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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  • coder543 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Ah, ok. Thunderbolt is Gb, not GB. However, your own link to the article backs me up still.

    "In our informal testing ahead of the 7970 launch we didn’t see any differences between PCIe 2 and PCIe 3 worth noting, and our formal testing backs this up. Under gaming there is absolutely no appreciable difference in performance between PCIe 3 x16 (16GB/sec) and PCIe 2 (8GB/sec). Nor was there any difference between PCIe 3 x8 (8GB/sec) and the other aforementioned bandwidth configurations."

    In certain cases, there was bottlenecking, but for the most part, it just didn't matter, even on a PCIe 3.0 x2 connection, which is within the limits of Thunderbolt 2.

    I'd say this is much ado about nothing, but change does cause people to worry.
    Reply
  • Dman23 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    /agree Reply
  • rlkelly - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    Your still confused. Thunderbolt runs of PCIE x4 not x16 so using the comparison between pcie 2 x16 and 3 x8 is invalid. You need to be concerned with the bandwidth available to a pcie 2 x4 slot. We are talking multiples of difference between what thunderbolt can supply and what your video card requires for full performance. Reply
  • Eidigean - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    You're off by a multiple of 8. 16 lanes of PCIe 2.0 is 8 giga-BYTES per second. Thunderbolt 2 is 20 giga-BITS per second, or 2.5 giga-BYTES per second. See how slow thunderbolt really is now compared to 16 lanes? Reply
  • SMURG - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    16GB/s is not within Thunderbolt 2 spec.

    Thunderbolt 2 = 20 gigabits per second, and 1 gigabit (Gb) = 0.125 gigabytes so that's only 2.5 Gigabytes (GB) per second.

    PCIe 3.0 = 1 Gigabyte (GB) per second per lane, which is 16GB/s which is vastly in excess of Thunderbolt 2's specification.

    Please learn about data transfer units before commenting in future.
    Reply
  • jameskatt - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    There are SIX Thunderbolt 2 ports. Each has 2.5 x 2 = 5 GB per second bandwidth. Thus FIVE can be combined and given to an expansion box for 25 GB per second bandwidth - more than PCIe's 16 GB/s.. Reply
  • rlkelly - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    Actually I do not believe it is possible to bind multiple tb ports to act as one. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    You are mixing up GigaBITS and GigBYTES.

    Thunderbolt = 20Gbit = 2.5GigaByte
    PCIe 3.0 x1 = 8Gbit = 1Gbyte
    PCIe 3.0 x16 = 128Gbit = 16Gbyte
    Reply
  • vFunct - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    It already has dual GPUs. There is no better possible upgrade.

    Besides, you're supposed to upgrade both the GPU and CPU together. Pros upgrade their machines every 5 years anyways. They never upgrade the GPU separately.

    I'm completely amazed that they put this much compute in such a small enclosure.
    Reply
  • Dman23 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Ya, it is kind of amazing Reply

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