When introduced in June at the Worldwide Developer Conference, the world assumed that the Apple’s new Mac Pro would be completely locked down. Since then, we learned that the RAM, SSD storage and dual graphics cards are, at least technically if not feasibly, user upgradeable. Now, add the Xeon multicore processors to the list of upgradeable items.

Apple has been delivering new Mac Pros to giddy buyers for several days now. Among the lucky few are the guys at Other World Computing, who quite naturally took it apart.

new-mac-pro-six-displaysWell those 6 Thunderbolt ports on the back of the new Mac Pro were just staring me in the face to try ‘em all out. Since the new Mac Pro can do three 4k monitors, I thought it should be able to handle six 27-inch monitors. Yup, sure did. All 2500+ resolution on the width. Five Dells, one Apple cinema display, all connected via mini DisplayPort — Other World Computing

New Mac Pro: Real Choices?

And, yes, OWC discovered that the Xeon E5 sits on a standard Intel LGA 2011 socket. As things stand, you can pay Apple to upgrade:

  • 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 with 12MB of L3 cache: +$500
    3.0GHz 8-core Intel Xeon E5 with 25MB of L3 cache: +$2000
    2.7GHz 12-core Intel Xeon E5 with 30MB of L3 cache: +$3500
  • And, sometime down the road, there are plenty of Intel LGA 2011 socket compatible Xeon E5 processors will be available at retail on Amazon, Other World Computing, Newegg and on the gray market. No, they aren’t cheap, but Apple has left open the possibility of upgrading the new Mac Pro’s processor, which is a good thing™.

    Apple has said RAM — OWC sells 32GB and 64GB for $449 and $895, respectively — is a user upgradeable feature.

    Now, the big question is whether or not Apple will deliver upgrades, or allow third-parties, that are compatible with the new Mac Pro’s GPU and SSD sockets.

    So, following months of angst and (pre-emptive?) anger, it turns out the Apple’s new Mac Pro is (technically) very upgradeable. How that turns in practical terms remains to be seen.

    At the very, very least, though, users will be able to upgrade the new Mac Pro’s RAM and processors…

    What’s your take?


    1. Avatar

      It will be a while before many get to take advantage of such upgrades. I just upgraded my 2006 Mac Mini from a Core Duo to a Core 2 Duo with 3.3GB Ram and a 500GB hard drive with a 60GB SSD.

      My Mac Pro is 2008 and has 8-cores and 12GB RAM, 4TB of 7200 RPM HDs and a 120GB SSD but Apple will has made it so that I cannot upgrade to Mavericks so I’m still at Lion (OS 10.7.5). It’s still fast but What?

      So maybe I’ll have a new Mac Pro in 2020 to upgrade. Apple went beyond my price threshold when they exceeded $1200 for a computer. I have three older Macs and two Mac wireless networks. I doubt I’ll buy another new Mac.

      I built my wife a Windows machine with top components for under $500. The world is going crazy. Apple is not what it was. I want Steve back!

    2. Avatar

      Boy, am I glad I made the choice I did. Back when I was on the socket 768 (I think that’s
      it, the P4) then had to go to a new main board.
      I decided I’ll just start a NEW system.
      Maybe I’ll just get a MAC. I did
      the research and to get a MAC, and replace the software I felt necessary, would
      cost me about $2500. And I was OK with
      that. But at the last, at just got a new
      ‘cooler masters’ tower, and a 1000 watt power supply and 16 gig of RAM, and
      stayed PC. I knew apple was all ‘closed
      door’ type of society, but I really didn’t know how much. I like to ‘customize’ my stuff, without
      somebody else helping. And this
      little, ease up, on the bit, in their fanboys mouths, will not reconcile their
      faults. So, at the end, unless you plan
      of making a lot of video editing, I’d stay PC.
      MAC, does have the advantage in video editing. But that’s all.

    3. Avatar
      bob b bob

      Configuring and maintaining a PC is an endless black hole. Please talk all day about how much you’re saved…

    4. Avatar

      The Xeon CPU upgrade to 12 cores costs as much as the base Mac Pro itself. After a few years, you might as well buy a new Mac Pro – just like you buy a new iPhone.

      GPU upgrades will be enormously expensive. What company is going to create a custom connector to another AMD GPU in mass quantities? The current top end AMD GPUs cost $3500 each. And you need two of them. An nVidia GPU won’t do since there will be NO optimized driver for them in OS X.

      The primary reason for standardizing on the CPU and GPU is that Apple is forcing the developers to optimize their software for the Mac Pro – just like Apple did with the iPhone. Developers that don’t – such as Adobe – will simply fall behind. Already, Adobe’s Premiere runs like a dog compared to Final Cut Pro X on the new Mac Pro.

      By forcing developers to optimize their software for the Mac, Apple will get the best user experience on any platform. This is just how the user experience on the iPhone is so much better than on Android – even for apps from the same company.

    5. Avatar

      What is good about external expandability is that you don’t have to replace your external peripherals when you change your computer. This is the same situation as with the MacBook Pro Laptops and the iMac. You can use the same peripherals with all three platforms.

    6. Avatar

      This article is embarrassing. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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