Apple’s Mac Pro wins plaudits, strong repairability score from iFixit

“The new Mac Pro has been released, and we’ve managed to get our hands on the entry-level model, ‘”inexpensively’ priced at $2,999,” iFixit reports. “Contrary to popular belief, the new Mac Pro is closer in design to an aluminum beverage can than a trash can. (Not that there’s anything wrong with trash cans—some of our favorite astromech droids are shaped like trash cans.)”

“The back side (if a cylinder can have a back side) contains the power button and electrical inlet, as well as a tidy array of ports: 3.5 mm speaker and headphone jacks; Four USB 3.0 ports; Six Thunderbolt 2 ports; Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports; HDMI 1.4 out,” iFixit reports. “Here’s a strangely un-Apple-like design choice: simply sliding the lock switch allows us to remove the outer casing of the Mac Pro. The RAM in the Mac Pro Late 2013 is easily accessible and replaceable.”

“Mac Pro Late 2013 Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). For being so compact, the design is surprisingly modular and easy to disassemble. Non-proprietary Torx screws are used throughout, and several components can be replaced independently. The easily-opened case is designed to make RAM upgrades a snap,” iFixit reports. “The fan is easy to access and replace. While it will require a bit of digging, the CPU is user-replaceable—meaning intrepid fixers should be able to save considerably by upgrading from the base-level processor configuration.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: PC Magazine. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

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30 Comments

    1. Apple doesn’t really have to worry too much about making upgrades “hard” in the nMP because stuff like the GPU and Fan are Apple-unique designs, so there’s not going to be a 3rd Party market that’s cheaper (or better) to compete against the Apple OEM parts.

      Case in point: try to upgrade a Mac Pro Classic from a single CPU configuration to a dual CPU configuration: no one offers the CPU board except for Apple.

      -hh

        1. Hapy to be corrected, although OWC’s program is for only the 2010/12 (5,1): the 2009 & earlier (1,1 thru 4,1) are not included and the approach there had been either a “Sell Single, Buy Double” or to find/buy a broken down double for cheap and use it for parts.

          -hh

  1. Re: ““Here’s a strangely un-Apple-like design choice: simply sliding the lock switch allows us to remove the outer casing of the Mac Pro. ”

    I don’t agree with the “un-Apple-like” design choice statement. This person obviously never opened up a previous-generation Mac Pro. Flip the latch on the back and the whole case easily opens up. Swap memory, hard drives, add/remove PCI-e cards with ease.

    Perhaps an iMac or Mac Mini isn’t as easy to work on (though memory on the iMac is a breeze), but the Mac Pro has ALWAYS been one of the easiest *desktop* style computers to maintain….aimed at the professionals most likely to *want* to open it up.

    1. Agreed with the above. I also think the Cube’s unlatching mechanism was and still is the best. It was very cool to push a panel button at the bottom of the Cube then see a handle slowly emerge to pull out the Cube’s guts.

  2. iFixIt is so irrelevant today that they still lament not being able to replace individual memory transistors and individual pixels mounted with ZIF sockets. They are such a bunch of dinosaurs and Luddites.

  3. “Here’s a strangely un-Apple-like design choice:”
    The Mac Pros have been stupid easy to upgrade for years. Flick the lever in the back, pop off the cover – ram and hard drives right in front of your face.
    I like their tear downs, hate their underlying agenda. As bad as the “security” experts hawking their virus memes.

  4. I want to see one review showing the Trashcan with all the cables coming out the backside of it when it is configured with all the external shit that used to be done inside.

    1. That would add up to one thunderbolt cable, as “all that used to be done inside” that is no longer there, are potential extra hard drives. That same tb cable can also double as a lot of other things at the same time.

      How about you go and evolve some before posting here again.

      1. That would be incorrect as some of us use the PCI-X slots. How about you not make assumptions and hurl insults. Just because your G4 Mac mini suits your Facebook use does not mean one size fits all.

        1. So I presume you have a thing against cables over bulky computers that include space many users will never exploit like but have no choice over. This way you don’t have to have such space and if you do want to exploit it externally the extra bulk sits where the bulk of the old machine would have done. Don’t see the problem unless you suffer from OCD.

        2. “as some of us use the PCI-X slots…”
          And you use it for exactly what?

          None of my four G4 MacMinis suit my face booking – which I do on my 15″ 2.6GHz i7 MBPR – and just for the record, Yes I have a MacPro (and used the G4, G3 etc pro models starting with the Mac II when it was released). I also do heavy video (audio can not really be considered heavy usage these days).

          But mostly your original comment just shows that you don’t get what it’s all about. You were probably among those who cried about the MBP losing its optical drive.
          I think your real problem may be that you are not really coping with being outside your comfort zone (calling the MP a “trashcan” tells about you being rather emotional about it) – and that’s what progress and developing is all about.

