iMac Pro Teardown Highlights Modular RAM, CPU and SSD Along With Redesigned Internals

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    With the iMac Pro now in the hands of customers and available at Apple retail stores, popular repair site iFixit has acquired one of the $4,999 machines and has opened it up to see just what's inside. iFixit tore down the base iMac Pro model with an 8-core processor, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

    iFixit found that the RAM, CPU, and SSDs in the iMac Pro are modular and can potentially be replaced following purchase, but most of the key components "require a full disassembly to replace."


    Standard 27-inch iMacs have a small hatch in the back that allows easy access to the RAM for post-purchase upgrades, but that's missing in the iMac Pro. Apple has said that iMac Pro owners will need to get RAM replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. iFixit says that compared to the 5K 27-inch iMac, replacing the RAM in the iMac Pro is indeed "a major undertaking."


    Apple is using standard 288-pin DDR4 ECC RAM sticks with standard chips, which iFixit was able to upgrade using its own $2,000 RAM upgrade kit. A CPU upgrade is "theoretically possible," but because Apple uses a custom-made Intel chip, it's not clear if an upgrade is actually feasible. The same goes for the SSDs -- they're modular and removable, but custom made by Apple. Unlike the CPU, the GPU is BGA-soldered into place and cannot be removed.

    The internals of the iMac Pro are "totally different" from other iMacs, which is unsurprising as Apple said it introduced a new thermal design to accommodate the Xeon-W processors and Radeon Pro Vega GPUs built into the machines. The new thermal design includes an "enormous" dual-fan cooler, what iFixit says is a "ginormous heat sink," and a "big rear vent."

    Apple's iMac Pro appears to be equipped with the same LG display panel that's used in the standard 27-inch 5K iMac, but because of new cables and a different camera setup, screens can't be swapped across models.

    iFixit gives the iMac Pro a repairability score of 3/10, because despite its upgradeable RAM and CPU, it's difficult to open and tough to get to internal components that might need to be repaired or replaced.

    The iMac Pro became available for purchase in mid-December, and the machine is now available to order from Apple's website, with 8 and 10-core configurations shipping out in just a few days. Many Apple retail stores around the world also have the base model in stock and available for immediate purchase. Higher-priced 14 and 18-core configurations can be ordered, but won't ship out for several weeks.


    Pricing on the iMac Pro starts at $4,999 for the base machine with an 8-core 3.2GHz processor, 32GB ECC RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card, and goes up to $13,199 for a maxed out iMac Pro with a 3.3GHz 18-core processor, 128GB ECC RAM, a 4TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card.

    Article Link: iMac Pro Teardown Highlights Modular RAM, CPU and SSD Along With Redesigned Internals
  2. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    I'm not sure 'reveals' is the correct word. The only thing we didn't know out of the 'reveals' after Apples announcement was the socketed SSDs, as they could have been soldered like the MacBook Pros to save space.
    Anyway, so this is like the standard iMac in the sense that the best thing to upgrade when ordering is the GPU and possibly SSD.
  3. soupcan macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2014
    Yeah sure, modular. Modular means I as end user can replace and upgrade parts myself with just a screwdriver. It does not mean taking the entire bloody thing to a store to have them tear the entire screen off of the thing just so you can get at the RAM or SSD (which oh by the way isn't even a normal standard so good luck upgrading that on your own).
  4. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502


    Jul 6, 2017
    I'd argue the CPU too, but the CPU in this level of a computer should vary depending on your specific needs (core count vs base frequency, etc)
  5. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    Meh. So what if it’s upgradable? It’s not user’s upgradable. You have to pay for the service. Shessh. My eye is on mac pro..bring that out.
  6. asdavis10 macrumors 6502


    Feb 3, 2008
    That's still some impressive performance in an iMac design. Regardless of what you think of its shortcomings in upgradeability. Looking forward to what Apple has planned for the Mac Pro and Mac mini. Hopefully the latter is user-upgradeable as well.
  7. vicviper789 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2013
    Does it get throttled when its battery is under 80% capacity?
  8. lionkin macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2014
    West Hollywood
  9. cb3, Jan 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018

