A Major Step Forward Requires Completely Changing Direction
When we began work on the next Mac Pro, we considered every element that defines a pro computer — graphics, storage, expansion, processing power, and memory. And we challenged ourselves to find the best, most forward-looking way possible to engineer each one of them. When we put it all together, the result was something entirely new. Something radically different from anything before it. Something that provides an extremely powerful argument against the status quo. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s next for the pro computer.
The New Power Structure
Engineered around workstation graphics with dual GPUs, PCI Express-based flash storage, high-performance Thunderbolt 2, new-generation Xeon processors, ultrafast memory, and support for 4K video, the new Mac Pro delivers state-of-the-art performance across the board.
The new Mac Pro is muscle through and through, starting with the new-generation Intel Xeon E5 chipset. With configurations offering up to 12 cores of processing power, up to 40GB/s of PCI Express gen 3 bandwidth, and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions, you’ll never be at a loss for speed.
Every component in the new Mac Pro is optimized for performance. That includes a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866MHz. It delivers up to 60GB/s of memory bandwidth, which means you can fly through even the most compute-intensive tasks in no time. And since it’s ECC memory, your render job, video export, or simulation won’t be stopped by transient memory errors.
Traditionally, pro computers have relied primarily on the CPU for their computing power. But as GPU performance has dramatically increased, software developers have begun to leverage that power in their apps. With the new Mac Pro, we looked ahead and engineered an even more powerful GPU architecture. Not only does it feature a state-of-the-art AMD FirePro workstation-class GPU with up to 6GB of dedicated VRAM — it features two of them. With all that power, you’ll be able to do things like seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background — and still have enough power to connect up to three high-resolution 4K displays.
There’s flash storage, and then there’s next-generation PCI Express flash storage. We’re talking storage that’s up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA hard drive. Most flash storage systems connect via SATA buses designed for slower spinning hard drives. But we designed the new Mac Pro around new PCI Express-based flash controller technology to deliver the fastest solid-state drives available standard in a desktop computer. So booting up, launching apps, even opening massive files happens in, well, a flash.
Unified Thermal Core
The new Mac Pro packs an unprecedented amount of power in an unthinkable amount of space. A big reason we were able to do that is the ingenious unified thermal core. Rather than using multiple heat sinks and fans to cool the processor and graphics cards, we built everything around a single piece of extruded aluminum designed to maximize airflow as well as thermal capacity. It works by conducting heat away from the CPU and GPUs and distributing that heat uniformly across the core. That way, if one processor isn’t working as hard as the others, the extra thermal capacity can be shared efficiently among them. No computer has been built this way before. And yet it makes so much sense, it’s now hard to imagine building one any other way.
An incredible amount of innovation went into designing a fan system capable of cooling such a high-performance device. Instead of adding extra fans, we engineered a single, larger fan that pulls air upward through a bottom vent. As air passes vertically through the center of the device, it absorbs heat and carries it out the top. It’s simple and elegant — and also astonishingly quiet. To achieve that, we had to consider every detail: the number of blades, the size of the blades, the spacing of the blades, and even the shape of the blades. By minimizing air resistance throughout the system, we were able to design a fan with backward-curved impeller blades that runs at fewer revolutions per minute, draws air more efficiently as it spins, and creates considerably less noise.
Expansion, Vastly Expanded
In creating a pro computer for the future, we wanted to provide an enormous amount of expansion — without being limited to the space inside the enclosure. Designed with built-in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports, Mac Pro sets a new standard in flexible, high-performance expansion. It’s our most expandable Mac yet. And it has everything you need to build a workstation completely customized to what you need and how you work.
Thunderbolt is the fastest, most versatile I/O technology there is. And with Mac Pro, we’re jumping even further ahead. Thunderbolt 2 delivers twice the throughput, providing up to 20Gb/s of bandwidth to each external device. So you’re more than ready for the next generation of high-performance peripherals. You can connect massive amounts of storage, add a PCI expansion chassis, and work with the latest external displays — including 4K desktop displays and peripheral devices capable of broadcast monitoring in 4K. And since each Thunderbolt 2 port allows you to daisy-chain up to six peripherals, you can go all out by plugging in up to 36 external devices via Thunderbolt alone.
