Amazon this week jumped head first into the streaming TV fray with its Amazon Fire TV set-top box and game controller. There's a lot to like about the flexible, powerful little unit, including its smooth interface and menu system, not to mention the £60 price tag.
But is it repairable? Leave it to the teardown artists at iFixit to find out, which they did on Friday, publishing a teardown report on Amazon Fire TV and giving it a middling repairability score of 6 out of 10.
Of course, low repairability scores are par for the course for devices like Fire TV. Like most smartphones, set-top boxes aren't really meant to be fixed with spare parts when they break down, much less upgraded like a PC. When your Amazon Fire TV goes kaput, most folks will just get a new one if they're still on warranty, or just buy another for relatively little money.
The fun part of iFixit's review is seeing what's inside the box, so let's get to it.
The Fire TV uses Qualcomm's combo chipset of a quad-core, 1.7GHz Krait 300 processor and Adreno 320 dedicated GPU to go with 2GB of memory and 8GB of internal storage. Here is the full breakdown of chips the teardown team found populating the front and back of the main board of the Fire TV's principle unit:
- Samsung K3PE0E00QM-CGC2 2GB LPDDR2 RAM (this chip also appears in Motorola's Moto X smartphone, iFixit noted)
- Qualcomm's application processor and GPU package, layered beneath the RAM
- Toshiba THGBM5G6A2JBAIR 8GB eMMC NAND flash
- Qualcomm PMM8920 power management IC
- Atheros AR8152-B PCI-E fast Ethernet controller
- Pericom PI6C557-03ALE PCI-E clock
- Texas Instruments DIT41921 digital audio transmitter
- Qualcomm Atheros QCA6234XH integrated dual-band 2x2 (MIMO) 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 chip
The relatively featureless Amazon Fire TV box has only a few ports, namely a 5.5-mm DC Jack, HDMI output, optical audio, and a 10/100 Ethernet port. The iFixit team said it pried the unit apart with relatively little trouble but warned that the Fire TV likely runs very hot—the box has "a heatsink that fills most of the bottom case" and inside are "thermal gum wads" that resemble the stuff used for blowing bubbles.
On to the Amazon Fire TV's remote. Here are the key chips powering this device:
- Texas Instruments MSP430F5435A 16-bit ultra-low power microcontroller
- Texas Instruments CC256 Bluetooth and dual-mode controller
- Winbond W25Q40BW serial flash memory with dual and quad SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface)
- MD v1.2 microphone (also found in the Amazon Kindle Fire HD)
Finally, iFixit also performed a teardown of the Amazon Fire TV's game controller, which is sold separately from the main unit. Here's what the team found inside:
- CSR CSR8970 audio and Bluetooth system-on-chip
- NXP LCP812 Cortex-M0+ 32-bit microcontroller
- Winbond 25Q16DW serial flash memory with dual and quad SPI
- Texas Instruments HC595 8-bit shift registers
- NXP HC4052 dual 4-channel analog multiplexer/demultiplexer
For more, see our review.