Apple’s redesigned Mac Pro is a nice looking machine, but workstation professionals who used the old Mac Pro have worried about its expandability and upgradeability. We already knew that the RAM was a standard and easily accessible part, but now this Mac Pro teardown from OWC shows that the workstation also uses a standard socketed Intel Xeon CPU, making it theoretically possible for users to perform their own upgrades in the future. Some of Apple’s recent desktops (including the 2012 Mac Mini and some flavors of the 2013 iMac) and all of its laptops now ship with CPUs that have been soldered to the motherboard, making easy drop-in upgrades impossible—that does not appear to be the case for the Mac Pro.
This is hardly unprecedented for the Mac Pro (nor is it surprising, given that Intel doesn’t sell soldered-in ball grid array versions of the Xeon). Older versions of the computers were dual-socket Xeon systems, and both processors were user-replaceable. Guides like this one from EveryMac note that some of the older Mac Pros used special non-standard Xeons without the usual integrated heat spreaders, making upgrades more difficult than they might have otherwise been. OWC’s shots of the new Mac Pro (including this one) appear to show a standard Xeon with heat spreader intact, however.
The number of people interested in cracking open their Mac Pro and installing a new CPU is probably low—you would certainly void your warranty, so most professionals would be better off buying the amount of CPU power they need right off the bat. Still, a few years down the line when warranties have expired and the computers are aging, users buying and using this Mac Pro secondhand may appreciate the ability to pop in a new processor if they really want to.
via Ars Technica http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/index/~3/_SNOngh1Or0/