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Apple's powerful new Mac Pro doesn't look like a trash can anymore

By Koh Wanzi - on 9 Jun 2019, 2:26pm

Apple's powerful new Mac Pro doesn't look like a trash can anymore

Note: This article was first published on 4th June 2019.

Apple Mac Pro

It looks like one of our wishes for WWDC 2019 came true after all. At long last, Apple has unveiled an update to the Mac Pro, and it no longer looks like a trash can. That said, the new design also recalls one of Apple's earlier Mac Pros, which similarly featured a mesh pattern on the front and back. 

But the slight resemblance aside, 2019's Mac Pro is an entirely different beast altogether. Its design is stark, bare, and modern, and the perforations on its front are so aggressive that they resemble a cheese grater more than anything else. They're not just for show though, and the lattice pattern is intended to help maximize airflow. The stainless steel frame was also designed around modularity and easy component access, and you can lift the external case right off the frame after unlocking it. 

Apple Mac Pro

This is also the most powerful Mac Pro to date, featuring a 28-core Intel Xeon processor and six-channel memory across 12 DIMM slots that can support up to a ridiculous 1.5TB of RAM. 

Under the hood, Apple's metallic beauty also houses eight PCIe slots, comprising four double-wide slots, three single-wide slots, and one half-width slot that holds Apple's optional I/O card. That card links to two Thunderbolt 3 and two USB-A ports on the front, which is more than you'll find on most desktop PCs today. 

The Mac Pro starts out with an AMD Radeon Pro 580X, but you'll be able to equip it with up to a Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, comprising two Vega II GPUs that give 28 TFLOPS of graphics performance and 64GB of HBM2 memory.

That's not all however, and Apple is introducing the MPX Module, a custom expansion module that utilizes a built-in Thunderbolt 3 interface in the motherboard to support additional graphics cards. This MPX Module can hold two graphics cards, has its own dedicated heatsink, and can supply an additional 500W of power. The Mac Pro can take two of them, which means you'll be able to take advantage of the power of four Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs for a whopping 56 TFLOPS of graphics performance and 128GB of HBM2 video memory.

And in case you were wondering, the Mac Pro comes equipped with a 1,400W power supply to power all that hardware. It is cooled by three large fans at the front and a blower that Apple says should still be pretty quiet. 

Image Source: Apple

Clearly, the Mac Pro isn't for your average user, and Apple is thinking about professionals animating 3D film assets, compositing 8K scenes, and building complex 3D environments. The support for the 28-core Xeon chip and 1.5TB of system memory will also come in handy for production rendering and analyzing huge data sets. 

Finally, there's even an optional accelerator card for video editors called Afterburner that uses an FPGA to process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. According to Apple, this translates to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video or 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW video in real-time, which means video editors don't need to convert native file formats for easier editing. 

The new Mac Pro will launch later this year at a starting price of US$5,999. That price won't net you anything close to the maximum specs though, and you get an octa-core Intel Xeon chip, 32GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro 580X card, and a 256GB SSD. 

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