[NEWS] Mac Pro CPUs can be replaced

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Your Name, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Your Name

    Your Name Guest

    Apparently the CPUs on the Mac Pro motherboard are NOT soldered in
    place, so they are able to be user-swapped at a future date. This is
    from MacRoumors.com ...

    New Mac Pro Confirmed to Have Removable CPU
    With the first new Mac Pro units having made their
    way to reviewers and even some early online orders
    arriving in the closing days of 2013, more details
    on the new machines are continuing to surface.

    Other World Computing (OWC) has performed a quick
    teardown on one of the new machines, and while
    documentation currently consists of only a small
    set of photos, the company has confirmed that the
    Intel Xeon E5 processor found in the Mac Pro is
    indeed removable, allowing for future upgrades.
    All four available CPUs for the new Mac Pro use
    the same LGA 2011 socket standardized on the Mac
    Pro's motherboard.

    The main processor is one of the most significant
    variables in the cost of the new Mac Pro, with
    the four available CPU options spanning $3500 in
    upgrade charges. Pricing relative to the stock
    3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 with 10MB of L3
    cache is as follows:

    - 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5
    with 12MB of L3 cache: +$500

    - 3.0GHz 8-core Intel Xeon E5
    with 25MB of L3 cache: +$2000

    - 2.7GHz 12-core Intel Xeon E5
    with 30MB of L3 cache: +$3500

    Using a removable socketed processor rather than
    the soldered processors found in most of Apple's
    Macs means that users may be able to upgrade their
    machines in the future as their needs change and/or
    chip prices decline.

    Earlier this week, OWC also shared a photo showing
    the new Mac Pro driving a total of six 27-inch
    displays, each with a horizontal resolution of at
    least 2500 pixels. The new Mac Pro offers six
    Thunderbolt 2 ports for connectivity, allowing for
    a number of combinations of displays and other
    Your Name, Dec 28, 2013
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  2. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    MacPro 2009 also had remopvable CPUs (from a obese daughtercard complete
    with its own fans). Yet, when Apple updated the MacPro in 2010, we were
    not allowed to buy the new CPU to be plugged into our 2009 Macs. So the
    CPU upgradability was there but never enabled by Apple.

    However, at the socket level, it may mean that you could source your
    CPUs elsewhere at lower price than Apple's initial upgrade price.

    From a manufacutring point of view, since they are apparently built to
    order, it would make sense to not solder the CPUs in since they can then
    have vanilla mothermoards mass produced once, and then fit then with a
    variety of user options when the machine is being assembled for a
    sepcific customer.
    JF Mezei, Dec 28, 2013
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  3. Your Name

    Your Name Guest

    All Apple's other computers use soldered parts and yet are still "Build
    to Order" customisable, so I doubt that is the reason.
    Your Name, Dec 28, 2013
  4. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    The iMac and laptops are mass produced with educated guesses on demand
    for each soldered config. With such high volumes they can afford to
    have different configs mass produced.

    With the MacPro being low volume, they probbaly don't have enough
    information to predict demand for each config so it becomes most cost
    effective to put a socket in and configured on-demand.

    (And it is also possible that for higher end CPUs, sockets are standard,
    does anyone know ?)
    JF Mezei, Dec 28, 2013
  5. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    It is not home brewed speculation that the MacPro is coming with
    socketed CPUs. It comes from from a reliable trade news outlet.

    Once you take the "fact" of socketed CPUs on MacPro, one can make many
    educated guesses on why Apple chose that route. Sure it is speculation
    until Apple explains why (which it won't). But doesn't mean it is
    "blind" speculation.

    And more importantly, it does not imply that Apple will provide CPU
    JF Mezei, Dec 29, 2013
  6. Your Name

    Lewis Guest

    The MacPro processors are not socketed.
    Lewis, Dec 30, 2013
  7. Your Name

    Guest Guest

    Guest, Dec 30, 2013
  8. Julian Vrieslander, Dec 31, 2013
  9. Your Name

    Lewis Guest

    Lewis, Jan 1, 2014
  10. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    JF Mezei, Jan 1, 2014
  11. Your Name

    Your Name Guest

    Apparently only one ... as long as they know what they're doing. ;-)
    The cylinder Mac Pro, like previous models, is a lot easier to get into
    than Apple's other computers and devices. It received an 8 out of 10
    repairability score from iFixtIt.com:
    Your Name, Jan 1, 2014
  12. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    That is because iFixit has become so used to Apple going out of its way
    to make dismantling impossible, this one looks easy. But consider how
    much disassembly is required to get to the CPU.

    What is not clear to me is how realistic it is to expect upgradable
    CPUs. Would the firmware be coded to allow only one specific CPU type ?
    (would not be s surprise for Apple to do that).
    JF Mezei, Jan 1, 2014
  13. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    BTWL: Generic question:

    With current memory interfaces, is there any performance differences
    between having 1 12 core CPU vs 2 6 core CPUs ?

    Do the current intel processors have shared cache between cores ?

    Would 1 12 core processor with 1 shared cache memory be different than 2
    6 core processors with 2 separate caches (twice the cache size, but not
    shared by all cores)

    If the first 6 cores deal with one application and the second 6 cores
    deal with different app/data, then having separate caches would be an
    advantage since you have overall more cache. Burt if you do a video that
    makes use of all 12 cores, then having a single cache would make sense.

