back to article Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow

Apple’s cylindrical computer, the Mac Pro, will finally go in sale tomorrow, the Cupertino giant has decided. Based on Intel Xeon chippery with up to 12 processing cores on board, up to 64GB of DDR3 ECC memory and a pair of AMD Radeon FirePro GPUs hooked up to 6GB of GDDR5 video memory in total, it’s hard not to be impressed …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before...

    other PC box shifters 'copy' the idea?

    Have to agree with the article, it does look different.

    1. Longrod_von_Hugendong

      Re: How long before...

      Given past history - not long.

      An up vote from me, since the Samsung Xerox fanbois have down voted you a couple of times.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: How long before...

        An up vote from me, since the Samsung Xerox fanbois have down voted you a couple of times.

        Eh, you do realise that it was Apple that copied their UI from Xerox Parc, don't you? If not, you picked exactly the wrong choice of words for your put-down.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How long before...

          "Eh, you do realise that it was Apple that copied their UI from Xerox Parc, don't you? If not, you picked exactly the wrong choice of words for your put-down"

          Apple paid Xerox is stock. They didn't copy anything, they bought something.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before...

        You do recognize the irony of comparing Samsung with Xerox here, don't you? Given that Apple lifted their UI paradigm from PARC...

        My question is, how long until the first one of these spectacularly burns down?

        I mean a Xeon and two FirePros in less volume than some cider bottles? Fuckinell

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How long before...

          Given that Apple lifted their UI paradigm from PARC

          GFGI !!! you lot keep on rolling out that old one, regardless of how wrong you are about it, huh?

          http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/10/steve-jobs-xerox-parc.html

    2. Ramazan

      Re: it does look different

      Vertical cylinder with single 120/140/160mm fan on top, bottom or in the middle, with filtered air intake at bottom and exhaust at top is a quite obvious design for single fan PC. I had this in mind at least as far back as 2005 -- there's nothing special about the idea, IMHO. Crucial factor is quality of implementation though, and I doubt Apple are able to pull it.

      1. Philip Lewis

        Re: it does look different

        "I had this in mind at least as far back as 2005 -- there's nothing special about the idea, IMHO."

        Actually, I had an idea that the best way to make money was to get your customers to do your work for you and pay you for the privilege - I had this idea as far back as 1978 while I was at university. Unfortunately the enabling technologies were not in place and I was unable to execute this seminal idea. Sadly for me, others have capitalised on my prescience (DHL and banks in general were first IIRC) and I have been left penniless and without the credit for this brilliant idea that I justly deserve.

      2. Michael Thibault

        Re: it does look different

        > there's nothing special about the idea, IMHO.

        Which may explain why no one has thought to implement it. Or not.

        >Crucial factor is quality of implementation though, and I doubt Apple are able to pull it.

        Yeah, I, too, doubt they'll be able to pull it back from the clutches of the market once it's introduced. They'll probably have to content themselves with selling as many as they can shove out the factory door. While doing so, though, they might even have to weather criticisms about 'artificial shortages', accusations of 'constraining supply', and that ilk of BS...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: it does look different

        Vertical cylinder with single 120/140/160mm fan on top, bottom or in the middle, with filtered air intake at bottom and exhaust at top is a quite obvious design for single fan PC. I had this in mind at least as far back as 2005 -- there's nothing special about the idea, IMHO. Crucial factor is quality of implementation though, and I doubt Apple are able to pull it.

        Hey Johnny... It's your cousin.... Ramazan.... Ramazan Ive... You know that new futuristic design you were looking for that isn't based on a Braun shaver from the sixties? Well have a listen to this!!!

    3. Robert Sneddon

      Dustbin of the Future

      A couple of days after the new Mac Pro was announced someone pointed out Amazon.jp were already selling an almost identical device at a fraction of the price. It was a small kitchen countertop wastebin of about the same dimensions, rounded corners etc. Wish I could find a link to it...

    4. Shagbag

      Re: How long before...

      I have to admit that I was 'wowed' when it was first announced. Looking at it now though - in light of all the hype around any Apple product - the cylindrical design is in danger of succumbing to thoughts of an empty giant BOG ROLL. I seriously doubt PC manufacturers will be chomping at the bit to reproduce this design. I'd expect they'd be halting manufacture of ANY new designs, while the PC market continues to go down - on topic - the shitter.

      1. keithpeter
        Boffin

        Re: How long before...

        "I'd expect they'd be halting manufacture of ANY new designs, while the PC market continues to go down"

        I suspect you may be right, but I'd hope that someone does a conservative large case designed for replacability of all parts and expansion, and continues to make parts and new motherboards that fit a common modular standard. Then we pay more up front but can keep it chugging along for (say) 15 years?

        Just donated an old HP workstation box (xw6200) that you could pull open and swap a hard drive in a couple of minutes without a screw driver. Upgraded graphics card, memory. Capacitors held out since 2004. Biggish PSU. Heavy bu**er but solid.

        1. Michael Thibault
          Joke

          Re: How long before...

          >Capacitors held out since 2004.

          What!? You couldn't replace the caps without proprietary tools? Design fail!

          1. keithpeter

            Re: How long before...

            >>Capacitors held out since 2004.

            >What!? You couldn't replace the caps without proprietary tools? Design fail!

            OK, clumsy expression on my part. I meant that the motherboard had good quality parts including electrolytic capacitors. Capacitors will inevitably fail sooner or later but the quality range can place the 'or later' well into the decades, or as low as half a decade.

            You pays...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long before...

      "Have to agree with the article, it does look different."

      Insightful!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long before...

      Thought you would have said " how long before people realise that you can't slot a DVD into it?"

    7. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: How long before...

      Apple make a round iPad. Maybe bring back the round mouse too.

    8. noominy.noom

      Re: How long before...

