Apple unveils updated Mac Pro family with Intel Xeon E5 processors

Apple unveiled new Mac Pro updates today featuring Intel Xeon E5 processors.

The easy-access interior of the Mac Pro feels like the well-organized workstation it is. No rat’s nest of components here. You don’t need to turn the system on its side or struggle to reach into awkward spaces to make changes. Just remove the side panel for instant access to everything. Slide out the processor tray to add memory. Slide out drive bays to add storage. Slide a simple bar to change up to four expansion cards at once. And with plenty of I/O ports both front and back, you’ll have room for all your external devices.

The Mac Pro offers two advanced processor options from Intel. The Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor is available in a single-processor, quad-core configuration at 3.2GHz. For even greater speed and power, choose a 6-Core Intel Xeon processor. Since the Mac Pro comes with either one or two processors, you can have a 6-core Mac Pro at up to 3.33GHz, or, to max out your performance, a 12-core system at up to 3.06GHz.

System memory is often connected to a processor through a separate I/O controller. But Intel Xeon processors feature an integrated memory controller. By connecting memory directly to the processor, the Mac Pro processors have faster access to data stored in memory, and memory latency is reduced.

Apple Mac Pro Mid 2012

The integrated memory controller, along with fast DDR3 ECC SDRAM at either 1066MHz or 1333MHz, gives the Mac Pro an increase in memory bandwidth over previous generations. More bandwidth allows for more data to be fed to the processor faster, helping each core spend its time processing data, not waiting for information to arrive. And Error Correction Code (ECC) corrects single-bit errors and detects multiple-bit errors automatically. That’s especially important in mission-critical and compute-intensive environments.

The Mac Pro features Turbo Boost, a dynamic performance technology that automatically boosts the processor clock speed based on workload. If you’re using an application that doesn’t need every core, Turbo Boost increases the speed of the active ones, up to 3.33GHz on a 12-core Mac Pro, and up to 3.6GHz on a 6-core system.

The Intel Xeon processors support Hyper-Threading, which allows two threads to run simultaneously on each core. So, for example, a 12-core Mac Pro presents 24 virtual cores that are recognized by OS X. Performance is enhanced because Hyper-Threading enables the processor to take better advantage of the execution resources available in each core.

A bidirectional, point-to-point connection — called QuickPath Interconnect — gives the Intel Xeon processors quick access to the disk, I/O, and other Mac Pro subsystems. In dual-processor Mac Pro models, there’s a QuickPath Interconnect between the two processors as well. This connection acts as a direct pipeline, so processor-to-processor data doesn’t need to travel to the I/O hub first. It’s another way the Mac Pro boosts performance across the board.

The Mac Pro meets the stringent low power requirements set by the EPA, giving it ENERGY STAR qualification. ENERGY STAR 5.0 sets significantly higher efficiency limits for power supplies and aggressive limits for the computer’s typical annual power consumption.

The new models include:

• Quad-Core – $2,499
– One 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor
– 6GB (three 2GB) memory
– 1TB hard drive
– 18x SuperDrive
– ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5
– One PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot
– Two PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots
– Four FireWire 800 ports (two on front panel, two on back panel)
– Five USB 2.0 ports (two on front panel, three on back panel)
– Two USB 2.0 ports on included keyboard
– Front-panel headphone minijack and internal speaker
– Optical digital audio input and output TOSLINK ports
– Analog stereo line-level input and output minijacks
– Multichannel audio through Mini DisplayPort

• 12-Core – $3,799
– Two 2.4GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon processors
– 12GB (six 2GB) memory
– 1TB hard drive
– 18x SuperDrive
– ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5
– One PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot
– Two PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots
– Four FireWire 800 ports (two on front panel, two on back panel)
– Five USB 2.0 ports (two on front panel, three on back panel)
– Two USB 2.0 ports on included keyboard
– Front-panel headphone minijack and internal speaker
– Optical digital audio input and output TOSLINK ports
– Analog stereo line-level input and output minijacks
– Multichannel audio through Mini DisplayPort

