iMac Pro - Can RAM Be Upgraded By User

Erdbeertorte

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May 20, 2015
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Who knows which person from Apple told them. Maybe someone who only saw the case backside and didn't know much more that was shown on pictures.

They did not show the real iMac Pro in the "hands on" area. I heard you weren't even allowed to touch the mouse or keyboard.

Whatever iMac shown there was in a dummy "Pro" case that had not been finalized yet.
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
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Shropshire, UK
I guess we won't know for certain until it's released, but the the wording on the tech specs page certainly suggests it won't be user upgradable.

The iMac Pro page has this description:
32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory
Configurable to 64GB or 128GB

Whereas the "normal" 27" iMac page (which does have upgradable memory) says this:
8GB (two 4GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 memory;
four SO-DIMM slots, user accessible
Configurable to 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
 

trsblader

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2011
428
178
The images on Apple's websites show an image of where the ram modules are and then shoe the back of the iMac Pro with the full case on and there's no door. Short of removing the screen similar to the 21.5" I'm doubting that it's user accessible.
 
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Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
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Yeah, people thought $4999 was bad... just the RAM you want is going to be another $1000-1500 (128GB vs. the 32GB standard).
 

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
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The images on Apple's websites show an image of where the ram modules are and then shoe the back of the iMac Pro with the full case on and there's no door. Short of removing the screen similar to the 21.5" I'm doubting that it's user accessible.
Yes, summary (as of now is) you will be able to upgrade your RAM if you dare to open the case.
 
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Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
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Yes, summary (as of now is) you will be able to upgrade your RAM if you dare to open the case.
The iMac 21.5" is literally doing the same, RAMs are modules inserted into sockets instead of soldered in, but without a RAM hatch, to access the MOBO the user needs to yank out the glued screen glass, and think about how to tape it back later.
 
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Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
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Its actually quite straight forward with the custom sticky tape kits available online: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+Retina+4K+Display+(2017)+RAM+Replacement/92288
True, it is easier than it sounds, and should be of no issue for even generic guy with barebone tools. However, the argument is for a professional workstation desktop, shouldn't there be at least some reasonable means to service/upgrade, especially for with case with these RAM, they are sitting being the metal case in a socket... Guess Apple wants to make it a clear choice to get the modular Mac Pro if any sort of accessibility is wanted.
 
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bbnck

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2009
567
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There must be an engineering reason behind not having the RAM access door. It might be part of the redesigned cooling system that requires Apple to forfeit the access door as part of the redesign.The iMac Pro will have server-grade components, and while the regular iMac and iMac Pro look almost identical externally (aside from the finish and the wider vents on the back), the two have to be wildly different internally to support Xeon processors and Radeon Vega graphics without immediately overheating.

The real problem here is Apple charges too much for RAM. That's the issue.
 
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Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
939
816
There must be an engineering reason behind not having the RAM access door. It might be part of the redesigned cooling system that requires Apple to forfeit the access door as part of the redesign.The iMac Pro will have server-grade components, and while the regular iMac and iMac Pro look almost identical externally (aside from the finish and the wider vents on the back), the two have to be wildly different internally to support Xeon processors and Radeon Vega graphics without immediately overheating.

The real problem here is Apple charges too much for RAM. That's the issue.
Airflow is most likely the biggest reason to seal the whole back up. The RAM hatch on the iMac 27" is somewhat close to the AC filter with the MOBO right underneath, and some soldered chips around the area, it is both heat generating and dispensing for within that much proximity to outside. If you have all 4 RAM slots occupied, I believe the top RAM module has significantly higher average temp than the rest 3, somewhere like 5-10 degrees higher. This is surely not ideal for the much more demanding cooling efficiency needed in the iMac Pro. Judging from the inners picture on Apple website, the RAM modules are now on the left (from behind), the CPU(s) seem to also be on the left, while the GPU is on the right, for a 2 fan 2 air intake setup the left and right channels can be independently modulated, which in essence helps efficiency and decrease fan speed/noise.
 
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Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
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Let's not confuse the replaceability of some iMacs without the the RAM access tray and some iMacs with soldered RAM.

  • The following models have RAM that could be upgraded after purchase by Apple or an AASP or a savvy user following an iFixit guide because while there is no user-accessible RAM access tray, inside the machine the RAM is still of a standard SO-DIMM type (image courtesy iFixit):
IG1JLCr6OejKtfEx.huge.jpeg
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
  • But the following iMacs have soldered RAM which is not upgradable at all:
    • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2015)
    • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015)
I have a suspicion the iMac Pro will be the latter.
 

bbnck

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2009
567
311
Let's not confuse the replaceability of some iMacs without the the RAM access tray and some iMacs with soldered RAM.

  • The following models have RAM that could be upgraded after purchase by Apple or an AASP or a savvy user following an iFixit guide because while there is no user-accessible RAM access tray, inside the machine the RAM is still of a standard SO-DIMM type
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
  • But the following iMacs have soldered RAM which is not upgradable at all:
    • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2015)
    • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015)
I have a suspicion the iMac Pro will be the latter.
Do you really think they will solder ECC memory to the motherboard?
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,631
7,364
Let's not confuse the replaceability of some iMacs without the the RAM access tray and some iMacs with soldered RAM.

  • The following models have RAM that could be upgraded after purchase by Apple or an AASP or a savvy user following an iFixit guide because while there is no user-accessible RAM access tray, inside the machine the RAM is still of a standard SO-DIMM type (image courtesy iFixit):
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
  • But the following iMacs have soldered RAM which is not upgradable at all:
    • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2015)
    • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015)
I have a suspicion the iMac Pro will be the latter.
The iMac Pro will have RAM slots. It's clearly shown there on the website (https://www.apple.com/imac-pro/).

