectives.

Since the overwhelming bulk of computer users(including pro users) have no interest in fiddling with their computer specs post purchase, Apple are simply making a product that fits the market.

I'm not going to go into the historical precedence of laptops having limited upgradability, but as you've noted something had to give, and soldering the RAM is by no means a new idea.


>>Since the overwhelming bulk of computer users(including pro users) have no interest in fiddling with their computer specs post purchase, Apple are simply making a product that fits the market.

No one here is saying we tear down our laptops and assemble them back three times a day. But if something like a RAM gets toast on my machine, I would like to get that replaced instead of replacing the whole machine.

Why, you might ask. Its because it works out cheaper that way. And besides, I don't throw away my car if some thing little goofs up! Why should I throw away my computer.


> But if something like a RAM gets toast on my machine, I would like to get that replaced instead of replacing the whole machine.

Historically, Apple tends to be pretty good on support worth the price. If something like a RAM chip is toast, they'll usually replace the board, or even the whole machine.


Not to mention that you do not get that level of support around the world. If you happen to be outside of the US when the RAM fails, you're shit out of luck, and looking at several weeks without a computer, even if it's under warranty.


What's with Apple and people lying about their products/services? Clearly you must know that your statement above is not only false, but easily disproven by visiting the apple support website?

The truth is that you can take your apple product into any apple store, or apple certified reseller worldwide and get the same level of replace or repair. The only difference is timing, Apple stores keep a limited stock of parts, while resellers must order them in. The difference in repair time works out to be a few days.


If you're within warranty. If it's more than a year old (or three if you buy AppleCare), then you're on the hook for a whole new motherboard instead of a commodity stick of RAM.


Not necessarily. A colleague of friend of mine's son (!) in Canada had a 2 year, 11 months old MacBook Pro (before unibody). He didn't have an AppleCare or anything, nor the idiot used Time Machine. He spilled wine all over his MBP and it died. He brought it to an Apple store and told them that he knows he's an idiot, and his warranty is long due, and would be happy to pay if they could just restore his hard drive for him because otherwise he would lose 3 years of data.

I'm told that the next day, he went to the store and they gave him a new, top-of-the-line 15" Unibody MacBook Pro with all his data preloaded on it. I have no way of proving that this thing actually has happened (but no reason to believe my friend was lying; as he's a respected and very honest man). This is not what always happens, but Apple is rich, and they know if they treat their customers well, they'll be customers again AND all their relatives & friends would be tempted to try Macs if they knew they could get a royal support like that. So, it's not a philanthropic thing, they do it for their business, but as they're very rich they are more generous than other manufacturers.

And just one other anecdote: another friend of mine's MacBook Pro died suddenly (no AppleCare either). Sent it to an Apple Store and they changes motherboard, RAMs and HDD free of charge.


> This is not what always happens, but Apple is rich, and they know if they treat their customers well, they'll be customers again

Yes, pretty much. And "genius" have a lot of leeway in their handling of people coming in. They generally seem expected to try and make customers happy as much as they can, and I regularly see comments about completely unreasonable replacements allowed by apple stores.


You don't have to throw away your car over a small amount of damage (unless it is the frame), but you might have to replace a thousand plus dollar component the size of a macbook.


I am heavily invested in Apple for the record. I use everything from Mac Pro, iMac (all versions), all of their MBPs (no airs), iPhones, iPads etc. I have invested over $30k in their hardware, so that gives me some right to criticize their direction.

All of the computers have been updated post purchase. I've put more RAM into iMacs, more RAM and SSDs into MBPs, and Mac Pros got more RAM, video cards, SSDs, HDDs etc.

In fact, one of the very first things I do is buy more RAM for my MBPs because it is more economical to do it yourself. Then if you wait 2 years, you can again double your RAM for extremely low price.

If Apple were making only this harder because of physical design constraints, you would have a point. But they are also artificially constraining the OS to make it more appliance like, and less and less UNIX like. But that's OK. Most of the users wouldn't know UNIX from eunuchs anyway.


> In fact, one of the very first things I do is buy more RAM for my MBPs because it is more economical to do it yourself.

While that is historically true, it's not really the case for the new MBP: the 16GB RAM update costs $200, 2x8GB sticks cost ~150 at crucial. Meh.

> Then if you wait 2 years, you can again double your RAM for extremely low price.

Unless the chipset is at its physical limits, which is usually the case if you upgraded the RAM once on purchase.


>While that is historically true, it's not really the case for the new MBP: the 16GB RAM update costs $200, 2x8GB sticks cost ~150 at crucial. Meh.

2x8GB is ~$150. 2x4GB is ~$50[1].

Apple is charging $200 for a $100 bump in component costs. 100% markup is excessive.

[1] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233...


Note that while their margin on RAM is high, ther average margin across all products is, afair, over 40%

We nerds need to accept that we ate not apple's focus anymore. Just spec your machine high, pony up lots of money, enjoy the shit out of it.


> We nerds need to accept that we ate not apple's focus anymore.

Anymore? It's never been Apple's focus


I think their arguments are wrongheaded also. But please note that this design also excludes a lot of independent repairmen. Which seems fine while you are under warranty, but if you have an old computer do you want one company to dictate the price of repairs? Or even whether they will repair it or not?


Some of us don't like to be extorted by Apple when looking for BTO options.


16GB RAM upgrade on the new macbook pro: $200

2x8GB SODIMM kit at crucial, $150.

Yes, extorsion is exactly the word I'd have used in this position, indeed.


Can someone please explain to me why Apple apologists are generally incapable of using a price comparison service that requires maybe 10 seconds to use? Their behavior never ceases to baffle me.

CORSAIR 16GB for MacBook Pro - $89.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233...


> Your assumptions are completely wrong, and it only shows that Apple target customers are not really doing any kind of serious computing.

The elitism here is just disgusting.

I suppose all the graphic designers, photographers, programmers, and even just plain old novice users who love Apple products should just pack their bags and go back to pencils and paper. After all, if they're not doing any kind of serious computing, we really ought not cater to their needs, wants, or desires.

Computers are obviously only for people running batch processes with 95%+ CPU and I/O utilization.


Its not elitism.

Apple is trying very hard to convert a computer into a washing machine. Which is, giving it a specific use, like a TV or a refrigerator and tightly controlling everything behind that use.


It's fine for you to think this, but it's beside the point and a fatigued argument that ignores the retrospective history of computing devices. Indeed I have heard the same comparisons for CPU/GPU/Sound Cards becoming soldered onto the main board. (Along with a myriad of obsolete components that users were certain they wanted to upgrade.)

There was a period back when computers were around 16Mhz that you could reliably keep a machine for many years and progressively upgrade it. The speed of progress has increased significantly since then, it's unlikely that you'll be able to find appropriate hardware for your machine by the time software has rendered it obsolete.

To break up the argument a bit:

- Soldered ram doesn't devalue the product, or present a less serious computer user. It reflects the reality that most people don't upgrade. This forum will definitely have a skew towards tinkerers, but it's not representative of the market, and there are already a slew of products to serve this consumer. - If it's broken outside of warranty there are indeed many avenues for low cost repair, even though this has a small chance of even occurring. - The cost of maxing out the ram is on par with market pricing. - Giving the user upgrade choices at purchase time is a better route than trying to hunt down parts later on. All computers become obsolete, minor spec upgrades won't stop this.

This is what incremental change looks like, ram being a quick solution for computing woes has reached the point of irrelevancy and 16GB of ram is certainly appropriate for the gamut of uses of such a device. Most speed gains experienced on this hardware will be the result of the SSD.


Yeah a washing machine that edits videos, keeps all my stuff together and makes it easy to use. Why don't we just accept that the general purpose, let the user figure it out approach is dead in the water. People are voting with their dollars and they're saying they've had enough of tech that feels like tech. The paradigm changed, we're no longer kings when mom's printer driver is out of date, and it's time to grow up and accept it.


Washing machine is general enough for its tasks too. A washing machine can wash nearly all kind of clothes. A refrigerator can preserve anything that needs freezing. The defining characteristics of those machines is companies telling me not to worry anything beyond the knobs and dials. And I don't want to worry anything beyond the knobs and dials.

