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In an interview with Popular Mechanics, Apple engineers Chris Ligtenberg and John Ternus have detailed some of the innovative cooling features included in the design of the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, both of which launched earlier this week.

mac_pro_xdr_display.png

In order to let the ridiculous processing power of the Mac Pro reach its potential without melting, Apple engineers had to find new ways to "exploit the laws of thermodynamics," according to the report.

For example, the active internal cooling consists of three axial fans in the front of the case and a blower in the rear, all of which had to be developed in-house because off-the-shelf fans would have been too loud.

"Years ago, we started redistributing the blades," explains Ligtenberg, Apple's senior director of product design. "They're still dynamically balanced, but they're actually randomized in terms of their BPF [blade pass frequency]. So you don't get huge harmonics that tend to be super annoying."

macprofan_trans-800x726.png

"That [solution is] borrowed almost entirely from automobile tires," Ligtenberg says. "There's a bit of math behind it, but you can create broadband noise instead of total noise with that technique."
Something loud but pleasantly pitched can be more tolerable than something quiet but irritating. "You can have something at a certain SPL [sound pressure level] that sounds really good, but you can have something that's actually at a lower SPL that grates on your nerves and sounds really awful," says John Ternus, VP of Hardware Engineering at Apple and head of the Pro and Pro Display's development. "We want to get really great performance where, you either can't hear it, or if you can hear it, it's kind of a pleasant noise. A ton of analysis goes into figuring out how to optimize for that."
Apple hopes Mac Pro users won't even be aware of the fan activity inside, but it's the conspicuous grids of bored metal divots on the front and back of the case and the rear of the Pro Display that provide the passive cooling. "[The pattern] gives us a lot of surface area, which is hugely beneficial," Ternus says.

The Pro Display has fans for specific components, but the bored metal holes are what keeps that panel of LEDs cool enough to run so bright. It wasn't possible to use a traditional finned enclosure heatsink, because the monitor can be used in both portrait and landscape.

Rotating the display 90 degrees would reduce with the air flow through fins, but the hemispherical holes work the same regardless of which way is up. "[For the Display] we wanted free [air] flow through the channels, no matter the orientation," says Ternus.

macproback_trans-800x612.png

According to Apple, the reworked "cheese grater" look achieves around 20 percent more airflow compared to the Power Mac G5 that preceded it.

Apple is accepting orders for the Mac Pro (starting at $5,999) and the Pro Display XDR ($4,999) on its website, with Mac Pro delivery estimates at one to two weeks after an order is placed.

Article Link: Apple Engineers Explain New Mac Pro's Innovative Cooling Features
 
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Mark-Technology

macrumors regular
Nov 25, 2011
139
227
With the amount of emphasis and design philosophy structured towards avoiding LOUD NOISE at all cost...couldn't Apple have went towards liquid cooling? I'll never understand Apple's love for silence at the cost of adequate/bad cooling in all of their machines.a
 

henrikhelmers

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2017
71
99
With the amount of emphasis and design philosophy structured towards avoiding LOUD NOISE at all cost...couldn't Apple have went towards liquid cooling? I'll never understand Apple's love for silence at the cost of adequate/bad cooling in all of their machines.a
I'm not vell versed in liquid cooling, but I would guess that a) it is less reliable and b) when a liquid solution fails it fails in worse ways.

Of course it would also open up for the sale of magical Apple coolant, probably a missed opportunity 🌊
 

jouster

macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2002
1,238
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Connecticut
With the amount of emphasis and design philosophy structured towards avoiding LOUD NOISE at all cost...couldn't Apple have went towards liquid cooling? I'll never understand Apple's love for silence at the cost of adequate/bad cooling in all of their machines.a

Initial reports suggest it is very quiet.

They used liquid cooling in the G5 towers. It added complexity and cost.
 

JennieBDA

macrumors newbie
Dec 12, 2019
1
2
I’m curious, since it’s so needy of air flow and a new design. What happens when a client allows a dust build up on the cheese grater? Will there be an alert on heat or air flow?
 

patseguin

macrumors 68000
Aug 28, 2003
1,657
489
I remember buying the first cheese grater Mac Pro years ago and I paid like $2400. They started at $1999 if I recall correctly. Why are they $6,000 now? Are they really that much better than a comparable Windows PC?
 

iamgalt

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
259
766
With the amount of emphasis and design philosophy structured towards avoiding LOUD NOISE at all cost...couldn't Apple have went towards liquid cooling? I'll never understand Apple's love for silence at the cost of adequate/bad cooling in all of their machines.a

A liquid cooling system makes it more difficult to upgrade or swap out components. And the systems ability to be upgraded by the user was one of Apples selling points for the MP.
 

kurosov

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
670
334
With the amount of emphasis and design philosophy structured towards avoiding LOUD NOISE at all cost...couldn't Apple have went towards liquid cooling? I'll never understand Apple's love for silence at the cost of adequate/bad cooling in all of their machines.a
No.

the biggest request for the system was easy and effective modularity. Putting a custom loop into the system removes that advantage for many people.
 

Supermacguy

macrumors 6502
Jan 3, 2008
368
593
Just like the loudest V8 racecar sounds great, but a rotary or inline-4 race car sounds totally annoying even if quieter. Or street car versions too.

FWIW, the C7R is the best sounding GT race car ever IMO. The latest gen of Porsche is horrible and hurts my ears as it goes by.
 
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BigBoy2018

Suspended
Oct 23, 2018
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The article states: "According to Apple, the reworked "cheese grater" look achieves around 20 percent more airflow compared to the Power Mac G5 that preceded it"

I'm confused, or am I reading that wrong? The cheese grater style system that directly preceded this was an intel xeon system, released in 2012. Not the G5.
 
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femike

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2011
703
1,253
Initial reports from the youtube influencers who received mac pro's from Apple said it was quiet. BUT... what was their ambient room temperature? How does the mac pro and the monitor perform when ambient temperature is 35C? I'm sure 4 fans will cool it adequately but it won't be quiet.
 

Jerion

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2016
87
227
I remember buying the first cheese grater Mac Pro years ago and I paid like $2400. They started at $1999 if I recall correctly. Why are they $6,000 now? Are they really that much better than a comparable Windows PC?

What happened is the product line changed; the $6000 figure should be totally ignored as anybody who really needs this kind of horsepower is always going to BTO their options above and beyond. This generation of Mac Pro is targeted at a notably higher-end (and more niche) audience than the lines of PowerMacs and MPs that have come before. If you previously had one of those and weren't using it to its full potential on a daily basis, then you should now be eyeing the Mac Mini as the core of a modular thunderbolt setup*, or the high-end iMac/iMP line instead.

*Thunderbolt drives, PCI enclosures, eGPUs, and hubs. This is basically the dream of the 2013 Darth Pro, only now at a massively more affordable buy-in point.
 
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