Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro not upgradeable to Core 2 Duo (but iMac and Mac mini are)

“A lot of people wanted to see a new MacBook Pro based on Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor (code-name “Merom”) at WWDC, but as I’ve said here before, it’s just too soon. The MacBook Pro (15-inch) was announced less than five months ago – on February 14th and Apple doesn’t want to make all their new MBP customers obsolete with a chip upgrade that soon. Not to mention the existing inventory of MBPs they’d be sacrificing,” Jason O’Grady blogs for ZDNet.

“…Although Merom is pin-compatible with Yonah you need a socket interface in order to upgrade to Merom. Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro have Ball Grid Array (BGA) interfaces so upgrading them to Merom is out of the question – unless you really like to solder,” O’Grady writes. AnandTech explains, “If you’ve got a Core Duo notebook with a PGA Socket-M interface, all you should need is a BIOS update and a Core 2 Duo CPU to upgrade your notebook. If you’ve got a BGA CPU, then you’re unfortunately out of luck as desoldering 479 balls from your motherboard without damaging it isn’t for the faint of heart.”

O’Grady writes, “One consolation is that the iMac and Mac mini have socketed interfaces making Merom upgrades possible – but doing so will void your warranty.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Intel Core 2 Duo vs. Core Duo – August 05, 2006
Apple chose well: Anandtech – Intel Core 2 Duo ‘the fastest desktop processor we’ve ever tested’ – July 14, 2006
PC Mag: ‘Top Ten’ list of things to know about Intel’s new Core 2 Duo processors – July 07, 2006
Apple Mac Mini brain replaced with 2.16GHz Intel ‘Merom’ Core 2 Duo and benchmarked – June 09, 2006


  1. Yeah, you need some serious equipment to perform a ball grid array replacement. If you want a Core 2 Duo MBP, better wait for the next rev.


    Perhaps not a lot of people care about it, but the ultimate implication is this: MacBook Pro owners are not only unable to upgrade to Core 2 Duo, but they are not able to upgrade processor speed at all. Obviously this is not uncommon for notebooks, but some folks were probably wondering.

  2. Thorin, point taken, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no point in O’Grady whining about yet another thing he can’t do, when only a miniscule percentage of people every upgrade the processors on their notebooks.

    It’s far more cost effective and practical to replace the slowest part of the system (the hard drive) with a much faster unit. Upping the RAM works wonders on overall performance, too.

    It just seems this is just more useless bleating from Jason O’Grady about CPU replacements. For one, I didn’t see Apple advertising any of the MacBooks as “processor upgradeable,” so why should anyone be upset that, surprise surprise, it is difficult if not impossible to upgrade the processor later?

  3. Just for those who do not know.
    BGA is Ball Grid Array. Is refers to ICs that have little pads under the chip body. You put a little ball of solder on the chip and then some flux on the circuit board. When you put them together (very carefully) you then move them into an IR oven. The flux heats, the solder melts and flows onto the circuit board. Hopefully. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> To replace one, you have to remelt the solder on all the pads UNDER the chip body, pull it up and clean all the pads, and then try again.

    There really is NO repair outside of a PC build facility. Inspection of the solder joints is by X-ray machine.

    Just an FYI

  4. Exactly how many balls do you have Jimbo? Hopefully not 479!

    The next generation of the MacBookPro will probably be very sweet. Maybe they’ll announce it at MWSF. Only 5 months to go! Otherwise they could release in Oct for the xmas period.

    That will be my next Mac purchase. I’m done with desktop computers.

  5. Norm e,

    Good description. yes, the solder balls are actually created by placing a stencil on the bottom of the device and washing the solder across. i fear, however, that you may have exaggerated the facility requirements. About $10,000 of equipment will get you there! /sarcasm

    In the mid – late 90’s, I used to hand solder PPC 601 chips (304 pin quad flat pack), but when bga came aroung things got more complicated.

  6. Thorin, you are a hardware guy. You used to hand solder those old PPC 601 chips. I’m a software guy. I remember when we used to program by setting the bits one-by-one on the disk with tweezers and a magnifying glass. Boy those were the days…. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Seriously, my first programming assignment was using the old DEC-10 and a bunch of punch cards. To say that things have come a long way since then would be an understatement!

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