Apple announced today that its new, long-awaited Mac Pro desktop workstation will ship in December of this year. It is hard to believe it is that close!
Perhaps the most important news delivered today beyond the ship date is the price. The new Mac Pro will start at an impressively low 2,999.USD. Importantly, it appears Apple has three different options for the AMD FirePro twin GPUs inside the impressive machine. These options include the AMD FirePro D300, D500 and D700 GPUs.
The base model will ship with not one but two AMD FirePro D300 GPUs, plus a single 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon (latest Intel E5 kit), plus 12 GB of DRAM and 2 GB of VRAM among the twin GPUs. It will also start with 256 GB SSD (solid state drive).
The Verge is reporting that another configuration for additional grand (3,999.USD will come with a 6 core CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and twin D500s.
One of the most important considerations we will get at the heart of in the near future is if the twin GPUs can work together to draw an OpenGL window, via an alternative A-B frame render technique. In essence, one GPU is responsible for all even numbered pixels and the other GPU is responsible for all odd numbered pixels. This is the same technique used by CPUs and GPUs today to render out to finished photorealistic renderings but in this case it would involve interactive OpenGL based rendering.
Today CPU cores divide the pixel space up and divide and conquerer the screen. With the new Mac Pro we expect the twin GPUs to innovate and work together to do essentially the same thing but for “interactive OpenGL” based rendering. The technique should be similar to how AMD’s Crossfire technology works for games but importantly different as well. The rendering requirements for games versus pro apps is vastly different because the latter employs high poly count models as normal and desired.
Schiller spoke in summary today about the new Mac Pro but did include some great customer stories with positive news about the machine’s performance, with the most impressive customer story coming from film editing.
It’s important to note that Apple’s reference numbers to the D300, D500 and D700 AMD GPUs don’t have direct equivalents over at AMD’s website. “D” in this case may stand for “dual” and the number we are not sure of.
The fastest GPU for FirePro graphics is currently the W9000. There is also a W7000 and W5000 but no W3000. So we cannot jump to conclusions and relate the D700, D500 and D300, respectively, to any currently listed products by similar series method. When we learn more we will be sure to post.
Update: 22 Oct 2013
It has come to our attention that there is clearly no such products at AMD now that use the designations D300, D500 and D700 for GPUs of any kind. We have posted some explanations below in the Comments section. Login and tell us what you think? Will this be your next CAD or 3D workstation? How does a price tag of starting at 3K suit you?