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The New Pro

December 16, 2013 - Dave Hecei
mac pro topApple has a new Mac Pro coming. This is the new top-of-the-line very high-end Macintosh desktop computer. It was previewed several months ago with Apple promising to release it by the end of the year. Well, it's December and the Pro should be hitting the Apple Store any day now. There's even the possibility it might show up tomorrow.

While the word 'Pro' is in the name, the Mac Pro is not just for professionals, but it might just be priced for one. If you have enough money in your wallet, you can put one on your desktop. The new Mac Pro's design is radical to say the least. Instead of a huge aluminum towering beast, the new Pro is a tiny black aluminum cylinder.

mac pro interiorInside the new Mac Pro you will find a fast Xeon workstation class processor with either 4, 6, 8, or 12 processor cores. There are two very high-end video cards each capable of driving a 4K video monitor. Storage is SSD connected via the PCI-E bus, which is extremely fast. The standard connection for SSD storage is the SATA (serial ATA) bus.

With this new design, the Mac Pro has no internal expansion. Any expansion will have to be external and the new Pro does have lots to choose from. The new Pro will be the first Mac to use the new Thunderbolt 2 port. The original Thunderbolt had a top speed of 10Gbps with the new Thunderbolt 2 topping out at 20Gbps. There are six of these ports in the new Pro. Other ports include (4) USB 3.0, (2) Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and audio in and out.

The only problem is whether you really need it. The base model, which won't be that much faster than a high-end iMac or MacBook Pro Retina (MBPR), has a starting price of $2999. Current top models of MBPR and iMac are pretty darn fast and can be configured at a much lower price, especially since you still have to buy a monitor for the Mac Pro. They also have plenty of speed to do any of the work you need to do.

Since the new Mac Pro now lacks the expandability of the old Mac Pro, the only incentive to buy one is shear speed. If a loaded MBPR or 27-inch quad-core iMac can do the job, why pay thousands of dollars more for that little bit of speed? This in not to say that when the new Mac Pro hits the shelves that no one is going to buy it. I figure that sales will be very brisk for the first few months.

Those who have the money will get one just to say they have one. It's the 'pros' working with big-named movie studios, sound studios, or 3D animators who will be buying the new Mac Pros. For most of us, a high-end iMac can handle all the Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X, Logic X, and other high-end 'pro' applications that we use. But since the new Mac Pro isn't even shipping yet, we won't really know just what it can and cannot do, or how fast it can do it. Hopefully we'll know this maybe tomorrow, or at least by the end of the month.


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