With new Mac Pro, Apple gives sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop

Apple today showed a sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop with a first look at the next generation Mac Pro. Designed around a revolutionary unified thermal core, the Mac Pro introduces a completely new pro desktop architecture and design that is optimized for performance inside and out. With next generation Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe-based flash storage, and ultra-fast ECC memory, the new 9.9-inch tall Mac Pro packs an amazing amount of power into an incredibly small package.

“With the latest Xeon processors, dual FirePro GPUs, ECC memory, PCIe-based flash and Thunderbolt 2, all built around a revolutionary thermal core, the next generation Mac Pro is the most radical Mac yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in the press release. “All this performance and expandability is packed into a dramatic new design that’s one-eighth the volume, and best of all, it will be assembled here in the USA.”

The next generation Mac Pro is architected around an ingenious unified thermal core that allows the desktop to efficiently share its entire thermal capacity across all the processors. The result is a pro desktop with breakthrough performance packed into a design that is one-eighth the volume of the current Mac Pro. Next generation Intel Xeon E5 processors with up to 12 core configurations deliver double the floating point performance. With two AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs, the all-new Mac Pro is up to 2.5 times faster than the current Mac Pro and delivers up to an amazing 7 teraflops of compute power. The new Mac Pro also features PCIe-based flash storage that is up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives and includes the latest four-channel ECC DDR3 memory running at 1866 MHz to deliver up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth.* With all that power, the new Mac Pro lets you seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background.

Apple's next generation Mac Pro
Apple’s next generation Mac Pro


Apple's next generation Mac Pro
Apple’s next generation Mac Pro

The next generation Mac Pro is the most expandable Mac ever built. With six Thunderbolt 2 ports that can deliver up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each external device, Mac Pro is perfect for connecting to external storage, multiple PCI expansion chassis, audio and video breakout boxes, and the latest external displays, including 4K desktop displays. Each of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports supports up to six daisy-chained devices, giving you the ability to connect up to 36 high-performance peripherals. Thunderbolt 2 is completely backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals, and allows you to transfer data between Macs faster and easier than ever.

The next generation Mac Pro will be available later this year. To learn more, visit www.apple.com/mac-pro.

*Performance claims are based on technical specifications of preproduction Mac Pro hardware as of June 2013.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Pure genius.


    1. At 10″ x 6.6″ it’s closer to the size of a Fosters. I’m thinking “oil can” will be the new moniker and “trash can” will be reserved for the Samsung clone.

    2. WTF!!!!!!!!!? This got to be an blood curdling late April 1st fools joke by MDN. The hardware is way beyond impressive but the design is extremely disturbing.
      :-(. I just spilled my coffee after letting loose a scream only a mortified bitch (excuse my language) would make.

  1. The tower design has been around for what a thousand years? Lets think beyond just the box. If this thing performs as it says and priced aggressively, and built in the US!!! then its a win for all of us!

    1. And this new design delivers on that in a way the old towers never could. No longer are you limited by the number of PCI slots, hard drive bays, etc. If nothing else, this Pro is the most customizable computer Apple has ever made. True – with all of these expansions occurring externally, it is likely to be less elegant, but Thunderbolt 2 speeds preclude the bottlenecks and slower performance we normally associate with peripherals from being an issue.

      1. Exactly. The Thunderbolt expansion will mean that accessories like drives will be mounted externally. We will likely see third party expansion chassis as a popular item for pros. As more detailed specs emerge, I think we’ll have a better understanding of what the new Mac Pro will do. I have a hunch that solid state external drives will go mainstream too.

        We won’t really know everything about this new Mac for a few months, and I’ll look for stories on how third party hardware accessory makers respond. No doubt, some smart people are smiling right now.

        I bet this baby will totally rock.

        1. Agreed. It won’t be long before some huge and fast TB2 RAID storage devices are released. Just hook up one or two TB2 cables and you are rocking. If the vendors are smart, they will include a few auxiliary legacy ports on these devices to make them even more useful.

    2. That was my first reaction as well. I want an expandable, modular machine I can load up with drives and use in our server room and under a creative’s desk.

      But thinking about it a little more –and seeing the size of this thing — I’ve changed my mind. This will rock.

      We don’t load up servers or workstations with storage anymore these days. It’s all housed externally. And this is small enough to fit how many in a 2-unit rack-space?

      Promise, LaCie, etc. etc.: I hope you were all watching today’s presentation and taking it to heart. If you build us cool rack-mountable expansion options for this unit, we will buy them by the truckfull!!!

