It’s been almost 9 years since the second generation of the Mac Pro came out. The trashcan style of the machines was ridiculed but there was no doubt that it was a powerful machine. Even today, many Youtubers and people who carry out heavy processes use the machines. It was a modular system, something not common with Apple. Now, almost 9 years later, Apple finally refreshed the machine with a whole new form factor, today at WWDC.
WWDC brought with it many things but the new Mac Pro was something people were still skeptical about. Heck, people believed that a new 16 inch MacBook Pro would be more likely than the Mac Pro. Well, to them, Apple came out with the $5999 (starting) behemoth.
Apple has adopted the “Cheese Grater” form factor, similar to the original Mac Pro. As Tim Cook revealed it on stage, it did seem smaller, comparatively. Packed in it, is the future. Apple advertised it as the first completely modular system from them. Following that, they threw a bunch of specs, which, on paper, make this machine so powerful, I can hardly find people who’d use it to its full potential. Anyway, coming back to the machines.
Exterior & Interior
The new Mac Pro follows a similar design to the original Mac Pro but with more sleek cuts here and there. As usual, the outside of the case is pretty minimalistic with a couple of Thunderbolt 3 ports and a power button. Besides that, there are the handles to hold the machines and a mechanism that lets you enter the “truly modular” system.
Inside the case, we enter into a whole new world, as displayed on their website and in the promo Apple showed at the event. All the internals are carefully tucked away in their compartments as can be seen below. These compartments, how full they would be, depends on how much money you splurge on the system. Not only that, it is quite easy to get into as everything is organized so systematically. I must say though, this does not come as a surprise, given Apple’s history of presentation when it comes to their products.
Inside the Mac Pro, Apple has packed the potential to travel to another galaxy. Okay, maybe not that, but close. The New Mac Pro, when released, will be able to be equipped with a 28-core Intel Xenon Processor. Yes, you read that alright, 28 cores. With this high-end processor, users get a base clock speed of 2.5GHz which can be turbo boosted to 4.4GHz. Not only that, it supports 56 threads, making it quite an entity to be raveled with. With large levels of L2 and L3 caches and PCI express lanes that are 64 in number, the machine can chunk in and out, huge amounts of data. That makes it ideal for what it’s meant for, heavy levels of batch processing.
Coming to the memory. According to Apple’s Keynote at WWDC, this can support up to 1.5 TB of 2933MHz DDR4 ECC memory. You think Chrome was giving you trouble with poor RAM management. Try this on for size. The mere thought of something having so much power and memory to carry out tasks boggles one’s head. Aimed at people dealing with raw files, be it 3D or video, a mega-sized memory helps tasks to run smoothly, altogether. The Mac Pro would be able to support up to 4 TB of high-speed SSDs powered by Apple’s T2 chip for security.
Finally, the graphics performance. The Mac Pro will be able to be configured up to two MPX Modules which will support up to 4 GPUs. Sticking to the AMD side, as Macs work, users will be able to choose between the Radeon 580X, Radeon Pro Vega II and the Vega II Duo. The later is the strongest and most powerful one of the bunch and delivers performance unparalleled. Being custom made for this machine, the graphics power delivered, can crunch through 8K footage like butter, being powered by their latest Afterburner. This addition allows users to directly import raw footage without the need to transcode it. Saves time and keeps the original quality and essence intact. To keep it all cool, Apple has developed a new way to ventilate the system. With the 300W heatsink, everything, along with the processor, stays cool and refrains from thermal throttling. For the GPUs, the cooling system is wracked up in the MPX, powering through the GPU. To power it all up, the system supports a 1.4KW power supply, ample to sustain any and all upgrades to the system.
All-in-all, Apple has created one heck of a machine. Not only is it powerful, but I believe it is future proof for the next 5-7 years, quite easily. With all this power, it does not come in cheap. With a starting price of about $6000, who knows how much the top end configuration would cost. About whether it’s worth it. Well, for the right user, such as media houses who crunch through footage in batch, this makes sense. Productivity increases tenfolds. For people sitting in their houses, well, not so much.