Apple’s all-new Mac Pro has clever thermal management that draws heavily from past Mac designs

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

Ben Lovejoy for 9to5Mac:

Software developer and designer Arun Venkatesan has taken a look at the smart thermal management features of the upcoming 2019 Mac Pro.

He also shows some of the past Mac technology Apple has drawn on in the design of the Mac Pro and its accompanying monitor.

The 2019 Mac Pro of course draws heavily from the design of the Power Mac G5, aka the cheese-grater Mac Pro. Venkatesan notes that the machine was one of the very first tower computer systems to create multiple thermal zones within the casing for more efficient thermal management.

MacDailyNews Take: Check out Venkatesan’s article- recommendedhere.

8 Comments

    1. The clever part is deciding which Prior Art to reuse and what to add/remove/change. Apple has designed many tower computers in the past, not just the G5. All of these towers had aspects that worked, and all, including the G5 had areas that could be improved on. The new Mac Pro has the thermal zones down the expansion card side of the logic board like the G5 but unlike the G5 there is a thermal zone on the underside of the board and Apple added a massive heat sink with heat pipes running two thirds the length of the case to cool the CPU, that is pretty clever.

      I suspect your inability to see the differences between the two designs and the clever choices going into those changes exposes your lack of cleverness.

      1. The clever part is deciding which Prior Art to reuse and what to add/remove/change.

        Clever? Not really, because it is a derivative work…and the more times you’ve done it before, the lower the project risk it is to work out another variation.

        The new Mac Pro has the thermal zones down the expansion card side of the logic board like the G5 but unlike the G5 there is a thermal zone on the underside of the board… and a massive heat sink with heat pipes running two thirds the length of the case to cool the CPU, that is pretty clever.

        Which was enabled by how they copied the case from the G4 Cube (2000), as well as thinking in more than ‘flat’ 2D aspects from the ‘trashcan’ Mac Pro (2013). Once again, these are predominantly basic variants on existing, proven designs. It looks ‘Massive’ because of how Apple has gotten slaughtered on thermally throttled products and “designed self into a thermal corner”, etc.

        I suspect your inability to see the differences between the two designs and the clever choices going into those changes exposes your lack of cleverness.

        Ad Hominem fallacy noted.

        But ignoring your lame insult attempt, I’ll note that Apple’s very straightforward design (heat pipes aren’t even close to new technology, and flat aluminum fins are even older) appears to be 2″x5″ x 27 fins which provides ~270 inch^2 of surface area for heat transfer in a roughly a 2x5x5 = 50 cubic inch volume. Overall, its a very straightforward design.

        Now for innovation, Apple could have impressed me if they had ditched the conventional heat pipe and chosen instead to use TPG (thermal pyrolytic graphite): they would then have been able to market it with the selling point of a fluids-free heat pipe design …impossible to ever leak … and also gotten higher thermal performance. And while I do like flat aluminum fins because they’re easier to clean dust off, Apple could have considered using a block of a refractory metallicized open cell foam, as doing so would have roughly doubled their net effective fin efficiency and thus allowed them to either cut its volume in half, or keep it the same and ~double their heat dissipation potential … cooler CPUs longer and more future-proofing for when Intel fails to hit their own design goals.

        FYI, both of these thermal management technology areas I’ve just mentioned were commercialized more than five years ago.

        1. Sorry for the ad hominem, I could]n’t resist and I usually do.

          As for the rest you seem to crave new for just for the sake of it being new. The solution they have presented seems to be quite excellent. No, it does not use what you have deemed to be better tech and since neither one of us actually has one of these to test and push to the limit, we are both making assumptions. You are assuming that it could be much better if they used all of the tech that you have argued for. I assume that the Apple engineers are aware of the current tech available and for reasons such as manufacturing costs, material availability or whatever, they chose to build the machine the way that they did. Either way, these arguments are premature. The Mac Pro may turn out to be exactly what Apple said it is.

          As for your deep concern for prior art, I would like you to give me an example of an invention that was invented or an item that was built with absolutely no prior art or even very little prior art. Sir Isaac Newton’s famous statement of “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” tells us all we need to know about prior art. It is always that upon which we build the future.

          1. As for the rest you seem to crave new for just for the sake of it being new.

            Sorry, that’s not a correct interpretation either. The original MDN clam was that it was “clever” and I showed how it was not.
            Plus also provided some examples of what’s require to be “innovative” today in thermal management design.

            The solution they have presented seems to be quite excellent.

            Yes, it looks good – – but the unspoken elephant in the room for any discussions of the Mac Pro is “what took them so damn long?”. Well, it certainly wasn’t this heat sink. Nor the “holy” case design either. Nor the handlebars. Nor the monitor stand.

            Overall, the IMO most plausible explanation from Critical Path dependencies appears to be that Apple was waiting for Intel’s “Cascade Lake-W” Xeon CPUs. But since Intel is now shipping these CPU’s this month (June 2019) and yet, Apple is not shipping new Mac Pro’s, so we’re still looking for the Project Manager (PM) explanation of what the holdup is.

            Overall, this Project Management question becomes even more pointed when we note that a Mac Pro delivery date of “Sept 2019” had appeared (briefly) on their website but has since been removed, leaving us STILL with no clear delivery schedule pinned down and no good explanation forthcoming as to why. Maybe the reference monitor? If so, Apple needs to communicate and provide clarity, particularly since some of their target demographic customers simply will not care if the monitor’s been delayed.

Add Your Feedback

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