nMP GPUs? Swappable? Not swappable?

goMac

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 15, 2004
7,085
1,097
I haven't seen one thread yet on if the GPUs in the Mac Pro are swappable, and I haven't seen a firm answer either way. Let's discuss! I'm hoping a reviewer will get an answer.

Best answer so far from CNet:
http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/apple-mac-pro-2013/4505-3118_7-35781456-2.html

Those RAM slots are the most user-accessible component inside, although Apple says the SSD and graphics cards could be swapped out as well, but it certainly wouldn't be as easy as it is on a traditional desktop tower.
"Could be swapped" is a good start to an answer.
 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity
Could be swapped? Yes, seems like it.

Swapped for what?

At what price?

In the future?

Those are the questions
of course..
it's just that it may take quite a while (up to a year even?) to get those answers, exactly.

the physical act of removing/installing a gpu could be figured out right this minute though.
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
Apple have been quoted they are swappable on a few occasions so surmising (before we see the details of the tear down) it's likely there's PCIe 16x connectors at the bottom of each card to the logic board.

Makes me wonder that AMD haven't got a permanent handcuff agreement with Apple and they may eventually let Nvidia provide PCB's for those who need CUDA more than OpenCL.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
Apple have been quoted they are swappable on a few occasions so surmising (before we see the details of the tear down) it's likely there's PCIe 16x connectors at the bottom of each card to the logic board.

Makes me wonder that AMD haven't got a permanent handcuff agreement with Apple and they may eventually let Nvidia provide PCB's for those who need CUDA more than OpenCL.
I've never heard this. Source?

Not saying it's not true. My contention has always been that it's likely they can physically be replaced, just not likely by the End-User and highly unlikely we'll see an upgrade kit until a future model has a different card. Even if we do see it, it'll likely be insanely expensive and it may require reapplying the thermal paste.

Of course they might choose to tweak the form-factor between the 6,1 and 7,1--making those cards incompatible.

Basically anyone banking on the possibility of future GPU upgrades is taking a huge risk, there are a lot of things that have to come together to make upgrades a possibility.
 

spaz8

macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2007
406
8
I've always put the best gpu I could in the macs I've owned for last decade (minus quadro). I'll get the D700 and hope in two years or 3 years the nmp 7,1 spawns compatible gpu's for my 6,1. There should be a decent amount if ppl looking for a gpu upgrade by then for nvidia or amd to see a market if the form factor changes even.

I bought my mp1,1 with a x1900xt, the mp3,1 gave me the 8800gt, the mp5,1 gave me the 5770.
 
Last edited:

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity
Basically anyone banking on the possibility of future GPU upgrades is taking a huge risk, there are a lot of things that have to come together to make upgrades a possibility.
not really.. you can buy d300s now and expect to be able to put d700s in it next year..

the 'huge risk' is whether or not you can install them yourself which basically boils down to a hundred bucks or so..

ie- pay $1500 for the d700s and install yourself vs pay $1600 for them but somebody else installs.
 

sirio76

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2013
342
101
Even if we do see it, it'll likely be insanely expensive and it may require reapplying the thermal paste.
Please define "insanely expensive", because even now upgrading from D300 to two D700 costs only 1.000$, and 600$ from the D500(after business discount respectively 950 and 570$).
Even if those D700 were just consumer grade GPU(and they are supposed to be workstation grade FirePro), that's pretty cheap for a couple 6GB cards. But hey.. maybe it's the thermal paste that is insanely expensive;)
 
Last edited:

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
Please define "insanely expensive", because even now upgrading from D300 to two D700 costs only 1.000$, and 600$ from the D500(after business discount respectively 950 and 570$).
Even if those D700 were just consumer grade GPU(and they are supposed to be workstation grade FirePro), that's pretty cheap for a couple 6GB cards. But hey.. maybe it's the thermal paste that is insanely expensive;)
This is what I mean by insanely expensive (this picture was taken TODAY):

 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity
This is what I mean by insanely expensive (this picture was taken TODAY):
what do you expect? i mean really, the idea of buying apple computers as a means to tinker around with it -and- do it cheaply is completely laughable..

you do see that, right?

complain all you want about it but it really boils down to using/buying the wrong computers to suit your desires.. it's not apple's fault, my fault, her fault, his fault.. it's your fault.. complain about yourself
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
what do you expect? i mean really, the idea of buying apple computers as a means to tinker around with it -and- do it cheaply is completely laughable..
The only reason I replied to your comment is because you said I was wrong to think Apple would charge an arm and a leg for aftermarket upgrades (IF they offer them at all). You reply by changing the subject. I don't know why I replied.

Edit: Wait a minute, I wasn't even replying to you. You were still wrong though :p
 

sirio76

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2013
342
101
This is what I mean by insanely expensive (this picture was taken TODAY):
Well, there's really no reason to post GPU options for the old Mac pro since we are talking about the new one. There's also a pricier Nvidia Quadro option, but again.. that was intended for the old one... who cares what Apple charged for his older systems...
If the nMP GPU are upgradable/replaceable, ther's very little left to our imagination about their price since they are on the Apple website today. The worst thing we can imagine is that Apple will charge something for their service, who knows what they will charge to unscrew the actual card and reapply some "insanely expensive" thermal paste:D
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
Well, there's really no reason to post GPU options for the old Mac pro since we are talking about the new one. There's also a pricier Nvidia Quadro option, but again.. that was intended for the old one... who cares what Apple charged for his older systems...
If the nMP GPU are upgradable/replaceable, ther's very little left to our imagination about their price since they are on the Apple website today. The worst thing we can imagine is that Apple will charge something for their service, who knows what they will charge to unscrew the actual card and reapply some "insanely expensive" thermal paste:D
Again (for the 3rd time): The point is to demonstrate Apple charges an insane premium on official upgrades. I think the $450 for a 4 year old video card says it all. You can ignore that if you like.

$1000 (or possibly $1500) may not be much for 2 D700 today. How are you going to feel paying $1500 for 2 of them in 2015? Again: IF they offer the upgrade kit at all. If it's an Apple replacement part only (IMO most likely), they could charge $1500 each, or you'll be buying them from used from iTube boneyard websites. People are reading these threads looking for hope of future GPU upgrades. If the possibility of upgrades is a deciding factor for you, I'd say that's a huge gamble.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
As far as other future options (like NVidia, etc), most likely if they come at all, they will only become available as Apple releases new revisions of the nMP in the future. Highly unlikely 3rd parties will offer aftermarket upgrades. With the move away from standard PCIe, this era is over.

Another problem with people buying the nMP today banking on future upgrades (read above post for the main problems) is there could be any number of changes to the proprietary form-factor that can make future video cards incompatible with old models. We have no way of knowing how this will work.

This was the case with video cards for the Beige G3-- they called them "Video personality cards." The 233mhz and 333mhz Personality cards were incompatible. We're back in the **** that is proprietary lockdown. Hopefully it wont be as bad as it was back then.
 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity
People are reading these threads looking for hope of future GPU upgrades.
lol.. no they're not.. most people don't care.. it's a bunch of dudes that seemingly would like to upgrade gpus sitting around insisting it's not possible and one dude telling them they're all wrong..

let's be honest about how 'helpful' any of these threads have been..

If the possibility of upgrades is a deciding factor for you, I'd say that's a huge gamble.
as opposed to spending $1000 extra up front since most people are giving bad info saying "you only get one chance to choose your gpus and that's at time of purchase"... even though they really need another year or two to see if their particular softwares are going to integrate some openCL coding in order to utilize the $1000 additional hardware..

i'd say your recommended gamble is worse than the other.
 
Last edited:

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity
"If you open your Mac Pro or install items other than memory and SSDs, you risk damaging your equipment. Such damage isn’t covered by the limited warranty on your Mac Pro."

right.. so if i install something besides ram&ssd -and- i break the computer during the process, then my warranty can't be used to fix the damage i caused..

so what's your point?

and besides-- most upgrades and repairs on gpus and cpus are going to happen after warranties have expired anyway.
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,172
501
Why swap if you can string a PCIe chassis to the Pro via Thunderbolt? Put whatever you want in that, as long as there's an OS X driver for it.
 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity

also.. here's something i posted yesterday in a similar thread about cpu

.........
here's what the 2013 rmbp manual says:

"Your MacBook Pro does not have any user-serviceable parts. If you need service, contact Apple or take your MacBook Pro to an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

here's what owc sells:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Air-Retina/Apple-MacBook-Pro-Retina-2012-Drive-Internal-Flash

...and it's important to realize the ssds are proprietary.. meaning, OWC isn't selling those things without apple's permission (& apple tax)
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,104
236
"If you open your Mac Pro or install items other than memory and SSDs, you risk damaging your equipment. Such damage isn’t covered by the limited warranty on your Mac Pro."

right.. so if i install something besides ram&ssd -and- i break the computer during the process, then my warranty can't be used to fix the damage i caused..

so what's your point?

and besides-- most upgrades and repairs on gpus and cpus are going to happen after warranties have expired anyway.
Certainly makes it less likely Apple will offer an official Upgrade kit for GPUs (unlike the previous models of Mac Pro). :p

... Not that it was all that likely anyway ...
 

akis-k

macrumors member
Feb 4, 2010
49
25
Greece
"If you open your Mac Pro or install items other than memory and SSDs, you risk damaging your equipment. Such damage isn’t covered by the limited warranty on your Mac Pro."

right.. so if i install something besides ram&ssd -and- i break the computer during the process, then my warranty can't be used to fix the damage i caused..

so what's your point?

and besides-- most upgrades and repairs on gpus and cpus are going to happen after warranties have expired anyway.
I was referring to another paragraph really: "Don’t open your Mac Pro except to install memory and solid
state drives (SSD), and don’t attempt to repair your Mac Pro by yourself. Your Mac Pro doesn’t have any user-serviceable parts, except for memory and SSDs
".
 

ZnU

macrumors regular
May 24, 2006
171
0
I suspect there probably won't be graphics card upgrades available for this machine, but I don't think this language in the documentation lends any additional support to that prediction. Because of the shared heat sink design, swapping graphics cards will necessarily require removing and then reapplying thermal paste. That's not rocket science, but there is no way Apple was ever going to consider it an end-user procedure. If they do choose to offer GPU upgrades, they'll be strictly a "take your Mac Pro to the local Apple store" affair. This language doesn't rule that out.
 

sirio76

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2013
342
101
@ slughead
So you are speculating that a 1000$ option today will become more expensive in the future? I really don't understand the logic behind this, price tend to drop usually, or in the worst case to remain the same.
Anyway, I agree with you that not knowing for sure the upgradability of those cards, if you think you will need more GPU power in the future there's no reason to not upgrade to the D700 from the start(or at least to the D500). They are only 1000$ more..
 
Last edited:

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,577
2,654
newyorkcity
I was referring to another paragraph really: "Don’t open your Mac Pro except to install memory and solid
state drives (SSD), and don’t attempt to repair your Mac Pro by yourself. Your Mac Pro doesn’t have any user-serviceable parts, except for memory and SSDs
".
right- see the post about rmbp drives #

and also realize that the lawyers and designers aren't the same people nor is it likely that they are harmoniously working together
 

Similar threads

  • Henry Jones
6
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • gabrielefx
3
Replies
3
Views
802
  • flowrider
0
Replies
0
Views
331
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.