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Teardown of Apple's new Mac Pro reveals socketed, removable Intel CPU

post #1 of 281
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Hardware enthusiasts will likely be pleased to know that the processor powering Apple's new Mac Pro desktop appears removable, meaning that future upgrades of the CPU could be possible.

CPU
The CPU in the new Mac Pro is removable, Other World Computing has confirmed.


A closer look at the parts inside Apple's late 2013 Mac Pro were offered in teardown photos published on Friday by Other World Computing. They show that the Intel Xeon processor found inside the Mac Pro is socketed and can be removed from the system, should a user choose to do so.

On its other systems, Apple in recent years has chosen not to cater to users who may be interested in upgrading their computers, even for the company's professional-grade MacBook Pro lineup. Decisions such as permanently soldering in RAM have been a point of frustration for enthusiasts, though those decisions have also allowed Apple to pursue thinner and more portable designs.

This year's cylindrical Mac Pro has a volume just one eighth that of the desktop's cube-styled predecessor. But that drastic reduction in size has apparently not come at the cost of upgradeability -- on a few fronts, at least.

In addition to the socketed CPU, RAM in the new systems will also be user-upgradable, as Apple has opted to use traditional RAM slots.



However, user-replaceable components appear to end there, as the new Mac pro uses custom-designed graphics cards to fit in the case, as well as a proprietary interface for its flash-based hard drives. It's possible that third-party accessory makers could develop compatible hardware in the future, but there's still a question as to whether those parts -- as well as any user-inserted CPUs -- would be compatible with Apple's OS X operating system.

And while the small size of the new Mac Pro means users will not be able to add additional internal components such as multiple hard drives, as has been traditionally done with desktop computers, Apple has opted instead to allow expansion through exterior peripherals.

To that end, the Mac Pro sports six high-speed Thunderbolt 2 ports, allowing a number of bandwidth-consuming accessories to be plugged into the machine. It also includes four USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet inputs, and an HDMI 1.4 video output, leading Apple to call the system its "most expandable Mac yet."
post #2 of 281

OWC probably cracked open champagne when they found this out.

 

iFixit will still give it a 2/10.

post #3 of 281
I think some, if not most, would be better served by a user-upgradable SSD, but alas.

I wonder how much of a cheaper upgrade this CPU option will turn out to be.
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post #4 of 281

Not sure Intel makes a solderable version of any full-blown desktop/server CPU  

post #5 of 281

Does this mean I can buy the 3.5GHz 6-core model, then in a few years upgrade to 2.7GHz 12-core?

 

BTW, the photo shows a 3.7GHz cpu while Apple's website shows it as 3.5GHz. And the CPU is made in Costa Rica?!

 

http://blog.macsales.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/mp13_apart_sckt1.jpg

Edit: Added the image link


Edited by bloggerblog - 12/27/13 at 12:30pm
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post #6 of 281
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
I think some, if not most, would be better served by a user-upgradable SSD, but alas.

I wonder how much of a cheaper upgrade this CPU option will turn out to be.

 

It’s just a standard PCIe stick, isn’t it? OWC will have upgrades.

post #7 of 281
The only part that I have a problem with is the proprietary interface for its flash-based hard drives. If that is true. Like tallest skil, that looks like a PCIe interface to me.

If it isn't that is just bad form since there isn't any noticeable size savings over a standard PCIe interface used on previous flash-based drives.
post #8 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
I think some, if not most, would be better served by a user-upgradable SSD, but alas.



I wonder how much of a cheaper upgrade this CPU option will turn out to be.

It’s just a standard PCIe stick, isn’t it? OWC will have upgrades.

That is certainly what it looks like, but the article states otherwise. It's also not on OWC's website.

I can upgrade the 2 sticks and retain my PCIe card with OWC, a really nice option once I've filled it to the max.
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post #9 of 281


Picture posted merely for the sake of discussion...
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post #10 of 281
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

iFixit will still give it a 2/10.

I thought of the "2/10 would not bang" meme when I read that. You want to make a graphic? 1biggrin.gif

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post #11 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

That is certainly what it looks like, but the article states otherwise. It's also not on OWC's website.

