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Apple Unveils New Miniature Mac Pro with Dual Integrated Workstation GPUs

06.10.13 @ 2:22PM Tags : , ,

Apple New Mac Pro

Today at the WWDC, Apple took the wraps off the new Mac Pro they’ve been working on that will be released later this year. It’s certainly a departure from anything we’ve seen before at the professional level — so read on for more photos and details of the new machine. [Update]: Be sure to check out the newest post detailing more of the features.

Apple is certainly trying to change the game when it comes to professional workstations. The new Mac Pro resembles a fancy desktop speaker, and it’s absolutely tiny compared to the current Mac Pro:

Old Mac Pro and New Mac Pro

Some details:

  • New Intel Xeon Processor
  • Dual Integrated AMD Workstation GPUs (This means you’ll need to use OpenCL with Adobe)
  • Have up to three 4K displays on built-in workstation graphics
  • Expandable through the newly announced Thunderbolt 2
  • HDMI-Out
  • Motion-sensing ports that light up when the machine is rotated (to make plugs visible)
  • Available later in 2013
  • No price announced yet

Here’s the video of the presentation:


Inside New Mac Pro

Back of New Mac Pro

Intel Xeon in New Mac Pro

Dual AMD FirePro GPUs Apple New Mac Pro

Mac Pro Thunderbolt 2

We’ll have more reactions on this announcement and everything else they’ve unveiled today.


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Description image 97 COMMENTS

  • So… where are the disc drives? How many hard drives of what size can it hold (perhaps offset by Thunderbolt 2, I guess)? It’s hard to form much of an opinion on this yet, as there are so few details (or even pictures).
    Anyway, the power seems great, but there’s more to what most wanted from a Mac Pro than just power.

    • It seems like it’ll be modular and using Thunderbolt 2.

    • You wont need drive now that Adobe Cloud is here! And if clients want to send something we have Dropbox now days and several other online services. The only thing I will need is an external Blu-Ray burner.

    • The disk drives attach to the USB/Thunderbolt ports ;-)

      And looks like it will all be PCIe flash storage instead of hard drives.

  • Everything links externally just a flash drive inside. It has something like 6 Thunderbolt ports and 4 USB.

  • So I guess this is worthless to anybody using Adobe products since they won’t be able to use the most out of the mercury engine.

  • Oh my, how great this will look on your desktop with 6 external drives attached to it… ;-)

  • So we have here up to three 4K displays on built-in workstation graphics and 7 Teraflops of performance and lets add FCPX that supports 4K.

    I guess they could be right back on the top of the food chain.

  • it does remind me of a SGI workstation.

    • Yes!

      • Apple is back on top! This is will be 4K editing monster!

        What about a daisy chain of 2 or 3 4K monitors, Black Magic Cinema Camera and a SSD raid on a single or two ports of the 6 available. Is anything out there coming closer?

        What a monster!

        Is 4k Apple Cinema Display in the pipeline with a big update for FCPX with much expanded multiple monitor and 4k rendering support?

  • Can’t wait to find out more. Somehow does not look like something Jonathan Ive designed, but looking forward to any videos of him explaining his thinking on why he went with this design.

  • It looks great! Can’t wait to find out more, but for now, this is really exciting stuff.

  • Now since it’s a third of the size can it be a third of the price? :)

  • We don’t know if it has an optical drive, so I won’t comment on that. My main problem is with the material they chose for the outside. Glossy black plastic? That thing will collect fingerprints, show dust, and just feel cheap.

    I was really hoping they would at least stick to the silver aluminum they use on everything else. Then again, maybe it’s actually black metal and not plastic. I won’t be able to tell until I see one in person.

  • It isn’t plastic, it’s aluminum. There’s now a click-through tour on Apple’s site:

  • Funny how Apple Releases an incredibly powerfull workhorse, just like everybody demanded and now they show it, most people are on the fences. Just wait until we have some more info and be happy that we have some imense power in such a small Shell!

    • I think what we wanted was more power without having to throw away the infrastructure of our rackmounts, or expansion bays. For example Thunderbolt 2 won’t be fast enough for systems such as the Red Rocket-X cards.