But no way in the world would I like to throwaway a washing machine if something small went wrong inside it. That's where the tinkering part comes to play. I don't mind the knobs and dials, but claiming that not having user serviceable parts is not a requisite of usability gets really very difficult to believe in.


"Your assumptions are completely wrong, and it only shows that Apple target customers are not really doing any kind of serious computing."

Yeah,... Astro-Physicist here. 90% of my colleagues use Macs and we write most of the software that controls satellites and earth bound observatories on Macs.

Just an old science, entertainment, with no real or useable results :o).


Mathematician and software developer here (and the guy you are responding to) and ALL my personal computers are Macs too. I criticize Apple's direction because I sincerely do not think it is good for the future of general purpose computing. The software you write for your scientific computing might become "illegal" if Apple gets it their way, and you will first have to pay Apple a cut before you can run it, or it may become plain impossible to program your computer at all. How often do you run custom code on your other appliances? Exactly. If computers become locked down appliances you won't be able to or expected to run custom code on them either.

How many people expect to compile and run stuff on their iPad? None, but it's a perfectly capable machine, more powerful than PCs of the 90s.


I agree with you completely. I don't like the direction of Apples development either. But then, I know how much time a linux notebook consumes. I still did not manage to play back my rsync'ed backup in a way that the machine boots.

That (and related stuff) is what I mean when I write ( a bit further down) that there is no real operating system for a Thinkpad. Pity.

In a way, apple goes the same way that car manufacturers have gone already. Try to get a BMW repaired in a non-BMW workshop. Impossible, because you need BMW proprietary tools and Software. So BMW dictates the prices and they dictate, what parts have to be replaced for a certain error.

My wife and I use subway and bicycles where ever we can, since Mercedes, Porsche, Opel, Ford all try to do the same.


I know first-hand that Mercedes are quite user-serviceable, as I do most all of the service (ex-tire replacement, ex-exhaust) on all our cars.

Factory basic service information is not only easily available, it's free (at least in the US: they make you provide a US CC every 365 days for online access, so it might be MB-USA funding it, but the card is not charged). Parts are readily available aftermarket, from OE and non-OE suppliers. There's also several well-respected third party shops within a few miles of here.

I don't drive a BMW, but I know of two excellent (but not cheap) third party shops nearby.

Yes, some systems are computer-augmented for service, and require a beyond-OBD2 level of software, but that software is available (and a couple thousand dollars, a lot for an individual, but nothing compared to the rest of the tools a shop has to have).

I am quite happy with the supportability MB provides, and probably wouldn't drive one if your statement above matched my experience.

Side note: it's a pleasure to work on MB: very few "one time" fasteners (like those plastic Christmas tree push things, or ridiculously fragile/undersized plastic latches). Thing that you need to take apart are designed to be taken apart and put back together many times without damage or leaving ill-fitting parts afterward. You really notice the difference when servicing someone else's other brand, price-optimized car.


Good for you that you can do it yourself. We don't have the time to do that and we rely on good workshops. Here in germany non-contract workshops cannot get access to the necessary tools and software. They could hack it, but thats against the law! Most mechanics also lack the abilities to handle analysis software.

As a bottom line, workshops that can service cars with new production date vanish.

What you say is indeed the solution that came into my mind: buy a cool oldtimer (I especially like the Porsche 911 from the late 70s/early 80s) and buy a new house with a large garage. Tools are available already.


That is beside the point. That you're using a Mac doesn't automatically make you an Apple target customer.


I'm curious: what language do you working with? Are you using as IDE (if you are using one)?


java, jython (90% of the time), C, C++, python, Netbeans, some use Eclipse (cough), emacs, bbedit, vim


Thanks!


You're right, the machine in front of me does not do any "serious computing." It's just a device which lets me communicate with the people I work with, look up things on the internet, and enable me to work on a ~500 core cluster.

The computer in front of me is basically just an appliance now. That has no bearing on the actual work I do.


Your assumptions are completely wrong, and it only shows that Apple target customers are not really doing any kind of serious computing.

Um, you missed the last line of the post you replied to.


Serious computing? Like gaming?

Last I checked typing text files and compiling them is more serious than most users and doesn't require massive clusters to accomplish.


If Apple gets their way, typing text and compiling it to code and running it on your appliance will become illegal. How often do you run custom code on your other appliances? Exactly. There will simply be no expectation of running custom code on a "computer" once it is turned into an appliance.

Look at iPad. It's more powerful than PCs of the 90s yet no one even expects to run their custom code on it. This is where Macs and OS X are headed to.


It won't even matter by then because the Illuminati will have already started the New World Order and we'll all be in secret FEMA camps.


"Most users never program their computers themselves. Anyone can plainly see the historical trend from the late 80s onward that the average user has no interest in the internals of their computers or in investing time in automation which experts can do for them.

I support Apple 100% in moving forward and removing the option of running, or producing, unreliable homebrewed code without authorization.

Actual programming experts can get a Mac Pro with and their programming license from Apple, or just run Linux on a PC."

Yes, I certainly trust that we won't be seeing posts like the above in the eventuality that Apple puts further restrictions on their (customer's) computers.


I don't think Apple would be so quick to throw away the hacker market like that. Do you think they don't know that their computers are incredibly popular for sysadmins, web developers, and other developers who aren't necessarily writing Cocoa apps?

If I'm wrong I'll eat my hat. AND I'll switch to Linux.


Seriously doubt it, but if that happens most of us will go back to Linux.


Not if Apple starts selling macs with secure boot permanently enabled. Which I wouldn't be very surprised about.


Why would I run any serious computation on a glorified iPad? I have a MacBook Air and it's great for its purpose: a very light, very portable, thin terminal. Running anything that is seriously bounded by CPU or I/O would be silly.


You're not an idiot, you just like Apple and have enough money not to care about getting ripped off.

This design decision has nothing to do with reducing "volume, weight and cost". It has everything to do with hosing the customer on memory, as that has been a very lucrative business on the iPad.


Ripped off is subjective. I want someone else to take care of that stuff for me, so that makes Apple's direction a good one for me. I don't like tinkering with my computer, I don't like fucking around with it to make it do what I need. I do what I do with it and it works, it works better than any of the heap of garbage PCs that I sunk countless hours into before I switched. That's why I use it, and I'm neither an idiot nor ripped off. I get what I expect and more and I'm happy to give them my money for it. Levelling slurs at people who happen to be in their market makes you look like, well, you know.


I didn't level a slur at you, and as I said, I don't think that you're an idiot. Just wealthy.

Before, you had the ability to go to the Apple store or website and have them "take care of" your memory woes at point of purchase. They charge like $500 for an $100 memory stick.

Most people call paying 5x more for a commodity product "a ripoff".


> They charge like $500 for an $100 memory stick.

That's definitely the case historically, but you may want to look at this one case right there: 16GB RAM upgrade on the new MBP is $200. 2x8GB SODIMM at crucial is $150.

I'm not exactly going to shit my pants over a minor $50 (and 30% of the base part) markup when buying a $2200 kit.


    16GB RAM upgrade on the new MBP is $200.
    2x8GB SODIMM at crucial is $150.
Once again, can someone please explain to me why Apple apologists are generally incapable of using a price comparison service that requires maybe 10 seconds to use? Their behavior never ceases to baffle me.

CORSAIR 16GB for MacBook Pro - $89.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233...


You're mostly right here, but making things specialized to the extent that Apple is doing here often makes things more expensive. If you go the specialized route instead of using commodity hardware there's going to be a big upfront price. Its possible that reduced packaging could make up for that in some cases, but I'm skeptical. There are also some changes that Apple makes simply to prevent user serviceability, like special Apple only screws, that don't help with weight and only serve to increase the price.


Having a different POV may not make you an idiot, but saying "If I need more RAM, it's best matched with a new CPU" and "If I need more storage, I'll need more RAM to throw around more data" makes you sound like one. Both statements have pretty large and likely counterexample spaces.


"Go buy a computer for which that is a feature"

Great, I'll go buy ANY computer that isn't made by Apple.


No need for profanity. Why the strong emotions?

To make a laptop this small and thin with this much stuff inside, you have to get rid of certain elements. Before calling people names I'd suggest you check if it is at all possible to fit two (you'd want TWO, right?) SODIMM slots in the space available.

