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The New Mac Pro Has Arrived—with Pro Display XDR

Apple’s new modular Mac Pro with accompanying Pro display has arrived and they are both far more in line with what real pros are seeking. They are both for the upper range professional customers—you won’t be buying a new Mac Pro just to play games!

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Apple today at WWDC has finally introduced its next Mac Pro—a groundbreaking true workstation class computer for the macOS. The new Mac is the most powerful Mac computer ever made and ships to customers in the fall. It pairs with a brand new professional display called the Apple Pro Display XDR.

Apple Got Practical

After the failure of the previous Mac Pro, introduced in 2013, Apple this time got very serious and applied more engineering innovation than industrial design innovation. Gone is the fancy shape and the need for “smallness.”

The new 2019 Mac Pro is tremendously modular and brings back the PCI bus in a a big way with vast support internally.

The 2019 new Mac Pro is a true classic box-style workstation machine wrapped in a three-dimensional metal screen that is functional and not just about looks. The machine also pairs with Apple’s new Pro Display XDR.

The new Mac Pro is designed around a precision stainless steel space frame which gives the whole system its foundational support. It is designed for maximum architectural design reconfiguration. The system include a handle built off this space frame to make rugged and moveable. There will also be a rack version and it offers options for wheels as well.

The system works with a new Xeon 28 core CPU and features up to 12 DIMM slots for 1.5 TB of RAM. Most importantly for the “modularity” Apple promised the pro market, there is eight (8) PCIe slots onboard.

Mac Pro Expansion Module (MPX) for GPU

The new MPX module is a new architecture for the graphics system of the new Mac Pro, offering a packaged way to place in two GPUs into the module and then add up to two MPXs into the overall system—for up to 4 pro-level GPUs working in tandem.

The new Mac Pro on the inside. Tons of flexibility, modularity and support out of the gate from pro application makers mark a great start for the new pro workstation Mac pros have been asking for.

Apple After Burner is a new hardware architecture (video accelerator card) designed to boost video editing workflows directly through this new purpose-built silicon. This is an add-in option and not in the base model.

There is a lot that can be packed into this new modular system and therefore it needs tons of power. A 1.4-kilowatt power supply is included, plus an advanced thermal architecture with three huge fans that operate very quietly and work in tandem with the lattice skin of the box.

The Uncompromising Display

The new Mac Pro pairs with the stunning new Pro Display XDR. This new display also features the lattice-like skin in aluminum that acts as a heat sink for the system.

Apple has designed many custom silicon systems for this machine, including its MPX module(s) with the interconnect Infinity Fabric which can link the MPX modules together. 

It is a 6k retina display and offers over 20 million pixels. A P3 wide color gamut pairs with dramatic new Apple display technology that generates 1000 – 1600 nits of brightness. It features a beautifully designed stand that Apple is going to charge extra for, the one moment in the whole WWDC keynote that drew slight boos and gasps.

Closing Comments

The base system price is nearly $6,000 for the new Mac Pro and with the addition of the Pro Display XDR will take a whole system price to $11k plus. However, the technology behind both the computer and display when found elsewhere would likely exceed $50,000, much of that cost delta in the display.

Apple’s new Pro Display XDR is a tour de force, offering capabilities that in total would cost $43,000 in other options.

What I like about the new Mac Pro immediately is the modular architecture Apple promised. It means Apple can tinker with it over time offering different internal combinations based on market demand and critical feedback.

Numerous companies like Blackmagic, Avid, Autodesk and Maxon, among others, are announcing support for its special systems today in their pro applications. By the time the machine ships more companies should be behind this machine.

This system is likely overkill for many in the Architecture market but I can see many architects and designers jumping at the chance to buy this computer if they do a ton of visualization work, VR and AR production, and other high-end workloads.

Apple has just put up its new pages on this machine where you can learn more here.

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