      • You can add whatever you want on the back through all the ports provided. I am not that good with all that Hardware things, but if thunderbolt aint fast enough, what is? And I am absolutely sure that RED will come up with a solution. Btw, you will save space with the ne Macpro, as it is an eigth of the size of the old one, add all your expansions on the backand you have about what…? Half of the space a old Mac Pro would take up?

        • I think his point is that it feels short sighted. It’s hard to consider making an investment into something new when that new thing causes other previous investments to decrease in value and/or become incompatible & troublesome. I also don’t like the seemingly manipulative way of making the Adobe suite less favorable (by CUDA complications, etc), though it’s forgivable for them to optimize for FCPx, I can’t help but feel they purposefully handicapped it to Adobe friendly hardware. That will not win over Adobe users, it will likely turn them against Apple for the move. Even though I am curious to see more developments on the Mac Pro line in the future, it’s currently lost my confidence. I will likely not be leaving my beastly Hackintosh setup behind for this thing any time soon, but this is all just my personal opinion, it might be just perfect for some people.

          • This seems like this is a niche product, and I take this as a sign that they are slowly ceding the professional market to PC’s. They know that TB2 will not work seamlessly with legacy RAID adapters and capture devices, and this might be their way of opting out. I suspect there just isn’t enough profit in the professional market segment for them anymore compared to the consumer market.

      • TB 1.0 works fine with the current Red Rocket.

        There is no bottleneck when using a Sonnet or Magma expansion chassis.

      • … and TB 2.0 will be plenty fast enough for the RRX as well… there should be no bottleneck when used with an external expansion chassis via TB 2.0… even if you used the RRX with TB 1.0, the bottleneck would be minimal.

  • I could see this getting really messy. Say you’re a R3D user and you’ve got a Rocket. You used to be able to fit the Rocket and a lot of fast storage inside your tower. Now you’ve got an external enclosure for the Rocket and another enclosure for your storage.

  • john jeffries on 06.10.13 @ 3:34PM

    Can’t wait for the people that have been begging for a new mac pro for the past 2 years start hating on this even though it is literally exactly what they wanted

  • I personally love the crazy amount of expansion ports in the back. I’m planning on configuring my unit to have 2 tb or 1tb SSD and all my scratch disks/storage be external. Im already used to this workflow anyways- I work off of a maxed out 2012 Macbook Pro anyways and am used to having to plug in a couple of cables to access my G Drive and Drobo… Not a problem at all, I do this via a thunderbolt cinema display everyday or just via the inputs on the side when I’m out of the office working somewhere else.

    What’s more, this seems to be a great companion to BM’s new 4k Camera and will really help with my multicam edits that are all shot in 1080p. On all accounts, for me this is a major win. Key word is for me though, so different strokes for different folks I guess. I’ve already got the peripherals so bring it on!

  • From a chunky cheese grater to tiny coffee maker. It’s just sooooo cute! :p

  • The cylinder shape is a little weird looking to me, but if you check out the apple site they explain the benefit of it for airflow purposes. I imagine fcpx should work nicely on those dual graphics cards.

  • This is fantastic and really separates itself from the market. I transitioned from the Mac Pro to a Macbook Pro (with the full specs) at the end of 2012. The system is faster and I leverage Thunderbolt for everything including 2 monitors. This new system will replace the laptop nicely and give me more power for After Effects and Avid.

    I think most people on this forum are annoyed that they have to reconfigure their setups with enclosures etc, especially those with Red Rocket cards. With GPUs that can handle 4K, why couldn’t it process 4K footage? If this system can avoid the need to shell out $4K for a Red Rocket card ($4K for 4K!), it’s a win for the Red people and anyone hoping to towards a 4K future.

  • The cleaning lady is gonna come by and throw it out thinking it’s a soda can

  • Wow there’s no love for videopeople except if you use final cut x. I love their “subtle” using open cl which you should use(is this the graphics version of the war against flash?). They are so not in touch with what at least video professionals need. No upgradeable videocard. That is probably going to halve the usability span of the computer. I have a Mac pro from 2008 that still does Great work thanks to graphics upgrades and memory upgrades. The only thing that would make this octopus attractive would be a lower price which I very much doubt it will have. A hipster workstation that’s just what the world needs. Just because you say something is revolutionary doesen’t make it so. They made a fallos mac mini with a xeon processor and 6 thunderbolt ports wow they must have thought long and hard about that and the small design is going to really push their engineering team to prioritise what is important to us professionals like dissipating heat from a processor and dual graphics cards from a small box instead of giving us what most of us want which is a Mac pro with more pci-ports and fcp8 with graphicscard support, background rendering, 64bit architecture and back compability with old fcp7 projects (sometimes simplicity is not in the design but in giving people what they need and I need the above a whole lot more then I need a portable workstation. The biggest enemy of people doing great things is hubris it is time for Apple to eat some humble pie.