Other I/O Connections
Mac Pro equips you with all kinds of connections for all kinds of peripherals. USB 3 gives you the versatility to hook up dozens of different types of external devices. Two Gigabit Ethernet ports let you connect to multiple networks. And an HDMI 1.4 port provides support for the latest televisions, projectors, and displays, including Ultra HD TVs. But the thought we put into expandability extends beyond the types of peripherals you can use. As you rotate Mac Pro to plug in a device, it senses the movement and automatically illuminates the I/O panel. So you can easily see the ports you need when you need them.
Access your network over three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi for the latest in high-speed wireless connectivity. For all your other wireless connections, Mac Pro includes Bluetooth 4.0. It’s the fastest, most reliable way to connect your keyboard, mouse, and other wireless devices without having to physically attach anything.
Radical New Design
The new Mac Pro looks unlike any other computer. Because it is unlike any other computer. By rethinking the architecture of its internal components, we had the chance to rethink the entire enclosure. And since everything centers around a unified thermal core, we were free to design a much leaner, lighter, quieter, and far more streamlined structure. Its unique design and beautiful finishes are executed to an extraordinary degree of precision. And at just 9.9 inches tall with a diameter of just 6.6 inches, it’s a pro desktop computer that can actually sit on your desk.
Designed and Assembled In The U.S.
With the new Mac Pro, we’re assembling the entire product and machining several of its high-precision components in the United States. By leveraging the innovative power of industry-leading companies in Texas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and over a dozen other states across America, we're able to build a product that's impeccably constructed and beautiful in every detail. In other words, exactly as it was envisioned by our designers and engineers in California.
Coming Later This Year
COMMENTARY: Apple’s new Mac Pro 2013 isn’t due to hit shelves until later this year, but that hasn’t stopped the desktop from getting a preview at WWDC 2013. Long overdue an update, the new Mac Pro hasn’t held back, a significant departure from the aluminum tower of the current model, not to mention ramping up the specifications until this is the most powerful Mac to-date.
The circular, barrel-like design is likely to be polarizing. The old Mac Pro offered all the internal expansion possibilities that the iMac and Mac mini could never accommodate, but the 2013 Mac Pro approaches such matters of flexibility in a very different way.
Instead of internal SATA bays for extra drives, the new Mac Pro goes at it from a modular perspective. Six Thunderbolt 2 ports are each capable of handling six individual devices daisy-chained from them; that’s a total of thirty six peripherals – hard-drives, A/V interfaces, even 4K displays – that can be strung from the one compact desktop.
Also likely to divide opinion is the switch to flash-only storage. Just as on the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro, Apple has dropped spinning-platter drives in favor of more compact, faster flash memory. The headline numbers are up to 1.25GBps read rates and up to 1.0GBps write rates, though just as we’ve seen on the Apple notebooks, it makes upgrading – at least internally – more difficult.And yet, for all the potential headaches and changed perspectives when it comes to upgrades, we can’t help but be charmed by the new Mac Pro. The design has evolved from “another desktop” to something reminiscent of the unusual aesthetic of the old Power Mac G4 Cube. A completely different shape, of course, but approaching design in such an offbeat way that it’s eye-catching and engaging in a way a PC workstation seldom manages.
There’s plenty to be answered still about the Mac Pro 2013. How fast its meaty Xenon processor runs; how effective the dual ATI FirePro graphics are; how much of a compromise being so reliant on external expansion is; and – nowhere near least – how expensive the whole thing turns out to be. We’ll know more answers later in the year, when the new Mac Pro goes on sale.
Pricing and Availability
Apple has described the new Mac Pro glimpse as a preview, and as such there’s no official price or release date. However, given the nature of the components Apple is fitting, and the power-user positioning of the Pro itself, this isn’t going to be a cheap workstation.
I am absolutely amazed how much computing capability the new Mac Pro has in its relatively dimuitive 9.9-inch tall by 6.6 inch diameter cylinder. This is nothing less than a computing beast, that will satisfy the demands of any jaded Apple evangelist power user or developer who must have the baddest and the greatest computer Apple has to offer. Get your checkbooks out, it will be expensive, but having looked at the demographics of Apple computers, I am sure that many pro's will want one, or have their company pay for it.