The possibility of upgrading the CPU of the new Mac Pro has been discussed a couple of times, but now it has become a reality.
OWC is offering new CPUs for the late 2013 Mac Pro. The CPU upgrades from OWC are cheaper than purchasing an upgrade through the Apple Store when ordering your Mac Pro. At this moment you can’t install the CPU yourself. You have to send your Mac Pro to OWC, which swaps out the old chip for one of four upgrade options. The whole process is like a trade-in program. At this moment four Intel Xeon E5 options are available, including a 2.6GHz 8-Core and a 3.0GHz 10-Core chip which are not available from Apple.
The available CPU upgrades:
Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 8-Core 2.6GHz with 20MB Cache — $1498
Intel Xeon E5-2667 v2 8-Core 3.3GHz with 25MB Cache — $2448
Intel Xeon E5-2690 v2 10-Core 3.0GHz with 25MB Cache — $2396
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 12-Core 2.7GHz with 30MB Cache — $2978
OWC claims that the new CPUs are 25 to 45 percent faster than the default processors. They have been tested and meet or surpass Apple’s thermal standards. The upgrades are also up to 31 percent cheaper than upgrading through a CTO at the Apple Store when purchasing the Mac Pro.
Next to the CPU upgrades, OWC is also selling memory upgrades for the new Mac Pro. These come in the following configurations: 32GB (4 modules of 8GB), 64GB (4 modules of 16GB), 96GB (3 modules of 32GB) and 128GB (4 modules of 32GB). Pricing starts at $450 and moves up to $2130.
As you have to send your Mac Pro to OWC you have to calculate some downtime if the computer is your main machine for recording and production. I’m not sure if it is possible to upgrade the CPU yourself. I guess it would not be for the faint hearted. Maybe OWC will offer an upgrade kit in the future. As it is now, I’m okay with my 6-core CPU but I can see myself upgrading the computer in 3 years time.
More information on the upgrades can be found on Other World Computing’s website.