      1. How much you want to bet that peripherals are going to show up a week after launch, that take a single Thunderbolt connection and support 6 stackable devices. Ohmygosh, uniformity in case design for peripherals, who’d a thunk it?

    1. Yea Wow.
      Someone actually signed off on this POS. The new Mac Mini “Pro”. BTW- be prepared to spend a king’s ransom on ThunderDUD cables.

      1. @Darwin,
        You’re an idiot, the same as many with a knee jerk reaction at first glance. Watch the tear down on Apple.com before comenting. This thing is nothing less than a Super Computer., and the design is something the likes of Dell or HP couldn’t even begin to manufacture

        1. The idiot here is you, ‘Artist’. You apparently haven’t priced out Thunderbolt accessories lately. Apple has just priced itself out of the Pro market by making a “Pro” machine that is:
          1) reliant on external expansion
          2) reliant on a relatively expensive & rare connection technology
          3) not rack-mountable
          4) not user-upgradeable or configurable.

          Apple clearly does NOT understand the needs of the pro market at all if it thinks everyone in the world is going to jump on the Thunderbolt bandwagon with external cables snaking all over the place. NOT an elegant system design at all.

          Apple has just released its second attempt at the Cube. I predict there will be much disappointment amongst other Mac Pro users.

          1. Clearly you didn’t watch the presentation.

            A single Thunderbolt will support 6 Thunderbolt devices.

            Hello, anybody home? Peripherals will be designed to fit in a Thunderbolt “chassis/case”. One cable supports 6 devices.

            Besides this thing is so much more powerful than ANY workstation before it, I can’t imagine what you’d want to strap on except a network and storage.

          2. “Apple clearly does NOT understand the needs of the pro market at all if it thinks everyone in the world is going to jump on the Thunderbolt bandwagon with external cables snaking all over the place.”

            You have those external cables at the moment to one extent or another; if you have a couple of FW800 drives or a fibre-channel based storage network, you might have four or five cables linked in – two for displays, a FW800 chain, a USB chain, some umbilicals for stuff from blackmagic or AJA.

            Now you can put your outboard hardware somewhere away from your desk and have it run over a unified bus for FW, fibre-channel, digital video, multi-track high-res audio, whatever at 20Gb/sec to your CPU which can sit on your desk because it’s now 10 inches tall (25.4 cm) and 6.6 inches (16.75 cm) wide and probably weighs 10 percent of bugger all.

          3. You couldn’t be less astute, wrong-headed or basically completely out to uninformed lunch. They’ll sell boatloads of this new Mac Pro. Oh sure they could buy a cheaper El Klunko PC box but where’s the fun in that. Us Pro’s like cool stuff too (that happens to be blazing 2013 fast). Plus I have plenty of cables coming off my existing Mac Pro. Being a Pro means you never have to say your sorry about too many cables…

      2. This new Mac Pro and a Pegasus R6 will take up less space than the old Mac Pro, and the drives will be easier to access.

        I was torn initially about the idea of an externally only expandable Mac Pro, but this thing is an amazing bit of engineering. I’m impressed.

      3. Darwin : I think we should give it a couple of days before we make up our mind about the new Mac Pro. Let’s take some time to try to find out what makes it click. Remember, 99% of the people who post on the site will never need this computer. Let alone more than one. They use a computer for fun. Surfing and email and exchanging photos. So comments are almost entirely from non professionals. But I have seen some very intelligent observations. That’s what we need, intelligent observations. Pros and cons alike (even if negative comments are scorned). It’s not likely that Apple is going to make something to piss off professionals. We are not fanboys and don’t mind expressing our approval or disapproval. But we have been waiting a long, long time for a new Mac Pro so I’ll guess that it’s going to work just fine. I’ll probably be first in line to order some as soon as they are available. This is what made WWDC a real hit with me today.

  2. Apple makes bold changes to product designs, only for naysayers to complain bitterly.

    In the end, Apple are right 95% of the time and come up with solutions that we didn’t think we needed. The flexibility with this new approach will likely outweigh all the negativity about working with peripherals.

  3. What’s it got for storage? 2.5GB Flash and that’s it? Oh yeah, and four Thunderbolt hard drives scattered around my desk, cables & all. I don’t get it. The internal space for extra drives is nothing but air, so why not have it?

    1. Where have you got the figure of 2.5GB of flash??

      I haven’t seen anything on Apple’s site that confirms exact configurations.

      Sure, the number 2.5 pops up a lot during the presentation and on the new Mac Pro microsite, but never conjugated with GB as you have done.

