Upgradeable Macs Gone Forever?

Rizzm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 5, 2012
586
11
I know this has probably been brought up before. Maybe a dead issue.

But do you think classic MacBooks are ever coming back?

I have an early 2011 13" MBP that I upgraded to 16GB RAM in early 2012. Then I upgraded the HDD to an SSD early 2013. I think I'll have to upgrade the capacity of the SSD some time in the future.

I love having the ability to do this. It's much more inexpensive to do these upgrades when you need them, rather than this silly notion that you have to be a genie and predict your needs, and somehow know what hardware resources applications will require 5 years from now.

It's just unfortunate that we don't even have the option for a classic MBP.

/rant
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2010
2,470
159
Brasil
I know this has probably been brought up before. Maybe a dead issue.

But do you think classic MacBooks are ever coming back?

I have an early 2011 13" MBP that I upgraded to 16GB RAM in early 2012. Then I upgraded the HDD to an SSD early 2013. I think I'll have to upgrade the capacity of the SSD some time in the future.

I love having the ability to do this. It's much more inexpensive to do these upgrades when you need them, rather than this silly notion that you have to be a genie and predict your needs, and somehow know what hardware resources applications will require 5 years from now.

It's just unfortunate that we don't even have the option for a classic MBP.

/rant
I think sooner or later there will be compact BGA soldering kits or logic board repair kits. There is a big market for Mac upgrades as OWC proved with its accessories. We are so much afraid of soldering, but having the right tools, it's not rocket science.

OWC could sell some sort of hack allowing disabling or even joining additional RAM to rMBPs. As the max ram module available for laptops is 8GB, this kind of upgrade would be too expensive, but once we have 16GB or 32GB modules allowing a rMBP getting a maximum of 48GB, it would be worth upgrading and risking some LB damage when the Macbook gets a bit older.
 
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zipa

macrumors 65816
Feb 19, 2010
1,442
1
Nope, I can't see that happening. The fact that the laptops aren't upgradeable allows for so much more flexibility with the design, and I would really think that consumers care more about better battery life and bigger numbers in the spec sheet than being able to upgrade, which is something that 99,9 % of customers wouldn't do even if they could...
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2010
2,470
159
Brasil
Nope, I can't see that happening. The fact that the laptops aren't upgradeable allows for so much more flexibility with the design, and I would really think that consumers care more about better battery life and bigger numbers in the spec sheet than being able to upgrade, which is something that 99,9 % of customers wouldn't do even if they could...
Manufacturers won't ease the upgrade process, but hopefully more complex OWC/iFixit solutions will come. And to be worth they'll have to offer more than BTO specs. If these companies don't bring anything new, they'll disappear since they're focused on upgrading. Will OWC make its money only from Thunderbolt enclosures?
 

GSPice

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2008
1,623
76
I know this has probably been brought up before. Maybe a dead issue.

But do you think classic MacBooks are ever coming back?

I have an early 2011 13" MBP that I upgraded to 16GB RAM in early 2012. Then I upgraded the HDD to an SSD early 2013. I think I'll have to upgrade the capacity of the SSD some time in the future.

I love having the ability to do this. It's much more inexpensive to do these upgrades when you need them, rather than this silly notion that you have to be a genie and predict your needs, and somehow know what hardware resources applications will require 5 years from now.

It's just unfortunate that we don't even have the option for a classic MBP.

/rant
Just wondering, do you own a smartphone? Or a printer? I'm so glad devices like that aren't marketed with expandable memory anymore, like they used to be.

I'd like to find forums where people started gawking that their video game controllers weren't expandable anymore. ;)

Times are (have been) changing. Someday not being able to upgrade notebook memory won't be so painful to some.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,831
30,345
Boston
Just wondering, do you own a smartphone? Or a printer? I'm so glad devices like that aren't marketed with expandable memory anymore, like they used to be.
One major difference those products were never upgradeable, except for the printers. Many printers I work on still can be upgraded (memory font cards etc).

Computers in general are upgradable, its apple that decided to go the proprietary route (for the most part).

It is the nature of the beast for Apple products but I'm hoping not an overall trend for all computers.
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
1,492
360
Oregon, USA
For me, upgradability is less about predicting the future than leveraging time. I know I'm going to need 32gb in x years. But I also know that x years from now, 32gb will cost less than 16 or even 8 does now. Buy starting with less and waiting, the supply can arrive along with the need.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,956
4,549
Nope, they are not coming back. Furthermore, expect less and less upgradeability in laptops and then, also general computers. It's not just Apple, they are simply ahead of time (as often).

