Hardware firm swaps in 8-core Intel CPU on Mac Pro; speed jumps

OWC swaps in an 8-core Intel CPU on the Mac Pro in place of the stock 6-core chip and cites up to a 30 percent performance boost.

An upgrade outfit installed an Intel 8-core CPU in the new Mac Pro, confirming that it's CPU upgradeable.
An upgrade outfit installed an Intel 8-core CPU in the new Mac Pro, confirming that it's CPU upgradeable. CNET

A Mac upgrade outfit swapped in an 8-core processor on the new Mac Pro, confirming that upgrades are possible.

Other World Computing (OWC), a company that specializes in hardware and Mac upgrades, said Friday that it installed an Intel 8-core E5-2667 V2 in place of the stock 6-core E5-1650 V2.

The company cited up to a 30 percent boost in multicore performance on Geekbench scores.

The Mac Pro's upgradeability jibes with iFixit's teardown of the Pro earlier this week.

"The CPU is...clinging to the side of the heat sink via a thin smear of thermal paste. After teasing it away with a spudger...a CPU upgrade appears entirely possible -- and well worth it," iFixit said, citing cost savings by doing it yourself.

The Mac Pro's logic board with Intel CPU. "A CPU upgrade appears entirely possible -- and well worth it, with [big] alleged cost savings...for an upgrade," said iFixit.
The Mac Pro's logic board with Intel CPU. "A CPU upgrade appears entirely possible -- and well worth it, with [big] alleged cost savings...for an upgrade," said iFixit.

For the uninitiated, a processor upgrade could obviate the need to upgrade the entire system down the road and thereby save a consumer potentially hundreds of dollars, according to MacRumors.

As CNET Reviews noted in its initial review, the $2,999 base model Mac Pro gets you a quad-core 3.7GHz Intel Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and AMD D300 FirePro graphics. Upgrades that are possible when you order a new system from Apple include a 6-core Xeon CPU and a 12-core processor.

"The new Mac Pro is a professional workhorse dressed up in a very appealing high-design package. It's a stretch to say this is a computer for casual consumers, but the starting price isn't more than you'd pay for a similarly configured Windows PC," said CNET Reviews.

Note that the Mac Pro is available only at the online Apple Store, and new orders are not expected to ship until February or later.

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