This morning Apple Computer kicked off it’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2013 in California. With all of Apple’s recent focus on consumer electronics, like many designers, I was concerned that the company had all but abandoned professional users. After checking the specs on the new MAC Pro coming later this year, my concerns have been more than alleviated. The new MAC Pro is head-shakingly fast and stuffed with the latest & greatest hardware, as you would expect. But the new machine also continues Apple’s grand tradition of groundbreaking design and true innovation.
Here’s a breakdown of the new Mac Pro, which will be available sometime later this year:
- New-generation Intel Xeon E5 chipset with configurations offering up to 12 cores of processing power, up to 40GB/s of PCI Express gen 3 bandwidth, and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions.
- A four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866MHz. It’s capable of delivering up to 60GB/s of memory bandwidth. And because it’s ECC memory, your render job, video export, or simulation won’t be stopped by transient memory errors.
- Traditionally, professional or PRO computers have relied primarily on the CPU for computing power. But as GPU performance has dramatically increased, software developers have begun to leverage that power in their apps. With the new Mac Pro, Apple Computer has looked ahead and engineered an even more powerful GPU architecture. Not only does it feature a state-of-the-art AMD FirePro workstation-class GPU with up to 6GB of dedicated VRAM — it features two of them. With all that power, you’ll be able to do things like seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background — and still have enough power to connect up to three high-resolution 4K displays.
- There’s flash storage, and then there’s next-generation PCI Express flash storage. Storage that’s up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA hard drive. Most flash storage systems connect via SATA buses designed for slower spinning hard drives. But Apple designed the new Mac Pro around new PCI Express-based flash controller technology to deliver the fastest solid-state drives available standard in a desktop computer.
- The new Mac Pro packs an unprecedented amount of power in an unthinkable amount of space. A big reason we were able to do that is the ingenious unified thermal core. Rather than using multiple heat sinks and fans to cool the processor and graphics cards, we built everything around a single piece of extruded aluminum designed to maximize airflow as well as thermal capacity. It works by conducting heat away from the CPU and GPUs and distributing that heat uniformly across the core. That way, if one processor isn’t working as hard as the others, the extra thermal capacity can be shared efficiently among them. No computer has been built this way before. And yet it makes so much sense, it’s now hard to imagine building one any other way.
- An incredible amount of innovation went into designing a fan system capable of cooling such a high-performance device. Instead of adding extra fans, Apple has engineered a single, larger fan that pulls air upward through a bottom vent. As air passes vertically through the center of the device, it absorbs heat and carries it out the top. It’s simple and elegant — and also astonishingly quiet. To achieve that, designers had to consider every detail: the number of blades, the size of the blades, the spacing of the blades, and even the shape of the blades. By minimizing air resistance throughout the system, the company has designed a fan with backward-curved impeller blades that runs at fewer revolutions per minute, draws air more efficiently as it spins, and creates considerably less noise.
- Designed with built-in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports, Mac Pro sets a new standard in flexible, high-performance expansion. It’s the most expandable Mac ever built.
- Access your network over three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi for the latest in high-speed wireless connectivity. For all your other wireless connections, Mac Pro includes Bluetooth 4.0. It’s the fastest, most reliable way to connect your keyboard, mouse, and other wireless devices without having to physically attach anything.
- With the new Mac Pro, Apple is assembling the entire product and machining several of its high-precision components in the United States. They’re doing so by leveraging the power of industry-leading companies in Texas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and over a dozen other states across America.