Mac Pro Teardown: Kudos To Apple For Near Perfect Repairability


After Apple announced the 2019 Mac Pro configuration, it was unsurprisingly labeled as the “most powerful on the planet,” and of course, the price was comparable – the most expensive on the planet. The price of a full set of top-of-the-line Mac Pro (including application subscription) has already surpassed $400,000 with the 8TB SSD support customization option available online. As a professional product, it is easy to find the pursuit of ultimate productivity from the configuration specifications provided by Apple, especially with the upcoming release of the rackmount Mac Pro, professional users should be able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, but only if they have enough budget.

In addition to performance, users are also very concerned about the stability of professional PCs, after all, whether it is film and television post-production or Recently, iFixit, a well-known foreign disassembly team, released a detailed disassembly report of the 2019 Mac Pro, so let’s take a look. Because disassembly is the main focus, iFixit obviously does not need to choose the “top,” the configuration of the disassembled Mac Pro is as follows.

The 8-core Intel Xeon processor with 24.5MB L3 cache and a maximum of

32 GB (4x8GB) of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory; AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics card with 8GB GDDR5 memory; 256GB PCIe SSD; 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 support, according to iFixit.

There’s no need to go into too much detail about the Mac Pro’s appearance; whether it feels very modern or very much like a “silk wiper” will vary depending on who you ask. iFixit discovered the following ports on the back of the Mac Pro (the ports should vary depending on configuration): 3.5mm audio jack, two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, two USB-A, two HDMI, two 10Gb Ethernet, and a C14 power plug. Furthermore, iFixit notes that the area on the back of the chassis sealed by black plastic corresponds to eight PCIe slots, which somewhat ensures expandability (and performs better than any other Apple product).

On the top of the case, Apple has reserved two USB-C for the Mac Pro, in addition to the power button and the unobtrusive power indicator to the left of the power button. The appearance of the Mac Pro, which we call “shredder” in China and “cheese grater” by our foreign friends, has been the most complained about by netizens since its release, so the real situation is, does the Mac Pro iFixit took the plunge and tried it out – no! From the “after” picture, there was a lot of cheese residue left on the round cooling holes of the Mac Pro.

However, after some cleaning, it was restored to its original state (PS: I’m not sure if it will still smell like grilled cheese after booting).

Finally, finally, the disassembly begins, but the step of removing the case is not difficult; simply rotate it and then pull it upwards through the top carry handle. The process of removing the case encountered no obstacles, and on the inside, Apple used a unique locking mechanism with no screws or adhesives. (Perhaps this is the pinnacle of tool-free disassembly?) Underneath the Mac Pro power button is a spring-loaded pin connected to a metal contact, and removing the case will turn off the device’s power. Inside the case, the components are protected by black modules, and the protective cover edge pops out when the corresponding “organ” from the inside of the case is pressed.

iFixit first opens the top memory protection cover, which provides a total of 12 memory stick slots, four of which are inserted with memory (8GB), allowing you to increase the memory without using any tools, and there is a schematic on the inside of the memory protection cover to prompt the user how to layout when inserting the corresponding number of memory sticks…kudos.

The next step is to remove the Mac Pro’s four bottom brackets, which requires the use of some specialized tools because the only screws are fixed on the inside of the brackets and conventional screwdrivers are difficult to use. It is worth noting that the screws securing the brackets are locked inside the frame and will not be lost, so users only need to pay attention to save the bottom brackets (Apple provides customization that allows users to choose which bottom brackets to save).

The battery is also simple to disassemble, with only one T8 Torx screw holding it in place. To continue looking at the integrated components on the card, pull on the latch, which engages the two rollers on the other side while loosening and pushing the card away from the motherboard. On the other hand, there are extra expansion slots inside the chassis.

It is now time to begin disassembling the cooling module. The Mac Pro’s three fans are a single unit, secured by six screws, and use spring contacts to connect to the motherboard with no cables, good review! The Mac Pro’s permeable cooling structure can provide a higher cooling design, while unlike the tower desktop we are familiar with, iFixit points out that the Mac Pro’s CPU and GPU do not have dedicated fans, but only through the fans at the front and rear ends of the chassis, which Apple says can ensure the stability. At the same time, Apple stated that the Mac Pro is not easily inhaling dust particles by the fan, which may take some time to prove. iFixit then removes the speaker module between the memory slots before revealing the CPU, which requires the heatsink to be removed (secured with T15 Torx Plus screws).

After separating the power connections on the motherboard, you can pull out the motherboard. According to iFixit, the Mac Pro’s motherboard is massive, even in the same tower desktop. On one side of the motherboard, the components are as follows: in the red box are two aQuantia AQtion AQC107-B1-C multi-gigabit Ethernet controllers; in the orange box are two Diodes Incorporated PI3DBS16 PCIe Thunderbolt 3 signal multiplex According to iFixit, the Mac Pro has excellent fixability, with many modules that can be replaced without the use of tools.

Even if it needs to be repaired, the Mac Pro uses standardized screws and connecting machines, and the step-by-step and disassembly instructions provided in the chassis are extremely useful.

Finally, iFixit gave the 2019 Mac Pro a 9 out of 10 for fixability (the higher the score, the easier it is to fix) and stated that it is by far the most fixable Apple product. First, the shell of the Mac Pro is very simple to remove; second, some basic repairs and upgrades can be performed using standard tools, even without the use of any tools (such as memory); and third, the main components use a highly modular design and industry-standard sockets. Furthermore, if the parts to be repaired are not on Apple’s warranty list, the price may cause many users to suffer under the premise that they can be replaced.