new Mac Pro: On 4K UHD, HDMI, upgradability, expandability

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by benji888, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    some Apple notes I found on the new Mac Pro (some via

    4K displays: "With the Mac Pro (Late 2013), you can connect:

    Two 4K Ultra HD TVs1 and up to two 4K displays via Thunderbolt.

    You can use the HDMI port for one of these and a Mini DisplayPort to high-speed HDMI adapter for the other. If you do, don't plug the second Ultra HD TV into the bottom two Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Pro since they are on the same bus as the HDMI port. Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays explains in more detail how to use the different Thunderbolt configurations on the Mac Pro (Late 2013)." source: also see: Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays

    conclusion: using HDMI port for a TV/display leaves you with only 2 more 4K possible connections as the HDMI port is on the same bus as the bottom 2 TB2 ports.

    •Audio: Also, only one of the audio outputs can be used for digital audio, however, HDMI can be used for digital audio: "You can use the HDMI port as a digital audio port to compatible devices, such as surround sound receivers." source: see also: Mac Pro (Late 2013): Audio from game might stop after wake from sleep

    • PCIe Flash (drive) is upgradeable (though no one has it yet except Apple): Mac Pro (Late 2013): Removing and installing flash storage

    more that might be of interest:

    Mac Pro (Late 2013): Installing or replacing memory

    "six Thunderbolt 2 ports connected using three independent Thunderbolt 2 controllers. Each port supports up to 20Gb/s of data throughput using channel bonding. Thunderbolt supports up to six devices per port for a total of up to 36 devices connected to your Mac Pro" source: Mac Pro (Late 2013): External features, ports, and connectors see also Mac Pro (Late 2013): Issues connecting a Thunderbolt device to another Thunderbolt device

    Mac Pro: Power consumption and thermal output (BTU/h) information

    Mac Pro (Late 2013): Recommended software and firmware updates

    The main question that remains (I hit a wrong button and posted this before I meant to), is whether the graphics cards/RAM is user upgradeable. (I will look to reviews to see if they find out). Or iFixit will do teardown soon and we will know then.

    • a few thunderbolt options: (you don't have to pay top dollar from apple for PCIe expansion, to keep PCI cards):
    MacMall has a couple PCIe expansion boxes. But, if you search for "Thunderbolt" you get 1227 items. Sonnet carries a variety of TB/2 products. Magma. Rack mount: Netstor.

    The new Mac Pro is not more limited, but more flexible, more expandable with TB2. (If only the complainers could look forward instead of backward.)
  2. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Thank you I have 1 27" Cinema and 2 27" Thunderbolt displays and I was wondering if it would support that and how exactly. So one monitor on each TB controller.
  3. applegeek897 macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2011
    Yeah that'll work fine.
  4. borad macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2013
    Thanks for the links. Notable bits:

    "You can use the Sharp PN-K321 and the ASUS PQ321Q with the Mac Pro (Late 2013)... Note that these displays default to 30 Hz (instead of 60 Hz) and need to be manually configured to 60 Hz using the display's built-in controls.”

    I thought the opinion was you couldn’t currently get >30fps on 4K monitors?

    "When rotating a 4K Ultra HD TV or 4K display at 90 or 270 degrees, the resolution will change to 1080p.”

    Well, that’s rubbish!

    Nice to see idle power usage down by about two-thirds.

    Manual says "Your Mac Pro doesn’t have any user-serviceable parts, except for memory and SSDs."
  5. ZnU macrumors regular

    May 24, 2006
    Not through HDMI 1.4. DisplayPort 1.2 can do 4K @ 60 Hz, and Thunderbolt 2 (at least on the Mac Pro) supports it.
  6. DisMyMac macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2009
    Apparently the Sharp PN-K321 supports dual HDMI 1.4 to achieve 60 Hz. The nMP has only 1 though.
  7. benji888 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    Update: GPUs are upgradeable!

    Update: GPUs are upgradeable!

    "With the exception of the processor, everything is user-replaceable -- the RAM, the GPUs and the solid-state storage. (I still wouldn't recommend that the average person replace the GPU himself, but then again, the Mac Pro isn't exactly for the average consumer in the first place.)" source:

    I'm sure ifixit will do a teardown soon and we'll see what's involved, but, I'm also sure OWC will offer upgrades and free how-to videos to go with it.
  8. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2013
    That was just the "disinterested" opinion from an "honest" ebay seller. Nothing more.
    I've readed in more than a review that 60hz on 4k work just as smooth as expected.
  9. benji888 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    That monitor comes with a display port connection and cable, using this (via a single Thunderbolt 2 port on the Mac Pro), gives you 60Hz 4K support.

    "The PN-K321 supports MST (Multi-Stream Transport) mode as specified by the DisplayPort 1.2 standard. A single DisplayPort cable can transfer 3,840 x 2,160 video signals at 60 fps" source:

    Note: the new MacBook Pro retinas, have Thunderbolt 1 not 2, so at that resolution only 30Hz is possible (@3840x2160...24Hz@4096x2160, but, I think UHD monitors top out at 3840x2160 right now.). Either that or the graphics cards can only do this much.

    Most of these high-end monitors (not just the 4K ones) include a display port connection (sometimes cable included also), including the Dell 4K monitors.
  10. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    No, they have thunderbolt 2 chips - actually, ifixit when they did their teardown found very nice thunderbolt 2 DSL 5520 chips that support display port 1.2 technology according to intel.
  11. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    Hmm, Not heard anybody else say you can replace the GPU accept when you configure it before purchase, wish they went into detail about that bit in the review. Strange how they said the CPU isn't upgradable too as it appears to be a standard socket highly suggesting it is just a case of popping one out and a new one in.
  12. benji888 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    You are correct sir! ...

    iFixit has done a teardown now, they confirm the CPU is replaceable (at least from a hardware point of view, I'm sure OWC & others will make this work), they also seem to indicate the GPU as replaceable, but, proprietary, I'm still unclear on this. Although, it is still possible to use a thunderbolt 2 port & a PCIe expansion chassis for more graphics (as far as I know).
  13. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The GPU cards can be easily removed and replaced by a user without specialist tools, but you will not find faster GPUs to buy, due to the propriety design. Maybe some time in the future Apple, or other third parties, will offer more powerful GPUs in this propriety form factor, but that is unlikely. At least they are easy to replace if they fail.

    Is that more clear?

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