    cb3 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Apple, design these with a hinged door or something so the whole thing opens up and can be worked on and upgraded easily. Design is not just about looks. Function is important too.
  10. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Does it have a battery? It’s ok to use sarcasm but at least do it on the right threads...
  11. AceFernalld macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2008
  12. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Looking at the teardown, it's easy to see why iMac Pro is not upgradable. It's just too bad that Apple insists on slapping $800 premium ($2400 upgrade) for 128GB RAM. Each of the 4 32GB DDR4 ECC RAM costs $400.
  13. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    A few weeks more engineering and it could have been user upgradable for nearly the same manufacturing costs. Heck I would have paid another couple of hundred for user upgradeability. But user upgradeable, does not support Apple's designed obsolesce strategy. So I passed, If I want a power machine, it does not come from Apple any more.
  14. asiga macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    So, this motherboard could be considered "almost-modular" (except for the lack of expansion slots for GPUs and other boards), which clearly shows that Apple could have released the "modular Mac Pro" as soon as this iMac if they had wanted to. They just want to resist a few months more, begging professional users to jump into another non-upgradeable dead end. What a waste of time and resources. But Apple doesn't consider it a waste because it's perhaps their last chance to fool professional users into dead ends.
  15. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
  16. keysofanxiety, Jan 2, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2018

    keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    There will be a modular Mac Pro coming. This is not the modual machine. This is an iMac Pro. Pro specs, iMac chassis. It can’t be that difficult to grasp.
  17. FasterQuieter macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2008
    This looks like an amazing machine, and if I could justify the cost, I would buy one. The one thing that would bother me though is the fact that from the front it looks almost exactly like the iMac I bought in 2009. And 2014. Shame it doesn't have an exciting new design to go with the innovative internals.
  18. Kabeyun, Jan 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018

    Kabeyun macrumors 68000


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    Agreed but I don’t think this all matters much. iFixIt loves doing this, rolling out upgradability scores for everything. If a pro user isn’t happy with a maxed out iMac Pro (and its $13,000 price tag) a Mac Pro (hopefully) is forthcoming. i.e. if they’re really about user modularity and saving $ on your own components, an iMac Pro is probably not the best bet.

    Apple really hit it out of the park with the current iMac design. Pros can now easily drop an all-in-one computer with major horse power anywhere they want to, no cabling, no peripherals, no fuss, and the thing looks just like a monitor.
  19. Marx55 macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2005
    Liquid cooling? SSD as RAID 0? Mandatory encryption for SSD contents?
  20. cRuNcHiE macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2007
    Those angled memory DIMM slots look like a point of weakness. *SNAP*
  21. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    Yeah, 10 core looks like it could be the sweet spot but as you said it'll depend on peoples needs. But in terms of upgrading later, it's best to stick with the 8 or 10 core and then upgrade it yourself once the warranty has expired and the CPUs are a lot cheaper, although again that will depend on the situation and their needs.

    Personally I think the GPU upgrade is a must, It's quite ridiculous that they even offer the Vega 56 option in a $4999 machine, especially given the small price increase between the 2. If only Apple stuck with Nvidia, we'd have Vega 64 performance in the standard iMac with the mobile 1080 card.
  22. toke lahti macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2007
    Helsinki, Finland
    I’d like to see noise level metered, when the fans hit the max. AI told that it doesn’t take many minutes if both cpu and gpu is about 100%, then throttling kicks in.
    Comparison with real pro monitor would also be nice.
  23. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    So your 5 grand iMac uses the exact same display as your 1750k iMac... hmm..

    A nice computer for sure, but a custom Intel chip would concern me.. if it needs replacing that’ll be an Apple only job. And what performance differences will their be with this custom chip?
  24. theirongiant macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2007
    You sound bitter about having to buy a new computer.

    I think the new logic board is a test-run for the upcoming 2018 Mac Pro, only it has been shoehorned / redesigned to fit inside an existing physical form factor. This way, Apple gets to try out a new engineering design without betting the farm on a "bold new design" to go with it.

    Apple has a long history of packaging novel components into familiar hardware. At this point in time, they must have several variants of the new Mac Pro design. Most expect it to be about the size of a pizza box. I wouldn't put it past them to introduce the "Mac Pro" and "Mac Mini" at the same time with a "large" vs "small" form factor.

    They will be watching news about the iMac Pro carefully for the next few months and If it goes well, we can expect production on the Mac Pro to ramp up drastically.
  25. Martyimac macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2009
    S. AZ.
    Those angled DIMM slots have been around quit a while in the Windows PC world. My mini also has them. No problems when I went to upgrade the ram. No muss no fuss, no problem.

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