Designed solely for professional users — but visually appealing to everyone else — the Mac Pro ($2,999 and up from the Apple Store) is the Ferrari of Apple computers. It originally debuted as the Power Mac G5 in 2003, updated internally and renamed Mac Pro in 2006, then completely redesigned in 2013. Dark gray with a cylindrical shape that lets fans breathe upwards and downwards, the Pro is only 9.9″ tall, 6.9″ in diameter, and 11 pounds in weight. That’s one-eighth the volume of its predecessor, transforming the former all-encompassing tower into a hub for any Thunderbolt or USB devices that you want to connect externally.
Sold in 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-core versions, the Mac Pro includes a minimum of 12GB of RAM and 256GB to 1TB of flash storage. A single Mac Pro can power up to three 4K displays or six Thunderbolt displays at once, boasting four USB 3 ports, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, two Ethernet ports and an HDMI 1.4 port, plus 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4 wireless. You have to supply the monitor(s), keyboard, and mouse or trackpad yourself.
Each new Mac Pro comes standard with dual AMD FirePro graphics cards, but the computer is highly customizable. Even the base model computer is powerful enough for those who need to process large videos, music tracks, and photograph collections, but the real power is in the upgraded models with additional cores, RAM, and storage.
True professional users will find the Mac Pro to be an excellent choice. But it’s also worth taking a look at a high-end iMac due to the cost savings and built-in display.
180 Mac Pro stories
January 2011 - January 2016