      Didn't Silicon Graphics have a round computer? It was taller by a fair bit and it wasn't shiny black. But it was fast as stink for the time. I think Cray also had a round computer. Something about the wiring length being optimized.

      1. IGnatius T Foobar

        Re: How long before...

        noominy.noom is correct, Cray did use round designs.

        However, the round design by Seymour Cray was for the purpose of minimizing the wiring distance between any two points inside the chassis. Apple has everything on a single board packed with SMD's, so there is no genius-of-Cray here, it's just your typical overpriced fruity design more suited to an art show than to a computer user's desk.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How long before...

          > design more suited to an art show than to a computer user's desk

          Sums up (all of) Apple products beautifully!!

          By computer user you are referring to Chrome zombies and MS Word gurus.....

    9. Giles 2

      Re: How long before...

      Sony had a circular / cylindrical PC in 2007

    10. MCG

      Re: How long before...

      All-in-ones and non-expandable boxen have inexplicably never been all that proper in the PC market.

  2. Philip Lewis

    This really is very impressive packaging.

    Compare and contrast with any other offering ...

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Coat

      You have missed the point. The Mac Air has impressive packaging, and so makes for a better portable.

      However, this is a desktop. To get close to a normal Mac Pro, you have to add an external HDD enclose, complete with a straggly cable. For the 2nd Ethernet port you'll also need another adaptor (the Mac Pro will easily saturate a Gbit port and normally uses 2 bonded). For video or audio work, you'll also need an external PCIe enclosure for your pro capture cards. Also despite waiting years for it, it can only tke 64GB of ram? The old ones have that! A standard 16GB max is also poor showing, our laptops have that much!

      The old Mac Pro is better in every way except the processors. Very, very disappointed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It *has* 2 ethernet ports as standard and 6 Thunderbolt 2 so assume you could hook up Thunderbolt to Gigabit adapters to this if you need more - pretty sure I saw a Thunderbolt to 10GbE adapter not long ago?

        I suspect most people using these will use external RAID enclosures anyway - clearly it's going to have a few connections going in the back anyway but it's still a very small and powerful unit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Looks like a toilet bowl.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It either looks like an Apple Fleshlight 'entertainment' device or Darth Vaders den from Empire Strikes Back.

    1. Nigel 11

      It looks like something you'd fill with ice to cool a bottle of wine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It looks like an Apple Fleshlight 'entertainment' device.

      Right! Perfect for their target market then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The thing is effectively a chimney. So it has the shape of chimney.

  4. Yet Another Commentard

    Any word on UK pricing?

    I am assuming £2,999 or thereabouts.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Any word on UK pricing?

      Already announced. £2499 for the base model and £3299 for the hex core version (subtract VAT and it's not far from equivalent to the US price)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Any word on UK pricing?

        A cluster of 4 Mac Mini servers (quad core i7) might compete with this for CPU grunt at a similar price, albeit it's a bit hard to run Photoshop distributed across them.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Thecowking

      Re: Who cares what a PC box looks like?

      For a long time I have been... not a great fan of Apple, but this design is truly different.

      With the heat vented upwards, I can rest my tea on top of the round base and it will be kept warm . If I invert it, I can probably keep beer cool. It's _genius_.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Scroticus Canis
        Gimp

        Re: Who cares what a PC box looks like? @Thecowking

        Upvote for that. First thing I thought was some dork user would think "Oh a coffee mug holder" - cue fizz-bang sound effects.

        Looks a bit like the Lecson power-amp from my 1977 hi-fi but that had a fluted cylindrical body in black anodised ally as it's heat sink. Prior art Apple?

  6. Rupert Stubbs

    Huh - what's the fuss about?

    Everyone knows the Apple can't innovate.

  7. LoPath

    Rollaway

    Guess you wouldn't want to lay it on it's side, huh?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Rollaway

      I think that is why they made it with a circular cross-section (as opposed to a triangle, rectangle or hexagon): It makes it clear that it is to be used only in the upright position.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Rollaway

        "It makes it clear that it is to be used only in the upright position."

        Tenner says some numpty tries to use it upside down. Cue sob stories in the papers 'my new Mac Pro spontaneously combusted' etc.

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Rollaway

      You should be OK. That rat's nest of cables connecting it to all the peripherals they left out should stop it getting too far

    3. The Unexpected Bill

      Re: Rollaway

      You're setting it on your desk* wrong.

      * or table, or couch, or counter top, or whatever...

  8. Pete 2

    On a roll

    So this is how Apple gets to patent the wheel

    (I wonder how long it took their marketing department to decide what colour it should be?)

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: On a roll

      "I wonder how long it took their marketing department to decide what colour it should be?"

      Probably about 2 seconds after the first "Andrex" joke was told about the white prototype

  9. Matt Piechota

    Shame

    What a fantastic design. Shame that, at best, 5% of them will be used for anything more serious than desk jewelry.

    I hope a few PC folks do a similar design, maybe normal folks will be able to afford them.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Shame

      Very unlikely people will buy this just for fun, that's what the iMac is for. Pro is for people who DO actually want to use their computer to do some work.

      1. MCG

        Re: Shame

        Ha ha yeah, right. The Mac Pro market segment want a Mac Pro with room for additional drives, a replaceable graphics card, a couple of PCI slots, not this gigantic dildo. This is aimed squarely at poseurs with more money than sense - Apple clearly hates real pro users.

    2. Stuart Castle

      Re: Shame

      You do realise that people that actually spend the extra for a Mac Pro tend to be people that will need the extra horsepower, don't you? If they want a pretty machine, they'll go for an iMac or Mac Mini (assuming they go for a Mac at all).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame

      "What a fantastic design"

      It would end up full of cereal boxes in my house. Cover on and it's almost an exact replica of the recyclables bin in my kitchen.

