I never bought this belief that soldering components somehow improves their reliability. The interconnects between components have never been a problem, and rarely does reseating a loose Memory, SSD or Wireless module actually correct a fault, especially when those components are also screwed into place as most of these modules are. There are of course exceptions:
- Solid Platform Flex cables and card edge connectors that become partially disconnected with sudden drops (some have screw-in retaining brackets to mitigate this issue)
- When Apple can’t correctly engineer the interconnect cables, such as the broken traces inside the 13" Mid 2012 MacBook Pro HDD Flex cables that would occur again, and again, and again.
Otherwise the most common component failures are from the ones that are soldered on, like the Graphics Processor. The difference of course between a soldered or integrated component and a socketed component is cost. An integrated component costs a lot more in part costs and labour to replace. The above examples, when they occur, are usually quick and cost effective to correct.
I’m pleased Australian Consumer Law somewhat covers us in this regard, otherwise consumers with current generation MacBook Pros would be screwed when their keyboard fails outside of the Apple Limited Warranty. (And they’re failing, I can tell because I’m replacing the bloody things.)
That aside, I’m not that interested in upgrading my machines anymore. My 15" Mid 2012 MacBook Pro was the last machine I performed any significant upgrades to and that machine is still my go-to when performance is critical. Otherwise I’m satisfied working with MacBook Airs that are otherwise stock.
But I don’t like machines being locked down from the user. I don’t believe components should only be serviceable as block modules, like the Top Case w/ Keyboard, Trackpad and Battery assemblies Apple replace when a single component requires attention, and I believe that manufacturers are removing or restricting capabilities all while claiming it’s to improve security.
Remember when Secure Boot was first tabled within the PC industry, a system in which manufacturers and vendors (Microsoft) would have their devices require an approved and signed bootloader, thereby limiting what operating systems those machines could run? It wasn’t received favourably. A few years later Apple unveils the iMac Pro with the same functionality, prevents the system from using any bootchain that isn’t specifically approved by Apple, calls it a “security feature” (protecting against whom, I’m not sure) and it’s received with praise because Apple, such a generous company they are, have our best interests at heart. It’s the same shit with different marketing.
(At least it’s a selectable option for now. It’s almost certain to become the standard on new machines within a few years.)
Consumers that funnel thousands of dollars into this stuff over and over, only to complain when the machine is too expensive, too restrictive, doesn’t do something they want it to, doesn’t have the connectivity they need, or costs too much to fix really need to consider what they’re purchasing ahead of time. Ignore the marketing speak for a moment and look at the motives behind some of the engineering, design and process decisions Apple chose to make with the product, and decide whether you want your dollars endorsing those decisions.
If the answer is no, it’s time to look elsewhere.