Apple's Cylinder Shaped Mac Pro Earns High Marks for DIY Repairability
The folks at iFixIt got their hands on Apple's entry-level model priced at $2,999. This is the configuration that comes with an Intel Xeon E5 quad-core processor with 10MB of L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, 12GB of ECC DDR3-1866 memory (3x4GB), dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs, 256GB of PCI-E based flash storage, and 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
It's a mighty setup in a funky chassis, but like most computers, taking it apart and replacing components isn't all that hard, and certainly much easier than trying to crack open your typical tablet or smartphone. Before jumping in, iFixIt took some time to examine the exterior and noted that "contrary to popular belief, the new Mac Pro is closer in design to an aluminum beverage can than a trash can."
Removing the outer casing simply involves sliding the lock switch -- there are no pentalobe screws or other annoyances to contend with. Once removed, you'll have a pretty good view of the dual graphics cards and the SSD cage that's nestled alongside the second one.
"Good news, everyone! The RAM in the Mac Pro Late 2013 is easily accessible and replaceable," iFixIt notes in its teardown. In fact, all the parts are fairly easy to get to. Even though it's a compact system, iFixIt says "the design is surprisingly modular and easy to disassemble. Non-proprietary Torx screws are used throughout, and several components can be replaced independently."
The Mac Pro also earned brownie points for the ease with which the outer casing is removed, the fan being a cinch to access and replace, and the CPU being user replaceable (albeit it requires a bit of digging). On the downside, there's no room to add your own storage, and you will eventually run into some proprietary new connectors and tight cable routing. Everything considered, iFixIt awarded the Mac Pro an 8 out of 10 Repairability Score.
Check out the full teardown for more details and complete visual feast.