Mac Pro

The idea of the Thermal Core on the Mac Pro reminds me a lot of the Cube. I wonder how much of that technology Apple looked to for the Mac Pro. Overall, this looks like an incredible system—lots of power and expandability is just what the pros were looking for.

  • Obsidian71

    No. There’s a reason why Drobo, QNAP, Synology and other higher end storage companies are growing. External storage has been the trend for a while now.

  • da_n

    Some serious questions. 1. Who wants a load of crap hanging off their computers all the time? 2. Why do they still not offer a mid-range option, with an i7 (not everyone wants a screen built-in and also wants to have some expandability with graphics cards etc so not a Mac Mini)?

    • studuncan

      Do you really upgrade your hardware? If not, you won’t have crap hanging off it. Very few people actually do.

      • da_n

        I am looking at my iMac right now and I have 3 hard drives and a Blu-Ray recorder attached as well as a USB hub, would much rather have these inside the box. I know it’s not for everyone, and that’s fine, but really why be retrograde and get rid of a great industrial case like the current Mac Pro and replace it with soldered-on parts?

        • 11thIndian

          Internal storage is limited to internal space. External expandability is not. If you want a clean solution, I’m sure there will be multi-PCIe boxes so that you can consolidate any external devices into a single unit.

          • cta

            I can’t wait to get bunch of new cables behind my desk. Oh, and increased power consumption and noise from those multi-PCIe boxes. Realy clean solution! Surely cheeper, too.

          • sgns

            Great point, I hope you’re right, it would be neat. What a design!

        • studuncan

          You’re the exception. Apple has never offered every option for every computing choice.

          • da_n

            I appreciate that and I wouldn’t disagree, I guess I am just disappointed. Whoever this is targeted at it isn’t me, probably time to move on.

    • Obsidian71
      1. People who need that stuff to get their job done.
      2. iMac 27″ with an i7 processor. Not financially feasible to create a separate mid-tower .
      • da_n
        1. Exactly my point, so why are they not reflecting this obvious fact (which was perfect in the ‘old’ Mac Pro case) in this new design, everyone in their ‘demographic’ is supposed to hang a load of crap off these machines, it will look like an iOctopus.
        2. I don’t want a machine with the internals tied to the display.

        I guess I am a small part of Apple’s consideration/market, and I have pretty much decided to build a Haswell i7 machine with 32gb RAM etc myself anyway at this point, but I just find this machine completely preplexing. I predict this is going to be as successful as the original Cube and will be shelved in a 3-4 years.

        • Jessica Darko

          I think there will be a low end to the Mac Pro -something like a quad core i7 and dual mid-range (iMac level) graphics cards.

          this case is radical and new but not super expensive.

          It’s not a laptop so I don’t really get the downside of having cables– My Mac Pro tower still has a bunch of cables going to external hard drives becuase I’ve got a lot of them for video.

          I guarantee you this device will not be a failure. It answers the key problems that kept the Mac Pro from being a significant part of the market.

          Apple’s skating to where the puck is heading, not where it was.

          Internal expansion is kinda obsolete now.

          • Colin Mattson

            Exactly. I’ve used the hockey metaphor several times myself over the past 24 hours.

            If you’re mired in 30 years of computing and not a creative or scientific user, the Mac Pro is frightening and weird and confusing.

            But if you’re in its target market, you only need to look at your desktop and your friends’ desktops to see how Apple arrived at the choices they’ve made. (Completely baffling choice of FirePro GPUs aside.) External storage rules the day. Even small studios have NAS and SAN setups. RED, Arri, MOTU, Blackmagic, and their ilk are bringing out product after product that sits on your network or hangs off a port. Making a computer that’s flush with Thunderbolt instead of starved for everything makes sense for its market.

          • DanielSw

            Ah! Some insight amongst all the myopic “disappointed” posts. When Thunderbolt was first announced, I realized that this was going to enable a modular Mac Pro: a much smaller main chassis with separate expansion options. I think you’re right. This not only affirms Apple’s continuing commitment to high-end Macs, it’s going to sell really well and revitalize and transform this market segment.