P.S. Let's be honest, nowadays the only component where upgrade ability makes sence is the storage. CPU/GPU are generally non-upgradeablein laptops and 16GB is the max a current-gen MBP can ever have anyway.

----------

For me, upgradability is less about predicting the future than leveraging time. I know I'm going to need 32gb in x years. But I also know that x years from now, 32gb will cost less than 16 or even 8 does now. Buy starting with less and waiting, the supply can arrive along with the need.
That's exactly the thing I am talking about. First of all, x years from now there still won't be any RAM modules that will allow you to have 32gb in your MBP. Second, it won't be cheaper. Try finding 16 gb of laptop ddr2 ram and compare prices with ddr3. starting next year, we will transition to ddr4 and the production of ddr3 will slow down.
 

jbachandouris

macrumors 601
Aug 18, 2009
4,476
1,403
Upstate NY
Even the 8GB DDR3's have gone up. 2X4GB was around $50 last year and now $79 and up is the price for new.

I guess I better upgrade this year. :D
 

hellfire88

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2008
355
2
For me, upgradability is less about predicting the future than leveraging time. I know I'm going to need 32gb in x years. But I also know that x years from now, 32gb will cost less than 16 or even 8 does now. Buy starting with less and waiting, the supply can arrive along with the need.
Exactly. For me, I don't feel like paying $300 or so for a 16GB memory upgrade today...but I may need it later on (of which it'll probably only cost $100 etc.).

Sadly, since Apple took this route, the PC industry seems to be following suit (as they usually do). So even newer model PCs have soldered in RAM (look at 95% of all Ultrabooks recently released)? I've noticed that even non-Ultrabooks, PC manufacturers are starting to solder a single 2GB/4GB stick, and leave 1 slot for the user to upgrade. Soon it will follow ultrabooks and be completely soldered I feel, which is unfortunate.
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2010
2,470
159
Brasil
Exactly. For me, I don't feel like paying $300 or so for a 16GB memory upgrade today...but I may need it later on (of which it'll probably only cost $100 etc.).

Sadly, since Apple took this route, the PC industry seems to be following suit (as they usually do). So even newer model PCs have soldered in RAM (look at 95% of all Ultrabooks recently released)? I've noticed that even non-Ultrabooks, PC manufacturers are starting to solder a single 2GB/4GB stick, and leave 1 slot for the user to upgrade. Soon it will follow ultrabooks and be completely soldered I feel, which is unfortunate.
Probably there is room for the max memory not installed. We just need a method to attach it to the logic board. We just need having 16GB 204-pin modules available in the market, then maybe someone will be interested on allowing it to be soldered to the logic board. Having 32GB on a Retina Macbook would be a good reason for trying this as earlier models get older.
 

Krazy Bill

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2011
2,981
3
Well, as much as I like to blame Apple for their lunacy at times, they didn't invent the soldered RAM concept. It's a natural progression that was inevitable with all ultrabook makers.

I do blame them for their outrageous memory upgrade prices though.
 

GSPice

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2008
1,623
76
One major difference those products were never upgradeable
Smartphones and PDAs had/have memory expansion slots? SD, Sony memory stick, etc.?

In those devices the need - and hence ability - to upgrade memory became obsolete.

I'm predicting the same for many notebooks.
 

disasterdrone

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2013
300
0
I actually think we are experiencing a particularly extreme set of designers at the helm right now. The expandable non retina 13inch mbp is one of their top selling models - there will be a backlash once people realize the full cost of the move to disposable computers that run $4000 a pop.
I worry that there truly are not enough people who care about this to really impact the bottom line though. There will likely be another company happy to occupy the high quality, expandable, high resale value niche - Lenovo perhaps?
 

FrozenDarkness

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2009
1,381
464
sadly most computer manufacturers are moving TOWARDS soldering design so apple won't be alone for long.

what's amazing to me is that a RAM slot really isn't that thick. It's a lot like the SSD slot to me, is there really a reason they need to solder one down and not the other?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
Smartphones and PDAs had/have memory expansion slots? SD, Sony memory stick, etc.?

In those devices the need - and hence ability - to upgrade memory became obsolete.

I'm predicting the same for many notebooks.
Most did not, and the addition of such was more to differentiate it from other phones.

I'm hoping with computers there still will be makers willing to allow consumers to upgrade their machines.
 

priitv8

macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
3,517
435
Estonia
...is there really a reason they need to solder one down and not the other?
It's been discussed here already - better signal fronts and hence higher speed.
Adam W said:
This allows the fine tuning of latency to the absurd levels. In fact, with the 22nm Intel there is an option via low level register programming, to reduce the latency of the DDR memory down to 0 clocks. While this is not possible in reality, it gives Apple the room it needs to fine tune the memory and provide the best throughput possible. The values you were reporting were almost 100% utilization of the FSB of the CPU (16,384 MB/s being 100%). You were reporting 99.90% utilization, which is UNHEARD of, but not impossible.
http://macperformanceguide.com/mbpRetina2012-speed-memory-bandwidth.html
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,524
410
Atlanta
But do you think classic MacBooks are ever coming back?

