It's hard not to think of the just-unveiled Mac Pro
as Apple's way of apologizing for the largely underwhelming second-generation "trash can
" redesign from 2013.
At $5,999, the Mac Pro remains Apple's most expensive desktop offering, which is always the case even in the past. This time, however, there's no experimental design, nor are there cheeky attempts at sleekness — much to the delight of Pro users, this new Mac Pro is a beastly, no-nonsense powerhouse that redefines what a "comeback" means.
Mac Pro 2019 Design
For this iteration, Apple went
back to the original design and made the Mac Pro a rectangle again. However, it's updated with a modern design language. In effect, the outer shell gives off an old-school Mac Pro vibe, but one that's outfitted with more modern, minimalist touches Apple is known for. There's nothing dramatic here, except maybe for the "cheese grater" front grille. Some smart changes, too — the steel feet can be swapped out for wheels, and there's a handle on top that allows the whole shell to be easily lifted.
Mac Pro 2019 Specs
What really matters, of course, are the insides. Apple
promises users will be able to fit some truly exceptional specs here. For starters, customers can opt for up to 1.5TB of memory across its 12 slots. Yes, that's RAM, not storage — and nope, that's not a typo. It goes up to 28 cores and a 56-thread Intel Xeon processor, with slots for four GPUs. The machine uses what Apple calls an MPX module. These modules not only plug into the Mac Pro's primary PCIe slots, but they also get additional bandwidth and up to 500 W of power from a new Thunderbolt backbone.
These specs sound intimidating, but rightly so. This machine, after all, is for Pro users, and Apple expects it to be used mainly in film, music, photo editing, video production, and 3D graphics. There's also an optional Afterburner FPGA card, which can reportedly process 6 billion pixels per second. Apple says that'll let the Mac Pro run two 8K RAW video streams at once, or 12 streams of 4K RAW video. It's not clear if Apple designed Afterburner itself or worked with a third party, though.
With great specs
comes astronomical prices, of course. Again, though, this isn't catering to the mass market. In any case, the Mac Pro is the truly powerful sequel to 2013's mediocre release, and is perhaps the biggest comeback thus far in the history of technology.
The new Mac Pro will be available to order in the fall.