Apple's new MacBook Pro has quality-of-build problems, expert says

PanARMENIAN.Net - Apple's new MacBook Pro shows some quality-of-build problems that shouldn't be seen in a notebook that costs $1,800, a teardown expert said.

While disassembling a 15-in. MacBook Pro, iFixit.com - a site that regularly tears down electronics and publishes do-it-yourself repair guides - found several signs of substandard assembly.

Among iFixit's findings was a stripped screw near the notebook's subwoofer enclosure and an unlocked ZIF (zero insertion force) socket for the IR (infrared) sensor.

"[These] should not be things found inside a completely unmolested computer with an $1,800 base price," said iFixit in the teardown description posted on its site.

The refreshed MacBook Pro models launched last week in what one analyst called a "ho-hum" upgrade .

iFixit also spotted an unusual amount of thermal paste applied to both the central processor (CPU) and the graphics processor (GPU). "Holy thermal paste! Time will tell if the gobs of thermal paste applied to the CPU and GPU will cause overheating issues down the road," iFixit said.

Thermal paste, also called "thermal grease" and "heat sink paste," is a compound that computer makers apply to increase the thermal conductivity of a processor so heat is drawn away from the chip more efficiently.

"Paste fills in the valleys of the bumpy surfaces on both the heat sink and the chip to exchange heat between the two more efficiently," said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research , a firm that specializes in graphics devices and processors. A heat sink is the component that's mounted atop a processor to dissipate heat. But too much paste doesn't mean that the underlying processor will necessarily overheat and so fail faster, cautioned Peddie.

"Excess paste shows sloppy application, shoddy assembly work," said Peddie. "If you can see [the paste] it ain't workin'," he added, talking about how extra, visible paste doesn't contribute to increased conductivity, Computerworld reports.

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