Mac Pro Overview Updated September 4, 2019

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224 'Mac Pro' stories

January 2011 - September 2019


After letting the Mac Pro become stagnant since 2013, Apple has finally unveiled the new version. In early 2017, Apple made a handful of announcements regarding the product. The company explained that it is rethinking its Mac Pro approach and plans to unveil a new modular model sometime in the future.

The company admitted that its 2013 model approach hasn’t been as upgradable in practice as it had hoped.

At some point [Apple] came to the conclusion that the 2013 Mac Pro concept was fundamentally flawed. It was tightly integrated internally, which allowed for some very nice features: it was small and beautiful (a pro machine that demanded placement on your desk, not under your desk) and it could run whisper quietly. But that tight integration made it hard to update regularly. The idea that expansion could be handled almost entirely by external Thunderbolt peripherals sounded good on paper, but hasn’t panned out in practice. And the GPU design was a bad prediction. Apple bet on a dual-GPU design (multiple smaller GPUs, with “pro”-level performance coming from parallel processing) but the industry has gone entirely in the other direction (machines with one big GPU).

Phil Schiller acknowledged that the 2013 Mac Pro had not been well received by many pros, and it was this that had led to the radical rethink.

With regards to the Mac Pro, we are in the process of what we call “completely rethinking the Mac Pro”. We’re working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.

As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a pro display as well. Now you won’t see any of those products this year; we’re in the process of that. We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.

In the interim, we know there are a number of customers who continue to buy our [current Mac Pros]. To be clear, our current Mac Pro has met the needs of some of our customers, and we know clearly not all of our customers. None of this is black and white, it’s a wide variety of customers. Some… it’s the kind of system they wanted; others, it was not.

In the meantime, we’re going to update the configs to make it faster and better for their dollar. This is not a new model, not a new design, we’re just going to update the configs. We’re doing that this week. We can give you the specifics on that.

The CPUs, we’re moving them down the line. The GPUs, down the line, to get more performance per dollar for customers who DO need to continue to buy them on the interim until we get to a newly architected system.

At WWDC 2019 Apple offered the first look at its new Mac Pro. The new version is a return of the cheese grater design from a generation previous.

Apple says the new Mac Pro was designed with easy access to its components. There are stainless steel handles for modularity, all internal components mount to the frame with 360-degree components.

Mac Pro Specs

  • 300 watts of power, runs fully unconstrained
  • 2933MHz ECC memory, 12 DIMM slots
  • 8 internal PCI slots, four double-wide slots, three single side slots
  • Half-length slot populated with two TB3 ports, audio jack, two USB A ports, two 10Gb Ethernet ports
  • Up to 1.5 terabytes of RAM
  • Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores
  • Apple designed a PCI connector with a second PCIe connector and power
  • Multiple graphics options; can configure with options such as Radeon Pro Vega II
  • Two GPUs connected via Infinity Fabric Link, 5X faster than PCI bust
  • Apple built a brand new card called Afterburner for video editing, 6 billion pixels per second. 3 streams of 8K, 12 streams of 4K

Mac Pro Pricing

The new Mac Pro starts at $5999 for 8-core, 32GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Mac Pro Release Date

Rumors point to a September release for the new Mac Pro, but Apple’s official answer is Fall of 2019.

Mac Pro Stories September 4

It’s unlikely that too many pros with the budget to invest in the upcoming Mac Pro will be looking for an Apple Pro Display XDR alternative, but for any that are, Asus thinks it has an interesting option.

The Asus ProArt PA32UCG specs put it into close competition with Apple’s professional monitor, not matching the forthcoming XDR on resolution but beating it on refresh rate…

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Mac Pro Stories July 30

Tim Cook: Apple wants to keep making the Mac Pro in the US

On its quarterly earnings call, Tim Cook addressed the recent news about Apple asking for tax waivers on Mac Pro production. Apple’s CEO said that “Apple has been making the Mac Pro in the US” and “we want to continue to do that”.

Mac Pro Stories July 27

President Trump took to Twitter yesterday to say that Apple would not be granted tariff waivers on Mac Pro parts made in China. Now, Trump is saying that he expects Apple to announce it will open a manufacturing plant in Texas, according to Reuters.

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Mac Pro Stories July 26

Apple will not be getting any tariff exemptions on the new Mac Pro, according to a tweet from the president.

Whereas the 2013 Mac Pro was made in the USA, the new ‘cheesegrater’ 2019 Mac Pro is going to be manufactured and assembled in China. It was reported that Apple had asked the Trump administration for relief from tariffs on Mac Pro parts, and it seems that the request has been rejected.

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Mac Pro Stories July 23

We learned last month that Apple’s upcoming Mac Pro will be manufactured in China. While the news wasn’t surprising, the move is a shift from the current Mac Pro that’s been assembled in the US since its debut in 2013. Now, a report from Bloomberg reveals that Apple has formally asked the Trump administration for an exemption on tariffs for the new Mac Pro components and accessories made in China.

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Mac Pro Stories July 4

The Apple designer’s ‘hobby’ that inspired the Mac Pro vent holes

One of our readers made a good spot: a reference in a 2015 New Yorker piece which suggests that the clever Mac Pro vent holes were based on a variation of a design the company casually shared with a journalist at the time, not necessarily knowing then how it would be used …

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