    • john jeffries on 06.10.13 @ 10:09PM

      “with graphicscard support, background rendering, 64bit architecture and back compability with old fcp7 projects”

      Are you living under a rock? X does ALL of those.

      • I dont want x. I want an updated fcp7. It is unbelivable that the difference is not obvious. I mean an RV and a Ferrari with a livingtrailer do the same thing but i wouldnt say that that they are the same. The question is who of us is under the rock. Most people that I know who have seen the light in regards to apples recent developments are the ones moving to premiere or avid and buying hp. I love OSX but I think the new Mac pro with only one processor is the r2d2 shaped nail in the coffin of my proffesional Mac usage. I will still use it privately since they still make the best laptops in the world but who knows maybe they manage to make that into a worthless box too.

  • Who needs an optical drive anyway. If you do. Get a usb 3.0 drive.

    Open GL 4.0 in new OSX

    New generation thunderbolt will support external GPU CUDA cards.

    Premiere and Davinci will fly even on open cl on this machine.


  • Nate Martin on 06.10.13 @ 4:03PM

    The all new Mac Pro. Not to be confused with a dehumidifier.

  • Apple = Alien Technology

  • Why are people complaining about external expandability? I already have 6 external hard drives hooked up to my 2011 iMac, and I’m a one man operation. Important files go on external drives with a backup (or two). AAAAND, who is using an optical drive everyday or even every month, for that matter? Sure it’s nice to have when you need it, but otherwise it is taking up space in my machine the other 360 days that I don’t use it. All large applications and Operating Software are moving to download only. Apple has been there for some time, Adobe is making the switch, the rest are following. Disc burners should be external now and kept on the shelf for those few times you need it.

    It’s just my opinion, but I think this is a good move.

  • David Sharp on 06.10.13 @ 4:18PM

    My cell phone from the 80′s is bigger than this thing!

  • David Sharp on 06.10.13 @ 4:20PM

    It’s like they took a rejected design of a PS4 and fruit ninja with it.

  • No release date. No price. This almost seems like a camera release :-)
    Nothing to get too excited about yet. Let’s see it run.

  • Yep, with the new Apple Brewmac you just put the filter into the top hole, add your favorite Cupertino coffee, and hit the power button!

  • I was really angry while watching the webcast. Hello Cuda? Adobe? Pro Tools? etc.. Grant Petty from Blackmagic Design posted this in response to the announcement;

    This has calmed me down somewhat. It still appears that this thing will cost a fortune and then require additional expensive Thunderbolt PCI-e chassis’ for Cuda, Red Rocket, Pro Tools DSP cards etc.

    Not quite sure what to thank at the moment. Time will tell. One things for certain – Lots of scrilla required! :(

  • I always knew that R2D2 would eventually help with the data managing.

  • Who gives a fuck about the design of your computer case? It sits under your desk. Pros want performance and reliability, not objet d’art.

    Oh and yeah, expandability. :)

    • mikael_bellina on 06.10.13 @ 6:22PM

      Hum, I would say, sometimes I take my big beast on the client location, so something little versus something big it’s nice. In a regular case, it’s like 60% of empty space, so if apple make something more inteligent with good cooling that’s cool !

    • Looking at the specs it seems that the performance will be great!
      With 6 thunderbolts you can expand it with a lot of I/O components (quite all the blackmagic devices uses thunderbolt) and with the USB 3.0 you can use HDD such ad Western Digital and Toshiba, not only the very expanses Lacie or Apple ones.
      The designe is very important: not all the professional workers have a lot of space where to put their workstation and having something small hepls to better organize the space.

      I think that apple have done something great! And I’m not an apple boy!

