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iFixit tears down Kindle Fire HD, finds completely new internals

The folks at iFixit are performing its usual teardown ritual today. This time it has a full breakdown of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD announced earlier this month. One of the teardown highlights: the device includes a 3.7 V, 4400 mAh, 16.43 Wh Li-ion battery that has about the same juice as the previous-generation Kindle Fires, which means the 11 hours of expected battery life is up for debate. Other findings: The Kindle Fire HD sports an upgraded Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM from Elpida, a LCD from LG Display, and 16GB of flash memory from Samsung. Overall, the device scores a decent 7 out of 10 repairability score, which ties with the Nexus 7 and beats the third-generation iPad.

-Samsung KLMAG2GE4A eMMC 16 GB Flash Memory and Flash Memory Controller
-Elpida B8164B3PF-1D-F 8 Gb (1 GB) DDR2 RAM
-Texas Instruments TWL6032 Fully Integrated Power Management IC
-Broadcom BCM2076 GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM Receiver/Transmitter
-Wolfson WM8962E Ultra-Low Power Stereo CODEC
-B50 5222 12507A9A10

iFixit’s notes on the teardown are below:

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The Kindle Fire HD landed in our hands on Friday, and we immediately got it on our operating table to see what lurks inside. Interestingly enough, the HD version is quite dissimilar internally from the regular Kindle Fire. It turns out that the new non-HD Kindle Fire is essentially the same thing we took apart a year ago, whereas the Kindle Fire HD contains a completely different layout.

The Kindle Fire HD received a solid 7 out of 10 repairability score. It’s fairly easy to access and replace the battery and most other internal components, but the CPU is covered with a copper tape heat sink that’s hard to re-seat correctly, and the LCD panel and glass are fused together. This unfortunate binding increases the cost of repair for the most oft-broken component of the tablet — the front glass.

* Confirmed: the Kindle Fire HD has a TI OMAP 4460 processor with 1 GB of Elpida RAM.

* We used a plastic opening tool to get our first glimpse at the internals. Not long ago, we praised the Nexus 7 for being so easy to get into compared to the iPad, and sacrificing only a single millimeter to do so. Fast forward a couple months later, and Amazon has an easy-to-open tablet that’s 0.1 mm thinner than the Nexus 7. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: you don’t need to sacrifice thinness to make a repairable device.

* Thickness comparison among the major contenders:
* Kindle Fire HD: 10.3 mm
* Kindle Fire (2012): 11.43 mm
* Nexus 7: 10.4 mm
* iPad 3: 9.6 mm

* The battery is secured by four Phillips #00 screws and one lonely T5 Torx screw. While this single T5 Torx isn’t going to keep out our prying fingers, it might be enough to sour the battery removal attempts of those less well-equipped. Lesson learned, kids: don’t bring your Phillips to a Torx fight.

* Inside we find that the battery is enclosed within a metal casing. We believe this is for structural reinforcement, as well as for shielding the battery from any possible electrical damage.

* The Kindle Fire HD gets 11 hours of spark from a 3.7 V, 4400 mAh, 16.43 Wh Li-ion battery that — as in most mobile devices — dominates the majority of the inner real estate. That’s the same amount of juice as the regular Kindle Fire (which Engadget found to last 7:42 hours), and just a tad more than the Nexus 7’s 4326 mAh unit — which lasts 9:49 hours. So take that 11-hour figure with a grain of salt, and possibly some pepper.

* Some careful work with a razor blade allowed us to peel up the copper tape covering the main processor. The copper tape allows the processor to dissipate heat, but is more problematic to remove than a good ol’ fashioned heat sink.

* These are the ICs that Amazon threw into the Fire HD to make it burn:
* Samsung KLMAG2GE4A eMMC 16 GB Flash Memory and Flash Memory Controller
* Elpida B8164B3PF-1D-F 8 Gb (1 GB) DDR2 RAM
* Texas Instruments TWL6032 Fully Integrated Power Management IC
* Broadcom BCM2076 GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM Receiver/Transmitter
* Wolfson WM8962E Ultra-Low Power Stereo CODEC
* B50 5222 12507A9A10

* The backside of the motherboard is mostly barren, save for the InvenSense MPU-6050 six-axis gyro + accelerometer.

* Just like last year’s Kindle Fire, we delayered the main POP to see what processor lurks underneath the RAM. The Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 dual-core processor we uncovered is an upgrade from the standard Fire’s 4430 processor.

* The display is manufactured by LG Electronics, and labeled as LD070WX3-SL01.

* We found an Atmel maXTouch™ mXT768E mutual capacitance touchscreen controller hiding underneath a piece of tape on the ribbon cable attached to the LCD. Silly Atmel, you’ll have to do better than tape if you want to hide the chip from us!

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.