    • steve
      1. Most pros have a boatload of stuff hanging off their computers.

      2. Macs aren’t terribly important to Apple and they don’t have to address all possible markets. An expandable Mini would sell in the noise compared to an iMac, which sells much less than MacBooks which are tiny compared to iOS devices…

    • Stephen Middlehurst

      Another answer to that may be the type of customer who wants an expandable mini case is going to tend to be very focused on cost. It would instantly get compared to a home build Hackintosh and Apple can’t win that fight as they’re not engaged in the self destructive race to the bottom that’s sadly characterised the PC market in the last decade.

      • da_n

        I don’t think Apple would need to compete against Dell or Asus on that level though, they are know as a premium brand and are expected to charge more, customers would accept that. I think perhaps more accurate might be where it would fit into their lineup, I suppose it might eat into iMac or Macbook Pro sales and just means more overhead for them.

        Look I always appreciated one thing in Apple above everything else, customer service. I have been an Apple customer for over a decade, I ran a G4 Mirror Door for years even though it sounded like a jet plane taking off. I despise the PC sellers, from the crummy website experience to their support it is all abysmal. This has been the only thing in the last few years keeping me from moving away, but now there just is not a computer for me in their lineup I don’t have a choice so a custom build is on the cards (and not a hackintosh).

    • Sigivald

      1) Serious Pro users are already using external RAID racks.

      2) Because there’s no real market for it to justify the expense and effort.

      That’s why.

      • da_n
        1. What about hard drives, suppose you want a faster SSD in 3 years, suppose you need another 16gb of RAM because you want to do 4K in the future? If you want to future proof I’ll bet you need to max this thing out as much as possible, it will likely cost $5-7k.
        2. I think you underestimate the new generation of YouTube editors, game devs, music producers, developers etc who just want something powerful but can’t lay out $10k in computers and rack hardware upfront. Mac Mini/iMac is a bad investment when you can buy commodity PC hardware which is much more powerful for the same price and is expandable.
        • marv08

          “Mac Mini/iMac is a bad investment when you can buy commodity PC hardware which is much more powerful for the same price and is expandable.”

          Well. Compare the second hand value of Macs to commodity PCs and you’re going to end up at roughly the same TCO. My company went all Mac (clients) in 2006 and our IT cost is down, not up.

          1. RAM should be upgradeable, and external arrays will always be faster than internal drives. Actually we buy all machines with minimum internal storage (which we do not use at all) today, as swapping out a system with no data on it (in case of failure) is several times faster than swapping out one with data on it.

          2. A “YouTube editor”, developer or small music producer should be perfectly fine with an iMac or Mini – I actually edit multi-cam Full HD training videos on an iMac (with two high end EIZO screens attached)… no need for a bigger machine than that.

        • Sigivald

          1) You put a faster one in, replacing the existing one. It’s not soldered to the motherboard.

          Likewise, non-Apple RAM is cheap, and frankly in three years you buy a new machine that uses faster RAM anyway.

          2) YouTube editors aren’t exactly the Mac Pro market, are they? It’s exactly the specialized targets who care about OSX and all that external crap (audio interfaces, etc.) who are the Pro market, as I understand it.

          Likewise, Game Developers either don’t care about OSX at all or need it, no?

          I build my own PCs [and I’m a PC programmer for a living], and still consider my 27″ i7 iMac to be an excellent value, at the time I got it.

          (Might be time for a refresh, but that happens every other year.)

    • Sebastian Paul

      Given the size – or lack of size – of the new Mac Pro, you could probably hide two of these inside an old Mac Pro PLUS all the storage you need.

    • I absolutely want external crap hanging off my Mac. Heat has been the main problem with computers for years, and components that get hot tend to cause other components to lose lifespan — or possibly die themselves immediately. Anything that isolates component failures is absolutely welcome.

      • da_n

        So I guess you must hate laptops as well? Everything has operating temperature ranges, manufacturers design their systems to accommodate those ranges with adequate cooling, this argument is frankly bizarre. Would you want an external CPU and RAM as well?

