Teardown of new Mac Pro reveals upgradeable CPU and RAM

“A teardown of the new Mac Pro by upgrade experts Other World Computing will give cause for much celebration among DIY technophiles (who are, ironically, unlikely to be customers of the new workstation) — the retailer says both the RAM and, more surprisingly, the central CPU unit of the Mac Pro are removable, paving the way to future upgrades,” Electronista reports. “It’s also possible that the proprietary connector used for the PCIe-based storage may be upgradable as well.”

“The socketed CPU comes as a surprise, enabling some users to be able to upgrade the chip if and when Intel makes a compatible (and affordable) future processor. Presuming that happens, it could lengthen the expected lifespan of the Mac Pro considerably for users willing to risk the upgrade,” Electronista reports. “While a future CPU unit could be perfectly compatible, other factors designed for the original chip may limit or prohibit effective upgrades. Currently, the CPU used by the new Mac Pro, the Intel Xeon E5-1620 v2, sells by itself for around $2,750.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. There is one STFU to the anti Mac Pro people. Yes you can buy a smaller CPU now. When you can afford to buy a larger one you can upgrade without having to buy a new Mac Pro. The Mac Pro has taken a big hit in the press for this misconception.

    1. Very true. It’s also a WTF, as I don’t recall Apple ever advertising this important point about the CPU. That’s one of the great things about Apple: there are so many pleasant little surprises along the way.

  2. I wish Apple had stated that it was socketed and upgradable in it’s marketing material.

    Now it’s another anti apple ‘urban legend’ that will be accepted as truth (like ‘Apple owned Foxconn is abusing children in its factories’).

    PC Magazine did a reasonable review (as opposed to the even worse hack jobs like NYT) but in the ‘CONS’ section it had a few caveats and one of them was I quote ” No internal access to processor or graphics cards”.

    Now every time high end buyers looking for a power machine do a google search they will come across that PC mag (and similar articles) and every mainstream press outlet will take that PC mag ‘fact’ as truth (just like my local small town paper prefaces every Apple article with ‘struggling tech giant being eclipsed by Samsung with continuing labour issues at its China Apple factories’ (and similar fiction. Even Forbes writers believe apple ‘owns’ factories in china. ).

    I wish Cook will dust off his PR and marketing guys napping the corner and ask them to do SOME work like ask PC mag etc to correct their conclusions . In the last 3 years the only significant PR announcement I noticed from apple was a missive supporting gay rights (completely mum when NYT did their Pulitzer Foxconn hack job, no sound when financial analysts whacked apple etc) — (i’m not anti gay – people can do whatever they want – I’m just pointing out that Apple almost never defends itself or corrects misconceptions . It did a little with the labour issues but not enough as I’m still reading it in papers).

    1. I wish Apple had stated that it was socketed and upgradable in it’s marketing material.

      Upgradable to what? Nothing so far. Therefore, I’m not going to ding Apple for that omission. Meanwhile, Apple provide build-to-order CPU upgrades at the store and aren’t going to point out any possibility of DIY CPU upgrades. That’s fair marketing.

      As for Apple ‘not defending themselves’ against the never ending onslaughts of BS from TechTards, haters, trolls and lazy journalists: I feel your pain. But it is a very long standing policy of Apple to let fools shake their jester sticks and to not grace their foolishness with any response whatsoever. And I understand why! Does Apple want to get into the tiffs we have around here about even the most basic and obvious of facts? I don’t think so. We-The-Cognoscenti-Fanatics typically do that for them while they stick to doing what they do best: Creating.

      1. That’s a sensible take on the upgrade thing. I’ll go with that. As for the issue of Apple needing better defense, your explanation was expertly rendered.