      1. Hud Dunlap
        Facepalm

        Re: Shame@smurfette

        So your recycle bin is ten inches high and six inches across?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shame@smurfette

          Um, where did I mention size? But yes, it's almost an exact replica. (It's a small bin and is used for neatly folded cardboard bits mounted behind a hidden swivel door, and is not much bigger than the Mac. I don't like obtrusive bins in the kitchen you see).

          :)

      2. sysconfig

        Re: Shame

        I wonder if iBucket or iBin are registered trademarks already, because it clearly looks like one.

    4. simon gardener

      Re: Shame

      I think you misunderstand the market for this computer. I would be amazed at the price they are if 5% of them were used as desk jewellery. This is aimed at a pro market. And those prices are the base models. The likelihood is the average customer is going to spec their machine way above the minimum. And then use it.

  10. mastodon't

    Mmmmm Tasty,

    I had a wake-up issue with my 2008 MacPro on sunday morning, looks like the power is on the blink like the wife's last year, nearly £200 for that new one and they've both been getting a little slow recently too to tell the truth...

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Mmmmm Tasty,

      I know exactly what you mean. Like you, my wife is getting a little slow recently and she had wake up issues last year too.

      It's crazy to have to spent nearly £200 pounds on a new one, particularly as a wife has high running costs.

      Nowadays, 'green' legislation means you have to factor in the added expense of disposing of the old one ethically. I miss the old days - when they died, you could just to strip them of anything useful and dump them at the local tip.

  11. Eradicate all BB entrants

    With those Xeon chips and ...

    .... the option of 2 FirePros I would recommend not sitting this under your desk on the carpet.

    1. poopypants

      Re: With those Xeon chips and ...

      ".... the option of 2 FirePros I would recommend not sitting this under your desk on the carpet."

      It was 39 degrees C today where I live (102 Fahrenheit). That is why I choose NVIDIA.

  12. Jimboom

    Kind of looks like a trash can

    Ok. It's a cylinder. Interesting, but practical... I don't know so much.

    The pricetag and the location of the ports means that owners of this will put it right up front of their desks in a place of pride, meaning that all the other stuff has to be up on the desk too instead of tucked away neatly.

    So for an editor that has a few hard disks, possibly some sort of video input device you are looking at at least half a dozen wires up on the desk. So is this what it is going back to ... the rats nest of wires on the desk??

    Yes it looks good, and it is undoubtedly good hardware in the box. But all they are doing is making a bespoke form factor that makes upgrading even more impossible then before.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Ummm.... oookkaaayy

      > but practical... I don't think so.

      Well, the internal configuration would suggest a Tolberone shape, but then people might lay it on its side which would prevent cooling by convection. What shape would you prefer?

      >So for an editor that has a few hard disks, possibly some sort of video input device you are looking at at least half a dozen wires up on the desk.

      No you're not. One Thunderbolt cable to your displays, one to your storage and PCIe cards. The advantage is that you can take your $6000 RED card with your Macbook when you're working in the field, or swap it between workstations depending on workflow.

      >But all they are doing is making a bespoke form factor that makes upgrading even more impossible then before

      Ugh? It was very easy before- the old Mac Pro was renowned for it. Now it is just a case of swapping a cable.

      1. Jimboom

        Re: Ummm.... oookkaaayy

        >Ugh? It was very easy before- the old Mac Pro was renowned for it. Now it is just a case of swapping a cable.

        In other words when it breaks or you want to upgrade you have to buy a new one. I'm sorry, but if I have just gone and shelled out over 2 grand for a machine I don't want to go have to buy a new one if it breaks (and I know you say, just buy applecare, but with that price tag there are going to be those that cannot afford the new shiny and the applecare)

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Ummm.... oookkaaayy

          > but with that price tag there are going to be those that cannot afford the new shiny and the applecare

          If you're spending that much on the machine, it will be because you are using it to make money- so you will either get Applecare or another contingency plan, since disappointing your clients will cost you dear.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ummm.... oookkaaayy

          I'd say it's the opposite - if you can afford this you can afford the Applecare. Porsche but can't afford the petrol?

  13. Psymon
    Mushroom

    I thought I'd seen it all...

    What an utterly stupid design! Pro my arse! I real pro buys rack-mount kit designed to maximize power in the smallest space, while keeping the price-per-watt down.

    A REAL pro doesn't care what the outside looks like. A real pro requires a powerhouse that can be upgraded with off-the-shelf parts, contains redundancy, while packing as much power as possible into the smallest space, while keeping the price-per-watt to a minimum.

    You waste money firstly by buying it from Apple, who overcharge for Intel components. You waste money because this stupid non-standard round case will require that the Intel upgrades be customised to fit the Apple case. This stupid thing won't even fit under your DESK without wasting space!

    Oh, and of course if you opt for the 12 core variant, I assume you've factored in the overhead of upgrading the power supply to your desk, the added air conditioning strain... What's that? You've already allocated that budget for the server room requirements?

    Well, I'm sure your friendly BOFH would have loved to accommodate your shiny new Mac hardware in one of his server racks, except.... IT WON'T BLOODY FIT!!!!

    Just like every other Apple product when offered up to the corporate market, Apple have designed a round peg for a square hole.

    1. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

      Yes, graphic designers, photogs, video editors etc, non of them are professionals. Everyone has a data centre to keep their rack mounted kit in, and no one in an office uses a Xeon workstation do they (says he looking at one under his desk that hasn't had more than a disk upgrade in its life)

      1. Psymon

        Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

        No upgrades, eh? I assume you don't work in post-video production, or have you not moved into 1080p yet?

        Actually, we've seen a very steady and constant move across all the creative industries away from Apple. The music industry has been one of the last Stalwarts. This is in part because they are one of the last to have certain packages available ONLY to Apple, but also because well, how can I put this delicately? Musicians aren't in general best known for their IT literacy, and so as a rule of thumb, appreciate an OS that treats them like they don't know what they're doing.