        • You’re being intentionally obtuse. My laptop does not include add on cards, terabyte hardrives, or anything else outside of the core unit which will generate heat. Aside from what the Mac Pro contains the only thing that generates heat is the battery. But it’s in a smaller case.

          But even so, a laptop being a single piece is required by its form factor. A Mac Pro’s is not.

          Failing components often run much hotter than they should. Undeniable. Even within their specs, hotter components die sooner. Components heated beyond their specification — which happens all the time when other components are dying — die much sooner. Also undeniable.

          And the biggest sources of non-core heat inside a Pro’s case are going to the hard drives (especially if they’re dying) and unknown cards (especially if they’re dying). Moving them outside makes sense from a design perspective, it’s pragmatic, and it’s safer.

  • Stephen Middlehurst

    For me the big attraction of the Mac Pro is what it can mean for machines mere mortals can afford a few years down the line. The Pro is so dependent on Thunderbolt the tech’s clearly here to stay for a while and will continue getting developed. If, as seems almost certain, external PCI chassis come along to support ultra fast graphics cards what’s to stop you putting a desktop GPU on a Mac Mini for example?

    That said I’m really hoping one of our Academics gets the money to buy one of these things, I really want to see it in the flesh! Uh, so to speak… it’s not actually made out of flesh, right?

    • studuncan

      I’m looking forward to flash hard drives writing at 1250 MB/s and wireless at 6.7 Gpbs.

    • Obsidian71

      It’s the reality of today. Having large boxes outside of your workstation is unavoidable so why nice make the workstation a small nucleus of the system? It really doesn’t matter matter if you’re in audio or video you’re going to have interfaces lying all over to connect to and a huge amount of storage that likely needs to be racked. The new Mac Pro makes sense for those that really need its power.

      • Stephen Middlehurst

        Oh yes, plus it removes a big frustration for pros working in environments that require (usually for insurance or H&S reasons) that only the IT staff remove the case to do expansions. GPU etc become plug and play and that can be done by the end user. Also makes it WAY easier to justify purchases of expensive devices that used to sit internally if we can shift them around the enterprise on-demand.

  • da_n

    In what world is it difficult to fit a PCI card? You only do it once anyway until you no longer need it.

    • Jeff Zugale

      It’s not difficult. It’s time-consuming and inconvenient. Plus, not everyone has installed their tower workstations in places where it’s easy to pull them out and wrench on ’em.

      Plus, your own argument here may indicate that a buyer of this new Mac Pro probably no longer needs their PCI cards!

      • Guest
        1. Open case.
        2. Remove backplate.
        3. Slot card in.
        4. There is no step 4.
        • jwoodgett
          1. Replace backplate & close case. 🙂
        • Sigivald
          1. Move machine where you can get to the side cover.

          0b. Unplug everything because your cables aren’t that long.

          1. Plug everything back in.

          2. Move the machine back.

            1. Turn the machine on a say a little prayer. (especially since most — idiots — won’t use a static-strap or static-free surface, or even ground themselves to the chassis manually.)
      • Agarun Ilyaguyev

        It is time consuming in the same way as putting in an SD card in the SDHC reader, or putting a USB drive in the USB3 port. Only extra step is opening/closing the case cover – a whopping additional 30 seconds! /s

        • Billy Razzle

          You also have to shut down & restart. Not to mention moving the case out from under your desk or laying on the floor. Plus there are other cables & things that might be in the way.

          • Agarun Ilyaguyev

            Alright, I’ll bite. That is what,10-15 minutes of work, every year or two? Hardly something to sweat over.

          • gjgustav

            It’s 10-15 minutes longer than plugging in a thunderbolt cable. And if your time is billed at $150/hour…

          • Agarun Ilyaguyev

            ..then you’re likely wasting more time plugging various TB devices in and out, cumulatively over the course of the year vs. having to do it once with PCIe “swap”.

