After many months of waiting, Apple's brand new Mac Pro was released to the world last week to much fanfare. The stylish workstation isn't cheap, with prices ranging from $2,999 to upwards of $9,000, causing some people to hope that the largely custom-designed innards might be user upgradeable.
OWC took their Mac Pro and performed a quick teardown, revealing what exactly is inside the unusual case. It was already known that the RAM is standard and easily upgradeable, but the good news is that the Intel Xeon CPU is socketed, rather than soldered to the motherboard, meaning user upgrades are very possible.
While some of Apple's other desktop Macs have been switching to non-upgradeable CPUs, the Mac Pro sticks with a standard socket and standard CPUs, including a standard heat spreader (which was removed on some older Mac Pros). It would void the warranty for sure, but you could purchase the $3,000 base model and then upgrade the CPU yourself once it arrives.
How much money could you theoretically save by performing upgrades yourself? Apple sells the 2.7 GHz 12-core Xeon E5-2697 v2 upgrade for $3,500, while the exact same processor is available for $2,750 on Newegg, providing potential savings of $750. Whether or not you want to go through the hassle of taking apart the machine and voiding its warranty, though, is entirely up to you.
The Mac Pro 2013 is the first major upgrade for the Mac Pro line since 2010. The base model features a 3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5-1620 v2 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB PCI Express SSD and two AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards, each with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Or you can order the following upgrades: Intel’s 3.5GHz six-core Xeon E5-1650 v2 chip, 16GB of RAM and two FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 RAM each.
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