      What I would imagine is that there may be some sort of link here between Apple and one of Woz’s current gigs, namely Fusion•IO. Fusion’s entire raison d’être is flash-based storage and a lot of that is on PCIe, so I can’t imagine it’s a mere coincidence that the camera cut to Woz – Fusion’s chief scientist – during Schiller’s intro of the product.

      1. I have no friggin clue what Wingsy is talking about… the storage is pcie flash. I have one in one of my machines at 480 gb raid. It’s stupid fast. OWC sells them up to 960 gb. At the moment, you’ll use them as you startup, maybe as a render or cache drive and thunderbolt raid for bigger storage.

        As for using the center for more storage… get real. Why would you screw up the aerodynamics by putting crap in that obstructs the air-flow? Think before you post please.

          1. There is no God talking here. If he/she/it ever existed, there’s not been a single reason to indicate presence today, nor interest in petty tech discussions. More than likely there are far more interesting and innovative galaxies to fawn over than this hopeless planet of bickering, immature, self-centered humans…

    2. @Wingsy: Maybe, just maybe, you might want to actually read the specks or have your Mum rad them to you. Since it appears that comprehension of technical data is a lacking forte’.

      Reviewing the internal storage specs you will find that there will be a minimum of 1250 GBytes of SSD for your system and app storage. With external SSDs and TB2 peripherals, you may just be able to store all of your pron and digital comic books.

      As for those of us who have been using SSDs in our MBPs and MBAs, I look forward to using this connection to the Great Mothership for my scientific and research labours. Not all Pro users are movie makers. 😉

      Would love to build a TeraSystem with these are the nodes. Sweet Cheeses!


  4. Uninformed bashing is precisely what I expected, and the MDN users so far are delivering… I am sure there is more to come.

    For my part, based on the extremely limited information we currently have available, there are definitely things I like and things I don’t like about the Pro.

    I am not too stocked at the notion of having to organize desk space and cable arrangements for a million peripherals now required for expandability. I am hoping that an elegant solution to this is implemented, though I am sure it will come at a price. Speaking of which – Thunderbolt 1 accessories are very scarce and expensive now, I can’t imagine how rough its going to be for the next few years while the rest of the industry plays catch up. On the positive side of this, we are no longer limited by the physical dimensions of the box with respect to upgradeability.

    I am also concerned about RAM capacity. When looking at the preview Apple currently has of the machine on their site, it looks like there are a mere 4 RAM slots. i don’t know if the animation is accurate in that regard, but does that mean if we want more than 4 dimms, we have to buy yet another external box?

    My final concern is cost. We all know Apple products aren’t cheap to begin with. One would hope that since expansion is now going to require the purchase of additional enclosed hardware pieces, that the price of the base unit would come down. One would hope… but I am not optimistic. My fear is that this will be the most expensive commercially available computer on the planet.

    Still, concerns and reservations aside, I am really stoked to see Apple returning some focus back to this space. Ultimately, none of us can really determine how good or bad this new Pro is gong to be until they are in our hands. And THAT would seem to be largely tied to when Intel can have production volume of the yet to be announced next-gen Xeons up to speed.

    1. Four RAM slots seems paltry at first glance except I had to ask myself what type of RAM it will be. This new Mac Pro is not for the typical MDN wannabe. When you think about it, the iMac and MacBooks are delivering a lot of power for general use. This new Mac Pro will be a pro’s machine, not for hobbyists. We’ll need to rethink Thunderbolt and what it will mean. Given its speed and adaptability, what once needed to be internally mounted can now be addressed externally as needed.

      It’s time to rethink what a pro machine should be like. Apple did. Now it’s up to us to do the same.

      1. Right, external RAM was was something I posited on above, and seems pretty likely. For my part, as a 3D motion graphics designer, I find I have need for considerable RAM. I mean, 64GB is a minimum for me. The concern here is that once I plunk down for the Pro, and I want to upgrade the RAM, it is not a simple matter of ordering some new sticks from Crucial. Rather, I am going to have to also buy an external box to house said RAM with a TB2 connection. Such a box will likely cost at minimum a couple hundred dollars, and brings the TCO of this machine up considerably. Unless the base unit itself is priced to move, but Apple likes it’s thick margins, so I don’t expect to see a price break there.

        Really, the more I think about it, TCO is my lone nagging concern, and can’t be set aside until we know specifics on price points.