          • gjgustav

            That doesn’t make any sense. Why would I unplug a thunderbolt device any more than you’d remove a card?

          • Sigivald

            Technically one can hot-swap PCIe.

            I’m not sure anyone outside of the hardcore server world ever does.

  • Gaussian Blur

    This will be the sexiest, most expensive space heater ever made. I can already imagine myself warming my hands over it. Rendering video just became that much more useful.

    • Agarun Ilyaguyev

      Screw rendering, just fire up a flash video :p

  • Eric Dannewitz

    Those of us who have PCI cards for ProTools…..or UAD cards……we are left out in the cold. Who knows how well the PCI expansion box will work with these.

    Not looking forward to this very much

    • Sigivald

      “Who knows how well”?

      Perfectly, I imagine.

      There you go.

    • Paul Chernoff

      I think a key will be a nice external box for PCI cards. I can imagine there being a box for every type of PCI card. A SCSI box (not replacing our LTO-4 tape changer this year)? I don’t think so.

      Like everything this is a compromise. No cards or internal drives means a smaller and less expensive Mac Pro for people who just need the speed. Thunderbolt 2 for those who need expandability, but at a higher cost for external devices. External storage is becoming more normal so I understand that decision, not having internal cards is the big change, IMHO.

      I wonder if this is Apple eating its own dog food. Maybe they looks at their own engineers and video people and put together something that they would like.

      I wonder how well these things will fit on a rack?

      • Colin Mattson

        You can buy a nice external box for PCI cards right this instant from Sonnet. They’ve even got a substantial list of certified cards which covers a good portion of the hardware most people own today.

        The prices are ridiculous and at this point you’re stuck with one card to a box (so if your current Mac Pro has three non-GPU cards you’d now need three PCIe enclosures hanging out on your desk), but the solution’s out there.

    • I felt the same way wehn I could no longer use my 16 MB VooDoo PCI card in an iMac…

  • Adriano

    I love this machine! As an iOS Developer it suits my needs perfectly. Just give me a similar looking expandable kit, and it will be perfect, especially with the upcoming OS X (love the name Mavericks, love the new look and the Background image!).

    Hate iOS 7 icon sets and some of the design changes within their stock apps.

    • sgns

      The icons made me dizzy with the shock at first. But I get that it IS functional to not have icons that are essentially photographs of real stuff. This style does reduce visual complexity, and it’s growing on me, slowly.

    • nametaken

      i’m all behind most of iOS7, think its great. that safari icon really blows though. not fun at all.

  • Sigivald


    Thunderbolt is faster than SATA for storage.

    And the tiny minority of people (even Mac Pro people) who actually need a PCIe card (especially given the two-GPU three-4k-display standard here) can use one via an external chassis.

    What problem does internal expansion solve for this market? Everyone serious was already using external RAID arrays for storage…

    • Colin Mattson

      The minority’s not that tiny. If you work with audio or HD video (or, God help you, both), you’re almost certainly going to end up with a number of boxes hanging off the swiveling, light-up butt end of your New Mac Pro.

      Not that this is new, at least for audio users; they never get away without at least a dongle if not a full-fledged box. But you can very easily build a Mac Pro tower today for video and end up connecting everything directly to the machine.

      (On that note, the presumably-swiveling, definitely-light-up butt end may be my single favorite announced feature of the new Mac Pro.)

      • Jessica Darko

        I’d much rather have a small tower and cables going to a rack of equipment on the wall… than the massive tower, and cables going to a rack of equipment on the wall (Because very little of what I needed would fit in a PCI slot.)

        • Colin Mattson

          One of the beefs I’m hearing right now (and have personally) is that too many of the Thunderbolt peripherals aren’t rackable or even stackable.

          But this is something that’ll work itself out with time. We’re already seeing some of the early adopters bring out rackable versions of what they initially introduced.

          The issue left to deal with is a standard limited to 9 foot cables. Easy enough if everybody would just toss a passthrough port on their gear when it made sense. Or by the optical Thunderbolt cables going into production.

