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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited February 2014
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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 283

    OWC probably cracked open champagne when they found this out.

     

    iFixit will still give it a 2/10.

  • Reply 2 of 283
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 283
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,144member

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

  • Reply 4 of 283

    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

  • Reply 5 of 283
    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.

  • Reply 6 of 283
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 283
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">I think some, if not most, would be better served by a user-upgradable SSD, but alas.</span>



    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.
  • Reply 8 of 283
    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/36611/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]

    Picture posted merely for the sake of discussion...
  • Reply 9 of 283
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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? :D
  • Reply 10 of 283
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    philboogie wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 283
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    Great news!
    Oh and the PCI SSD is upgradable too.
  • Reply 12 of 283
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,144member
    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? image

    2/10 would not fix.

  • Reply 13 of 283
    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? image

     

    Oh, dear.

  • Reply 14 of 283
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member

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

  • Reply 15 of 283

    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?

  • Reply 16 of 283
    haggar wrote: »
    The 2 GPU boards appear to be identical, so why only 1 SSD slot?

    640K ought to be enough for anybody.
    - Bill Gates
  • Reply 17 of 283
    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
  • Reply 18 of 283
    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..

  • Reply 19 of 283
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    adrayven wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 283
    haggar wrote: »
    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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