Apple’s cylindrical computer, the Mac Pro, will finally go in sale tomorrow, the Cupertino giant has decided.
Based on Intel Xeon chippery with up to 12 processing cores on board, up to 64GB of DDR3 ECC memory and a pair of AMD Radeon FirePro GPUs hooked up to 6GB of GDDR5 video memory in total, it’s hard not to be impressed with the Pro’s spec, especially since the Apple hardware guys have squeezed it all into a tube 24.5cm tall and 16.5cm in diameter.
There’s a price to pay for all this shiny tech, of course - and not just dedicating your soul to the fruity firm. The base model costs $2999 (£1834) before sales tax, and you can add another $1000 (£611) for the souped-up standard build model. Build-to-order extras will push the cost even further into the stratosphere.
And you don’t even get a keyboard and mouse. Apple does deign to put a power cable in the box, though.
The base unit contains a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon E5, the upgraded model a 3.5GHz hexa-core E5 with 12GB and 16GB of memory, respectively. Eight- and 12-core versions clocked at 3.0GHz and 2.7GHz are BTO options. So is a pair of FirePro D700 GPUs - the standard models come with D300 and D500 parts, respectively.
Both pre-built Pros had 256GB PCIe Flash drives to which you can have 512GB and 1TB HDDs built in, storage being sacrificed here in favour of processing horsepower. Besides, with four USB 3.0 and six Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, there’s plenty of scope for fast external storage. You can hook up six Thunderbolt displays - three if you want to use 4K screens.
Connectivity? Apple’s now standard Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and two Gigabit Ethernet ports.
It is, in short, gorgeous and looks like something out of a sci-fi movie - especially with the outer cylinder off. We just hope it doesn’t make a racket when it’s fired up - Apple claims an acoustic level of 12dBA at rest, and about 19dBA when at full tilt. ®