  • I like it, it’s gorgeous and I think being able to expand it externally is much more valuable than it was to be able to expand the old ones internally. I prefer a small computer with lot’s of ports instead of a huge box with lot’s of air.

  • Agarun Ilyaguyev

    “lots of power” yes, relatively speaking. “lots of expandability” externally, yes; internally, no. “is just what the pros were looking for” not exactly. Internal expansion is very important to pro customers.

    Apple dumbing down their “pro” products [ahem FCPX ahem] may make them more accessible to broader audience (i.e. consumer and prosumer), it is not at all what pro users are looking for.

    • Sigivald

      Do the pros care if they have to put their card in an external chassis all that much?

      I’m not the target market for the Pro, but from what I understand a whole lot of Mac Pros never got any cards put in them (or… just an extra video card and/or FibreChannel card, both of which are obviated by this design).

      I bet Apple knows their market better than we do.

    • Slurpy2k12

      Believe it or not, things have changed, and the needs of the pro user has changed. Expandability is not as important as it used to be, and certainly not the be-all-and end-all. I have trouble thinking of anything that this box could not do.

    • . Internal expansion is very important to pro customers.

      …in 2005.

  • how fucked up is providing a flash page for this new box? wtf apple? i don’t have smegging flash installed and won’t. html5 ain’t good enough?


    • Colin Mattson

      I’m not sure where you’re encountering Flash. The Mac Pro page is HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

    • Slurpy2k12

      Wow, I guess my iPad magically runs “flash” then, since I was able to view the animations perfectly.

      Next time you decide to angrily rant, try to educate yourself.

    • gjgustav

      It’s not flash if you view it in Safari. If you view it in Firefox, it’s flash.

  • Colin Mattson

    I think one of the things that doesn’t get enough love with Thunderbolt, 1 or 2, is how much easier it is to swap computers or travel with your expensive specialty hardware.

    And it’s also enabled things like renting expensive specialty hardware (where no rental house in their right mind would rent out PCI cards).

  • Jessica Darko

    “I wonder how much of that technology Apple looked to for the Mac Pro. “

    None. Totally different designs. This thermal core is a radical new thing, and the interesting thing is, dramatically better performance at a low manufacturing cost… could be very interesting if the low end models are priced like iMacs.

  • Moeskido

    What an attractive machine. I’m having a hard time imagining it’ll be a replacement for my 2010 Mac Pro, though.

  • Adriano


    This machine just looks as it was developed, designed and assembled by Darth Vader himself!

    This is the best looking desktop machine I have ever seen, and I didn’t actually have seen it in real life! I want this Beast on my desktop, with this beautiful black aluminum!

    It is so simple and beautiful: OS X Mavericks and the new Mac Pro is the perfect combination and nothing out there comes even close!

  • Sebastian Paul

    I just realized – this is the NeXTtube ^^

  • macyourday

    Welcome to the Mac Tube (nothing to do with the Cube, which I have and still think is beautiful, but that’s just me). I might even get one of these babies. Kind of blows away the mini. Oh, how many drives and things can you jam into it? Coz I have stacks of drives (optical too coz people still want that kind of stuff) and lots of big cards for monitors and more drives and I play with big mofo servers, so there.

  • BenRoethig

    This reminds me exactly of the Cube in both good and bad ways. It’s a phenomenal piece of engineering, but it’s also a giant gamble. If the TB2 expansion options aren’t available this fall, it could set Apple back 5 years with Pros. They moved to the future without anchoring to the present.

  • Bring on the modular desktop! The only thing better would be devices that connect wirelessly as you bring them close to the system and all have enough speed and bandwidth to operate like Thunderbolt. Screw all the opening and closing and crap, no matter how easy or quick it might be.

    Eventually, we won’t have any of this. We’ll have a personal device that just connects as we get close to or set it down next to the thing we want to work with. Done. Watch the Corning video about “Glass” (not Google Glass. Corning.).

  • thank for the sharing, i also i have the same wonder as you,

  • I have and still think is beautiful, but that’s just me.

  • very good