MacBook Pro 8,1 (13" early 2011) Teardown

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Ever since I got my MacBook Pro at the age of 11, it had a lot of problems. Not sure if it was me, or the computer, or the combination of the two of us that caused all those software, firmware, and hardware problems.

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Once, my MBP couldn’t find its own HDD. So I took the hard drive out and connected it via USB instead of the internal SATA. Strangely, it booted successfully, and after putting the drive back in, the problem disappeared.

Oops.

“Do not remove the battery.” Oops, I guess I just did.

Things I’ve learned from this computer:

  • Forcing the computer to shut down while the HDD is operating can not only harm the HDD, but also the SATA cable (which had to be replaced for this reason).
  • Apple’s SuperDrive sucks. It rejects disks when it just doesn’t feel like working. It’s also fragile too – it broke by itself so I took it out of the machine.

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  • Traditional mechanical hard disk drives suck. They are extremely slow compared to SSDs or PCIe flash.
  • Integrated GPUs suck. If you want to do anything graphically demanding such as gaming or video editing, stay far away from small laptops with integrated graphics. This Intel HD3000 chip does not much more than lag.

Sadly, its life was ended by an open bottle of water. The water spilled all over and into the keyboard and fried the logic board. After a weekend of disassembled sitting, I had to admit that this soaked board is a dead board.

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The Intel i7 2620M dual core 2.7GHz CPU.

The Intel HD 3000 integrated GPU.

The Intel HD 3000 integrated GPU.

The PCH is in the foreground.

The PCH is in the foreground.

The Magic Trackpad

The back side of the Magic Trackpad

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The MagSafe Port

This component houses the battery indicator lights.

This component houses the battery indicator lights.

The single CPU cooling fan

The single CPU cooling fan

The 13.3" 1280x800 IPS display

The back side of the 13.3″ 1280×800 IPS display

The screen back plate

The screen back plate

The UniBody with the keyboard

The UniBody with the keyboard looks beautiful on its own. I need to hang this on the wall.

The back side of the UniBody, with the keyboard

The back side of the UniBody, with the keyboard

It was May 11, 2014 when my first Mac was declared wasted, exactly 3 years since the day I opened the box. That feeling of excitement and joy on May 11, 2011 still resides in my mind. Staring at my lifeless Mac, I am left with regret, realizing (despite my complains for it) my appreciation for my first laptop.

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