Engineering a New Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by maczack, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. maczack macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #1
    Hey everyone, I've been reading this forum for a while without posting and thought I'd start a thread that might shed some light on the design of the new macbook pro. The purpose of this thread is not to speculate on what features the new machine might include, nor is it to post mockups that may or may not be technically feasable. This thread is really meant for people with an engineering background, and technical experience with computers. I was hoping that we could compile our knowledge of component sizes (ie optical drive dimensions, hard drive dimensions, chipset dimensions, LED screen thickness, etc to try to anticipate how apple may shave down the thickness of the machine, change it's design to a tapered form (like the macbook air), or otherwise alter it. From my own research, the thickness of the machine is currently 1 inch (25.4mm). This consists of both the thickness of the top casing (housing the screen), and the bottom casing housing everything else. The thickness of the bottom casing seems to be limited by the thickness of the optical drive and hard drive (both of which measure 9.5mm). The logic board takes up the rear of the housing. It's footprint will be reduced by 40% to 35mm squared with montevina. However its actual thickness does not seem to be a limiting factor in case design. Theoretically apple could use a non-replacable (thinner) macbook air style battery, and reduce the screen top case thickness from the current thickness which once accomadated a CCRT backlight to the thickness of the macbook air which uses a thinner LED backlight (hopefully they'll have a 17" LED by then) Anyone know the thickness of the current macbook pro screens vs the macbook air? Also, has anyone taken their machine apart enough to verify if the 9.5mm optical drive/hard drive are the main size constraint for the thickness of the case. (9.5 mm is only .36 inches- so I'm not sure how the bottom case is as thick as it currently is). Perhaps in a future design- they'll shift the optical/hard drive components to the rear of the machine, and place the reduced-size montevina logic board in the front- so that the machine could taper (much like the macbook air does). Anyway, this is all just food for thought. It would really freshen up the design of the machine if they could get it even thinner, while maintaining it's performance. :apple:[​IMG]
     
  2. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a

    jayhawk11

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #2
    Problem: Battery. That big open slot in the middle is where the battery goes. Logic board can't sit in the middle of it.

    Other than that though, I like your idea. It makes sense. I'm assuming you are thinking about having the superdrive eject from the side, a la the MacBook?
     
  3. Pukey macrumors 6502

    Pukey

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Gekkostate
    #3
    I can understand wanting to make the MacBook thinner as it is a consumer product like the Air. But the MacBook Pro? I don't understand so many people's desire to make it thinner, it's a Pro machine. Pro should mean significantly more power than what is offered in the other portable lines. A true upper end pro machine should have:

    - 2.6GHz-2.8GHz Processor
    - NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500M or GeForce 8800M GTX (or equivalent high power GPU/Graphics Card)
    - 4+ GB RAM
    - More Hard Drive space (320GB)
    - Possibly a swappable bay for additional Hard Drive/Superdrive/Battery

    Even with the current design, the MBP has overheating issues, just look at the threads of people asking about their MBP temp and if it's normal. Not to mention the case warping problems people have had. All this because Apple thinks they have to make even their Pro line thinner than all their competitors. Why should thickness be an issue in a professional laptop? I don't know if PC laptops have these overheating issues, even the gaming ones, but they are thicker. For at least their portable Pro line Apple should try to match or beat their competitors out there in power first, then physical dimensions when technology allows. This would most likely mean making the MBP a little bit thicker to accomodate features and to keep everything running cool. As a professional I would not have any problem with the MBP being thicker and I trust Apple's industrial design skills enough to know they could make even a 1.25" thick MBP look good. I would be all for a thinner MBP when the technology allows, but we haven't reached that point in technology yet. As thinner usually means less power and features (look at the MBA) or more overheating issues. Apple should consider dropping the "Pro" in MacBook Pro if they decide to go thinner with the next redesign.
     