      • As a creative person, design is also important to me. I don’t know why everyone thinks that a good design isn’t a big deal. Nobody says that about sports cars… “All I care about is performance, I don’t care what the car looks like”.

        • Despite my last comment I love industrial design, but this is not form following function – it’s function following form. How great is your new workstation going to look when it has a mess of external drives and cards hanging off it? The case design is the very, very last factor for me.

          If you don’t want a case full of air look at something like the Silverstone Sugo S09. Small form factor and no need to have half your components on the outside!

          • Thyl Engelhardt on 06.11.13 @ 1:47AM

            While I clearly see a form follows function approach (central cooling air channel), I still have to agree with you on the expansions. This only looks good as long as you don’t work with it. With Blue-Ray drive, RAID, etc. boxes all over the place, it gets a bit pathetic. Maybe, accessory makers will adapt their design, and you could end up with three cool looking cylinders on or below your desk, but I am sceptic. It would also be pricey.

          • But how is this form more functional than the typical front through back air flow design? That design also allows for expandibility … Seems to me like severely limited function for the sake of pretty form.

          • Ant, since nobody answered your question, I will despite the lateness. This new form is much more functional than the typical box. With the box you have 2 or more small fans which are necessary to cool the innards. As they are focused on cooling specific areas, they use more energy and are less effective, and, due to the obvious design of a box, hot spots occur easily due to the heat not flowing naturally. As I’m sure you’re aware, hot air rises. This form allows a single heat sink through the center of the tower to draw all heat equally, while a single fan operating at lower speeds is able to then draw this air out following the path of least resistance. The only way in which this form is less functional is a mental block people have about such a radical departure from the norm. Hopefully people get over that.

  • Just remember not to put a book on top of your new Brewmac, as that will instantly kill the fancy cooling. :)

  • I’ll be interested in seeing what the cost is, somehow doubt it’ll be in my price range, but I already went back to Windows, for better or worse.

  • Hang on a second… AMDs???

    Someone disagree with me here if I’m wrong, but is this just another big kick in the arse of professionals using Adobe products??

    No I think for now, I’ll continue the planning of my Hackintosh..

  • Wow air cooled technology……….I think I will stick to my water cooled PC. Are they ever going to catch up to PC??? they seem to care more about the artsistic shape of the box, perfect for the non professional

    • You could have a water-cooled Pentium 4 OC to 4Ghz for all we know (less performance of the archaic duo core 2.0 Ghz). Watercooled means nothing – what are you water cooling? You forget this little coffee maker is going to house 12GB VRAM and 12 core new Xeon processors not released yet. Let’s not forget they leap frogged the speed of SSD! The power is pro. Expandability? It is there, just different then how we are used to.

  • I wouldn’t call it miniature if this thing has A LOT more power than that old Mac Pro tower!!!

  • Matt Groves on 06.10.13 @ 6:56PM

    EXPENSIVE!!! Everything they call inovation is so expensive. To put our RED card in an external enclosure is expensive. An extra $600 here and there adds up to a very expensive build, has anyone seen the expense of these thunderbolt RAID systems? They simply made super computers inaccessible to serious developers like Adobe for a failed flagship product! Foolish. I almost unbearable listening to people applaud something that nobody will be able to afford :/

    • They haven’t released a price yet, and what would you possibly expect? Obviously workstations are expensive, apparently you’re in the wrong business.

  • shaun wilson on 06.10.13 @ 7:15PM

    any news on ram?

  • My guess is the final price will be x2 the price of an equal PC build.

    • It will be far more than that. My build was about 1/3rd the price of the closest Mac Pro equivalent (though much better specced).

  • Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    (trouble breathing)


  • They are introducing Thunderbolt 2 before anyone I know within the industry has even gotten anything with Thunderbolt 1.

  • James Gardiner on 06.10.13 @ 11:48PM

    This is FCPX disaster all over again.
    This is not a PRO tool. Its a mass market prosumer tool. It will go well for graphics artists and wedding videographers. Pros.. No. (Just like FCPX)
    But yes they will sell a lot as its suitable for that middle ground market.
    Pros.. no.
    But again, a HUGE mistake by Apple.
    Everyone aspires to be real PRO, so use the tools they use so they can say they have the same tool set skills..
    Bring on Windows and Adobe… This is not the answer..
    All I can hope is Linux actually stabilizes with a good graphics engine. Wayland and this recent out break of graphics engine development could be good, could be bad..

