Six years after Apple announced its barely-upgradeable cylindrical Mac Pro, aptly dubbed the ‘trash can,’ Apple took WWDC 2019 as an opportunity to unveil its most powerful, modular Mac Pro to date.
While undoubtedly new, the overall design is reminiscent of Apple’s original Mac Pro, complete with the ‘cheese grater’ vents, which are specifically machined to allow maximum airflow through the tower.
MacDailyNews Take: Ahh, wish fulfillment:
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
However, unlike the original Mac Pro, this modular monster can shed its shell to offer complete 360-degree access to the internals… In addition to the tower itself, Apple has also created three modules that are specifically designed to interface with the Mac Pro: the MPX Module, the ‘Afterburner’ video card and an I/O module.
The MPX Module is a quad-wide PCIx card that houses two AMD Radeon Pro Vega 2 or Radeon Pro Vega 2 Duo GPUS, its own heat sink and a Thunderbolt 3 connector that plugs directly into the motherboard for maximum speed.
Apple’s new ‘Afterburner’ is a hardware accelerator card with a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) or a Programmable Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). Apple claims the ‘Afterburner’ card can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second and is capable of handling up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW or 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW at 30fps.
The last one is an I/O module that adds two additional USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Of course, what would a powerful desktop computer be without a beautiful screen to compose, create and review your work on it with? Years after leaving the display market, Apple is back—and it’s created a display that’s just as (if not more) crazy than its Mac Pro counterpart.
It’s called the Pro Display XDR and it’s a 32in 6K Retina (6016px x 3384px, 218ppi) HDR display that brings the best features of high-end reference monitors and manages to pack said features into a more compact, affordable (comparatively speaking) frame that offers the convenience of more traditional monitors.
MacDailyNews Take: The new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are two grand slams by Apple!
To once again be able to confidently state that Apple makes the world’s most advanced personal computer has us brimming with joy! Regardless of how relatively few will be purchasing Mac Pro units – this one is for professional users, through and through – the knowledge that Apple has this flagship Mac now percolates throughout the entire family of Mac models, elevating them in the process. The same goes for the Pro Display XDR.
There’s a reason why quality carmakers, for example, make esoteric high-performance models – because they can and because they cast a halo of quality on all of their other more salable models. They don’t make money on the supercars themselves, but supercars make them money.
This is why we were so disappointed with Apple letting Mac Pro rot for over half a decade and for killing off Apple-made high quality displays. Both were poor decisions, now rectified. All Apple needs to do now is demonstrate their commitment to these products over an extended period of time and they’ll be right back on track!