Apple granted patent for the design of the not-so-new Mac Pro

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9207729) for the design of the latest Mac Pro. It can’t really be called new, as it was introduced in 2009 and hasn’t been updated since, which has led to the not-infrequent accusation that Apple is ignoring its pro users. 

An internal component and external interface arrangement for a cylindrical compact computing system is described in Apple’s patent that includes at least a structural heat sink having triangular shape disposed within a cylindrical volume defined by a cylindrical housing. A computing engine having a generally triangular shape is described having internal components that include a graphics processing unit (GPU) board, a central processing unit (CPU) board, an input/output (I/O) interface board, an interconnect board, and a power supply unit (PSU).

In the patent, Apple notes that one design challenge associated with the manufacture of compact computing systems is the arrangement of structural components and functional components with adequate thermal heat transfer and acceptable sound levels when used in a fully functional operating state. An additional design challenge is to provide for user servicing of select components and ready expansion capabilities to supplement processing and/or storage capabilities of the compact computing system. 

Commonly available expandable designs, e.g., based around a rectangular box shaped computing tower, can be limited in adequate airflow and/or require complex heat transfer mechanisms for multiple computational units inside. "Tower" based computers can include room for expansion at the expense of an enlarged outer enclosure, with substantial "dead space" throughout. These are reasons why Apple made the Mac Pro with a cylindrical form factor. 

The Mac Pro includes Intel Xeon processors running at speeds up to 2.93 GHz, each with an integrated memory controller with three channels of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC memory. Every Mac Pro comes standard with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.