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The new Apple Mac Pro: A closer look

It would appear that Apple didn’t take too kindly to the whispers about its recent lack of new products. Some said it wasn’t innovating any more, and to that Apple has said, “Have a look at our new Mac Pro and tell us we haven’t innovated”. And they’re right; there’s a lot of innovation and big changes going on in the new Mac Pro, a device which we expected to be shelved as laptops and tablets take over.

When you first set eyes on the new Mac Pro you won’t associate it with Apple. It doesn’t look like a Mac Pro. If anything, it looks like a router, subwoofer or speaker of some sort. Standing at just 9.9” tall and measuring 6.6” in diameter, this glossy black cylindrical computer is a far cry from the large, industrial silver Mac Pro tower that Apple launched last year.

The new Mac Pro is machined from aluminium on the outside, but what’s inside is completely different. As is customary with Apple’s Mac Pro models, there’s a serious amount of power under the hood and that means a lot of heat. The older Mac Pros had holes over the entire front panel for ventilation, so how is Apple going to achieve the same thing in a much smaller case? A very clever design splits the internal board and components into three pieces which are stacked against each other in a triangle. Heat is routed out of the boards using an advanced dissipation system and then a single fan is then used to push the heat out of the case – very clever stuff.

So what exactly is generating all this heat? Well, Apple has packed in dual AMD GPUs, the latest Intel Xeon processors, PCI-e flash memory and Thunderbolt 2 connectivity. The dual GPUs provide up to 7 teraflops of raw power compared to the 2.7 teraflops offered on the current Pro models, whilst the Intel Xeon processors (configurable up to 12 cores) make the new model twice as fast.

Boot and wake times will be minimal and file transfers, installations and saves will be ultra-fast thanks to PCI-express flash storage and ECC memory that’s taken care of by a 4 channel DDR3 controller running at 1866MHz. This offers double the memory bandwidth of the current Pro models and a total of up to 40Gbps of PCI-e bandwidth.

In terms of connectivity there are a whopping 6 Thunderbolt 2 sockets, four USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4 out, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 4.0. The Thunderbolt 2 ports allow for up to 3 monitors to be used, or to daisy chain up to 36 devices.

The new Mac Pro models will run Apple’s new OS X 10.9 ‘Mavericks’ software and will arrive this Autumn with a heap of configuration options. The only question left to ask now is; what do you think the new Mac Pro looks like? We reckon it looks like R2D2 and Darth Vader got together one night and…well, you know the rest.