Same goes for the battery — when I saw the first pictures of the internals, I said "well, they finally got rid of the integrated battery pack": you have to, if you want to get that much mAh into that little space.

It's a natural progression — an externally replaceable battery takes the most space, an internal (but still a single one) battery pack takes less, and a bunch of cells glued all over the place take even less.

I think it's a good compromise. I'd order a laptop with the amount of RAM and storage that I'll need over the next 2 years, which is the time I amortize the purchase over.

And — if you don't like it, just don't buy it.


And what am I supposed to do if I don't want to spend $2200 on a computer that only lasts me two years? My laptops usually last me 3-4 years, at least, after a hard drive and RAM upgrade, as well as a new battery.


And what am I supposed to do if I don't want to spend $2200 on a computer that only lasts me two years?

Well, it depends. If someone says "hey, did you check out the new MacBook?" say "yeah, I didn't really like the weight vs. upgradability trade-off" and move on. If someone says "you are required to buy this computer with your own money even if you prefer another one," laugh in their face and move on. If someone says, "wow, this computer is perfect for my needs," say "that's awesome" and move on.

Incidentally, this formula actually works any time any product is offered for sale and you don't want to buy it.

(Personally, I try not to stress about how much computers cost. In two years I'll probably put in north of 4000 hours on the thing. If there's a meaningfully better option, I'll take it even if it's more expensive. Not that I have a ton of spare cash, or that $2200 is a reasonable figure for most people yet, but this is one area where I think it's a false economy to focus on the cost.)


> And what am I supposed to do if I don't want to spend $2200 on a computer that only lasts me two years?

There are other computers on the market. They're available from a range of manufacturers. Many people recommend a few of the Lenovo range.

There might be legal issues if you want to run OS X.


Pick a different one? Was it really that hard, do you need your hand held for every decision that you need to make?


My laptops usually last me 3-4 years, at least, after a hard drive and RAM upgrade, as well as a new battery.

New hard drive. New RAM. New battery. Probably want a new CPU, but that's not upgradable. Ditto display. Can't add Thunderbolt, USB3, or whatever nifty new interface.

May as well just get a new computer at the 2+ year point, seeing as you replaced half of it and want to replace the other half.

"This here's a good axe. It's had nine handles and three heads."


I still don't like laptops because their still slow and individual components have different upgrade cycles, and the keyboard and battery lifespan limits the value of upgrades anyway. GPU's and CPU don't have synchronized release cycles, let alone RAM and SSD's. Saying up upgrade all the components on the same time frame does not mean you can't get the new GPU for a year before the next CPU upgrade shows up.

PS: By slow compare my 18 month old CPU (2600K @4Ghz) + GTX 680 and you might be able to buy a laptop that fast in 3 years, but it's still going to cost you more money.


> I still don't like laptops

As is your right of course, all computers are sets of tradeoffs and if the tradeoffs don't fit you, get an other machine.

Hell, you could even like both. I like my desktop because it's fast, has a huge screen and has enough power to play games at high resolution without stuttering... on the other hand, I'd have a hard time bringing it to the office or using it in the train. So I've also got a good laptop.


I've upgraded my cpu to a core2duo p8400 cpu on my 13" thinkpad sl300, not THAT big a deal.


Accept that you may not be the target market?


Buy a different laptop?


> you have got to be a fucking idiot to buy one

Whenever I get the urge to write something like that, I ask myself: "Am I in the target market for this?"

A product built to these tolerances is not one that a rational person (even a competent one, with experience fixing computers) should want to crack open. Make the professionals worry about getting in and out of it, and enjoy the fact that they'll be liable for anything they break in the process.

"Not user serviceable by design" != "disposable by design." You're not wandering across a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland with this thing; take it to a f'ing Apple Store and grab a coffee while the infrastructure wrenches on it.


... while it's under warranty. Pay through the nose when it's not because it can't be serviced anywhere else. Simply put, would you buy a car that once beyond the warranty had to have brakes, tires, battery, air filter, and spark plugs replaced ONLY at the dealership with parts at factory cost? In addition if any part broke on the engine you would have to replace the entire engine. It's not that much different.

I would expect for that price a lot of people would like their MacBook to outlast the warranty with an option to fix it at a reasonable price. I can guarantee if the RAM fails they will replace the MB, and they won't do that for the price of the RAM chips.

The bigger problem to me is that the general consumer is unaware of these 'gotchas' until it's too late. That's where I have a problem with it. Have had to inform a few friends with Apple products that no, as much as I wanted to I could not help fix their notebook like I used to with their PCs.


You do realize that many premium cars have exactly this mentality surrounding them?

Audis are notoriously difficult to work on, as were Saab's, and good luck finding somebody certified to service a Porsche in your area that doesn't work at a Porsche dealer.

Not to mention, people that spend that much on a car usually want performance parts or factory parts [not your average "OEM equivalent" parts] and a competent technician that specializes in working with their specific make of car. Why? Because they're uncompromising in the quality of the vehicle they just purchased.

To people like this, they don't care if they have to pay extra for an AAA membership because it's too difficult to jump-start their own car.

Why is it so unreasonable to expect that there are some computer users that hold a similar attitude about their "luxury" computer brand?


>>Why is it so unreasonable to expect that there are some computer users that hold a similar attitude about their "luxury" computer brand?

Because Apple is trying to make easy things look so difficult that users rather believe in buying a new one rather than fixing it.

C'mon is changing RAM/battery/screen a rocket science? I can understand the Porsche analogy, but that rather fits well into things like tinkering with the engine etc. But will you throw away the whole car if the battery went dead on your Porsche?


I understand the 'luxury item' mentality but if a Porsche breaks out of warranty, you won't have to replace the entire engine to fix a faulty alternator. And you don't have to purchase tires or most maintenance parts from Porsche if you choose not to... in fact usually you buy better tires / brakes / exhaust direct from specialty dealers, not from Porsche. Key is you have the option to go either way, you're not locked in without warning.


If Apple were to make Porsche they would make you buy a new every time a tire got punctured. They and their fan boys would market this as though, fixing tires is so difficult that its better to throw away the car and buy a new one instead.

What's troubling about this whole debate is the way, Apple and their fan boys and presenting it. All of sudden overnight, changing RAM is being portrayed as the most difficult thing you could attempt on a computer. So difficult that it would be rather better to buy a new than changing it.

I think we all be thankful that this mentality hasn't spread to other makers, else all of us would be piling laptops like bricks every time the battery went dead or the DVD ROM stopped working.


I hear this comparison often but to me the big difference lies in the order of magnitude of cost difference. A $2,200 laptop is different than a $30,000 car for a few reasons. The largest is probably the difference in purchasing behavior. I might save up for a few weeks to buy a laptop. I might have a car note for a few years.

To me that makes all of the difference.

I think people should educate themselves on the product and if it doesn't fit within their use case then they should find a product that does. I personally think that this is a terrific looking laptop and has enough local processing power that combined with my increasing cloud reliance could be a good fit for a number of years.


For most people a $2000 laptop is a lot more than a few weeks of savings however... in fact I'd say that's true for most of the target market.

The asking people to educate themselves on this product runs directly counter to Apples marketing. Apple wants to (has) made computers an appliance and doesn't want the user to think about the insides. Asking the user to educate themselves on the internals of their Apple notebook is asking them to go back to PC style thinking, exactly what Apple has worked to kill. And now that that style of thinking is dead, they (seem to) purposely make the machine non-serviceable because no one asks anymore.


Not to mention that unlike cars, Apple laptops maintain their value surprisingly well. After two years, you can probably still get at least half what you paid out of it.


Well you could until they released this model...


Laptop CPUs have been soldered in for as long as I can remember. We've all come to accept that as a perfectly reasonable compromise. With the exception of some high-end gaming laptops, GPUs are also soldered in.

Apple have made the perfectly reasonable decision to maximise portability for the 99% of users who never upgrade any component, over the 1% for whom upgradability matters. To dismiss people with different priorities to yours as idiotic is, to be frank, the reason nobody liked you at school.

The benefits of Apple's approach are obvious - they have substantially reduced the bulk of each generation of machine, whilst still improving performance and battery life.

