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Data Storage Portables (Apple) Desktops (Apple) Apple Hardware Technology

Apple's New 15-Inch MacBook Pros Have Storage Soldered To the Logic Board (macrumors.com) 478

yoink! writes: The integration loop is complete. Apple's, admittedly very fast, PCIe storage modules are now built right into the main boards of their 15-inch, Touch Bar-equipped, Retina-screened, Thunderbolt 3-ported, MacBook Pros. A few forum posts over at MacRumors reveal the skinny on the quiet removal of the last user-upgradable component of their professional-series laptops. From the report: "MacRumors reader Jesse D. unscrewed the bottom lid on his new 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar and discovered, unlike the 13-inch model sans Touch Bar, there is no cutout in the logic board for removable flash storage. Another reader said the 13-inch model with a Touch Bar also has a non-removable SSD. Given the SSD appears to be permanently soldered to the logic board, users will be unable to upgrade the Touch Bar MacBook Pro's flash storage beyond Apple's 512GB to 2TB built-to-order options on its website at the time of purchase. In other words, the amount of flash storage you choose will be permanent for the life of the notebook."
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Apple's New 15-Inch MacBook Pros Have Storage Soldered To the Logic Board

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  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @07:48PM (#53293225) Homepage

    The next step is soldering the human brain to the board.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @07:50PM (#53293245)

      blacklisted from secure environments now

    • oh goody! (Score:5, Funny)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @07:54PM (#53293281) Homepage Journal

      ...the storage is set for the lifetime of the notebook... and the lifetime of the notebook is set by the longevity of the storage.

      Way to go, Apple.

      Buy now, while still DRUNK!

      • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:30PM (#53293511)

        No problem... you can read their new $300 book while you wait for your programs to load.

      • I'd like to see what the actual intended lifetime is of Apple products, by design. By observation, they seem to expect most of them to be replaced within 24 months or less, and the designs seem to intentionally self-destruct shortly thereafter.

        • Re:oh goody! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @10:14PM (#53294053)

          They generally last a long time with some exceptions. They've made the occasional model that had something or other that died unexpectedly and often. Given the silly prices they charge I highly recommend an applecare purchase. The oldest mac I have in use at the moment is my wife's late 2008 macbook. I upgraded the hard drive to an SSD and the memory to 8GB. I just bought a perfect condition 2012 15" Macbook Pro to replace my 2011 13" Macbook Pro. I got a good deal on the 2012 as the 2011 works fine. Nice upgrade to i7 and Nvidia graphics it's really a great computer. Too bad they decided to quit making nice stuff. I'm not buying a computer I can't change the HD and Ram on. The funny thing is the computer I use for almost all online stuff is an old Dell E6500 with a core2duo 2.8ghz and 4GB of ram and Nvidia graphics that runs Peppermint Linux 7. I picked it up after a guy tried to install windows 8 on it and gave up and sold it to me for 50 bucks. It's got the best keyboard of any laptop I've ever owned.

        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

          Will be interesting to see how consumer law treats this...
          In the UK, the law says anything you buy must last a reasonable length of time up to 6 years under normal use of such a product.

          I have many laptops which are more than 6 years old and still working, so it's perfectly reasonable to expect a laptop to last that long.
          On some of these laptops the hard drives and/or batteries have been replaced.

          If Apple are selling one with a non replaceable component which is prone to wearing out in less than 6 years the

    • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:10PM (#53293385)
      Buy or don't buy. There is no upgrade.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        Buy or don't buy. There is no upgrade.

        When I bought my last laptop a few years ago, I made sure to get one with plenty of upgrade potential -- extra drive bay, memory slot, etc. Since then, I've upgraded it exactly zero times, and still see no need to upgrade it.

        I used to feel the same about buying a phone without a replaceable battery or SD card slot.... then I bought my first Nexus with neither.... I've been very happy with my choice and haven't missed the upgradability.

        I'd imagine that a lot of people are like me -- they like the idea of hav

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          There are a lot of people who lease cars, too. Easy - just exchange it every few years, but at a price because they're making more even more money from you.

          Be sure to buy the maintenance, too, because otherwise buying a new one makes more sense than getting it fixed.

          Myself, I'm more likely to buy a basic laptop with a minimal HDD, then upgrade it to SSD, ending up with more for less than the manufacturer offers. Same for RAM.
        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          I've never bought a computer that I didn't upgrade. I've maxed Ram and HD on countless ones. I had an iBook G4 that I opened 3 times to upgrade stuff and it was torture to open that case. The HD though is a serious matter. I've had one computer logic board die on me with a hard drive full of stuff. A lot of it not backed up so I just pulled the HD and installed it in an external case. No problem. If you buy one of these new models you'd better be religious about backing up the system.

      • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Informative)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @09:14PM (#53293785) Homepage Journal

        Don't buy. "Pro", my ass.

        To audio pros, the single most important feature in a pro laptop is knowing that when the logic board s**ts itself, you can take the thing in for repair, and you'll get back a machine that still has all your software on it. Without that, you get to experience the joy of spending several weeks on the phone with a hundred different software vendors trying to convince them to give you another device activation because your old machine no longer exists and you can't deactivate the existing installation.

        The other design screw-ups in the new "Pro" were obnoxious, but survivable. This one, however, represents a level of epic fail that is simply beyond acceptable. When you've had a long string of GPU-related logic board failures like Apple has experienced lately, soldering the non-volatile storage to the main logic board is just too incompetent for words.

        This is a show-stopper. This is not a pro machine. It is a disposable toy.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You're missing the point here. It's almost 2mm thinner than it's predecessor. Now if that ain't worth a couple of days on the phone ...

    • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:59PM (#53293681)

      Upgrades are for frugal customers, Apple doesn't want any.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's not just upgrades. What happens when some other part of the computer dies and you need to get your data off? Unless you have a suitable spare machine to plug the logic board into, you are screwed.

        I suppose the official solution is to buy an external HDD for backup or rely on iCloud, but that doesn't really work for a lot of people, e.g. those who travel a lot or have a slow internet connection.

    • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Informative)

      by chrism238 ( 657741 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @09:42PM (#53293929)
      The next step will be to solder your credit card directly to the ApplePay reader.
    • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by catchblue22 ( 1004569 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @11:14PM (#53294281) Homepage

      I bought a Macbook Pro in 2007, and I'm using a Macbook Air right now. Apple's actions are really beginning to piss me off. The company is being run by a bean counter and it shows. Greedy greedy greedy. Gluing their batteries in. Soldering the SSD. I asked a student to save a document to Google Drive and then upload it from an iPad to my website. Apparently you can't upload files from Google Drive to a website on an iPad. Seriously. They just want you to use effing iCloud Drive. I get insult after insult from Apple when I want to do things my way. I want to set the battery warning percentage so that it is 20%, so that I don't kill my battery. Nope. No option to do that. So I end up running my battery down to 1% far too many times (which is exactly what they want). I want to change the colour profile on my wife's iPhone 5 to get some sort of a yellow coloured night mode. Nope. You can do it on an iPhone 6, but not on an iPhone 5. That is a bloody fake restriction, and it just pisses me off. I want control of my devices. I shouldn't have to jailbreak my device.

      I used to be an Apple fanboy. They made damn good laptops. They sold excellent software...FCP was bloody awesome. If I'm going to pay a 30% or more premium for my laptop, I expect the freedom to control and upgrade my device. I did exactly that with my Macbook Pro. New batteries, new HD, memory upgraded to the maximum. Even with my Macbook Air, I have gotten around their stupid storage restrictions with a 128GB low profile USB drive and a 200GB flush mount microSD adapter. Now there is no SD slot. Now they expect me to pay their premium and get a locked in device. Well fuck you Apple!

  • How are you supposed to wipe the SSD before you sell it?

  • by Calibax ( 151875 ) * on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @07:51PM (#53293253)

    Steve Jobs always wanted Macs to be appliances that the user could not tinker with or modify. Now they have made it for him.

    Unfortunately, systems designed that way don't reflect my needs at all.

    • Steve Jobs always wanted Macs to be appliances that the user could not tinker with or modify. Now they have made it for him.

      How does this reflect on their mojo? Surely by meeting Jobs' ambitions they've attained maximum mojo-level?

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:21PM (#53293445)

      Steve Jobs always wanted Macs to be appliances that the user could not tinker with or modify.

      That's how my wife treats her MBP. Every few years she starts complaining about it running too slow or the disk is full. So I buy her a new one, which is okay with me because it is still cheaper than jewelry or a vacation in Paris.

      She just got a new 15", and she loves it, especially the new task bar (which has color!). Hopefully, Apple won't upgrade it again for a while.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Isn't a MacBook pro $2400-$2800???? You can do a Paris vacation on that. That is insane to spend that much money on a laptop in 2017.
        • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:35PM (#53293551) Homepage Journal

          Isn't a MacBook pro $2400-$2800???? You can do a Paris vacation on that. That is insane to spend that much money on a laptop in 2017.

