The New Mac Pro: More details revealed before launch

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First previewed at WWDC 2013, the Mac Pro is nearly here. Apple teased us with some tantalizing new details about their new Pro user powerhouse. This is not your mother’s Mac. It’s probably not yours, either. The “entry level” Mac Pro starts at a wallet busting $2,999.

Quick stats:

  • 1/8th volume of older Mac Pro
  • New Intel Xeon processor available in 4, 6, 8, 12 cores
  • Dual AMD FirePro graphics cards standard
  • All Flash storage
  • Pricing starts at a cool $2,999
  • Available this December

Read more below to get all of the lust-worthy details.

“Diamond cut chamfered edges.” That’s one of the many ways Phil Schiller describes Apple’s new Mac Pro – the Mac designed for everyone but us. Odds are that you won’t be buying this, even though you’ll want to. Apple reminded us that there’s a Pro consumer market and they’re still in it. The Mac Pro is designed for content creators: filmmakers, photographers, music producers, etc.

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Size

It’s truly incredible that Apple was able to cram such high end hardware inside a futuristic-looking shell, but they did. The Mac Pro is only 1/8th the volume of the old Mac Pro and it really looks great. Just take a look above or check out Apple’s beautiful Mac Pro page to see it in all of its we’re-not-worthy glory.

The original Mac Pro measured in at 20.1″ high, 8.1″ wide, and 18.7″ deep. Quite the monster. The new Mac Pro dwarfs its older brother, measuring just 9.9″ high and 6.6″ in diameter. That’s less than half the height and 19% smaller around the belt. It’s 73% lighter, too, barely touching the scale at 11lb – the old Mac Pro tipped the scales at a hefty 39.9lb.

Speed

Simply: the new Mac Pro is a powerhouse. For $2,999 a brand new Intel Xeon E5 clocking in a 3.7 GHz with 10 MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz is standard. This configurable to 6, 8, and 12 cores beyond the 4 that come standard. L3 cache goes to 12 MB with 6 cores, 25 MB with 8, and 30 MB with 12 cores. Clock speeds come in at 3.5 GHz for 6 cores, 3.0 GHz for 8, and 2.7 GHz for 12.

In addition to the standard Quad-Core model, Apple also offers a 6-Core setup starting at $3,999. This includes the 6-Core processor with a 3.5 GHz clock speed, 12 MB L3 cache, and Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz.

Memory

Apple’s Quad-Core model comes standard with 12 GB of DDR3 ECC user-accessible memory. Upgrades to 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB are available when ordering but it will be cheaper to purchase and install your own RAM from a non-Apple vendor.

The 6-Core model ships with 16 GB of the same DDR3 ECC user-accessible memory as the Quad-Core model and is also upgradeable to 32 GB and 64 GB. Again, it’s cheaper to upgrade to more memory on your own. If you’re already spending nearly four grand on a computer, this may not really be an issue.

Graphics

Both Mac Pro models come with dual AMD FirePro graphics cards. The Quad-Core model sports a D300 while the 6-Core comes with a D500. The D300 contains 2GB of DDR5 VRAM and is upgradeable to dual D500 with 3GB of DDR5 VRAM, or dual D700 with 6GB of DDR5 VRAM. The 6-Core is upgradeable to dual G700s as well.

What are these, anyway? We’re not quite sure as they’re made or named just for the Mac Pro. There’s been some guesswork done by architosh that may ring true. architosh believes them to be based on the Tahiti and Pitcairn architecture. Ultimately, these are extremely powerful graphics cards that run about $650 at retail. For more details, check out architosh’s article.

Display Support

The new Mac Pro can easily support up to three 4k displays – quite a feat, or six Thunderbolt displays. Don’t get too excited about the 4k support, though. Each 4k display, from a third party, runs around $3,000. Apple’s inclusion of 4k support is awesome but expensive.

Storage

Both Mac Pro models come standard with 256 GB of PCIe-based flash storage. Apple claims that this is the fastest hard drive available. You can replace it, but why would you?

Wireless

Going along with Apple’s upgrades to the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, the Mac Pro also gains 802.11ac support – the fastest Wi-Fi standard available. 802.11ac is also backwards compatible for all prior version of the 802.11 standard (a/b/g/n). Bluetooth 4.0 is also included.

Wrap-up

If you’re a desktop power-user, the Mac Pro might be intriguing to you – and for good reason. Apple’s latest, and long awaited, update to the Mac Pro is staggering. Top of the line hardware has been artfully placed into a beautiful and futuristic-looking case that will definitely be a conversation and art piece.

For the rest of us, the new Mac Pro is something we may lust for but never obtain. Most Apple consumers will likely balk at the entry-level pricing of over $3,000 after tax. Thankfully, this is more computer than you probably need anyway.

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