Questions about Soldered SSD's...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by doubledee, Apr 21, 2013.

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  1. doubledee macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #1
    I am looking to buy a new Mac laptop, and one of the DRIVING FACTORS in what I buy is the ability to remove, and upgrade, the hard-drive!!!

    A few days ago, some kid at the Mac Store told me...

    If that is the case, I would consider going back to PCs and Windows...

    One person said this isn't the case - in another thread of mine - but I figured I would start a new thread, because this is a MAJOR CONCERN to me, both now, and down the road...

    (BTW, I plan on getting a more traditional 13" MacBook Pro with a *moving* and *removable* HDD in the next week or so...)

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  2. LeeM macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    retina models use an apple specific ssd "blades" which you can replace but theyre not cheap
     
  3. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    #3
    the cMBPs have standards 2.5" user replaceable HDDs/SSDs. The retina models however have a proprietary blade SSD, that are replaceable (OWC sells replacements) however under the terms of warranty from Apple they are not considered a user replaceable part.
     
  4. johnnnw macrumors 65816

    johnnnw

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    #4
    This could of very easily been asked in your other thread. It was answered correctly there as well.

    The SSD is not soldered. It is a different design then a normal 2.5" drive however.

    They can be replaced, but only with models found on OWC that say they are for the retina.

    The only thing that is soldered on the retina is the RAM. This can not be replaced. The SSD can.
     
  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #5
    He may have meant to say RAM. The RAM is soldered, so get as much RAM as you need from the start. The internal hard drives are plug and socket but have a MAC unique form factor. They are relatively easy to replace.
     
  6. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #6
    Right, but I want to have a larger discussion here, and not muck up that thread which already went off on a lot of tangential topics.


    I have read articles in the past, and spoke with people in the past - including this kid on Friday - that said otherwise.


    They look like gigantic Flash cards from your digital camera, right?


    Glad to here that. (Soldering any form of hard-drive to a computer would be the stupidest thing I can think of...)

    Now, I know you aren't Tim Cook, but do you think Apple will have enough common sense to not solder SSD in the future, or did we just dodge the bullet for now?! :confused:

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  7. chrise2 macrumors 6502

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  8. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #8
    What are you referring to??


    Debbie
     
  9. leman macrumors 604

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    #9
    Well, they lied to you. Just look at teardown pictures. However, for all intendes and purposes its 'as if' it was soldered, because you won't find a replacement storage module with a reasonable price tag on the market.
     
  10. iMacC2D macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Confirming the above, the standard 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models have upgradeable memory modules and upgradeable 2.5" HDDs / SSDs. They're industry standard off-the-shelf components and can be swapped in and out easily.

    The Retina Display models have soldered down memory, but the SSDs can be removed from the Logic Board. They're a newer mSATA blade type SSD, like so:

    [​IMG]

    As a result they're not standard off-the-shelf components, but they can be upgraded through companies like Other World Computing who do make third party replacements and upgrades for them.

    It's difficult to say what Apple will do in the future, they could remain modular or they could become soldered components, but what I can say is that it would be ridiculous for them to do so for multiple reasons. The number of Logic Board combinations they would have to produce would be blown out significantly, with varying combinations of processor, memory and storage.

    At the moment, they can produce a limited number of boards and just plug in the required SSD for each configuration, which keeps board manufacturing costs down but also simplifies their service channel when it comes time to repair or replace these (a Logic Board replacement doesn't equal data loss, the SSD is just transferred to the new board), so I suspect they will keep it this way.
     
  11. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    swerve147

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    #11
    You're on the right track doubledee. Buy a cMBP now, but in 4-5 years when it's time to upgrade you might be staring a Windows PC in the face because Apple seems to be moving towards the retina/proprietary storage model.

    Who knows what'll happen in 5 years. However if you look at something like the Surface Pro it looks like it's not just Apple that's trending this way (to soldered everything).
     
  12. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #12
    That's why I ask LOTS of people whenever it comes to IT questions... ;)


    Debbie

    ----------

    Right.


    Okay, thanks for clarifying that!


    I *HOPE* you are right... :(


    Debbie
     
  13. leman macrumors 604

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    #13
    You don't need to ask questions, you just have to look at the source ;) The best source being teardown pictures, of course.
     
  14. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #14
    Well, this is probably material for yet another thread, but I'll throw it in here...


    *Puts on rain gear for blood-bath that will likely ensue...*


    I have always said that the hard-drive *is* the computer. And I can't speak for anyone else here, but being on the road, my entire life is on my MacBook...


    I realize that I am in the minority, but based on my research, it has always been my understanding that traditional HDD's leave behind a "Magnetic Footprint" that can never truly be erased. This is based on speaking with others, and reading a research paper from some Ph.D. who did actual tests on this.

    That being said, whenever I have a HDD that needs to be retired, I always have it destroyed via crushing at a local machine shop.

    And, because it seems like over half of the computer advice I get is wrong - and 90%+ if it comes from an Apple Store - I tend to really err on the side of being safe, even if it turns out I was wrong.

    Also, like so many things in IT, unless you have a Ph.D. and helped architect the computer chip on your computer, there is an enormous amount of BLIND FAITH in how all of this stuff works?! (For years people though smoking was good for your lungs!! True story!!)

    How could anyone here ever truly know what can and cannot happen to the 1's and 0's on that magnetic platter??


    So for all of those who tell me, "Just format your HDD and it is safe!", I respond with, "No way!!"

    My point?

