Impressive new details of next-gen Mac Pro emerge



To detail some of the specifics that we’ve collected from our remote and hands-on examinations of this latest prototype and fit them into a reasonable space, we’ll have to list them….but first, a description of what everyone will see first whether they are checking out http://apple.com/macpro/ or looking at their new Mac Pro in its FedEx box when it’s first opened: the incredible new enclosure that this powerful machine will reside in.

While its outline is not dramatically different from the current Pro tower that has been in service since the introduction of the first PowerMac G5….the most striking change in the prototypes we’ve seen which include the new enclosure design is what used to be called the “cheesegrater” — the intake & exhaust vents on the front and rear of the tower.

They’re no longer silver like the side panels; instead, they are matte black.

This is consistent with the changes made to the iMac and Macbook/Pro during 2008, which received black rear and display-edging panels respectively. It works beautifully in concert with the other more subtle tweaks to the tower enclosure which help the black center panels (front, rear, top and bottom) look more consistent with the whole design.

While consistency with the evolution of its overall industrial design is one reason that this change was introduced, it’s also part of an effort to refine the look of the tower which — while technically superior to almost anything else in existence due to its superior thermal characteristics & associated quiet operation of the low-speed internal fans made possible by the design — has always met mixed reactions when it came to its appearance.

Many — ourselves included! — love visual profile of the PowerMac G5/Mac Pro design, but still find its “cheesegrater” panels less than perfect.

The new industrial design doesn’t give up any of the high-airflow panels’ benefits; quite the opposite! Being slightly taller and wider, plus having numerous internal ventilation/cooling tweaks, the new tower actually improves upon them and combined with the cooler operation of the Nehalem CPUs/chipset, will result in almost silent operation of the new Mac Pro. In fact, during some operations most internal fans shut down entirely; dust-clogging problems experienced in older towers should be a thing of the past from what our sources at Infinite Loop have told us.

The matte-black center panels give the tower a less dazzling, more striking profile with consirerably more visual contrast — but most importantly, they transform the appearance of the “cheesegrater” into something far more subtle. Still offering appealing texture, but without the awkward similarity to a kitchen utensil that the same panels create in bare aluminum.

The only parts of the front panel which aren’t black are the optical drives and the cluster of front-mounted ports; both remain the silver-grey of bare aluminum, making them stand out considerably more — in our own hands-on tests, it was much easier to reach out into one’s peripheral vision and make successful contact with a cable on the first try than it was with a PowerMac G5, for example.

All in all, we couldn’t be more impressed with the enclosure which we’ll be able to describe in even more detail (handles, subtle touches, port locations and internal layout, et cetera) soon once another source embargo expires. But what really impresses is far more than skin deep — the Core i7 Xeon components inside delivered performance and thermal/energy efficiency numbers that simply crush any other computer we’ve ever seen by astonishing margins.

Having up to 16 (yes, sixteen!) cores certainly doesn’t hurt.

Specs are listed on the following page; click through the link below to get the latest on the hardware that makes the new Mac Pro something we’ll most definitely be seeking to barter with a sponsor to get our hands on! Even if you can’t afford it out of pocket, once you see these specs….you’ll be plotting to get your hands on one any way you can just we are! ๐Ÿ˜‰


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  • http://www.dardari.it Francesco

    Fantastic!
    March? Too lateeeee!!!!
    I want it now!

  • Septimus

    I wonder if we will see nVidia 200 series videocards in the new Mac Pro like GeForce GTX 295. Hope Apple will abandon low budget cards like ATI’s HD 2600.

  • Gerald

    I am so disappointed. ๐Ÿ™ I like all the new specs. of this new Mac Pro. The things I don’t like are that:

    1. They are making the form factor/footprint bigger than it already is.
    2. It does not sound like they are making a smaller version of the Mac Pro (i.e. mini-tower or smaller).

    The current Mac Pro is a behemoth. It is big enough and I can see where some people may need a machine that size. But for hardcore gamers or the mac user that does not need all that expandability but likes all the power, a smaller machine with just as much power and not as many slots/expandability would be preferred.

    I have been hoping they would make a smaller version of the Mac Pro as an option, along with the current behemoth version, a Mac Pro mini or something along those lines. But I guess I am waiting in vein.

  • Chris

    The ATI 3600 card seems to be discontinued on the ATI site. Only the 3800 variant can be bought.

    Why would APPL use such a low end card when the 4800 series is available and according to the specs you provide is more than capable of running a 4800 with 512, or even a 4800 with 2048?

    The former can be had for 200-285 US, while the later comes in at 400-500 US. Many will not buy any MP with the very low GUI spec you site.

    Further, using ATI instead on Nvidia seems out of keeping with APPLs current GUI strategy.

  • Chris

    More on i7: Intel to detail eight-core Xeon processor (Feb 9 preview)
    http://www.macworld.com/article/138510/2009/01/intel.html?lsrc=rss_main

  • Ben

    Any way to get some CineBench 1o numbers MacOSR?

  • Nathan

    How about bluetooth support finally?

  • Tallest Skil

    @Nathan

    Looking at the website, it looks like Bluetooth is built into the current model, as well as having been an option on the last model.

    So what are you talking about?