I hope not. The last thing I want is a thicker, heavier laptop with a spinning drive to crash and a non Retina screen. Talk about a step backwards! :eek:
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,956
4,549
It's been discussed here already - better signal fronts and hence higher speed.

http://macperformanceguide.com/mbpRetina2012-speed-memory-bandwidth.html
Yeah, about that... it was really discussed a lot and people generally agree that it doesn't make much sense. Firstly, the max performance of double-channel 1600 DDR3 is 2x12800 = 25600 MB/s, secondly, all other benchmarks (like SiSoft Sandra) show the rMBP around 22000-23000 MB/s which is absolutely in line with any other laptop utilising the same RAM. I don't even know where they take the number 16384 MB/s from.

In addition (this might be only my ignorance though), I never heard about any low-level register programming and I have no idea how it would be possible to reduce RAM latency to 0 clocks. He is probably talking about prefetching, but its technique that existed in CPUs since long time...

P.S. I used to quote exactly the same article to show that soldered-on RAM offers superior performance, until I did some tests myself on my rMBP ;)

P.P.S. I still believe that soldered-on RAM has a good advantage, which is increased reliability. The mainboard maker can tweak the connection to perfectly match the properties of the individual RAM module thus reducing stress and power consumption.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,956
4,549
Exactly. For me, I don't feel like paying $300 or so for a 16GB memory upgrade today...but I may need it later on (of which it'll probably only cost $100 etc.).
The Apple price is $200, not $300. The standalone 16Gb DDR3 modules also cost around $150-180. I think its a bit absurd to complain about the extra $50. And - why would you believe that the DDR3 prices will go down in the future? DDR3 will become obsolete quite soon, which means the prices will rise. For example, if you want to upgrade your DDR2 laptop (2008 or earlier) to 8GB, you need to pay $200 or more. 16GB is the max your laptop will ever support - if you need that much RAM, you might as well buy it while ordering.

Sadly, since Apple took this route, the PC industry seems to be following suit (as they usually do).
I don't believe it has much to do with Apple. Its a general tendency in the industry. Which makes perfect sense to me. Computers nowadays have more then enough memory out of the box - why bother increasing material cost, complexity of the mainboard design and size to include a feature which makes so little sense?

We just need having 16GB 204-pin modules available in the market, then maybe someone will be interested on allowing it to be soldered to the logic board. Having 32GB on a Retina Macbook would be a good reason for trying this as earlier models get older.
Except such modules will never exist ;) Chip designers have long given up trying to bring such high density to DDR3. They will be first available with DDR4 which, again, will be incompatible with your rMBP.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,014
166
I think sooner or later there will be compact BGA soldering kits or logic board repair kits. There is a big market for Mac upgrades as OWC proved with its accessories. We are so much afraid of soldering, but having the right tools, it's not rocket science.

OWC could sell some sort of hack allowing disabling or even joining additional RAM to rMBPs. As the max ram module available for laptops is 8GB, this kind of upgrade would be too expensive, but once we have 16GB or 32GB modules allowing a rMBP getting a maximum of 48GB, it would be worth upgrading and risking some LB damage when the Macbook gets a bit older.
Not going to happen. You would have to perfectly unsolder a bunch of ram modules and then solder more in their place. Damage is very likely.
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,522
286
Dark Castle
I guess the soldered RAM is because :
- They may had several rejections in the manufacturing line due to loose RAM
- Failed validation testing as when the MacBooks are moved the RAM had intermittent connection
- No movable parts produces increased reliability despite lowering serviceability and upgradability (iSell More Macs)

I also despise the fact that macs are becoming disposable devices after a few years.
 

Commy1

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2013
726
69
In a perfect world I think everything would be upgradable. I don't think we'd even be sacrificing anything except the corporate preference and bias towards planned product failure.
It doesn't seem beyond reason to engineer a tiny clip or something that would pop out the ram, or SSD or whatever and, even if one had to go back to Apple and buy the upgrade, it'd still be possible.
I'm settling on the rMBP, I'm not happy about the lack of upgradability but it is what it is.
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,318
221
West Suburban Boston Ma
I don't see the upgradeable Macs coming back. The continuing move to smaller and tigher integration makes it harder to make anything upgradeable. Kind of sad, but I don't miss it anymore.