        As a former independent 3D artist I can assure you, that Dusty Bin here will give you the LEAST bang-for-buck, having built my own pizza-box render farms in the past, bulk buying old machines from schools is a great way to get massive power for little cash. It's also very friendly on the old leccy bill. I only needed to fire them up with a WOL script when it came to render time. Hell, that's how Google got started!

        Photoshop users require acres of RAM and fast swap files (still not in the same league as video editing) You can either pick up faster kit for the same price, or simply save yourself a bucket load of cash by buying something that doesn't have that little silver badge on it, and get a wider choice in cheaper software.

        And the design? Come on! It really isn't that clever, it's impractical, and finally, let's not forget we're talking about a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy YET AGAIN before they produced a funky little mp3 player. After which, their PC business became barely a tertiary interest.

        1. Steve Todd
          Stop

          Re: I thought I'd seen it all... - @Psymon

          Where do you get this "cannot be upgraded" crap from? The RAM is socketed, internal disks are standard parts and the video lives on daughter cards. Everything else is designed to be connected by Thunderbolt. These things are designed to handle 4K video as they stand (on 3 separate 4K screens even). You were thinking of moving to 8K in the near future?

          1. JEDIDIAH

            Re: I thought I'd seen it all... - @Psymon

            > Where do you get this "cannot be upgraded" crap from?

            You will need to get yourself an extra desk to accomodate the sprawl and rats nest of cables that you will need to pull all of that off. That 's just the thing you need when you are working in one of the planet's most expensive cities (SFO, NYC, London).

            1. Steve Todd
              FAIL

              Re: I thought I'd seen it all... - @Psymon

              So a 3+ screen Windows workstation is cable free and uses less space than a small cylinder plus ONLY the modules you need? Get real JEDADIAH, space and cables are so far off the bottom of the list of possible issues compared to a PC that most folks won't notice them.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

          >The music industry has been one of the last Stalwarts. This is in part because they are one of the last to have certain packages available ONLY to Apple, but also because well, how can I put this delicately? Musicians aren't in general best known for their IT literacy, and so as a rule of thumb, appreciate an OS that treats them like they don't know what they're doing.

          - Firewire audio kit just works with Macs, with generic PCs you have to determine if you have a Via or TI Firewire chipset (one works, one doesn't)

          - Macs are usually fairly quiet in use.

          - OSX's CoreAudio behaves. Window's sound subsystem is a mess, and keeps trying to wrest control back from ASIO for no good reason.

          - Wireless MIDI is baked into OSX and iOS out of the box.

          True, you could build some special low-latency Linux box to do the same, but should it go tits-up good luck acquiring another one five minutes before you're due on stage.

          1. hungee

            Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

            Sigh...

            PC music creator/composer/electronic musician here. I also work in I.T.

            I run a sandy bridge Toshiba mid range lappy that with $600 + $150(for ssd and ram upgrades) "just works" with a USB sound card that "just works" and multiple osc and midi controllers... "Just works" after I installed a 5MB program that is free and has been around for 10 yrs or so.

            My FireWire card that is outdated but well loved... But "Just works" and that is with a 3yr old i7 first gen that was custom built and.... Ahem. "Just works".

            I have run this gear under win7 and win8.1 which funnily enough... "Just works" - though the new ui is a bit shit.

            Oh and it has been built using ultra quiet fans and ultra quiet case so that it is barely audible...

            Seriously, i think you just made op's point that muso's are mostly users.. Not pro at tech at all.

            Having said that I do not begrudge your use of Mac's I couldn't care less but give up the "it just works" bullshit OK. It only just works if you are a beginner. If you are not. Then it "just gets in the way"

            you use it cause you couldn't care less... End of story.

          2. c:\boot.ini

            Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

            @ Dave 126

            You forgot, "wired" midi on windows sucks big time, on Mac it is plug and play, on Windows it is ... hm, where was that driver, where do I download that thirdparty app to test which midi devices have been detected by windows .... seen it all before, many times ... shit, I forgot to reboot a third time ... my silly fault ... or wasn't it ?

        3. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

          That is a bit of historical revisionism. The transparent, colourful RevA iMac preceded the first iPods by some months. Those did quite a bit to redeem Apple's bottom line and was the first outing for Apple from a certain Jonathon Ives.

          Sure the iPods and latterly iPhones and iPads respectively have not hurt the bottom line either, but it was funky desktops for home users that were Jobs' first big success. After he killed the clone market of course that caused the initial haemorrhage.

        4. simon gardener

          Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

          I don't think you are Apple's target customer. You are bashing a powerhouse of a machine that is also incredibly transportable, allowing people, whose jobs don't confine themselves to one office space, to take that power with them on jobs.

          And your alternative is to buy a load of old computers from schools and link them all up into a render farm.

          I can't see old Tim Cook and his mates losing much sleep over your opinion.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Mushroom

            Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

            > I don't think you are Apple's target customer.

            This is supposed to be a workstation for professionals, not a consumer toy to demonstrate how much money you can waste.

            Some mindless conspicuous consumer is hardly the target market for this kind of device. Although the Apple faithful seem to think that's who is likely to buy a Mac Pro. Pro users of any sort are much more like the "geeks" you are always trying to denigrate and marginalize.

            If you are willing to declare that power users are no longer welcome in the Cult of Apple then I would not disagree with you.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

        Can it be rack mounted? No? Oh well, not time to replace my server yet, then.

      3. Persona non grata

        Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

        @Steve Todd

        Strange, my Mac Pro under my desk has had new drives (3 off, latest an SSD), memory, 2nd Firewire card added, UAD2 PCIe card, new video card (modded PCIe PC graphics card to get around Apple's ludicrous overpricing of ancient GPUs) added to it over the past 4 years.

