Apple Mac Pro: The Most Powerful Workstation
Apple’s new Mac Pro workstation is configurable in various ways and incorporates very high-end Xeon processors with up to 28 cores. The machine’s RAM can reach 1.5 TB, and there are no less than eight PCI expansion slots. Apple is also serving us on a platter various options on the video card side, and a particular novelty that Apple has called ‘Afterburner’, a hardware accelerator that promises to ‘change the rules of the game’ by allowing you to play three video streams. ProRes RAW at 8K simultaneously! Just that…
Apple’s new 2019 Mac Pros processor belongs to the Xeon W family. The base model is an 8-core/16-thread Intel Xeon W processor clocked at 3.5 GHz with Turbo boost up to 4 GHz. The latter offers 24.5 MB of cache memory, and DDR4 RAM modules clocked at 2666MH. During configuration, you can choose a 12-core variant, i.e., the Intel Xeon W 12 core/24 thread clocked at 3.3GHz. The Turbo Boost reaches 4.4GHz on this configuration, integrates 31.25 MB of cache memory, and supports DDR4 RAM at 2933MHz.
Going a notch higher ( and a level on the price, too ), you can opt for the Intel Xeon W 3.2GHz processor, which has 16 cores / 32 threads with a Turbo Boost up to 4, 4GHz. It integrates 38 MB of cache memory and supports DDR4 RAM at 2933MHz. On the penultimate place of the podium in terms of processors, we find an Intel Xeon W at 2.7GHz, a 24-core/48-thread CPU which, with its Turbo Boost, reaches 4.4GHz and incorporates 57MB of cache memory and also supports DDR4 RAM at 2933MHz.
The highest configuration in terms of price and performance is achieved with the Intel Xeon W 2.5GHz processor, a 28-core/56-thread CPU that, with Turbo Boost, reaches up to 4.4GHz and integrates 66.5MB of hidden memory. Like all other inferior processors, it supports DDR4 2933MHz RAM.
Evolution Of The Processor
Apple chose socket or slot-type processors. On the motherboard, you can see a socket with traditional mountings on the charging plate, which allows you to place the processor on the contacts and avoid soldering. Changing the processor or replacing it in case of a problem without changing the motherboard is possible. In turn, it should be configured according to the variants of Xeon W processors.
The RAM Of The New Mac Pro
The processors used by Apple are of a very high workstation level, and you can expand your RAM to new levels. The new Mac Pro is aimed at professionals working on heavy projects, such as researchers who must perform complex scientific calculations, analyze endless amounts of data, or use several professional applications simultaneously. The Mac Pro offers huge memory capacity to accommodate their ever-growing needs.
With a six-channel architecture and 12 physical DIMM slots, the new Mac Pro offers up to 1.5 TB of RAM, the largest configuration ever on a Mac. Possible configurations are 32 GB ( four 8 GB RAM DIMMs each ), 48 GB ( six 8 GB DIMMs ), 96 GB ( six 16 GB DIMMs ), 192 GB ( six 32 GB DIMMs ), 384 GB ( six 64 GB RAM DIMMs ), 768 GB ( six 128 GB DIMMs or 12 x 64 GB DIMMs ) and 1.5 TB ( 12 x 128 GB RAM DIMMs ), configuration only possible with the 24 or 28 core processor.
The price of RAMs varies exponentially depending on the quantity ordered. For comparison, 16 GB DDR4 RAM modules ( 2×8 GB kit ) are selling at Amazon for just over 100 euros. Apple, as always, will charge a very high price; its modules are sold directly at the time of order. The user can save money by buying memory modules sold by other manufacturers aftermarket. Specific memory modules are clocked at 2666MHz for the 8-core processor variant and 2933MHz for all others.
Apple uses ECC modules, an acronym for “Error Correction Code,” which are characterized by other types of memory capable of tracking errors in stored information and mechanisms capable of correcting errors found. ECC RAM is used in some business environments, such as servers and data centers. This type of RAM is essential to minimize the margin of data error; ECC is a method for detecting and correcting single-bit memory errors. This RAM is ideal in workstations and servers, where errors, data loss, and system failure must be avoided at all costs.
PCI Cards, MXP Modules, And Other Features
Along with powerful Xeon processors with up to 28 cores and 64 PCI Express lanes, the 2019 Mac Pro offers 300 watts of power and features what Apple calls’ state-of-the-art thermal architecture’ that should keep the processor running smoothly. To the best of his abilities. The eight PCIe expansion slots; 4 double-width, 3 single-width, and 1 half-height; offer many possibilities for expansion and customization. There are x16 and x8 slots and support for full-length PCI cards.
We also find on the machine a new architecture of extension, called Apple MPX Module, on which we currently have few details. Apple says it offers Thunderbolt capabilities and over 500 watts of power, a record in the graphics card industry. And to keep the system quiet, the Mac Pro’s thermal system cools the MPX module. A special feature of MXP modules is the presence of additional PCIe lanes, which allow you to integrate Thunderbolt and avoid using additional power cables.
In general, it is possible to auto-power cards inserted into PCI Express slots; in some cases, it is necessary to power certain cards (e.g., some video cards ) with power cords that have a typical square 6-pin or 8-pin PCI-Express Card connector. For the three available full-length slots, Apple reports that auxiliary power is available through two 8-pin connectors. But further information is needed on how to access it ( it will probably be possible to do so with cables to put on the connectors somewhere on the motherboard ).