We've already been through this debate in the automotive industry. Cars used to be readily maintainable and modifiable, but miserably unreliable. Electronics and sealed units hugely increased reliability. Auto enthusiasts lamented this change as an assault on the amateur mechanic and the march of disposable consumerism, but the market never looked back. Most people don't care that they can't remap the ECU in their car and most people don't care if their RAM isn't replaceable. That's a perfectly reasonable viewpoint.


Alternatively they have made an expensive professional tool into a disposable consumer gadget.


How is it any more of a "disposable gadget" than the previous generation which has all the same soldered components but the RAM, exactly?

My current machine got its RAM upgraded once, the day I bought it, and will never see an other RAM upgrade in its life because I'm at the chipset's capacity. It's in the exact same position as the new mbp. Has it suddenly become a "disposable computer gadget" where it was an "expensive professional tool" between the moment I received it and the moment I put the new ram sticks in? Even though I hadn't even booted it up at that point, and it's my day-to-day workhorse now?


According to the post you can't replace the drive or the battery either.


The post says nothing about drive or battery, the iFixit teardown does confirm the battery can't be replaced (it's now glued in — where the old one was screwed to the case — the teardown guys didn't dare removing it after trying a bit) so there's that.

On the other hand, the SSD is most definitely replaceable, it's the same system as in the Macbook Air (though apparently not the exact same drive): http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-with-Retina-Displ...


You're relatively new here, so you may not be familiar with our community's culture. Please read the guidelines: http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

In particular, note: Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say in a face to face conversation.


Technically, no one owns one of these yet, so the expressed remark is directed at the design, and decisions behind the design. Also, the reasoning is provided as well. If it crosses the line, it's mostly because of the profanity in itself, though I don't see the need for a reprimand.


It's not the profanity, but the intent behind the statement with the profanity. Remove the profanity, and it's still not a civil comment. It poisons discussion.


I would say this face to face and regularly do. Honesty is the best policy.


Be civil.


I've had 5 Apple laptops since 2001 and have never had to replace anything. Average time of ownership has only been 2 years, though. Because of the resale value, I've found it's pretty effective to sell the 2-year old and put it towards a new one.


In the part of my job where I'm an IT Manager, I can tell you I've had one user go thru three motherboards. In a year. Without spilling anything on them or otherwise mistreating the computer.

I'm, like, a slobbery fanboi and I can tell you, occasionally, Apple makes one that's rotten.


This happened to me with my last MBP. Three motherboards and four batteries within a 3 year period. The case also cracked near the screen.

I've since switched to another laptop manufacturer.


Does it run OS X?


No, Ubuntu 12.04 & Windows 8 Preview


[deleted]


FWIW, Apple's machines are some of the most recyclable in the industry. Aluminum and glass are far more recyclable than plastic.


When was the last time you replaced anything yourself in your TV/Car/Other high priced item? If non-user serviceable parts are a consequence of ever increasing technology, then I'll happily accept that.


I'm the wrong person to ask that question to. I repair everything from clothes, through computers, through cars to televisions.

There need to be more wrong people to ask that question to.


Congratulations. You represent .01% of Apple's target market. Why should they cater to your needs? You seem to be getting angry that someone is making a product which is not compelling for you.


No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to buy this computer.

For some people (some being the vast majority of MBP users) this design actually makes a lot of sense.


Yeah penis waving hipsters in Starbucks writing their next novel whilst contributing to the bad credit problem that seems to have screwed up the economy...

Not any worthy portion of society then.


You can also add the majority of computer science researchers that I know to that list.

As I said in reply to your parent comment, please read the guidelines here. We appreciate civility. If you keep it up, you will eventually be hellbanned.


Oh I agree entirely. The intent was to mock the comment about suitability for a task. Sometimes it is appropriate to do so to convey a point.

My sincerest apologies if such an approach is offensive.


Being offensive is a secondary concern. The primary concern is that you failed to communicate your point. Even re-reading your comments, I cannot see any indication of sarcasm; I see no indication that you agree with my point that many people who do useful work related to computing use Macbooks.


I'll clarify here for you.

Whilst I agree people do useful work relating to MacBooks in general, I do not find that this MacBook is worthy of purchase and outlined my reasons why. I do not specifically slate all MacBooks as a whole, but the general approach being taken on their design which favours consumerism over pragmatism, practicality and convention.

My comment derided the machine and branded it as only suitable for an unimportant segment of MacBook users who produce nothing of value with it and to whom it is a fashion accessory or trinket. It's analogous to the old comment about celery taking more calories to eat than it provides.

Is that a fairer deconstruction of the point?


We appreciate comments like the above much more. It promotes better discussion.

Regarding the content of what you said, we still disagree. I know many people who use MacBooks, most of which are CS researchers and one astrophysicist. Of that set, I know of one person who upgraded their machine at all (a CS professor who replaced his harddrive with an SSD). I view Apple's design decision of making the RAM non-upgradable in line with my use, and the use of almost everyone I know. We certainly try to do work that has value, and we do not see our work computers as fashion accessories or trinkets.


Modern tech products are used by so many people that you really can't give all users the same label. There are some brilliant people using Macs to get their jobs done and same goes with Dells, Lenovos, Windows, IE, Ubuntu, etc..


"Sorry but stuff like this is just pandering to consumerism if it is disposable by design."

You are kind of right.

We use our 7 year old G4 Powerbook with the 4th battery. Its a pity that there is no real operating system available for a Thinkpad.


> Its a pity that there is no real operating system available for a Thinkpad.

What would constitute a real operating system? Last time I checked Windows/Linux/BSD are very much real operating systems.


"What would constitute a real operating system? "

If you want to know my most important point:

backup and play back (bootable) EASILY.


How is that even a function of the operating system?


"How is that even a function of the operating system?"

My statement was provocative, I guess. This is like a Harley driver asking if a Yamaha is a real Motorcycle (is it?).

Backup is not a function of the operating system, but the key question is whether software is available FOR the operating system. Could be even an issue of bios, but who cares except theorists?

You always buy a package.


Yea the problem is the legacy PC BIOS which relies on real-mode boot sectors. EFI firmware has code to read file systems which makes this much easier, and PCs are finally beginning to have it too.


dd..


Wow, settle down. No need to freak out about this, just don't buy it.

I'm getting one with 16 GB of RAM. Pretty sure I won't want to upgrade that before I upgrade the whole machine in ~2 years.


Kind of off-topic: I've got a T60 with a broken graphics card (Honestly, not sure, but all evidence points in that direction). It still works, there just isn't any image on the internal monitor (and severe problems on external). Can I fix the graphics card? Nope, but I can still install another OS and keep it running until something truly critical fails.


Nope but you can grab another T60 with broken screen or chassis off ebay for a few dollars and do a frankenstein job (takes about 30 minutes):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-T60-MOTHERBOARD-BASE-FRU-42T0116...


Shine a bright light on the internal monitor -- a much more likely explanation is that the invertor or backlight died. If that's the case you should just barely be able to make out what's on the dark screen if you look closely.

It's relatively easy to replace the invertor. There are service manuals on the Lenovo/IBM site that tell you how to replace all things that are replaceable.


Dell used to make mini-PCIe video card on some of their laptops. No idea if they still do. I know on my Inspiron E1705 I had in 2006, I could swap the video card for a new one provided I could actually source a new one. I don't know anyone selling mini-PCIe cards outside of eBay, but it is possible to make a modular laptop.

Newegg actually sells barebone laptop kits.


"Sorry but you have got to be a fucking idiot to buy one to be honest if that is the case."

This is just technology marching on, it is cutting edge engineering and manufacturing and Apple care is next to none in the industry. To call a person buying this a fucking idiot is akin to an old timer smacking down the youngsters about modern TV's because you can no longer swap out the valve tubes.


I disagree. It's medicre crap wrapped in a pretty wrapper.

The thing with modern TV's is that they don't need RAM upgrades, don't have any user-fillable storage built in and have external power supplies.


I am just surprised that people are surprised about Macs being hard to upgrade.

They have always been a PIA to upgrade since Day 1:

http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story...


Yep, the design is plain stupid. Then again, the average consumer and corporate user never replace components anyway, so Apple will probably not lose sales over this.