          As a microcosm of the world, Slashdot is peopled by two kinds of people; those who are poor and/or getting poorer, and those who are rich and getting richer. If you haven't noticed that there's a fair few people on Slashdot with quite a bit of disposable income, you must be new here. Not coincidentally, there's quite a few Trump supporters. (Trump supporters' median income is more than $10k higher than Sanders or Clinton supporters'... Not just the average mind you, the median)

        • Isn't a MacBook pro $2400-$2800???? You can do a Paris vacation on that. That is insane to spend that much money on a laptop in 2017.

          Demand sets the price.

          The insanity is represented in the hordes of diehard iFans lining up to pay that damn much for a laptop in 2017.

          If you want to rant at someone, try any Apple store on release day.

      • If you need hints how to make inexpensive vacation in Paris ... just ask :D
        I guess your wife would deserve it :D

  • is to introduce an "enthusiast" version that lets you update and swap out parts.

    At a premium, of course. An even higher premium than is already being charged.

    In short, you are nothing but a walking wallet to Apple.

    • Buy your own mac building kit! Only $10K! Some assembly required.
    • At a premium, of course. An even higher premium than is already being charged.

      Once upon a time, that was the pro line. Now, the pro line is soldered. Are they gonna have a "pro pro" line or what? I'm not against hardware like this existing, but it's kind of inexplicable not to offer a real machine.

  • Personally I'd recommend having one PCB for everything instead of dividing the PCBs into separate logic (FPGA) and CPU circuit boards.
    But Apple can do what they want.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @07:59PM (#53293311)

    What about when the SSD craps out? Then it's back to Apple, (or at least to a third-party shop), for an undoubtedly expensive repair job. Great! More stuff that the user has no hope of repairing on his or her own, and more non-renewable materials prematurely tossed into landfill. Tell me again - why in hell would I want a new Apple laptop?

    • Everyone who depends on making iOS apps has to hold their nose and dive in.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mlyle ( 148697 )

      A high quality integrated SSD probably has a MTBF approaching that of the connectors to a separate SSD over the useful life of a laptop.

    • What about when the SSD craps out? Then it's back to Apple, (or at least to a third-party shop), for an undoubtedly expensive repair job.

      Dunno, what about it? Maybe like the time the hinge on my 1stGen MBA broke – out of warrantee – and Apple's charge to fix it was... wait for it... nothing. Or the time my son's 2008 MBPro graphics card died – also out of warrantee – and Apple's charge to repair that... wait for it... also nothing.
      But you know, you've already made up your mind, so hate on.

    • What about when the SSD craps out? Then it's back to Apple, (or at least to a third-party shop), for an undoubtedly expensive repair job. Great! More stuff that the user has no hope of repairing on his or her own, and more non-renewable materials prematurely tossed into landfill. Tell me again - why in hell would I want a new Apple laptop?

      I'll claim the repair on my home insurance policy which covers my laptop among other things. Having said that I have yet to have an Apple SSD crap out on me or for that matter the SSD chips on any mobile device I own. What's normally crapped out on my mobile devices every single time so far was the charging circuit when I was dumb enough to plug the device into a USB socket or cigarette lighter socket on a motorcar and on the Laptops it was usually the battery when it neared the end of its lifespan. As to w

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        What's the excess on your home insurance claims? Is it really less than the cost of a new SSD+installation?

    • What about when the SSD craps out?

      How often does that happen?

      Then it's back to Apple, (or at least to a third-party shop), for an undoubtedly expensive repair job.

      Or you could, you know, learn to use a soldering iron.

      Tell me again - why in hell would I want a new Apple laptop?

      Somehow, I doubt if you were going to buy one anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      by the time the drive dies, it won't be worth repairing anyways. I'm on year 6 booting from an SSD with no signs of impending failure.
  • This is a clip of an Apple representative explaining the changes to the MacBook Pro value proposition.

    https://youtu.be/jsW9MlYu31g [youtu.be]

    Hmm... persuasive, but I'm still not planning to buy the new MacBook Pro.

  • SSD wear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:18PM (#53293427)
    SSD wear may be a problem. Once it dies, you now change the laptop.
    • The problem here is that some organizations have a security policy where hard drives are not allowed to leave the property. That means they can't purchase these laptops since the SSD is soldered to the board.
      • Re:SSD wear (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Fwipp ( 1473271 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:40PM (#53293585)

        Somehow, I doubt that they were disassembling all their old MacBooks to remove the SSD before going home every night.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        This. What happens is a company like this decides that they don't need the computer anymore because they have upgraded to something newer, and they would have donated their old one to a school.... except they can't now, because the ssd is fucking soldered to the motherboard.
        • This. What happens is a company like this decides that they don't need the computer anymore because they have upgraded to something newer, and they would have donated their old one to a school.... except they can't now, because the ssd is fucking soldered to the motherboard.

