The new Mac Pro packs in 28 Xeon cores, 1.5TB of RAM, and quad Vega GPUs

If you know me—and if you've been reading this site for the last few years, you know me well enough—then you know that I am just about as strident an Apple-hater as any. Knowing that should give you important context for the next thing I'm about to say: I think Apple's new Mac Pro looks fascinating.

"Fascinating" isn't necessarily a good thing, and FruitCo made some very curious choices in the design, to be sure. For starters, as our beloved drfish put it, "I didn't think they could make it look any more like a cheese grater than the old Mac Pros." Indeed, this writer thinks the new Mac Pro looks like something you'd find in a kitchen circa 1960. It's "industrial design," except without the "design" part. That's not to say that I think it's ugly; I think it has a certain engineer chic.

All those holes offer a lot of ventilation for the three big fans up front, and all that ventilation is quite necessary. You see, the new Mac Pro comes with a 1.4-kW powerplant. That in and of itself doesn't necessarily mandate massive airflow, but there's a few reasons it has such a powerful supply. Namely, a 28-core Intel Xeon-W chip running at up to 4.4 GHz, 1.5TB of ECC DDR4 memory at 2933 MT/s, and no less than four full-fat AMD Vega GPUs. That's not even to mention the Afterburner video transcoder or the plethora of Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The new Mac Pro's CPU cooler.

Apple is still Apple, of course, so there's not a lot of technical data available about exactly which parts are going into the Pros. Given the specifications offered, the top-end CPU is almost certainly the Xeon W-3275M, which is a close relative of the Xeon W-3175X that Intel launched early this year. All of the CPUs that Apple will offer are Xeon W-family chips, but if you don't need that many cores you can opt for chips with 24, 16, 12, or 8 cores.

Memory is similarly-configurable, from 32 GB on up to 1.5 TB—although that top-end option will require a 24- or 28-core CPU. On the storage side of things, you can pick options ranging from a single 256GB SSD on up to dual 2TB drives. Notably, Apple is only offering solid-state internal storage for the new Mac Pro, and the drives so-offered include Apple's T2 security chip. The company doesn't offer any specifications on the drives beyond that they're capable of 2.6 GB/s in sequential reads and 2.7 GB/s in sequential writes.

The block in the top-left that says "Mac Pro" is the CPU cooler.

That's all good and well, but far and away the most interesting part of the new Mac Pro is in its expansion slots. The machine comes with eight PCIe 3.0 slots, seven of which are wired up to x16, and the last of which is an x4 slot used for Thunderbolt 3 and audio output. Two of the PCIe x16 slots have a second, even larger connector placed in-line; those are used to support Apple's "MPX Modules." That's what Apple is calling its custom-designed Radeon cards. They come with passive cooling that runs the length of the case, and use the aforementioned second connector to deliver 8 more lanes of PCIe 3.0 and up to 475W of power. After all, Apple can't be running wires to graphics cards.

The cards themselves can be the Polaris-based Radeon Pro 580X, a Radeon Pro Vega II, or the very impressive Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which is exactly what it sounds like. The Vega II nomenclature is all-new for the Mac Pro, and I probably don't have tell an audience of gerbils that it is fundamentally a Radeon Instinct MI60 with four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a single HDMI jack. It seems like it's been detuned slightly compared to the Instinct MI60, no doubt for efficiency's sake; where AMD puts the Instinct down for some 14.7 TFLOPs, the Vega II is apparently good for "only" 14.1 TFLOPs.

Good thing you can stuff four of them in a single Mac Pro, then. Each GPU gets 32GB of HBM2 memory running at the usual 2 GT/sec, providing them with 1 TB/sec of memory bandwidth. On the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo cards, the GPUs are connected by Infinity Fabric, which Apple says is five times faster than connecting them using PCIe. All told, a Mac Pro using a pair of Radeon Pro Vega II Duo cards can apparently provide some 112.8 TFLOPS/sec of half-precision compute. That should please some AI programmers.

AI isn't the workload that Apple is pushing for the new Macs, though. As usual, the company seems to be emphasizing the workstations' content creation performance. The company says its Logic Pro X software supports 1000 audio tracks and 1000 instruments. Meanwhile, the company demoed Final Cut Pro X playing back HDR 8K ProRes RAW video, adding effects and color correction in real-time, and even changing video effects without pausing playback. Much of that is no doubt due to the Afterburner FPGA accelerator card that can be slotted into one of the Mac Pro's PCIe x16 slots. Apple says the card can allow you to play back twelve raw 4K video streams simultaneously.

Apple remarks that you'll be able to stuff your own cards in the Mac Pro as well.

Other notable features on the new Mac Pros include a pair of 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections, a 3.5-mm analog headset jack, and even a couple of old-school USB-A ports. As for the price, well, we don't know what the beautiful beast above will run you. However, Apple did say that the base configuration—with an 8-core CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD—would cost you $6000. Yeah. If you're a FruitCo devotee, keep your eyes out this Fall, when the new Mac Pro becomes available.

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 1 month ago

    It’s nice to see Apple pulling the Pro out of the nasty spittoon it was in, if you know what I mean…;) I’m curious as to the warranty of this thing–same old “one-year” joke Apple puts on everything else–to make you swing for the extra-cost, extended warranty? Even if the full bore costs $45k? Apple: “Putting other company’s products together and adding 50% to the retail cost! Nobody does it better!” *cough* *choke*…;)

    • Shobai
    • 1 month ago

    I keep thinking I’ve covered all the quirks of this design, but then having another look and finding more.

    – Rear mounted RAM, oriented to best catch airflow on the rear of the motherboard, and completely avoiding clearance issues for the CPU heatsink
    – what form factor is that PSU in? And where is it located? Rear-side, lower left? Front-side bottom? Front-side, upper right?
    – what does fill that space in the upper right? A cage for storage? Or is that all mounted on the rear? It looks like there’s a couple of SATA ports, a power socket, and a latching mechanism of some description. If something similar goes there, why not show it?
    – the PCH appears to also be mounted on the rear of the motherboard, and there appears to be some form of heatsink attached which lines up with what looks like vents in the rear shroud
    – what’s the go with the extra bracket just left of the PCIe slots? And the larger, short one just to the right of the bottom two? Are they simply to mount shrouds on the reverse?
    – what lives behind the access panel in the upper left of the rear-side shot? M.2 slots? It seems bigger than necessary if that’s all that’s there, even for 3 slots
    – what lives behind the smaller, triangular panel in the lower right?
    – how are the external panels hung from the frame?

    What sticks out for everyone else?

      • Anonymous Hamster
      • 1 month ago

      The power supply is most likely at the bottom; that’s where the cord plugs in.

      Regarding the RAM airflow, I don’t see that it actually catches any active airflow.

        • caconym
        • 1 month ago

        The power supply fan is a blower that’s supposed to move air across the RAM and storage area.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 1 month ago

        Yes, PSU is at the bottom. If anyone remembers the old Powermac G5, it’s the same PSU placement. Though with the CPU heatsink up at the top, it’ll probably be much faster to replace a power supply in this one.

        • tipoo
        • 1 month ago

        [url<]https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2019/06/mobo_mac_pro_back-100798231-large.jpg[/url<] Blower fan pulls the intake coming from the front through the RAM sticks, then out the back. Also look at how much cooling the chipset alone gets in the middle there

    • LocalCitizen
    • 1 month ago

    just for fun, let’s try guessing the price of the high-end-ish mac pro when it gets released in the fall.
    – 28 core proc
    – 1.5T ram
    – 1 Vii Duo w/32GB for each GPU
    – 2T SSD

      • LocalCitizen
      • 1 month ago

      my guess… $60,000 Usd

      • techguy
      • 1 month ago

      $45,000 is the number going around, I believe it:
      [url<]https://www.techspot.com/news/80362-top-end-mac-pro-could-cost-around-45000.html[/url<]

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 1 month ago

        Thats a pretty impressive money per volume ratio.

          • Chrispy_
          • 1 month ago

          But the volume goes to eleven!

        • LocalCitizen
        • 1 month ago

        i’m sorry , that number is way too low. they calculated the parts cost. you won’t get that in retail price. look at the base model, there isnt $6000 worth of parts in there. and remember this is the company that charges you $600 for 1TB of ssd.

        so i think my original estimate is still too low. better make that $75000

      • tipoo
      • 1 month ago

      Ya know, the top end pricing possibilities don’t really get a rise out of me anymore, the Mac Pro has long been configurable well into the nice new car territory ever since I used to spec them out in the Power Mac G5 at least.