        1. Don’t forget, they are going to do a hands on demo session with folks from Pixar tomorrow. I lot may come out of that. I may misunderstand what 3D motion graphics involves, as it’s not my area, but if a new Pixar movie doesn’t qualify I have no idea what does.

          I’ve heard another guy who does 3D say he wouldn’t touch the thing because he can’t put dual 12-core processors in it. Is that legit, or is he just a baby?

          1. A little of both. When rendering a 3D image, the render engine usually assigns one (or two if hyper-threaded) render threads (or render buckets depending on the engine) for each core. So, a machine with dual 12-core processors would have 48 (or 96) render threads working in tandem, vs the maximum of 24 for a 12-core tower like the Mac Pro.

            However, the individual speed of those cores matter too, and with 24 cores in a box, those cores are probably clocked a bit low to prevent thermal issues, not to mention power draw. Other factors at play are the throughput speed of the system bus, for if you have 96 threads of photonics information being calculated simultaneously, there could be some serious bottlenecking if the sys bus hasn’t sufficient bandwidth.

            So, without having specifics on the processors going into the next Pro, it’s hard to say. But more does not always mean better. To use the old car analogy, if you have a Ferrari 451 engine but use a Corolla exhaust, you aren’t getting all out of it you could. Ultimately until there are benchmarks for this new Pro, the jury is still out.

            For my money, I prefer to work in OSX, but frequently send my renders to BOXX racks. Sure the BOXX machines run Windows, but I never have to see it, they just crank on renders while I work on the next scene.

    2. Well, the unit it replaces could accommodate 8 RAM slots sure enough, but 64GB overall was the maximum.

      You can get 16GB pieces now from Crucial, so 4 x 16 is still 64GB and there’s nothing to say that the 32GB modules – that you can get from Kingston for some HP servers – won’t be offered, so that’s 128GB which is a shedload of RAM with presumably a price tag that would finally cause Adam Richman from Man vs. Food to have that coronary he’s been nurturing for so long.

      1. 64GB was the max that Apple would sell you, but it could actually support 96GB. If you wanted to run Windows on said tower (shudder), you could install and use up to 128GB.

  5. WOW. I love it.

    If you haven’t looked at the Apple site on this you have to take a look: http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/ The presentation is breathtaking.

    I’ve never EVER wanted a Mac Pro. When I saw how huge they were in the Apple store I literally laughed out loud. They’re like the size of a couch.

    I know that you put them on the floor and it’s for horsepower yada yada. Whatever. This cylinder really is revolutionary. 9.9 inches by 6.6 inches and easily twice the computer the MP was? Gimme a break. That’s alien technology right there.

    1. If you were actually a nerd, then aesthetic shape of your box would take a distant second versus machine performance.

      I have no doubt that this new “Pro” will have the CPU and GPU specs to outperform yesterday’s Mac Pros. However, ALL of us professionals have a lot of legacy equipment. We have PCIe, multiple generations of FireWire and USB, and a whole bunch of internal PCI cards. We already use solid state hard drives for the startup volumes, but we also have to hook up to multiple legacy external displays using DVI or DisplayPort. Furthermore, some of our external audio equipment uses the Toslink digital audio outputs.

      If we were to ATTEMPT to upgrade our current Mac Pro with the new one, we would at a minimum have to order all-new adapters and cables to make our current equipment work, if not replace all of our legacy 3rd party hardware in order to get it all to work as seamlessly as it does today. Without question, most of the equipment we use has no native Thunderbolt equivalents, and probably never will since >90% of the professional computing world is using USB3.

      Nice try Apple. Did you ever think of consulting pro users before yanking out the carpet from under our feet?

        1. Are you really so enamored with a cylinder that you think it’s a step forward for Apple to force you to buy a “Thunderbolt dock” to support all the peripherals that Mac Pro users have and which, up until today, DO NOT support Thunderbolt?

          It would be one thing if Apple had rolled out Thunderbolt in the Mac Pro 3 years ago. Problem is, 4 USB3 ports ain’t going to cut it, so I foresee a deck piled high with “docks”.

          We would MUCH rather have a new huge pro workstation with significant internal expansion and a couple Thunderbolt ports on the back.

          Mark my words, aftermarket companies are already sketching up racks that look much like the current Mac Pro: in the back, one will hook up all the gear that you currently hook up to your Mac Pro, and in the front will be a little coaster on which you set the new cylinder. Same footprint, just more adapters required now. That is no connectivity improvement whatsoever to many of us.

