Speaking at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple CEO Tim Cook and head of hardware John Ternus debuted the long-awaited new Mac Pro, bringing Apple roaring back into the high-performance professional market.
Resembling the older ‘cheese grater’ Mac Pro versions, the new model focuses on modularity, customizability, and performance. The new case features an aluminum housing that lifts up off the top, allowing easy 360-degree access to internal components. Simple, sturdy carrying handles allow the system to be easily moved around the studio, and Apple will also ship a Mac Pro configuration designed for easy rack-mounting. All of this attention to ease of access and modularity make the new system far more flexible than the 2013 Mac Pro.
The new Mac Pro embraces performance in a big way. The processor can be configured with Intel Xeon CPUs sporting up to a 28 cores and 64 PCI Express lanes. The system uses 6 memory channels using 2933 MHz ECC RAM, featuring 12 slots supporting up to a staggering 1.5TB of system memory.
Apple has addressed concerns about customizability by restoring PCI-E slots to the Mac Pro, bringing a total of 4 double-wide and 3 single-wide slots. Two Thunderbolt 3 ports are located on the top of the chassis, and two rear-mounted USB-A ports are also available for additional device support. Two 10gigE network ports are also standard for top-of-the-line network connectability.
The baseline GPU is the Radeon Pro 580X, with an upgrade available to the 14 teraflop Radeon Pro Vega II with 32GB of HBM2. Apple also introduced their MPX Module format - a quadruple-wide design that can house the new Radeon Pro Vega II Duo. The Duo features two Pro Vega II GPUs, doubling graphics throughput and video memory in a single unit. The new Mac Pro supports up to two MPX Modules, meaning the system can max out at an eye-watering 56 teraflops of graphics performance and 128GB of HBM2. All of this hardware can be leveraged via Apple’s newly-announced Pro Display XDR; the Mac Pro will be capable of supporting up to 6 of these displays for up to 120 million pixels.
The new Mac Pro also introduces the Afterburner graphics accelerator, capable of decoding up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. Video editors will be able to use native formats to decode up to 3 streams of 8K ProRes RAW video, or up to 12 streams of 4K ReRes RAW in real time on the most powerful configurations, virtually eliminating proxy workflows.
If there was any doubt about the Mac Pro’s intent to corner the professional creative market, Apple’s presentation put that to rest by announcing the software partners who have announced compatibility with the new platform. Major partners include:
Maxon (including Redshift)
This who’s who of creative tool developers ensures that content creation software will be optimized to take advantage of the Mac Pro’s muscle when it finally arrives.
Apple’s new flagship pro system will be available this fall. The baseline Mac Pro models will start at $5999 and will feature an eight-core Xeon CPU, 32GB of RAM, and the Radeon Pro 580X.
For Apple’s official announcement on the new Mac Pro, check out the Apple website here. If you have questions about Apple’s new hardware and software announced at WWDC, or need assistance speccing out a new system for your facility, Nodal can help!