The new Mac Pro

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The current Mac Pro, with its ominous bare aluminium design, was first introduced in 2006. While it received hardware updates in 2012, the ageing machine has since fallen short of most people’s needs and budgets, and even the European Union’s regulations for power consumption.

At this year’s WWDC, Apple teased the new Mac Pro, and it’s safe to say that it’s the new hotness.

Standing just 25cm tall, it’s hard to comprehend that this cylindrical machine is meant to be a desktop workstation. Apple’s clearly spent a lot of time – it’s had 7 years, after all – to bring a revolutionary new design to desktop computing. There’s a single fan in the machine, placed in centre of the structure and pulling air through it. A distributed cooling system shares duties across the many chips in the machine, making sure the entire system’s temperature is well controlled. The entire body is made of extruded aluminium and it shrouds three separate logic boards that play home to some powerful hardware.

The cooling system sends all the hot air to the middle, and upwards.
The cooling system sends all the hot air to the middle, and upwards.

It might be tiny, but the new Mac Pro can be had with up to 12 Xeon cores, and comes standard with dual AMD FirePro GPUs that can have up to 6GB of dedicated memory. System memory is of the DDR3 variety, running at 1866MHz – fast enough to offer 60GB/s in bandwidth. Even the flash memory used in this is faster than normal. Apple employs PCI Express-based flash memory, offering a whopping 1.25GB/s of bandwidth, compared to the 500MB/s of regular desktop drives.

There are ports galore. USB 3 features alongside gigabit Ethernet and HDMI 1.4, as well as Thunderbolt 2. The latest version of Apple’s interconnect offers 20Gbps throughput. With an integrated motion sensor, the machine can light up the ports when it’s moved, helping users find the right plug for a connection.

The outgoing Mac Pro hasn’t been on the cards for many users simply because a 27-inch iMac could do everything Apple’s supposed flagship was designed for. The new Mac Pro, though, should definitely have professional video editors and photographers salivating. If not for its looks, then definitely for its breakthrough performance features.

Apple Mac Pro

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Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.