Apple Reinvent The MacPro

New everything pretty much   11-Jun-13

For once, the media pundits appear to have been caught on the hop, the new Mac Pro being a surprise to many. We've been waiting for Apple to update their workhorse desktop range for some time, we were promised an update by the main man himself, most of us were expecting the same form factor - at least I was...

The new Mac Pro unvieled last night and expected later this year completley blows the usual desktop design away. It also blows away much of the normal standard of desktop towers, mainly in the form of storage, internally it will have a PCIe based flash drive, being capable of up to 40GB/s. Something you can already get for the existing MacPro - at a price for the top of the range OCZ Z-drive 3.2TB version - its upwards of £15k!

There's also a bump in GPU power with Dual AMD FirePro cards each with up to 6GB of ram. GPU processing has traditionally been super fast to cope with moving large amounts of data about increasingly larger resolution displays. As well as running up to 3, 4K displays ( 3840 pixels × 2160). Smarter application designers have begun to take advantage of this power to use it for offloading intensive CPU tasks such as video rendering and decoding and even audio processing. Again this is cutting edge stuff, currently the AMD Firepro W9000 with 6GB of ram will set you back over £2k.

Processors will be up to 12-core  with the Intel Xeon E5 chipset, introduced by Intel last year as server grade CPUs.

RAM - with a DDR-3 four channel controller - there are four RAM slots. Capable of running at 1866MHz you can get 60GB/s IO.

What's interesting about this machine is that it's jettisoned the internal drive bays and PCI slots in favour of external 6 Thunderbolt 2 connections. Thunderbolt 2 is capable of running at 20GB/s with up to 36 devices connected. Checking the comments on the various live blog postings from last nights presentation, you can find various witty individuals mentioning that you'd have trouble finding 36 Thunderbolt devices currently available. Thunderbolt 2 devices will be even scarcer for the time being. Additionally there are 4 USB3.0 slots, 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and an HDMI port, plus Wifi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0.

All of this is wrapped around a single aluminium heatsink they call a unified thermal core with a large fan on the top to pull the cold air through from the bottom.

I'm not sure what I think about this form factor, I do know that if we upgrade here, its going to cost a packet in peripherals and external storage - even a thunberbolt cable is in the region of $30-50.

Having said that, I am slavering over the processing power, we work with a lot of video, and this would fly through our work. For an audio workstation, I would imagine it would be nigh impossible to reach the limit of what it can do, but you'll have trouble racking it up!

So given the price of some of the components that go into making it, I can't imagine the base model coming in at less than $2.5k - better start saving now - at least they've given us warning that its coming so I can start saving up.

Will you be tempted? Oh yeah, and they introduced iTunes Radio too...

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25 Comments... Comments are closed while we transition to Disqus

Tim Webb / discchord    Said...

You should probably just make a Hackintosh like Mark. For video editing specifically I think they missed the mark by including AMD GPUs instead of Nvidia's CUDA-enabled GPUs. Even my 5 year old PC handles 1080p video editing fine, with a fast Nvidia GPU.

The trick there is that although the PC is 5 years old, the video card is only 1. I've kept this rig going by upgrading the GPU and minor components independently. It does not appear that you will be able to just slap in a new model GPU to keep this Mac Pro relevant in 5 years time.

11-Jun-13 08:05 AM

Nick B    Said...

Thats an interesting idea Tim, We went from a Dell Quad Core to our (2009) Mac Pro 8-core, but that is struggling to keep up with the Video requirements now, Sata is first gen, video card is original too. My current macBook pro does better...

11-Jun-13 08:08 AM

xyzzy    Said...

Can't wait to hear Rich talk about "Magma boxes of air" again :D

R.I.P. slots. :( Buy Magma stock now :P

11-Jun-13 08:13 AM

Ty    Said...

Tempted doesn't even BEGIN to describe it.... Tell me where to sign....... :-)

11-Jun-13 08:43 AM

David    Said...

I assume as there is access to the 2 AMD cards you may be able to upgrade them at a later date (with specific Mac Pro only cards). I think/hope that if this wasn't the case, Apple would have locked the two cards behind some sealed part of the internals like the imac and mac mini. I think the price is going to be the main problem, due to the 2 graphics cards, CPUs and flash storage I can't imagine a base model will be below £2.5k to start off.

11-Jun-13 08:46 AM

Edmund    Said...

Without a doubt I will buy one. This is an absolutely elegant design. Expansion via Thunderbolt rather than PCIe is fine with me. The design reminds me of the upward cooling pattern that was the original Mac512. Back then, one could purchase a hat (think TinMan in the Wizard of Oz) that sat on top of the Mac to create an acceleration of the hot air rising, increasing the cooling. In this new Pro, details like efficient heat dissipation are worth the extra dollars from me.

