M3 (Pro) MacBook Pro Teardown: Repairability is 4/10

The repair professionals at iFixt took a look at the new M3 MacBook Pro and, in addition to the built-in hardware, also took a closer look at the new color “Space Black”. The rating for repairability is rather weak due to various invoices, it is a 4 out of 10. In addition, the entry with 8 GB of RAM was criticized because it is not sustainable and can put too much strain on the SSD storage during outsourced operations under high load . But one after anonther…

Image source: iFixit / YouTube
Image source: iFixit / YouTube

M3 MacBook Pro with just one fan

Apple repeatedly emphasizes the increasing efficiency of its Apple Silicon SoCs. With the new 3 nm models, the MacBook Pro in the M3 version now seems to be so economical that a single fan should be enough. A small side note from iFixit: there are currently no other PCs or laptops with 3nm chips of this type because Apple demands complete production from its supplier. Instead of the second fan, there is the extended logic board, which contains the SoC with the RAM.

The professionals at iFixit noticed a weak point in the battery connection, one of the first parts that have to be removed to disassemble the Apple laptop. A metal strip was used there for connection and fixation. You have to bend this slightly upwards in order to continue dismantling. If you bend too far or too often, the fragile component can break. A plug-in cable or something similar would have been better here. As with previous models, the battery is again held in place by adhesive strips that must be pulled out to remove it.

M3 (Pro) MacBook Pro with two SSD units

Like you in the one embedded above Video see, there are a few differences between the M3 and the M3 Pro model. In addition to the second fan, you will also find another Thunderbolt port on the M3 Pro device. The video also discusses different sensors for both models. For example, the one that measures the angle of the laptop display, for example to control the switching on and off of the display or the entire device. If you replace the sensor or the entire display, there will be fractal errors on the display. Apple only wants to see verified repairs here or those with their own repair kit.

It is also interesting that two SSD units were installed in the laptops. There were MacBook Pros with 512 GB of memory, which means that the two memory chips can each hold 256 GB. The division was seen as positive because it prevented bottlenecks when reading and writing data. However, the memory chips are soldered to the logic board. This means that an exchange is not (that easy) possible. If the memory fails, you're left with a pretty unusable computer that can be quite expensive to repair. It is also not possible to upgrade the memory yourself, like on a PC.

Image source: iFixit / YouTube
Image source: iFixit / YouTube

8GB of RAM should no longer be the standard

If you buy a new Mac, you should configure it with at least 16 GB of RAM. Because the 8 GB, which is currently the minimum, is not really sustainable. In addition, they are quickly used up due to the current macOS versions and their features as well as when using demanding apps. More storage is then obtained from the SSD, which ages more quickly due to the fast read and write operations. In the iFixit test, the “Dynamic Cache“ from Apple that does not make 8 GB fully usable. Upgrading the RAM is not possible (that easily) after purchase.

How Apple realized the new color “Space Black”.

If you have the new MacBook Pro in “Space Black” in front of you, then the casing color should be described as dark gray. Nevertheless, the color is significantly darker than the “space gray” of the predecessors and the M3 model. Apple is said to have achieved the new color not only by adding a dye to the anodizing process (the anodization of the aluminum alloy). The surface structure is also said to have been sanded down afterwards so that the light is not so strongly scattered but rather absorbed - resulting in a darker surface.

Image source: iFixit / YouTube
Image source: iFixit / YouTube

Other iFixit sources on the topic

In addition to the video embedded above, you can also find some information on the topic on the iFixit website. The problem of repairing your display yourself is discussed, for example, in the article “Replacing the display on an M2 MacBook Pro? – quite a nightmare“, which already looks at the problem with the previous model. An explanation of the new “Space Black” color scheme, accompanied by graphics and diagrams, can be found in “How Apple Made the Space Black MacBook Pro Darker Than Ever“And the breakdown of the chips and components on the logic board of the new MacBook Pros will be available at some point with this link (Article not yet online).

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.