Cheese Grater Supreme: Apple’s new Mac Pro more of a traditional tower design than the previous ‘trash can’

Samuel Axon for Ars Technica:

Today, Apple announced a new Mac Pro desktop computer—the first new product in that line since 2013.

The machine will start at $5,999 for a configuration that includes an eight-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of 2666MHz memory, a 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics. If that price tag doesn’t make it obvious, this is very much not a device for casual consumers. Apple says the Pro will be available to order later this fall.

The new Mac Pro offers a vastly different design than the oft-maligned “trash can” design of the previous Mac Pro, which released nearly 2,000 days ago. This new model has more of a traditional tower design that is a closer analogue to the “cheese grater” Mac Pro models that existed before the latest machine. Its housing is largely made of aluminum, with stainless steel handles for moving the device as needed as well as a set of “feet” on the bottom. It can be configured with a small set of wheels for easier transport, too. Apple says both sides of the device are openable for user access. The whole thing measures about 21 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide and weighs a shade under 40 pounds.

Afterburner on the new Mac Pro allows video editors to decode up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video and 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW video in real time.
All-new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are the most powerful tools Apple has ever put in the hands of pro customers and will change pro workflows forever.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s never been a more powerful Mac. Ever. This thing has a good amount of future-proofing built in (which is a good thing given Apple’s track record on this model for, oh, the last five and a half years).

Would that Apple would repurpose the “cheese grater” Mac Pro that many people initially denigrated only to find themselves dreaming of a modern one nearly 13 years later. Yes, some more astute observers did praise its design from the get-go.MacDailyNews, March 22, 2019

We can’t even imagine the insane level of brutishness this thing will display when maxed out with the 28-core Xeon and 1.5TB of RAM, and with dual Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPUs.

One thing’s for damn sure, even with lesser configs, you won’t need a space heater in the edit bay anymore!

33 Comments

  1. So much info today that i’ve just had time to glance at new MP but so far I like what i see.

    I have three upgraded old Cheese Graters. I guess telling Apple what we need (aka whining and complaining) works ! lol

    I’m also an aapl investor and although the MP probably won’t push the profit needle up much I’m relieved that Apple is listening to its users and fans. I’m glad they’ve not lost focus on their core (with push towards services etc) of hardware excellence. Even with stock continuing to be hurt today I honestly believe that if Apple remembers its roots and strength it will win.

  2. OMG! I’m an Apple fan and maintain an all Apple household: iphones, apple tv, ipads, mac laptops, imacs.

    But, c’mon, $1K for an aluminum stand. If I wasn’t laughing so hard, I would call it pure hubris.

    Apple will likely sell a zillion of them.

  3. Uuummm . . . $6,000 just to play? give us a break, Apple. I’m no noob -I’ve had a couple of cheese graters, and also G5s, G4s, G3s, Power Macs – that is just patently absurd, particularly with all of the iOS-ification going on. This should have come out six years ago at less than half the price. Who in the name of Zeus is making decisions at Apple these days? iPad OS? Do you honestly expect professionals to use that sh*t? Come on.

    1. For what this machine is, $6K is very reasonable. The expansion options are insane, and quite frankly, I never thought they would produce another Mac with this kind of expansion options.

      I do wish that they had a Demi-Mac Pro with 6 RAM slots, 3 PCI slots and 2 SSD slots, which would be closer to my needs and budget.

      1. The Original Beige G3:
        World class CPU
        Three PCI slots.
        Hard drive bay and CD bay both user replaceable.
        3 ram slots.
        Wide variety of useful ports built in.
        $1999.

        I miss beleaguered Apple.

        1. Original G3 in 1997 listed for $2400. Which in today’s dollars would be about $3800. And for that you got 32MB RAM, a 233Mhz single core G3, 1024×768 resolution support, and a 4GB hard drive.

          Apple’s and oranges.

          Having owned, operated and supported many, many of these, I think I can say that today’s Mac offering blows the socks off of that machine in terms of what both could do in their hey day.

          1. JC – I agree with you on the value.

            The said, Apple used to start the Pro in mid to high $2000s. This made it affordable to the photo/video aficionado.

            Of course nowadays the MBP is in that range, can take an external monitor, and has plenty of horsepower, even at the entry 15″ model. So this suits me just fine.

            Regards!

            1. True, for the home aficionado, a MBP or iMac can have adequate horsepower, but not for data storage…

              …unless you’re willing to repeat the Trash Can rat’s nest of externals, or neglect automatic data backups. That’s what makes these solutions inadequate.

        1. I predicted the Mac Pro would be the most expensive way to buy a low-mid end spec computer. I could not believe the starter specs, this Pro workstation would be handed its arse by a $1500 PC built by an average school child.

          This Mac Pro would’ve been great back in 2013 at reasonable pricing but today this is a joke and a sad one too. BTO to get a decent spec and you’ll be over $10k very quickly with comparable Threadripper/PCIe4 based Workstations half the price and much more powerful.

          They will literally tens of these.

          The irony is it makes the iMac Pro look like amazing value!

