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Apple announces new hardware at WWDC – Mac Pro and Pro Display

Apple have finally announced a new Mac Pro and matching Pro Display at WWDC.

The Mac Pro returns to the beloved “cheese-grater” form factor of years gone past and turns it up to the next level.

It features a tubular steel frame from which the internal components are suspended and an outer aluminium housing that lifts off, reminiscent of the Power Mac G4 Cube.

Inside the case is plenty of expansion – lots of RAM slots, lots of PCIe slots, lots of CPU cores and lots of power.

Factory storage options from Apple are custom SSD modules driven by the T2 chip, similar to the iMac Pro, however it will likely be a matter of days before third party vendors announce PCIe cards that will accept one or more industry-standard M.2 NVMe SSD blades.

With the latest Intel Xeon processors, the new Mac Pro will be able to be configured with up to 28 cores (and 56 hardware threads of execution) and up to 1.5 TB of memory via 12x 2933 MHz DDR4 ECC RAM slots spread across 6 individual memory channels.

With an interesting double-sided logic board, the CPU and PCI slots are all on one side of the board and the RAM and storage are on the rear.

There are 4x double-width PCIe slots for graphics cards, or the new form-factor Mac Pro Expansion Module (MPX Module). Above these slots are three single-width slots (one x16, two x8) and one half-length slot (x4) with an Apple I/O card pre-installed. The MPC modules are a quad-width, full-length PCIe module with integrated cooling and an additional PCIe connector just for power. Apple will have a number of graphics card options in this form factor, topping out with the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo which is 2x Vega II GPUs on a single card and 64 GB of HBM2 memory. As well as the new MPX graphics modules, there’s also a PCIe card with a ProRes accelerator that fits one of the full-length x16 slots.

To provide enough power to run all of this at full tilt, the Mac Pro has a 1400 W power supply at the bottom of the case, able to deliver a sustained 1280W to the internal systems.

IO options are pretty flexible – on the rear there are 2x USB3 ports (with USB-A connectors), 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports and 2x 10GbE ports. Each MPX graphics card module has an additional 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports and a single HDMI port. On the top of the case are another 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Pro Display XDR is a brand-new 6K resolution with thin 9 mm bezels. It has a lattice pattern milled in to the rear of the aluminium case to match the new Mac Pro and a super-bright HDR LCD display that is individually calibrated at the factory. It can display a wide-gamut P3 colour space and has True Tone sensors to adjust the colour temperature of the display as lighting conditions in the room change. The display has the option for a VESA mount and can be rotated to portrait mode as well has adjusted for tilt and height.

Set to ship in the US Fall (Australian Spring) these will no doubt be very expensive pieces of hardware but it really looks like it delivers what professional users have been asking for over the past 5 or so years.

2 thoughts on “Apple announces new hardware at WWDC – Mac Pro and Pro Display

    1. I think it’ll actually be more than that – if we’re taking the top CPU, 1.5 TB RAM, 2x MPX graphics modules, I’d expect it to be up around $50k.
      Either way, it’s not going to be cheap.
      Here’s to all the people who complain that Apple are not doing anything for Pro users, and then, when this machine is announced they complain that it’s too pro.

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