Why are newer MacBook Pros not upgradeable

Aditya_S

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Original poster
Jan 25, 2016
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I've been waiting for the new MacBook Pros to be my first OS X computer but I've been wondering why did Apple stop making them upgradeable? I know they're thinner now, but why does that make it not upgradeable?
 

JTToft

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Apr 27, 2010
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Well, because the less parts exist that can be removed and thus have to be mounted with screws, cables, sockets or other such things, the less space is required and the thinner the machine can be.
Less upgradeability also means less fragility and a lower rate of component failure, which is another argument in favour of it from Apple's point of view.
 

Aditya_S

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Original poster
Jan 25, 2016
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Well, because the less parts exist that can be removed and thus have to be mounted with screws, cables, sockets or other such things, the less space is required and the thinner the machine can be.
Less upgradeability also means less fragility and a lower rate of component failure, which is another argument in favour of it from Apple's point of view.
Thanks for the answer, I'm just asking because later when my MacBook Pro becomes old, I would at least be able to speed it up a bit by upgrading the SSD or RAM
 

JTToft

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Apr 27, 2010
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Thanks for the answer, I'm just asking because later when my MacBook Pro becomes old, I would at least be able to speed it up a bit by upgrading the SSD or RAM
- Those days are mostly gone, for better or worse.

The SSD can still be swapped out for a larger one, though. As for speed, the ones Apple use are among the fastest on the market already.
 
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OneMike

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Oct 19, 2005
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Thanks for the answer, I'm just asking because later when my MacBook Pro becomes old, I would at least be able to speed it up a bit by upgrading the SSD or RAM
If you want to buy apple and keep for a long time. Your best bet is to get the most powerful machine within budget at the time.

You can get an ssd I'm some cases like those from owc. As it's a none standard part. The price is not great.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Well, because the less parts exist that can be removed and thus have to be mounted with screws, cables, sockets or other such things, the less space is required and the thinner the machine can be.
This argument doesn't fly. Dell XPS 15 is just as thin as the MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch, yet it has upgradeable RAM.

The real reason is that Apple want the most of your money out the door so Apple made it non-upgradable.
 

throAU

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Feb 13, 2012
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I've been waiting for the new MacBook Pros to be my first OS X computer but I've been wondering why did Apple stop making them upgradeable? I know they're thinner now, but why does that make it not upgradeable?
Less space required. More space internally for battery. Proprietary SSD because there was no standard PCIe interface at the time.
[doublepost=1457846321][/doublepost]
This argument doesn't fly. Dell XPS 15 is just as thin as the MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch, yet it has upgradeable RAM.

The real reason is that Apple want the most of your money out the door so Apple made it non-upgradable.
It also came out about 2-3 years later, and has worse battery life. The Retina 15" is a 2012 design.
 

T5BRICK

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Aug 3, 2006
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Thanks for the answer, I'm just asking because later when my MacBook Pro becomes old, I would at least be able to speed it up a bit by upgrading the SSD or RAM
As a computer gets older, upgrading the RAM and SSD can only do so much. The CPU and GPU also become limiting factors.

This argument doesn't fly. Dell XPS 15 is just as thin as the MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch, yet it has upgradeable RAM.
As someone else already pointed out, at the expense of battery life.

The real reason is that Apple want the most of your money out the door so Apple made it non-upgradable.
Yes it's obviously some conspiracy. Just like planned obsolescence.

Or maybe the answer is actually simpler and it's just easier to improve reliability and longevity when you don't have to deal with removable parts.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Less space required. More space internally for battery.

It also came out about 2-3 years later, and has worse battery life. The Retina 15" is a 2012 design.
The Dell XPS 15 has a physically smaller body and a high resolution display, so obviously it has worse battery life.

As a computer gets older, upgrading the RAM and SSD can only do so much. The CPU and GPU also become limiting factors.



As someone else already pointed out, at the expense of battery life.



Yes it's obviously some conspiracy. Just like planned obsolescence.

Or maybe the answer is actually simpler and it's just easier to improve reliability and longevity when you don't have to deal with removable parts.
In the Dell XPS 15, the removable memory sits on top of the motherboard so it doesn't take space away from the battery.

Also, from a repairability point of view, sodered RAM means that the whole logic board has to be replaced if the RAM goes bad.
 

T5BRICK

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Aug 3, 2006
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In the Dell XPS 15, the removable memory sits on top of the motherboard so it doesn't take space away from the battery.
Yet it has worse battery life. By quite a bit.

Also, from a repairability point of view, sodered RAM means that the whole logic board has to be replaced if the RAM goes bad.
Working at an AASP in the past, I've dealt with as many bad RAM slots as I have dealt with RAM failures. Often the bad RAM was 3rd party and the original RAM was fine.

Soldered RAM has less points of potential failure.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Yet it has worse battery life. By quite a bit.
As I have previously said, the Dell XPS 15 has a physically smaller body so less room for battery as well as higher resolution screen.

Working at an AASP in the past, I've dealt with as many bad RAM slots as I have dealt with RAM failures. Often the bad RAM was 3rd party and the original RAM was fine.