      What’s more regrettable is the bottom pricing. I.e, my workload is data science and the toolchain is almost all CPU, but you can’t get a model below 5999 if you don’t need the Radeon Pro at all.

    • Peter.Parker
    • 1 month ago

    So the screen is great (6k is actually very expensive)
    However, I don’t understand the stand.
    I stand against the stand pricing, $999.
    I predict there will be a number of cheap alternatives on Alibaba or eBay… Unless I’m mistaken it’s just a piece of plastic and/or metal.
    And by cheap I mean $99. It’s a fake, but it’s Apple fake.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 month ago

      €105 bought me a German-made, gas-lift, adjustable counterbalance, parallelogram VESA100 desk clamp with 90-degree rotation between landscape and portrait that’s capable of holding a 32″ monitor high enough for a standing desk and low enough to use as a graphics tablet.

      I’m sure Apple can get the same thing from a semi-suicidal Chinese sweatshop workforce for $25 a pop.

      Sometimes I make myself sad, because I’m using those terms as sarcastic exaggeration to make a point. Except it’s historically not an exaggeration and I’ve seen enough documentaries to know that nothing’s really changed 🙁

      • Spunjji
      • 1 month ago

      It’s the fact that it’s useless as-purchased that bothers me. Not coming with a stand – sure, arguably a good idea for a professional monitor, where most of the time the stand goes to landfill.

      But not being VESA-mountable as standard – and the adapter being $199? That’s brazen.

      And again, sure, it’s pro kit, costly, etc. It just *seems* cheap, which for such an expensive company… is not cool.

    • tipoo
    • 1 month ago

    It is kind of notable to launch a HEDT now with PCI-e 3.0, now that AMD will be shipping PCI-E 4 on the desktop in just about a month, while Intel won’t probably till 2020. It’s also 14nm+++ warmed over.

    I guess a momentary diversion to AMD/EPYC wasn’t worth it if everything’s coming up ARM in the end for Apple anyways. Wonder if this won’t be like buying a Power Mac G5 Quad right before the x86 switch.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 month ago

      There is no coolaid strong enough to make me think some ARM chip is going to stomp all over Xeon and Epyc anytime in the near future. (Side note: I have still not forgiven Apple for dumping PPC, but switching to ARM would at least spice things up again.)

        • blastdoor
        • 1 month ago

        I really thought they might go Epyc, but clearly that was wrong.

        Maybe I’m crazy, but I do think it’s possible for Apple to design an ARM chip that would stomp all over Xeon/Epyc in a very narrow/specific sense — price/performance where “performance” is defined in terms of the apps that are most important to Apple users. My thinking is along these lines:

        1. Nobody is going to have a big edge moving forward in single thread performance for a given power budget. Intel had a big lead, but AMD and Apple are catching up, and Intel isn’t going to expand that lead again in any major way.

        2. The way performance will be improved moving forward is to address specific bottlenecks faced by specific workloads. This means hardware customization, either through FPGA or customized functional units. Mobile kind of shows the way here — there are multiple customized functional units in mobile SOCs these days.

        3. Look at the modularity concept of the new Mac Pro. You start with a Xeon and then add in these customized cards to address specific performance issues. One of those cards is an FPGA.

        4. Perhaps in a few years, Apple replaces the Xeon with their own general purpose ARM SOC that also incorporates some specialized functional units within the SOC. With PCIe 5, adding specialized PCIe cards will be even more compelling.

          • Redocbew
          • 1 month ago

          I have yet to see any good argument for why ARMv8 should be any better than x86. Lots of people have arguments that boil down to “Apple could do this, because they’re huge” with being huge used as an indication of a particular thing, but those aren’t reasons why one ISA is “better” than another.

            • tipoo
            • 1 month ago

            I see more people still who think x86 has some immutable performance lead for some reason, without providing said reason. If there’s no good reason for one ISA to be better than the other, it boils down to the same thing that gave the A series the lead in mobile – Apple can make the chips they want, on their cadence, regardless of what the broad industry demands. I.e, everyone on razor margin Android phones wanted smaller dies for the cost of it and as such we get small cores that clock high but still come in at now just over half of Apples per-core performance.

            See also the crap Apple took for Intels lack of support for LPDDR4 (which is only coming with Ice Lake) when they supported it on A* years ago, TSMC pulling ahead on fabrication, etc.

            • Spunjji
            • 1 month ago

            I think you’ve misunderstood the argument – or at least, the bulk of them that I’ve seen being made.

            It’s not that ARMv8 is better than x86, it’s that Apple have a vested interest in vertical integration and seem to be pushing hard in that direction. It’s purely business related.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            Again, I don’t see where the ISA factors into that. If Apple wants to keep everything in house they could do so regardless of which ISA they choose. The walls of that garden are pretty well enforced as it is.

            I think you’re on the right track though in thinking that whatever caused Apple to choose ARM over x86 when they started making their own chips is probably more business related than it is technical.

            • tipoo
            • 1 month ago

            They’re saying the ISA *isn’t* the major factor. It’s just that Apple can’t get an x86 licence, and ARM already has a critical mass with what they’ve designed around for their phones, and compilers and toolchains, etc, and the licence model is preferable. RISC-V could have been an option but they already make fantastic cores around the ARM ISA.

        • tipoo
        • 1 month ago

        I’d assume they’d start from the bottom and move up, so the Pro would be using Xeons for several years after it starts. I.e the MB 12″ would benefit the most from an A series processor, then the Air next most, etc.

        A lot of people don’t seem to realize how impressive they’ve gotten per core, they’re well up there, and it’s a matter of scaling after.
        [url<]https://twitter.com/lemire/status/1130908806710484992[/url<]

          • Redocbew
          • 1 month ago

          I’d be hesitant to apply those figures across the board. In fact, I wonder how much of the A12’s performance comes from it being designed specifically for the workloads of mobile devices. Try running the kind of SIMD instructions which are common on the desktop these days and I bet the results would be very different.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            [i<]Another thing[/i<] nobody is going to convince me of is that an optimal cell phone CPU core is an optimal workstation CPU core. Apple has certainly impressed thus far, but supposing that they can waltz by other design teams in the large CPU core space is to suppose that they know something the others don't know, and won't be able to figure out. That is magical thinking. The way I see it, Intel got ahead of AMD when AMD stumbled on both manufacturing and design simultaneously. This seemed to show the strength of Intel, but it turned out that even good old IBM has been hanging around the edges turning a profit, and that Apple managed to design a [i<]phone CPU[/i<] that chews up anything that ventures down into its clock speed range. Its the huge margins enjoyed by Intel that make them a target, not any weakness of the product. The less performance-sensitive Apple machines do seem like legitimate targets for home-grown silicon, but workstations, that fight seems like it would be very bad for profit margins indeed.

            • tipoo
            • 1 month ago

            AVX-512 is a key differentiation but I also don’t see why we’d assume it would be impossible to build on what they have* for a larger core, especially with ARM variable length SIMD.

            I’m not suggesting that benchmark is everything, but when a lot of disparate tests point to Apple having a core that seems overambitious for mobile, it starts to look interesting

            [url<]https://lemire.me/blog/2018/11/13/memory-level-parallelism-intel-skylake-versus-apple-a12-a12x/[/url<] * [url<]https://www.anandtech.com/show/13392/the-iphone-xs-xs-max-review-unveiling-the-silicon-secrets/4[/url<]

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            I don’t think you need to go all the way to AVX-512 even. AVX2 increased vector width to 256bits, and that’s 4x what you get with the A12.

            Anyway, if there is a desktop ARM chip from Apple at some point, and it’s good, then I think it’s going to be good because Apple had good engineers working on it. The whole ARM vs x86 thing will be secondary at best.

            • tipoo
            • 1 month ago

            I was pretty into the weeds deep into it when I was reading about it apparently, because I can’t find it now, but for some reason I thought A12 wasn’t just using the ARM 128 bit NEON SIMD, they had an extra port and MADD to it, 4-way SIMD ALUs rather than 2-way. Anandtech’s SIMD testing there shows it well beyond other ARM competitors in SIMD at any rate.

            As for it being chip designer > ISA, I can’t agree more.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            Yeah, I remember the A12 also being a significant jump in terms of SIMD performance also. I don’t remember exactly why, and chances are it’ll become more important to mobile in the future. I might think it’s ridiculous to try to use your phone for everything, but that’s not going to stop people from doing it.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 1 month ago

        [quote<]There is no coolaid strong enough to make me think some ARM chip is going to stomp all over Xeon and Epyc anytime in the near future. [/quote<] Fujitsu's Supercomputer-ARM (which is their "SPARC" supercomputer except with ARM as an ISA) looks pretty good. I think its either 2020 or 2021. Probably be my #1 pick for a potential ARM contender in the near future. EDIT: Its called the A64K, not much is known aside from supporting ARM's SVE instruction set, but its probably going to be good.

