Up Close with the New Mac Proby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 10, 2013 3:15 PM EST
In its keynote this morning, Apple teased its next-generation Mac Pro, due out later this year. Based on Ivy Bridge E, the new system will ship with two AMD FirePro GPUs with up to 4096 SPs and capable of delivering 7 TFLOPS of peak FP performance.
We got a close look at the chassis, which is 1/8 the size of the current Mac Pro. You lose any hope for internal expansion, but Apple outfitted the machine with three Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt 2 controllers to enable expansion via external storage and external Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis options. Apple won't make any of its own Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, but you can expect that others will fill that void. With 20Gbps up/down on Thunderbolt 2, you should have enough bandwidth for any PCIe expansion.
Internally there are four DDR3 memory slots, as well as what looks like a proprietary PCIe SSD connector (I don't think it's M.2 unfortunately). Both GPUs are technically removable, but at least one is mounted as the same card as the PCIe SSD. Apple is putting every single PCIe lane available to use on the new Mac Pro.
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tipoo - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - linkThis is still internal PCI-E. Tomshardware found Thunderbolt had much bigger losses despite the speed. There's latency and other things involved.
CaedenV - Monday, June 10, 2013 - linkWhat planet are you on? PCIe3 just came out last year and has a MAX bandwidth of 16Gbps (1Gbps x16 lanes). On top of that only the highest of high end single GPU cards on the market use up more than 8 lanes (8Gbps) of throughput, and even doubble GPU cards do not come close to maxing out the full 16Gbps, so there is plenty of room to grow. This means that you can easily add a duel GPU (single or doubble cards) setup via TB2 without issue, while still daisy chaining a massive HDD raid enclosure... and that is only on one of the three provided TB2 ports!
I am not exactly sure what one does with the other ports. I suppose you could just hook up 6 high end GPUs to it? I mean, if you have the money to blow on apple products then why not?
konroh77 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - linkMight want to read the comments above about the difference between Gbps and GBps. PCIe3 is GB and TB is Gb. Makes a big difference!
tipoo - Monday, June 10, 2013 - linkThunderbolt 2 is 20Gb/s, mind the little b. PCI-E 3.0 is 15.75 GB/s, big B. Multiply the latter by 8 to compare.
psyq321 - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - linkCan you please stop mixing GigaBITS (Gbps / GBit/s) and GigaBYTES (GB/s).
PCIe 3.0 x16 is 16 GigaBYTES/s in one direction, which is 128 Gbps.
Dman23 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - linkLooks Amazing!! Can't wait for this to be tested with external power-house graphics cards through Thunderbolt 2. Looks like a Beast.
Ryan Smith - Monday, June 10, 2013 - linkI'm sorry, but I just can't take a "pro" computer with no internal expansion capabilities seriously. Whoever designed this clearly wasn't a computer user in the 80s and early 90s.
joel4565 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - linkI agree with you in principle that no computer should be a "pro" without expansion capabilities, but honestly how many mac pros ever saw an upgrade/expansion outside of ram/hard drive.
For better or worse that is the trend in modern computers. I know at my job, we almost never do upgrades to machines. They spend 3-4 years in the labs that need the most power, get wiped and repurposed else where in the building, rinse and repeat.
Its a similar debate to the removable battery for phones. Yes it is a nice feature, but how many people have ever bought a second battery for their phone? I have used cell phones since ~2000 and I don't think I have ever bought a secondary/replacement battery.
rlkelly - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - linkHave 3 right now. 10Gbe adapters for our video guys. As far as I know I need to buy a tb to pcie breakout box to for them if we ever go with the new mac pros.
teakettle - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - linkI don't agree, but for the sake of the argument, even if it were true that very few people really used the mac pro to its full expansive potential, this is no argument to remove this potential.
There already is a line of Apple computers with limited upgradeability - and they're called imacs. Users who are happy with whatever comes out of the box, should be on imacs. Users who need more flexibility, should be on mac pro.
With this new design, users who need more flexibility out of their computer can never get it anymore. There's nothing good about that. It's a needless limitation and a downgrade of what used to be a top of the class line of machines.
If they continue in this direction I fear Apple may soon suffer a downfall like it did in the 90s, when advanced users moved to PCs by other vendors, because the self-absorbed and incompatible-with-anything-else toy computers made by Apple could no longer satisfy their needs.