        Small point: elsewhere you employed the word loathe when I believe you meant loath (loth). I say this only because I care. 🙂

      2. your arguments are reasonable and polite but I’ll like to point out:

        — your point: CPU upgrade fair marketing –I think possibly they will sell more Macs if they noted that the CPU was removable and the profits for the larger sales will offset money lost from people not getting build order upgrades. I suspect many pros who want the speed are going to order the Macs they want (CPU range) anyways but the ‘no upgradability’ (even in the FUTURE) is the BIG con being touted every where. Many pros (especially those using PCs) think future upgradeability is a big issue and their buying might be stopped just because of that –pro graphics is a cut throat business and they don’t like their COMPETITORS outpacing them in a few years. (as Mac fans of course we know Macs have great re sale value and you can sell your old mac to offset costs for a new one but lot of pros using PCs now don’t know that. And the new Mac Pro with its rad design is big draw to get new PC people into the Mac fold ).

        My own mac pro has of course more ram that I installed and I also upgraded the video card after a while.

        And apple makes money off the DIY as they can make upgrade cards proprietary and sold by them. In the past so few mac pros are sold that few outlets carry upgrade cards and few manufacturers make them anyhow: I bought my video card upgrade from Apple.

        (Just googling I find OWC has the radeon 5770 for the old Mac Pro at $287 while apple is selling it at 249) Other PC made cards might be usable but users have issues so I suspect apple makes the lion share of upgrade money.

        2) perhaps Apple does have a ‘no defence’ policy but does that make sense? Look at perception in certain areas about Apple like the share price : apple’s P.E is 14, Goog’s P.E is 22. So in the area of not defending ‘urban legends’ that Apple is ‘failing’ the investor perception of apple is very negative compared to google (P.E is an indicator of perception). If apple had a PE of 22 the share price would be over 700 now. It’s hard to argue that Apple shouldn’t do more PR in that area alone. and if people think share price is not important : look at how much time is being wasted by Cook and senior managers like Oppenheimer dealing with Icahn….

        As for consumer PR stuff Jobs sent a terse email when a ‘battery expert’ claimed that the just announced iPad’s (not on sale yet) touted 10 hr battery life was fake and ‘impossible’. Jobs emailed that it was true. Jobs also made speeches on antenna gate etc. On a lower level what is wrong with apple PR (apple is giant multi billion dollar earning company and PR is CHEAP) sending a notice to PC mag etc to correct errors in their Mac Pro reviews? How is that going to HURT apple? I don’t get it. If apple’s attitude today is always ignore it, it is getting out of hand as the China Labour issue has shown (Apple factories using child labour is something many people now believe, look at the Grandmas against Apple protesting outside apple stores). Cook wastes more time now down the road trying to defuse it.

        Of course I believe vehemently that Apple’s main focus should be PRODUCTS … but once you make them what’s wrong with defending your babies?

        1. I did a short stint in product marketing at Apple. I can tell you that Apple neither can nor will advertise as a feature something that has not been tested. Future-proofing may not at all be the reason the processor is socketed. For all we know, the processor going into it *is* the future processor from what Apple had available when they were designing, testing and certifying the system.. A Do-it-yourselfer is free to upgrade the processor in the future, and if doing so causes the system to to violate FCC Class B electronics emissions there just aren’t a lot of neighbors who are going to understand what they’re suffering — conversely, though, if Apple markets it as upgradeable there most definitely will be oversight enthusiasts looking for every problem (read: class action lawsuit opportunity) they can think of.

  3. Just because they are upgradeable now that doesn’t mean they will be in the future, even in the current version. Apple has a way of throwing you a curve when it comes to this kind of thing. It always irritated me that they soldered the RAM in my trusty old iBook and there was only one slot to upgrade, but I know that was a move to encourage people to go upscale. Business is their business.

  4. Apple takes great pains to design systems where no subsystem is unduly waiting on other subsystems, for in designing this way they are able to offer their customers greater performance than raw specs would otherwise suggest. Overclocking a CPU rarely delivers anything close to the theoretical performance boost precisely because of the effect overclocking the processor has on the subsystems it relies upon. Similarly, just because the i7 might have the same pin-out and voltages as the xeon, you simply can’t extrapolate that either the cost or the performance will be to your liking.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.