          • tipoo
          • 1 month ago

          *A64FX, in the supercomputer “Post-K”. ARM SVE is really interesting, as here we have a soon shipping ARM core matching AVX-512 on width.

          [url<]https://www.top500.org/news/fujitsu-reveals-details-of-processor-that-will-power-post-k-supercomputer/[/url<]

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 month ago

          I’m sure many worthy processors can be made for the ARM instruction set, but I think the workstation product segment is too mature for any revolutions in performance (except what niches can provide). Apple kicks all kinds of butt in the mobile space, but I take that as a sign of the weakness of the other vendors in that market, rather than a sign that Apple is special.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 1 month ago

    might be showing my age, but did anyone else hear “afterburner transcoder” and immediately think “video toaster” ?

    • NovusBogus
    • 1 month ago

    I was gonna say something really trolly about using an Apple OS to get work done, but clicking through on the CPU led me to the momentous discovery that they’ve finally filled out the W-32xx series. Huzzah! Perhaps they’ll show up in regular workstations soon. Some of the prices look pretty questionable, though. Surely they’re not expecting us to pay $1200 for an 8 core Xeon, 2016 is thataway and I’ll just set about convincing the company to let us build Threadrippers.

    • tipoo
    • 1 month ago

    >Apple remarks that you’ll be able to stuff your own cards in the Mac Pro as well.

    I thought they mentioned this only for PCI slots, but a lot of people seem to be running around assuming regular form factor GPUs will also fit? Half the pinout is just regular PCI-E, so it’s possible, but I thought the cooling being integrated case-side and the doubled pins might get in the way. Confirmation would be great.

    Lots of gawking at the price but this is kind of the same market as something like the Titan V north of 3K just for the card alone; if you’re gawking it’s probably not for you.

    The 1K for a monitor STAND though? That shit is pure crazy

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 1 month ago

      A quote:

      “if you’re gawking it’s probably not for you.”

      • Spunjji
      • 1 month ago

      Even if they fit physically, it’s not clear how you’d power them without any kind of external cabling – so unless the user intends to limit themselves to adding a ~75W GPU to a $6000+ workstation or hacking in some kind of external power delivery, I imagine it’ll be more than a little moot.

        • tipoo
        • 1 month ago

        There was a optional power kit mentioned somewhere that seemed to indicate it would solve that problem. There seem to be some sort of ports on the board that aren’t just PCI.

        Edit:
        [url<]https://photos5.appleinsider.com/gallery/31382-52410-mac-pro-power-additions-l.jpg[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 month ago

      The lack of external PCIe power connectors will severely limit your options, without some sort of clever mod.

        • tipoo
        • 1 month ago

        I think these things are being thought to be connectors for an optional power kit

        [url<]https://photos5.appleinsider.com/gallery/31382-52410-mac-pro-power-additions-l.jpg[/url<]

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 month ago

          They certainly seem to be the right shape. That’s nice, if true.

            • tipoo
            • 1 month ago

            Now to see how much Apple will charge me for a couple of strands of copper!

            • Spunjji
            • 1 month ago

            *sucks air through teeth*
            Ooooh. S’gonnacostya

    • chuckula
    • 1 month ago

    [Wipes away a tear]

    I wish Chuckula was alive to make fun of this kitchen gadget with extraneous silicon.

    • Thresher
    • 1 month ago

    It’s fine and good that Apple makes a truly high end machine for people that need them. Price out one with the same specs from any other vendor and the price isn’t outrageous.

    The problem is that there are plenty of Mac users who would like a semi-pro version of this machine. Or something like it. Build a machine with high end desktop parts. they can even build it in a cheaper enclosure. But that span between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro is huge and not being addressed by the iMac.

    The Mac Pro is over-specced, oddly enough. Or to be clear, it doesn’t have enough of a range that I think many people that would lean towards a Mac Pro won’t be able to afford it. There are plenty of Pro users who do not this much power, but do not want an iMac Pro because they don’t need the screen. Put those guts in a box without a monitor, and they would sell like crazy. Same with a regular iMac.

    I am an Apple fan. I have a lot of their products. But they don’t make a single computer product that I would buy. The MacBook Pro sucks. It’s filled with compromises to make it thin and trendy that no one asked for. The Mac Mini is useless without an upgradeable SSD. I have no use for an all in one computer like the iMac.

      • blastdoor
      • 1 month ago

      I think you’re asking for the legendary xMac — the headless, capable, expandable, mid-market tower. I totally agree that there should be such a product in Apple’s lineup. I think with that product, many other complaints would go away.

      The fact that Apple has introduced this new cheese grater Mac Pro rises my hopes for the xMac from 0 to a small, positive level that is unambiguously > 0.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 1 month ago

      Basically a headless version of the hardware found in the iMac?

        • blastdoor
        • 1 month ago

        but without the thermal constraints of the iMac, so the hardware could be a little cheaper.

          • Thresher
          • 1 month ago

          As I mentioned, I would be all over something like that.

            • K-L-Waster
            • 1 month ago

            So basically a 2019 descendant of a PowerMac 8500.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            Or Quadra 700, which looked way better than the powermac 8500.

            The frog designs hold up amazingly well.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 month ago

          “A little cheaper” is not something Apple does for their customers.

    • DPete27
    • 1 month ago

    How small are those 3 axial fans? Their hubs are enormous compared to the blades. They look like 40mm proportions.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 month ago

      They look like 140mm fans with 80mm hubs.

      The size of the hub in an axial fan isn’t really all that relevant to the airflow, since the volume of air moved for any given blade profile and rotation speed is exponential the further from the hub you go.

      Using very approximate back-of-napkin math, I calculated that the same fan with a 40mm hub instead of an 80mm hub would only move 8% more air at any given RPM.

      The difference with a large hub is that Apple can overengineer the bearings and fan’s IC board instead. They have no need to create even airflow because this isn’t going up against a radiator or heatsink, it’s being channelled down long, enclosed cooling veins that run the full case length, exactly like in a rackmount server – where you will see this ratio of hub to blades quite frequently, whether it’s 40, 60, or 80mm fans.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 1 month ago

        Apple doesn’t sweat using Intel’s less than stellar CPU or offering it down to a pedestrian 8 cores, but corners [i<]were not cut[/i<] on the fans.

    • emvath79
    • 1 month ago

    Now coming to a Williams and Sonoma near you.

      • Concupiscence
      • 1 month ago

      That’s it! That’s the aesthetic I was trying to figure out when I was talking with people about what this thing looked like! Thank you!

      • Peter.Parker
      • 1 month ago

      I had to google it to get the joke.
      I had no idea that W&S is a cookware store.
      I then realized I’ve seen the name somewhere, I’m in Canada, there are few stores in Toronto or something, but I don’t think I had any reason to go inside, since they don’t sell computers or related products.

    • ronch
    • 1 month ago

    After some thought I realize this thing kinda reminds me of trypophobia, the fear of holes. They’re just too big in this case and it just ain’t pretty, like a million fish eyes staring at you or something. And those feet look like someone at Apple stole them from under his bed. I think Apple could’ve done a lot better here.

    • smilingcrow
    • 1 month ago

    So are Apple releasing a Xeon Platform that is yet another reheated 14nm one at roughly the same time that AMD are releasing a 7nm 64 core platform that supports PCIe 4.0?
    Considering that this is clearly a platform aimed at video professionals which is one of the few that can benefit from PCIe 4.0 (SSDs/GPUs), the base platform is underwhelming regardless of pricing. It does have impressive bells and whistles though.

    • Voldenuit
    • 1 month ago

    I’m concerned about cooling. Not so much the CPU, or even the GPUs, since, being right next to the intake fans, they’re only “passively cooled” in name, but the VRMs. I don’t see any signs of cooling on them, and 28 cores is going to draw a lot of amps.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 month ago

      I expect Apple has correctly implemented their power supply circuitry, but perhaps some gratuitous heatsinks and LEDs would make us all feel better. 😉

      • tipoo
      • 1 month ago

      Won’t take long after shipping to get a good look at the VRMs. Some are rated so high and for such high temperatures they’ll be fine without any cooling, it’s only when you’re running near their peaks where it’s an issue.

        • willmore
        • 1 month ago

        Maybe they’re using SiC IGBTs?

