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iMac Pro teardown shows off Cupertino’s engineering chops

SERIAL GADGET STRIPPERS iFixit have torn down Apple’s iMac Pro to get a closer look at its guts to see what makes it so riotously expensive.

We already know that the all-in-one Mac has some pretty hefty specs, sporting parts such as an 18-core Intel Xeon processor and an AMD Radeon graphics card using the latest Vega architecture to fire pixels at a retina-searing 5K display.

But at starting at £4,899 and topping out at more than £12,000 when kitted out in a top-spec configuration, the iMac Pro is a proper wallet-emptying machine and needs something special to justify such a high price.

Turns out part of that hefty price tag is down to some Apple applying some engineering chops to the iMac Pro.

Taking the machine apart saw iFixit reveal a massive dual fan cooling system designed to keep the iMac Pro’s CPU and graphics card running quietly even under heavy loads that would have other iMacs sounding like they were about to take off.

A dual port intake at the bottom of the machine and a much larger rear air vent helps keep the iMac Pro from breaking into a silicon sweat.

However, the clever cooling has meant that the external door that provided easy access to RAM sticks has gone, making it more of a challenge for iFixit’s tech boffins to upgrade the memory, though they managed it and took the RAM up to a frankly silly 128GB.

Speaking of memory, the teardown highlighted that the iMac Pro uses a brace of 512GB SSDs in a striped RAID setup to deliver 1TB of nippy flash storage.

The CPU was found to not be soldered into the motherboard socket so it should be upgradeable, though it appears the Intel Xeon chip being used is a custom slice of silicon rather than an off-the-shelf processor. But with the base chip offering eight cores and clockspeeds of 4.2GHz it shouldn’t need upgrading anytime soon.

Intrepid iMac Pro users with ambitions to upgrade the GPU are out of luck as the Radeon graphics card has been soldered into the logic board, which may be a disappointment for some. But it’s worth noting support for Thunderbolt 3 means an external GPU enclosure could be used to boost the pixel pushing power of the iMac Pro when its Radeon card runs out of puff.

Oh and don’t go expecting to easily fix the iMac Pro as all this soldering and packaging leaves the machine with a ‘repairability score’ of three out of 10. 

Other parts of the iFixit strip down revealed the presence of the T2 custom chip designed to handle hardware encryption and store iMac Pro exclusive hardware restore functions.

Disappointingly, the 5K display is the same panel as that found in the 5K iMac. Manufactured by LG, one could expect that for the price the display would offer some extra screen finery but that’s not the case.

Does all this justify the high price of the iMac Pro? We’re not so sure as there are plenty of machines that offer bucket loads of performance for less cash. And Apple’s own MacBook Pro laptops are pretty capable workhorses for much less money.

But we guess if you have a mountain of money to get rid of and want a swanky all-in-one desktop then the iMac Pro could be for you. µ

Source : Inquirer

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