    But like all the big pro stuff from Discreet and Black-magic. The high end tools are Linux..
    Would love for it to make it to the generic pro.. But Linux needs a lot of work for that to happen..

    I’m so depressed that Windows is the best choice business wise for a Pro.


    • Psssst…”PROS” are losing ground in their own industry to people who haven’t been raised with the closed-minded mentality that an editing setup needs to be enormous, expensive and archaic. These people are making money – a lot of it, and taking it directly from the hands of dinosaurs.

      This new MP, like anything else, is just a tool. If you can’t make it work for you, then you’re doing something very wrong. Adapt, or die.

      • Pssss! Apple IS the “expensive” one As for the design of this new MP, it looks to me like an update of the Power Mac G4 Cube which Apple had to “put on ice” shortly after its introduction.

        • Ehh, what? FCPX is $300. That’s pretty good for an NLE. If you’re talking about workstations, Apple has always been cheaper than the competitors. Similar HP and Dell workstations are always more expensive due to the on-site maintenance being included. So what exactly are you talking about?

  • Once all the cables are connected to the back of a tower the last you will be able to do is spin it around. Hopefully they will realize they need a button on the back to illuminate those ports when you can no longer spin the thing around because there are a ton of cable connected to it.

    I would trust a PCI-e plugged in to the board on separate lanes a lot more than I would trust have everything on the same interface. What I’d like to know is how many separate Thunderbolt controllers are those six ports hooked up to on the motherboard?

    Also, I can’t imagine cooling a next gen processor, two advanced graphics cards and the hard drive will be an easy chore in that small of a case. I hope to god this doesn’t suffer from the same overheating issues that plagued other small Apple products in the past.

    It’s also going to cost a lot to transition from an existing tower because to relocated PCIe cards such as RAID controllers, etc. is most probably going to require buying entirely new gear, or relocating those cards to external enclosures interfaced to the computer through Thunderbolt. Going from PCIe –> Thunderbolt 2 is opening up a potential door for problems that doesn’t need to opened.

    A professional workstation setup is still going to take up the same amount of space as you relocated any internal components like hard drives, PCIe interfaces, etc. to external boxes. Personally, I would prefer to be able to just pick up my tower with all that in one box than to lug around two or three separate enclosures.

    I don’t know how you could transition to this from an existing Mac Pro without spending a ton of cash. A bit of a let-down for anyone that isn’t in the top tier of their industry.

    • If you buy long expensive cables, you will be able to spin it. Think about it: long expensive cables. Any manufacturer crossing your mind ?

  • Richard Collins on 06.11.13 @ 5:07AM

    They’re quite obviously catering for the high end pro’s with the biggest budgets, not the ‘bedroom’ or ‘attic studio’ professionals. These machines, partnered with expensive external devices are going to cost big bucks. The kind of big bucks that hollywood has to spend. The way to go is Hackintosh for most of us…

  • Apple Design: Tower, Cube, Flat on stick with half sphere, pancake Mini, now a Tube, next is the Pyramid … will include an All Seeing Camera near the top

  • if an unknown company like xi3 can come up with a modular design in a very small package over a year ago, that allows stacking units for increase power, and fast upgrades, I thought Apple’s design would be more revolutionary than making obsolete the previous ports to sell cables. Pros need solutions that promise an upgrade path without tearing the desk apart. something like this would have been nice:

  • Very disappointed in this Mac Pro. Not sure what my upgrade path will be. I don’t need the raw power this computer offers. My current 2009 Mac Pro tower hangs under my desk. An SSD runs the OS and Apps for pure speed. A 2TB drive holds all my data. A second SSD clones my main SSD every night. That still leaves two open drive bays for expansion or data shuffling and backing up.

    Not interested in external hard drives attached to a Mac Mini or iMac. Am I the minority who wants this flexibility without the clutter?

    • Clutter? It’s 1/8th the volume. You could buy 7 enclosures and take up the same amount of space. If you don’t need the power, this isn’t for you. Obviously. Complaining for the sake of complaining, it’s pretty clear who the actual professionals are these days.