During the keynote presentation at WWDC today, Apple previewed the long-awaited Mac Pro alongside a new 32-inch pro display. Both hardware announcements are aimed at professionals in fields like video compositing, 3D rendering, photography, and audio engineering.
The Mac Pro is designed with performance and customization in mind. The computer’s design echoes the classic ‘cheese grater’ Mac’s shape, vent system, and handles. The frame of the Mac Pro is built from stainless steel, and the casing is aluminum. With a twist of a latch on the top of the computer, users can lift the case off using the two stainless steel handles to access internal components from all sides and install expansion cards.
The case also incorporates a lattice pattern to maximize airflow through the case. According to Apple, the three-dimensional interlocking hemisphere pattern simultaneously assists with airflow by maximizing surface area and makes the case rigid but lightweight. Optional wheels can be added to the case to make it easier to transport in a workspace.
The new Mac Pro is designed for performance and customization. Apple says:
the all-new Mac Pro features workstation-class Xeon processors up to 28 cores, a high-performance memory system with a massive 1.5TB capacity, eight PCIe expansion slots and a graphics architecture featuring the world’s most powerful graphics card. It also introduces Apple Afterburner, a game-changing accelerator card that enables playback of three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously.
During the keynote presentation, Apple emphasized that it designed the Mac Pro to satisfy a wide range of professional uses, demoing audio editing of a Logic Pro X project that included hundreds of tracks and a Final Cut Pro video project that displayed multiple 8K video streams. According to Apple’s product page, the Mac Pro will also simulate iOS apps on multiple devices at once.
The system’s processor is an Intel Xeon W available in 8, 12, 16, 24, and 28-core configurations powered by a 1.4 kilowatt power supply. The processors also feature large L2 and shared L3 caches and 64 PCI Express lanes. The 8, 12, and 16-core models support 32, 48, 96, 192, 384, and 758GB memory configurations, with the 24 and 28-core models also supporting 1.5TB of memory using a six-channel architecture and 12 easily accessible DIMM slots. There are also a total of eight PCI expansion slots, four of which are double-wide, three of which are single-wide, and one of which is a half-wide slot preconfigured with Apple’s I/O card. The Mac Pro also supports up to 4TB of SSD storage and features Apple’s T2 chip.
On the graphics front, Apple says the Mac Pro:
features the world’s most powerful graphics card and up to 56 teraflops of graphics performance in a single system. Its groundbreaking graphics expansion architecture, the Apple MPX Module, features Thunderbolt integration and over 500W of power, both firsts for any graphics card. And for super quiet operation, the MPX Module is cooled by the Mac Pro system thermals.
Apple says the MPX Module:
starts with an industry-standard PCI Express connector. Then, for the first time in a graphics card, additional PCIe lanes were created to integrate Thunderbolt and provide increased capability. With up to 500 watts, the MPX Module has power capacity equivalent to that of the entire previous-generation Mac Pro.
The system supports two MPX Modules with a total of up to 4 GPUs. Configurations include a single AMD Radeon Pro 580X, single AMD Radeon Pro Vega II, or AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which features two GPUs. Two MPX Modules with AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duos provide 56 teraflops of compute power and 128GB of high-bandwidth memory, for handling the most demanding video compositing and 3D rendering tasks, for example. The new Mac Pro also introduces Apple Afterburner, a hardware accelerator card that can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second, which allows up to 3 streams of 8K ProRes RAW, 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW, or 16 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video all at 30 frames per second.
The Mac Pro’s I/O includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports. Adding MPX Modules increases the I/O available to the Mac Pro. The system can drive up to 12 4K displays or 6 of Apple’s Pro Display XDRs. Apple says that a rack-mountable version of the Mac Pro will also be available.
The Mac Pro will be available in the fall and starts at $5,999.
Pro Display XDR
Apple unveiled the Pro Display XDR, a 32-inch Retina resolution display with over 20 million pixels. That’s about 40% more screen space than a Retina 5K display. The Pro Display XDR includes P3 wide color gamut and 10-bit color, which produces over 1 billion colors. The display also features an extra-wide, accurate viewing angle with an anti-reflective coating. An optional matte finish is created by etching the display’s glass at a nanometer scale.
The Pro Display XDR is bright too, with 1,600 nits of brightness at its peak and the ability to sustain 1,000 nits indefinitely. The display also features a 1 million to 1 contrast ratio. To cool the screen, Apple uses an aluminum lattice pattern similar to the Mac Pro’s case.
The display is VESA-mountable. Apple also previewed a stand with a counterbalanced arm that it says makes it easy to adjust the display to multiple viewing angles and rotate it for use in portrait orientation.
The Pro Display XDR will be available in the fall. The standard glass configuration will cost $4,999, and the nano-etched model is $5,999. The stand is $999, and the VESA adaptor is $199.