Apple's new Mac Pro offers a unique package that moves away from the traditional box-like shape of desktop systems, to encompass a compact, cylindrical form factor. While this new design has had some people concerned about the serviceability of the system, in recent teardowns it has been revealed that despite some proprietary connections, the system's components are surprisingly accessible.
One of the noted features of the new Mac Pro is its that its CPU is not soldered to the motherboard, and instead uses a standard socket to clamp the CPU's packaging. This means that the CPU is upgradable, and may only require swapping out the chip itself to give the Mac Pro a boost offered by new generations of CPUs, as they are developed.
While the upgradability of the CPU has been speculated, Mac supply company OWC recently put this to the test. They purchased a stock Mac Pro with an Intel E5-1650 V2 6-core CPU running at 3.5GHz and with 12MB cache, and swapped it out with an Intel E5-2667 V2 8-core processor, running at 3.3GHz with 25MB cache.
All the upgrade took was this simple swap, and the system booted and ran with the new number of processing cores recognized and fully used.
Upon testing the new CPU out using Geek Bench, the system showed an approximate 30 percent increase in multiprocessing performance, as would be expected for an increase from six cores to eight. This result and the ease of upgrading as an option is good news for owners of the new Mac Pro. With the cost of the ES-2667 around $2,000, the price of a 30 percent boost may not be worth it at present, prices will undoubtedly fall and make this a more feasible option in the future.