Breaking down Apple TV, NVIDIA Graphics LSI confirmed

Mar 27, 2007
Tatsurou Hokugou, Nikkei Electronics
Photo 1: With the bottom surface panel opened. The Fujitsu HDD is embedded on the panel.
Photo 1: With the bottom surface panel opened. The Fujitsu HDD is embedded on the panel.
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Photo 2: With the circuit board removed. The entire chassis is designed to function as a heat radiation fin.
Photo 2: With the circuit board removed. The entire chassis is designed to function as a heat radiation fin.
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Photo 3: The main printed circuit board. Four chips drew our attention.
Photo 3: The main printed circuit board. Four chips drew our attention.
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Photo 4: The graphics LSI is thought to be an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300.
Photo 4: The graphics LSI is thought to be an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300.
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Photo 5: The microprocessor appears to be a Pentium M.
Photo 5: The microprocessor appears to be a Pentium M.
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On March 23, 2007, Nikkei Electronics got a hold of Apple TV and took it apart. Despite our concern that its structure might be more complicated than that of the Mac Mini, we were able to easily take it apart, as it had an unexpectedly simple structure.

First we flipped up the rubber on the bottom surface and found a Torx screw at each corner. We easily removed the bottom surface panel by simply removing the screws (photo 1). When looking over the inside, our attention was immediately drawn to the cooler fan sitting in the center of the circuit board and the HDD mounted on the bottom panel. The HDD was made by Fujitsu Ltd. Next to the cooler fan was a WLAN module, from which blue and black wires ran toward the upper surface panel. It appeared that two antennas were set on the other side beyond the aluminum panel partition.

The printed circuit board was attached with only Torx screws. With the exception of one that we couldn't remove without a slimmer screwdriver, all of the screws were easy to take out. When the printed circuit board was removed, it turned out that the casing was designed to also work as a heat radiation fin (photo 2).

Meanwhile, four major chips were mounted on the printed circuit board. Three were Intel products (the microprocessor and chipset) and the other one was an NVIDIA Corp. graphic LSI. One of the two chips without thermal grease seemed to be the north bridge chip from the 82945G chipset, since it was marked with "0G82945GUXL." Although we could not identify the other one, we think it was the south bridge chip.

The other two chips with thermal grease were the microprocessor and graphics processor (GPU). There was little doubt that the GPU, which was marked with "GF-GO-7300U", was the GeForce Go 7300 (photo 4). It also seemed that the other chip was a Pentium M (photo 5).