Alongside the release of the new iOS7 and iTunes Radio the other big news at Apple’s WWDC 2013 was the dramatic redesign of the Mac Pro. Whilst previous Mac Pros have been blocky silver designs, the new model was a sleek, black cylinder – a bombshell in terms of both design and computing power.
"Can't innovate any more, my ass" was the comment from senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller as he unveiled the new computer.
Sporting a 12-core, 256-bit Intel Xeon E5 processor that is up to twice as fast as the previous model, the new Mac Pro also comes with four-channel DDR3 memory running at 1866MHz and delivering up to 60GB/s memory bandwith – again, twice as fast as its predecessor.
These specifications mean the new Pro will be perfect for 3D modellers, film-makers and designers in general – any profession which taxes graphical processing power will be safely coddled by the twin AMD FirePro (a GPU with each carrying up to 6GB of dedicated VRAM) and the Pro's capacity to render full-resolution 4K video (4K is a resolution of around 4096x2169 – compared to the 1920x1080 of HD).
It also comes with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and four USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet and a HDMI out. The ports are also backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 1 and Firewire meaning that the system can be drastically expanded by external storage.
The Pro will also use next-generation PCle Flash Storage – a memory standard that’s up to 2.5 times faster than SATA-based solid-state drives and 10 times faster than the old-but-still-everywhere 7200-rpm SATA hard drive.
And all of this has been packed into a tiny package: standing just 9.9 inches tall and 6.6 inches wide, the new Pro is only 1/8 the size of the previous generation.
The cylindrical shape even has some practical use with the central tower providing a tunnel of airflow powered by a fan at the top of the tower – avoiding the need for multiple heat-sinks by simultaneously cooling the three cores packed around this central spot.
Designed and assembled in the US, the new Mac Pro is aimed squarely at power users buts its flawless design and raw processing power are reassuring to Mac fans of all stripes.