MacBook Air 11″ Teardown

The epic week of disassembly continues: Today, the MacBook Air 11″ found its way onto our teardown table and was soon just another Apple in our bushel o’ teardowns.

We’ve already taken apart this year’s MacBook Air 13″ and we know last year’s 11″ Air inside and out, so we didn’t expect many surprises when we popped the hood on this edition. But the new 11″ did have a few oddities tucked away in its aluminium sleeves. For starters, the AirPort card received an upgrade from the 2012 model, with the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi as found in the AirPort Extreme. The new 11″ Air also features an SSD that resembles the one used in the 13″, save one key difference: the chips on the 11″ Air are from Marvell, Sandisk, and Samsung, rather than Samsung alone.

The 11″ MacBook Air did equal its broader sibling in terms of repairability, scoring a 4 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

MacBook Air 11

Teardown highlights:

• The refreshed MacBook Air 11″ retains the same model number as the 2012 iteration: A1465. The slim, trendy profile of the 11″ model is identical to that of its 13″ sibling, down to the new dual-microphone array.

• While it doesn’t get the “all day performance” of the 13″ Air, the 7.6 V, 5100 mAh battery provides up to 9 hours of life in the 11″ MacBook Air. At 8.08 oz and 38.75 watt-hours, the new battery trumps last year’s puny 7.90 oz module rated at 35 watt-hours and providing a measly 5 hours of battery life.

• It appears that the 2013 MacBook Air 11″ uses the same PCIe-based SSD that we dug out of the 13″ model. However, this particular drive is a SanDisk module, fitted with components from three different manufacturers:

  • SanDisk 05131 016G 16 GB NAND flash (128 GB total)
  • Marvell 88SS9183 PCIe SSD controller
  • Samsung K4B2G1646E 512 MB DDR3 SDRAM

• The AirPort card comes equipped with exactly the same hardware as we found in the 13″ Air:

  • Broadcom BCM4360 5G WiFi 3-stream 802.11ac gigabit transceiver
  • Broadcom BCM20702 Single-Chip Bluetooth 4.0 HCI solution with BLE
  • Skyworks SE5516 dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WLAN front-end module

• While the I/O board is similar to the one found in the MacBook Air 13″, it bears a more striking resemblance to a certain US state.

• The trackpad features the same chips we found on the MacBook Air 13″:

  • STMicroelectronics STM32F103VB microcontroller
  • MXIC MX25L2006E 256 KB serial flash
  • Broadcom BCM5976A0KUB2G trackpad controller

• Logic Board ICs:

  • 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, with integrated Intel HD graphics 5000
  • Intel platform controller hub
  • Intel Z244T011B Thunderbolt controller
  • Fairchild Semiconductor DD154P
  • Elpida F8132A1MC 1 GB LPDDR3 RAM (4 GB total)
  • Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 512 MB synchronous DRAM
  • Broadcom BCM15700A2
  • Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck controller
  • Intersil 625 9AHRTZ