Apple’s new 2019 cheese grater Mac Pro vs. 2013 trashcan Mac Pro: How far has the hardware come?

Apple's new 2019 Mac Pro
Apple’s new 2019 Mac Pro

Tom Brant for PC Magazine:

Viewed from the outside, the new Apple Mac Pro is something out of a time warp. Its traditional desktop shape has more in common with the boxy silver Mac Pro of the early 2000s than with its direct predecessor, the 2013 Mac Pro, which is distinct for its sleek, cylindrical design.

First, let’s discuss the processors. Both generations of the Mac Pro are based on Intel’s workstation- and server-grade Xeon CPUs, but the similarities end there. The 2013 Mac Pro uses a six-core, eight-core, or 12-core Intel Xeon E5, while the 2019 Mac Pro starts with, at the minimum, an eight-core Xeon W and can be configured with a 28-core Xeon W at the upper end.

At the highest end, you’re looking at more than doubling the number of processor cores, which can have a profound impact on your workflow if you’re using an app that’s fully threaded and designed to leverage as many CPU cores as possible. It’s even more of a benefit if your workflow uses older apps that may rely on multiple CPU cores but lack GPU acceleration…

One thing is clear: If your special-effects studio or research lab is using last-generation Mac Pros, upgrading to the latest one will unlock vast computing potential and upgradability that hasn’t been seen from Apple for more than five years.

MacDailyNews Take: In tech time? Light years.

14 Comments

  1. The fact is the 2019 Mac Pro enclosure is only marginally better than the 2012 Mac Pro cheese grater design. Both provide adequate power and thermal management and present a low acoustic noise level.

    If Apple engineers truly took five years to produce the marginal improvements in the new Mac Pro case design, shame on them.

    1. I think Apple tried to make as much money as possible after expending R&D money on the trash-can Mac Pro. I think most companies would have eaten the cost but not Apple. Apple was still charging quite a bit of money for refurbished trash-can Mac Pros when they should have reduced prices and cleared out the inventory. I doubt it took Apple all those years to design a new Mac Pro when other companies put out new computers practically every other year. It’s not rocket science and it’s not as though Apple came out with some radical new motherboard design for the new Mac Pro. In my opinion, I believe with Apple it’s always about finances and not necessarily design. Apple greed.

      Anyway, this new Mac Pro is what Apple should have replaced the older cheese-grater Mac Pro with and not bothered with the trash-can model. Apple would have saved so much money and customer heartaches by simply updating the cheese-grater with modern components back in 2013.

  2. The new Mac Pro only looks like a ‘light year’ upgrade if you’re a clueless dolt that has ignored computer hardware outside of Apple’s reality distortion field for the last 6 years.

    In the real world AMD has been shipping 32 core Threadrippers for ages for $1700. Intel’s 28 core Xeon sells for $10k.

    AMD are about to announce Threadripper 3000 with vastly better IPC, higher clocks and 48 cores maybe even 64 cores if rumours are correct and supporting PCIe 4. PCIe 4 will make the Mac Pro look old even before it gets to be released in the Fall. 200 GigE networking, cheaper and faster NVMe and 2x GPU memory bandwidth.

    It says everything about Apple that they were still selling the 2013 Mac Pro disaster at no discount even though it was obsolete hardware 6 years later, Apple greed. Jobs would’ve been to embarrassed to have that computer on the website let alone sell it at full price.

    1. just out of curiosity I checked Intel Xeon 28 Core price:

      Anantech:

      The Intel Xeon W-3175X Review: 28 Unlocked Cores : $2999

      Note this is a consumer price, not bulk to OEMs . OEM price would be way lower.

      Anandtech “For this product, Intel is actually providing an RCP or ‘recommended consumer price’ of $2999, rather than a tray price”

      The 28 Core Xeon in the Mac Pro is server version the W-3275 which people SPECULATE can cost twice the 3175. Twice the consumer price of W3175 would be $6000 and bulk to OEMs would be way lower than that.

      In any case there is little doubt the chip is not $10000

      Performance of the 3175 is on par with the 32 Core thread ripper. (see TomsHardware tests).

      In WORKSTATION architecture (i.e pro) tests the Xeon 3175 beats the thread ripper:

      Tomshardware:

      Architecture : Winner Intel
      “As reflected by its feature set, the Xeon W-3175X is specifically designed for workstations. The processor supports vPro management and RAS features that simply aren’t present with Threadripper 2990WX, while also guaranteeing certified support for ECC memory on supporting motherboards. The processor also consists of a single large die and mesh architecture that delivers consistent memory latency and throughput. Pairing the consistent memory performance with the superior throughput of a six-channel memory arrangement could yield big gains for some professional applications. ”

      Of course a chip not specifically designed for workstation use is going to be cheaper.

      If you are so off on this (the Anandtech article is months old), I didn’t bother with checking the rest of your post.

      1. There are certain workloads where TR is faster. But there were, at least with the Zen-TRs, a few issues that showed up in benchmarks. For Apple, I’d assume it wasn’t too difficult to get macOS running on a TR-board and do their benchmarks, with their workload. Likely, Intel still came out ahead a bit.
        Zen2 has apparently improved on certain weak areas and the lack of PCIe4.0 on Intel Boards is an issue. But overall, I don’t think it’s such a dramatic thing to get worked-up upon.

    2. Which company is selling PCIe4 in mass quantities? From what I’ve read in the last few days, while PCIe4 has been adopted, it has not been produced in mass. In addition, your 200 GigE networking, again, which company is currently producing these in mass quantities. Even if your statement is correct, and, that they would be available in the fall, again, by how much/many? Can you provide some names of companies that will be producing these?

      What I can foresee, however, is that Apple will be the one leading the mass of adoption of these technologies just as Apple has lead the mass adoption of USB in the past. I could be wrong, but, when Apple does something like that, industry normally follows.

      1. Nobody was producing/selling optical drives or Firewire 400 (or 800) or thunderbolt (or 2 or 3) in mass quantities until Apple decided to do so.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.