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Hands-On With Apple's New 2019 Mac Pro

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Apple last week finally launched its long awaited 2019 Mac Pro, providing its professional user base with the high-end high-throughput modular machine they've always hoped for.

We picked up a base model Mac Pro and in our latest YouTube video, we unbox it and share some initial first impressions.


The Mac Pro arrives in an absolutely massive box weighing over 85 pounds, so getting it out of the packaging is no simple task. There are tabs, lids, velcro straps, and more to contend with, ensuring the machine is secure in its packaging.

Even out of the packaging, the Mac Pro is a heavy duty machine made from quality components, and that "cheese grater" design looks great in person. In reality, the lattice look is functional and meant to maximize airflow for quiet performance.

We have the base model Mac Pro, priced at $5,999, with an 8-core 3.5GHz Xeon W processor from Intel, 32GB RAM, a Radeon Pro 580X GPU, and 256GB of SSD storage. We didn't opt for upgrades, but you can add everything from a 28-core processor to 1.5TB of RAM to 4TB of storage (soon to be 8TB), with a maxed out machine costing upwards of $52,000.

Luckily, this is a machine designed to be highly upgradeable, so most of the components can be swapped out later. iFixit gave the Mac Pro a repairability score of 9/10, and said it was a "masterclass in repairability," which is definitely a first for an Apple product.

We can swap out the GPU, add RAM, and take advantage of the eight PCIe slots, though upgrading the SSD will require Apple's assistance because they're tied to the machine's T2 security chip. We're going to be upgrading the RAM in our machine quite soon, so make sure to keep an eye out for that video.

Taking the casing off of the Mac Pro is a bit difficult because it's a tight fit and again, it's heavy, but once the casing has been removed, all of the internal components are easily accessible.

There are both single wide and double wide PCIe slots, with the half-length slot preconfigured with Apple's I/O card. The I/O card features a 3.5mm headphone jack, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and two USB-A ports. There are also two HDMI ports, a spot for the power supply, and two 10GB Ethernet ports. You'll find two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports at the top of the tower near the power button.

Going back to that lattice design, the Mac Pro is indeed as quiet as Apple promised. There are three fans on one side to optimize airflow, and the housing has been designed to act as a tight seal with internal ducts to maximize the thermal capacity.

The Mac Pro comes with a nice braided power cable, a Lightning to USB cable with the same braided design, nifty black Apple stickers, and a high-quality instruction manual. It also ships with a silver and space gray aluminum Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard, which is a design unique to the new Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro is an impressively built machine, and we're excited to put it through its paces and see what it can do. Stay tuned to MacRumors for more Mac Pro coverage, and let us know what you think of Apple's new machine.

Article Link: Hands-On With Apple's New 2019 Mac Pro
 
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Passingby

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You forgot to mention that a cheap midrange gaming PC with a Threadripper is much, MUCH faster than this $6,000 thing.

An iPad Pro has more storage and basically comparable CPU performance. That is just... embarrassing.

Only 4 to 4.5Ghz boost clock on these 2018 Xeons. New Xeons and and i9s are 20% faster. 3rd gen Ryzens are great too.

Hats off to the iPad Pro ;p
 
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casperes1996

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You forgot to mention that a cheap midrange gaming PC with a Threadripper is much, MUCH faster than this $6,000 thing.

If a gaming PC has a Threadripper they made some wrong choices. Get Ryzen and put that money towards a better GPU instead.

An iPad Pro has more storage and basically comparable CPU performance. That is just... embarrassing.

And that's just ridiculous. An iPad can be had with more storage, but it doesn't by default. My Pro has 64GB. The Mac Pro can be configured with 8TB. But that's not even the point because most who buy this will already have a massive storage array and expect to run off of that anyway. Nobody is expected to just get the base, at least not without modding it on their own. - Plus comparable CPU performance is ludicrous. An iPad Pro may have a very impressive SoC for its form factor, but it cannot compete with a more than 200W chip.
 

Billrey

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If a gaming PC has a Threadripper they made some wrong choices. Get Ryzen and put that money towards a better GPU instead.



And that's just ridiculous. An iPad can be had with more storage, but it doesn't by default. My Pro has 64GB. The Mac Pro can be configured with 8TB. But that's not even the point because most who buy this will already have a massive storage array and expect to run off of that anyway. Nobody is expected to just get the base, at least not without modding it on their own. - Plus comparable CPU performance is ludicrous. An iPad Pro may have a very impressive SoC for its form factor, but it cannot compete with a more than 200W chip.

The sad thing is that it CAN compete. I agree it shouldn’t, but it does. The iPhone is faster at many things than the base model Mac Pro.

As for storage, you miss the point completely. Even if I specced up my iPad a little, I would not expect to exceed the specs of a $6,000 workstation, but it does. Not in all ways, but in terms of CPU and storage it does. And that’s the sad state of affairs for Intel’s Xeons, and the high price of the base model M.P.
 