I can upgrade the 2 sticks and retain my PCIe card with OWC, a really nice option once I've filled it to the max.

Like their other PCIe options I assume it's PCIe on the HW but uses a unique pin setup in the layout. Meaning, it will be easy for them to figure this out but it does take some time to get the schematics and put into production.

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post #12 of 281
Great news!
Oh and the PCI SSD is upgradable too.
post #13 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I thought of the "2/10 would not bang" meme when I read that. You want to make a graphic? 1biggrin.gif

2/10 would not fix.

post #14 of 281
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
I thought of the "2/10 would not bang" meme when I read that. You want to make a graphic? 1biggrin.gif

 

Oh, dear.

post #15 of 281

The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?


Edited by Haggar - 12/27/13 at 1:11pm
post #16 of 281

Apple does not sell a 3.7Ghz MacPro (they only have 3.5, 3.0, and 2.7). Does anyone know why do these photos show a 3.7Ghz processors? Anyone?

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post #17 of 281
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Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?

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post #18 of 281
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Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Apple does not sell a 3.7Ghz MacPro (they only have 3.5, 3.0, and 2.7). Does anyone know why do these photos show a 3.7Ghz processors? Anyone?

Sure they do:

http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/mac-pro?product=ME253LL/A&step=config
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post #19 of 281
Quote:
 However, user-replaceable components appear to end there, as the new Mac pro uses custom-designed graphics cards to fit in the case, as well as a proprietary interface for its flash-based hard drives. It's possible that third-party accessory makers could develop compatible hardware in the future, but there's still a question as to whether those parts -- as well as any user-inserted CPUs -- would be compatible with Apple's OS X operating system.

 

CPU and RAM upgradable.. SSD and Video upgradable if/when 3rd parties release products for the custom form-factor and release solid drivers / support.

 

I can TOTALLY see an nVidia 3rd party card being created, pushing their CUDA drivers. The GPU upgrades will likely cost a left nut.. but certainly and likely possible.

 

This system seems a lot more upgradable than everyone was making it. No large storage bays,.. so what.. most professionals goto external storage anyway. As long as we're going to see CPU, RAM, and eventually SSD and GPU upgrades... those are the 4 most important areas IMO..


Edited by Adrayven - 12/27/13 at 1:17pm
post #20 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post

CPU and RAM upgradable.. SSD and Video upgradable if/when 3rd parties release products for the custom form-factor and release solid drivers / support.

I can TOTALLY see an nVidia 3rd party card being created, pushing their CUDA drivers. The GPU upgrades will likely cost a left nut.. but certainly and likely possible.

This system seems a lot more upgradable than everyone was making it. No large storage bays,.. so what.. most professionals goto external storage anyway. As long as we're going to see CPU, RAM, and eventually SSD and GPU upgrades... those are the 4 most important areas IMO..

I dunno. It's possible, but it seemed that getting OS X support on graphics cards that only required a firmware change was hard enough, do you think nVidia would not only do that, but go as far as making custom graphics boards too?
post #21 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?

For the same reason pickup trucks have only one truck bed. You can order a bigger truck bed, but it makes no sense to have more than one.

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post #22 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?

What's the connection between GPUs and SSDs?

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post #23 of 281
Ummm, hasn't the Mac Pro ALWAYS had socketed CPUs?

I've replaced CPUs in Mac Pros before and I didn't have to replace the system board to do it.
post #24 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I think some, if not most, would be better served by a user-upgradable SSD, but alas.

I wonder how much of a cheaper upgrade this CPU option will turn out to be.

I had come to believe the SSD was user upgradable, in fact I could have sworn is states that on the Apple web site ... Yep I just checked. It is marked as "User Accessible" so if that doesn't mean it's upgradable by a user what on earth does that mean! You can look at it?

