In its keynote this morning, Apple teased its next-generation Mac Pro, due out later this year. Based on Ivy Bridge E, the new system will ship with two AMD FirePro GPUs with up to 4096 SPs and capable of delivering 7 TFLOPS of peak FP performance. 

We got a close look at the chassis, which is 1/8 the size of the current Mac Pro. You lose any hope for internal expansion, but Apple outfitted the machine with three Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt 2 controllers to enable expansion via external storage and external Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis options. Apple won't make any of its own Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, but you can expect that others will fill that void. With 20Gbps up/down on Thunderbolt 2, you should have enough bandwidth for any PCIe expansion.

Internally there are four DDR3 memory slots, as well as what looks like a proprietary PCIe SSD connector (I don't think it's M.2 unfortunately). Both GPUs are technically removable, but at least one is mounted as the same card as the PCIe SSD. Apple is putting every single PCIe lane available to use on the new Mac Pro. 

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  • madwolfa - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    What's there in the specs you can't DIY for fraction of the price? Reply
  • JDG1980 - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    You could build a DIY system of equivalent specs cheaper, but its noise levels and aesthetics probably wouldn't be as good. Keep in mind that this system has an Ivy Bridge-E CPU (and the LGA 2011 processors generally have pretty high TDP) plus *two* powerful AMD FirePro graphics cards, but is cooled by just one large fan. This is only possible because of custom engineering (the motherboard and the 2 graphics cards are in sort of a triangle arrangement with one massive shared heatsink in the middle). Reply
  • psyq321 - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    Even more importantly, you can build a DIY system which will be much more powerful than this.

    Take one of Patsburg 2P motherboards (such as ASUS Z9PE D16), stick two 12-core Ivy Bridge EP Xeon-s (successors to the 2687W) getting you full 24 cores / 48 threads performance and, say, 4 NVIDIA Teslas and add 256 GB of RAM for a good measure (8 x 16 GB ECC DDR3) and you got a machine which is double the performance (possibly even more than double, as I am sure Mac Pro will use limited-TDP Xeon E5 V2s).

    Yes, that machine will cost money - but that particular thing is not the point in the particular market segment these systems cater for.

    First generation Mac Pro was pretty much the showcase of how to build good workstation based on Westmere Xeon platform - if you wanted, you could expand it with the maximum what Intel's then current 2P platform could offer. This new Mac Pro is crippled from the start.
    Reply
  • Heathmoor - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    8 x 16 is 128. Reply
  • psyq321 - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    Thanks for catching this - I meant 16 DIMM slots - Z9PE D16 has 8 per single CPU socket.

    256 GB would also be possible with 8 memory slots, but one would have to use 32 GB ECC FBDIMM-s, which would cost a little fortune for 1866 MHz right now (way way above $1K per DIMM). Currently 16 GB FBDIMMs are sweet spot, and 1866 MHz is still expensive but I expect that the price will drastically fall when Intel launches Ivy Bridge EP since that would be the first big-volume server platform which needs 1866 MHz.
    Reply
  • vFunct - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    If you're going for compute, just buy 2 systems. Any good compute app is distributed anyways, even XCode builds.

    The new Mac Pro is 1/8th the volume of the previous one. If you want 2x the power, just get 2 systems, and you STILL have it in 1/4 the volume of the previous generation.

    This new Mac Pro really is groundbreaking in compute density.

    You cannot make a more efficient system.
    Reply
  • Freakie - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    If you're in a situation where you are concerned about compute density, you get a rack server system. NO ONE seriously concerned with computer density would ever think even for a tiny moment that circles are somehow an "efficient" way of taking up space...

    ...the idea is just ludicrous...
    Reply
  • rs2 - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    Aesthetics are irrelevant. It's a computer. It's there to compute, not to look pretty. Reply
  • PeteH - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - link

    So...what do you drive? Reply
  • mavere - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    The 5.5 liter case. Reply

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