iMac Pro Teardown Highlights Modular RAM, CPU and SSD Along With Redesigned Internals

With the iMac Pro now in the hands of customers and available at Apple retail stores, popular repair site iFixit has acquired one of the $4,999 machines and has opened it up to see just what's inside. iFixit tore down the base iMac Pro model with an 8-core processor, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

iFixit found that the RAM, CPU, and SSDs in the iMac Pro are modular and can potentially be replaced following purchase, but most of the key components "require a full disassembly to replace."

imacproteardownifixit
Standard 27-inch iMacs have a small hatch in the back that allows easy access to the RAM for post-purchase upgrades, but that's missing in the iMac Pro. Apple has said that iMac Pro owners will need to get RAM replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. iFixit says that compared to the 5K 27-inch iMac, replacing the RAM in the iMac Pro is indeed "a major undertaking."

imacproifixitteardown2
Apple is using standard 288-pin DDR4 ECC RAM sticks with standard chips, which iFixit was able to upgrade using its own $2,000 RAM upgrade kit. A CPU upgrade is "theoretically possible," but because Apple uses a custom-made Intel chip, it's not clear if an upgrade is actually feasible. The same goes for the SSDs -- they're modular and removable, but custom made by Apple. Unlike the CPU, the GPU is BGA-soldered into place and cannot be removed.

The internals of the iMac Pro are "totally different" from other iMacs, which is unsurprising as Apple said it introduced a new thermal design to accommodate the Xeon-W processors and Radeon Pro Vega GPUs built into the machines. The new thermal design includes an "enormous" dual-fan cooler, what iFixit says is a "ginormous heat sink," and a "big rear vent."

Apple's iMac Pro appears to be equipped with the same LG display panel that's used in the standard 27-inch 5K iMac, but because of new cables and a different camera setup, screens can't be swapped across models.

iFixit gives the iMac Pro a repairability score of 3/10, because despite its upgradeable RAM and CPU, it's difficult to open and tough to get to internal components that might need to be repaired or replaced.

The iMac Pro became available for purchase in mid-December, and the machine is now available to order from Apple's website, with 8 and 10-core configurations shipping out in just a few days. Many Apple retail stores around the world also have the base model in stock and available for immediate purchase. Higher-priced 14 and 18-core configurations can be ordered, but won't ship out for several weeks.

imac pro 2
Pricing on the iMac Pro starts at $4,999 for the base machine with an 8-core 3.2GHz processor, 32GB ECC RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card, and goes up to $13,199 for a maxed out iMac Pro with a 3.3GHz 18-core processor, 128GB ECC RAM, a 4TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card.

Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: iMac

Top Rated Comments

soupcan Avatar
44 months ago
Yeah sure, modular. Modular means I as end user can replace and upgrade parts myself with just a screwdriver. It does not mean taking the entire bloody thing to a store to have them tear the entire screen off of the thing just so you can get at the RAM or SSD (which oh by the way isn't even a normal standard so good luck upgrading that on your own).
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cb3 Avatar
44 months ago
Apple, design these with a hinged door or something so the whole thing opens up and can be worked on and upgraded easily. Design is not just about looks. Function is important too.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pat500000 Avatar
44 months ago
Meh. So what if it’s upgradable? It’s not user’s upgradable. You have to pay for the service. Shessh. My eye is on mac pro..bring that out.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nwcs Avatar
44 months ago
Does it get throttled when its battery is under 80% capacity?
Does it have a battery? It’s ok to use sarcasm but at least do it on the right threads...
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tallscot Avatar
44 months ago
Pros don’t need to upgrade. They can buy what they need and throw it out after 2 years to get another one if they wish.

Since when did the word “Pro” get tied to “upgradeability”? The two have nothing to do with each other.
And what do you do for a living? I have over a dozen friends who are designers, photographers, editors, 3D animators, special FX artists, color graders with Davinci Resolve...and all of them have switched to Windows PCs because of this issue.

The last friend to do so was last year. He was a Mac user with two Macs. He used Premiere Pro to edit indie movies. He had a guy build him a custom PC tower and he now uses the Adobe Creative Cloud suite on that. It cost him $2K. Unlike my $6K 2013 Mac Pro, his PC does Thunderbolt 3 because he just popped in a card. And, no, I don't want to buy a $5K iMac Pro (minimum) just so I can have Thunderbolt 3, even though Thunderbolt 3 RAID drives are 3X faster than my Thunderbolt 2 RAID.

The idea that content creators are throwing out $6K Macs every 2 years and happy to do so is just simply idiotic. It's the dumbest thing I've read on these forums.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vicviper789 Avatar
44 months ago
Does it get throttled when its battery is under 80% capacity?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Monday May 3, 2021 4:03 am PDT by
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Brydge's 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Keyboard With Trackpad

Tuesday May 4, 2021 11:48 am PDT by
Brydge has been making keyboards for Apple's iPads for years now, and the newest model, the Brydge 12.9 MAX+, is compatible with the third, fourth, and fifth-generation iPad Pro models, so it works even with the new mini-LED iPad Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we checked out the new Brydge 12.9 MAX+ to see if it's a viable...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

Mini-LED Display Production Improving for Redesigned MacBook Pro Models Later This Year

Monday May 3, 2021 8:33 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMT, a key vendor involved in the production of mini-LED displays in the newly announced 12.9-inch iPad Pro, has been able to address technical challenges for the production of mini-LED displays to be used in the upcoming 14 and 16-inch redesigned MacBook Pro models. As reported by DigiTimes, TSMT had initially been facing production constraints with the circuit board and...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
airtags

AirTag Owners Bemoan Inability to Let Others Track Their Items Via Family Sharing

Tuesday May 4, 2021 5:12 am PDT by
Apple's new AirTag item trackers have been making their way into the hands of customers since Friday, and while the company has tried to describe the ways that they can be used to find lost items, many users are still surprised and disappointed to learn that the location of an AirTag can't be shared with other family members. On the face of it, sharing the location of an AirTag via Apple's...