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A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver for Retina MacBook Pro

_DSC1438Disassembling a Retina MacBook Pro is easy, just as long as you have the right tools. Apple’s hardware haven’t always been the easiest to open up, and in recent years, they’ve also taken to use somewhat non-standard screws. So what if you need or want to open the bottom cover of your Retina MacBook Pro? We’ll, there’s a screwdriver for that, of course.

The Retina MacBook Pro, along with some MacBook Airs, and perhaps some other models use P5 pentalobe screws to secure the bottom cover. There are several places you can buy the P5 pentalobe screwdriver. However, considering how tiny these things are, and how easily the screws could become damaged, I decided to get mine from a more trustworthy store. I got mine from iFixit.

Disclaimer: Do you own due diligence and check what screwdriver is needed for your MacBook. Do the same for deciding where you want to buy your screwdriver from. Don’t depend on this blog post, and I shan’t be responsible for any damaged screws or MacBooks!)

Why would you want to open your MacBook? In the past, there were a number of things you could do:

  1. Upgrade RAM
  2. Upgrade hard disk or replace with SSD

Nowadays, there’s nothing designed to be user serviceable.The new MacBooks have all the upgrade options configured in the factory. That’s not saying you can’t tear them apart. If you’re so inclined, go right ahead. So if you can’t upgrade anything, there’s little reason left to need to open the cover?

I think there’re still two reasons. First, it’s just to gawk at the innards.

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This one here is the Retina MacBook Pro. The system board doesn’t even take up half the space. But did you know in the MacBook Air, the system board is really really tiny? The batteries, nowadays not user replaceable of course, are divided into six cells that basically take up whatever space is left.

Remember how boring little things like the fan can also receive such attention to design at Apple? The fan has asymmetrically aligned fan blades that make the fan sound quieter. It doesn’t actually produce less noise, but it disperses the sound energy over several discrete frequencies so that they sound less distinct.

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The other reason to open the cover is to clean out clogged up dust. Oh yes, dust gets everywhere. Once enough dust clogs out to disrupt or limit airflow, the fan has to work harder, and the notebook might get hotter.

I don’t think enough dust will accumulate that such preventive maintenance would be a necessity, but hey, if you have the tools, then why not?

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I did feel that my Retina MacBook Pro has getting hotter. That prompted me to look for the P5 pentalobe screwdriver, and when a sale came up at iFixit, I got myself one. It’s currently selling at US$7.95. You can also consider this set of 3 pentalobe screwdrivers from Amazon.

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