I hope other manufacturers won't follow suit, though...


So buy the classic MacBook design while it's still available. Easy :)


I'm with you, at least as far as the consumerism is concerned. Maybe we are all fucking idiots, somehow, some way, but I tend to think if you've got a computer in front of you, whatever you're doing, you're in a mighty fine privilege. All computers have incurred their debt upon the planet; to dispose of a computing device because it is 'slow' is an ultimate failure to comprehend the nature of computing: the user makes a decision to use, or not use, arbitrarily.

I have a couple Toughbooks from the 90's, I'll probably never throw them away, but instead keep using them for more years yet, because: fully user upgradable.

http://www.google.com/search?q=panasonic+toughbook+cf25&...

Though slow by 'modern standards', they are still perfectly usable computers, still quite adequate for most needs, which haven't really changed terribly much. Slow-ass Pentium 133's with a nice, tight, Linux distribution, no driver worries whatsoever, and workable for my needs. One is an offline Wikipedia/Doc-dump that can be easily road-tripped, powered from a cross-bike battery, chucked up the cliff and so on, and the other is a general-purpose debug device for various embedded projects back in the lab, where-in such things as standard serial and parallel ports are still .. a bit useful ..

You know why these computers are still in use? They kick ass.

3 Open PCMCIA slots per device. Magnesium-Alloy cases that take a real beating, and can yet still be opened with a coin, in case you want to put a different component into the gel-protected insides. In the lab-bench toughbook there is room for its disk as well as various shields, arduinos, proto pcb's, and so on. It functions very nicely as a carry case in that regard, too: I have room for my DS-one scope, when I need it.

Oh, its got standard strap mounts as in I can take one off a gun and strap the toughbook behind me as I ride off into the desert.

If Apple ever make something like this, i.e. the complete other end of the spectrum, I would be very surprised. There are places, though, an iPad and a Macbook and an iMac and an iPod .. well maybe my iPod would fit along the DS-1 .. but anyway, there are places that the 'elite delicate consumer electronics' can't go.

My point is, there are alternatives to the Macbook cult.

Apple don't have ANYTHING that competes with the toughbook in terms of user servicibility, but then: that is another arbitrary choice being made by the Apple Super-power. Apple is so big now that if it decides to build a walled-garden, then such shall the field grow. If they WANTED to make a computer that could seriously benefit future generations, it wouldn't be out-dated in a decade, or two decades, or even three. It'd be useful for a Century.


The battery is easily replaceable. If you know how to use a screwdriver. Is that too much to ask?


Err, it's glued in which is considerably worse:

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-with-Retina-Displ...

Actually, looking through the entire teardown, I think the battery being glued in is worse than anything as levering it out is likely to cause the Li-Ion cells to blow up.

Also consider how hard it is recycling that machine!

Their summary:

1. Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.

2. As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.

3. The proprietary SSD isn't upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.

4. The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

5. The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.

The whole machine is a joke. PLEASE DON'T BUY ONE!


> 1. Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.

Well, there's not much inside for a normal user to replace any more.

> 2. As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.

Just like CPUs and graphics cards have been for years.

> 3. The proprietary SSD isn't upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.

External drive, bro. It's an effing superportable laptop. Do you really need your entire 200GB porn collection available to you at all times?

> 4. The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

There is no battery removal process. And you know what? That's okay! I'm over 2 years in on my 2010 MacBook Pro, and checking the battery right now I see its designed capacity was 6,000mAh while its current, fully-charged capacity is… 5,786mAh. The sky has steadfastly refused to fall, and the four horsemen have failed to ravage the countryside.

> 5. The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.

Wow! If an expensive thing fails expensively, it's expensive! Please tell me how this situation is any different than for dozens of other devices you currently possess, including your HDTV display and the engine in your car.

> The whole machine is a joke. PLEASE DON'T BUY ONE!

Your whole post is a joke. If the machine doesn't meet your own personal criteria, that's awesome. But you appear to be taking it personally if other people have a different metric of value. Chill out, for fuck's sake.


The entire portion quoted there was from ifixit.com, not my mouth or brain. I just happen to agree with it.

The thing that you forget is that the moment that the warranty expires, those points become EVERY user's personal criteria.

You'll take it to a non-vendor sponsored repair shop and they'll say "no chance - can't fix it".

And for ref, I bought my HDTV (Bravia 26EX320) dead and repaired it. I recently bought a new car (2002 Land Rover Discovery) dead and repaired it.


> I'm over 2 years in on my 2010 MacBook Pro, and checking the battery right now I see its designed capacity was 6,000mAh while its current, fully-charged capacity is… 5,786mAh.

I don't know what the capacity is on mine, but I used to get about 5 hours on battery, now I'm lucky to get 2.5 hours. Mine is same model, 18 months old.


In case you're curious (I am!), iStat Menus can show you the breakdown with its battery monitor module.

Keep in mind that the reduction in battery life might also just be that you have more intensive apps running, more things happening in the background, brighter monitor, etc. I also feel intuitively like the battery life in my MBP has dropped, but seeing the numbers, I'm pretty convinced it's a change in my usage more than the inherent battery life.


Ok I installed iStat Menu and spent all night charging this thing for you.

Currently @ 100% charge: designed: 6900mAh, current capacity: 6268 mAh


One thing I don't understand: Apple offers battery replacements for more or less reasonable prices, right? How in hell are they going to replace this battery? Do they have some special fluid that can quickly dissolve that glue?


> consider how hard it is recycling that machine

Tell Apple and they'll send you a shipping label. Just like any other Mac.

http://www.apple.com/recycling/gift-card/


No - that's how hard it is for YOU to initiate the recycling of the machine.

The actual recycling bit is considerably harder.


Then why complain? Apple makes a machine that you think is hard to recycle (and some of the things you think are hard include a special screw--I bet that isn't very hard for Apple) and at the same time covers the full cost of recycling it. Who cares if they have to spend another 10 minutes, it's their problem.


It's also included in the cost of the machine. One of the reasons to buy a Mac (or some other pre-assembled computer) is that the price includes services like assembly, testing, and customer support.


Just so that I know — how exactly do you (I mean yourself) recycle Li-Ion battery cells?

I'm curious, because I never tried to do that at home. I always returned the whole appliance for recycling.


I don't. I do know what is involved though. You dig a big hole and put them in it. Then over 25 years or so the lithium seeps out into the water table...


you forgot to pot it in epoxy first.


They only do that in the EU and US.

Usually from what I understand in Europe at least, they pack them, mail them to an EU border country such as Turkey to comply with EU regs and certification and they're shipped on to the far east by the lowest bidder. They then appear in land fills and are picked apart by children for the copper...



If by "recycle" you will accept the alternative "reuse", I know many people who reuse batteries. I've done it once, when a hardware failure caused my laptop to become a doorstop. The battery was put into an RC project I was working on and the rest of the laptop was sent to true recyclers.


I'd take the iFixit recommendation with a sack of salt. Their business model relies on being able to sell components and tools that can open up laptops. With the new Retina MBP, they can not do much, hence they are bound to rate it lower.

Apple's task is to create a laptop with the features they think users will like, and not have to worry about the support for third party component vendors. If you think iFixit is your source for recommendation, don't buy the MBP. :)


Is this rant all just some cognitive dissonance because you can't afford one? You're not thinking this through, the machine may not make sense for you because it sounds like you enjoy tinkering with the innards of a laptop, but you cannot speak for others, or try to evangelize your opinion and persuade other not to buy one. It just makes you look bitter about something. Please try to be accept that this machine is not something you need. Your attitude towards Mac owners is very clear by your offensive language, which negates any actual points that you might have.

I am sure apple has thought of how to recycle these machines because they take that stuff seriously. They don't expect you to recycle it, technology is complex stuff and the whole life cycle needs people with expert knowledge and that includes the reuse and recycling stage.

Now I need to get back to my Starbucks latte and wave things around..l lighten up... Life's too short to take on a cause like this.


Let me approach your points in a more concise and slightly less troll-like manor:

I can afford one but I choose not to spend the money on it simply because the value proposition is pure insanity.

