Face it however you want, but the new Mac Pro, announced at WWDC19, fits at the top of the line of evolution of Apple computers in its own way.
Of course, such a machine is not created in a few months; in the case of Apple, the new Mac Pro took longer than expected to get where it is – many must remember that the company had announced that it would launch a new workstation (in addition to a new display, aka the newly announced Pro XDR Display) for more than two years; only last year, however, did she assume it would take a little longer for the computer and monitor to reach the market.
So much time, obviously, has led to the construction of the most powerful Mac so far. To understand the hype around the new machine, we need to first unravel it (not like iFixit usually does, of course).
Despite the sudden change in the external look of the new Mac Pro, which resembles the first versions of the workstation, the “cheese grater” format is the result of years of study and “was already floating in Apple’s design labs” even before the machine itself was conceived, as reported by Axios.
Naturally, Apple did not choose this design (among probably dozens of options) for nothing: each sphere (or hole) of the housing is made from the machining of its own stainless steel chassis, and aims to maximize ventilation and reduce noise during operation.
The tower shape of the new Mac Pro is typical of a machine with a modular design, and thanks to that it is extremely customizable; otherwise, so many configuration options would be inconsistent if the internal components were soldered, as in the case of MacBooks Pro (which in 2016 started to have RAM and SSD soldered directly to the motherboard).
In short, the design of the new Mac Pro fulfills Apple’s promise: an expandable machine that brings together the best in Apple computer architecture, offering space for powerful components – including the new accelerator card Afterburner, which we will detail below.
As announced shortly during the product presentation, Apple also plans to release a “stackable” version of workstation (without the feet or wheels on the bottom) for those who need two or more of these machines.
The new Mac Pro inspires performance from its most basic model to the top-of-the-line version. In this sense, Apple offers up to five configuration options for the workstation, all from the chip family Xeon W (from Intel).
The most basic model is equipped with an 8-core processor with clock 3.5GHz (or 4GHz on Turbo Boost), 24.5MB of cache and up to 1TB of RAM (2,666MHz).
The 12-core version is 3.3 GHz (or 4.4 GHz on the Turbo Boost), 31.25MB of cache and, although it also reaches 1TB of memory, it supports combs up to 2,933MHz. The intermediate model, in turn, has 16 3.2GHz cores (or 4.4GHz in the Turbo Boost), 38MB of cache and support memory up to 1TB (2,933MHz).
Arriving at crème de la crème, we have a 24-core 2.7GHz processor (or 4.4GHz in the Turbo Boost), 57MB of cache and, unlike other chips, up to 1.5TB of RAM (2,933MHz). Finally, the Mac Pro’s top-of-the-line processor has 28 cores with clock 2.5GHz (or 4.4GHz on the Turbo Boost), 66.5MB of cache and the same memory capacity as the 24-core model.
Apple is expected to use a processor version that will be released soon by Intel, since the specifications for existing Xeon W chips (from the Intel ARK line) do not have the same amount of cache that Apple claims it will use on the new Mac Pro – even though they reach the same frequency clock, as the AppleInsider.
Currently, the largest amount of cache on a Xeon W chip it is 38.5MB. In all varieties of processors in this line, however, the ability to cache jumps from 60MB to 71.5MB; that is, there is still no Xeon chip with 66.5MB of cache.
The new Mac Pro has 6 memory channels with 12 slots DIMMs. Apple revealed the possible memory combinations for each of the Mac Pro’s RAM configurations:
- 32GB: 4 8GB DDR4 combs;
- 48GB: 6 8GB DDR4 combs;
- 96GB: 6 16GB DDR4 combs;
- 192GB: 6 32GB DDR4 combs;
- 384GB: 6 64GB DDR4 combs;
- 768GB: 6 128GB DDR4 combs, or 12 64GB DDR4 combs;
- 1.5TB: 12 128GB DDR4 combs.
It is worth remembering that the use of 1.5TB of RAM is only possible on models with 24 or 28 cores, of course. In addition, only the RAM of the entry model (8 cores) is 2,666MHz, while the remaining models can use 2,933MHz ECC memories.
Similar to RAM, the new Mac Pro has a total of 8 slots PCIe 3.0 expansion modules that can be configured in different ways, all within a giant MPX card.
