Mac Pro teardown reveals upgradeable CPU

By on December 28, 2013, 9:15 AM

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.




User Comments: 22

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1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's not like Apple to want anything less than 150% profit. If I didn't know better I would've thought they're suffering from a bit of remorse but that's just plain silly.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

At the same time they offer video configuration for less money than it costs on an open market, although whether it is worth the asking money is another matter, for what I hear those pair of D700 aren't good for gaming...

VitalyT VitalyT said:

It would be nice to see such system as a bare-bone - case, mb, psu and nothing else...

2 people like this |
Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

From what I hear building a Mac Pro clone is more expensive than buying one, Apple haters must be pissed...

1 person liked this | Jacksmack Jacksmack said:

LOL mac pro clone more expensive? I think not. I could build one for about $450 less than this with more ram

2 people like this | Rcarnes911 Rcarnes911 said:

From what I hear building a Mac Pro clone is more expensive than buying one, Apple haters must be pissed...

building a clone might be more expensive but you can build a better system for way less

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This Apple hater is not pissed! I will wish anyone willing to buy one of these (clone or not) a bright and happy future.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I still think the hardware is a disappointment in at least two areas:

- the first Mac Pro to drop 2-CPU support, and yet managing to hike up prices at the same time;

- buying today such an expensive desktop with HDMI 1.4 on board is a bad investment. Thunderbolt 2 isn't going to rescue the situation for all the new HDMI 2.0 devices coming in 2014.

Guest said:

..hmm, I wonder with that unique-shaped heatsink, is it enough to cooling down 2 gpus and 1 cpu?

Rcarnes911 Rcarnes911 said:

LOL mac pro clone more expensive? I think not. I could build one for about $450 less than this with more ram

You do understand what a clone is right? exact same parts, well minus the case you can't clone it

7 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

You do understand what a clone is right? exact same parts, well minus the case you can't clone it

The main part is cheap, you can buy it on-line for little money

[link]

Some people are confused, they bought it as is, and it's not working as a desktop...

Here's one comment from there:

I tried plugging it in but it didn't come with any ports or cables. I haven't opened it up to see what is inside because I'm not sure if that voids Apple's warranty. So, here I am, stuck with a computer resembling a trashcan and I am out $100+ (50 for the computer, 59 for shipping!?!?) I brought it into the Apple Store but they laughed and tried throwing pens into it. Terrible customer service.

Endafy Endafy said:

This is nothing new for Apple, however I am surprised that the "pro" desktop is upgrade-able while the MBP isn't. I suppose they don't care since at that price they aren't selling too many. And the people paying for them has the money to spend and would just sink the extra money anyhow. If I were going to buy a baseline model, I would simply because it is more computer than I could want. As far as hard drives go, I would simply buy some external cases and put them on it via USB. While this is messy, I have a few computers in my house I would simply move them back and forth between. Why? Copying from USB is faster, smoother, and easier to deal with than networking different operating systems together.

One thing that irks me is that they don't include a mouse and keyboard anymore. They charge an arm and a leg now for it, when it used to be included in the price. While I could give a rat's behind about the mouse, I love their keyboards, and I shouldn't be expected to pay $60 USD on top of 3 grand. It should be included like before. Their quality control is falling quickly. The iPhone screens break very easily now, they over charge for everything, and they sue everyone else. This is not the Apple I once knew and loved.

Now I have nothing but animosity for them. They lost a loyal customer. They need to clean up their act or die off... Become just a commodity company... They used to sell quality, now they just sell over priced, over hyped junk. Power Mac G5 was the last great Mac...

Farrukh20201 Farrukh20201 said:

..hmm, I wonder with that unique-shaped heatsink, is it enough to cooling down 2 gpus and 1 cpu?

Yes, if you are not circulating air inside the case and blow it THROUGH the case

2 people like this | Guest said:

I literally have a trash can under my desk that I'm looking at right now, and it looks identical.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

"While some of Apple's other desktop Macs have been switching to non-upgradeable CPUs..."

It was my understanding the cpu's in both the imac and mac mini have always been soldered onto their respective motherboards.

Guest said:

This is a top notch machine for the professional media person. Powerful, small, light, crazy quiet for the power and slick. The user who this is designed for very likely already has their preferred input/output devices or would want to select their own so I, personally, am not troubled by the exclusion. As has been pointed out, it would be very difficult to come up with a design as good for significantly less dineros. Kudos to Apple for innovating and inspiring in a sector that has largely been forgotten but is still important to many.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I'll be honest, I'm shocked you can change out both the CPU and ram on that machine. That type of thinking is normally considered heresy in the apple shop.

The problem here once again revolves around that price point and the parts in general. With such a high price to begin with, doing any user upgrades ruins the whole point of buying a Mac in the first place which is the warranty (similar to dell). If you want a machine with similar specs that's upgradeable, build one yourself and save some money plus keep the manufacturers warranty.

I like the circular look, it's actually cool looking to me, but I can guarantee I would just build my own machine way before buying this because of the price hikes.

Guest said:

"LOL mac pro clone more expensive? I think not. I could build one for about $450 less than this with more ram"

--> I wonder, can you MAKE one?

"You do understand what a clone is right? exact same parts, well minus the case you can't clone it"

--> for me the case is the least problem. The problems are: can you find that motherboard part and that heatsink?

Guest said:

[link]

hmm. Apple's machine actually looks like a bargain.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

building a clone might be more expensive but you can build a better system for way less

Better for what? Gaming? Sure. Better at doing what people that would buy this Mac Pro do with it? Doubtful.

Nobina Nobina said:

Apple is revolutionary and innovative. Their Mac Pro has upgradeable CPU. PC had that for years but it doesn't matter.

Guest said:

Just wait for the Google Nexus version.

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