This month, we peel away the skin of the Apple iMac Pro.
We dropped $4,999 to get our hands on the hot new space-gray Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard—and Apple was generous enough to throw in a brand-new iMac Pro for no extra charge! Let’s take it apart and see what makes it tick.
MAJOR TECH SPECS
• Eight-core, 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W processor,
with Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
• 32GB (4x 8GB) of 2,666MHz DDR4 ECC
• AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 GPU with 8GB of HBM 2.0 memory • 27-inch display with 5120x2880 resolution and support for
one billion colors (P3 color gamut)
• 1TB SSD
• We’re betting the opening procedure will be the same as it was on the iMac 5K—which is to say, if you can use a pizza cutter, you can open an iMac Pro. With all that glass out of the way, we have a perfect view of the iMac Pro’s pristine interior. It would make a lovely wallpaper for someone. • The first component out is the enormous dual-fan cooler. Looks like Apple sacrificed the 5K’s full-size desktop hard drive (not that you’d want that in a pro machine) to make some room here. Also sacrificed to the cooling gods: the external RAM access hatch. Sad face. In exchange, we get a big rear vent and an 80 percent increase in cooling capacity. • The power supply connects to the logic board by way of not one, not two, but four shiny terminals secured with Torx screws. This design is much closer to what we saw on the 2013 Mac Pro than the plasticky connectors we’re used to ripping out of the iMac 5K. It also makes accessing logic board components (apart from the RAM, of course) much, much easier. With the power supply tucked back into the rear shell, we can remove the board right away. • Time to take a closer look at that display. Turns out it’s the same display panel we found in the iMac 5K: LG Display model LM270QQ1. That said, the cabling arrangement and webcam hardware have been moved around—so you can’t swap displays between models. • Repairability Score: 3 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). The RAM and CPU are both modular, meaning repairs and upgrades are a go—despite what Apple tells you. The dual SSDs are modular, but custom-made by Apple, complicating replacement. Cutting the tape to open the iMac isn’t too hard (with the right tools), but it must be replaced to complete any repair. Key replaceable components are buried behind the logic board, requiring a lot of disassembly for access. The loss of the external RAM access hatch makes for much more challenging upgrades compared with the 27-inch iMac 5K. The GPU is BGA-soldered in place—potentially a major drawback on a “pro” workstation. No easy graphics upgrades are possible, so choose your configuration wisely.
Unfortunately, the SSDs still use a proprietary connection standard.
It’s almost like a real PC—you can change the memory and everything.