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 month ago

      In enthusiast motherboard reviews, VRMs are brought up as an issue because overclockers [i<]can[/i<] run into VRM cooling issues. At stock speeds and stock voltages those same VRMs that are causing the bottleneck won't even be pushing 50% of their rated operating temperature. Apple will ensure (by limiting power draw and over-specifying them) that the CPU's VRMs are never taxed to the point that heatsinks are needed. There should be cool air flowing over them from the intake fans at all times, anyway.

        • thecoldanddarkone
        • 1 month ago

        Yea… I have an x299 carbon pro ac. Even though the vrm heatsink is a piece of aluminum with no fins, it’s about 30c before vrm throttle.

        7940x @ stock

    • ermo
    • 1 month ago

    I just *know* there’s a mac and cheese joke in here *somewhere*.

      • willmore
      • 1 month ago

      If you ever figure it out, that would be grate.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 1 month ago

      you muenster

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 1 month ago

    I’m curious how they’re able to achieve that resolution for the monitors over DP. I’m sure they’re stuck at 60hz. Maybe doing 4:2:2?

      • Spunjji
      • 1 month ago

      I calculate the required bandwidth for 6K at 60Hz with 10bit colour at ~36.6Gbps. According to the DisplayPort Wiki page, that’s well within the bounds of DP 1.4 *if* they use Display Stream Compression – so in theory, no 4:2:2 required.

      I’m not aware of any product on the market that’s used DSC before, though. Given the intended use of these displays, I’d assume them being first out with such a product is more likely than them resorting to 4:2:2.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 1 month ago

        #TheyDidTheMath

        I haven’t heard of DSC before. I’ll have to read up more on that. I assume since they control both ends of the cable, then can do that. Either that or they are just using full 40Gbit/sec of TB3. DP1.4 = 32Gbit/sec. The 36 needed is right in the middle

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 month ago

    Fall?!

    In the fall, you’ll be able to get an affordable 12C/24T AM4 machine with PCIe 4.0 and your choice of AMD or Nvidia GPU compute cards.

    I mean, I get that some people are absolutely locked into the Apple platform for software reasons, but that’s kind of their fault for refusing to budge even though Apple has snubbed them by refusing to update their hardware since 2013.

      • blastdoor
      • 1 month ago

      Well…. not all cores are created equal, and if Apple were to go AMD, they’d go Epyc, not Ryzen.

      I was hoping Apple would put Rome in the new Mac Pro, but the fact that they didn’t makes me wonder if Rome doesn’t perform as well as I’d hope. Maybe Chuckula has been right all along to tout the benefits of AVX512….

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 1 month ago

        Another quote:

        “Maybe Chuckula has been right all along”

        • Spunjji
        • 1 month ago

        Agreed about Epyc.

        Re: not going for Rome, I’d be more willing to wager on Intel’s release schedule being a better fit for the project. Apple rarely prioritize absolute performance over other marketable metrics / preferential supplier relationships.

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 month ago

    I don’t like OSX and I don’t like Apple, but look at that case.

    The cooling is excellent
    Pointless, brittle, fragile, heavy tempered glass panels are not an option
    Robot/military/gamer RGBLED logos everywhere? Blissfully nope.

    I miss the days when PC case manufacturers were trying to copy Apple; Their desktop/under-desk tower design has [i<]always[/i<] been on-point.

    • ptsant
    • 1 month ago

    I hope that the inclusion of so much AMD GPU horsepower bodes well for the development of the ROCm stack and the associated deep learning libraries.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 month ago

      Was just reading about Tensorflow support for Vega. 😀 But surely Apple has not made the ultimate (or most cost-effective) ML workstation here.

    • NTMBK
    • 1 month ago

    Well done, Apple! After 6 years, you managed to build a desktop.

    • ronch
    • 1 month ago

    Let this machine go down in history as the Apple Cheese Grater.

      • Krogoth
      • 1 month ago

      Right next to the previous Apple “Trash Can”.

      It seems the whole thing is a massive trolling campaign. Apple is getting cheap marketing on how ridiculous the chassis design is. Sadly, that effort will bring in a far greater return of investment than from any potential sales in the Mac Pro line-up.

        • ronch
        • 1 month ago

        Well the trash can was actually not too shabby. This one kinda gives me trypophobia.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 1 month ago

          The main issue I had with the Trash Can was how non-standard the parts were. The circular design to cool the dual-graphics cards was an interesting design, but it was “trying too hard” to be non-standard.

          And lo-and-behold, it was a design that was almost impossible to update.

          This more standard design (as a Cheese Grater) is more plain, but… come on, its a workstation. It doesn’t need to push the design boundaries or be an art piece. It has the specs that matter and the case design / cooling design is clearly workable.

    • Ummagumma
    • 1 month ago

    Serious compute power comes to every kitchen near you…

    …at least every kitchen that has kitchen tools that do more than reheat leftovers!

    But can your refrigerator play Crysis!?!

    • setaG_lliB
    • 1 month ago

    I just had to pull my old 1.25GHz PowerMac G4 outta the closet after reading this. Booted right into OS X 10.5! Sure, its Radeon 9000 Pro may only be capable of 0.1 TFLOPS (if that), but at least it’s a better looking machine than the new cheese grater.

    On a side note, I find it hilarious how Apple used to boast that the G4 was a supercomputer-on-a-chip that could run circles around a 2GHz P4. While I had it up and running, I tried playing a 5.5 mb/s 720p H.264 video file on the G4. It couldn’t quite do it at full speed. Yet, my PIII (overclocked to 1.63GHz) had no problem playing back the same file, at roughly 65-85% CPU use. Radeon 9800 Pro video card in the PIII box, so it was all being done in software.

    Guess Apple wasn’t expecting nearly everything to suddenly begin using SSE on the “slow” Intel chips!

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 month ago

      Comparing this new beast to one of the G4 “workstations” is interesting. I bought a dual 800mhz G4 myself fresh and new, in part because I wanted to play with OSX. I loaded it with 1.5GB of RAM (which was the max), and a pair of SCSI 10k RPM disks. Despite this, there was simply nothing impressive about the system. No impressive storage capacity, or memory, or graphics or cooling or anything really. The case was a bit crappy, too flexible and too much plastic. I sold that machine on Ebay before it had lost all value.

      Where was the engineering investment in those old workstations? It seems they were just a convenient product by an impoverished company.

      The new workstation is [i<]radically[/i<] different.

        • setaG_lliB
        • 1 month ago

        Yeah, there really was nothing special about the PPC PowerMacs. They only outperformed x86 when you ran those 2 AltiVec optimized filters in Photoshop. Everywhere else the G4 just kinda felt hobbled by its archaic SDR FSB. The Athlons and P4s of the era felt a lot more responsive, especially on the Internet.

        They certainly looked cool though. To this day the QuickSilver and MDD G4s are still my favorite Apple tower design.

          • blastdoor
          • 1 month ago

          AltiVec was genuinely ahead of its time. It was like the AVX512 of its era. But unfortunately that’s all the g4 had going for it.

          Don’t equate PPC and G4, though. From the 601 through early G3, the PPC really was faster than the x86 competition of the time. The margin was never huge, but it was real. A big part of the failure of PPC was IBM’s inability or unwillingness to sell their own PPC-based machines. Part of that was turf battles with the IBM PC division; part of it was the failure of workplace OS. That left Apple as the only volume seller of PPC, and Apple had its own OS problems in the 90s.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 month ago

          I suspect the feeble FSB was less of an issue than the G4 core design was, I’ll also hazard to speculate that the latency to main RAM was impacted by a poor chipset. Was the G4 even fully competitive with a P3 in IPC in general purpose tasks? I seem to recall it had a single FP unit. The design needed to be revised, to be improved as both Intel and AMD did to their designs, but I guess Moto had given up and Apple wasn’t the powerhouse they are now.

          If the FSB was really the main issue, I’d expect it would have had the greatest impact at exactly the same times as they could use AltiVec, it was precisely those times that data could be munched in bulk.

          For the record, I have a working 1.67ghz 17″ Powerbook here sporting 2GB of RAM, once in a while it comes out of storage to play a DVD. (My biggest portable screen.) Too bad the software dried up, especially web browsers and OSX.

            • setaG_lliB
            • 1 month ago

            It’d be interesting to measure the memory and cache latencies on this G4. Looking purely at the specs, the 1.25GHz G4 [i<]should[/i<] have better memory performance than the overclocked P3 I was comparing it to. My G4 has a 167MHz FSB, 2GB of 333MHz DDR, 256KB of L2, and 1MB of off-chip L3. The overclocked PIII system has a 155MHz FSB, 2GB of 310MHz DDR with 2-2-2-5 timings (it's rare to have DDR on a P3 board), 512KB of L2, and no L3. According to AIDA64, memory and cache latency on the P3 system are impressively low: 86.3ns for main memory, 6.5ns for L2, and 1.5ns for L1. I'm not sure if there exists a program that can measure cache and memory latency on PPC Macs, but a sluggish memory controller could definitely be hurting performance.