I am not bitter at all. I find that the rapid decline into consumerism that Apple promotes is disturbing, especially when they are trend-setters. I need to stand up for what is right now so in 5 years time, all vendors aren't producing such hardware.

Apple don't think about how to recycle these machines at all - they don't care at all and never will do unless it's good marketing (which is is since Greenpeace kicked off at them that is). They send you a label to stick to it - that is all. That will send it to a 3rd party who have paid Apple a lot of money to be the "preferred recycler".

Life's never too short to promote an opinion. After all that's all we are.


http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-with-Retina-Displ...

- MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15" Mid 2012 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

- Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.

- As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.

- The proprietary SSD isn't upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.

- The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

- The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.

EDITED: got rid of scroll per comment below


The no scroll edition:

* MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15" Mid 2012 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

* Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.

* As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.

* The proprietary SSD isn't upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.

* The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

* The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.


Thanks. I was trying to make it look as though it was quoted but looks like I failed.


You did the work :) No need to thank me. I had to copy paste to read it anyways.


People are worried about DRAM soldered to the motherboard?

I'd be much more worried about the Flash that is, just as the RAM, also permanently soldered to the motherboard. With the wear-leveling most chipsets do nowadays, these things will just simultaneously drop dead in three years.

edit: Took another look: http://imgur.com/x0I9x It seems that they might indeed be exchangeable. Looked a lot like they were soldered on with the rest on a first glance.


Anandtech has the details. TL;DR: it's not soldered but the connector is brand-new and non-standard. http://www.anandtech.com/show/6003/the-new-macbook-air-uses-...


The flash ssd is not soldered in from what I can tell. It's probably like the MBA where it has some kind of connector and is probably the only user serviceable part.


It's definitely not soldered in.

OWC says that it is similar but probably not exactly the same as the one in the Macbook Air, they are looking at providing an upgrade model like they do for the Airs:

http://blog.macsales.com/14090-not-a-lot-of-options-for-macb...


From what I heard it's not soldered to the mainboard but a custom SSD-Like chip similar to the ones in the Macbook Air.


How is this news? I think it's well known that the new Retina-MBPs have made some hardware-upgradeability sacrifices in exchange for portability.


My thoughts exactly. But I do think that if I would put over $2000 to a laptop I wouldn't like the fact that I'm not able to upgrade memory after few years. It's ok with devices like iPad but $2000 laptop is a device that you expect to use a bit longer.


"after few years"

Apple expects consumers to replace hardware every two to three years. Often this is encouraged by their practice of only supporting a single version of their operating system and their practice of making new versions of their operating systems incompatible with hardware more than a few years old.

To put it another way, Apple doesn't want you to keep your Macbook for three years because there's no money in that, just support costs.


Sure, Apple wants to sell as much as possible. But it's unclear to me if this decision has that effect. Not if many people are like me.

Knowing that there are upgrade options makes it easier for me to pay up for an expensive machine. But years later I never actually buy an upgrade because it feels like a waste to put money into a machine that is nearing the end of its useful life anyway.

I don't even want to know how much money I have wasted on buying "future proof" hardware. So if anything I have to thank Apple for making this perfectly clear to me and saving me from sinking $2200 into a laptop ;-)


I was gonna but this and install Windoze on it... not sure i'll bother now and save myself around £1000 on a similar spec Dell (albeit without the slimness and super sharp screen)


MacBook Pros from 2007 (and all Macs with 64 bit Intel processors) will work fine with Mountain Lion.


All Macs with 64 bit Intel processors. Not my 64 bit ppc...


More and more os x and the Mac "platform" is moving towards a becoming a crystal prison. They are still the undisputed leader when it comes to quality hardware. But locking down the os and hardware is not going to he good in the long run. I knew this was. I in that's why I got the 17 inch mbp in feb. figured I can have it last for a few more years as can upgrade the ram an hdd to a ssd giving it more life. If the os becomes restrictive then I can always install Linux or windows on the quality hardware.


> But locking down the os and hardware is not going to he good in the long run.

You do realize all the "new" limitations of the MBP come straight from the MBA right? And that the MBA's been a raging success?


But the price is different. Much different.


So's the hardware, I'm not sure why that would matter much.

Battery is already soldered (basically), nobody cares. Aftermarket RAM upgrades only matter insofar as their historically being way overpriced at Apple, this seems avoided for now on the new MBP ($200 for the 16GB upgrade, Crucial asks for $160 for 2x8GB SODIMM so the markup extreme — least of all on a $2200 machine), the HDD -> SSD upgrade is irrelevant as it's already an SSD and if it's the same as the Air (no reason for it not to be), it's a semi-proprietary caseless and low-profile SSD module... for which there are third-party alternatives (or will be, in case the pinout is incompatible with 2011 Air pinout, which would be surprising)


The SSD connector is incompatible unfortunately.


You can max it out with 16GB of RAM for an additional $200. I'm not sure I can see myself putting more than that into a laptop during its useful life.


Yes I know but that wasn't the point. The point is that if I now buy the laptop with let's say 8GB because I think I don't need more than that because all I do is code. After 6 months I get assigned to doing work with BIG databases that easily eat 10GB memory. Now I'm stuck with 8GB because it's soldered and even Apple can't upgrade it.


Upgrading the RAM on a new Macbook Pro is a user-serviceable operation. It consists of four steps:

1) Back up data, wipe drive

2) Sell MBP on eBay

3) Buy new MBP with desired amount of RAM

4) Restore data

Now stop it. You're buying a Mac because you don't like to waste time dicking around with your computer, remember?


No, I'm buying a Mac because I need a UNIX-based operating system that can run the Adobe Creative Suite.

My fiancee, who is practically hardware illiterate, just installed brand new RAM and a new SSD into her 4-year-old MacBook. If she had originally purchased it with those upgrades, it would have been $500+ extra at the time of purchase. This week, it cost $150 for the parts on Amazon.

User-serviceable operations that don't require completely replacing the computer are important, and will surely affect many people's buying decisions. You don't get to say that everybody who wants a Mac will never want to waste time dicking around with their computer.


You're buying a Mac because you don't like to waste time dicking around with your computer, remember?

And I do like to waste time dealing with backups and Craigslist scammers? I'm buying a Mac because I want a Unix workstation with a solid UI. Lots of MacBook Pro owners are not terrified of screwdrivers.


> And I do like to waste time dealing with backups

Ha. Best of luck, friend.


When you buy a PC, you should always get as much memory, disk, and CPU as you can afford. That was sound advice 20 years ago and it still fits today.


Has that really been considered 'sound advice' all this time? Getting the best CPU/GPU I could understand, but up until now PC's have been so easily upgradable, that I've never heard someone recommend maxing out the Hard Drive and RAM during the ordering process (unless it was to your average consumer). I've always heard (and likewise, advised my 'power-user' friends) to just buy systems with the baseline HD and RAM options, because those components really tend to be a lot cheaper via third parties...


> I've always heard (and likewise, advised my 'power-user' friends) to just buy systems with the baseline HD and RAM options, because those components really tend to be a lot cheaper via third parties...

Not to mention if you hit your HD limit after a year the bigger drives are going to be drastically cheaper.


I disagree. Sometimes I can afford the best CPU, but it's twice as much as a CPU that's 90% as powerful. It doesn't make sense to buy it, even if I can afford it. I can wait a year or 2 and upgrade and still save money over buying the best.

The same goes for memory, hard drive, and other parts of the computer.


"stuck"? Buy another brand of laptop.


Yes

Also, the SSD makes you need less memory, since reading from it is so fast

So 16Gb will go a long way really.


Exactly, and although similar statements have been made in the past, I think 16GB shall be sufficient for at least 5 years out.


I have a current MBP with both 8GB and 16GB of memory. I found that with 8GB, performance is excellent. With 16GB, I normally have about 6-7GB free - Mac OS X normally uses the rest for a filesystem cache but it doesn't really affect performance that much in my experience. 16GB is going to be enough for quite a while...


Not to mention, the glaring problem people like to ignore when discussing this is the motherboard in the MBP is only going to support so much memory anyway (would not be surprised if it could only support 16gb), so talking about not being able to upgrade it to 32/64/whatever is common then is kind of moot.