        I've just replaced it with a 4770K based hackintosh that pummels the base level new Mac Pro for performance, RAM and disk storage for almost exactly half the entry level price in Australia ($2000). This has a GTX 660 currently but wonder of wonders I can upgrade the GPU, RAM and add other drives trivially without having to add an expansion chassis. It's as quiet as my old Mac Pro and has been flawless since I installed it - which took 30 minutes, pain free.

        And I can use it as my primary DAW system for the next 2-3 years and just upgrade parts as I need, even to the level of new mainboard/cpu. It even has a better warranty than Apple have just got busted for not supporting in Australia.

        Also, Mac Pros aren't workstations, they don't have workstation level support from Apple outside the major centres in the USA. HP and Dell make real workstations with real certification and support.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

          >Also, Mac Pros aren't workstations, they don't have workstation level support from Apple outside the major centres in the USA. HP and Dell make real workstations with real certification and support.

          That's not right. Workstation Certification is done by the software vendor; as an example, Solidworks Corp has certified specific machines from Boxx, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo for use with their software under 64 bit Win 7.

          It is almost a redundant phrase to speak of an Apple OSX machine as 'certified', since there aren't that many hardware combinations for the software vendors to test. The Mac Pro has ECC RAM, and in the event of it going tits up you just swap the machine out for a new one, copy an image across to it and then carry on chasing that deadline.

        2. Steve Todd
          FAIL

          Re: I thought I'd seen it all... @Persona

          It annoys me, the number of people that claim they can build an equivalent or faster machine for half the money, who then list a bunch of consumer grade parts that lack a lot of the functionality of the Apple device.

          Ignoring everything else for the moment, you want to put together a machine for professional use without licenses and without support? Really?

          Next, no the 4770 isn't equivalent to a Xeon E5. It lacks features like ECC RAM support and has a smaller cache to start with. At best it's a wash in terms of performance between the two, and that's compared to the BASE model Mac Pro. You also don't get SSD connected directly to the PCIe bus (peak speeds of around 1G/sec compared to 540M/sec over SATA3), nor is the GPU spectacular compared to the D500 or D700 options (which also use ECC RAM, as does the entry level D300).

          Next, where are all the expansion ports and IO? Dual 1G Ethernet, 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4. 6 Thunderbolt ports (each of which allow you to connect multiple PCIe devices), up to 6 monitors etc.

          Finally how big is the box, and how much noise does it make? I'm guessing that it's nowhere near quiet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

      Couldn't put it better myself, have a thumb sir!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

      Usually when something doesn't suit you, just leave it. Be it function or price. There's no need to get so worked up over something that you won't buy anyway. This machine will likely find pride of place in an office that is minimalist, avant-garde, with zero clutter. And yes, there are people in such a setup that use powerful computers. Racks are so yesterday. There are more than one type of REAL pros anyway. Of course if it makes you happy, then you can be THE pro. Or whatever.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

        > Usually when something doesn't suit you, just leave it.

        Easier said than done when you have bought into a single vendor proprietary solution.

        Although at least some of the old Mac Pro gear (hardware) is standard enough to move over. Anything spent on software would be money just p*ssed away.

    4. Day

      Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

      There are other sorts of professional. Some types of pro would keep their PC on or beside their desk.

    5. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

      Er - it's quiet. Rack servers are never quiet.

      Quiet matters in some offices. You're going to have a tough time running 3 4K displays over a network without some extra special magic that's going to cost a lot more than this box does.

      I'd be more worried about overheating. Apple's record on heat management isn't great. I expect the 4/6-cores will be fine, but I'd wait until the 12-cores have been beta tested by a few customers first.

      Oh - and it looks a bit like a rounded Cray-1, but smaller, and without the insane cooling. (Not so much on the inside, but I wonder if that was part of the inspiration for the idea.)

    6. Anthony Hulse

      Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

      It doesn't go in the racks mate. It goes in the edit suites with the guy or girl using it to create content. Apple have made a big deal in the premarketing bat how quiet the new Mac Pro is, how it can sit in the studio etc. without being noticeable. Which means BOFH gains some space back to cram more RAID arrays into the SAN ready for all that 4k editing his users will be doing come the end of next year. Win win.

  14. Neil 44
    Holmes

    Fruity patent opportunity?

    No doubt they will try to patent the tube / tower design - forgetting that the Cray 1 had that design (albeit somewhat larger!) back in 1976....

    1. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Re: Fruity patent opportunity?

      No, the Cray 1 was open at one side and was built in segments, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-1

      I can see Apple being able to get a design patent on the outer case, and maybe some real patents on some of the internal cooling tech.

      1. sam bo

        Re: Fruity patent opportunity?

        "I can see Apple being able to get a design patent on the outer case, and maybe some real patents on some of the internal cooling tech."

        Given some of the outlandish patents awarded, I think you may be right. Patent applied for and patent awarded seem to be synonymous these days.

  15. CT

    Base model £2,499.00 on UK Apple store

    Base model $2,999.00 on US Apple store

    Google says "2999 US Dollar equals 1833.69 British Pound Sterling"

    US sales taxes can't account for all that difference can they?

    1. Malcolm 1

      £2499 - 20% VAT = £2082.50 ~ $3410

      So you are right, the UK price enhancement factor for this device is about 14%

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And that remaining 14% is taken up by other local taxes, duties and distribution costs.

  16. annodomini2

    iPill

  17. We're all in it together

    But in an office move

    You'll be able to roll it to your new desk without picking it up. Assuming you've not been laid off of course.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait for the benchmarks to see how well this thing runs Crysis!

    Anon because I know someone with more money than sense looking at one of these for their gaming PC...

    1. Fibbles

      I've no doubt it'll run Crysis at a fair clip but workstation cards aren't really tuned for gaming. You could probably get similar performance for half the price by buying consumer graphic cards.