Meanwhile Apple just emailed me to say my Mac Pro is still in transit and may be delayed. It arrived in Jacksonville, FL at 4 pm that's, a four hour drive without a stop. Looks like tomorrow now.
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post #25 of 281
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

For the same reason pickup trucks have only one truck bed. You can order a bigger truck bed, but it makes no sense to have more than one.

That's... the goofiest analogy I've seen in a long time. I don't think it's even correctly applied either, because the physical limitations on one have nothing to do with the physical limitations on the other.

Heck, stripe two like-sized modules and you get even greater bulk transfer speed.
Edited by JeffDM - 12/27/13 at 2:42pm
post #26 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I think some, if not most, would be better served by a user-upgradable SSD, but alas.

I wonder how much of a cheaper upgrade this CPU option will turn out to be.

I had come to believe the SSD was user upgradable, in fact I could have sworn is states that on the Apple web site ... Yep I just checked. It is marked as "User Accessible" so if that doesn't mean it's upgradable by a user what on earth does that mean! You can look at it?

Meanwhile Apple just emailed me to say my Mac Pro is still in transit and may be delayed. It arrived in Jacksonville, FL at 4 pm that's, a four hour drive without a stop. Looks like tomorrow now.

It certainly looks like its user upgradable, it's just that the article is misleading by stating "In addition to the socketed CPU, RAM in the new systems will also be user-upgradable, as Apple has opted to use traditional RAM slots. However, user-replaceable components appear to end there."

The installed SSD looks similar to one from a MacBook:



As for your delivery, I'd turn in early. Wouldn't want to be woken up by the delivery and having your wife complain you still haven't taken a shower at 3pm 1biggrin.gif

Edit: the reason some people are getting the 1TB option is because there currently doesn't seem to be a larger one available.
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post #27 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I had come to believe the SSD was user upgradable, in fact I could have sworn is states that on the Apple web site ... Yep I just checked. It is marked as "User Accessible" so if that doesn't mean it's upgradable by a user what on earth does that mean! You can look at it?

User accessible means you can get to it easily without violating any covered screws or adhesive. It also means you could upgrade to a large PCIe flash-storage device with something from Apple. It doesn't have to mean you could upgrade to a third-party flash-storage device.

post #28 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?

What's the connection between GPUs and SSDs?

Its location. There are 3 boards, one for the CPU, two for the GPU. On one of the GPU is the SSD, the other board seems 'empty'.

http://blog.macsales.com/22108-new-mac-pro-2013-teardown
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post #29 of 281
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Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post
 

I can TOTALLY see an nVidia 3rd party card being created, pushing their CUDA drivers. The GPU upgrades will likely cost a left nut.. but certainly and likely possible.

 

The graphics boards are in fact custom Apple boards, that probably contain proprietary chips. I doubt anyone will be able to produce anything compatible.

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post #30 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


It certainly looks like its user upgradable, it's just that the article is misleading by stating "In addition to the socketed CPU, RAM in the new systems will also be user-upgradable, as Apple has opted to use traditional RAM slots. However, user-replaceable components appear to end there."

The installed SSD looks similar to one from a MacBook:

I checked and most PCIe flash storage devices are mounted on PCI cards. I did find an Intel 525 series SSD but they only go up to 240GB. The form factor looks very similar, it's just a lot longer. This doesn't mean I looked at all of them but something like the Intel 525 SSD might be able to work.

 

 

 

post #31 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Its location. There are 3 boards, one for the CPU, two for the GPU. On one of the GPU is the SSD, the other board seems 'empty'.

http://blog.macsales.com/22108-new-mac-pro-2013-teardown

I still don't get why they should be the same, especially when I've read that one GPU will be for OpenCL and not typical graphics. Now I do agree with others who have suggested that dual SSDs (in a RAID 0 configuration) could allow for nearly double the read/write times and possibly do so with very little cost additional cost by halving each SSD capacity, as well as allowing for the option of 2TB.

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post #32 of 281
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Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I checked and most PCIe flash storage devices are mounted on PCI cards. I did find an Intel 525 series SSD but they only go up to 240GB. The form factor looks very similar, it's just a lot longer. This doesn't mean I looked at all of them but something like the Intel 525 SSD might be able to work.

