As widely hoped for and anticipated, today Apple introduced a dramatic new Mac Pro computer at WWDC. The new design will not be available until later this year and Apple identified that it is the Mac Pro that will be manufactured in the United States.
The company’s introduction today could not have been more important. As Jonny Evans over at Computerworld wrote at the recent NAB 2013, Apple has been pushing its pro users to the brink of loyalty. This sentiment started with not just delays to the Mac Pro but also Apple’s huge misstep with Final Cut Pro X, which the company has been making big strides on repairing that damage.
A Radically New Structure
Apple’s next Mac Pro is radically different than any workstation on the market, including anything Apple has ever done before in this space. For starters, it looks like the company has finally taken to heart one of the longest-running complaints about its Mac Pros–the issue of workstation graphics. The new 2013 Mac Pro looks to be built literally around workstation graphics in the form of dual GPUs. This, no doubt, is the the year-long graphics project we spoke about from yesterday and it looks to be that AMD is the provider of this major graphics effort.
Within the next Mac Pro will contain not one but two AMD FirePro workstation class GPUs with up to 6 GB of dedicated VRAM for a total of 12 GB of video memory. These super powerful workstation class AMD FirePro GPU’s will provide up to 7 teraflops of computing power, compared to the 2.7 teraflops in the current model. Additionally, they will be able to drive up to three 4K displays simultaneously.
Just as we noted and had hoped for Apple has done something about its PCI-Express implementation and in this case the company is touting up to 40 GB/sec of PCI-Express bandwidth built around PCI-Express 3.0 technology. Architosh will have to dig deeper to find out what AMD FirePro technology is inside this new machine but we’ll get to that.
A Unified Thermal Core
The new Mac Pro will share some heritage with Apple’s famous failed Cube computer. That computer too also gained from a natural convention and chimney effect for venting hot air. The new Mac Pro uses a unified thermal core that shares aluminum and a new special single fan. The fan features backward-curved large blades which don’t need to run so quickly as traditional fan blades and also gain more efficiency as they spin faster. The result will be a very quite machine given its ultra-high power.
The new Mac Pro is built for the future. It features a massive array of leading edge IO. Chief among these is Thunderbolt 2 with data transfer speeds of up to 20 GB/sec. That is 25 x faster than Firewire 800. The unit will feature 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports, each with the capacity to hold 6 devices. HDMI 1.4, USB 3 and Gigabit ethernet round out the IO for the new Mac Pro.
Other innovations include three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity. This supplements Bluetooth 4.0.
Perhaps the most innovative feature is the industrial design itself. The whole Mac Pro is just 9.9 inches tall by 6.6 inches wide (diameter). Apple says the enclosure is refined aluminum extrusion with an incredible polished black finish. The new unit will be assembled in the United States in a new plant in Texas, many believe.
[Editor’s note: We have published additional comments on the Xeons headed into these machines below in our comments.]