  19. stu 4

    FCPX

    " With all that power, you’ll be able to do things like seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background — and still have enough power to connect up to three high-resolution 4K displays."

    er.. not with FCPX you won't - since it stops all background processing the minute you do anything in the interface... which does sort of make one wonder if the bloke who came up with that gem was still using FCP7 (which could do that fine)

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: FCPX

      Only three 4k displays? That all?

      Just had a look on the Apple website -- apparently this monster of a workstation limits out at 64GB of RAM.

      1. stu 4

        Re: FCPX

        "One notable thing missing from the connectors on this new model is DisplayPort or its Apple equivalent. That means any displays over standard 1080HD will need a Thunderbolt adaptor of some kind to run it"

        thunderbolt in compatible with displayport. you just plug it in surely ?

        As you point out, there's only the 2.5k one at present, but that is higher than 1080HD and plugs in via the displayport/thunderbolt just fine.

        I imagine the limit of 3 displays is due to the displayport bandwidth shared across thunderbolt ?

  20. Ramazan

    AMD FirePro

    If Apple were at least marginally interested in satisfying customer needs, they'd use nVidia videocards instead (better performance per watt, plus nVidia do provide drivers for Linux).

    P.S. AMD provide "kinda driver" for Linux too, but it doesn't work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AMD FirePro

      Yes, I'm sure that was foremost on Apple's mind. Imagine the customer backlash if the graphics drivers do not fully support Linux!

      To all the people whining about the new Mac Pro, I would think very few of you would actually buy a Mac in the first place, and secondly, you're probably not a target market.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: AMD FirePro

      Apple wanted to get away from CUDA. Many of the 3rd party OSX applications that use acceleration have now implemented OpenCL support. This would appear to benefit the user in the long term, since both nVidia and AMD products work with OpenCL - they are not tied to nVidia. In the short term, Apple have used this as leverage to get these FirePro cards from AMD at a large discount.

      The performance per watt depends on the task- in some scenarios AMD are better, in others nVidia has the lead.

      1. phil dude
        Linux

        Re: AMD FirePro

        sort of my first thoughts were "I wonder if Apple has drivers that run OpenCL properly?". That would mean I wouldn't necessarily have to put Linux on it...

        If so , might be worth a punt for some Molecular wiggling...

        Still, build quality is probably quite good I understand...

        P.

  21. sonophy
    Coffee/keyboard

    Extras

    Yes, the design is innovative for a computer. But, to add the "proper" keyboard, mouse + needed adapters will a another £200. to £350 to the price. Nice profit margin Apple.

    1. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Re: Extras

      Standard PC/Windows keyboards and mice work just fine thanks (they've been doing that with the Mini for a while now), you can connect standard Displayport monitors (DVI/HDMI is a simple third party cable), the ONLY expensive cable is if you want to use Thunderbolt, and that's expensive because it has active parts at each end of the cable.

  22. Zacherynuk

    The cube didn't do very well, did it ? As I recall it used to turn itself off quite frequently too.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1153341/cube_10thanniversary.html

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Says it all, the Mac Pro is only a little bit more expensive than a decent (ie, not air or small screen) Mac laptop these days.

  24. Mage Silver badge
    Facepalm

    maybe the last.

    If you like OSX and a more powerful Mac, enjoy this. It might be the last. Where are the Apple Servers today? This is a very niche market for Apple.

    Yes, it's striking and different, but a niche expensive product. Maybe there might be one more generation at most.

    1. David Austin

      Re: maybe the last.

      "Yes, it's striking and different, but a niche expensive product. Maybe there might be one more generation at most."

      Power Mac G4 Cube ver. 2?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    power....and failure

    hmmm...had this been released as the top of 2013 rather than arse end it could have recouped its cost as a LiteCoin or AltCoin mining rig....too late for that now ;-)

    ...but surely this has the same failure as the old G4 cube - ie the PHB will accidentally drop

    their drink right down the middle :(

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like one of them weird anal stretching devices.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Most of us are more familiar with bins, lozenges, cola cans, chimneys, or Bender from Futurama.

    2. Michael Thibault

      >Looks like one of them weird anal stretching devices.

      I'm not following you. You're familiarity is with them... conventional... anal stretching devices? Clarity, please.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think the word you are searching for is..

        either Buttplug or Apple Computer. They are synonymous

  27. The Mighty Spang

    security and expansion

    right, so how we going to secure this to the desk guys? normally cages go over the top but thats going to interfere with the cooling.

    and you're not a pro unless you've got a fibre link out to a decent storage solution. used to have pci cards for that.. now out of thunderbolt into a tb->pci adapter (about £700 FFS), leaving dodgy, non lockable cables hanging around ready to be knocked out.

    and hold on, how do I secure that as well?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: security and expansion

      Cages? Sorted..

      27 Mac Pros, some Lexan, a 3x3x3 arrangement and your very own tower of power. Guaranteed to impress prospective clients visiting Shoreditch. May even impress more IT literate clients if you can keep it cool and manage the cabling neatly. May also prevent people using it as an ashtray. Meanwhile, the server farm can carry on doing the real work.

      More ideas for Mac racking and stacking available by googling barrel stacking systems. And putting it on it's side also means it'll double up as a handy desk fan heater!

  28. W. Anderson

    While the price points of the " New" Apple mac Pro will keep most Apple fans away from this hardware, it is indeed a different level of thinking on Apple's part as compared to any offering thus far from HP, Dell or even the gaming machines from Sony and Microsoft.

    It would also be exceptional as a Media station for streaming (with large external USB/Firepro or NAS devices) music, videos and photo albums to a "professional" Home Threatre environment.

    Apple out innovates the Wintel guys again.

