WWDC 2019: It’s Here! The New Mac Pro Has Arrived

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Apple revealed the new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019. The long-awaited upgrade to the device is a bit of beast.

Powerful and Expandable

The Mac Pro is, according to Apple, the most powerful Mac ever. The baseline version comes with an 8-core Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM, Radeon Pro 580X, and a 256 SSD.  It can be expanded to have up to a staggering 28 cores. The device comes with eight PCIe expansion slots. It is also equipped with a six-channel memory architecture and 12 physical DIMM slots, allowing for up to 1.5TB of memory.

In terms of graphics, the new Mac Pro starts with the Radeon Pro 580X. There is also, for the first time, the option of the Radeon Pro Vega II. This features 14 teraflops of compute performance as well as 32GB of memory and 1TB/s of memory bandwidth. Apple published a full rundown of all the tech specifications.

The Mac Pro has a stainless-steel space frame with aluminum housing around it. The frame lifts off, giving owners total access to the system. The housing has a lattice pattern to reduce new and maximize airflow – yes the cheese-grater look is back! Apple said the new computer is no louder than an iMac Pro. You can even add wheels if you need to roll it around a studio. A version optimized for rack deployment is also going to be made available.

Pro Display for New Mac Pro

Apple also revealed a new pro display to go with the new computer. It is called the Pro Display XDR. It is a 32-inch Retina 6K display. It comes with P3 wide and 10-bit color, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The display can be setup in both landscape and portrait mode.

Logic and Final Cut

The device is designed to be a studio essential for composers, music producers, and filmmakers. Composers can run up to 1000 audio tracks in Logic Pro X. Meanwhile, filmmakers can run three streams of 8k footage or 12 4K streams with the new Afterburner accelerator card. Afterburner has a programmable ASIC which can decode up to 6.3 billion pixels per second.

The new Mac Pro is going to start at $5999. The Pro Display XDR is going to be $4999, or $5999 for the nano-texture version. The most shocking thing is the Pro Stand for the display is $999. Fair to say the hall was a bit shocked at this. A VESA Mount Adapter for the display will be $199. It will all be available in the fall.

 

 

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archimedes
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archimedes

One thing that could be an issue is that they seem to have introduced an Apple-proprietary GPU card interface. There is probably going to be a limited supply of those cards (for example there don’t seem to be any NVidia options?) and they are probably going to cost more. However, you can presumably still use a PCI card.

Hagen
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Hagen

I’m not as worried about the PCI cards. It looks like a standard 16-lane PCI-e connector, plus a second connector for the thunderbolt and other stuff they were talking about. I would hope that nVidia cards (and any number of specialized cards) will fit and work just fine.

archimedes
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archimedes

Cue huge chorus of complaints/whining (too expensive, too big, $1000 for a metal stand, etc.) from everyone who wanted a modular Mac with PCI slots for the price of an iMac. Maybe Apple will make one someday, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

I think Apple knows who is going to buy it (e.g. television and movie studios, music studios, design firms) and is pricing it accordingly.

The design looks mostly great to me, even if I am unlikely to buy one any time soon.

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

It is too powerful 😀