iFixIt Tears Down MacBook Air 13″ Mid 2013, AirPort Extreme A1521, and Apple Time Capsule (mini!)

MacBook Air 13″ Mid 2013 Teardown

iFixit Chief Information Architect Miroslav Djuric writes:

If they build it, we will come and disassemble it. And that’s exactly what we did with the 13″ MacBook Air that Apple announced at WWDC on Monday.

The most striking thing about the updated 13″ Air is the lack of major internal revisions. In fact, the newest Air generation is almost identical to the previous one, save for a handful of minor changes: a smaller SSD module, an updated AirPort card, a Samsung flash controller, and a new heat sink clamp.

The Air’s repairability didn’t undergo any dramatic changes, either. Like the previous generation, the 13″ MacBook Air clocked in at a 4 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

You can watch a video overview of the teardown at:

Teardown highlights:

Externally, the 2013 MacBook Air is nearly identical to its predecessor, including the model number (A1466). There is only one noticeable change to the outer case: two ports for the dual microphones along the left side.

We played “spot the differences” between the 2012 and 2013 MacBook Airs, and nitpicked a few design changes:
• Smaller SSD module
• Updated AirPort card
• No separate platform controller hub
• New heat sink clamp
• Opposite-facing speaker cable connector

The 7.6 V, 7150 mAh battery inside this year’s Air is an upgrade from the 2012’s 7.3 V, 6700 mAh power source and contributes to the claimed 12-hour battery life.

To get “up to 45% faster” flash storage than previous models, Apple switched from SATA to PCI-E and turned to its best pal in the industry – Samsung – to get it manufactured. Here’s what ol’ Sammy contributes to the Air’s SSD:
• Samsung S4LN053X01-8030 (ARM) flash controller
• 8 x Samsung K9LDGY8SIC-XCK0 16 GB flash storage
• Samsung K4P2G324ED-FGC2 512 MB RAM (on the SSD!)

At the heart of the redesigned AirPort card we find a Broadcom BCM4360, which enables operation on the 5 GHz band at speeds up to 1.3 Gbps and communication via Bluetooth 4.0.

Integrated circuit findings:
• Fourth generation Intel Core i5 processor, with integrated Intel HD 5000 Graphics
• Intel Z246TA38 Thunderbolt controller
• Linear Technology LT3957 inverting controller
• 4 x Elpida F8132A1MC DDR3L RAM, total of 4 GB
• Broadcom BCM15700A2
• Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 4 Gb synchronous DRAM
• MXIC MX25L6406E 64 Mb serial flash
• Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck controller

Miroslav Djuric
Chief Information Architect

For the full, illustrated teardown report, visit:

iFixIt AirPort Extreme A1521 Teardown

iFixit’s Julia reports:

Our teardown artists kept the midnight oil aburning to take apart the AirPort Extreme – Apple’s first ever 802.11ac wireless base station.

And, we’ll tell you this for free: the AirPort Extreme totally lives up to its name. Its extremely tall and extremely easy to disassemble. This little tower of power pops right open with a couple twists of the metal spudger, and we didnt encounter more than just a dab of glue inside the device. Modular components make the rest of the disassembly process a breeze, earning the AirPort Extreme an extremely solid 8 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

The AirPort Extreme completely outclassed its freshly-torn-doen Apple relation, the new MacBook Air 13, which scored a not-so-solid 4. In fact, the Extreme performed so well that it lands itself a spot alongside the two most repairable Apple products in recent history: the Apple TV and the Mac mini.

Teardown highlights:

• Our method of entry involves using a metal spudger to release the retaining clips holding the black base of the device. Its not a terribly difficult procedure, but injudicious pryers may damage the case a bit.

• Standard Torx screws are used throughout the device. We encountered T8 and T10 varieties – nothing fancy!

• Just like an earlier advancement in Mac mini technology, this new devices power supply moved inside, contributing to its extreme stature. A Delta Electronics 12V, 5A unit indirectly delivers your internets directly to your computer.

• We freed the top cover, only to find 3.5″ of empty space. While the AirPort Extreme doesn’t come equipped with storage, we dug up a standard 3.5 SATA hard drive, just to test it out. Perfecto! Except we cant find any connectors where we’d plug in the hard drive, only empty spaces on the logic board – so chances of DIY AirPort Extreme to Time Capsule upgrades are slim.

• The six antenna cables run under the hard drive slot, up the center of the device, and into a big plate at the top, which functions as the antenna. The updated 802.11ac Wi-Fi is designed to have multi-station WLAN throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and a single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s).

A closer look at the logic board reveals:
• Broadcom BCM53019 router SOC with gigabit switch
• Broadcom BCM4360KLMG
• Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 4 Gb synchronous DRAM
• Micron 25Q256A 32 MB serial flash
• Skyworks 5003L1 WLAN power amplifier
• Skyworks 2623L high power WLAN power amplifier
• TDK TLA-7T201HF (appear to be pulse transformers)

We made this sweet video to show off our new hidden feature, video steps in guides:

Now scoot on over to iFixit.com, and see the full teardown in action:


iFixIt Apple Time Capsule (mini!) Teardown

iFixit Chief Information Architect Miroslav Djuric writes:

I went to town on an AirPort Time Capsule by myself as a means of not making the other tech writers suffer any more than they have to. They’ve been working hard on yet another teardown; in the meantime, check out my AirPort Time Capsule (mini!) teardown.

Teardown highlights:

* Hey, it has a standard 3.5″ Seagate Barracuda SATA drive!

* Time Capsule repairability score: 8 out of 10, same as the Extreme. Nothing new here, since it’s basically the same device from a repairability standpoint.

* This is the port that the Time Capsule has, that the Extreme doesn’t:

This port allows the Time Capsule to have a hard drive plugged into it. Folks asked us if it’s feasible to make an Extreme into a Time Capsule. Theoretically, the answer is “Yes,” but we’re not sure why you’d go through the trouble the Seagate Barracuda drive is essentially the price difference between the Time Capsule and the Extreme.

Miroslav Djuric
Chief Information Architect

Check out the teardown at:

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