What is the new Mac Pro 2013 made of?

Digital Arts | 14 June 13

One of the most often asked questions about the Mac Pro is what is it made from? Find out here.

Apple's shiny new Mac Pro has been compared a bin, an air-conditioning unit and the helmets of French robots-in-disguise electro act Daft Punk. From this you might assume that the 2013 Mac Pro's case is made from highly-reflective plastic – but hidden away in the Mac-maker's impressive HTML5 Mac Pro site is that it's made from aluminium. Well, being American, Apple says it's made from aluminum – but as there's some history to why we Brits get an extra 'i' rather than this being some Carribean-style pronunciation difference, we'll let them off.

Apple uses anodised/anodized aluminium/aluminum on the exterior of many of its products – though normally with a silver, more obviously metal appearance. The metal is hard-wearing, scratch-resistant and gets points for being recyclable too. 

Apple has arranged all of the components around a central wind tunnel with a single big fan, which it has engineered to keep everything cool while apparently keeping noise to a minimum. The full chassis measures about 25cm tall and 16cm in diameter.

The 2013 Mac Pro features what appears to be a single Intel Xeon processor from Intel's forthcoming line of 'Ivy Bridge'-based workstation-class processors, which offer up to 12 cores. Intel announced in April that it would be releasing this line in Q3 of 2013 (so from July to September). Apple hasn't said when the new Mac Pro is shipping beyond a vague 'later this year', so would fit with this timeframe.

While Apple hasn't said just how much RAM the 2013 Mac Pro can support, it does support 1,866MHz of ECC RAM, while its rivals support RAM no faster than 1,600MHz. Storage-wise, the new Mac Pro features PCIe flash storage, which with a data transfer rate of 1,250MBps is 2.5x faster than the fastest SATA-based flash storage, according to Apple, and over 10x faster than a 7,200rpm SATA drive. We expect these to be very expensive and small in capacity, so you'll likely need to pair these with an external drive for your projects.

For graphics, the 2013 Mac Pro has dual graphics chips from AMD's FirePro range. It hasn't said which cards are included, but from the quoted specs they appear to be the same chips as found in AMD's top-of-the-line FirePro W9000 graphics card – which feature 6GB of graphics RAM (and ECC RAM at that), a 384-bit memory interface and 264GBps memory bandwidth.

Apple says that the cards will allow you to do VFX and editing work on full-res 4K video – and output the three 4K displays at once. Unlike the PC-based FirePro W9000 though, there are no DisplayPorts on the 2013 Mac Pro – instead the three of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports can be used as mini-DisplayPort outputs that output to DisplayPort monitors using an adapter, as with Apple's MacBook Pro and iMac.

There's also an HDMI output on the back of the new Mac Pro, along with four USB 3.0 ports and two gigabit ethernet. The Thunderbolt 2 ports offer up to 20GBps of data transfer, and can also be used to attach devices from PCI arrays to external RAID storage devices. Apple says that the all-black exterior lights up to show you these ports when you rotate the Mac Pro towards you.

Other features include 801.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.0.

Apple hasn't said when it's shipping the 2013 Mac Pro or what it costs.


George Lynch said: I actually use this machine 12 hours a day every day, it is built to supreme standards !!!! it runs silent in normal use and i have never managed to get the fan to run any faster than Idle, i run 2 32 inch monitors from this machine and i can only say it is outstanding for me every day i use it, i cannot see why anyone would require any mor power in graphics etc than this machine offers. money well spent for me and comes with a 3 year warranty also.

Steve said: Sorry, but I'm not impressed with the new Mac Pro and its limited upgradeability. Besides, that was the main reason why I purchased my 2010 Mac Pro. It gave me many upgrade options, one being, the ability to upgrade my graphics card. Sorry Apple, but you missed the mark once again. I am sure that Steve Jobs would have scratched this release.

james braselton said: hi there wounder how much flash storage capacity ocz pci reach 3.2 terabytes flash storage few other reach 6.2 terabytes flash storage

Comment_Cop said: Fair do's. My point is this machine is major form over function. Its going to be impractical for the pro's its supposed to be aimed at, non upgradable etc. Benchmarks leaking out show that its fast but underwhelming, definitely not setting a new level for the next generation.A pro that is looking for absolute maximum grunt would be better off buying the old model or go for a PC. A more casual user might as well get an i7 iMac, they wont notice any big performance difference.Maybe in the future they could make it dual processor like the old Mac Pro but it doesn't look like that will happen with this small form factor design.So yeah as I say, it looks nice, interesting design but still form over function. Im sure there will be plenty of people willing to pay over the odds for it once they are sucked in by the good old Apple marketing machine!

adam said: I accept that "you" wouldn't but a computer off the shelf.Consider however those of us who cannot build one, have better things to do with the limited time we have on this wonderful planet and have enough money not to worry about the 'cheaper' option.Spare a thought for us eh? ;-))_

Comment_Cop said: Hi there! Taking a look I think you are right, I over looked the ECC & non-ECC bit.With non-ECC you can go all the way up to 2133Mhz, that's why I was confused. ECC peaks at 1600Mhz.Take a read of this you might be interested, especially the ECC is 2% slower than non-ECC bit.http://www.crucial.com/kb/answ...I agree with you on the graphics cards too. I find the design of this machine a bit strange considering its aimed at Pro's. I don't see why they went for a small integrated machine over the expandability and choice that a full size machine would give. It looks nice as it is but it wouldn't be long before a pro had a million and one things hanging off it making it look like a ball of tumbleweed! :)I wouldn't buy a computer off the shelf anyway, better to build it yourself. Cheaper, runs faster and easy to do these days.

Nethfel said: Unfortunately, I am pretty sure the article is correct.Compared to normal desktop machines (core i based), the RAM is not faster. Compared to workstation classed Xeon machines using ECC RAM, it is correct. DDR3-ECC RAM up until now from anywhere I've looked has capped out at 1600MHz (which is normal as it has always seemed that ECC RAM has offered slower speeds then non-ecc). So, technically, compared to other Xeon based workstations that utilize ECC RAM, it would use the fastest RAM (for the moment).That said, not sure how I feel about the fixed GPU's and design that doesn't really allow the use of add-on cards... I guess they feel you can just deal with the GPU's they offer and that you don't need add-on cards any more.

Comment_Cop said: Error in this article. My Pc handles 1866 Mhz Ram just fine and I have owned it for over a year. Many motherboards can handle 1866 Mhz Ram and even though we dont know pricing yet I bet they are far cheaper than this Mac.Looks nice though.

Meccano said: I guess that's why your parents called you Duncan

Duncan said: Thunderbolt 2 is 20 Gbps, not 20 GBps - big difference!