      1. If you need to stick with all your peripherals, as myself, better you keep your current machine and connections. Cause Apple is compromised with TODAY, facing the future. We need see the beast before judging. But for first impressions, it makes all the sense. Less materials, compact and anything else can be easily added.

      2. You know what I would do in your position.

        Wait until there are some detailed specs.

        I can see an audio in and an audio out on the microsite image. I imagine that it’s the same analog/optical (mini-TOSLink) setup from the laptops.

        But seriously, I wouldn’t get your head screwed over a technology preview, especially when DisplayPort uses the same plug standard as Thunderbolt and you can get DisplayPort/DVI adapters easier than buying a pastrami sandwich in NYC.

  6. Wow. This is some machine, and I’ve got serious product lust. I think this machine answers most needs for expansion, plus it makes everyone else’s systems look extremely outdated. I have a feeling some new monitor must be on the horizon to go well with this. It’s really beautiful, plus the new OS X and new IOS 7, everything looks fantastic to me.

  7. The PCIe-based storage is almost certainly coming from the company The Woz is currently a big part of, FusionIO. It eliminates the bottleneck that even regular SSD drives have, the SATA interface itself.

    But it’s expensive, so you’re sacrificing amount of storage to gain speed accessing and writing data to it. I can definitely see huge workloads being processed on the PCIe storage and then written to (external) drive as it’s completed (in a more compressed format).

  8. Looks pretty cool to me. There are lots of pluses–notice those are user-accessible memory slots. I was a little afraid memory might be soldered in. I really don’t think the cable business is going to be an issue. You’ll see plenty of boxes come on line soon with T-Bolt and multiple drives (there are already quite a few choices). Only immediate downside I can see is that there’s a single HDMI output. It appears that those of us with multiple monitors will have to buy new monitors or find T-bolt to DVI adapters.

    Now what’s it gonna cost?

  9. This is not a Pro Mac- it is a home theater PC that will soon populate the media rooms of the Hollywood Hills.

    I do not want a maze of overpriced ThunderDUD cables and some bad science project fake “Pro” machine and not at the outrageous price Apple will be charging for this Mac Mini “Pro”.

    Form over function marketed as a Professional device. The sharks are jumping today.

    1. Do you expect data to magically transfer your data to the screen with some sort of non physical means? Once again some people are expecting unrealistic functions with any device apple makes. I don’t know of any computing power on the market that compares to this device.

    2. You have a problem with the Hollywood Hills? Then don’t come up here. If you want to see the Hollywood sign, buy a postcard. As for the new Mac Pro? We’ll see. I don’t think that Apple wants to piss off the professionals who need a powerful computer. We have been waiting a long time for this and Apple realizes that. Bad karma and bad PR if this thing fails for us. We speak our minds. And right now, we’re not too crazy about Thunderbolt but things could change. Thunderbolt 2 is coming. And besides, we don’t have much choice in the matter. At least unless someone else comes up with something better.

      1. Is English your second or third language?
        The reference to the Hollywood Hills was simply saying it will be better suited to HTPC type use than any serious pro application.

        As to bad Karma and PR if it fails- let the market decide. It looks like a trashcan that will vent hot air out the top- maybe someone will install it in bathrooms as a hand dryer.

        1. You are a narrow-minded, short-sighted fool, making snap judgements on a piece of kit you’ve not even used, and you have the nerve to refer to yourself as ‘Evolved’? I suppose when compared to an amoeba, or perhaps even a howler monkey you could make that argument.

          This device is, however, an evolution. It is not as if the engineers sat around and said, “We should make it cylindrical! That’d be different!” No, they chose said design as it made logical sense, allowing for a shared thermal core for more efficient heat management.

          As for cables and peripherals… yeah, it kinda sounds like a pain in the ass, but honestly, what pro user doesn’t already have a stack of external drives and other assorted miscellany strewn about their workspace, with the requisite mess o’ cables to deal with. In that context whats another box or two when the tradeoff is the ability to customize the machine to my needs in ways I previously could not.

          Perhaps if you pull your head out of your ass you might be able to see the big picture, you stodgy old curmudgeon.

  10. I think it’s missing a light bulb out of the top and a lamp-shade. /s IOW, some people will never be happy. “We want a new Mac Pro, and we want it NOW!” What’s that? You’re making one available? Yeah, but it doesn’t look like one. Now I’ll have to have cables all over my desk, yada, yada, yada. PITA.

    1. The lamp thing is actually a good idea. I’m sure someone will make a lamp top to set on top of this beast and disguise it as a mild mannered lamp. Maybe a good theft deterrent as well

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