New Mac Pro Delivers Unprecedented Performance, Proves Apple Supports High-End Computing

New Mac Pro Delivers Unprecedented Performance, Proves Apple Supports High-End Computing

Inside the Mac Pro, Apple's most powerful and configurable Mac

There have been concerns about the fate of the Mac Pro ever since Apple killed off the Xserve a year and a half ago. Although Apple didn’t say the Mac Pro was on the chopping block, the company did let it go without an update for quite some time. Although the Mac Pro didn’t get featured in today’s WWDC keynote like the MacBook lineup, which includes the new MacBook Pro, it did receive a long-needed update.

The biggest reaction to the Mac Pro’s update today is a sense of relief by many creative professionals and Mac-focused IT departments. The update proves that Apple isn’t signing the death warrant for its most powerful and most expandable Mac. That makes the updated specs a symbol of Apple’s commitment to high-end and high-performance systems in addition to being a major product update.

The new Mac Pro sports a range of performance boosting updates including its processor configurations and new ATI Radeon HD graphic cards. The available power  in the new Mac Pro delivers performance an order of magnitude beyond what’s available in the other Mac product families. It also  has a price tag to match that level of performance. While the entry-level Mac Pro will cost you $2499, maxing out its processor, memory, internal storage, and expansion cards can pump the cost up to more than $13,000.

The base model Mac Pro includes a sing 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor. Apple allows customers to trick out a Mac Pro with significantly more processing power  – the top of the line option is a Mac Pro with two 3.06GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon processors, which delivers a powerful 12-core system, and up to 64GB of memory. As Apple notes on the Mac Pro product page, it allows a choice of four, six, or twelve cores.

The Mac Pro offers two advanced processor options from Intel. The Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor is available in a single-processor, quad-core configuration at 3.2GHz. For even greater speed and power, choose a 6-Core Intel Xeon processor. Since the Mac Pro comes with either one or two processors, you can have a 6-core Mac Pro at up to 3.33GHz, or, to max out your performance, a 12-core system at up to 3.06GHz.

The graphics capabilities also received a boost in the form of ATI’s Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory as the standard graphics card and ATI’s Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory as an option.

The Mac Pro also remains the most configurable Mac that Apple makes with support for two Superdrives, four internal drive bays that can accommodate hard drives or SSD storage, and three PCI Express expansion slots (a single PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and two PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots) that can accommodate additional graphics cards, fibre channel cards for SAN systems running Apple’s Xsan, and additional wired network capabilities.

Most users – consumers or business users – don’t require anywhere near the power of a fully loaded Mac Pro for daily tasks. For design and publishing professionals, photographers, and video producers, however, that power can be essential. Video production, in particular needs all the power a Mac can deliver (along with the need to integrate high performance on-system storage and/or available SAN storage). Given that creative professionals are core Apple market, the new Mac Pro is as much a powerful system as it is a symbol that Apple still values this market.

The Mac Pro also comes in server configuration that includes Lion Server. For organizations that rely on OS X Server and need significantly more power than the Mac mini Server can deliver, the Mac Pro is a powerful system that can scale as needed to support additional users and features. It doesn’t live up to the Xserve’s server closet/data center design, but it proves that Apple realizes some companies need more powerful server hardware.

  • David Fulero

    Almost everything in here is wrong wrong wrong.  The graphics are precisely the same as the 2 year old model (which I have).  The chip upgrade is incremental (more clock speed, nothing else), RAM is exactly the same, chassis is the same, no USB 3, no Thunderbolt, no nothing.  Explain to me how this is an update.

  • Miles Mueller

    Is this article a sarcastic joke?

  • Alex Mitchell

    I just had to sign in to say this post post is SO WRONG!!!!

    No Thunderbolt, No USB 3, an old machine with old GPUs Im sickened that you can even post this rubbish!
  • tomtomkinson

    Relief huh?  Disappointment friend.  This sucks

  • MCal27

    It’s all in the name of Ass kissing I’m afraid… Rampant Ass Kissing and more importantly terrible Journalism.. :-(

  • Cesar Lara Franco

    wich mac pro are you talking about?

  • Aaron

    I am truly disgusted in Apple’s omission of Thunderbolt. I don’t really care about USB 3, the latest graphics, etc., but this is a very important port for pro users. Without Thunderbolt, this update means nothing.

