Mac Pro teardown


That’s good to hear. After all the rumors about components being glued and soldered on, it’s good to hear that they’re continuing the tradition of making Pros a field-serviceable machine (and speaking as someone who has, in the past, made a living repairing Macs along with doing graphic design, that’s good news. :wink:


iFixit is usually a little over harsh in their ratings, so this will probably be perfectly serviceable. They like to go on and on about glued in components, but they rarely mention that Apple’s “glue” is just rubber cement, and glued in components come out with a moderate pressure and suffer no damage.

I replaced the screen in my wife’s iPhone 4s awhile back, one of the hardest repairs on that device, and I was surprised that it wasn’t really that bad. The only big nuisance was the dozens of tiny slightly different screws (1.0mm, 1.1mm, 1.2mm, 1.3mm, etc…) used everywhere. I had to make a system to keep careful track of which screw was witch, but beyond that it was just removing screws, popping ribbon cables, and lifting out components, then the reverse to put it back together. Took all of an hour and saved us big bucks on the repair. The “glued in battery” came out no problem.

With the $3000+ price tag and some proprietary bits, you'll need to have some balls to do much more than snap in some RAM.

Hmm, you don’t say. No women allowed, then?

There are ways to express that sentiment without using sexist language, and I’m surprised that a Boing Boing editor doesn’t use them.


As a long-time Mac user, I’m at the point where my biggest question is: how much would it set me back to put together my own Hackintosh version of this?


Depends on what you want. I have a Hackintosh at home, but it’s in a standard PC case – because that’s what it is – just consult a site like to find out what hardware (typically Gigabyte motherboards) are compatible with OS X. Making a system with similar specs to the new Pros probably would be at least a thousand dollars cheaper than them. Making a pretty, miniature system like them with the same specs might not be that much cheaper.

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What will be interesting to see is what components exist to be swapped in.

The Pro uses Ivy-BridgeEP Xeons (LGA1155), and upcoming Xeons will presumably be Haswell-based ones (LGA1150) so it’s up to Intel whether there will ever be anything faster than the current highest-end CPU offering.

GPUs are less tightly bound by 3rd party product roadmaps, since those cards, while mechanically weird, are almost certainly PCIe based; but it will be interesting to see what becomes available in that format… Newer AMD? Anything Nvidia?

The SSD module will presumably have 3rd party options at some point, since prior Apple oddball SSDs already do.

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I make Hackintoshes a bunch, and the savings over Apple hardware is usually 30 or 40%. OS X 10.9.2 (currently in beta) will bring support for the current LGA2011 processors to the Hackintosh world, which means faster RAM and the ability to go beyond 4 cores.

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Depends on how closely you want to adhere to ‘this’. Unless Intel is in a good mood with you, Xeons can get very painful, very fast (and the hackintosh scene seems to focus more on desktop parts, which won’t support them anyway), the same is true of workstation graphics parts from AMD or Nvidia(I’m not entirely sure if AMD is actually selling ordinary PCIe versions of whatever lives in the Pro, though if they aren’t now they soon will, possibly under some other inscrutable model number).

On the other hand, if you want a reasonably high end desktop, with RAM and GPU expansion options that aren’t a joke, that’s always been the niche that Apple doesn’t care about, and the one where hackintoshes make the most sense.

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I don’t remember where, but I saw a recent build that tried to adhere as closely as possible to the new Pro, and it ended up being more expensive. Having said that, I’m betting that it will be possible to build one at this price point by summer.

Having said that, this is a pretty niche product at the moment, and people who buy workstations might not necessarily be budget-minded DIYers.

Here’s that Mac Pro build using Newegg parts. The cost was $1000 more than the Mac Pro!

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I noted that too. May I suggest to the author that “gonads” is a gender neutral and inclusive term that already has the same connotation for many people.

Since gonads (ovaries and testicles) are involved in testosterone production in both men and women it also has the same factual basis as a source of drive and bravery.


They built a more powerful machine and it ended up costing more. They also stuck with consistently high end parts (reasonable since it’s a workstation). Notably, the 50% more L2 cache on their CPU is going to cost a pretty penny, and getting the extra GDDR on the video cards isn’t free either.

I think it’s reasonable to say that Apple has pricedthe base model pretty well, at least for now. Those components will get cheaper over time, and it remains to be seen if Apple will discount their Pro accordingly (unlikely, given Apple’s previous pricing history, they were selling 2.4Ghz C2D 13" Laptops for $1100 well beyond the point where that was a reasonable thing to do). Also, it will be a lot easier to beat Apple’s price if you look at something other than the base model. Apple is notorious for overcharging for upgrades.

If the base model Mac Pro fits your needs today (or in a few weeks when it’s actually available), then it’s a pretty decent buy. That’s more than you can say of most workstations.

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I have to say, I’ve been building, repairing and upgrading my own systems for years. I wouldn’t want a computer (other than, say, a tablet), that I can’t easily take apart and/or modify.
Bonus: it’s harder for third parties to install spyware.

Seems like it would be easier to install some trecharous piece of hardwre on an easily maintainable system. You might discover it sooner, but it seems like I could put something evil in a typical PC in like 2 minutes, where it might take an hour to do the same with my phone or laptop, and the phone/laptop version needs to be engineered a lot more to fit in the extremely limited free space in the machine.

Well, you can boobytrap the home-built system much more easily…

/or not live in the 'States, eh.
//note, BTW, that the NSA are modifying laptops, no? I bet they have aaallll the pentalobe screwdrivers plus a few more.

Anyone who cares to transform their default osx trashcan into a mac pro trashcan should check this out:

These guys did it, attempting to make an equivalent spec’d win8 PC… their outcome:

After tabulating all the major component costs (plus another $99.99 US for Windows 8 Pro), we are at a total of around $11,530.54 US using today’s prices at retailers that actually stock the hardware.

That is compared to the $9,599 of the top mac pro.

I think you’d be able to get pretty close in 3-6 months though, and I’m almost certain you could build the low spec’d versions for less.

I know a lot of women who use the term balls, even referring to self. Balls has progressed from

  1. being its original, sexist, males-only implication
  2. to being verboten language because of that males-only implication
  3. to being co-opted by the very females and like-minded males who don’t give a rat’s ass where the term came from or what morons made it up - it means courage in common parlance and gets used alongside dude, man and whatever other stupid words we have in our dumbass language that everybody seeks ways of proving bias and therefore extra-specialness for their group.
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Am I alone in refusing to believe that particular form is really determined by function?