  4. maczack thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #4
    I understand your point about heat issues, and keeping the machine at the cutting edge in terms of power/technology, but I disagree with the idea that power and thinness are mutually exclusive. I think that the technology is already there to slim the machine. The top case with the screen could definitely be slimmed to the width of the screen on the macbook air. (The truth is that the macbook pro is still using the same screen housing that they were when the screens were backlit by more bulky CCRTs. As for the case- I'm not really sure what they'll do, but the more powerfull Penryn processor is lower voltage than current core duos and would probably generate less heat, and montevina is supposed to be a more powerful chipset than santa rosa, with a 40% smaller footprint. Also, if they swapped the current user-replaceable battery (which I admit some people might object to) for a battery similar to what's in the macbook air, they might be able to maintain battery life while slimming the machine. Furthermore, if the chipset takes up 40% less space, they may even be able to finally put a high-end video card in the machine (depending on heat of course). I guess my question is, how thick is the current lower case of the MBP? And if it's much thicker than 9.5mm (the width of the optical drive and hard disk drive), why? I for one, would really like to see the concept below come to life...[​IMG]
     
  5. Pukey macrumors 6502

    Pukey

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    #5
    I should also add to the list of things a Professional laptop should have:

    - At least two FireWire 800 ports
    - HDMI port
     
  6. Pukey macrumors 6502

    Pukey

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    #6
    I'll agree with your point about the screen part of the case. I would be happy to see Apple use an LED or even an OLED screen for all MBPs which would allow for a few mm to be shaved off. Also another good point you made about Montevina being around 40% smaller would definitely allow for more space overall which would be good. However though I am not an engineer myself I would suspect even taking into account an LED screen, a cooler running processor and Montevina, adding the things I mentioned in my previous lists, I still think it would be hard to get it less than 1" thick without overheating issues. In addition sacrificing the user-friendliness of a user-swappable battery for the sake of a thin design seems to go against what a professional laptop is about. On top of this, even though the Penryn chip is supposed to run cooler, the Grapics cards I've mentioned earlier will need a decent fan to keep them cool which would probably add to the thickness.
    Unfortunately I'm not able to answer your question about the thickness of the bottom part of the case as I do not currently own a MBP. However, isn't additional space needed for thickness above the component's themselves to keep everything cool? You wouldn't want the battery, hard drive or optical drive sandwiched between the keyboard and the base without a little breathing space I would think.
     
  7. aiterum macrumors 6502

    aiterum

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    United States
    #7
    As much as I agree with you, I doubt we'll be seeing any Qaurdo's in the MBP (let alone in any Apple computer product), seeing as Apple pretty much has nothing on hold for the CAD/designing community pretty much at all (how many engineers do you know that can use OSX for what they need to do)

    correct me if I am wrong
     
  8. murc585 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    #8
    its hard to predict these things, it depends in what apple thinks is important. I highly doubt apple is going for a thinner macbook pro, I just don't see the need it in. This laptop is made for power users, now there is the macbook air for those who really care about mobility. If anything, I can see them putting a larger battery in there due to the possibility of a smaller motherboard because of the new 45nm processor as well as a possibility for new higher end graphics which might need more power.

    I'm pretty sure they are going to stick in a 9600M video card in there since the new nvidia 9600 is on its way for launch this month, or possibly an 8800 solution. I think that an option for a blu-ray drive would be highly beneficial as well seeing as where the market is going and Sony's new thinner blu-ray driver (smaller laser) could fit in the macbook pro. The black keyboard will most likely be included in the new mode but I can;t seen much else being included in the insides of the laptop. Its already pretty cramped in there and there's no way they are adding in an ipod hard drive in the pro, but possible the larger ssd drives. Apple is also very capable of shrinking their motherboard coverage as we have all seen int he air with some cooperation from intel.
     
  9. Pukey macrumors 6502

    Pukey

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    #9
    And that's just the thing...whether or not to put a high end graphics card in a professional laptop should not depend on the heat it creates but rather the design of the computer should depend on the components it accommodates. Thickness should not be the first consideration, but heat from all the powerful components that should be in there. Then designing the laptop accordingly so that it will run cool.
     
  10. Pukey macrumors 6502

    Pukey

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    #10
    Well, not for Apple's laptops currently, but the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 is an option for the Mac Pro. I believe the Quadro is useful not only among the CAD community but also for those who use Maya, which would mean CG production companies as well.
     
  11. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #11
    Any new MBP with the Penryn CPU will have very similar thermal requirements, a similar (if not identical) mainboard layout and size, an identical battery capacity. There is little point in trying to enact a major redesign. The first real opportunity for a major redesign will be with the Monte platform in the summer.

    Doug
     

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