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the slots will be user-accessible.
 
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BurgDog

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2012
212
174
True, it is easier than it sounds, and should be of no issue for even generic guy with barebone tools. However, the argument is for a professional workstation desktop, shouldn't there be at least some reasonable means to service/upgrade, especially for with case with these RAM, they are sitting being the metal case in a socket... Guess Apple wants to make it a clear choice to get the modular Mac Pro if any sort of accessibility is wanted.
The iMac Pro will be reasonably serviceable by any Apple trained service tech. Your IT department will likely have both the trained tech and all the parts needed to fix any problems. If your business is too small to have an IT department, that task will likely need to be outsourced.
 
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CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,163
3,101
Seattle, WA
The iMac Pro will be reasonably serviceable by any Apple trained service tech. Your IT department will likely have both the trained tech and all the parts needed to fix any problems. If your business is too small to have an IT department, that task will likely need to be outsourced.
Apple also offers an Enterprise-level AppleCare service program which includes on-site service.
 
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Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
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816
The iMac Pro will be reasonably serviceable by any Apple trained service tech. Your IT department will likely have both the trained tech and all the parts needed to fix any problems. If your business is too small to have an IT department, that task will likely need to be outsourced.
Don't take it personally, but that sort of assessment sounds an awful lot like what Apple execs must have had in recent years. In the past, when Macs were thriving among creative professionals, one of the major reasons that happened was due to the self-service ability, which was helpful if not essential in small to medium sized studios; Where everyone is pre-occupied by certain other creative tasks, and no one but everyone is an IT specialist around. When we are on a 5 day recording trip into a countryside church and a Mac broke, we only got ourselves to count on.
 
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gian8989

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2015
269
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Don't take it personally, but that sort of assessment sounds an awful lot like what Apple execs must have had in recent years. In the past, when Macs were thriving among creative professionals, one of the major reasons that happened was due to the self-service ability, which was helpful if not essential in small to medium sized studios; Where everyone is pre-occupied by certain other creative tasks, and no one but everyone is an IT specialist around. When we are on a 5 day recording trip into a countryside church and a Mac broke, we only got ourselves to count on.
Yeah. And what makes it worse is thinking that you are losing time only because you can't remove a ram that even a 3 years old child could do if it was a non pro iMac or a normal pc.
I think that iMac pro are nothing but a pain for professional. Even with a on-site service, the time required to open an iMac would mean hours of time lost (and I'm curious if they would come at 2am).
 
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BurgDog

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2012
212
174
Yeah. And what makes it worse is thinking that you are losing time only because you can't remove a ram that even a 3 years old child could do if it was a non pro iMac or a normal pc.
I think that iMac pro are nothing but a pain for professional. Even with a on-site service, the time required to open an iMac would mean hours of time lost (and I'm curious if they would come at 2am).
I expect RAM is one of the least likely things to fail but still for competent service you do need a complete set of spare parts or even a spare computer if it is critical. Diagnosing a problem and replacing most other components to do a fix is going to be hard anyway and opening the case is the least of it. Apple might surprise us and not glue together the iMac Pro. Even then the inside structure of how the parts fit together mechanically looks fairly involved so repairs may still be difficult.
 
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Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
939
816
I expect RAM is one of the least likely things to fail but still for competent service you do need a complete set of spare parts or even a spare computer if it is critical. Diagnosing a problem and replacing most other components to do a fix is going to be hard anyway and opening the case is the least of it. Apple might surprise us and not glue together the iMac Pro. Even then the inside structure of how the parts fit together mechanically looks fairly involved so repairs may still be difficult.
RAM is indeed a rather uncommon place to get broke. I guess the more practical issue is to access the bootdrive, or a 2nd internal data drive if needed. Consider the remote recording use case above, with unlimited budget but limited logistics, I can bring 2 identical MacBook Pros as the main recording station running NLE, attached to an audio interface. The actual audio data goes into a 3rd party RAID1 dual array which is safe enough, but the recording project files goes to a fast internal SSD. With the current MBPs, if the drive or system fails, I have close to no way to quickly access the project files inside, if it is not already lost. A Time Machine backup is only as young as an hour, and even then to restore it to another Mac takes an hour plus if not longer. A any other 3rd party backup/clone software, if used with an increment too frequently it may hammer system resource, or choke up the audio I/O data stream if it's on USB. Anyway, a few hours down time during an orchestra recording session can mean thousands of dollars lost.

When I was on a pre-2012 unibody MBP, it had 2 SATA drive bays (one from the optical drive), and the bottom case was easily removed to reveal them, for the above scenario the fix was as easy as to yank out the drives and try to stuff it to another MBP. Also with dual drive setup you could do RAID-1 parity as well, eliminating even the problem at the source level.
 
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Daniel Reed

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2016
278
283
San Francisco
only if sodered on men chips

I've upgraded hardware in several dozen models that claim to not be upgradable.
The "concept art" clearly showed standard sodimms... so unless that was purely artistic, one should be able to take it apart... keep an eye toward ifixit

Although frankly, The iMac Pro is a "strange" beast, outside of onset dit work, and well, one for every apple employee in the mothership... and of course the top 5 percenters... I don't see it making much sense for most users

but we'll see, a 5K higher quality monitor, may make this an appealing idea for those needing Both a new 4K TV and a new Mac
 

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