Apple's Mac Pro fairly easy to repair, says iFixit

Apple's new dark, cylindrical Mac Pro may look intimidating, but the pricey computer scored high on iFixit's repairability scale.

An inside look at the new Mac Pro.
An inside look at the new Mac Pro. Sarah Tew/CNET

Yearning to take apart your new $3,000 Mac Pro? The journey through its innards shouldn't be too taxing, according to a teardown from the folks at iFixit.

Hiking and hacking through the interior of the entry-level late 2013 Mac Pro, iFixit found its design closer to that of an aluminum soda can than a trash can, to which it's been ignominiously compared. Opening the cylindrical casing requires but a snap of the lock switch, thereby exposing the first layer of cards and components.

The RAM modules are easily accessible and replaceable, says iFixit, so users can max out the memory to 64GB without too much sweat. Removing the solid-state drive entails just a turn of a screwdriver, revealing the flash storage and flash controller. But coaxing off the data connectors for the graphics card pulls iFixit's special spudger tool into duty.

The dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards are held in place by a clamp and four screws. The iFixit team did note: "While this stacks up fairly well for current Apple GPU offerings, the proprietary nature, and lack of an elegant external GPU option, may age this device before its time."

Diving deeper, iFixit discovers that the logic board, the dual graphics cards, and the I/O port board all connect to a single disc-shaped "daughterboard." Placed between the logic board and I/O board, the power supply proves a bit tough to remove but comes off with help from a Torx screwdriver. Finally, users who want to upgrade from the entry-level processor can dig through the components to swap out the CPU.

Despite a few small obstacles, the quest to take apart the new Mac Pro proved relatively carefree. The computer's design is "surprisingly modular and easy to disassemble," according to iFixit. But the site does have one bit of advice: "With some proprietary new connectors and tight cable routing, working on this $3,000 device without a repair manual could be risky."

The final grade: 8 out of 10 on the repairability scale (10 being the easiest to repair).

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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