Soldered RAM has less points of potential failure.
Therefore it's a moot point. Sure, the slot may go bad, but so can the RAM itself.

Having RAM slots doesn't make things inherently worse.
 

Badrottie

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May 8, 2011
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Los Angeles
I've been waiting for the new MacBook Pros to be my first OS X computer but I've been wondering why did Apple stop making them upgradeable? I know they're thinner now, but why does that make it not upgradeable?
If you want a future-proof upgradeable, you can buy a Windows laptop. Windows 10 and beyond is getting better now.
 
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T5BRICK

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Aug 3, 2006
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As I have previously said, the Dell XPS 15 has a physically smaller body so less room for battery as well as higher resolution screen.
Yes. And if the RAM didn't need extra space for the slot, there would be more room for battery.

Therefore it's a moot point. Sure, the slot may go bad, but so can the RAM itself.

Having RAM slots doesn't make things inherently worse.
How exactly is it a moot point? The slot itself is an additional potential point of failure. Removing the slot and soldering the RAM onto the logic board makes the entire system more reliable.

How often have you had OEM RAM fail outside of the warranty period?
 

Aditya_S

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 25, 2016
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If you want a future-proof upgradeable, you can buy a Windows laptop. Windows 10 and beyond is getting better now.
I need the MacBook Pro to learn iOS app development, so a Windows 10 laptop won't work. I also already have a Windows 10 PC
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Yes. And if the RAM didn't need extra space for the slot, there would be more room for battery.

How? Could Dell have fitted another battery right on top of the motherboard?

How exactly is it a moot point? The slot itself is an additional potential point of failure. Removing the slot and soldering the RAM onto the logic board makes the entire system more reliable.

How often have you had OEM RAM fail outside of the warranty period?
Yes, I have. Lucky for me the RAM is removable.
 
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T5BRICK

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How? Could Dell have fitted another battery right on top of the motherboard?
The actual RAM chips themselves have a much smaller footprint than the modules and the slots. If Dell had designed the motherboard with integrated memory it could have been physically smaller, leaving additional space for the battery.

Yes, I have. Lucky for me the RAM is removable.
Fortunately RAM failures aren't very common so it's not as big of a concern as you seem to believe it is.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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The actual RAM chips themselves have a much smaller footprint than the modules and the slots. If Dell had designed the motherboard with integrated memory it could have been physically smaller, leaving additional space for the battery.
If you see both side-by-side, you won't notice much of a different at all.

The biggest different in battery life has to do with the physical smaller body and smaller display.

Also, Dell offer 2 different battery size for the Dell XPS 15.

The smaller battery is for the model with HDD while the bigger battery is for the model without HDD.

Here's the Dell XPS 15 with the smaller battery:


Fortunately RAM failures aren't very common so it's not as big of a concern as you seem to believe it is.
You could say [put something here] failure is not common. The point is whether or not it is replaceable.

You are right that some problem arise from people putting incompatible RAM into the computer, but in that case, just replacing the RAM is an easy fix.
 
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T5BRICK

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If you see both side-by-side, you won't notice much of a different at all.

The biggest different in battery life has to do with the physical smaller body and smaller display.
The space that the soldered RAM occupies on the rMBP logic board is about half of the space that the chips and the slots take up on that Dell.

Also, Dell offer 2 different battery size for the Dell XPS 15.

The smaller battery is for the model with HDD while the bigger battery is for the model without HDD.
The fact that Dell sells a model that has even WORSE battery life is hilarious. The model with the SSD and bigger battery has a 4 hour battery life compared to a 9 hour battery life for the rMBP.

http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-xps-15-october-2015/

You could say [put something here] failure is not common. The point is whether or not it is replaceable.
If it very rarely fails outside of warranty, then I'll take long term reliability over the option to replace them. Personal preference I guess.

You are right that some problem arise from people putting incompatible RAM into the computer, but in that case, just replacing the RAM is an easy fix.
Or a person could properly configure the computer in the first place. As I've already said, by the time you need more RAM and a larger HDD, the CPU and GPU are going become limiting factors as well.
 
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GoBengals

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2013
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Two reasons. Profit and stupidity. Profit is good. So profit. And stupidity. Every snuck who wants to upgrade buying jank off brand ram and putting it in their OC and calling and setting genius appointments because the computer is freezing or running slow now.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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The space that the soldered RAM occupies on the rMBP logic board is about half of the space that the chips and the slots take up on that Dell.



The fact that Dell sells a model that has even WORSE battery life is hilarious. The model with the SSD and bigger battery has a 4 hour battery life compared to a 9 hour battery life for the rMBP.

http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-xps-15-october-2015/
Let just look at the actual size of the battery. The actual battery life is to much dependent on OS, specific use.

Dell XPS 15 is actually the size of a 14-inch laptop even though it has a 15-inch screen so it's quite a bit smaller than a 15-inch MacBook Pro retina.

Dell XPS 15 has a 3200 x 1800 pixels 15.6 inch display. MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch has a 2880 x 1800 pixels 15.4 inch display.