Server – $2,999
– One 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor
– 8GB (four 2GB) memory
– Two 1TB hard drives
– OS X Lion Server
– ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5
– One PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot
– Two PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots
– Four FireWire 800 ports (two on front panel, two on back panel)
– Five USB 2.0 ports (two on front panel, three on back panel)
– Two USB 2.0 ports on included keyboard
– Front-panel headphone minijack and internal speaker
– Optical digital audio input and output TOSLINK ports
– Analog stereo line-level input and output minijacks
– Multichannel audio through Mini DisplayPort

All models are in stock at the Apple Store and available for ordering today.

More info about Apple’s new Mac Pro models here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is either an interim update to get Apple to a new model or the last Mac Pro update.

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65 Comments

  1. I think Apple has been busy with more important issues than the MacPro, and I’m a MacPro user. The changes to Thunderbolt and USB 3 is going to take some work I guess to implement, and we’re probably due for a case overhaul as well, since the original G5 was introduced way back in 2003, almost 10 years ago.

    While it would have been very nice for a complete overhaul of the MacPro line, as others have pointed out, this isn’t a big seller, volume wise, so in a way I can understand Apple just adding in faster processors and calling it a day.

    None of this answers the long range questions for these systems, but at least Apple did SOMETHING to get newer, faster systems to the market.

    Will this be the last update of this computer line? Only Apple knows for sure, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there is a complete overhaul with a new case design later this year…. in the fall.

  2. They HAVE to be getting ready for some sort of complete redesign here… no TB or usb3… this is an update for folks that need a computer now. I’ve often had to buy new towers right before a major refresh just to get a job out the door. Wish they would make these updates more often….
    Plus apple just loves hearing the “pros” crying about how they are forgotten.

  3. Very disappointing! I was hoping to move from my. 2009 model, but this isn’t worth the upgrade. It’s the same machine as the 2010 model with better CPU’s. Not even new graphics cards, which are. now two generations old.

    Like many others, I was expecting Express 3, Thunderbolt, USB 3, faster memory, and all the rest that accompanies that. But to get none of it is a head shaker.

  4. This update is the equivalent of leaving a 5 cent tip at a restaurant.

    There was a time when the Mac Pro (and the Powermacs that preceded it) were the epochs of computational prowess. Now, we have cheaper HP workstations out there that can run circles around these, and I’m left facing the dark reality that this time next year I will have to be on a Windows machine just to do work at the level I am required.

    Part of me just died….

    1. What HP desktop workstations “run circles” around Mac Pros at the same price point? Are you comparing the dual chip Mac Pro to the quad-chip HP Proliant rack-mounted servers? This is like comparing a Freightliner to a Ford F350.

      Aside from custom builds and rack mount servers, the Geekbench scores of 12-core Mac Pros with Xeon X5680 chips are in the running with 16-core Windows machines with Xeon E5-2690 chips at a Geekbench score of >40000. That’s about 2-3 times the processing power of most “prosumer”-grade Intel Core i7 desktop machines.

      For whatever reason, Apple has chosen not to build industrial-strength servers — that has always been the case.

  5. In the words of Peggy Lee (1969) — “Is that all there is?”

    I was/am waiting for Thunderbolt, USB3, and Pci Express 3.0.

    I had my checkbook open for over a year for this upgrade —- and now I’ll take a pass. I am stunned and disappointed.

  6. Well, at least this will disprove all of the cynics saying that Apple didn’t care about their professional users any more. They DO care. They just don’t care very much…

      1. The cynic in me says they’ll use the poor sales numbers to explain killing it off. The optimist in me says they are ready to shift a few engineers back to the pro line. It’s a sad day for this hopeful idiot…

  7. Told you. They’re killing off their workstations and will eventually do the same with the laptops. They’re trying to shift everyone to iPads slowly as it will be all they’ll make. They’ve insulted the pros and moving to windows is the only option left. It’s sad to see them going consumer only. My next computer will be a PC.

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