New MacBook Teardown Reveals No Major Internal Changes; RAM and CPU Still Soldered

Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference refreshed the iMac lineup with faster Intel chips and updated internal architecture. Good folks over at iFixit have now taken Apple’s new $1,299 21.5-inch iMac model that has a 4K Retina display, discovering something really interesting.

The machine features both removable RAM (via a pair of removable SO-DIMM slots) and Intel’s Kaby Lake processor that—surprisingly—sits in a standard LGA 1151 CPU socket rather than being soldered onto the logic board.

Like last year’s MacBook though, Apple has used Torx and Phillips screws inside the new MacBook which does make the job of opening it easier. However, with everything being soldered on the logic board and copious amounts of glue holding the battery assembly to the lower chassis, there is not much that can be repaired or replaced on this laptop. So unsurprisingly, the 2017 MacBook only gets a repairability score of 1 out of 10 from iFixit.

The stock configuration they tore apart had Intel’s SR32W Core i5-7400 Kaby Lake chip, 8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, a Radeon Pro 555 graphics card with 2GB of VRAM and a 1TB 5400-RPM hard drive.

According to iFixit:
Our teardown confirms that the new 21.5-inch iMac with 4K display has both removable RAM and a modular CPU. Of course, Apple would say neither is user-replaceable. Accessing and replacing these components isn’t exactly easy, but we’re saying it’s possible. Maybe even probable.
A tinker-happy user (armed with the right tools and guide) could at least double the base 8 GB of memory, turning their new iMac with Retina Display into an iMac Semi-Pro.
Other teardown highlights:
  • A warranty void sticker on the heat sink discourages users from removing the modular CPU underneath.
  • The Retina display is manufactured by LG Display.
  • There’s a single microphone below the display vs. dual microphones on previous models
  • CMOS battery is replaceable
  • A built-in 3.5-inch SATA hard drive is upgradeable
  • There’s no SSD connector on the board
 Similar to the 2017 MacBook, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro also got a repairability score of 1 from iFixit.

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