Review: Apple’s New Mac Pro

Studio Daily by The Diamond Brothers

This Radical Redesign Is a Tiny Powerhouse ... with a Few Limitations

The new Mac Pro is here! The new Mac Pro is here!

That’s all that went through our heads when we first saw the announcement of this new iteration of Apple’s flagship pro desktop model. (Yes, that's a reference to The Jerk.) The years had dragged on slowly as Apple’s faithful patiently but loudly waited to hear the words “New Mac Pro.” And this new design is radically different from anything any major computing company has posited. It was exciting. Maybe too exciting — the initial public response was more like, “He hates these cans!” (Yes, that’s my second reference to The Jerk.) That's because the popular name for this new design was the “trash can.” It looked like a fancy office garbage bin. It was also interesting that it was called a desktop computer. No one in their right mind would have put a previous-gen Mac Pro on their desk. But this tiny beast finally can sit there. This is no incremental upgrade; it's a major overhaul.

Let’s get the business out of the way first. The model we had for review was spec’d out like this: 64 GB RAM, 8 core E5 3 GHz processor, 1 TB internal SSD, and dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics cards with 6 GB RAM each. This configuration runs about $8,766, including the keyboard and mouse and the installed copy of FCP X v10.1.

Heavy Duty
First, this is a small and dense little tower. At 9.9 inches high, 6.6 inches around and weighing 11 pounds, it’s like a Middle Earth dwarf with a battle axe. It’s also very quiet, unlike a dwarf with a battle axe. We used a third-party app to jack the fans up all the way and leave them on, and we could still barely hear them. Considering the punishment we put this thing through, it was a good idea to have the fans pinned anyway. Given that the fans are now pulling air directly from the curved bottom edge of the computer and funneling it up the center, drawing the heat out of the giant triangular heat sink that makes up the inner core and structure of the tower, we wouldn't suggest leaving it on the floor, especially a wood or smooth floor. It seems like it would become a Roomba pretty quickly, sucking up dust, so maybe a mount or actual desktop position is warranted. read more...

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