Could Apple solder 4Gigs of Ram in the Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by brendu, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. brendu macrumors 68020

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    #1
    Hey im wondering since the RAM in the air is not upgradable because it is soldered to the motherboard... could apple (obviously at a premium) solder a 4GB chip on there, and if so why dont they offer that as an BTO option? I only ask because that seems like the limiting factor that will prevent the air from having the lengthy lifespan of all the other macs...
     
  2. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #2
    Yes. You can put 8GB or 12GB or however you want as long as you ahve the space.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #3
    Because I somehow believe that a BTO option that involves soldering is not an option they'd like to offer.
     
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #4
    I think Apple is waiting on sales to justify continuing with the Air. I have to believe the real high-end model is waiting for the numbers to support offering it. The number one reason people don't buy the MBA is the RAM limitation. Apple has to make it worth offering a 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, upgraded GPU, and etc before moving forward. If the numbers are right the Air will get a new high end offering, but expect to pay for those premiums.

    I think the best bet is for the Air to become the MB. Then bto options would be there and Apple would have two RAM slots rather than soldering on board. I believe Apple could satisfy all MB and MBA buyers for a vast array of bto options making it $999 all the way up to $3000+ with all the bells and whistles.
     
  5. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #5
    Soldering is the only justification they've ever had for their extortionate (not to mention stingy in the outset) RAM pricing across the range. There's no reason why the entire low end shouldn't come with 4Gb as standard for what it costs them and the Mac Pro's should have 2Gb per RAM slot at the very least.
     
  6. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

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    #6
    Scottsdale- I personally don't think RAM capacity is the reason people don't buy the Air. I think it's directly related to price (Because the average Joe will look at the MBP 13" and base Air (HDD) and see that the Air isn't better spec wise, and will just go for the MBP.) because the cheapest decent Air REFURB with SSD is $1,349 and:

    1. Most first time buyers don't check the Apple refurb store.
    2. They will see that it has a slower processor, and a smaller harddrive. (Keep in mind the bottom of the bucket Apple buyer has no difference between a HDD and SSD).
    3. It's higher in price than a new Macbook Pro, which to them seems better to the naked eye.

    FYI: I'm not against the Air, I love them. I'd be willing to get one eventually, but not without SSD at a more affordable pricepoint.
     
  7. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

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    #7
    The processors are soldered to the board in the MacBook Pro and Apple has offered BTO options for faster processors. Also look at the BTO graphics options for the different iMacs. Some models have different GPU's that are soldered to the logic board. I don't think that soldering is a barrier for Apple.
     
  8. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #8
    sure,

    all you need is a oxy-acetylene torch, heat up the board , place new chips , reheat.

    BAM....done.

    make sure your torch reaches at least 1500-1800 C
     
  9. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #9
    Agreed, it's not necessarily soldered vs removable. As you've pointed out, Apple does it on plenty of other machines with their CPUs/GPUs.

    It most likely has to do with the volumes of the machines. Apple knows that they move sufficient numbers of each product to justify having separate logic boards for differing configurations. With the Air, I don't think the volume is there. If they went ahead and did it anyway, they might be left with unmovable stock, which costs Apple money. That extra expense would be passed on to the customer. So they don't do it.

    As it stands anyway, there are 2 logic boards used for the air: the 1.86 and the 2.13. If they added a 4GB RAM option to the top end only, there would be 3 configurations.

    Personally, I think it might make sense just to drop the low end model all together, and only have a single logic board configuration: 2.13/4GB. Then give an option for a 128 or 256 GB SSD. Leave the pricing where it is now ($1499 base, $300 for the 256GB upgrade).
     
  10. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

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    #10
    They could have the option of two or four gigs of ram, it would just mean starting with a different board, I would imaging however the 2.x processor would get the four gigs and the 1.8 would get two. The only issue is that it's not just one chip, it's 16 1 gigabit chips, so they'd have to use 16 two gigabit chips and I have no idea how much that would cost.
     
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #11
    I have no data to back this up whatsoever, but take a look at the price difference between 2x1GB DDR3 SODIMMs and 2x2GB DDR3 SODIMMs.

    My first result yielded $63 for the 2x1 and $134 for the 2x2. Two important notes, however: 1) this includes the PCB, which is unnecessary for the Air, but should give us an accurate difference in the price of the chips. Second, this is the retail rate (not even looking for the best deal) and not the bulk rate that Apple certainly would get from suppliers. My quick guess is that it would cost Apple no more than in extra $50 in materials.
     
  12. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

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    #12
    ^^^That's a good point, and now that I think about it I bet it really wouldn't be that much cheaper for Apple. I hope they kick it up come November.
     
  13. caonimadebi macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2009
    #13
    I think the big price jump is going from the 2GB DDR3 module to 4GB (each stick) and it may be the reason apple is holding back the upgrade. 2GB sticks can be had for less than $40 now, while 4GB sticks still hover around $300 a pop. I tried to look around the existing 2GB sticks and saw that they also have 16 "chips". So based on the extrapolation, the MBA can basically only accommodate the equivalent of 1 standard 200 pin stick of memory. Going to 4GB will mean going into the 4GB DDR stick market (4GB sticks have 16 2Gbit chips?)? Maybe from a production cost's point of view, $250 is simply too steep for Apple include?
     
