Mac Pro review
After months of seductive but release-vague pre-hype, Apple's new top-of-the-line Mac Pro desktop computer has been unleashed on the unsuspecting Christmas-rush public without warning. While the masses hunt down those still-warm new iPad Airs for last-minute pressies, those in search of a power upgrade have something of their own to investigate.
Mac Pro: Size and build
Only 25cm in height, the new cylindrical Mac Pro is short but deceptively weighty, revealing in its 5kg heft what it's packing in processing punch under the hood.
The 16.7cm diameter means its desk imprint is small, a compact desktop built to be exactly that: sat basking on top of the desk, not buried beneath away amid mounds of cable. It's more than welcome up there, too.
To the touch, it feels premium, its metal outer reassuringly pristine, but visually it's a product built to be divisive. Our early images on our social networks lead to a variety of comparisons, from biscuit jars to coffee machines, but we'd argue it's Apple's most iconic design in years, part Harman Kardon Soundtsticks, part Darth Vader.
Mac Pro: Features
Being a top-of-the-line desktop, the Mac Pro is, as you'd expect, hugely customisable. At entry-level pricing you get a 3.7GHz quad core Xeon processor, a pair of AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors with 2GB of VRAM apiece, 12GB RAM and 256GB of flash storage, though if your wallet's as deep as your love of raw computing grunt, you can get that up to a 12-core Xeon E5 processor with D500 GPUs, 16GB RAM and 1TB of space in no time; real pros will need to.
As is increasingly the way with Apple, there's no built-in media drives at all, so it's a good job's there's 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, although there's a host of increasingly essential if pricey professional Thunderbolt 2 accessories already shipping. It's possible to run three 4K monitors off one Mac Pro, and when networked they look pleasingly/unsettlingly like a spaceship full of Alien pods, too.
Mac Pro: Performance
The Mac Pro is a processing beast, taking all kinds of professional creative media tasks simultaneously without drawing breath. A quick system update for some Mac Pro-specific bits and bobs gets you up and running on the pre-instaled OS X Mavericks software, with free day-one optimisation updates specifically for Final Cut Pro X, including Motion and Compressor.
Mac Pro: Verdict
The new Mac Pro is the kind of product that's invented to wow. Exceptionally powerful technology, an almost eye-watering price and a strikingly bold design that looks a bit like Darth Vader – it's what tech fetishists live for. Not since our first "eyes on" experience with Google Glass earlier this year has the entire T3 office crowded round just to catch sight of a piece of technology. People were gawping before we'd even turned it on.
Mac Pro review
Mac Pro reviewT3
First unveiled in June 2013, Apple's shiny, futuristic new desktop computer is finally here and it looks fantastic. Check out our new Mac Pro review...
Mac Pro review
- iconic looks
- Immensely fast and powerful
- Very quiet
- Brutally expensive
- No physical media drives
- Needs more optimised software
After months of seductive pre-hype, Apple’s new top-of-the-line desktop computer was unleashed on the unsuspecting Christmas-rush public. Looking like Darth Vader’s new plaything, the Apple Mac Pro’s sudden pre-order announcement gave those searching for a power upgrade something to contemplate, and now it’s finally ready to ship.
Mac Pro: Size and build
Armed with an all-new exterior aesthetic that’s hard to ignore, the new Mac Pro is the latest example of Sir Jonathan Ive’s united hardware and software approach to design.
The unit feels premium, its aluminium shell reassuringly pristine, yet is a product built to be divisive. Early images on our social networks led to a variety of comparisons, from biscuit jars to coffee machines, but we’d argue it’s Apple’s most iconic design in years, part Harmon Kardon Soundsticks, part Death Star.
This isn’t style for the sake of it, though. The cylindrical design aids heat dispersal, creating a central triangular vent that the circular base fan uses as high-tech chimney, pushing thermals out of the top and keeping the precious innards cool. The 16.7cm diameter and 25cm height also means its imprint is small, a compact desktop built to do exactly that: sit on top of your desk, rather than be tucked away out of sight.
Mac Pro: Connections
A solitary power button and a streak of connections are concealed round the back of the cylinder, which can be spun round for ease of access, and which lights up dramatically and usefully when working late. You get four USB 3.0 ports, a whopping six Thunderbolt 2 ports – 20 Gb/s throughput apiece – two Ethernet ports and an ultra-HDMI out.
As is almost universally the way now with Apple, there are no built-in media drives, so it’s a good job there’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 on hand, plus a slim range of pricey professional Thunderbolt 2 accessories; hopefully a few more will appear soon.
First unveiled in June 2013, Apple's shiny, futuristic new desktop computer is finally here Check out our new Mac Pro hands-on review...
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