Apple introduced its new Apple Mac Pro and its new XDR display during the WWDC 2019 conference. Apple touted its new Cheese grater design. Ahem sorry, their 3 Dimensional Lattice Design. Mac Pro, a professional computer for the pro-minded and professional consumers.
Mac Pro: Looking Inside
CPU and Memory:
The new Mac Pro isn’t your typical PC. The Professional minded Mac Pro comes packed with Intel Xeon processors. The CPU can be configured in an 8-core up to a 28-core processor. The “Logic board” supports DDR4 ECC memory at the speed of 2933MHz. It has 12 DIMM slots spread across 6 channels and supports up to 1.5TB RAM. The maxed-out Mac Pro looks to fulfill every professional’s dream editing RIG.
Talking about the graphics, the Mac Pro uses the Radeon Pro Vega II graphics. The GPU supports 32GB HBM2 memory, 1TB/s memory bandwidth, and 14 teraflops compute performance. As always, Apple lets you configure Dual GPUs. Joining 2 Radeon Pro Vega II makes the Vega Duo. The Vega Duo has 64GB HBM2 memory, and 28 teraflops compute performance. The two GPUs communicate with each other using the Infinity Fabric Link, which gives 5 times faster data transfer.
The Vega Duo comes in a different form factor, Yes Apple proprietary graphics format. The Mac Pro Expansion connector (MPX) looks like an extended PCIe connector. The MPX connector provides external power to the GPU, making it the wire-free installation. It even has thunderbolt ports. The MPX connector provides 475 watts of power to the GPU, whereas the PCIe connector provides only 75 watts.
Apple still hasn’t made up with Nvidia as a major Apple product ship with AMD graphics and Intel processors. We also haven’t seen AMD CPU in all the Mac products, such an Odd scenario.
Logic Board (Motherboard):
Apple has redesigned its logic board Uhm I mean motherboard. The motherboard looks much more significant and better. Throw out your standard ATX and EATX format, and Apple didn’t have those naming standards for its logic boards. The Mac Pro’s logic board is unique as it uses both sides of its board fit all its components, like the RAM slots (positioned behind the motherboard), CPU , and graphics cards. Quite Unique design from Apple, It fits the case well. The logic board supports 2 M.2 NvME SSDs, 8 PCIe slots (4 x double-wide slots, 3 x single slots, and 1 x half-wide slots). It has external power supply ports to power hardware which need proprietary connectors.
Case (Cheesegrater) and Cooling:
The Apple ditched their
trash can circular design to a new approach modern approach. At first glance, Yes, it looks like a cheese grater and sparked many memes in the PC building community. Apple has done excellent work in the case department. It has 2 space frame which works as a handle, case feet, and rigid exoskeleton for the case. All the parts of the case are made from stainless steel, making it a robust chassis to house the new Mac Pro components. Additional roller feet are available for the case to make it easier to transport from workspace to workspace.
Talking about the front and the back design of the case. The case has a unique lattice formation, which was designed by the former design officer Johny Ive. Yes, this looks like a cheese grater with the added handle on top. But that design has a benefit; the design gives the case a significant amount of airflow, reducing thermals with minimal noise, almost near silent. Let’s talk about the Apple Mac Pro airflow, the case has only 3 fans at the front with a blower on the bottom. Due to the case design, the 3 fans pull a large volume of air with low noise levels; The blower pushes out the hot air from the case. More about the thermals after the Mac Pro gets released.
Storage and Connectivity:
The base model of the Mac Pro comes with the measly 256GB SSD. Yes, upgrades for the storage are available with up to 8TB SSD storage. The Mac Pro comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity support. The connectivity might get an update before launch as Apple might implement to add 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6).
Power Supply, I/O and More:
The Mac Pro ships with 1400 watts or 1.4-kilowatt power supply. The Mac draws tons of power, and the provided power supply will be sufficient even for the maxed-out Mac Pro.
