IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING but Apple has finally revealed a new Mac Pro, which not only loses the trendy paper bin look but can come packing a 28-core Xeon processor.
Looking a bit like an oversized cheese grater you'd buy at the wankiest home store, the new Mac Pro is set to be one hell of a desktop for creative professionals.
Naturally. Apple claimed the Mac Pro is it's most powerful PC ever, which given it can rock a top-of-the-line Intel CPU and a simply absurd 1.5TB of RAM spread across 12 DIMM slots, that's no surprise. It's certainly the grate-est Mac ever.
But it's also going to be a pretty customisable machine as well, with processors starting at a more run-of-the-mill American cheese-level eight-core Xeon chip, 32GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics card. That's for a starting price of $5,999 (£4,735) which is a serious amount of cheddar.
The main willy-waving comes from the eight PCI-e expansion slots, four of which, if you can brie-lieve it, are double-wide and come with Thunderbolt 3 built into their backbone.
Those beefy slots allow for the Mac Pro Expansion Module (MPX Module) which is effectively a fancy four slot PCI unit that can fit in two graphics cards and comes with its own Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and heatsink,
The MPX Module can be specced with a pair of AMD's Radeon Pro Vega 2. Or with two Radeon Pro Vega 2 Duo added into the mix, Apple is promising some 56 teraflops of graphics grunt and 128GB of video memory spread across what's effectively four GPUs.
Thanks to some claimed thermal wizardry, the Mac Pro 1.5KW power supply will deliver, according to Cupertino's finest, 300W of unconstrained power to the processor to ensure it can run at full whack "all of the time", which we suppose will stop the cheese grater from becoming an avant-garde fondue maker.
The Mac Pro's power chops get even feta as it will use the Apple Afterburner, a programmable AISC (application-specific integrated circuit) - think accelerator card - to suck up camera feeds in native format and decode three 8K ProRes RAW streams at once or 12 streams at 4K. Apparently, the card can churn through six billion pixels per second.
For server and data centre types, the Mac Pro also comes in a rack configuration; think a load of cheese graters stacked in the back rooms of a John Lewis home department.
In short, the new Mac Pro is set to be one hell of a machine for grating through creative work; expect designer types and video editors right now to be feeling like they've mainlined a wheel of Camembert before bedtime.
But Apple wanted to top off its Mac Pro with a little something extra in the form of the Pro Display XDR.
This 32in display comes with a 6K resolution, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ration, P3 wide colour on a 10-bit panel, and so-called "precise calibration" and "Extreme Dynamic Range". Basically, think a very colour accurate, sharp and contrast-rich monitor.
It also comes with Thunderbolt connectivity, naturally, and 1,000 nits of sustained brightness. Apple also claims superwide viewing angles and quiet operation, and the bezels look pretty svelte as well.
The Pro Display XDR comes in at a fantastically high starting price of $4,999 (around £3,944). But you can also pay... wait for it... $999 for the Pro Stand, which allows the screen to be tiled and height adjusted; you know, the stuff monitor makers usually include in the price.
Want to wall mount the screen? Then you'll need the VESA Mount Adapter for $199; at this point, Tim Cook might as well mount you and ride you all the way to the bank while smoking a cigar made of $100 bills.
Ok, serious talk time; this is all kit for proper professionals who do serious work on Macs and within the macOS ecosystem. And many of those types will have money-laden businesses ready to splurge on a Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR setup.
Nevertheless, the Mac Pro and both look to be very impressive machines and could raise the bar for professional computers swaddled in industrial design. That is if you can un-see the giant cheese grater look. µ
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