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Relentless Power

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You forgot to mention that a cheap midrange gaming PC with a Threadripper is much, MUCH faster than this $6,000 thing.

So I take it you’re not in the creator/film industry or even a professional at all for that matter, because if you were, you wouldn’t be making a comment like this, which also leads me to believe that you’re probably not fully informed on what this machine is capable of.
 
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casperes1996

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The sad thing is that it CAN compete. I agree it shouldn’t, but it does. The iPhone is faster at many things than the base model Mac Pro.

In short-burst, purely sequential processing, sure. In anything that matters on a Xeon, no.

As for storage, you miss the point completely. Even if I specced up my iPad a little, I would not expect to exceed the specs of a $6,000 workstation, but it does. Not in all ways, but in terms of CPU and storage it does. And that’s the sad state of affairs for Intel’s Xeons, and the high price of the base model M.P.

It doesn't in terms of CPU, no, and in terms of storage, for the intended market, if it can hold the operating system and a bit, it's good enough, because their 42TB RAID setup is there for the rest. My iPad also has better battery life than my more expensive DSLR, and it'd be great if the DSLR had better battery life - very useful in fact - but it's not the primary point of the device, and extra batteries are sold for easy swaps which is the standard workflow expected for the device, because that quick battery swap is more important than a fixed one lasting 20% longer. - Different tools, different points of focus.
 

Billrey

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So I take it you’re not in the creator/film industry or even a professional at all for that matter, because if you were, you wouldn’t be making a comment like this, which also leads me to believe that you’re probably not fully informed on what this machine is capable of.

I do in fact work in the film industry, and I do in fact know what I am talking about. The base model Mac Pro is simply terrible value. For a 3D workstation, we need many cores and multiple high end GPUs. To get that in a Mac Pro, you have to basically tripple or quadruple the the price of the base model Mac Pro.

We can get systems that are *faster* for our tasks (see 32 core Threadripper and dual RTX-enables GPUs) than a maxed out Mac Pro for a good bit less than the Mac Pro base model.
 
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Relentless Power

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I do in fact work in the film industry, and I do in fact know what I am talking about.

Are you sure?

Because you compared a Mac Pro to an iPad.... which isn’t even remotely appropriate whatsoever in comparison.

Hence your post:

An iPad Pro has more storage and basically comparable CPU performance. That is just... embarrassing.
 

Quu

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I'm confused by this sentence in the video:
Some Mac Pro configurations are capable of holding upto 1.5TB of RDIMM or LRDIMM Memory. There are 6 slots for each and while the Mac Pro does support both module types you can't actually use both types at the same time. You basically will have 6 slots that are unused.

This is not true at all. It has 12 slots and you can use all 12 slots with either RDIMM or LRDIMM's. This is a 6 channel CPU, it has 3 channels either side of the CPU and can have two memory sticks per channel making 12 slots of memory total. The video is correct in that you must use all RDIMM or all LRDIMM's but when you do so you can use all 12 slots, not just 6.

To be clear, LRDIMM and RDIMM go into the same DIMM slot. Their connectors are not physically different. The RDIMM's simply have an extra chip on them that manages the memory module to take load away from the CPU's memory controller, allowing much higher capacities to be utilised.

Even in the video you can see that 2 DIMM slots on either side of the CPU are populated for Quad Channel (as the base spec has 4 x 8GB sticks instead of 6 x 8GB or higher).

Article confirming all 12 slots can be full: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210103#configuration
 

daveedjackson

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I do in fact work in the film industry, and I do in fact know what I am talking about. The base model Mac Pro is simply terrible value. For a 3D workstation, we need many cores and multiple high end GPUs. To get that in a Mac Pro, you have to basically tripple or quadruple the the price of the base model Mac Pro.

We can get systems that are *faster* for our tasks (see 32 core Threadripper and dual RTX-enables GPUs) than a maxed out Mac Pro for a good bit less than the Mac Pro base model.
No you can’t. I priced up a comparable PC with threadripper and Nvidia dual rtx cards and a custom build from pc specialist was over 11k. I’ve heard many people on PC complaining about the sheer amount of system crashes because it just doesn’t have the stability. And for vfx, motion you really need that. I’m not saying it’s the best price but I understand it. You can get whatever suits and then upgrade it yourself for a fraction of the cost. You’d be nuts to buy ram from Apple. The consensus at the moment is that even the cpu could be upgradable. All major pro vendors are releasing support for the AMD gpu’s so I think watch this space for performance. That’s the killer for me. Pricey bit of kit, but poor cinebench scores.
 
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casperes1996

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Even in the video you can see that 2 DIMM slots on either side of the CPU are populated for Quad Channel (as the base spec has 4 x 8GB sticks instead of 6 x 8GB or higher).

Furthermore, Apple's configuration site even allows you to configured it with 12 slots populated out of the box.
 
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Billrey

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Are you sure?

Because you compared a Mac Pro to an iPad.... which isn’t even remotely appropriate whatsoever in comparison.

