We can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than starting it off with a good ol’ fashioned teardown, so we spent all of our Christmas money to take apart the new iMac Pro. First, some good news: the RAM, CPU, and SSDs are modular. In fact, we saved some dough and successfully “maxxed” out our base model’s 32 GB of RAM to 128 GB with our handy Memory Maxxer kit. More good news: the space gray is pretty cool looking.

But now, the bad news: most of the key components require a full disassembly to replace. No RAM door, and a soldered GPU. These supposed “Pro” units aren’t cheap—and it sure would be nice to upgrade your $5000 workstation instead of replacing it with the new Mac Pro that’s around the corner…

Turns out this iMac Pro isn’t just a reskinned iMac after all—the Pro’s internal organs are newly configured to give priority to the cooling system, which is totally different from any other iMac we’ve seen. They increased the Pro’s cooling capacity by 80% through the addition of a dual-fan cooler, a ginormous heat sink, and a beefier rear vent. Said expanded cooling system likely benefited from the nixed RAM door and the switch from platter drive to SSD. Now we’ll all have to wait and see if the next iMac follows this design, and what the Mac Pro Apple wanted to make will look like. Cross your fingers for user-upgradeability.

iMac Pro teardown

iMac Pro Teardown Highlights:

  • The successor to the T1 chip introduced in 2016’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the T2 is tasked here with all the functions of the SMC, image signal processing for the camera, audio control, SSD controller, Secure Enclave, and a hardware encryption engine.
  • The Pro uses the same LG display panel we found in the iMac 5K. That said, due to some new cable and camera shenanigans, you can’t swap the screens across models.
  • All told, the iMac earned the same 3/10 on our repairability scale as its 21.5” 4K cousin. Despite the technically upgradeable RAM and CPU, it’s still difficult to open, and even more difficult to access any components that might need to be repaired or replaced.

Check out the rest of this iMac Pro teardown, and lots of other teardowns on iFixit.com/teardown

Samantha Lionheart is a content curator and guide photo guru at iFixit. She enjoys tea, cats, and thinking too much about movies.

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