iFixit teardown of Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro reveals Thunderbolt, other details

“We got our hands on Apple’s newest MacBook Pro 15″ on February 24, 2011. This is Apple’s first laptop to sport a quad-core processor, and also adds a brand-new I/O technology with a Thunderbolt port,” iFixit reports.

“Thunderbolt claims to provide 10 Gbps throughput for both input and output,” iFixit reports. “It appears that both PCI Express and DisplayPort receive their own 10 Gbps data channel. That’s nice, as you don’t want your display competing with your external hard drive for bandwidth.”

“You can chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. That’s not a problem today as we’re not even aware of six products that support Thunderbolt yet,” iFixit reports. “If the connection becomes widespread, the six device limit might be a problem for some people.
In comparison, FireWire supports 63 devices and USB supports up to 127 devices.”

MacDailyNews Note: An active electrical-only (copper) Thunderbolt cable provides for connections of up to 3 meters in length, and provides for up to 10W of power deliverable to a bus-powered device. An active optical cable provides for “tens of meters,” according to Intel.

iFixit continues, “Unibody design allows for easy access of most components with minimal amounts of extra work needed to get to them.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. And again we are reminded of Apple’s unique and exclusive ability to laser carve Unibody enclosures, which an able unique design and manufacturing possibilities.

    Innovation and balls- Apple

  2. You can see why HP’s laptops are tanking. I read that that Motorola’s tablet has a hard drive in it. (No comment on the battery life.) Is the box makers motto, if it is in stock find a way to put it in the box and ship it.

    What would the iKiller do if Apple puts the Thunderbolt port on the next iPad2? Again, so far behind the curve. Years! Again, Apple leads and the others follow (while they can).

  3. The entire unibody is not “laser carved” only certain sections of it are. The majority is CNC machined with various milling machines and processes. Fine details are laser carved – like the pinpoint openings for the speakers to each side of the keyboard.

    Lasers are not the ideal choices for many metal working environments because they introduce heat which can distort and discolor metals. Water jets are often chosen as an alternative in some cases. But plain old milling (using a huge machine with precision cutting devices) often with CNC (computer numeric control) capabilities does the grunt work. Modern CNC machining is very sophisticated.

    1. Apple’s cnc process is unique and exclusive to Apple, in any event and enables 1 aluminum block to be 100% efficiently utilized ( 0 waste of material and space) yeilding maximum strength and form integrity and design.

    2. I applaud you for your CNC machining knowledge. Absolutely right of course. I might add that they introduce water jets into the milling process where the milling head meets the metal to duct away excess heat that can potentially warp metal. In fact when you work with metal, heat build up is inevitable due to the cutting process but it’s how you wick it away taken together with the level of precision needed that determines the cutting head be it laser, water jet or a lathe.

  4. I’m surprised they didn’t say there was $20 worth of aluminum, $100 worth of screen, $300 worth of chips, $150 worth of motherboard and $85 worth of ports, ROM, RAM and storage.

    Then bitch about the killer Apple mark-up.

    1. Right, because all those tablets based on a desktop OS have done so well in the past.

      Apple chose iOS as the OS for the iPad for a reason.

      Mac OS would have needed a major reskin and UI work-over before it could be used on a touchscreen tablet without a stylus. All the applications would need the same treatment. Hey, guess what iOS is, it’s basically Mac OS X optimized for touch, with an app store to match.

      Yes, there are some capabilities missing from the iPad that you have on the mac, some of which will get added over the next few iterations, and some of which will not because they don’t mesh with the tablet form factor.

      1. I agree with you mostly
        a windowing system on the iphone would suck (screen too small)
        and throwing snow leopard on the ipad wold suck (not optimized for multi touch

        lion /is/ optimized for multitouch (with a few more gestures it would probably be perfect)

        most applications are
        1 abstracted
        2 don’t require a right mouse button or even one simulated with ctrl
        3 don’t tend to use tool tips

        also, I don’t know if you know this but, MacOS /does/ have an app store

        so I think the ipad would be very nice running either a small version of lion (ie ios like multitasking, only runs signed application “files” but still has applescript and finder and document oriented applications like text edit), or ios with applescript and a windowing system. (both are pretty much the same)

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