Hence your post:

It is a comparison to illustrate my point, which is that the base model Mac Pro, expensive as it is, is not a very powerful machine for pro tasks such as 3d rendering, machine learning, simulation, photogrammetry processing etc.
 
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JimmyHook

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You forgot to mention that a cheap midrange gaming PC with a Threadripper is much, MUCH faster than this $6,000 thing.

An iPad Pro has more storage and basically comparable CPU performance. That is just... embarrassing.

Nope.

Xeon W destroys “midrange” PCs at the tasks people would buy this for.

Apple’s A series processors are amazing, but it’s not comparable or accurate.
 
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Promostyle

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I think this would have been less contentious in the wider PRO community if Apple had simply named it PRO AV with the AV obviously being audio and video. This machine is NOT built for 3D at all. Lacking CUDA hardware or an OS that supports it, this machine wont be popping up on anyone's radar in the 3D world. Sure this machine might be fine for actual CAD people but not for any serious or pro level rendering. Besides many made that jump already and those that haven't will be eyeing the 64 core Threadripper shipping early next year since it is 2-3 times faster than the W3275M in the highest end Mac Pro (AV). It's a bummer having to work in windows, but it's right tool for the job.
 

JimmyHook

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2015
649
1,360
I do in fact work in the film industry, and I do in fact know what I am talking about. The base model Mac Pro is simply terrible value. For a 3D workstation, we need many cores and multiple high end GPUs. To get that in a Mac Pro, you have to basically tripple or quadruple the the price of the base model Mac Pro.

We can get systems that are *faster* for our tasks (see 32 core Threadripper and dual RTX-enables GPUs) than a maxed out Mac Pro for a good bit less than the Mac Pro base model.

LOL!!!! Post your benchmarks to back up that statement. OMG that is false and misleading. You do not work in film, not possible.
 
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daveedjackson

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Aug 6, 2009
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219
London
I'm confused by this sentence in the video:


This is not true at all. It has 12 slots and you can use all 12 slots with either RDIMM or LRDIMM's. This is a 6 channel CPU, it has 3 channels either side of the CPU and can have two memory sticks per channel making 12 slots of memory total. The video is correct in that you must use all RDIMM or all LRDIMM's but when you do so you can use all 12 slots, not just 6.

To be clear, LRDIMM and RDIMM go into the same DIMM slot. Their connectors are not physically different. The RDIMM's simply have an extra chip on them that manages the memory module to take load away from the CPU's memory controller, allowing much higher capacities to be utilised.

Even in the video you can see that 2 DIMM slots on either side of the CPU are populated for Quad Channel (as the base spec has 4 x 8GB sticks instead of 6 x 8GB or higher).

Article confirming all 12 slots can be full: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210103#configuration
I think this would have been less contentious in the wider PRO community if Apple had simply named it PRO AV with the AV obviously being audio and video. This machine is NOT built for 3D at all. Lacking CUDA hardware or an OS that supports it, this machine wont be popping up on anyone's radar in the 3D world. Sure this machine might be fine for actual CAD people but not for any serious or pro level rendering. Besides many made that jump already and those that haven't will be eyeing the 64 core Threadripper shipping early next year since it is 2-3 times faster than the W3275M in the highest end Mac Pro (AV). It's a bummer having to work in windows, but it's right tool for the job.
this is outdated thinking. Whilst cuda is a current thing. All pro software developers have come out in support or metal and will be releasing new versions to use the Mac Pro.
 
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Billrey

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Aug 3, 2010
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104
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No you can’t. I priced up a comparable PC with threadripper and Nvidia dual rtx cards and a custom build from pc specialist was over 11k. I’ve heard many people on PC complaining about the sheer amount of system crashes because it just doesn’t have the stability. And for vfx, motion you really need that. I’m not saying it’s the best price but I understand it. You can get whatever suits and then upgrade it yourself for a fraction of the cost. You’d be nuts to buy ram from Apple. The consensus at the moment is that even the cpu could be upgradable. All major pro vendors are releasing support for the AMD gpu’s so I think watch this space for performance. That’s the killer for me. Pricey bit of kit, but poor cinebench scores.

I configured a PC on PC Specialist with a 3rd gen Threadripper with 32 cores, 64gigs of fast ram, a 1terabyte MVNO SSD, two 11gb RTX 2080s, an extra expensive extra large heat sink and a few other bits a pieces for $5,900. For the apps we use, this would be faster than a Mac Pro that is completely maxed out.
The closest I could get was a Mac Pro config at $19,599, which includes the 28-core Xeon, 96gigs of memory (they don’t have a 64 option), two non-duo GPS (with no RTX, no CUDA mind you), 1tb SSD.

the 5,900 Linux workstation would be a good bit faster than the $19,599 MP. Check out benchmarks of the 32 core third gen Threadripper vs the 28- core Xeons. The Xeons slower by a wide margin - and that’s even when you spend the insane price for the 28 core upgrade.
 
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