Good news everybody! Apple has apparently figured out how to manufacturer a powerful and compact workstation which is fairly easy to upgrade and repair! Someone should tell their laptop and tablet divisions, but I digress…
iFixIt tore the sucker down and found a refreshing lack glue or proprietary screws. Opening the casing allows you to easily get to the RAM. The SSD is proprietary but easy to swap out, which hopefully might encourage some companies to build 3rd party solutions. Even the CPU, while buried deep into the internals, is a stock Intel socket. iFixit estimates you could save almost $1000 buying a low end Mac Pro, and then swapping out the processor yourself.
Maybe the harshest criticism came from the proprietary graphics cards. Flanking the triangular heat sink, Apple had to design their own connectors and shape so they’d fit in the casing. iFixIt worries that this might prematurely age the system if Apple can’t keep up with newer graphics chipsets and offerings.
All in all though, this assuages most of the concerns I personally had over the construction of the Mac Pro. No machine badged a “pro” should ever lock out the user. A workstation is a MUCH longer term investment than a regular destop, and this radical new design from Apple looked like it might have followed in the same footsteps as their MacBooks, glued shut and with RAM soldered onto the logic board. Happily this is not the case, and I’m surprised that Apple themselves didn’t make more noise about it. The ability to improve the system over time larger destroys the perceived “Apple Tax” and should make homebrew OSX systems a little less cost/time effective for those looking at Bang for Buck.
If you’re shopping a high end workstation, I’d highly recommend checking out the iFixIt teardown guide, as they detail the whole process of stripping the machine with their usual wit and humor.