We have done some research and discovered that Apple will finally be launching their new Mac Pro. There are a variety of new technologies being utilized, so we have gotten our best in field experts to talk to our sources. What do we know?
So as we predicted some months back, we had said that Apple was experimenting with a variety of new tech to put into their new machines. They had been investing a lot of time and effort into making both a proper professional machine and a possible Xserve replacement.
By merging the Mac Pro line with the Xserve, they simplify the professional market and make it so their production lines are also vastly streamlined and simplified. This saves Apple a lot of cash and makes it less confusing for both enterprise and professional customers.
So what have we found out exactly?
Due to Intel’s issues with their 22nm process failing to scale very well and the fact that “Romley” the codename for Sandy Bridge E Xeons has already been 6 months late, Apple decided to bite the bullet and not wait further for the Ivy bridge ones as we previously detailed.
The Ivy Bridge ones, for those with experience will note that they handle voltage far worse than their 32nm Sandy bridge brethren so that is why Apple made this difficult decision. In the lifetime of a server or a professional machine, voltages run high, and longevity is key.
Now what exactly does Apple bring to the table with these nice new fancy Mac Pros? Here is the official word: SATA III/SAS connectivity is now native, which is always good for solid state drives. We expect Apple to be offering solid state drives as they are now, but with the fact being, that the SATA II is no longer a bottleneck. For boot drives, very good news, at 6GB/s.
Expect PCIE3 to be native as well. For your RAID arrays, video cards (professional or otherwise) this will be better than PCIE2 for scaling, though not better for performance in all cases. Also expect up to 40 lanes per socket, rather than the usual 36 of the previous generation.
The onboard memory controller is gone, moved to the CPU itself. Please note the massive leap in performance from the core two to the i7. Expect that here. The link between the CPUS will be faster, up to 8 GT/s. The CPUs can be octa core now as well, but it remains to be seen just what Apple puts in them. The 8 core processors are highly costly, so we will see.
The memory will be up to 1600 mhz although Apple could change that to a more stock speed if they choose. The last ones were 1333mhz. Also it has 8 physical memory lanes now, which allows for 25% more memory than the previous models.
Expect USB 3.0 to be standard, and Thunderbolt as well. The leaked pictures from previous shown working with the Thunderbolt display and the RAID array clearly illustrates this, and our sources are confident on that.
The video cards, due to the Nvidia Kepler being poor at computations, and the shortage of the parts, we expect that ATI professional cards will be used, as well as the current generation Quadro ones.
We have heard of rackmountable prototypes, and this would be a good thing we feel. The current server version has no redundant power supply, lacks easily swappable parts and is not easily serviceable to run as close to 24/7 as possible. These are all arguments why Apple should be making a new one.
However, our sources have told us one other thing. Apple does not wish to be present in the enterprise market as the units sell very poorly in comparison to the other products they sell. Take note, at WWDC 2011, there was a slide of Steve Jobs at the new Apple data center.
Did he use Xserves? Mac pros? No, he used industry standard HP DL- series ones. If your own company wont use their own product, that is a very powerful statement.
We totally believe that there will be no rack mountable version. The market is very small and specialized. So that is why.
So to summarize:
Intel Xeon E5 series processors, six and eight core possible
1600 MHZ memory with 8 channels (25% more physical slot capacity)
SATA III/SAS 6GB/s
Native USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt
PCIE3 native for video cards and others
We have also heard that the codename is K5B, following apple’s standard practice of names. We will know soon what is going on, stay tuned for more WWDC coverage!