Meet Apple's new Mac Pro
Marc Loftus
December 20, 2013

Meet Apple's new Mac Pro

CUPERTINO, CA — At 12:01am on Thursday, December 19th, Apple began taking orders for its new Mac Pro, the first of which should be fulfilled before the new year. I got to see one up close recently, and my first impression was, “Wow, it’s smaller than I expected.”

The truth is, it’s 1/8th the size of past Mac Pro towers. And the cylindrical-shaped workstation is very quiet too. Apple reps say the new Mac Pro runs at about 12dBs, which is comparable to the noise made by the company’s Mac Mini. 

The success in keeping the new Mac Pro so compact and quiet stems from its design footprint, which is essentially built around a cooling fan. The “thermal core” consists of the unit’s CPU and 2 GPUs, which are arranged in a triangular fashion that allows heat to escape upwards and through the top of the unit. 

The new Mac Pro comes equipped with dual AMD FirePro graphics cards. Buyers can choose between the D300, D500 or D700 cards when configuring their unit. Nvidia boards at this point are not an option. Users can also choose between Quad-Core or Six-Core configurations with Intel Xeon E5 processors. Removable flash storage is also available, ranging from 512GBs to 1TB. And for memory, users can chose between 12GBs or 16GBs of DDR3 ECC memory.

The new Mac Pro offers lots of expansion via its ports. The unit features four USB 3 ports and six Thunderbolt 2 ports (each offering 20gbps throughput). HDMI connectivity allows for use with 4K monitors. Two Ethernet ports and two audio outputs round out the release. The latest WiFi and Bluetooth technology is also featured.

Apple notes that the Mac Pro is being manufactured here in the United States. Its chassis is be being made in Tennessee and final assembly takes place in Austin, TX. In addition, manufacturers from 12 states are supplying components for the workstation, further supporting the “Made in America” theme. 

Coinciding with the launch of the new Mac Pro is an update to Apple’s Final Cut Pro editing software. Version 10.1 is now available as a free upgrade. The download marks the 10th release for the application over the past two-and-a-half years, all of which have been free.

Final Cut Pro is still priced at $299.99, and the latest enhancements are a direct response to requests from the professional marketplace. Version 10.1 was designed to take advantage of the Mac Pro’s new hardware, particularly the dual GPUs, which support 4K and allow for rendering and playing back VFX in realtime. Color grading and the retiming of footage also see significant improvements thanks to the new hardware.

I got to watch a demo that made use of two 4K displays from Sharp. For editors working with multicam footage, Version 10.1 can now handled up to 64 angles at same time (nine angles when working in 4K). Pricing for the new Mac Pro begins at $2,999.

Apple has a number of resources available on its Website for those interested in transitioning to FCP X, or wanting to know more about ProRes formats. Check out the link: