Skip to main content

Mac Pro easy to repair, says iFixit teardown

You had to know the folks at iFixit would be itching to rip apart Apple's powerful new Mac Pro workstation, and this week they did just that.

There has been a lot of praise already heaped upon the visually arresting cylindrical powerhouse, and the iFixit gang offered up some more.

"Beneath the surface, the Mac Pro's compact, three-sided design is like nothing we've ever seen before—an example of what engineers can do when they think outside of the box," the iFixit team said in its teardown review.

The Mac Pro is designed to be upgradeable, so it's not a surprise that iFixit gave it a pretty strong repairability score. Apple's new flagship desktop workstation got an 8 out of 10 for repairability from the teardown team—turns out Apple still does know how to make products you can take apart, even after so many years of focusing on difficult-to-repair devices and laptops like the iPhone and iPad Air.

"The Mac Pro is both small and repairable. In fact, it's the most repairable Apple product we've seen all year. The hood pops off with the flick of a switch. There's not a proprietary screw in sight and the RAM can be replaced without any tools," iFixit said. "Impressively, the CPU is also user-upgradeable; intrepid fixers should be able to save considerably by upgrading from the base-level processor configuration."

One lament the iFixit team had was that there's no extra room or expansion bay for adding internal storage to the Mac Pro—Apple clearly wants users to exploit the "heaps of Thunderbolt" available in the system to add storage via external means.

However, per iFixit, there is an intriguing possibility for bumping up the capacity of the single solid-state drive (SSD) which resides in a slot nestled up to one of the two AMD graphics cards in the Mac Pro.

Once the Mac Pro's case is removed, iFixit found that those dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards dominate the initial view (other versions of AMD's new FirePro line are also available for the Mac Pro). The team gave big points to Apple for making the Intel Xeon central processor easy to access as well, paving the path for a simple and reportedly economical upgrade to a 12-core CPU if users choose to do so.

In fact, iFixit posited that the "heck of a deal with AMD" that Cupertino was able to strike over the parts cost for the new FirePro professional-class GPUs "may be the key to Apple finally undercutting homebrew systems on a pure power/cost basis."

Meanwhile, more praise keeps getting showered upon the Mac Pro as folks get their hands on the system following its general release in December 2013.

"The Mac Pro is Apple's fastest computer model to date. It boasts speeds up to two times faster than previous versions, up to 12 cores of processing power, double the bandwidth compared to previous models, and up to 64 GB of memory," Karl Volkman of Chicago-based SRV Network said.

"The specs are unheard of for a desktop machine. Measuring at less than 10 inches tall and 6.6 inches in diameter, it's sleek and easy to install anywhere. The device isn't cheap, but for the consumers looking for speed, optimal performance, and advanced editing features the Mac Pro is well worth the price tag," he said.

To see what we thought when we got our hands on Apple's cylindrical powerhouse, check out our preview.