Mac Pro, the beast finally makes the leap to Apple Silicon

The new Mac Pro has probably been the most surprising announcement of this WWDC 2023In fact, it did not appear in practically any pool, and those that did include it did so in a huge list of futures, which could well complete Apple’s releases for the next two years. Thus, and although the leading role has been for the expected viewer, the announcement and launch of the new Mac Pro is also a most relevant movement for the Cupertino computer catalog.

Because? In reality, the reason is as simple as it is relevant, and that is that until now the Mac Pro was the only system from the company that was still powered by Intel chipsets, more specifically Intel Xeon. Thus, when three years are close to being completed since the company announced Apple Silicon, at WWDC 2020. And it is also important because, since then, the question that has been asked by most is whether Apple’s integrated will be able to provide the performance that a computer like the Mac Pro needs, a system designed to perform workstation and server tasks (in fact, it is offered in a tower design and also as a rackablethat is, with the appropriate design and form factor to mount it in a server cabinet (a rack, hence the concept I have used).

Well, we can finally begin to clear up that doubt, although it is true that when we see what Apple has been able to do with the ARM architecture in the first two generations of Apple Silicon, without a doubt the doubts in this regard are much milder than they were back in June 2020, when it was not even fully clear that this architecture was capable of competing with Intel’s X64 architecture.

Mac Pro, the beast finally makes the leap to Apple Silicon

The new Mac Pro, whose exterior design repeats the always striking “cheese grater” aesthetic of the previous generation (the one in force until today), but we can almost say that this is the only thing it retains from the past. To begin with, of course, the most expected thing is to know which SoC powers it, and we find the answer in the new top of the range of the current generation of Apple silicon, the Apple M2 Ultra also presented todaya chip that we will talk about in more detail in another news item, but that we can summarize with some key information:

  • CPU: up to 24 cores.
  • GPUs: up to 76 cores.
  • Memory: Up to 192 gigabytes of unified memory.
  • Artificial intelligence: Neural Engine 32 cores

To give some perspective, let’s remember that the top configuration of the previous Mac Pro mounted an Intel Xeon W chip with 28 cores and 56 threads, and could mount up to 1.5 terabytes of RAM. Seen in this way, therefore, it may seem that we find ourselves with a decrease in terms of specifications, but in my opinion, while waiting to see the first performance tests, I have the clear feeling that, quite the contrary, the new Mac Pro will far exceed the enormous performance of the previous generation.

Another very important aspect of this new Mac Pro has to do with its expansion capabilities, a point on which Apple has also wanted to focus. Thus, inside we will find nothing less than seven PCIe expansion slots, so that it will be possible to add all kinds of expansion cards. To this we must add that it has eight Thunderbolt 4 ports integrated, six on the back and two on the top, compared to four such ports in the previous generation. Plus, the new Mac Pro includes tthree USB-A ports, two HDMI ports supporting up to 8K resolution and frame rates up to 240Hz, two 10Gb Ethernet ports, and a headphone jack. And we complete the review of its connectivity by looking at the wireless section, in which we find, as expected, Wi-Fi 6E and BlueTooth 5.3.

Mac Pro, the beast finally makes the leap to Apple Silicon

Thus, according to Apple, the new Mac Pro offers, as standard, the performance that seven Afterburner cards would provide (an expansion card that provided higher performance in the previous generation). And to give us an idea of ​​what this means, they tell us that a Mac Pro equipped with six video input/output cards is capable of ingesting and encoding 24 4K camera feeds and encoding them into ProRes in real time.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I insist, what Apple is showing today is more than promising, the new M2 Ultra seems to be the integrated one that the company needed to bring Apple Silicon to the Mac Pro and thus complete its transition to its own integrated. Now, of course, all that remains is to wait until we have the first signs of the performance measured by its first users. ( And that will undoubtedly be some of the most interesting information.

While waiting for Apple to open the store in Spain with local information in this regard, we know that in the United States it is already possible to pre-purchase the new Mac Pro, that deliveries will begin next week, and that its price will start from $6,999. We will update this news when we have information about its launch in Spain.

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