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Summary:

Apple has announced a number of updates today, including a considerable refresh to their professional desktop line, the Mac Pro. Utilizing the Intel “Nehalem” Xeon processors and a next-generation system architecture, the new machines deliver up to twice the performance of the previous generation system. Philip […]

macpro

Apple has announced a number of updates today, including a considerable refresh to their professional desktop line, the Mac Pro. Utilizing the Intel “Nehalem” Xeon processors and a next-generation system architecture, the new machines deliver up to twice the performance of the previous generation system.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s ( aapl) senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, noted that:

The new Mac Pro is a significant upgrade and starts at $300 less than before. It features an advanced system architecture, new faster processors and our best-ever graphics options to deliver a faster, more powerful system that our professional customers are going to love.

Confident words from the man behind Apple’s product lineup, and seemingly justified with the new specifications on offer.

Improved Performance

When compared to the previous generation Mac Pro, performance is up to 1.7x faster:

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The speed increases are due to the introduction of a new processor and graphics card. Two models offer a choice of either one 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 3500 processor, or two 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 processors. The new cores offer up to 2.4x greater memory bandwidth, in addition to a new “Turbo Boost technology” which claims to speed up the processor when all cores aren’t in use. A range of architecture changes assist with improved performance, full details of which can be found at the features page.

Following on from recent graphics updates in their notebook line, the new Mac Pros include a NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory — supposedly up to 2.9x faster than the previous model. For even greater performance you can opt to pay more for an upgrade to the ATI Radeon HD 4870.

As with many speed claims, it’s always interesting to see how they translate to day-to-day use. In this case they seem justified, and I’m looking forward to seeing various application benchmarks.

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Graphics Options

The new machines feature both a dual-link DVI port (as supported previously) and a Mini DisplayPort, with room internally for up to four individual graphics cards. There’s no shortage of display options! It will be interesting to see whether both of these can function at the same time, supporting two monitors from a single graphics card.

Updated Interior

The interior design of the Mac Pro has long been a source of pride for Apple, showcasing their excessive attention to detail in hardware design. The new alterations are no exception:

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An updated interior provides easy access to all components within the Mac Pro for easy expansion, and the case includes four direct-attach cable-free hard drive carriers for installing up to 4TB of internal storage. An optional RAID card delivers enhanced performance and allows the four internal drive bays to be set up in various RAID arrays for additional data protection or speed.

Environmentally Friendly

Continuing their focus on developing environmentally friendly machines, Apple note that the Mac Pro has a number of “green” features:

The new Mac Pro exceeds Energy Star 4.0 requirements and is leading the industry as an early adopter of the more stringent Energy Star 5.0 requirements which will become effective later this year. The Mac Pro enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and the interior is designed to be more material-efficient. The Mac Pro uses PVC-free internal cables and components and contains no brominated flame retardants. The new Mac Pro achieves EPEAT Gold status.

Available Models

The new Mac Pros are available in two base models, configurable to your required standard:

The base model costs $2,499 and includes:

  • One 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 3500 series processor with 8MB of L3 cache;
  • 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 8GB;
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics with 512MB of GDDR3 memory;
  • 640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • Mini DisplayPort and DVI (dual-link) for video output (adapters sold separately);
  • Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire® 800 ports;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Ships with Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Mighty Mouse.

The higher specification with a price of $3,299 (US) includes:

  • Two 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 series processors with 8MB of shared L3 cache;
  • 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics with 512MB of GDDR3 memory;
  • 640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • Mini DisplayPort and DVI (dual-link) for video output (adapters sold separately);
  • Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Ships with Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Mighty Mouse.

Availability

Apple notes that the new systems will be available next week (with their online store stating four business days), so you won’t need to wait much longer if you’ve been holding out for the latest specification bump.

More information can be found at the Mac Pro product page or you can order one of the new machines now through the Apple Store.

  1. [...] am disappointed that Apple has not released new Cinema displays to go with the Mac mini and Mac Pro upgrades (the 24″ LED Cinema Display has that Magsafe connector for laptops), but 3rd party options [...]

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  2. [...] changes Apple made to their lineup today, including the long-awaited new Mac mini, the iMac and Mac Pro updates, and the changes to the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule devices, there were also a few, [...]

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  3. Potential buyers should note the memory limit of the quad-core model. Only the 8-core model can handle a full compliment of RAM. This may seem minor now, but in a couple of years you might want all that RAM and regret not spending a little more now as you have to buy again from scratch.

    Watch out!

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  4. [...] am disappointed that Apple has not released new Cinema displays to go with the Mac mini and Mac Pro upgrades (the 24″ LED Cinema Display has that Magsafe connector for laptops), but 3rd party options are [...]

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  5. No more fire wire 400. What do we do with all our fire wire peripherals? Add to the price for fire wire cards and/or new back up drives

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  6. frd75: All you need is a fw400 to fw800 cable… Surely, one of your external FW peripherals has a fw800 port AND a fw400 port… you can still chain them normally. I do this on the now-old Mac Pro without issue.

    I wish I could justify buying this new monster… it looks to be quite awesome… but I’ll probably have to stick with my old, crusty 8-core Pro ’til it blows up… : )

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  7. Should I Buy The Mac Pro Now Or Wait Also The Cinema Displays.

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  8. I was really hoping the super drive would have blu ray this time…

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  9. great thank you

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