  14. Gruber macrumors regular

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    Jun 15, 2009
    #14
    Naw, come on. The MB is destined to be the bread-and-butter low-end student laptop, just as the iBook was once. It has to compete with ordinary, run-of-the-mill Windows laptops. And at 800, you can buy a really nice Vaio with chicklet keyboard, nice screen and all, so the MBs need to be sub-1000.

    The MB has to serve the kids, and the kids want to watch DVDs and rip their remaining CDs, so they want an optical drive, too.

    On the other hand, there is a demand for an executive MacOS laptop, for the not-so-price-sensitive folks. The MBA is currently priced like a mid-range MBP, and like them, it carries a very healthy margin for Apple. Apple is not into maximizing unit sales, but gross profit via margin. The MBA fits this strategy way better then the MB.
     
  15. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000

    FoxyKaye

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    #15
    It surprises me a little that there aren't more aftermarket solutions for this. It seems right up the alley of someplace like TechRestore.

    I don't know a lick about the MBA innards, but it seems from what I've heard that anyone competent with a soldering iron could potentially make this happen. Is that oversimplified?
     
  16. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Initially, I didn't understand what you were saying. Please disregard what I may have written and deleted. It's not entirely relevant to this discussion and I wanted to replace it with a better point.

    Back when I originally wrote my post, I did some research. The 2Gbit DDR3 chips were approximately twice as much as the 1Gbit chips. If I find it again, I will update my post with more solid research. I still, however, do not believe that the cost is too steep for Apple to include it in the next Air update.
     
  17. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #17
    The space used on the logic board is the same as two dimms. Apple could put 4 GB there without any problems. 8 GB would work too in the same space providing both sides of logic board are available.

    I really feel Apple will put RAM slots in a redesigned MBA. Apple surely wants upsale potential as many MBA buyers wouldn't think twice about paying $900 for 8 GB RAM upgrade.
     
  18. adamjackson macrumors 65816

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #18
    I love speculation!

    The 4GB limit didn't stop me from buying the air. It was the price. $3K when it first came out for a 1.8Ghz machine w/ 64GB SSD. Pretty pathetic.

    Then NVIDIA 9400 was introduced...I was intrigued.

    Then 128GB SSD was introduced

    Then I saw the 2.13Ghz Core2Duo

    Finally... $300 off! I"M SOLD!​

    The point I'm trying to make here is the MBA is a great machine. People still scoff at the price. Sure the tiny components are more expensive and R&D cost is fit in there somewhere but I'd like for them to stop making it faster (it's fast enough for an ultra-thin laptop) and keep dropping the price.

    $1299 for a 2.13Ghz HDD based MacBook Air would be FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! +$250 for 128GB SSD.

    I'm with Scottsdale too. $1999 for 2.4GhzCore2Duo, 4gbs of ram, 256GB SSD. Yes I'd pay that but we need a lower entry point (not refurbed) to get people on-board.
     
  19. Disavowed macrumors regular

    Disavowed

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    #19
    If they do, my wife can look forward to a nice MBP!
     
  20. Disavowed macrumors regular

    Disavowed

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    #20
    If they do, my wife can look forward to a nice MBP!
     
  21. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #21
    I saw the pictures of the Rev A on ifixit.com, which also states that Apple's using 16 1Gbit chips. Out of curiosity, how does the system profiler represent the RAM? Does it show as 2x1GB or 1x2GB? (I may have asked this before, but this is the last time, I promise. :))
     
  22. stoconnell macrumors 6502

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    Mar 22, 2009
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    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    #22
    It represents them as 1 bank of 2 "BuiltIn" dimms (guessing one for each side of the mobo).

    Memory:

    Memory Slots:

    ECC: Disabled

    BANK 0/BuiltIn0:

    Size: 1 GB
    Type: DDR3
    Speed: 1067 MHz
    Status: OK
    Manufacturer: 0x802C
    Part Number: N/A
    Serial Number: N/A

    BANK 0/BuiltIn1:

    Size: 1 GB
    Type: DDR3
    Speed: 1067 MHz
    Status: OK
    Manufacturer: 0x802C
    Part Number: N/A
    Serial Number: N/A
     
  23. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
  24. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Well count me among those waiting for 4GB. I'd buy one now if available, though would also like to see a 256GB SSD option as well.

    My 3+ year old MBP has 2GB of RAM and I've found by carefully watching the system monitor - in particular the Swap use - that it really does slow me down given my usage.

    Interestingly (to me at least) is that my usage feels pretty basic on the whole, i.e. something for which I'd think 2GB ram would generally suffice. I usually have mail, ical, contacts, safari (4-5 tabs) open all the time, and weatherdock as well. Add an office app or two from time to time (sometime MS, sometimes openoffice) and I get lots of spinning beach balls and increased Swaps. FWIW I'm pretty good about managing free space on my HDD.

    But my usage really seems to want 4GB ram...
     
  25. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    The good side of the grass.
    #25
    If I use Safari without emptying its cache or restarting for a day it can easily blossom to 600MB. Mail can get to be a little piggy too.

    4GB is getting to be a necessity for a non-user serviceable item as important as RAM.
     

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