Dell XPS 15 has a 84 watt-hour battery. MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch has a 99.5 watt-hour battery.

Dell XPS 15 has removable RAM, MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch has soldered RAM.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why would I think that the Dell XPS 15 has worse battery life?

1. I would think that it's because the Dell XPS 15 is a smaller body laptop and can only accommodate a smaller battery and it also has a slight bigger screen and at a much higher resolution.

2. I would think that because it's because the Dell XPS 15 has a removable battery and the other laptop doesn't.

Now suppose that I am a rational person. I would choose #1.

I am not sure how you could choose #2 as the answer unless you are not a rational person.

If it very rarely fails outside of warranty, then I'll take long term reliability over the option to replace them. Personal preference I guess.

Or a person could properly configure the computer in the first place. As I've already said, by the time you need more RAM and a larger HDD, the CPU and GPU are going become limiting factors as well.
Let's see. My MacBook Pro (Late 2011, 17-inch) [originally $2499] came with only 4 GB RAM.

I don't know which executives thought that shipping Apple's flagship product in 2011 with 4 GB of RAM would be a good idea. Dell shipped its XPS 17 (which cost only half as much as the MacBook Pro) with 8 GB RAM standard that very same year.

Thankfully on the 2011 model, the RAM can be upgraded.

Oh, and I am perfectly happy with what I have as long as the GPU doesn't die.
 
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T5BRICK

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Aug 3, 2006
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Let just look at the actual size of the battery. The actual battery life is to much dependent on OS, specific use.
I'll agree with you about the OS for the most part, although my 13" rMBP gets about 10 hours of battery life in OS X and a solid 8 hours in Windows 10, given similar usage.

In the battery test I linked above, the battery is tested using a video stream.

Dell XPS 15 is actually the size of a 14-inch laptop even though it has a 15-inch screen so it's quite a bit smaller than a 15-inch MacBook Pro retina.

Dell XPS 15 has a 3200 x 1800 pixels 15.6 inch display. MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch has a 2880 x 1800 pixels 15.4 inch display.

Dell XPS 15 has a 84 watt-hour battery. MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch has a 99.5 watt-hour battery.

Dell XPS 15 has removable RAM, MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch has soldered RAM.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why would I think that the Dell XPS 15 has worse battery life?

1. I would think that it's because the Dell XPS 15 is a smaller body laptop and can only accommodate a smaller battery and it also has a slight bigger screen and at a much higher resolution.

2. I would think that because it's because the Dell XPS 15 has a removable battery and the other laptop doesn't.

Now suppose that I am a rational person. I would choose #1.

I am not sure how you could choose #2 as the answer unless you are not a rational person.
Before you start flinging insults and claiming that a person who disagrees with you is irrational and you're not, I'd like to point out that you just listed off half a dozen differences between the Dell XPS and the rMBP. You're the one that wanted to compare the two. :rolleyes:

Now. You apparently don't understand that a small decrease in motherboard size is actually a much larger increase in volume available for the battery.

Let's see. My MacBook Pro (Late 2011, 17-inch) [originally $2499] came with only 4 GB RAM.

I don't know which executives thought that shipping Apple's flagship product in 2011 with 4 GB of RAM would be a good idea. Dell shipped its XPS 17 (which cost only half as much as the MacBook Pro) with 8 GB RAM standard that very same year.
But you still bought the Mac. Why exactly is that?

Thankfully on the 2011 model, the RAM can be upgraded.

Oh, and I am perfectly happy with what I have as long as the GPU doesn't die.
Fortunately, Apple still covers the GPU on your laptop if it does fail. ;)
 

High Desert

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Nov 26, 2015
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Could care less about the XPS so back to original questions....I used to work in OEM and managed the world wide supply of replacement HDD's for a major corporation at the time, that also supplied Apple with HDD's. My group managed warranty replacement and planned lifetime replacements, and an upgrade path, for all drives over a certain period of time. The real problem with trying to plan these items is the very short life cycle, in mfg and development, as technology improves faster than lifecycle of product being made and supplied to customer base. Additionally, the "improved" product is not always a direct replacement for the current model in use, so workarounds have to occur. I can see Apples' viewpoint in that this is the product they are going to use, there will be "x" amount available to the consumer, and it will be in use for "X" amount of time/years. It really solves an inventory and cost problem and only requires planning for a elected failure rate for warranty replacement over the announce lifetime of the product. For what it is's worth...
 
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Ries

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Apr 21, 2007
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Because of Apple's bottom line. Less mounting, less steps to be performed manual/by robots, less wires. Smaller size = less matterial, less time to mill out. All that is about cost reduction while maintaining as much of a premium feel as possible.
 

maflynn

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Smaller size = less matterial, less time to mill out. All that is about cost reduction while maintaining as much of a premium feel as possible.
I think the cost savings from reducing the size by a millimeter is minimal (even at the scale that apple sells its laptops). I think they're making them non-upgradable for the simplest reason - make the consumer buy new instead of upgrade.
 
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