          1. Pot, meet Kettle.

            Broadly, the complaint with the nMP is that while it is great for certain ‘Pro’ use cases, it is a step backwards for others, which functionally sends the signal from Apple of abandonment.

            The more in-tune reality is that it isn’t pedantically actual ‘abandonment’, but its ramifications are that the nMP is a poor value because one is obligated to overbuy on certain attributes (no choice but dual GPUs even when one’s software tools don’t exploit them) while also incurring a cut in other capabilities which raises expenses elsewhere.

            The latter is directly alluding to the loss of ‘inexpensive’ fast local data storage through internal drive bays, which now must be externalized. While this may not be a major issue for a larger Enterprise who’s already dropped $50K into a SAN rack, it does have a huge impact on the small “one-man” Creative businesses (SMBs) and Prosumers who have been Apple’s mainstay for decades – they’re going to get hit with the “Thunderbolt Tax” to the tune of roughly an extra $100 per spindle – plus because each of those external drives needs power, more cables too.

            What this all boils down to is that the nMP is a good value for some use cases, but it isn’t necessarily so for all of the prior use cases that the Mac Pro Classic satisfied.

            Please let us not be blind Apple Fanboys and recognize that it is a mixed bag.

            -hh

            1. Again I would like to have specifics. Saying that the fact that you can’t add 12 TB of HD (the 3 extra 4T drive bays in the old MP) would be something massive is ridiculous.

              If you don’t want to spend on thunderbolt, use FW800 or usb3 instead.

              It sounds very much that you are talking about iMac/MacMini users, not the ones the Pro is intended for. If your business can’t afford the pro – or in your example the extra 300 for 3 spindles – you probably aren’t that pro after all.

              Many of the “prior cases that the Mac Pro satisfied” are just that. Consumers or prosumers at best – pro wannabes. Just go and buy the iMac and continue editing on iMovie. You can get really nice usb3 drives for that one.

              I also would like thunderbolt drives to be as cheap as the internal ones, but they are not. Get over it. Remember what you used to have to pay for hd storage? EVERYTHING is cheap now compared to that.

              Being happy that Apple does not bog my MP down with floppy drives, optical drives etc, does not make me a fanboy – I enjoy Apple pushing the envelope – and me outside my comfort zone from time to time.

              Want to go the MS road? Feel free – but not at the expense of holding the ones wanting the best and latest back.

            2. Good points – I might add, the 2009-2912 Mac Pros also have that empty lower optical bay that allows addition of another 4.0TB drive or an SSD. Don’t use the DVD drive in the upper.bay? Add one there as well – both bays can use this bracket:
              http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MM352A52MP9/

              Still need more drive volumes? Add a dual SSD solution in the remaining PCIe slots and even boot from at 650 MB/sec:
              http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/PCIe/OWC/Mercury_Accelsior/RAID

            3. Sorry that you’re missing the point.

              The point is that everything ultimately comes down to a _value_ assessment, based on how much it costs to have a certain level of performance.

              For the question of the nMP vs oMP, the changes in design have resulted in a huge improvement in value for some – – but not ALL – – of its use cases.

              If your specific use case had no impact, bully for you.

              But the saying of “a rising tide lifts all boats” doesn’t apply here, because with the design changes in the nMP, some boats (= ‘use cases’) have been sunk instead of raised.

              Want a specific example?
              The Adobe Photoshop heavy lifter is one.
              Adobe hasn’t proactively embraced OpenGL/GPUs or even multi-threaded CPU tasks and as such, the nMP’s wonderful dual GPUs are expensive paperweights. Further, its ‘BIG RAM’ capabilities were cut (4 slots vs 8 slots), and the cost per TB for fast storage has gone up because it must now all be externalized, adding the additional expense of the TB interface even when raw media costs are identical.

              So…just use a mini or iMac, you say?

              First, benchmarks are deceiving, beause they don’t run to the system’s thermal saturation to where ‘Turbo’ boost modes are forced to cycle back. As such, neither of these really are faster in real world heavy lifting.

              Next, 2 or 4 RAM slots vs 4 or 8. Worse, or at best a tie (iMac vs Single CPU oMP)

              Fast Storage … same value erosion as nMP: effectively compelled to now be all externalized, where the TB interface increases the cost per TB regardless of media.

              For a very specific example on this last one, consider four 1TB HDDs which can be internally mounted on an oMP – that costs roughly $300 retail. To have the same capability requires a TB-based external, such as the 4TB Promise R4 – its a mere $989 at B&H.

              FYI, the good news is that going to larger sized arrays narrows this value gap, but you’ve tried to claim that 12TB is a “massively rediculous” use case.

              Personally, I don’t consider 12TB to be rediculous at all. My 2009 currently has 9TB internal and my 2012 has 12TB internal, plus an equal amount in “slow” externals and off-site backups.

              What’s needed always comes back around to the individual use case, because one doesn’t want to gratuitously spend money on support systems.

              -hh

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