Sure, but I think the issue is that if you ever want 16GB, you have to buy it now at Apple's price: $200 for an extra 8GB.


I'm not sure why we keep saying things like this.

"X MB/TB of resource Y will be plenty for a while" is almost always something we laugh about 2 years later.


I have the late 2011 MBP with 16gb of RAM and I maxed out RAM usage earlier today just with Postbox, Steam, a backgrounded 2Gb VM, a large file copy in forklift and chrome. While that's a rare occurence now, I imagine that over time it will become more common.


I don't think you understand how RAM works. Hint: there is lots of caching goes on.


I don't think you understand how my laptop use case works. Hint: I run a lot of VMs and emulators, do a lot of debugging and have a lot of tabs open.


Did anyone upgrade their Mac? Secondary market prices for Mac laptops are insanely high. Over the last several years, I've been buying a new MacBook every year. I buy at $1100 and sell around $800. $300 is less than I spend on coffee.


What's your preferred method of re-selling?


I still use my G4 PowerBook every day.


> I wouldn't like the fact that I'm not able to upgrade memory after few years.

You wouldn't be able to either way, depending on the chipset's hardware limitations. 2010 MBPs won't recognize 16GB RAM for instance.


Personally, while I understand why thinness might be great for some, I don't understand how they can sacrifice essential features(exchangeable components and ports(GigE)) for a few mms or grams on a laptop that is clearly marked "Pro". I'd think that exactly pros would be the ones that would make use of these features the most.


It's because Apple realizes that user replaceable components and ports aren't essential features that they make such great laptops. I'm a "pro" in the sense the I do work and coding on my laptop. I haven't used an Ethernet cable in maybe four years. I don't upgrade components, I just buy new machines every year (with the insane secondary market value of MacBooks this isn't even an expensive proposition). I don't want to compromise portability and battery life (remember, a lot of the design techniques to make the machine thinner open up more internal space for battery) for some features I'll rarely I'd ever use.


I appreciate the kind of perspective you have, but I own 3 MBP and I use the ethernet about once a year - normally when doing an initial Time Machine backup. Wireless is sufficient for all day to day tasks in my experience.

* Finally, if it really is a problem, buy the Thunderbolt to GigE adaptor.


Well for a pro laptop... my pro laptop (Thinkpad) is hooked into a docking station right now. My external monitor, some USB drives, and ethernet are plugged into the dock. When I undock, I'm going mobile so I don't need an external monitor, USB hard drives, and I can work on wifi. In my ~3000 person office, this is by far the norm. Access to some systems are locked down on an IP address basis, assuming you'll be plugged into the wall that gives a static address.

So the point is, it might be called the MacBook Pro, but is it really geared towards professional users? Not even AV professionals anymore, with no Firewire and no disc drive.

Finally, if it really is a problem, buy the Thunderbolt to GigE adaptor.

You shouldn't have to buy accessories on a $2200 laptop which come standard on even a $200 netbook.


$200 netbooks don't come with those standard features, $2200 laptop features, AND cram it all into a 0.71" thick case.


Every netbook comes with ethernet. Generally not with a disc drive, not because the thickness is a concern but because a disc drive is bigger than a 7" computer.

Thickness is the culprit here for both ethernet and ROM, and this drive to thin machines makes no sense on a laptop marketed for professional users.


You just need to understand that you have become an edge case. The 1%.

People just aren't using Firewire, Optical Drives and Ethernet like they use to. And compromising the entire computer just to satisfy a minority isn't good business. And absolutely isn't Apple's style.

Most things are more expensive when you aren't buying the mainstream option. In your case having to buy the Superdrive, Firewire and GigE adapters.


You just need to understand that you have become an edge case.

It's called the Macbook Pro. Firewire is huge in cameras still. Optical drives are still big in AV work. Ethernet is still important in corporate networks. By default, professionals are not mainstream. This is a 100% consumer laptop. Calling it "Pro" is just disingenuous when there's not a single professional aspect about it.


Thunderbolt is the high-speed channel on this thing.

Plug it into a matching Cinema Display and you've got Firewire, GigE, etc., all via Thunderbolt.

Apple, once again, is betting on a new standard, which seems to be working.

(The HDMI port is a nice touch, since most modern projectors and large-screen devices support it.)


No they aren't¹.

(1) 95% of statistics are made up.

I'm sure Apple, who actually sell the machines, and collect statistics, know what their users are after.


And they can sell whatever machine they want to sell. The point of this entire thread is the name.

I'm not sure what you're referring to about statistics, as I never offered any statistics. I'd love to take a survey of audio and visual professionals and see how many of them have devices that either stream over Firewire (much more consistent bandwidth than USB2) or burn to disc (slightly less common). Brand new devices might use SD or Thunderbolt, but AV equipment is expensive and not always replaced every time Apple comes up with a new standard.


"Pro" doesn't indicate what type of professional.

The Photoshop pros, photographer pros, etc. I know don't want to open up their laptops, but they're still pros.


Carrying around adapters is a solution buts its not fun or elegant. Especially when you don't always need them in the same place.

I think the point is valid. One of the things "pros" need is ports. Ports that hardware assumes you have because its standard on most machines. This thing about ports is that you don't need them unless you do. Maybe you never use ethernet, but a lot of people do. Maybe you need to plug in to set up a router. Maybe a hotel room only has ethernet. Maybe your office environment requires ethernet.

I've been using a mac at work for years and ports have always been a pain. Need to plug into a projector? Connect to a TV? More than 2 USBs? As often as puling out adapters, the solution is use someone else's machine.


I think you need to quantify a lot, as in "a lot of pros need ethernet". I work in a university and I see a lot of laptops and I don't think I've ever seen anyone plug in the ethernet except for very specific situations like LAN parties or DC++ (since people are charged per GB for wireless data over a certain monthly cap). I also work in the entrepreneurial business environment and most people have MBA, netbooks, iPads and other similar devices. It would be interesting to have other technicians opinions on this though.

In the case of the hotel room, yes that is sometimes the case... then again, I guess that is what the adaptors are for. It is the same reason that laptops no longer have 56k modems built in - it simply isn't that common these days. Ethernet on laptops isn't that useful anymore. Wireless is the default.

The challenge in any technology is to balance the realities of the world with the vision for the future. This laptop is clearly designed with the future in mind.


You can always buy the standard macbook pro which does offer all that you wish for (regular ram, GigE, serviceable harddisk) at about the same price point but at an additional 400g weight.

I currently use a Macbook Air which does not offer a GigE port either and I'm doing just fine.


This is not true for all new MacBook pro. All ram modules are soldered even for non retina display.


You got incorrect info, non-Retina Macbook Pros have upgradeable memory and you can already buy it from suppliers like Crucial and OWC.


thanks for correction. I am sorry for confusing the issue.


I'm not certain what constitutes a pro these days, but I do some pretty intensive tasks (building large scala projects, data aggregation, etc) and I think this MacBook is just what I need. With thunderbolt I'll be able to dock the laptop to disk arrays, an external monitor/keyboard/mouse, and Ethernet with a single connector. And being thinner and lighter, I won't think twice about taking it on the road.


Single connector, but not single adapter. Daisy chaining also seems error prone. If all the adapters you have to take with you weigh 400g, you haven't really gained anything. Also, having to reattach everything all the time seems like a hassle if you have a lot of external devices to connect(is there a Macbook dock?). This ad satire is about the Air, but i think it sums up me reservations perfectly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hnOCUkbix0


Thunderbolt express dock:

http://www.belkin.com/pressroom/releases/uploads/BelkinThund...

Firewire, USB, HDMI, Audio, Ethernet.


I struggle to see this as anything but a planned obsolescence, anti-3rd party power grab given the minute additional space required to use a replaceable RAM stick. The SSD is on an add in board, also between the main board and base.


That minute additional space would have made the ENTIRE laptop thicker.

And guess what. 99% of people would trade thinness over ability to use third party RAM.


Unlikely, as the aforementioned SSD add in exists in the same depth. It is also a 3D space so the idea the whole body would need to be increased by the depth of the ram/connector is overly simplistic. If there were issues, they could have persued engineering solutions (different connector? single sided ram?) that could have maintained upgrade-ability.