    2. James, yes it is exactly the group of real professionals that Apple are aiming the Mac Pro at ie. people who actually make their living from their Mac. It probably isn’t aimed at people like you who only want one for bragging rights. For a pro. $20,000 capital investment taken over a 3 year wrote down period is a no brainer business case.

  4. Big negative is its only PCI 3.0 and PCI 5.0 standard just ratified and some PCI 4.0 boards shipping. That said, it’s more intel’s fault as they dont have a chipset that supports Xeons and PCI 4/5 and probably wont for a couple of years, and add likely another year for apple to get an update out.

    AMD chips are frankly better right now than Intel, however, AMD does not support thunderbolt (because it means turning over their microcode to Intel to sign it and they dont want their IP stolen as they are a bit in the lead at the moment).

    Bit of a rock and a hard place. Which to me means, get it now. Because heck knows if apple will update it regularly, and because intel sucks, we might not see an update for 2-3 years anyway.

    1. There are x570 motherboards coming out next month with full thunderbolt 3. 6 channel memory and pcie 4.0. All supporting AMDs new CPU’s. the new Mac Pro won’t even have fast ssd drives by next months standards.

  5. This is not a replacement Mac Pro, this is a killer machine. Obviously if you have moderate Pro needs you will have to look at a Mini Pro or any iMac MB, Pro. But now this luxury Pro item is only for very serious creative or engeniering users. So why start with an 8-core configuration? Even the 580X GPU at 6K is low end.

    As I am digesting this it may be Apple expects serious users depending on top GPU performance will justify the entry 8-core CPU and I guess as no all users on this segment will benefit from a very high-end GPU those with high CPU needs will be fine with an entry Pro GPU. But if you are considering around 12K and more per user (MP/Monitor) go loose all your internal organs and Order Wisely!!

    Another early concern is for Apple to support these beasts for a very long time as I wont get one of these and find out I am left out of the OS path support even 10 or more years down the road. As I am right now helping an uncle to keep his 8-core MP 1.1 alive and relevant with an EFI hack!! So as powerful as those GPUs look today I expect Apple to keep refressing the graphic processors and other componets in a timely and sencible manner.

    1. Since it’s a pro machine most pros will buy RAID for it. A single drive? You’re on your own with an external case. A Thunderbolt case won’t “slow it down.” Single hard drives only go so fast anyway by themselves.

  6. Ok, so it is really pathetic for a $6K machine to start out with 256Gb SSD. 256GB! Is this really a pro machine? That should start at 1TB SSD minimum.

  7. Great Computer, Powerful, and can do any job with ease. However, with the price so high, only high end companies and colleges will be buying this machine. Wish they had a computer for the mainstream users. The iMac is good, and reasonably priced. Just need to update the design and make it suitable for the mainstream. Remember LISA….good but too expensive to buy and support.

    1. No, you’re completely wrong. There will be lots of people who are professional Mac users ie. use their Macs to earn their living, who will be very attracted by this new MP.

    2. Are you joking? Practically ALL of Apple’s other computing products are “for the mainstream users”. As i’ve said before, the armchair “pros” would have all of their needs met by recent MB Pros, iMacs/iMac Pros or the latest Mac Minis, particularly with eGPUs being available, but that wouldn’t stroke their egos enough. Let’s be honest, the new Mac Pros (like the rest of Apple’s products) are status symbols as much as they are utilitarian machines. They will be purchased in droves by people who won’t tap a fraction of their computing potential. If they have the money for it, good for them, but whining about Apple not taking a loss to provide you with a cool toy is stupid.

      While I don’t have a need for this machine at all (even though I am a professional translator, editor and historian), as a shareholder I am glad to see Apple finally address the needs of so many true pros who have stuck by the company while the competition ended up coming out with superior high-end hardware. I think they really knocked it out of the park here. I also think the whining about price will ratchet up exponentially once the five-figure prices for configurations beyond the base model are revealed. If you think you need this machine but also can’t afford it then you’re being severely underpaid for your work and that’s the problem you need to address. With people paying an average of $20k for used cars these days, a third or even half of that for a world-class computer in the right hands is a no-brainer.

  8. I watched through the whole keynote; I was apalled that Cook waited to introduce the MacPro at the last minute just before his valediction that closed the keynote. And he introduced it with a grim face in a perfuntory manner as if it would soil his thinking. It was in contrast to hos effusive enthusiasm for other things he introduced. This tells me that he is its reluctant inheritor. Therefore, I would not be surprised if his Apple may upgrade it once just to make a good show of it and then finally wash his hands of the modern day truck.

    1. You are lying, the Mac Pro was introduced at the 1:18:00 mark for about 25 minutes, the remaining half hour of the keynote was spent on Catalina. Your comments have always been suspect but here you are being outright snake-like to make a fake point.

  9. For those with sticker shock.

    Here are three Macs I picked that were big towers (the fx layed flat and was very wide) that the “Pro” user bought tons of in the past. I recall working on many of these in all creative departments.

    1990 – Mac IIfx. $10,000 to $12,000

    1992 – Mac Quadra 950. $8,500 to $9,600.

    1995 – Power Mac 9500. $5,000

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