Apple Confirms New Mac Pro Design For 2018

/ 6 years ago

Apple Mac Pro 2013

Back in 2013, Apple dramatically changed up their Mac Pro design. Instead of using the tried and true industry standard rectangle box, they released what come commentators called a garbage bin. With the new can like design, Apple hoped to retain some of the upgradability while changing the fundamental nature of the Mac Pro. Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, the design backfired, and it appears Apple is setting up the stage to reboot the Mac Pro for 2018.

During their recent press event, Apple shared some details about the problems with the current Mac Pro. Due to the new unified thermal core, Apple limited the upgradeability of the unit. Though it was designed to be modular, only the RAM and SSD are easily upgraded. The GPUs required a custom board be designed by Apple themselves which meant delays and costs concerns while the CPU takes a lot of effort to change and custom boards for new sockets. Due to these issues, there were no upgrades for the system during the last 3 years, falling well behind PC hardware.

Apple Mac Pro 2013 1

Another source of troubles was the unified thermal core and the use of dual GPUs. Apple envisioned one GPU handling the display workload while the other worked as a co-processor. As with most workloads, however, having a single more powerful unit would be better. Unfortunately, the design of the thermal core meant that each GPU was limited to 200W TDP, restricting the upper bound of performance and hampering upgradeability when GPUs are regularly breaching 200W these days.

Moving forward, Apple appears to have learned its lesson. With relatively low Mac Pro sales, custom solutions may not be the best way to go. The company, however, is still likely to try their own thing, so it will be interesting to see how they will innovate. One thing that is sure to change is an increased focus on modularity and upgradeability.

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