    THIS is why I am so FLIPPED OUT about anyone soldering my HDD to the computer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Even with FDE, I would never turn over my HDD or laptop with the HDD in it to a computer repair tech, including Apple. NEVER!!!

    If that was my only chose for warranty service, I'd take the lose and buy a new laptop.

    NOW, I have read in the last few years that "Flash Technology" - which I believe applies to SSD's - is different, and that they can very easily be entirely erased, but I am still skeptical.

    Unfortunately, like most things in life, the world did not consult Debbie, and seems to be on its own path... *sigh*

    So, since spinning HDD's will soon be obsolete, and since soldered on SSD's may very well be inevitable, I am curious what all of you think about this topic.

    And before I shut up, please respect that I am VERY SERIOUS about this topic, and it is not some kid being silly.

    I have Business Plans, Business Code, Financials, and Personal Info that can never be replaced and would destroy my life if it ever fell into the wrong hands on my computer.

    And while it gets backed up regularly, if someone got a hold of things like all of the code to my new website and business, I would be finished!!

    So, while 99.9% of the world may see me as "paranoid", I would say that anyone in a similar situation would see me as being very pragmatic on this topic.

    I *love* the idea of a solid-state storage device that is smaller, faster, and more environmentally friendly. But protecting my information - which is a good portion of my life - trumps everything... :(

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  15. simsaladimbamba

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    #15
    Due to modern HDDs being so dense (high density), a ZERO OUT (writing ZEROes all over the HDD) will suffice to prevent data recovery, but you still have the option to write ones and zeroes seven or 35 times to the HDD via Disk Utility.
     
  16. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #16
    If you're concerned about the security of your data on the drive, just turn on the Filevault full disk encryption. That way even if somebody does manage to recover the raw data from the drive it will be useless to them.

    That way it's also protected if it gets stolen. Just counting on destroying the HDD when you're done with it doesn't help in that case.
     
  17. johnnnw macrumors 65816

    johnnnw

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    #17
    Here's the bottom line.

    The SSD's are not soldered. This might change. Nobody will know until it happens.

    For now you are fine, and you can take it out of the computer and crush it until it doesn't exist anymore and turns into dust that floats away.
     
  18. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #18
    FileVault has been hacked, and isn't as secure as people think.

    But obviously it is better than plain-text.

    But my point was about if and when HDD are soldered in...


    Debbie

    ----------

    Yep, I got that.


    Right.


    For now.

    Any ideas about how persistent data is on a SSD?

    As mentioned above, I think there is lots of room to be worried with conventional HDDs. I'm not sure about SSDs.


    Debbie
     
  19. leman macrumors 604

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    #19
    Well, you talk about PhDs and stuff, but half-knowlede is sometimes more harmful then no knowledge at all. First of all, you don't need to destroy a modern HDD to make the data unrecoverable. Just write zeros over it several times - done.

    And besides that, SSDs are not magnetic - they are flash storage. Data recovery is impossible once overwritten.
     
  20. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #20
    It is a common misconception that data cannot be recovered by a determined adversary.

    If you are that concerned about your data and privacy, you need to not only destroy and "shred" both rotational and solid state drives when you are done with them, you need to shred the computer. Perhaps you need a PhD to understand, but a determined adversary can gather interesting information from the machine itself. Although both rotational and SSD my be easier (do not trust SSD erase as not all the gates are touched in a unrecoverable manner)

    For the rest of us, not being a target or worth the investment, simply encrypting the drive and protecting the encryption key (password) is plenty. The weakest link is password protection.... Thats not good enough for high value data, but good enough for the rest of us.
     
  21. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #21
    So you agree with what I said.


    Possibly, but I'm content with shredding HDD's. (Assuming some jerk doesn't solder them to a motherboard?!) :mad:


    Adversaries can gather information *everywhere* which is why - moving forward - I am trying to be more careful.


    So maybe I'm not so paranoid after all...


    Can you run FDE on a SSD?

    If so, do you need to use software customized for a SSD, or is the FDE software indifferent to the type of HDD?


    Then what is?

    Don't you think the military shreds their disks (HDD and SSD)?

    I'm not saying "I'm so important", but I am quite aware that even when I do everything right, I am still horribly vulnerable... :(

    And since the hard-drive is the computer and a good part of my life, I suppose I should place great importance protecting my information!!!

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  22. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #22
    Once again, the SSD in the rMBP and MBA are NOT soldered to the motherboard. You can take them out with just a pentalobe screwdriver for the bottom case and a Torque screwdriver, if you want to shred the HDD. Solder is meant for things like RAM, when even if you wanted to, no matter how hard you tried you could not get it out (at least without ruining the motherboard).
     
  23. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

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    #23
    Right, I got that point several times before.

    And I was just saying that in the future, if manufacturers start soldering SSDs in place, that will be a major concern to me, and I'm sure lots of other people.


    BTW, check out these two links... (Very eye-opening!!!)



    Now, I'm really worried about Flash technology, including that thumb-drive in my laptop bag that I *thought* had been safely erased... :rolleyes:

    Looks like this is one place where old technology is better...

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  24. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #24
    Go to ifixit.com, look at the teardowns of the 2012 MBP classic and retina. None of them have soldered HDDs or SSDs.

    I believe that also in the future they will not solder the SSDs onto the logic board. The reason is that HDDs and/or SSDs are among the components that fail most often. If each hard drive repair requires a logic board replacement, it might drive their repair costs up.
     
  25. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #25
    The iPad and iPhone flash memory (AKA SSD) is soldered on. I wouldn't be surprised if the next MacBook Air comes with soldered in flash.
     
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