Apple Previews the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

At the WWDC 2019 Keynote Apple unveiled a whole lot with their operating systems, tvOS, watchOs, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. However, they also showed a preview of the all new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Let us look at each of these in turn. These will not be super in-depth dives into the products, but just a general overview.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro has always been for the most power hungry of applications. This could be anything from video editing to audio production or even building machine learning models. The Mac Pro is not designed to be a consumer device, not in the slightest.

The Mac Pro has an all new chassis. It is made of Stainless Steel and should accommodate a variety of different components. The front and back of the case have vents that are designed to allow air to flow over the components. The cooling with will be needed.

The Mac Pro is designed to be a powerhouse. To this end it comes with a variety of processor options. This ranges from an 8-core processor up to a 28-core processor. The different options are 8, 12, 16, 24, and 28-core options. The base speeds are 3.5GHz, 3.3GHz, 3.2GHz, 2.7GHz, and 2.5GHz, respectively. The turbo speeds are 4.4GHz, except for the 8-core which tops out at 4.0GHz.

The motherboard consists of eight PCI Express slots. This includes four double-wide slots, three single-wide slots, and one half-length slot, which is pre-configured with Apple’s own I/O card.

One of the main uses of the Mac Pro is for use with graphically heavy tasks. This includes video editing. The Mac Pro has you covered there too. Apple has created a new module, called the Mac Pro Expansion Module, or MPX Module.

MPX Module

The MPX Module is designed to provide even more power, up to 500 Watts. This is done by taking a standard PCI Express and adding a second connector to integrate thunderbolt and provide even more capabilities. You then take the connector and connect a second graphics for even more processing. Yes, you can get two Radeon Pro Vega II graphics cards in a single MPX module. You can even have two of these modules in the Mac Pro.

The three options available for graphics cards are the Radeon Pro 580X, the Radeon Pro Vega II, and the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo.

There is even more graphics processing available with the Mac Pro with a new product called Afterburner

Afterburner

Afterburner is an Apple-designed hardware accelerator with over one million logic cells that can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. What does this mean? It means that you can process three streams of 8K ProRes RAW or 12 streams of 4K ProRes Raw, simultaneously.

Storage

The Mac Pro come with 256GB of storage standard, but can be configured for 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB. All of this is encrypted with the built-in T2 Security Chip. So everything will be more secure, to the booting of macOS to the items stored on the Mac Pro.

Connectivity

The Mac Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports. It should also be noted that there is in fact a 3.5mm Headphone connection should you require one. It also comes with 802.11AC wireless, and Bluetooth 5.0.

Memory

One topic we have not looked at is the amount of memory that the Mac Pro can have. It can be configured for up to 1.5TB of ECC memory. The 8, 12, and 16-core processors can support up to 1TB, while the 24-core and 28-core processors can support the 1.5TB. All of this memory runs at 2933MHz, except for the 8-core which is 2666MHz. All of the RAM is DDR4.

In order to be able to power everything in the Mac Pro it comes with a 1.4 Kilowatt power supply. This should be able to handle pretty much everything that you can include in the Mac Pro.

Dimensions and Weight

The Mac Pro is not a small machine. It is approximately 21-inches tall by 18 inches deep by 8.6 inches wide. For the more metric minded this is 53cm tall, 45cm deep, and 22cm wide. If you include the optional wheels the height comes to 21.9 inches, or approximately 56cm tall.

The Mac Pro comes in at almost 40 pounds, or 18 kilograms. This is not a light machine.

The base Price of the Mac Pro is $5999. This is for an 8-core machine with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage.

To go with the new Mac Pro is a whole new Display, the Pro Display XDR.

Pro Display HDR

When Apple discontinued the Cinema Display line, it was presumed that Apple would get out of the display business, except for its own integrated displays. This was the original plan, however when it came to building a new Mac Pro, they had to have a display to go with it.

The Pro Display XDR is a behemoth. It is a 32-inch display Retina 6K Display. It can support up to 1600 nits of brightness with a contrast ratio of 1 million to 1.

The Pro Display XDR goes beyond traditional High Dynamic Range and provides even more. It does this by providing 1000 nits of full-screen sustained brightness. You get 10-bit color and the P3 wide-color gamut for those times when you need to have just the right color. There is also a wider viewing angle than most displays, which Apple states is 25x better for off-axis contrast as compared to a typical LCD.

One area that can become problematic for users is glare. To work against this Apple has crated a Matte version of its display that includes an etched Nano-texture glass which will reduce the glare and significantly reduce the hazing that can be seen with other matte finishes.

Each display is calibrate at the factor and should produce the best image possible.

There is some connectivity on the Pro Display XDR as well. It includes one Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port, and three USB-C ports. The Thunderbolt port is so you can connect it to your Mac and the USB-C ports allow you to charge and connect devices. These devices will only run at USB2 speeds though, not USB3. This means that you can use the Display for expansion or connecting other accessories.

One accessory for the Pro Display XDR is the stand. The Pro Stand can be adjusted for height, tile, and it can even rotate so you can view something in Portrait if you need to.

The Pro Display XDR starts at $4999, that is without the Pro Stand, which is another $999. The Matte Finish for the Mac Pro display is $5999. The VESA mount is $199.

Closing Thoughts

The Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are not meant for consumers, and the prices reflect this. The Mac Pro is designed to allow professionals get the most out of their machines. The range of options, along with the modularity, means that professionals will be able to configure their Mac Pro to their exact needs, from the most basic to the most extreme.

The Pro Display XDR is the monitor of monitors. It supports a whole range of capabilities, including 10-bit color, P3 Color Display, and the price reflects that.

If you were to get a base model Mac Pro, a Pro Display XDR with the Stand, it will set you back almost $12,000 and that’s just the base price. It goes up from there. For those who need it, it looks like the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR will be a great solution. They should both be available this fall.

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