            • Scrotos
            • 1 month ago

            [url<]http://archive.arstechnica.com/cpu/01q2/p4andg4e/m-p4andg4e-1.html[/url<] Someone call for an architecture comparison? 😀

        • Scrotos
        • 1 month ago

        What engineering investment? You ever try to change the RAM on a power Mac 8100/8500 case? The “door” was so amazing compared to their old cases and honestly good compared to the finger slicing molex trapping cases in PC land at the time.

        They finally got a decent IDE interface and pushed USB. Easy to work on. Done. How often are you sitting around trying to flex your computer case? Normally mine just sit there.

      • jackbomb
      • 1 month ago

      10.5 ran like ass on my G4 Powerbook back in the day. That’s your main bottleneck. Leopard really needs a G5 or Intel for good performance.

    • anotherengineer
    • 1 month ago

    No mention of the 6k screen?

    [url<]https://www.techpowerup.com/256231/apple-announces-groundbreaking-mac-pro-and-pro-display-xdr[/url<] I know it will be way out of my budget, but it's nice to see monitor advancements keep pushing along. edit - which oddly enough is not apples golden 16:10 ratio

      • ptsant
      • 1 month ago

      Apparently the display stand is sold as an extra (who needs a stand anyway?) at an affordable $999.

      I assume it counterbalances the weight of the display with magic fairy dust and antigravity beams.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 1 month ago

        [quote<]Apparently the display stand is sold as an extra (who needs a stand anyway?) at an affordable $999.[/quote<] Probably a fair number of pro-shops that are the target market use mounting arms.

          • blastdoor
          • 1 month ago

          Yup.

          Many of the comments here can be summed up as “I dislike what I do not understand”

          This is a high end Unix workstation, basically the 2019 NeXT Station

            • ptsant
            • 1 month ago

            Help me understand how a $999 stand is justified.

            The only justification I can think of is that they [think they] can get away with it. I don’t see any true value for the customer. The monitor is great (even if expensive). But the stand? What is so special about it?

            At $200 for the stand and $50 for the VESA adapter I wouldn’t blink. But $999?

            • K-L-Waster
            • 1 month ago

            Not including a stand as… uh, “standard” (sorry)… makes sense for this market. Although you would think that giving it a VESA mount out of the box would be sensible.

            Charging anything north of $100 for a stand, OTOH, is pure “Apple Sucker Surcharge.”

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            My point is that in this market, the stand often isn’t needed, so not including a stand is justified.

            Is $999 justified though? Perhaps not, although when fixed costs are spread out over a very small number of units, you have to charge more to recover those fixed costs. But I would agree that buying that stand probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense 🙂

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 month ago

          That’s where the $200 VESA mount comes in handy.

          • Spunjji
          • 1 month ago

          To me, that’s a great reason for not including a stand and an absolutely *terrible* reason to not have VESA mount capability by default.

        • Krogoth
        • 1 month ago

        It also requires a proprietary $200+ adapter if you want to put in on a standard VESA-mount. I suspect that aspiring types with 3D Printers are going to be taking advantage of it.

          • Bauxite
          • 1 month ago

          Yep all just so you can mount it on a $40 desktop stand to get basic things like height, tilt and swivel.

          Or mount it on a $100 adjustable arm:

          [url<]https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Premium-Single-Monitor-Stand/dp/B00MIBN16O[/url<] Jesus they are so out of touch. (FWIW I wouldn't use a 3D-printed part to handle the load of a vesa mount, really needs to be metal with bolts)

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 month ago

          Yes, let’s 3D print a brittle plastic VESA mount to take all of the weight from my $5000 monitor.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            You’re supposed to use your $120k 3D printer that can print one in steel.

            Seriously, what the hell.

      • davidbowser
      • 1 month ago

      Agree that this pushes the graphics tech along nicely.

      I realize that several people complain about the price of the monitor, but you have to compare with pro-graphics screens. 32″ inch 4k displays from Dell, Eizo, or BenQ of this caliber run in the $1000-$1500 range. Dell’s 8k UP3218K is $3900 and might be the closest comparison. It has a higher res, but lower brightness and color reproduction specs.

      The price simply doesn’t bother me since that’s how much you should expect to pay for a pro-graphics monitor like this.

      That said, the VESA adapter surcharge is DUMB. Everyone makes pro monitors with VESA mounts on them, so Apple doing this looks like they are nickel and diming.

      EDIT: typo

    • Generic
    • 1 month ago

    Which is more egregious: the grate or chincy looking feet?

    I still like it better than the trash can, but appreciate the eccentric engineering of both designs.

      • Spunjji
      • 1 month ago

      The feet.

      The grate is silly but ok; I see what they were going for in terms of airflow vs. poking-things-in vs. having a unique design motif. The feet, though… why why why?!

    • Liron
    • 1 month ago

    Leaked images of what appears to be Apple’s upcoming new monitor have been found at the Target site?
    [url<]https://target.scene7.com/is/image/Target/GUEST_972b9bc0-23da-4aa9-970a-9f20625afdba[/url<]

    • tay
    • 1 month ago

    [quote<] After all, Apple can't be running wires to graphics cards.[/quote<] Well done TR. Haha!

    • albundy
    • 1 month ago

    with an 8-core CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD—would cost you $6000

    so… an 8 core ryzen, 32 gb of ram and that super tiny ssd nets about $350. thats one expensive case. must be made of white gold.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 month ago

      None of that matters to the target demographic. Chief Editor Emeritus Kampman said it best:

      [url<]https://twitter.com/jkampman/status/1135646983287398400[/url<] In short, this is for people who are already heavily invested in Apple's ecosystem and can't afford NOT to stay in it

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 1 month ago

        In other news, Apple knows their business better than a random young man commenting on TR.

      • GatoRat
      • 1 month ago

      The 256GB SSD cracked me up. Then to find it’s a middling SSD is somehow even funnier.

      • Shobai
      • 1 month ago

      I am in no way an Apple apologist, but that’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison.

      You’ve conveniently omitted the PSU and CPU heatsink, but get back to us when you find an X470 or similar motherboard that can concurrently accept 4 off dual slot GPUs, 3 off single slot GPUs, and 1 off single slot PCIe x4 card.

        • Shobai
        • 1 month ago

        Even so, I imagine that there does actually exist a Xeon CPU with 116 PCIe lanes, minimum, for driving all slots at full rate?

          • Bauxite
          • 1 month ago

          Nope, not even two of them have nearly enough lanes. Those slots are either behind a hot and expensive PCIe switch or split off into various x8/x4 depending on how they are populated.

          But there is AMD Epyc that actually has 128 lanes. And they’re about to double the bandwidth and core count on those. A real innovator would’ve built around that, and jesus [i<]that[/i<] case...WTF happened to their fashion department design or whatever?

        • snowMAN
        • 1 month ago

        Or 6 channel ECC RAM.

      • 1sh
      • 1 month ago

      Steve Jobs would be proud…..

      of how ridiculously overpriced this thing is.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 month ago

        It is and it isn’t. Remember, this isn’t a Core i9-9900K or a Ryzen 7 2700X. Intel’s responsible for much of the price, too. 2,933 MT/s memory means Cascade Lake, which means a Xeon Silver 4215 and its associated platform, plus six-channel memory and loads of PCIe access. Either you need it or you don’t.

          • Bauxite
          • 1 month ago

          Would’ve been better to go for 8 channel memory and way more loads of PCIe lanes.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 month ago

            I assume you’re talking about EPYC, but I think Apple will go to ARM before it goes full AMD.

      • Bauxite
      • 1 month ago

      $6000 I could build you a 32 core 1P Epyc. On an ATX motherboard with 100+ lanes in a tower that looks [b<]much[/b<] better than that. Hell, can probably still find some caselabs stuff still out there.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 1 month ago

        EPYC has huge memory latency and a split L3 cache, which means audio latency will suffer.

        Mac Pro line caters to audio engineers. For better or worse, Cascade Lake is the best choice. For overall rendering girth, Apple seems to be favoring Metal + AMD GPUs (4x Radeon VII is going to be an absolute beast of a GPU).

          • tipoo
          • 1 month ago

          T2 caused all sorts of issues with audio latency in its own right that weren’t sorted out last I checked. I hope it’s down pat by the Mac Pro release for their sake.