    If only Samsung would use all their creativity and ingenuity to produce a very "competitive" Linux or FreeBSD based box, which would certainly keep the Apple vs Samsung sparks flying.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Yeah, this convection design would be good for living room-based games console, - apart from the optical drive. of course.

    2. Dan Paul

      "Apple out innovates the Wintel guys again" Yeah - SURE THEY DID

      Mr. Anderson,

      Based on this price point, all apple has done is make yet another proprietary computer design that has a lock in for any expansion, replacement parts, etc etc. that does nothing to truly innovate the "Computer" itself. Anyone can purchase intel processors, appropriate ram and peripherals and make a Windows or Linux or God forbid force an Apple OS on a non Apple computer. I'm pretty sure some Windows machines can have up to 4 video cards in SLI with at least 3 video outputs per card and the latest cards will do 4k.

      There are alot more "innovative" cases out there for sure

      If you want to see real innovation, try here http://www.mofocases.com/ or here http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/pc_pr0n_25_new_kick-ass_case_mods#slide-18

      About half way down on mofocases you may see something that looks somewhat similar though a bit more gaudy than the Apple Buttplug (TM)

      1. Persona non grata

        Re: "Apple out innovates the Wintel guys again" Yeah - SURE THEY DID

        Oh, come on!

        They were totally innovative on the ALL IMPORTANT lowest number of fans used in a 'workstation' class.

        I mean, I always buy my workstations based on the fewest number of fans available. (Because I love the idea of creating new single points of failure).

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Out Innovates WinTel?

      That would be easy. ARM based Phone, set-box and TV makers do it all the time?

      I just see a packaging & Style solution, not innovation.

  29. willi0000000
    Go

    ok

    they had a cube (six sides) and now have a cylinder (three sides).

    what's next? i predict (looks at magic eight-ball) ... the iSphere™.

    [it could have a built-in round display and be liquid cooled also too]

  30. Glenn Amspaugh

    Round peg in square hole?

    I bet this would fit in my Mac Cube (picked up for free for long planned Macquarium conversion). That would be pretty funny; ancient cube actually running nice and fast, with multiple monitors hooked up to it.

  31. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    Bye, Bye, Jobs

    Apple has already thrown it's sole server model into the dustbin, and now its sole workstation option has been replaced with a dustbin. A fully equipped MacPro used to cost £ 10000, the current model houses just 1 CPU, 1 SSD, no discs, 64 GB RAM is barely enough to run MS-DOS, obsolete 1Gb/s Ethernet, and few PCIe expansion slots. What are Thunderbolt ports usable for?

  32. fearnothing

    Apple have patented VERY rounded corners.

  33. DesktopGuy

    it has a market and is actually cheaper than current options

    This really has only a few markets for it.

    For video, alot of companies have moved or are moving to 10Gig ethernet storage from companies like SmallTree or GBlabs.

    These storage systems often have RAIDs capable of 2 - 4 TB/s and can send data over 10Gig at up to 800MB/s per workstation.

    It's a shame the MacPro does not come with 10Gig ethernet, but that is easily fixed.

    Add a Magma or Netstor Thunderbolt expander with 3 PCIe slots and space for 4 x 2.5 disks and your off.

    Speed wise, it will absolutely fly. Previously I had clients dropping in FusionIO cards or similar to get the speed they needed. That gave them fast local storage, but they could not share projects, or they used 8Gb Fibre and SAN software like FibreJet or Tiger MetaLAN.

    This MacPro will actually REDUCE the cost of workgroup video/audio production.

    1. poopypants

      Re: it has a market and is actually cheaper than current options

      Cheaper? My PC has dual Titans. It cost less than this, and is more powerful.

      Probably radiates less heat, too.

      Of course, I only use mine to play games, so I guess it doesn't count.

  34. AgeingBabyBoomer

    So basically a two grand space heater

    ...on which you can surf the net.

  35. Don Jefe

    Flash vs Utility

    The thing looks kind of cool. I think I would hate any room where it looked at home though. But that's not my point.

    With just about any high performance product, high style flash simply isn't as appealing as full on utility and the look that is naturally created any time absolute performance is prioritized over all else.

    F1 cars are a good example. There's nothing special about an engine with four tires at the corners. But when you build that engine and those tires with nothing but absolute performance in mind everything changes. The sounds, the way they move, the way they smell, the way they look (obviously) are functions of its design ethic: Fast, reliable and safe (for what it is).

    The specs on this computer are nice, but the look of engineered performance is always a better look than something that's designed specifically to look good first and performance is secondary. Looks first products often say a lot about their users as well. I would have more respect for a computer user who spent $6k on an absolute performance monster, than someone who spunked $2k on the looks alone and still had to put a real computer inside it. Even then the performance, thus its utility value, is reduced.

    If you like it and have the money, fine, buy one and enjoy it. But were I out shopping for a new developer/IT pro I would be far more attracted to the person focused on absolute performance, looks be damned.

    It's kind of like going deep into the Amazon rain forest and the gringo guides have the best rain gear money can buy, but the people who know their shit have 3-4 umbrellas (spares you know) and are dressed in summer clothes. The guy with the umbrellas is the guy who will outperform and be cool, and dry, while doing his thing. The people with the look, even though it is scientifically advanced, will be soaked, hot and eaten alive by bugs before they realize they're out of their depth.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Flash vs Utility

      Well, if you asked a Formula One engineer to design an enclosure that has to cool some components as quietly as possible, they might look at the ionic discharge cooling we heard about some years ago: http://www.tessera.com/technologies/intellectualproperty/Pages/thermalmanagement.aspx But, after finding that this technology isn't suitable for their need at this time, they might then think to use convection to aid airflow.

      Hot air rises. Putting things in its way reduces its flow. Big slow fans are quieter than than fast ones.