The I/O selection is minimal but fair. The system has 4 x thunderbolt 3 ports (2 at the top of the case and 2 at the back), 2 x USB A ports, and 2 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet Jack.
Apple has embedded its T2 security chip on the new Mac Pro. The T2 steps up the security on the Mac Pro encrypting and decrypting data on the device, disallowing foreign hardware to access the device or change configuration on the BIOS. The T2 chip strengthens the security even on the lowest level of the software. That’s a plus point for the Mac Pro.
This hardware is seemingly odd to add on for the new Mac Pro. The Afterburner is a hardware acceleration PCIe expansion card. An FPGA. The Apple afterburner works to remove the “proxy workflow.” The Afterburner will help content creators to stream 3 8K ProRes RAW footage at 30 fps simultaneously and 12 4K ProRes RAW footage at 30 fps simultaneously. The Afterburner works drastically speeds up the encoding and decoding of the ProRes and ProRes RAW codec. The Apple Afterburner supports Final Cut Pro X, Quicktime Player X, and limited third-party apps.
The Apple Afterburner isn’t the first hardware accelerator in the market as the makers of Red Camera introduced a similar product like the Red Rocket for the same purpose. This add-on shouldn’t be a necessary upgrade for the Mac Pro as the provided Radeon Pro Vega II will be sufficient, but at the highest echelon, this might be the needed add-on for the Mac Pro.
Pro XDR Display:
Apple just stomped on the competition in the HDR display category. Apple dubbed its display best in the market. The Apple Pro XDR display has a 6K Pro Retina display, with 20 million pixels giving the display an extreme dynamic range. The screen has 1000 nits sustained brightness and 1600 nits peak brightness. XDR display comes with P3 Wide color gamut, 10-bit color depth, and 1000:1 brightness display. Apple can achieve this using local dimming technology. As the screen sustains 1000 nits peak brightness, maintaining that level of brightness sure does produce a lot of heat, so the lattice pattern also debuts itself in the display cooling the monitor.
The display is quite expensive, as the display costs around $4,999. The display comes with a VESA mount that costs $199. Ah! The meme of the year, The Apple Pro Stand. The “PRO STAND” will cost you around $1000, the price tag alone makes you think what features do stand packs? It has features like different adjustable angles, portrait mode, plus the fact the stand is manufactured with a single extruded aluminum block, etc. But why the $1000 markup? Better buy the VESA mount adapter with a simple Amazon basic monitor stand.
Better build a PC under $100 than spend $1000 on a monitor stand. Change the pricing on the stand, APPLE.
Pricing and Availability:
The Apple Mac Pro pricing will depend on the configuration; the base model starts around $6,000. Yeah, the price for a Mac Pro looks quite expensive, but the Mac Pro isn’t for an average bloke. So, before you ask questions about gaming on the Mac or bicker on the absurd price tag on the Mac Pro, Ask yourself, are you a professional, or do you need the Mac Pro for your daily usage?
The base model comes with 8-core Intel Xeon (CPU), Radeon 580X 8GB (GPU), 256GB SSD, and 32 GB ECC memory (RAM). The base model costs $5,999 and paring the base model with the Pro XDR display sums up the total to $12,000, including the Pro Stand. The Apple Mac Pro package comes with a hefty price tag. The product will be available for purchase in December 10, 2019.
There is no information and price about the maxed-out model, but some sources point out that the maxed-out model can cost up to $45,000. Now that is a lot of money you can spend on a single system. But most of the higher systems might be stuck in the server farms, which do a lot of rendering and processing data.
The Apple Mac Pro truly at a high league as for its ecosystem. Most of the hardware is exclusive, but there might be better changes but the CPU selection. It’s time for Apple and Nvidia to make up and push those performances with some Ray-Tracing even though AMD’s hardware performs well and on par with some of Nvidia’s offerings. So finally, a Mac Pro for the professional who pushes their work further and wants more industrial-class hardware for their jobs. Once again, the average consumers should shy away from this product.