11-Jun-13 09:10 AM

Yawn    Said...

Tax evading . market fixing,worker exploiting,dodgey company. serving up a new product to it's ' docile consumers'

11-Jun-13 09:29 AM

AKA    Said...

No, serving new products to people with money, the thing you probably don't have "Yawn".

11-Jun-13 09:43 AM

Derek    Said...

>> I assume as there is access to the 2 AMD cards

You're assuming they're cards. :) There are no slots in this thing spare the one for the PCIe SSD module. The GPUs are soldered onto one of the boards.

11-Jun-13 09:59 AM

Ty    Said...

Yawn... Everyone I know that WILL be buying these are anything BUT docile.... Just intelligent, hard working, creative, successful musicians

11-Jun-13 10:47 AM

Apple_Fan    Said...

@Yawn: An Apple Fan from Ireland here. Yep - great to have Apple (Europe) on our soil.

Love the computer too - I already use SSD and Thunderbolt on a MBP, all of which is presently stunning. This should be an awesome release.

Any other US companies willing to shift jobs from Yawn's country (wonder which country that is???) to Ireland - we're open for business (at very favourable (spelt with a 'u') tax rates !!!

11-Jun-13 11:08 AM

Mattsynth    Said...

Only Apple would design an awesome looking black cooling tower computer. This thing is a tricked out space pod with all the goodies. The cost may be high but the quality and power will be worth the price of admission. Now all I have to do is pray that my old MacPro holds out until this back tower hits the market. I wonder if it has flux capacitor cooling chambers with dilithium crystal cores?

11-Jun-13 12:34 PM

Oops    Said...


11-Jun-13 02:23 PM

Benedict Johnson    Said...

I bought a Mac Pro in 2008 and I wondered at the time why it was so big..

This is precisely what us Mac-nerds hope for but continually never get; incredible new futuristic computers.

Regardless of how upgradable it is, this is the most exciting thing Apple have announced in years

11-Jun-13 02:26 PM

montychristo86    Said...

Like many, I am definitely mesmerized by Apple's move...

On one hand it isn't expandable in the common sense of a tower configuration. On the other, this thing is pretty damn awesome!

They totally have revamped the pro desktop, and I will definitely keep my eye on it for when it comes out!

11-Jun-13 04:38 PM

Tracy Evans    Said...

Exciting at first glance, but...

...if we have to wait another 3-5 years for an update, this in-upgradable machine may feel even older in a coupe of years, than my2009 MacPro feels right now.

I have been waiting months to purchase my company's next two editing systems. This non-announcement sneak peak may convince me to but a couple of 27" IMacs nested of waiting any longer fora Mac Pro .

11-Jun-13 07:35 PM

Anthony the Cat    Said...

Unrackable but should be easy to transport. Just flip it on it's side and roll it wherever you need to :)

Do not let young children anywhere near your new MacPro!

I guess Mac users (which I'm not) should just be happy that Apple are making any sort of MacPro and that they didn't close the line down to concentrate on iphones and ipads.

11-Jun-13 07:40 PM

raphus    Said...

Won't that beautiful, clean and compact design get obliterated by a tangled mass of peripherals? It seems to me that they *almost* achieved elegance. True elegance would be the ability to internally contain everything one needed, with no costly and clunky peripherals.

11-Jun-13 10:42 PM

phraggle    Said...

It even doubles as a toilet brush holder!

12-Jun-13 06:40 AM

Johan Bex    Said...

It looks a lot like my trash can with the opening on the top...

Maybe it has a double purpose, so I can get rid of my current trash can.

Thanks Apple for decluttering my house!

12-Jun-13 06:49 AM

Me    Said...

" Can't innovate no more my ass "

12-Jun-13 10:44 AM

JoeDee    Said...

Absolutely badass.

12-Jun-13 11:33 AM

MacMiniOnSteriods    Said...

Apple lost its touch with the Audio community.

Everybody that doesn't agree has no idea what this new Mac Pro stands for. ;)

13-Jun-13 04:32 AM

Larry Frazier    Said...

The perfect thing to go with your brand-new $8000 Mac Pro? a cable-management system so you don't have to reach behind the machine to plug/unplug devices.

Perhaps someone will invent a wine rack so you can stuff a bunch of these into a rack.

there's going to be a lot of clutter with all those external devices. and a cylinder is a very difficult physical shape to work with. what a terrible fugging idea.

13-Jun-13 05:42 PM

Joe55    Said...

Larry you are an idiot. I usually don't comment on other peoples comments but your was so idiotic I just had too.

14-Jun-13 06:46 AM

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