The auxiliary power supply should also allow you to use standard GPUs ( without needing specific models for the MPX architecture ) and, in theory, Nvidia cards ( provided you have the necessary drivers). As for the MPX modules, each of them can take advantage of a power of 500 watts. Apple explains that the PCI Express x16 slot can supply up to 75 watts while the others can supply up to 475
On the MXP modules, Apple has provided various graphics configurations with support for up to four different GPUs. Base graphics specs start with the Radeon Pro 580X and move up to the Radeon Pro Vega II, which offers up to 14 teraflops of processing power, 32GB of memory, and 1TB/s bandwidth. A power never seen before on a GPU, according to Apple! The Radeon Pro Vega II Duo also debuted with the new Mac Pro 2019.
It features two Vega II GPUs for graphics performance of up to 28 teraflops and 64 GB of memory. The Mac Pro supports, as already mentioned, two MPX modules, so you can also use two Vega II Duo cards for 56 teraflops and 128 GB of video memory. A teraflop indicates the number of floating point operations that can be performed in one second. The unit determines the integrated power in modern CPUs and GPUs. Floating point calculations can be performed at different levels of precision.
The most used are 16 Bit ( FP16 – Half precision ), 24 Bit, 32 Bit ( FP32 – Single precision ), and 64 Bit ( FP64 – Double precision ). The AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics card offers no less than 36 compute units, 304 stream processors, and 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. It supports up to 5.6 teraflops in single precision, integrates two HDMI 2.0 ports, and offers four DisplayPort connections diverted to the system to support internal Thunderbolt 3 ports. It supports up to four 4K displays, two 5K resolutions, or two 6K resolution Apple Pro Display XDRs.
The AMD Radeon Expert Vega II offers 64-figure units, 4096 stream processors, and 32GB of HBM2 memory with up to 1TB/s data transfer capacity. This board supports up to 14.1 teraflops in single precision and 28.2 teraflops in half precision. Apple explains that the Infinity Fabric Link enables two Vega II GPUs to offer connections of up to 84 GB/s. There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports and one HDMI port on the board. Two DisplayPort connections are diverted to the system to support Thunderbolt 3 ports. This supports up to six 4K displays, three 5K displays, or two Apple Pro XDR displays with 6K resolution.
The AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo integrates two GPUs, each offering 64 compute units, 4096 stream processors, 64 GB of HBM2 memory (32 GB per GPU) with a bandwidth of up to 1 TB/s, supports up to 14.1 teraflops in single precision and 28.2 teraflops in half precision. The Infinity Fabric Link connection allows two Vega II GPUs to offer up to 84 GB/s connections. There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports and one HDMI port on the board. Four DisplayPort connections are diverted to the system to support Thunderbolt 3 ports. This supports up to eight 4K displays, four 5K displays, or four Apple Pro XDR displays with 6K resolution.
Afterburner And Connections
The new Mac Pro features what Apple calls “Afterburner,” an application-specific programmable integrated circuit ( ASIC ) capable of decoding up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. We have a few details about this advanced technology at this time. But Apple explains that with Afterburner, video editors who use high-quality cameras and need to convert native files to proxy format to simplify editing can now directly use native formats. They can progressively translate up to three 8K ProRes Crude video transfers and 12 4K ProRes Crude video transfers, wiping out intermediary streams.
More Possible Connections
The motherboard photos show the presence of SATA ports. Promise Technology, a company that has always stood out for its exceptional storage solutions, has announced internal drives for Mac Pro 2019, allowing up to 4 internal drives to be integrated into new computers. The connection should allow many others to come up with specific solutions. On the outside of the computer are two USB 3 ports that support USB-A (up to 5Gb/s), two Thunderbolt 3 ports that support Thunderbolt 3 connections (up to 40Gb/s ), USB-C connections (up to 10Gb/s), and a DisplayPort.
Also found on the workstation are two 10Gb Ethernet ports, with support for 1Gb, 2.5Gb, 5Gb, and 10Gb Ethernet configurations using traditional RJ-45 connectors. Two Thunderbolt 3 ports are located on the top of the case and support Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and DisplayPort connections. The 2019 MAC Pro features a classic 3.5mm speaker and headphone jack.
When ordering your future Mac Pro, you can choose between different storage levels: a 256GB SSD hard drive ( one drive ), a 1TB SSD configuration ( two 512GB drives ), a 2TB storage configuration (two 1TB ), and finally a 4TB SSD architecture ( two disks of 2TB each ). Apple said its hard drives support speeds of up to 2.6 GB/s sequential read and 2.7 GB/s sequential write. Storage drives can be encrypted using the onboard features offered by the T2 chip.
Size, Weight, And Other Characteristics
The power supply is very powerful on the new Mac Pro 2019. It offers no less than 1.4 kilowatts. The machine is equipped with Wifi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n and a Bluetooth 5 connection. The dimensions of this workstation are 52.9 centimeters high by 45 deep x 21.8 centimeters wide (with the optional wheels, the height reaches 55.7 centimeters).
The weight is 18 kg (the handles make it easy to move the computer). The pack includes a specific Magic Keyboard (black and silver) with a numeric keypad, a Magic Mouse 2 mouse, and a 1-meter USB-C Lightning cable. According to Apple, with its original design, the shell maximizes air circulation and makes the system quieter (even quieter than the iMac Pro). The case is made of 100% stainless steel.
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