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Mac Pro CPU Upgradeability Confirmed With Processor Swap

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,536
13,165



Following the release of the Mac Pro, a quick teardown by Other World Computing (OWC) revealed that the tower's Intel Xeon E5 processor was socketed and removable, theoretically allowing for future upgrades. All CPUs in the Mac Pro were found to use the same LGA 2011 socket standardized on the Mac Pro's motherboard.

Today OWC confirmed that the Mac Pro's processor is indeed upgradeable, successfully replacing the default Intel E5-1650 V2 6-core 3.50Ghz processor with an Intel E5-2667 V2 8-core 3.30GHz processor with 25MB of L3 cache, an option not offered by Apple. The upgraded processor gave OWC's machine a 30 percent multi-processor performance boost, outperforming Apple's standard 8-core option with a Geekbench score of 27004 vs. 24429.

With a replaceable CPU, customers can purchase more affordable lower-configuration Mac Pros that can be updated in the future as processor prices drop. Prices for multi-core processors today remain high, with the CPU OWC used from Intel priced at $2000. Apple's own CPU upgrade options range in price from $500 to $3500. Based on the 3.7Ghz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 with 10MB of L3 cache, pricing from Apple is as follows:

- 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

The upgradeable CPU in the Mac Pro is a deviation from standard practice for Apple, with most consumer-oriented Macs featuring soldered processors. Along with a removable CPU, Mac Pro buyers are also able to upgrade memory and other components. In a recent teardown, iFixit gave the Mac Pro a repairability score of 8 out of 10, highlighting the easily accessible internal components and the non-proprietary screws.

Apple's Mac Pro is currently available exclusively through the online Apple Store. Due to low supply and high demand, new orders are not expected to ship until February or later, but customers who placed orders shortly after the computer went on sale have begun receiving units.

Article Link: Mac Pro CPU Upgradeability Confirmed With Processor Swap
 

Lesser Evets

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2006
3,508
1,271
That ruins some doubters' rainy day parades. That new Pro isn't bad, from the reports coming out.
 
Comment

sransari

macrumors 6502
Feb 11, 2005
363
130
NOWWW we're talkin...I understand that maybe Apple doesn't want to advertise after-market upgrades, but these types of simple, inexpensive, and effective upgrades is what makes Pro towers so valuable and desirable.
 
Comment

ckelley

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2003
130
171
Austin, TX
Future upgradability will be limited as when Intel moves their Xeons to Haswell, they're not going to use LGA 2011 anymore, so this generation of chips is all that you will be able to upgrade to.
 
Comment

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,023
172
Wow, I had no idea Xeon processors that that much L3 cache. 30 MB!
 
Comment

cal6n

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2004
2,019
123
Gloucester, UK
The upgradeable CPU in the Mac Pro is a deviation from standard practice for Apple, with most consumer-oriented Macs featuring soldered processors.

*snip*

Eh?

Although I agree that most consumer-oriented Macs have featured soldered processors for some time, the Pro line has employed socketed processors exclusively as a matter of course as far back as I can recall. Certainly as far back as the G3 PowerMacs and most likely even before that.
 
Comment

LPZ

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2006
1,221
2
NOWWW we're talkin...I understand that maybe Apple doesn't want to advertise after-market upgrades, but these types of simple, inexpensive, and effective upgrades is what makes Pro towers so valuable and desirable.

Not sure I'd use "simple", but then I've never swapped a CPU. (I did successfully replace the HD in a 2006 Core 2 iMac, which certainly wasn't simple :) ).
 
Comment

Chicane-UK

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2008
435
999
The sceptic in me can't help but wonder if Apple will alter the system firmware to only work with and boot up with certain CPU's installed. I'd love to believe that they won't, but it somehow seems inevitable.
 
Comment

iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,220
473
The sceptic in me can't help but wonder if Apple will alter the system firmware to only work with and boot up with certain CPU's installed. I'd love to believe that they won't, but it somehow seems inevitable.

Why would they? If the TDP is within the limits, it should boot with any processor you throw at it.
 
Comment

tanousjm

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2009
41
0
This is awesome and a nice surprise. Although, to the article's point about soldered CPUs, some iMacs to this day feature socketed CPUs, as I learned during a recent project. (But they are indeed a heck of a lot more difficult to replace than on the Mac Pro ;))

I thought socketed CPUs in iMacs ended around the 2007-era, but many folks pointed my attention to the teardown of the 2013 iMac.
 
Comment

jm001

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2011
596
123
"The upgradeable CPU in the Mac Pro is a deviation from standard practice for Apple, with most consumer-oriented Macs featuring soldered processors."

It really isn't a deviation from the standard of the desktop pro line. With the powermac towers one was able to easily swap the processors with even 3rd party CPUs. I'm glad to see Apple going back to upgradeable models.
 
Comment

Goftrey

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2011
1,853
72
Wales, UK
Not sure I'd use "simple", but then I've never swapped a CPU. (I did successfully replace the HD in a 2006 Core 2 iMac, which certainly wasn't simple :) ).

If you can replace a hard drive in an '06 iMac than swapping out a CPU is bread & butter. Those iMacs are feckin' nightmares to work on. ;)
 
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MagnusVonMagnum

macrumors 603
Jun 18, 2007
5,179
1,418
Too bad you can't order the new Mac Pro without any CPUs in it. The problem with ordering a lower model and then upgrading to a higher CPU model is that you're still stuck with the original CPU. I suppose you can try to sell it, but you're not going to get what you paid for it (relative to the cost of the machine) back. Unfortunately, Apple won't sell bare-bones machines and let users upgrade it themselves because they make all their BILLIONS by bending the customer over and shoving the parts in themselves at 200-600% markup. :eek:
 
Comment

proline

macrumors 6502a
Nov 18, 2012
630
1
That ruins some doubters' rainy day parades. That new Pro isn't bad, from the reports coming out.
Don't worry, the whiners will move on to their next perceived issue or just go back to the garbage about lack of internal storage.
 
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