Monday, October 21, 2013

Updated: New Mac Pro release date, news and features

Updated: New Mac Pro release date, news and features

Updated: New Mac Pro release date, news and features

During its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple unveiled the long-awaited new Mac Pro desktop, complete with a drastic and stylish redesign.

Of course, style isn't everything, and the Mac Pro packs a lot of punch into its diminutive cylindrical frame, which Apple claimed would provide "breakthrough performance" at one-eighth the size of current Mac Pros desktops.

Let's take a closer look at just what makes the new Mac Pro a desktop worth getting excited about.

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New Mac Pro release date

It's been a while since Apple's dropped a desktop this revolutionary on consumers, and we can't wait to see what the Mac Pro is actually capable when we get our hands on one.

The exact release date of the ne w Mac Pro isn't clear, but OS X Mavericks should be coming out in October, so who's to say that we won't be getting the new Mac Pro at the same time, possibly alongside Intel Haswell Core i5 and i7-powered MacBook Pros.

If you're hankering for an exact date, the new Mac Pros could go on sale on November 17 if rumors circulated by French site are to be believed. The official word on the its release date is expected to be announced at Apple's event on October 22.

Mac Pro specifications

Apple wasn't squeamish about breaking the Mac Pro open to give everyone a glimpse at the innards powering the 9.9-inch desktop.

The Mac Pro brings the noise with Intel Xeon E5 processors (check out this olde r-gen Xeon E5 review), which in turn are capable of supporting up to 12 core configurations to deliver two times the floating point performance.

Coupled with a pair of AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs, the new Mac Pro is more than ready to handle up to seven teraflops of computations (versus the current Mac Pro's 2.7 teraflops), and delivers speeds more than two times faster than current generation Mac Pros.

Mac Pro

More impressively, Apple is including 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM in the revamped Mac Pro, which gives it the ability to deliver up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth (the current Mac Pro can deliver 30GBps).

With that kind of power, the Mac Pro is a filmmaker's dream. Each o f those GPUs are equipped with up to 6GB of deidcated VRAM, meaning it'll be able to render full-resolution 4K video, while also working out rendering effects on the side.

All of this hardware is built around a unified thermal core, which will give the Mac Pro the advantage of distributing that thermal capacity across all the processors evenly.

Of course, a machine can't generate all of that heat without having some way to keep cool, and Apple has found a way to achieve this by fitting the Mac Pro with one big fan.

Instead of using several smaller fans, there's a single, larger fan that sucks air upwards through a bottom vent to absorb heat and carry it out of the top. Apple says that this allowed it to design a fan with flew blades that spins slower but draws air more quietly while generating less noise.

Mac Pro Thunderbolt and more

A desktop wouldn't be any good without a plethora of ports, and the Mac Pro has them in spades.

There ar e six Thunderbolt 2 ports, each capable of supporting six daisy-chained devices, meaning you could have up to 36 different external devices hooked up to the Mac Pro with ease.

Mac Pro 2013

Add in the fact Thunderbolt 2 allows for up to 20GBs of bandwidth to each plugged device, and you've got yourself outstanding external performance almost unheard of to this point. Want to connect up to three 4K displays? Now you can.

Even if you don't have a wealth of Thunderbolt 2-compatible external hard drives or displays, the Mac Pro's ports are completely backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt connections, meaning you won't have to upgrade every last device you already have.

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The Mac Pro wouldn't be what it is without more connectivity options than you can shake a stick at, and the updated models promise not to fall short by also featuring four USB 3, two Gigabit Ethernet and one HDMI 1.4 ports.

Being a smaller desktop machine than previous iterations, the new Mac Pro should be more portable. it might not be designed to be carried around like a laptop, but then you may not want to sit with an Ethernet cable connected at all times.

Apple has fitted the desktop with 802.11ac Wi-Fi for those thinking about transporting the Mac Pro around, and there's also Bluetooth 4.0 to connect a multitude of available peripherals.

Storage and more

Taking a look at storage, the Mac Pro is set to arrive with PCI Express flash inside that Apple claims is up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based SSD on the market and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA HDD.

One of the Mac Pro's simple but neat effects is it s ability to light up the rear I/O panel where the ports are at the back. It does so automatically when sensing movement to save you fumbling around when trying to connect cables in low light.

After all we've seen so far, we're inclined to believe Apple when it calls the Mac Pro "the most radical Mac yet."

For a roundup of all the biggest WWDC 2013 keynote highlights, check out the video below:

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