      Performance is only a measure of how well something fulfils its role. Since the Mac Pro's role is to allow someone to work on AV production, power and quietness are central to its function.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flash vs Utility

      For what it does the price is really not bad - 6 thunderbolt 2 ports, dual gigabit, 3 x 4k displays, flash memory (and PCIe not just SSD on a SATA bus) and near top of the tree processors and video.We were looking to buy decent PCIe flash cards not that long ago that for similar capacity were going to cost around this much.

      For someone who needs this performance the cost is pretty irrelevant as it will increase their productivity.

  36. Steve Brooks

    "Besides, with four USB 3.0 and six Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, there’s plenty of scope for fast external storage. You can hook up six Thunderbolt displays - three if you want to use 4K screens."

    Seriously? I have this sleek glass desktop with this amazing cylindrical computer and wireless keyboard/mouse combo, and you want me to clutter it up with a stack of ugly external hard drives? Screw that! Any extra strage is going to be network storage, my futuristic workstation aint going to be cluttered with a stack of square pre-21st century bricks of storage, now make me some amazing looking cylindrical ultra fast WIRELESS storage addons and I might consider it.

    1. Mark 65

      Yep network storage, 'cos that'll just be so fast. Have a look at someone like Chase Jarvis. Does pro photo and video work. On his blog he has details and videos of his company setup. Mac pros with locally attached graid drives. Networked storage is only used to copy to and from, not for working on as it is too slow.

      1. jai

        So you use the 4 USB3 or up to 5 Thunderbolt connections to attach local drives? You don't _HAVE_ to network the storage on this thing.

  37. Persona non grata

    Finally

    I'll be curious to see how it goes outside air conditioned environments.

    Apple have had issues in hot climates like here in Australia many times before, most recently with the current iMacs. Their hot weather testing seems pretty minimalistic like their case designs.

  38. J__M__M

    Does it come with rack ears?

    I'm wondering if maybe it goes in sideways like a roll of toilet paper?

    Stupidest. Design. Ever.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if they will stack?

    I'm envisioning some kind of human-centipede of Mac Pros.

  40. stu 4

    it's out - and fuck me!!!

    Has to be done... custom config - up specced to the max...

    12 core, 64gb memory, yada yada...

    3 guesses how much the top config is ?

    £12,777

    holy mother of god.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it's out - and fuck me!!!

      >£12,777

      When I spec it up it comes to £7,878.00 inc VAT. including trackpad and keyboard.

  41. /dev/null

    Nothing new under the sun...

    Rick Dickinson (Clive Sinclair's equivalent of Jony Ive) came up with a design for a second-generation Sinclair QL in the mid-80s based around vertical air flow, complete with a "chimney" on top, that never saw the light of day. You can see a photo of a mock-up of it in this interview.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing new under the sun...

      While heat continues to rise we will continue to see cooling designs that take this into account.

  42. Robert Sneddon

    Bin and gone

    Ah, found it -- http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0018NRM9U/

    3300 yen is about 20 quid in real money. If that's not enough computing power, try this:

    http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%83%97%E3%83%AD%E3%82%B8%E3%82%A7%E3%82%AF%E3%83%88%CE%BC-PM-PROKIT-ProjectM-TUBELOR%E7%94%A8PC%E5%8C%96%E3%83%95%E3%83%AC%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A0%E3%82%AD%E3%83%83%E3%83%88%E3%80%8CPro%E3%83%95%E3%83%AC%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A0KIT%E3%80%8D/dp/B00GRRUB5E/

  43. helicoil

    How much?!!

    It better have been rolled on the thighs of a cuban virgin!

  44. Sheep!
    Windows

    So it's £1500's worth of kit in a cylinder for around 3 grand. as usual you pay a massive premium because it has Apple's "free" OS on it. Mac OSX - "Mac Operating System - eXpensive!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could you post how I can get the same kit for £1500?

  45. Tyson Key

    The Photoshop Opened Early...

    So it appears that folks have already started parodying the design at places like http://togetter.com/li/516991, and http://fstoppers.com/new-mac-pro-design-gets-the-photoshop-treatment...

    Sadly, most of the better ones such as a plant pot, ashtray, fondue set, and tissue holder have already been done... :(

  46. Wisteela
    FAIL

    It looks terrible

    Bloody awful looking thing. Typical Apple pretension. The old design was way better.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hell, I'd even take a beige box...

    ...if it meant I could easily open my Mac again, and use off-the-shelf components once more.*

    * before you tear into me, trying replacing the hard drive in a 2011 iMac with a common or garden model that doesn't come from Apple. Go on, try it.

  48. ATeal

    Why do so many peope care?

    Oh look at dem black PBCs in the stupidly shaped case, no matter where you put this it takes up a lot of space under or on a desk (who puts a computer ON a desk?)

    No doubt it is priced far higher than it is actually worth too.

    I get some people like Apple but "OMG NEW MODEL TOMORROW" is kind of depressing, how about a review when it comes out at most?

    BTW:

    I once found a G5 that was being scrapped (I say G5 like I know what that means :P) and it was really well built, even the connectors on the back, but when I opened it up I do remember thinking "damn!" it was lovely , but I don't think that's enough of a reason to care about macs.

    I also noticed that the "socket" for lack of a better word that the HUGE heat-sink and CPU strapped on to was absent on the motherboard (but the circuitory was clearly there) I also recognized none of the slots. Great, can't upgrade the expensive bugger.

  49. elaar

    A novell case design, woop, the price mark up is well justified now!

    I've spent many a day looking under my desk and wondering how much better things would be if my hardware was encased in something a bit prettier! Maybe one day ....

  50. William Hinshaw
    FAIL

    The iGarbage Can

    Now they make it look just how i think of them as, disposable (not upgrade-able in anyway) and are just crap in general being typically a generation or two behind in technology. Yep a little garbage can.

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