          Are there instances of EPYC’s split L3 cache causing DAW latency issues? I would have figured the difference between a CPU cache miss latency and the requirements for DAW are so huge as to never cause dropouts

    • Krogoth
    • 1 month ago

    They just don’t care anymore. Apple wants to kill off Mac Pro brand by making a completely unattractive platform for die-hard crowd (ugly appliances that looks like its belongs in the kitchen drawer) and prosumers alike (overpriced, underpowered for its pricepoint)

      • Liron
      • 1 month ago

      Steve Jobs would have murdered someone over that design.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese! I Absolutely do! …but he totally would have.

        • blastdoor
        • 1 month ago

        I think it looks better than the powermac g3 and g4.

        The original cheese graters might have looked better, but they weren’t running a 1.4 kw power supply with 4 GPUs. I think there’s a pretty legit need for a coarser grate here.

          • Spunjji
          • 1 month ago

          I don’t think the g3 / g4 comparison is a fair one. Computer tower design standards back then were a stunningly low bar to clear, and the primary purpose of those designs was to look friendly to users who didn’t fit the PC-nerd mold. I don’t think they look very good by today’s standards, but by the standards of the day they were on a whole new level. This is… not like that.

          If optimal airflow were the primary concern, circles of any kind are not the best way to achieve it. This looks like it might flow better than the old design but it’s still going to generate a huge amount of turbulence. I genuinely can’t make sense of it.

        • superjawes
        • 1 month ago

        They never would have gotten to the cheese grater design. Jobs would have made quite the example of iPhone X’s “notch” guy and iPhone 6’s “protruding camera” guy.

        • cozzicon
        • 1 month ago

        I worked for Apple when Jobs was there the second time. And you are right. That design would have never made it out of the gate.

      • blastdoor
      • 1 month ago

      [quote<]They just don't care anymore. [/quote<] I would have agreed wholeheartedly with this statement in 2016. But if that were true, then why release this new Mac Pro at all? They clearly didn’t have to. I think they waited so long that most of their desktop pro users gave up and moved on (I did). So I actually think this shows they care a great deal. Also, I’d say this looks like it is more responsive to actual pro user needs then anybody expected. This computer is basically what you’d get if you took the 2010 cheese grater and applied steady, linear upgrades. And that’s pretty much what pro users wanted.

        • Krogoth
        • 1 month ago

        Pixar a few other major studio contracts with Apple holdovers have been bugging Apple to update Mac Pro line-up for years. Apple just caved in but did it half-hardheartedly. I suspect this effort is “burning the bridges”.

        The graphical professional world has changed a lot from heyday of the Mac Pro family in both software and hardware solutions.

        Apple offers little to table to most professionals save for the brand name. They are better options elsewhere with saner budgets.

          • blastdoor
          • 1 month ago

          A much better way to burn bridges is to say “you’ll get nothing and like it!”, which is what they were doing and the bridges were burning quite nicely.

          This puts the fire out, though I’d say the bridge needs a lot of repair work.

            • spiketheaardvark
            • 1 month ago

            I know the 3d studio my friend works at went Apple free during the trash can years. Considering how much they hate changing up their work flow, getting that business won’t be easy. Apple will have to find a way to offer something they can’t refuse. Getting that market share back will be a lot harder than convincing college students.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            Yup — it will take years. It remains to be seen if they are willing to stick it out, but I’m very cautiously hopeful that they might be.

            • Krogoth
            • 1 month ago

            It is too late and Apple doesn’t care anymore because the market that Mac Pros have been shot towards has always been “small money”. Sure the margins are high per capita but the volume is too small to make any real revenue.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            That’s the perfect argument for dropping the product, not for coming out with an entirely new version of it.

            I speculate there are two reasons Apple stuck with updating the Pro:

            1. though a very small market, these are influential users at the core of the core of Apple’s user base. Keeping these people (happily) in the ecosystem has value beyond this particular product.

            2. making products of this nature is still a part of Apple (and even more so, NeXT’s) DNA. From the Apple 1 through NeXT, Steve Jobs was focused on building computers that are useful tools for non-computer people to use to create valuable things. The iPod turned Apple into a company that makes most of it’s money through “content consumption” rather than production, but the production part is still lurking in the corporate DNA somewhere. In other words, they do still care…. even if only in the sense that they just can’t quite stop caring, no matter how hard they try.

            • the
            • 1 month ago

            I beg to differ. The first few generations of the Mac Pro were actually about gaining market share and getting the new x86 platform out there. This first generation was shockingly less expensive than the HP/Dell/Lenovo alternatives at the time. To top things off, Apple was able to get exclusive usage of the X5365 for several months before other OEMs for the first 8 core workstations at the time. The price for that exclusive high end system was a ‘mere’ $4000. Once Boot Camp was released, I know of several people who picked up Mac Pros because the hardware was good and they just ditched OS X entirely. The Nehalem based systems were price competitive as well and made many users happy. The HP/Dell/Lenovo competition had adjusted their pricing to compete.

            Then the bridge burning began as Apple let the Mac Pro linger when Sandy Bridge-EP came out to everyone’s surprise. After Ivy Bridge was well onto the market, Apple released the trash can design. Bridge is not only on fire, but the beams are melting and a volcano is rising from the sea below. And then Apple let the design cook in the market by not touching it for six years. It wouldn’t have been bad if Apple did yearly or bi-annual updates.

            In the time since the 2013 Mac Pro, the market has moved to higher power consuming parts while simultaneously increasing pricing. Intel has gone crazy with market segmentation as they now charge an extra $3000 to be able to max out memory. That amount of money used to get a complete Mac Pro system.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            Agreed — my 2009 Mac Pro was truly a great deal.

            It would be great if Apple could have enough success with this new design that they eventually lower the base configuration price to, say, $2500.

            • Spunjji
            • 1 month ago

            I think that’s relatively unlikely given how low-volume this product is likely to be, but we’ll see – it shouldn’t be quite so bad as the trash can in that regard.

          • the
          • 1 month ago

          The bridge burning was the 2013 Mac Pro. This is rebuilding them. Much of the features of this Mac Pro are similar to other high end single socket workstations from Dell, HP or Lenovo. Pricing isn’t outrageously out of line either.

          How far off is still an open question as Dell/HP/Lenovo has yet to announce systems based on the same Xeon W’s as they just upgraded their previous workstations to Cascade Lake. This is also seemingly the forth iteration of socket 3647. The one thing Dell/HP/Lenovo do offer is that they’ll permit bottom of the barrel configurations like 1.7 Ghz hex core Xeon Bronze chips as the starting point. Going to a 3.5 Ghz based clock 8 core Xeon Gold, roughly equivalent to the base CPU in the new Mac Pro, is a ~$2700 difference from Intel. That is where HP/Dell/Lenovo will come out ahead in value if you don’t need that specific level of performance: they will happily sell you something less.

            • spiketheaardvark
            • 1 month ago

            But it’s not just the hardware. If you’re dropping 10k+ on a work station there’s also a lot of money being dropped on the software and user training for that software. Two platforms being anywhere near parity, people will stick with what they are currently using. During the trash can years lack of upgrades forced a lot of shops to switch. Going back will carry a lot of costs beyond the price of these mac pros. If Apple wants to grow the market share they need to offer a machine that does the job significantly better AND demonstrate that they aren’t going to abandon the market like they did before. The PC market can be a little boring but guaranteed in 3-5 years someone will be being selling a workstation with the latest CPUs.

        • the
        • 1 month ago

        They do care but it seemingly takes several years of hammering the skulls of decision making executives within that company for them to become selfaware of it.

        I will say that I’m not seeing much what would have prevented this system’s release in 2018 when it was original new or even in 2017 for that matter. Different CPU and GPU of course but not [i<]that[/i<] different. Apple more than ever does need a middle ground desktop system between the new Mac Pro and the Mac Mini that isn't an iMac. While Apple gets better than street pricing, Intel is charging a lot for these CPUs and the GPUs themselves aren't cheap either. The problem is that there is massive jump between consumer pricing and this type of professional gear. (Xeon E is too close to consumer and just get you ECC. Xeon D doesn't clock high enough and non upgradable. LGA 2066 Xeon W's are EOL'd. Future consumer LGA 2066 chips are unknown (Intel maybe going to LGA 3647 there too at the end of the year.)

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 month ago

          I’m of the opinion that reasonably-priced towers serve two types of customer: gamers which Apple does not serve, and people without enough money to interest Apple.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            What you say has some truth to it, but only some.

            Many Mac users do play games and I’m sure would like to play more. I personally have always played a lot of Civ and still do. Games have been very successful on iOS. There is no technical or financial reason why Apple couldn’t make the Mac a much better gaming platform, and I think they’d increase sales if they did.