          Then change your security policy to adopt one of the many tools available that effectively wipes the hard drive with multiple passes.

          If forensic wiping tools are good enough for Hillary's classified email, they should be good enough for a fucking school donation.

        • Oh, they'll just move everything to the cloud, and then not worry about anything!!!
    • by m0hawk ( 3030287 )

      Assuming that Apple has installed a moderately well produced SSD, shouldn't it outlast the rest of the laptop?

      Not saying that soldering it in was a good idea, but it is hardly the component to die first. If it were a spinning metal drive, then yes, that would be stupid as it would probably fail first.

      Just another way for third party repairs and self upgrades can be limited. I used to think the Apple "throw it away and get a new model next year" jokes were just jokes.

    • I think you've discovered their evil plot.

    • *feature
  • This is to kill the secondary market now that a 5 year old laptop has a cpu that is just fine. If it wasn't to kill the secondary market and the flash was really amazing and isn't going to fail ever they'd show a 5 year warranty.

    We all know they won't do that, they'll actually charge you extra to get any useful warranty. But yeah, I dislike apple and won't buy their crap after paying thousands for a macbook pro that they shipped with faulty nvidia hardware and didn't recall. Apple are just a horrible comp

    • This is 100% correct. Apple knows Moore's Law is ending and the upgrade train is over. There will be no reason in 5 years to update the laptop you are using today....because there won't be any appreciable differences in speed.
    • My MacBook Pro came with the AMD GPU with improperly applied heatsink paste... lasted for about 25 months before degenerating into a machine that would have no graphics display after coming up to temperature.

  • enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@DEBIANhotmail.com minus distro> on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:32PM (#53293531)
    This change is more inexcusable than other modifications / removals of user-serviceability that they did in the name of thinness or performance. This mod signals to me their trying to fully capture / enforce price segmentation and making sure that products will expire and be retired more predictably.

    (and even if maybe not their outright explicit thinking, surely a benefit that they welcomed tacitly. And trading off user-friendliness and serviceability for profit. )

    I was already unhappy with the newer Macbooks having non-swappable RAM. I stuck with the old 2010-style Macbook Pros that you could remove everything pretty much and keep it up to date with larger, faster SSDs, etc.

    This on top of USB-C and the all-at-once crappifying of this model means I'm out.
    • No, removal of the headphone jack is still more in-your-face than this, but they are all signs of a trend...

  • Much like a toaster. It's a pity, I used to really admire Apple hardware, even if the UI experience wasn't my preference.

  • by grumpy-cowboy ( 4342983 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @09:41PM (#53293919)

    So when your SSD (or any other soldered parts) broke off, you have to throw the laptop in the garbage?? (e-waste recycling is just an illusion... everything is sent to Hong-Kong and sent to the trash). And what about extending the life of your laptop by upgrading some parts of it? Apple is the biggest e-waste producer on the planet. It's a shame! And all those Hipster defending the planet with their iPhone in their pockets!

  • OP is an idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ahabswhale ( 1189519 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2016 @12:06AM (#53294419)

    ALL 15" MBPs come with 16 GB of RAM. The device can only take LPDDR3, and Skylake only allows a max of 16 GB for LPDDR3, so you couldn't upgrade it even if Apple gave you a fucking button you could push to eject/insert the RAM out of the side of the machine.

  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2016 @01:10AM (#53294613) Homepage Journal

    This is behavior I expect of rock-bottom-price Chromebook vendors, not a MacBook Pro. This is also why never Chromebooks are unappealing to me -- soldered RAM is one thing (SODIMMs are big), but they can't even make room for a NGFF 2242 SSD? Not interested. I'd rather Hackintosh an i3 Acer C720, at least I can put any drive I want in there.

  • Get a frigging case (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2016 @01:38AM (#53294675)

    Something that snaps to the bottom of the laptops and adds extra battery, storage and a boatload of ports. Then when you need ultimate portability take the laptop out and live without movies or whatever you were storing on the extra hard drive for a little while. People are overthinking such things, solutions have been there forever for smartphones.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2016 @11:09AM (#53296625) Homepage Journal

    So when your mobo goes out, you have essentially zero chance of recovering your data without risking de-soldering your shit from the board and damaging it in the process.

    This is why removable storage is important.

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