[image]

All the non-2.5" form factor SSDs I've seen use the PCIe in terms of the HW interconnect but up until Apple did it with the MBAs they all used SATA for the bus interface, and as previously mentioned many are electrically different from standard PCIe.

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post #33 of 281
It's great there is a socketed CPU but I won't be satisfied until all the transmitters are socketed, too¡

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post #34 of 281
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I still don't get why they should be the same, especially when I've read that one GPU will be for OpenCL and not typical graphics. Now I do agree with others who have suggested that dual SSDs (in a RAID 0 configuration) could allow for nearly double the read/write times and possibly do so with very little cost additional cost by halving each SSD capacity, as well as allowing for the option of 2TB.

As far as I can tell, the GPU's themselves are the same. Isn't the OpenCL a matter of software, just like the 1st GPU will be used for most graphics tasks and the 2nd GPU used if the CPU is tied-up?

As for the SSD they must have done something to reach 1200MB/s. Since you can't get more than 64GB in a single NAND package they will need to have installed 16 chips in order to get to 1TB. My guess? They created a stripe set in order to get to the 1200MB/s.

Thoughts?
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post #35 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

As far as I can tell, the GPU's themselves are the same. Isn't the OpenCL a matter of software, just like the 1st GPU will be used for most graphics tasks and the 2nd GPU used if the CPU is tied-up?

As for the SSD they must have done something to reach 1200MB/s. Since you can't get more than 64GB in a single NAND package they will need to have installed 16 chips in order to get to 1TB. My guess? They created a stripe set in order to get to the 1200MB/s.

Thoughts?

1) The GPUs are the same but the boards they are mounted are definitely different in some regard.

2) It would be amazing to get over 2000 MBps but I wonder why they didn't do that if it's possible. To leave something for a future update? The technology wasn't ready for it? Cost? Other limitations that wouldn't have increased the performance to a point that would make it worthwhile?

3) I think we're at a point again, but this time with mobile devices, where performance of the system is hindered by storage. I wish they would do an "SSD on a chip" for their iDevices. Even just two stacked chips with a little controller could nearly double read/write performance, I'd think.

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post #36 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Like their other PCIe options I assume it's PCIe on the HW but uses a unique pin setup in the layout. Meaning, it will be easy for them to figure this out but it does take some time to get the schematics and put into production.
That's no doubt true. I'm not worried about the SSD.

However, there has been a question about the cpu. On my 2009 Mac Pro, the CPU's are headless. That is, Intel supplied them to Apple without the top cover. Supposedly this gives better heat transfer to the sinks. But it also makes them not standard.

When anandtexh went to change the cpu's to faster versions, they blew out the CPU mother board. That wa because the headless CPU's were just a bit thinner, and tightening the sinks down all the way on the replacement units caused them to crack, and blow out the main CPU board. When he got a new board, and new cpu's,he just tightened them down a bit less. That doesn't seem to be a reliable solution.

As a result of his experience, I measured the thickness of mine, and made washer shims in my shop, which I put on the screws. So I tightened them down without a problem.

The question here is whether these cpu's are standard, or whether Apple is doing something special again. It seems to have the top, but I'm not sure of that mounting bracket.
post #37 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?

I don't think they are.
post #38 of 281
The value of socketed CPUs is blown out of proportion. Intel changes sockets after a few years and stops producing newer chips for old sockets. Example: the last tower-case Mac Pro was socketed, had expandable PCI slots and 4 drive bays, but people whined daily on the web about how "stale" the Mac Pro had gotten. Sockets mean nothing.

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post #39 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


For the same reason pickup trucks have only one truck bed. You can order a bigger truck bed, but it makes no sense to have more than one.

Yeah, just like no sense having dual GPUs, right?  Even the Mac Mini can support 2 internal hard drives.  So I guess that means the Mac Mini makes no sense.

post #40 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It’s just a standard PCIe stick, isn’t it? OWC will have upgrades.

OWC still doesn't offer upgrades to the 2013 Macbook Air PCIe SSD

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