            While I agree that Apple has no interest in going after the <$1k tower market, there’s a lot of space between that market and the >$6k market they are going after with this new Mac Pro. For example, a $2k tower is in no way “cheap” by any reasonable standard, and I think Apple could sell a decent number of them.

            Combine better game support with a ~$2k tower and I think Apple could nudge their Mac market share up a percentage point or two. Given the ecosystem multiplier effects associated with adding Mac users, that’s worth doing.

            I continue to speculate that Apple’s missteps in the Mac market are due to management dysfunction, plain and simple. They are leaving money (albeit a small amount, compared to iDevices) on the table. But it’s money worth going after.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            I have this idea that most of the interest in mid-range Apple towers is actually coming from people who are too technically competent and too cost-sensitive to actually pony up the Apple tax. We’re all going to look at it and go [i<]ewww it lacks some CPU cores that are available from Dell[/i<] or whatever.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            In terms of internet discussion board commenters, you’re probably right that most of the stated interest comes from people who wouldn’t actually buy it if it exists.

            But, I speculate that the number who would buy it if it exists is still large enough to make it worth doing. There was a time when Apple sold fewer than 1 million Macs per quarter and that was enough to fund the entire company (barely). At that time, midrange towers probably accounted for a couple hundred thousand units per quarter. I suspect that’s what they’d sell today, too. That’s small by iPhone standards (or even MacBook standards) but it’s not nothing…

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            There has been a big change though since the heyday of the G3/G4 towers. Back then a separate screen was an obvious choice, cooling and power management were crude, storage was physically massive and heavy, connectors were large, optical drives were required. Computers were quickly rendered obsolete by faster computers and a rapid advance in software.

            In the modern era Apple can stuff as much as 18 CPU cores, 128GB of RAM, 4TB of SSD and a good GPU behind a fantastic screen. Even the more mainstream configurations can be expected to be useful a good run of years, substantially longer than those old G3/G4 towers could hope for, despite the reduced upgradeability.

            Yeah they could no doubt sell some mid-range desktop machines but its going to be nothing like it was before. They can’t even be bothered to make branded monitors much. How many mini’s do they sell anyway?

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 month ago

      You call this killing off a platform? They never wanted the low-margin markets, this thing appears to go all-in on premium performance for those who have the money. I can’t see a more fruity way to go about things.

        • Krogoth
        • 1 month ago

        Yes, the platform isn’t that attractive anymore save for the Apple brand. They are better options elsewhere even for aspiring digital artists. This isn’t the 1990s-2000s anymore.

        Apple has been moving away from “traditional” PC market ever since their eGadgets and other serivces took over as their bread and butter.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 month ago

          Your entire thesis here is nonsense. Making an technically impressive product for the purpose of killing the brand, what? Lets just drop that whole claim, its absurd.

          The traditional PC market is a swamp and Apple knows this. The reason they make so much money from devices and services is because there is a lot of money to be made there. Apple is good at this. With this new workstation, Apple is doing the same thing they do everywhere, which is arrive at a nice profit margin and back it up with custom R&D, custom manufacturing. Let the bottom feeders optimize and hack their way to something which is mostly good, Apple is waiting for people who aren’t into that.

          Apple must have paid a price for neglecting their Trashcan so long, but this workstation is the kind of step it takes to regain their credibility. So far as I see, the top end iMac slots in reasonably well under this. Except for the long-term cost-effectiveness, I agree entirely with Apple that laptops and AIO’s are sufficient to a very high level these days, if packed with appropriate parts.

            • Krogoth
            • 1 month ago

            There’s nothing technically impressive about this “Mac Pro”. It resembles hardware found in semi-custom HPC and GPGPU farms that have been the recent craze. The only difference here is the Apple-brand name nothing more.

            The whole thing is one big marketing move. It is trolling at its finest. They want PC community to talk about how absurd and silly the Mac Pro like this entire thread.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            I frown in your general direction.

      • psuedonymous
      • 1 month ago

      If Apple wanted to kill off the Mac Pro brand they would just [i<]not sell any more Mac Pros[/i<]. It's how they've killed off every other retired brand (the iPod Classic/Nano/Shuffle, the Xserve, the xWriters, the Cinema Displays, the AirPort, the iSight, etc), and the way any sane company kills off a product.

      • End User
      • 1 month ago

      And yet the overwhelming reaction to this product has been positive.

      The 6K display undercuts reference displays by a wide margin while being technically superior.

      The Pro community is going to eat this up.

        • Krogoth
        • 1 month ago

        It is quite polarizing from what I seen and heard. Only die-hard macoytles are eating it up.

        That 6K monitor on paper is just a cheaper versions of digital studio-grade SKUs that are easily go north of $10K+. Wait for independent reviews before falling into the marketing hype. Apple has historically been infamous for overhyping their stuff to a silly degree.

        Pro community has no reason to eat this up either. There are already superior options on both software and hardware front. This isn’t the 2000s anymore. The professional market has changed quite a bit and the competition has amped their game.

    • drfish
    • 1 month ago

    It’s been a few hours, and I’m still aghast by how hideous this things looks. It seriously boggles my mind. Oof.

      • bthylafh
      • 1 month ago

      We can be assured that St. Steve would have had some choice abuse for whoever designed the look.

      • Anonymous Hamster
      • 1 month ago

      I think the aluminum body section looks okay, but the stainless steel bits seem very much out of place. If it had the aluminum handles and feet of the previous box, it’d be okay looking.

      The wheel option does look a bit better than the feet option.

    • drfish
    • 1 month ago

    Tim Cook: But is it grate enough?
    Apple designer: Hold my cheese.

      • Liron
      • 1 month ago

      First thing I thought when I saw the picture was, “Please tell me that everyone else is seeing it too. It doesn’t resemble one; it looks exactly like one. There’s just no chance that there’s someone who doesn’t see it.”

      Reassuringly enough, it seems that everyone sees it.

      So the question is, “how in the world did no one at Apple see it?”

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 1 month ago

        Turtle Power!
        [url<]https://www.target.com/p/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-cheese-grater-tmnt-stainless-steel-shredder/-/A-76187789[/url<]

        • bthylafh
        • 1 month ago

        The resemblance was 100% deliberate.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 1 month ago

      Thank you for that. I LOL’ed and my kids looked at me funny.

      • Captain Ned
      • 1 month ago

      Mmm, apple pie with some good sharp cheddar (preferably from Cabot Creamery).

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 1 month ago

      The’re making Apple grate again.

    • rudimentary_lathe
    • 1 month ago

    I’m not the target market for this thing, but good on Apple for making a real Pro device. It remains to be seen what the compatibility will be like for add-in components, of course.

    That price though…

      • Wirko
      • 1 month ago

      Compatibility? Will check retail price on boot. Cards over $1,000 = OK.

    • cheddarlump
    • 1 month ago

    All for the low low price of $99999999999…..

    • Jonsey
    • 1 month ago

    Apple is making the Mac Pro grate again.

      • Wirko
      • 1 month ago

      Cheese lovers at TR and beyond will be grateful!

      • jihadjoe
      • 1 month ago

      Cheese graters > Trashcans

      • just brew it!
      • 1 month ago

      Someone at work posted a pic in Slack of the system unit and the monitor+stand side-by-side. When I initially glanced at it (before I read the caption or had any idea of the scale of what I was looking at it), my first thought was “Why the heck did someone just post a picture of a cheese grater next to a tablet?”

        • Wirko
        • 1 month ago

        Viewed from front, it doesn’t look like a cabbage shredder, but a tablet indeed.

    • blastdoor
    • 1 month ago

    Nice. This is pretty much the dream Mac Pro.

    That “afterburner” module is an FPGA. Might that be from Intel? If so, that could be one reason Apple stuck with intel rather than going with AMD.

      • the
      • 1 month ago

      If that is the case, I would have suspected Apple would simply have gone with a Xeon 6138P which includes a FPGA in the same package. That chip was supposed to be a preview of what Intel had in store for 10 nm as they were to make CPU + FPGA combos far more wide spread. According to the original roadmaps, that was supposed to be happening right now but we all know what happened to their 10 nm manufacturing plans.

        • blastdoor
        • 1 month ago

        But would that limit flexibility? Not everybody needs it, better to have it as an option.

        To me, this machine looks designed to be useful to a broader range of Pro users and not everybody needs an FPGA.

        I know that in the short term the main buyers of this machine will be Pixar-like people. But longer term, this could be useful for anybody who wants a high-end, no-hassle Unix workstation. Still a small group, but it’s not a homogenous group.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 1 month ago

          Regarding the high-end unix workstation idea, a few rambling thoughts.

