Watch this guy restore a totally trashed MacBook Pro he bought for $100

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But how much for the repair parts? I don’t think he shared that cost.


Ditto, I was about to mention he never summed it up to say the total.


It freaks me a bit that that he completely disassembles it, replaces screen, chassis, andvarious components, but … doesn’t clean off the dirt-caked motherboard and fan beyond a quick blow.


Considering the way Apple has been going lately, would such a DIY repair even be feasible with one of the recent versions?


Somewhere in the middle he mentioned getting the bottom case off ebay for $75. Since it was sponsored by iFixit and he said that’s where he got the replacement battery, I assume he didn’t pay full price if anything at all.

I wish he did a full price breakdown, too, since this is the type of refurb I might do. Oddball parts (that iFixit doesn’t carry) are often hard to reliably find. He didn’t go “all out” because he mentioned keeping the RAM and wishing to upgrade it later.


It really doesn’t matter to me in the long run (I’m PC), but I do like to refurbish things, so I found the missing final cost a bit annoying.

I think it varies on your confidence, the specific device, and what you’re looking to repair. Apple laptops older than this had the keyboard snap out so you can replace the RAM underneath and the battery was removable–both without any tools needed. I haven’t really had too much of an issue replacing things that I need to replace in phones or laptops. The big concerns are always “will it work when I put it back together?”, did I snap off or bend some tiny part, or not quite remembering how to put this piece back. It’s definitely been more difficult. The most annoying part in modern products is all of the adhesives, but before that it was all of the “clips” that were hidden and easy to break/bend.

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I replaced the thermal paste on mine a few months ago. Not that big of a job in retrospect! (And yes, it still works :grinning:)
I’ve had this laptop for 9 years now… “They don’t make 'em like they used to!


Ship of Theseus


The original MacBook (2007) had the memory and hard drive accessible from the battery slot, which made for a wonderfully upgradable machine. Would be nice to go back to that kind of fix ability.


It is harder mainly in that the USB-C laptops, and I think the last generation of USB-A laptops don’t have a removable bottom case, the entire unit is milled out of a single aluminum slug (prior “unibody” design I think had a separate bottom, or at least the bottom had access where the battery lived). On the plus side this makes the case much more solid for the same weight (“solid” doesn’t just feel “nicer”, but is less likely to allow the insides to twist and be damaged during rough handling). On the minus side that means to replace things “at the bottom” you have to extract the whole computer out through the top.

It can be done, but is very labor intensive.

In some ways it would actually be easier with a junker as you won’t worry as much about breaking things as you pull them out…only about getting the new parts in without breaking them.

A lot of Apple’s choices have been like this, soldering the RAM onto the motherboard makes them far less likely to work loose then DIMM slots, so less likely to need repair…but the repair is no longer the super easy “pop out the old DIMM, put in a new one, and it may as well have more RAM because costs have come down…”.

USB C is good… what it’s in could be much better.

I understand wanting to refurb old hardware instead of buying new, and also that the pieces he replaced were probably the cheapest ones, the logic board, LCD, touchpad, and DVD drives all being operable. But I can’t imagine he got away with this refurb for less than $500, including the original cost of the trashed laptop. Can you not buy a used late-2011 13" in decent condition for less than that? Was this a practical exercise at all?

I’m not saying I wouldn’t like those things, but I’ve had a change of heart; specifically regarding the battery. When batteries were removable, their lifetime was 200 charge cycles and frequently went bad before then. I also found little value in carrying around more than one (it’s not like most people had a separate charger). With batteries built internally they still weren’t that difficult to replace, they lasted much longer for each charge, and their lifetime was bumped up to 1000 charge cycles.

As for RAM and SSD, I would like these to be more serviceable. In the 13" form factor, like the 16GB limit, it seems to be imposed by the motherboard/chipset since I see the same things on the Windows side. For the SSD, there’s a very noticeable speed improvement on the Macs and the cost to upgrade wasn’t appreciably more than on the Windows side buying an after-market to swap out. You just lose the ability to do it later on.

Last time I upgraded I probably would have switched to Linux on my laptop, but PC laptops just hadn’t come as far as I would have hoped.

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I’m wondering if this was Apple’s call (I’m sure they have some leverage in the matter, though). At least in the 13" laptops I could find on the PC side had the same restrictions; soldiered on RAM that maxed out at 16GB. I think the models that supported up to 32GB drew additional power…so that was something Apple took a position on.

I worked there when the change was made, and that was at least what we told ourselves. We had a lot of people who experienced severe issues for weeks or months before they found the time to take laptops into service with the only steps to repair ended up being reseat the RAM.

To a lesser extent a lot of people replaced RAM with 3rd party RAM that wasn’t up to spec and didn’t perform correctly.

A much much smaller number of people actually bought the “right RAM” either form us, or from someone who did a good job getting the right memory (like OWC).

So in theory we were making things worse for anyone who did a RAM upgrade from OWC (or Apple, or anyone like OWC), but they were a tiny number of people, and helping both the people who bought bad RAM and experienced problems, and people who didn’t change the RAM at all and had issues with the DIMMs working loose enough to intermittently lose contact and flake out.

I only got a summary of the situation though, not actual numbers, so I don’t know how “insignificant” the numbers were for people that bought the “good” RAM later (I had basically always been in this camp, Apple’s RAM prices were far too high).


I did this once, but the other way round

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about $530 to do this repair…on an 8 year old laptop… (i had to add the clutch cover from a different model, as ifixit doesn’t actually have a clutch cover for the model in the video)

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