The new graphics card in the Mac Pro combines a new slot PCIe capable of providing up to 475W (!) Of power, standard PCIe connectors (x16) and a connector with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A and a 3.5mm audio output.
As we said, the slots The new Mac Pro’s PCIe are from the third generation, which left many users wondering why Apple did not adopt the fourth generation of the technology. The answer is simple: so far, only AMD has made progress in developing PCIe 4.0.
Speaking of AMD, it is in the graphics that the manufacturer contributed to the production of the new Mac Pro, from its chipsets Radeon Pro 580X and Radeon Pro Vega II (or II Duo), which represents the new generation of the board that powers the latest iMacs, with up to 64GB of HBM2 memory.
Intel, on the other hand, has yet to announce a specific processor that will support PCIe 4.0. Nevertheless, the new generation of chips “Ice Lake” from the manufacturer will support this standard, but Xeon processors in that line are not expected to ship until the first half of 2020 – too late to include it in time for the Mac Pro launch.
Although optional, we cannot forget to comment on a component as powerful as the new Afterburner card, configurable especially with the new Mac Pro. In short, it was designed to “relieve” processing components in intense tasks, such as video production and editing. , audio, etc.
Instead of the Mac Pro relying on processors or graphics cards for some tasks, Afterburner will take over these functions, releasing the rest of the system components to perform other actions; in short, what was already potent will get even better with it.
When installed in a slot Mac Pro’s PCIe (x16), editing apps will be able to manage high-resolution, high-bit rate videos with ease without “choking”. To achieve all of this, Apple worked with a number of companies like Adobe, Autodesk, Serif and Blackmagic, to optimize their software to make the most of this processing power.
During Afterburner’s presentation at WWDC19, we even saw one person add more than 1,000 audio tracks to Logic Pro X without any impact on the workflow. In addition, the board is capable of processing up to 3 streams simultaneous at 8K resolution (at 30 frames per second), 12 streams in 4K (at 30 frames per second) or up to 16 streams of video.
With Afterburner, Apple wants video editing and production software to be able to use codecs and original video file formats without creating versions of proxy (which can be edited more easily).
In addition to the more robust features ever seen on a Mac, there are other details of the new workstation of Apple that are worth highlighting. Apple product manager Doug Brooks said during the 485th edition of the podcast Mac Power Users that the new Mac Pro is quieter than the iMac Pro and the current model [do Mac Pro, o computador em forma de lata de lixo].
The sound of the new Mac Pro under a table measures about 10 decibels, making it quieter than an iMac Pro or the current Mac Pro on a table, which is already “virtually silent” at around 12 decibels.
As for power, Brooks said Apple’s goal was to design a computer for the future, ensuring that the machine is capable of handling tasks that professionals will have to do in a long time to come.
We don’t want to build it for today, but for the future. So, we look at features like streams of videos in 8K; this is not the usual today, but there are certainly professionals doing this, so we want to make sure that we are ready and have the performance to deliver it throughout the system.
The machine’s manufacturing process was so thorough that, according to the executive, Apple used impact sensors to ensure that the computer was able to withstand shocks and vibrations while being transported on trucks inside Apple Park and other environments.
Another interesting detail (which is quite the face of Apple) points out that, like many other Apple products, the new Mac Pro was kept in a “secret cabinet” during tests at Cupertino’s labs to ensure that its design remained secret. – which worked, after all.
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Thinking specifically about the new Mac Pro, it is possible to say, yes, that Apple’s advances in hardware are substantial enough to put it as the most amazing Mac ever released – but perhaps the main feature of this workstation continue to be the high configuration power and versatility it offers.
It is clear that so much potential is not aimed at “common” use, that is, the new Mac Pro was not intended to be a desktop computer in any home, but this is a discussion that we have already covered in another article.
It remains for us now to wait until the last quarter of this year for the first consumers to get their hands on their professional computers and for us, mere mortals, to be able to drool to see the processing power of the machine.
Until then, maybe someone there will change their mind and decide to spend (or rather, invest) more than a million reais in such beauty? ?
via AppleInsider, MacRumors, TechCrunch, 9to5Mac, YMCinema