"The New Mac Pro" was originally announced at the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple unveiled it to be unlike anything you've ever seen. You can't exactly get under the hood, but it's still not playing around with up to 12 cores, dual workstation GPUs, and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports for things such as triple 4K (or beyond?) monitoring. Aside from so-so early CPU benchmarks, we haven't heard too much in the meantime, but more details are coming into focus. For one thing, Windows benchmarks are shedding new light on the MP's 12 core Xeon processor. For another, it looks like Apple just set itself a hard deadline for when you may purchase The New Mac Pro -- spelled out in teasers screening in cinemas nationwide.
With props to MacRumors, the teaser itself is nothing new exactly. It originally screened at the unveiling of the Mac Pro at WWDC as the centerpiece of a "Can't innovate anymore, my ass!" moment of Apple's presentation:
Apple has begun showing the teaser video for the upcoming Mac Pro in movie theaters across the nation. According to reports from several people who have seen the teaser, it ends with the line "Fall 2013," offering the first concrete hint of when the redesigned Mac Pro might launch. It remains unclear when Apple might debut the Mac Pro in the fall months.
This news isn't all that much more specific than the "Late 2013" timeframe originally announced, but more specific it is nonetheless. If Apple is to be taken literally at its word of "Fall 2013," you will be able to buy the new Mac Pro by December 20, 2013, at the latest. This only narrows the timeframe closer by 11 days, but you can bet the actual date will be sooner.
Whether it's worth the wait (or the price, also yet unannounced) or not depends a lot on performance. Apple's statement is basically "yes, it's worth the wait," claiming processing performances up to 2x the speed of current Mac Pros. The earlier 'leaked' benchmarks came off a lot less impressive, though far more data would be necessary to bolster such early disappointment.
More data is now here, offering hope for prospective maxed-out Mac Pro buyers. From another new post from MacRumors regarding the top-tier Mac Pro's mouthful of a CPU, the 12-core 2.7 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2:
Tom's Hardware has now gotten its hands on this exact processor expected to make its way into the Mac Pro and put it through rigorous testing in a Windows setup, subjecting the system to numerous benchmarking tools including the 64-bit version Geekbench 2... [pitted] against a variety of Sandy Bridge and other Ivy Bridge chips, as well as a Core i7-4770K Haswell chip, finding that the Xeon E5-2697 V2 generally topped the performance charts in multi-threaded tests but was beaten in many single-threaded tests by the faster chips with fewer cores.
Tom's Hardware makes the admittance that its Adobe CS6 test battery doesn't sing much praise for the Xeon E5-2697 V2, but has a lot of nice things to say for the CPU's ability to handle 3D modeling. Animators, the publication said, will be especially ready to rock 'n' roll on a new Mac Pro.
As MacRumors points out in the above excerpt, the 2.7 GHz chip doesn't fare quite as well against the brawnier, fewer-core CPUs in tasks better suited for single-threaded, high-clock rate brute force. This is not surprising, given Apple's rather strong-armed push for greater GPU reliance. But, boy, can you ever trust iTunes to throw a wrench in your works:
Disclaimers first. Grains of salt must be taken with the data on the table so far. The Mac Pro isn't done yet. The Xeon E5-2697 V2 is itself still in pre-production. The Tom's Hardware tests, though encouraging, are performed on Windows workstations and it "cannot say which platform was used for benchmarking the Ivy Bridge-EP-based CPU." In other words, it's still difficult to say how well the Mac Pro and its CPU will perform, fully tricked-out and running OS X Mavericks.
All told, however, there's plenty for a prospective buyer to be excited about here -- or, if you were previously dismayed, plenty to be relieved about. The new Mac Pro will be powered by a much more capable CPU than earlier benchmarks may have led you to believe.
In other words, it's still difficult to say how much better than its predecessors the Mac Pro and its CPU will perform. But better it will be, and soon -- lack of conventional expansibility to internal hardware notwithstanding.
Be sure to check out Tom's Hardware's full benchmarks below as well!
- Intel's 12-Core Xeon With 30 MB Of L3: The New Mac Pro's CPU? -- Tom's Hardware
- Apple Begins Showing Mac Pro Teaser in Movie Theaters with 'Fall 2013' Announcement -- MacRumors
- Upcoming 12-Core Xeon CPU Destined for Apple's New Mac Pro Posts Impressive Benchmark Scores -- MacRumors
- Mac Pro System Walkthrough — Apple