    Any comments on that logic ?
    JF Mezei, Jan 1, 2014
  14. No; they use an absolute scale; an 8 for a Mac is the same as an 8 for
    any other brand.
    Yeah, so? How often do you think someone is going to upgrade the CPU?
    I would be surprised for Apple to do that. It might be that way, but
    as a design limitation, not as a deliberate act to prevent people from
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 1, 2014
  15. Your Name

    David Empson Guest

    Not sure without doing research. (Moot point since Apple doesn't make a
    dual CPU configuration of the 2013 Mac Pro.)
    The L3 cache is shared between cores. L1 and L2 caches are separate for
    each core.
    You are making false assumptions about cache sizes. In the Intel Xeon E5
    v2 series (as used by the 2013 Mac Pro), the 12-core processor has more
    than twice as much L3 cache as the 6-core processor. That is mainly to
    compensate for its lower clock speed with the same number of cores
    Since Apple doesn't make a Mac Pro with two Xeon E5 v2 CPUs, the
    question of relative performance doesn't seem relevant except for
    academic interest, unless you want to compare two generations of the Mac
    Pro, or compare a Mac Pro with some other brand that supports two of
    these processors.

    If there was a hypothetical dual CPU 2013 Mac Pro, a dual 6-core CPU
    configuration (12 cores total) would probably be somewhat faster than a
    single 12-core CPU configuration, due to the faster clock speed of the
    6-core processor for any number of active cores, despite having less
    total L3 cache.

    See Anandtech's review, particularly page 4.


    Here is the page on Intel's web site to access technical details of the
    Xeon E5 v2 processors.


    The chips Apple is using are:

    4-core: Xeon E5-1620 v2
    6-core: Xeon E5-1650 v2
    8-core: Xeon E5-1680 v2
    12-core: Xeon E5-2697 v2
    David Empson, Jan 1, 2014
  16. Your Name

    Lewis Guest

    Yes. The 12 core has more than double the L3 Cache (25MB instead of
    12MB, IIRC)
    Between cores on the CPU? I believe so. The L2 cache is not shared, but
    the L3 is.
    I suspect the difference of having a single 25MB L3 cache is significant
    versus 2 12MB L3 caches, but that's just my feeling.
    That's not how multi-processor/multi-core systems work, and certainly
    not on OS X. GCD makes the decisions on where to send work, not the
    Lewis, Jan 1, 2014
  17. Your Name

    Lewis Guest

    30MB instead of 12MB, in fact.
    Lewis, Jan 1, 2014
  18. Your Name

    JF Mezei Guest

    In the couple of pages of the anandtech article you pointed to, I didn't
    see mention of cache differences between the various options.
    It is relevant in terms of evaluating Apple's decision to allocate space
    for only one chip. In other words, was this done because of Jony Ive's
    industrial design requirements (beauty/small), or has the chip
    technology really gotten to a point where there is no longer the need
    for multiple chips.

    Based on the anandtechn opinion/tests, it appears that stopping at 6-8
    cores is better because you benefit from higher clock rate.

    (I am also surprised how well the 2009 Mac Pro fares in his tests -
    although he has an 8 core one, I have only a 4 core one).
    JF Mezei, Jan 1, 2014
  19. Your Name

    David Empson Guest

    Page 4 (CPU Choices) has a table near the top titled "Mac Pro (Late
    2013) CPU Choices" which has a line "L3 Cache" that lists the cache
    sizes for the four processor options:

    4 core: 10 MB
    6 core: 12 MB
    8 core: 25 MB
    12 core: 30 MB
    Or keeping within reasonable power/heat requirements. Having two 6-core
    processors instead of one 12-core processor would increase the maximum
    power consumption and heat output without having a major performance
    benefit. (It would be cheaper, but cost doesn't seem to be a
    Agreed, unless the application will be able to keep more than 8 cores
    busy. Some server applications, for example.

    I'm expecting Ars Technica to post their 2013 Mac Pro review soon, which
    is likely to go further into benchmark comparisons.

    This article might also have some useful information, though it doesn't
    cover some of the variants Apple is using.

    Single core performance isn't improving much between generations.

    For multicore operations, the 12-core 2013 Mac Pro was about 70% faster
    than the 8-core 2009 model.

    I saw an article a while ago which did theoretical benchmarks, with
    guesses as to which processors Apple was going to use in the 2013 Mac
    Pro (the guesses turned out to be right).


    This suggests a 4-core 2013 Mac Pro should almost match a fast 6-core or
    slow 8-core 2010 Mac Pro in multi-core tasks; the 8-core 2013 Mac Pro
    should beat almost all configurations of earlier Mac Pros.
    David Empson, Jan 2, 2014
  20. Your Name

    Lewis Guest

    The real benchmarks with the MacPro will be the Final Cut benchmarks, as
    it appears this machine is designed around making Final Cut as fast as

    The fact is, for normal day-to-day usage, it's not much faster than the
    top-of-the-line iMac.
    And still, it really depends on what you are doing with those cores. If
    you are reading email, loading web pages, watching videos, or even most
    things that computers are used for you will not notice a difference. If
    you are throwing around very large video files and applying complex
    transformations then you will certainly see the difference.

    I doubt you will even see much difference on the usual sate of
    'developer' tasks, like building apps in XCode, for example.

    And sometimes there's a short cut. A door or a gate. Some standing
    stones. A tree cleft by lightning, a filing cabinet. Maybe just a spot
    on some moorland somewhere... A place where THERE is very nearly HERE...
    If some people knew where such a spot was, if they had experience of
    what happens when here and there become entangled, then they might - if
    they knew how - mark such a spot with certain stones. In the hope that
    enough daft buggers would take it as a warning and keep away. (Lords and
    Lewis, Jan 2, 2014
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