Thin is in for PC, MacBook — upgrades out

Retina MacBook Pro: it’s coolness factor precludes user upgrades.

(Credit: Apple)

The upgradable computer is under attack.

In case you haven’t noticed, Apple and every other first-tier PC maker on the planet are pushing thin laptops, not to mention even thinner tablets. Problem is, really thin computers are, by design, “sealed.” That means, fewer and fewer upgradable computers.

In fact, these days the only chance you’ll have to upgrade most ultrabooks and MacBooks is when you order them online. After that, you’re stuck with the configuration.

As is the case with the Retina MacBook Pro. “Unlike previous generations of MacBook Pros, the MacBook Pro with Retina display is guarded by Apple’s proprietary pentalobe screws,” wrote iFixit — which goes on to list other impediments to access.

While a teardown outfit like iFixit can crack open a Retina MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or an ultrabook, chances are the average user can’t — and probably shouldn’t.

Take the Dell XPS 13 ultrabook. Just to access the solid-state drive, you have to peel away layers like the “power-light board” and battery — and that’s after removing 10 torx screws on the base cover.

This isn’t your father’s Dell (or HP) laptop (see photo below), where the underside of the laptop sported easily-removable Mini PCI, hard drive, and memory covers, to mention just a few upgradable components.

An older Dell laptop. It was a cinch to upgrade.

(Credit: Dell)

And the rare ultrabook that is designed to provide access to components like the battery and SSD, is often the pricey variety, like the HP Envy 14 Spectre.

And don’t expect things to improve. Apple is making a statement with the non-upgradable MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the number of ultrabooks and tablet-like hybrids will only increase in the coming years.

Related Links:

New MacBook Airs, Pros put ultrabook makers on notice

Apple’s Retina Display MacBook Pro under glass

New MacBooks, accessories debut at WWDC

Five ways to spend $2,199 on a MacBook

MacBook Pro with Retina Display ships in ‘2-3 weeks’

via CNET Latest News

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