No, this is not some sort of bizarre humidifier being sold at Touch of Modern or Fab.com. This is the all-new Apple Mac Pro. Gone is the tired “cheese grater”. Gone is the tower of power. Gone is the burly, brushed aluminum case that gave many a PC user pause. Gone, but not forgotten.
After so many years of relative design stability, Apple has decided to once again combine art, engineering and science to create a powerhouse desktop system that can actually fit on your desk. PC users have long been able to get powerhouse systems in small form factor (SFF) cases. These were usually boxy little affairs with a handle on top and some sort of exotic cooling system to handle all of the performance components inside. Xeons, with their large TDP envelopes, were particularly tricky to stuff into those itty-bitty cases. This is why most workstations have large tower chassis with lots of fans, high wattage power supplies, and drive bays galore.
Welcome to the 21st century.
Apple, with typical aplomb and design foresight, brings us the workstation for the next ten years.
Measuring at 9.9 inches high and 6.6 inches in diameter (⅛ the volume of the previous Mac Pro), this Tiny Tube of Power has all of the things that make it a Mac Pro:
- Dual Xeon E5 processors (up to 12 cores)
- Four channel ECC DDR3 Memory running at 1866 MHz (60 GBps bandwidth)
- Two AMD FirePro GPUs delivering 7 teraflops of compute power and the ability to drive three 4K displays simultaneously.
- PCIe based flash storage drive (10x faster than a regular SATA drive)
- Six Thunderbolt 2 ports
- Four USB 3.0 ports
- Two gigabit ethernet ports
- Near silent operation thanks to a unified thermal core and only one cooling fan.
Ok, now that the hardware otakus are on the floor twitching blissfully in their technogasms, what does this mean to photographers like me?