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Apple Talks Up Mac Pro, Cylindrical Workstation Beast Coming In December

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News Posted: Tue, Oct 22 2013 3:33 PM
In addition to Apple’s announcement of the iPad Air (holy cow, that thing is slim), the company talked up the innovative, cylinder-shaped Mac Pro that we heard about during Apple’s WWDC back in June.

The Mac Pro’s premier feature is its “unified thermal core”, which is a shorthand way of describing its overall design with all of the components facing inward and the heat dissipation working vertically, all aided by a single bottom-mounted intake fan.

Apple Mac Pro

Running on up to a 12-core Intel Xeon processor (with 3.9GHz Turbo), the Mac Pro boasts dual AMD FirePro GPUs (up to 12GB of G-DDR5 VRAM, 528GBps bandwidth, up to 7 teraflops); up to 64GB of 1866MHz DDR3 memory with a four-channel controller and up to 60GBps bandwidth; and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage (up to 1.2/1GBps read/write speeds).

Apple Mac Pro

It also features six Thunderbolt 2 ports, dual Ethernet ports, HDMI, four USB 3.0 ports, a lone audio input, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a motion sensor. The system will ship with Mac OS X Mavericks and can support up to three 4K displays.

Apple Mac Pro

For all the superb components the Mac Pro boasts, the chassis is tiny; it stands just 9.9 inches high. It’s a completely re-thought take on a workstation machine, and it can be yours in December, starting at $2,999. The starting price gets you a quad-core Intel Xeon E5 (3.7GHz), dual AMD FirePro GPUs (2GB VRAM each), 12Gb of memory, and 256GB PCIe flash storage.

You can imagine how much a fully loaded Mac Pro might cost, but even the base configuration is a beastly rig.
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Looks like a trash can.

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RWilliams replied on Tue, Oct 22 2013 4:46 PM

Put a lid on it! (pun intended, and I kid).

It does indeed look like a trash can, but I -love- the technical design of this thing. It's a ton of power in such a small form-factor. It's supposed to be dead-silent at idle, and I read somewhere that it idles at 45W-ish (I am not even sure how that's possible)... overall, I think it's cool.

It's expensive as hell though.

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except id rather buy a trashcan and fill it with $3000

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lol

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sevags replied on Tue, Oct 22 2013 6:14 PM

it is an interesting design but one MAJOR question I have is, is it upgradeable!?!?! and no I didn't say user upgradeable... will that speedy pci-e flash storage and cpu be soldered to the board like my macbook air? Will the videocards be upgradeable? If everything is soldered on then everyone is right not only does it look like a trashcan but if anything goes wrong and it is out of warranty you will indeed have a $3k trashcan that barely has enough room inside to put trash in...

Ok enough making fun... the specs are great however the price is not. I am really surprised to see that they have included 6 thunderbolt ports but confused that they included an hdmi port, something apple doesn't typically do. The thunderbolt port on my macbook air doubles as a mini displayport which I can use to connect displayport, hdmi, dvi, and vga sources too using an adapter, will the thunderbolt ports be dedicated only for data? or did apple throw in hdmi so there would be 1 less adapter to buy? As a note I bought 1 adapter for all 4 of the above video cables.

My last grip with a machine like this is there really should be higher quality audio Out AND In ports! Maybe have the HDMI port double as a 7.1 HD audio input or at the very least SPDIF in/out but a 3mm port doesn't cut it.

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CDeeter replied on Tue, Oct 22 2013 7:17 PM

I admit I am intrigued by the design of this thing. Does anyone know what the diameter is? At only 9" tall I don't see how they can fit dual video cards, 64 gb ram, 12 cpu, plus storage, and still have enough room for heat sinks and a fan (really, only one? None on the graphics?), not to mention keeping it all cool. They must be soldering a lot of this to the logic boards.

And if so, I'm with Sevags, I'd have to think long and hard about dropping that much dough on something that could turn into a paper weight overnight.

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Marco C replied on Tue, Oct 22 2013 7:35 PM

The whole center of the unit is a giant heatsink, essentially, with the various PCBs mounted around it. Air travels upwards though the heatsink at the center, actively cooling all of the parts within. And parts of the system will likely be upgradable, but which ones will be at Apple's discretions, because evertying's got a custom PCB. No GPU upgrades unless Apple makes them, etc.

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scolaner replied on Tue, Oct 22 2013 9:50 PM

sevags, I don't know *exactly* how upgradeable it is, but you can indeed access everything inside. It's not like a hermetically sealed iMac or anything. My impression is that you can swap out/upgrade components when/if you need to.

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Dave_HH replied on Tue, Oct 22 2013 11:11 PM

That's a pretty damn neat design and I'm dieing to test it. Apple, we'll be in touch. :)

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ajm531 replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 12:43 AM

Glad to hear that because Sevags makes an extremely good point. Either that or for that kind of money i better get a pretty darn long warranty on it or maybe they could make a special offer "BUY NOW AND WELL THROW IN AN EXTRA DAY OF WARRANTY. LIMITED TIME OFFER" seriously though i would need more than a year warranty since most computers are meant to last years especially if they are somewhat user upgradable

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ajm531 replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 12:46 AM

Man this thing is a beast. And yeah even it looks kind of funny(like a trashcan) its really a pretty amazing idea. Also what exactly will you guys do to push this thing to the max?? I mean its such a powerhouse. I could never get full use out of it. I imagine this would be for video creation or heavy coding of some sort thats extremely processor intensive

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basroil3 replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 4:14 AM

Not that it'll be cheap to upgrade, since now all GPUs must be made specifically to mac pro specs, both in core placement, power, and thermal specs. Considering the three main components share a heatsink, it won't be a walk in the park to replace it either.

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basroil3 replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 4:29 AM

The space is easy once you get rid of the fans and industry standard layouts. Using mITX and two titans, you could easily come up with a 0.20 cubic meter setup PSU included. Everything would run at 90C peak and need a 6lb cooling block (think noctua heatsink shared), but it would work. Basically it's a modified Shuttle SX79R5 but a third the size. But yes, tons of solder and non-industry parts used, as well as possible electrical interference making ecc necessary rather than a cool addon

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realneil replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 1:58 PM

ajm531:
seriously though i would need more than a year warranty since most computers are meant to last years

Apple gives you a year and then offers an extended warranty for extra money. When I bought my iMac 24" I paid for three years and never needed it. It's six years old, (my son has it for school) and still going strong.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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digitaldd replied on Thu, Oct 24 2013 2:29 PM

We need to mod one to look like a Dalek and call it the Dalek Pro.. Exterminate!..  LoL

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