This is the (top line) pro, not the laptop bought by people who want it because it is silver and has an apple logo. And it is not 'just' third party use, it is no upgrades, ever. So i think plenty of mac pro users would have preferred the imperceivable (<1mm) thickness increase necessary, if it even was.

For most here considering this, I imagine it adds $200 on to the cost, because they will feel the need to top up the extra 8gb to future proof themselves. NB +8gb sodimm is ~$50.


And it is not 'just' third party use, it is no upgrades, ever.

To be fair, there will probably be (unauthorized) third party SSD replacements, and USB3 allows much more flexibility with external upgrades.

I imagine it adds $200 on to the cost, because they will feel the need to top up the extra 8gb to future proof themselves.

Yeah. It's also disappointing that the high end model still only has 8GB standard, but that way Apple guarantees that you have to order through them if you want 16. I'll still do it, because by all accounts the display really is that good. It will likely be my last Apple hardware purchase, assuming that in a few years other PC manufacturers have realized that Apple is on to something with their brilliant strategy of making displays better instead of worse.


And guess what. 99% of people would trade thinness over ability to use third party RAM.

For MBP buyers, I doubt it. Lots of them are desktop replacements that don't move much.


That's because you don't care about having a thin, light computer, or you see the trade-off as being not worth it. Other people feel differently. Sorry.


I'd only read about not being able to replace the HDD, but permanent memory modules? I'd say this is news, since I haven't heard of this situation in any other computer in recent memory.

Of course now i read that Mac Airs do the same, so i feel silly. (Edit)


Yeah, the Macbook Airs have done that from the very start. Not sure about how widespread it is overall but both Sony's Vaio Custom Z and the ASUS Zenbook Prime have fixed non-upgradeable RAM.


The mechanism Apple uses to allow user-replaceable RAM looks like it won't fit in the new case. (pic) [1]

Apple have a habit of charging fairly outrageous prices for extra RAM - $375[2] for 16GB in the current Mac Pro, and that's not even for 8GB sticks. With that in mind, $200 for the upgrade to 16GB is not that bad, which is probably on purpose.

[1] https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1270#link1 [2] http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD770LL/A


It has a funny psychological effect on me that I don't understand: when I see a premium, top-of-the-line (for whatever line you are interested in) machine, and they charge a little more to get it to the extra level (16 MB RAM), I feel like it cheapens the product. It kind of makes me think of it as second-rate. I get a similar feeling when looking at a luxury car for which a stylish interior is an upgrade. I feel like an awesome car wouldn't be sold without the stylish interior, therefore this car is less-than-awesome.


It's a matter of budget. When you think a 8 GB RAM Macbook Pro is cheap, maybe you should shop at sgi.com.


I understand the part about the budget. I don't understand the part about the psychological effect. I don't even know what to call it. I find it curious.


In my experience 1 in 4 upgrades are crap. Thinking back 10 or more years ago when I stuffed my PC with expansion cards. Sometimes these cards did not work, particular candidates were Modems and TV cards. Actually even half of my RAM upgrades were adventures, sometimes I had to remove all of the RAM and put it back in. (WTF?)

So this would be one explanation which I do experience. When I buy a Gadget and the cool stuff is hard-wired, this means to me: this Gadget is merged with the cool stuff.


It's worth noting an 8GB DDR3 module of laptop RAM is $50.

A pretty healthy 300% mark up.


Well, that's not fair.

They aren't charging you for an extra 8GB module, they are replacing your 8GB module with a 16GB module. What's the price difference between a single 8GB stick and a single 16GB stick?


The specs page says the MBP has 2 ram slots, so it's the difference between 2x4gb and 2x8gb which is about 50 bucks here : http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf

edit: But looking at the hardware pics it looks like it is single module but more than that, it looks like the RAM chips are soldered directly to the motherboard. Not a RAM module soldered to the board but the actual chips which means the cost to apple would be even less since you just double the ICs.


I kind of expected this as the Airs have the same, can anyone that knows a bit more about hardware maybe tell if this is because of space concerns?


Soldering DRAMs to the board saves height and improves ruggedness. It can also improve memory power a tiny bit because you can dial down the signal drive strength and dial up the termination impedance since you don't have reflections at the socket connector. If you only have 1 rank, you can also improve memory latency by maybe a cycle by virtue of not having to accommodate parts at different distances from the memory controller. These additional benefits assume that Apple is one of the half-dozen or so companies with whom Intel is willing to open their memory controller documentation.

The counter-intuitive thing to me about using memory-down (at scale orders of magnitude smaller than Apple) is that it can end up being way more expensive over the lifetime of the product. Module vendors can constantly shop and swap between DRAM manufacturers in order to lower their costs and module competition is fierce.


RAM slots are big pieces of plastic and connector pins. Especially if you have two slots it just wouldn't fit in a laptop with that height.


The original Samsung Series 9 is about 10% thinner and had two DIMM slots; the battery did take up a bit less space though. I'm sure it would have been possible to fit two SODIMM slots, it would just have cost more in terms of design and sale price.


I would guess it is due to a couple of factors:

RAM can now be tested in one package on the motherboard and people can't accidentally change it. In the long run it may open some abilities w.r.t using RAM for other things since you know its exact clocking.

The production is cheaper since the MB does not need an extra "install ram" step which is probably a human.

You can probably win some height space by a couple of millimeters.

You have more control over heating.


>> The production is cheaper since the MB does not need an extra "install ram" step which is probably a human.

I suspect that's not true. I reckon it's more likely they're changing a "slot RAM into place" step with a "solder RAM into place" step.

That said they'll probably be able to simplify the case and design the mainboard however they place, since they'll no longer need to provide easy access to the RAM slots.


The "solder RAM into place" step is handled by the pick-and-place machine at board manufacture time. Human hands are required only to load the machine.


they had to "solder RAM slot to board" before "slot RAM into place"


Not only RAM, SSD is SATA III, but using a different form factor and a proprietary connector, a la Macbook Air. The new Air also changed the already proprietary connector from the 2011 models, rendering unusable the existing third party SSD upgrade options. Wondering if MacbookPro SSD connector are the same as the new Air's or not...


I'm still kind of scratching my head about the use of SATA given these custom connectors. It keeps driver development simple, but at a cost in performance.


Well, not only driver development but also controller development. SATA is a standard where you can go buy the standard components. The connector probably has the same data lanes as a SATA connector, just a different form factor. Most of the space saving come from not having an enclosure like harddrives do - something which only words with SSDs since they have no moving parts and are thus dust-resistant.


Yep, AnandTech did a review analyzing the SSD connector from the Air. Check it out: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5854/asus-zenbook-ssd-and-appl...


Thanks, that pretty much confirms what I've been writing. Same data lines, different connector layout. The comparison makes for an interesting read.


Most SSD <-> SATA interfaces are themselves essentially a bridge. You could instead directly wire in to the SSD's interface. It helps in a number of ways, as the SATA protocol was really not designed with SSD's in mind. Under the covers, SSD's are kind of this weird hybrid of RAM and storage devices.


Well, I won't buy a system that isn't upgradeable. Developers have needs that scale faster than a consumer, and if I can't upgrade my RAM ... forget it.

Though with 8GB RAM and an SSD, the CPU has suddenly become my slow-point.


I saw the DRAM chips in the WWDC keynote video and my first thought was, "Oh boy, the hackers are going to have an aneurism when they see this." I don't find it all that surprising.

Apple has been slowly migrating all of their devices in the direction of appliances. The mass market doesn't upgrade the device, they replace it. That is where Apple is headed: the mass market.

It's hard to argue that they're wrong when they're selling so many units as everyone else is in decline.


Good info and glad that I have not ordered yet! At the time I was thinking of buying the base model and upgrading the RAM after the fact.


> It stands to reason, when they do similar on the iOS products – the iPhone, iPad and iPod’s all have fixed storage and no way of using SD card’s, USB stick’s or change the battery like on competitors products, but RAM has always been upgradable.

It's also soldered on the Air, unsurprising that they'd do the same on a small-factor MBP.


If this is the case, that is the same reason why I never bought HP machines since opening one up in the 90's and seeing how someone had soldered the ram to the motherboard. That server test machine went back and I never bought anything from them, and now that short list has one more brand in it.

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