          For one, it seems Microsoft is blurring the lines on where exactly the boundary of unix-like lies as they add improved interoperability. Also, I personally consider OSX to be its own category of OS, not to be binned with Windows or Linux. Finally, I see a lot of developers and perhaps scientists gravitate towards OSX, which has to mean a significant attraction towards Apple hardware when its time for the real data analysis. Data models and machine learning, I’m thinking. Interesting to watch Microsoft pushing their development tools and Azure integration, this strikes me as essential to their long term prospects.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            A few rambling thoughts of my own 🙂

            1. Not that it’s super important, but OSX actually is Unix — as in, certified Posix compliant. Linux isn’t.

            2. Where MS doesn’t blur the lines is in their task scheduler. Run N+1 CPU-intensive processes on a system with N CPUs and you’d think Windows was a cooperative multitasking OS. It’s bizarre.

            3. I agree that there is a lot of interest (potentially) in OSX from the academic scientific/AI/ML crowd. More generally, I think anyone who needs the power of a Unix workstation without the hassle of administering a Unix workstation is a potential Mac Pro customer. That’s not a huge group of people, but it’s a group of people that’s worth having as customers, not just for themselves but also for their influence.

            4. Related to Azure integration, I’ve often thought Apple should offer a iCloud Pro hybrid-cloud service that provides seamless, zero-config access to AWS-like computational resources. Using AWS isn’t seamless at all. Providing a service that automatically/intelligently draws on cloud resources in cases where doing so is beneficial might be very valuable.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            Certifications aside, I claim Linux is the defacto unix and OSX provides a certain amount of compatibility with that, while also being its own thing.

            At work we are bound to software that either runs on Windows or on Linux with a layer of wine, I happily abuse the Windows machines but I guess 16 threads is the largest box I really spawn. Make them suffer, await the arrival of the sausage at the other end. It works a lot better than porting the software, anyway!

            I wonder why the Windows kernel would be less good at multitasking, seems like they have all the resources and people it would take to make their kernel optimal. I don’t see that backwards compatibility would explain how it multitasks.

            [quote<]Apple should offer a iCloud Pro hybrid-cloud service that provides seamless, zero-config access to AWS-like computational resources[/quote<] Hah, yeah I don't know how many services AWS has that have "simple" in their name, but nothing is actually simple. How many services do they claim you can use in a few clicks or a few minutes or without writing any code, what a load of crap. If you want to use that platform in a professional non-trivial way you need skilled people to invest years in it. Of course I'm pretty happy with the platform, just its a full time job.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            [quote<]I wonder why the Windows kernel would be less good at multitasking, seems like they have all the resources and people it would take to make their kernel optimal. [/quote<] It's truly baffling. I just don't get it. Certainly Windows NT (my first experience was win2k) was a huge improvement over what came before, and certainly way better than classic MacOS. That was one reason I moved to Windows back at the turn of the century. But, at least in my experience, the NT kernel does not multitask nearly as well as Unix-like operating systems. Perhaps I've been strangely unlucky or perhaps I have some disability in using Windows that I don't have in using Unix, but in my experience Unix > NT > cooperative multitasking 20th century OSes.

            • spiketheaardvark
            • 1 month ago

            Macs usage in academic circles is certainly high. Linux is really were all the software is targeted though. Macs often get used just due to their Unix roots, so code can easily be shared when things need to be scaled up to compute clusters running Linux. That along with Linux’s rocky past on laptops.

            But Apple isn’t exactly making friends in this neck of woods either. They are making it ever more difficult to run unsigned code (which is most everything we use), and a host of (mostly older) java based tools that are also getting difficult to run on macs. On the other side, WSL is just good enough to cover the Linux only tools I have and allow me to get what I need done.

            Project scale (and often bodgy code) can rapidly push our work past any desktop. A growing number of us are spending a lot of time at an AWS terminal. I have a friend that, despite having a 16 core machine, had to move to AWS to try to analyze the 150 gigapixels worth of microscope images he had. But, like in this case, we only do this rarely, so dropping 20-30k on machine like these mac pros would be a waste of hard earned grant money. AWS time is cheap, on demand, and scalable.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            Yeah its a good point that cloud computing is way way more flexible, spending the oceans of cash that a high-end Mac costs is pouring money in a hole, from which you must recover it by actually using the capabilities of the machine. Sitting and editing your software rather than actually running it? Thats time you are not reclaiming your investment.

            Achieving automatic scaling with job management on a cloud provider though, basically you’re getting into building a cluster and related infrastructure, it can rapidly absorb a lot of time. At work I caution people not to underestimate the complexity of AWS, its very easy to spend your time and money there.

            • spiketheaardvark
            • 1 month ago

            Time spent learning systems\languages or making my own tools is always on my mind. I have no desire to remain a postdoc forever or go full time to data science. This is exactly why I’ve never learned opencl or cuda.

      • tipoo
      • 1 month ago

      Could be, but why not Xilinx either. Intel has made it clear they’re expecting Apple to leave them for a 5% hit to their consumer end revenue in 2020-2021, so it kind of seemed like they were in a cold war, far from their old status as most preffered partners, so for a while it seemed like Intel would sell Apple stuff but not go as far to customize them like they used to.

    • Redocbew
    • 1 month ago

    Before anyone complains about the handles: if these are anything like the old Mac Pro towers, then trust me you’re going to need the handles.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 1 month ago

      You HAVE to have handles for a deep fryer basket.

        • Redocbew
        • 1 month ago

        Now I want french fries.

    • dragontamer5788
    • 1 month ago

    About damn time!

    I like the design. Big hardware, big GPU, (quad Radeon VII ?!?!?). Always exciting to see the Mac Pro line whenever Apple decides to actually update it. It shows that someone at the Fruit-co actually cares about big designs and big computers.

      • blastdoor
      • 1 month ago

      Indeed… you can say it’s too late, but you can’t say it’s too little!

      • Krogoth
      • 1 month ago

      It is an Instinct Mi60 CF on a stick.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 month ago

      And yet starting prices of $4999 for an intel 8-core, 256GB SSD, 32GB and RX580 makes me scared to look at what Apple are charging for the privilege of four Radeon VII cards.

      On another note, most of our visualisers are using CUDA these days. We’ve not been using any Mac Pros for a while now, but between Unreal, Nvidia, Enscape, and Autodesk – the pro-level 3D content creation scene has already reacted to Apple’s neglect of this sector and a number of rendering companies that are much bigger than us (we outsource to them occasionally) have all commented that they’re transitioning to Windows workstations because Apple haven’t been paying this market segment enough attention.

      Perhaps it’s enough to pacify the hardcore Apple Mac Pro fans, but the rest of the industry is either considering moving on, or has already switched sides.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 month ago

        These things were never going to sell in bulk, so expect them to not be priced to scale.

        • blastdoor
        • 1 month ago

        I’m not a content person, but I was a Mac Pro customer. I moved on to Linux plus threadripper.

        I will consider the Mac Pro again the next time I’m in the market, if Apple keeps the darned thing updated. To me, hassle-free Unix has value. My comparative advantage is not administering Linux (and Windows is strangely deficient when it comes to basic things like multitasking).

          • Chrispy_
          • 1 month ago

          Windows’ multitasking deficiency is certainly bemusing. Our team was demoing 2990WX chips pre-release and in the end we struggled so hard with >20 core scaling that we just built two racks of TR1950X boxen instead and spread the work out using Deadline render management software.

          I wouldn’t expect Apple to keep this thing updated; Their track record this decade is [i<]below[/i<] abysmal.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            Skepticism is highly warranted and the burden of proof falls heavily on Apple.

            But…. they could have given up entirely yet didn’t. And this design seems built for upgrades. I’m cautiously optimistic, from a “trust, but verify” perspective.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 month ago

            Its an interesting contrast that you can almost completely trust Apple to make hardware that is durable, but you can’t trust them to make a new version of it. The traditional PC world on the other hand, the hardware has a good chance of having all sorts of corners cut, but you can be sure they’ll sell you an equally questionable upgrade next year.

            I think Apple’s biggest mistake is to behave like an erratic celebrity.

            What would really be so hard about delegating to some boring engineer the task of ensuring the Mini and the Mac Pro each get fresh hardware at regular intervals, without external changes? Let the big important people get involved when a change of strategy is called for. Really baffling management. Seems they demand too much central control.

            • blastdoor
            • 1 month ago

            Well said, and so true.

            I really wonder if this all comes down to Jony Ive (or someone close to him) being an unnecessary bottle neck to hardware updates. Looking at this new design, for better or worse, I’m thinking maybe he wasn’t involved very much 😉

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 month ago

            I agree with all of these words.

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