  • Tallest_Skil

    What are you, IDIOTS?! These are two year old processors, two year old GRAPHICS CARDS, NO Thunderbolt, NO USB 3, NO Bluetooth 4.0,

    NO NOTHING. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS as an “update”.
    Killing it off would have been FAR less embarrassing.
  • Adam Palmer

    This really is the cult of mac.  Serious kool aid drinking here. What a disappointing update.

  • thegraphicmac

    Does anyone at CultofMac have any clue what’s going on in the Apple/Mac universe anymore? It seems like you all read a headline on another site and pull the rest of your article out of your own ignorant orifice as quickly as you can.

    While your specs are correct, your opinions are completely made-up. This “update” all but confirms that Apple is abandoning the pro market.
  • James Goodenough

    Has this author ever used a Mac? I for one am saving my money – will spend a £100 on RAM in my existing machine instead. Shame as I was really hoping for a proper update.

  • Shameer Mulji

    What are you, IDIOTS?! These are two year old processors, two year old GRAPHICS CARDS, NO Thunderbolt, NO USB 3, NO Bluetooth 4.0,

    NO NOTHING. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS as an “update”.
    Killing it off would have been FAR less embarrassing.

    Saying this guy is an idiot is a complete understatement.  I love Apple products but this article is horsesh**t.

  • Takeshi Kitano

    ass kissing douchebag writer…

  • world_exposer

    Can’t believe i just read this article

  • Paragraphics

    Note to people who write these articles: Do you really believe what you’re saying, or does someone tell you to say this stuff? Apple has abandoned high-end users. Why can’t you see that?

  • Colin Thomas

    When I saw the “New” sticker next to the Mac Pro today, I was quite excited… until I looked at the specs.  After reading the comments on here, I am glad to see that I’m not the only one annoyed by Apples “upgrade”. If they were serious about high performance/ high end computing, this thing would have kept the options for 4-12 cores, but upgraded the graphics, base ram, added newer port technology, and not pissed all the serious computer users off.

  • Elmtree

    “The biggest reaction to the Mac Pro’s update today is a sense of relief by many creative professionals and Mac-focused IT departments.”


    You are on ketamine. Those creative professionals just found out that in future they will have to use Windows 8, Dell and Hewlett-Packard products to do high-performance computing. I genuinely can’t believe Apple have been so stupid. 
  • John Lehmkuhl

    I concur with everybody else, Ryan, you are so wrong because you probably don’t even have a Mac Pro… this update is a HUGE let down. Beyond HUGE. This release will probably JUSTIFY to the executives at Apple that people don’t want the Mac Pro any more…. there isn’t enough sales to justify spending money to add features FOUND ON EVERY OTHER MACINTOSH COMPUTER – EXCEPT the machine that is supposed to be the biggest and baddest of them all.

    HUGE LETDOWN and I PROMISE YOU – our disappointment will mark the end of the Mac Pro from existing in the future.
  • echeng

    Wow—this article is way off. Every creative professional I know who relies on the current Mac Pro is beyond disappointed by today’s non-update.

  • AURORA4DTH

    Is this guy on CRACK!!!!  I really thought this headline was a joke. I thought it was someone complaining like all of us.  Then i start to read and realize it is a real article!!!!!!!   WHAT A MORON.

  • enzyme

    Some articles tell the truth. Some articles are inaccurate and some articles tell absolute lies. This article falls in to the last category. Such a pile of horse manure. Do you get a free iPhone out of this? What is the point in writing such rubbish? The only thing it does is destroy what ever reputation you do have.

  • chicagoaviduser

    Wow. Not much to say beyond wow. I don’t know who this writer was talking to, but, not anybody in the same pro market as me. 


     What was released as an updated MacPro is more of an insult then if they had just removed the entire MacPro from the store completely. And then to be followed up by a cryptic e-mail saying that “Our pro customers are really important to us…don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year.” 

    If this email is real and truly from Tim Cook, that’s even more of an insult. The Pro users having been sitting on their hands for almost 2 years, waiting for a machine that’s worthy of the pro label. Asking us to wait what could be another 18 months, well, you’re dreaming. 

    Much as Adobe & Avid were able to capitalize on the mis-steps made with FCP-X, Dell & HP will do the same with the Pro CPU’s. 
  • mattpenndotcom

    Us Apple aficionados  tend to want to see the world through rose colored glasses, but

    Come on man.

    It’s a mediocre update, and a mis-judgement by Apple of anticipated response and fanfare. I’m looking at you, Final Cut “Pro” X.

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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