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Apple abandons the heatsink in the MacBook Air M2 • Registry

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iFixit engineers applied their tools to Apple’s new M2 Flash MacBook Air to discover a striking lack of cooling.

Before cracking open the beast, the teardown team took a moment to reflect on the number of ports crammed into a machine that’s even thinner than its predecessor, noting the return of MagSafe, two Thunderbolt 3 ports and – oddly enough for an Apple product. – headphone jack.

YouTube video

The Air’s innards are secured with four screws on the underside, which took a staggering amount of force to remove, according to iFixit. After some difficulty finding the battery connector, which was hidden under brackets and a “neat little hatch”, disassembly could begin once it was safely unplugged.

The engineer’s attention then shifted to the motherboard, which was removed after dealing with more brackets and screws. The clip-on shield was sent, the team was stunned to find the incredibly minimal cooling system. After running through the empty space left for the “SSD chip we didn’t pay for,” iFixit started rummaging around for a heatsink, but found only thermal paste and graphite tape.

MacBook Air logic board

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“What’s with that big gap? How does this thing get cold? they asked. “The M2 is efficient, but that screen is very thin, so it doesn’t really help much – and the body is lighter than last year… Maybe the M2 Air is secretly an iPad… or maybe Apple just lets it work.”

Apple’s new ARM-based chip is really efficient, and the company has made sure everyone knows it, claiming that the processor delivers 87 percent of the peak performance of the 12-core Intel Core i7-1260P while only using a quarter of the performance of the competing chip. strength.

So, even though Intel has the M2, this performance rating at around 15W power consumption is not to be taken lightly. We’re going to take the risk of saying that Apple probably knows what it’s doing when it cuts cooling systems.

MacBook Air logic board

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Looking at the logic board, iFixit was able to determine, among other things:

Answers on a postcard for the accelerometer. Moving on, iFixit was able to free the trackpad with screws, washers and an “annoying cable” but had difficulty removing the four speakers due to the screws being hidden under the laptop’s hinge covers. The team noted that Apple has changed the approach to sound: the speakers transmit sound between the case and the display through grilles, rather than through the perforated top of the case. “Apple’s obsession with sound still comes through and they sound great,” they said.

However, the audio board and ports tell a different story. The audio board is “glued, but lifts up. Better yet, every single port — the endangered headphone jack, MagSafe charger, and both USB-C ports — are modular, not glued. We love to see it!” Similarly, the TouchID button came out of the top of the case “with ease”.

So, as far as battery is concerned, iFixit wondered if it had shrunk a bit compared to the latest Air. The four cells are attached to the body with a combination of screws, elastic adhesive and a metal tray. The specifications on the rear panel list a rated power of 52.6 Wh. According to iFixit, the top two cells are connected in parallel and the bottom two are connected in series, making it work like a three-cell battery. “Maybe don’t think too much about why; it doesn’t make sense to us either.”

MacBook Air layout

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As for the display, it popped right off once those awkward hinge covers were unscrewed.

This is iFixit’s initial study of the machine, so it didn’t come up with the coveted repairability score, but the team acknowledged that the Mac Air is “moving in a positive direction these days – bigger and better ports, a better keyboard, and a return to some more repairable ideas.”

However, they questioned the reliability of “a laptop with no fan, no heatsink, no upgrade option.” Time will tell, but think of blissful silence without a constantly whirring fan. On the other hand, Apple will be providing parts for the M2 Air, so at least it was designed with some repairability in mind, and iFixit’s video of the operation shows few real problems. Cupertino has come a long way from the incomprehensible, impenetrable black boxes of the past. ®

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