While the new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar haven’t yet hit the streets, the new entry-level Touch Bar-less 13-inch base model MacBook Pro is readily available, making it the perfect candidate for a teardown. OWC, they of the Mac upgrade offerings, have torn the new laptop apart, and found the new MacBook offers a removable SSD, making it a perfect candidate for an SSD upgrade. Now, where, or where, could we purchase one of those?
Some noteworthy observations from the teardown:
- Solid State Drive module is removable
- Bottom was more difficult to remove than previous generations, but it was not glued
- Speaker module needs to be removed to pull SSD back
- SSD had very strong tape covering the interface port
- Laptop automatically turns on when you open it regardless of pressing power button
- CPU – Intel 6th gen, Skylake i5-6360U
- Memory – This machine uses DDR3 vs DDR4 in the machines with Touch Bar.
- Keyboard – Keys seem to have a bit more throw then the MacBook.
- SSD – Using NVMe driver and an Apple designed controller. (See benchmarks below).
While previous MacBook Pro models have also featured a removable SSD, (We removed the one in our 2015 MacBook Pro to replace it with an OWC upgrade, you can read about it here), The more recent 12-inch MacBook has a SSD that is soldered to the logic board, making a third-party upgrade all but impossible. In light of that, the discovery of a removable SSD in the new MacBook Pros is a pleasant surprise. (The removal of the SSD begins around the 6:00 mark in the video below.)
We’ll have to wait until the 13-inch and 15-inch models of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar hits the streets to see if they also feature removable SSDs. While they offer a similar external build and the same case, the presence of the Touch Bar will require some changes in internal hardware, so we won’t know for sure until someone tears down the new models and gives us a peek over their shoulder.