Teardowns of M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro reveal familiar internals

iFixit have completed teardowns of Apple’s new M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro, discovering that not much has changed in their designs beyond the new M1 chip.

Left: MacBook Air, Early 2020. Right: The fanless new MacBook Air.
Left: MacBook Air, Early 2020. Right: The fanless new MacBook Air. (Photo: iFixit)

Sam Goldheart for iFixit:

While Apple touts its M1-powered Macs as nothing short of a revolution, internally, they could hardly be any more similar to their predecessors. The new 13” MacBook Pro looks so familiar inside, we had to double-check that we didn’t accidentally purchase the old model. Meanwhile, the new MacBook Air’s biggest move was to… eliminate the fan.

Apple nixed the fan in favor of a simple aluminum heat spreader hanging off the left edge of the logic board… If this new thermal arrangement is truly enough to meet the M1’s needs—and early reviews indicate that for most workloads, it is—it means less maintenance and one less point of mechanical failure. Will anyone actually miss having to open their laptop to de-gunk or replace a dusty old fan? Maybe somebody will. Maybe even us. But let’s be real: the best repair is the one you never have to make in the first place… There are no moving parts, and nothing to break.

Left: MacBook Pro 13″ (Intel). Right: MacBook Pro 13″ with Apple M1
Left: MacBook Pro 13″ (Intel). Right: MacBook Pro 13″ with Apple M1. (Photo: iFixit)

The MacBook Pro sees even fewer internal changes than the Air… The M1 MacBook Pro’s cooling setup is very similar to that of its Intel-based ancestors: nothing fancy, just a copper pipe carrying heat away from the processor toward a small heatsink, where the hot air is promptly shown the door grille by the fan.

Speaking of the fan, there has been some light speculation that these new machines run so impossibly quiet even under heavy load, they might be concealing some nigh-magical new cooling tech. It turns out, not so much: our M1 MacBook Pro’s single fan is identical to the fan in the two-port Intel MacBook Pro 2020 we picked up earlier this year. Not similar — identical.

In other words, what you’re not hearing there is the sound of an aggressive fan curve. This thing likely never spins at more than a fraction of its upper limit. Remember, this same M1 chip performs well in the fanless MacBook Air, so this fan likely doesn’t have all that much to do even under extended load. The M1 is, apparently, just that good.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, the M1 certainly is just that good; winning raves from everyone not named Intel. Check out all of the gory details in iFixit’s teardowns of Apple’s new M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro here.

2 Comments

  1. Would it have killed Apple to incorporate Face ID into their premiere Apple Silicon MacBooks? A screaming fast processor with an antiquated unlocking method, they may as well have included a physical key to turn it on.

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