Mac Pro 2019: Interchangeable Parts, T2 Security & Custom Configuration

Our Mac Pro 2019 arrived today and after 15 short minutes of looking at how pretty it is, and it truly is, we set to taking it apart. Our aim was to find out what exactly we could swap out or remove and the system still function. We went part by part and we now have the full rundown of what you can really customize in the new Mac Pro.


The processor is not locked to the board. The CPU was easy to remove, we installed our own and the system booted without fault.

We purchased a Xeon Silver 4214 2nd gen processor which uses the same socket. We are not currently able to source any of the current CPUs that Apple features. They are current chips and we suspect supply is absorbed entirely by the system supply giants Apple, Dell and HP. We probably won’t see any retail for 6 months.


The MPX graphics module is not required. You can remove it and install a 3rd party graphics card.

We started by installing the AMD Radeon 5700XT and the AMD Radeon VII alongside the MPX module using the Belkin Power cable kit available on the Apple store. Both graphics card registered. We then remove the MPX module and the system booted, with the boot screen and access to boot menus like recovery. Full native support.


Upgradability of memory is not surprising. OWC is already offering an upgrade kit for the system and we highly recommend if you do want a large amount of RAM you can avoid some cost by opting with the lowest option and fitting your own modules.


The Apple SSD supplied is locked with the T2 chip to the board. If you attempt to remove it you will receive a unique status light fault pattern. This pattern is not included in the support documentation on Apple’s website. If you reinstall the SSD the system will boot straight up again.

We purchased the Sonnet 4 x M.2 PCI-e card which we installed 4 x 1TB 970 Samsung Evo NVMe SSDs too. We cloned the Apple SSD onto one of the NVMe drives. By default, you cannot change the startup disk in macOS. You must boot into recovery, select startup disk security options and disable Secure Boot and enable booting from an alternate drive.

If you wish to have a larger and faster OS drive using M.2 SSDs you can purchase the sonnet card. The Apple SSD can be used as a secondary drive such as a scratch disk. We do not know what will happen if the Apple drive fails, you’ll most likely have to go to an Apple store.


  • Processor – User upgradable
  • Graphics Card – User upgradable
  • Memory – User upgradable
  • Storage – User upgradable but Apple original drive is not removable. T2 Security locked.

If you have any questions please get in touch with our team, we are always happy to help!

Questions From The Community

  • Is purchasing the base specification and upgrading feasible: Yes absolutely, we recommend it to save cost.
  • Is the SSD removable: It can be physically removed but the system won’t boot without it.
  • Can you disable secure boot and remove the SSD: No you cannot. We disabled secure boot with the startup disk set to a PCIe mounted Samsung 970 Evo. The machine won’t boot without the SSD, secure boot enabled or disabled.
  • Can you pair an SSD to the system and T2 chip: Apple can you can’t.
  • Can you use off the shelf graphics cards without an EFI flash and get a boot screen: Yes!
  • What brand Radeon VII did we use in our testing: Powercolor
  • Is the system multi-processor: No, only one socket.
  • How many graphics cards can you install: There are two 16x PCI-e slots and 2 x 2 sets of 8 pin connectors. So we would recommend 2.
  • How do you fit a traditional HDD: You will need a 3rd party enclosure which slots inside the top-right quarter of the chassis. There are internal SATA connections to connect the drives to.
  • Is it difficult to change the processor: No, not at all. We require a specific screwdriver which we used from the iFixit tool kit but overall a simple process to access.
  • Is 10.14 Mojave compatible: No we were unable to install anything older than 10.15 Catalina.
  • Is there space in the system to add an additional SSD: No you will need to purchase a PCIe expansion card.
  • Is the I/O card proprietory: Yes it isn’t a standard card and is unlikely to work in another system and only functions in a specific slot.
  • Do 3rd party graphics card have graphics passthrough to the I/O card: No they do not.
  • What processors can you fit in the 2019 Mac Pro: Anything that uses the FCLGA3647 socket. See the list here. It is unlikely that the 9282, 9242, 9222 and 9221 models will work due to power and cooling requirements but everything else on this list should work fine.
  • Could you take an SSD from a TouchBar MacBook Pro or iMac Pro and install it in the free SSD slot: In the iMac Pro, you have two drives which made up the single volume and they were locked not only to the board but together as well. You couldn’t remove one and try and mount an OS on a single drive. It just won’t boot. The connector in the MacPro is unlike both the Touch Bar MacBook Pros, previous Mac Pro and the iMac Pro. We compared them together. We don’t have another drive to test but I assume it’ll be the same as the iMac Pro. You won’t be able to install another drive as they aren’t configured to be together with the T2 chip.
  • Do the ports on the I/O card work without the MPX module: The USB and audio-out do, the Thunderbolt ports do not.

EDIT: 23/12/2019 – Added questions from the community