The 'cheese grater' Mac Pro is back (kinda) and accompanied by a 32-inch display

The “cheese grater” Mac Pro is back. Or at least its descendant is. To the delight of pro users, Apple introduced the all-new Mac Pro, a completely redesigned workstation for pros at today’s Worldwide Developer Conference. It also unveiled the Apple Pro Display XDR, which I have to admit is pricier than I anticipated.

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The new pro desktop boasts workstation-class Xeon processors up to 28 cores, a high-performance memory system with a 1.5TB capacity, eight PCIe expansion slots and a graphics architecture for the most powerful graphics card. It also introduces Apple Afterburner, an accelerator card that enables playback of three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously.

The Pro Display XDR features a 32-inch Retina 6K display with P3 wide and 10-bit color, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and a “superwide” viewing angle, says Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

The Mac Pro features Xeon processors up to 28 cores, with 64 PCI Express lanes. It also provides over 300W of power along with a state-of-the-art thermal architecture to allow the processor to run fully unconstrained all the time.

Featuring a six-channel memory architecture and 12 physical DIMM slots, the new Mac Pro allows for 1.5TB of memory, the most ever available in a Mac. With eight PCI Express expansion slots, that’s twice that of the previous-generation Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro features up to 56 teraflops of graphics performance in a single system. Its graphics expansion architecture, the Apple MPX Module, features Thunderbolt integration and over 500W of power, both firsts for any graphics card. And for quiet operation, the MPX Module is cooled by the Mac Pro system thermals.

Mac Pro graphics options start with the Radeon Pro 580X. Mac Pro debuts the Radeon Pro Vega II, featuring up to 14 teraflops of compute performance and 32GB of memory with 1TB/s of memory bandwidth, the highest of any GPU. The Mac Pro also introduces the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which features two Vega II GPUs for 28 teraflops of graphics performance and 64GB of memory. The pro desktop can accommodate two MPX Modules so customers can use two Vega II Duos for 56 teraflops of graphics performance and 128GB of video memory.

The new Mac Pro debuts Afterburner, featuring a programmable ASIC capable of decoding up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. With Afterburner, video editors using high-quality cameras that require the conversion of native file formats into proxies for editing can now use native formats right from the camera and decode up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video and 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW video in real time.

The design of the new Mac Pro starts with a stainless-steel space frame with an aluminum housing that lifts off for 360-degree access to the entire system. The frame provides a foundation for modularity and flexibility, and incorporates smooth handles for moving the desktop around the studio. The housing also features a lattice pattern to maximize airflow and quiet operation. For customers who want to rack mount their Mac Pro in edit bays or machine rooms, an optimized version for rack deployment will be available this fall.

Schiller says that a number of pro app developers are seeing “amazing results that have never been possible in a single workstation.” To wit:

Blackmagic Design brings full CPU and multi-GPU accelerated 8K real-time editing, effects and color correction in ProRes 4444 for the first time on any system.

Avid can enable support for up to six HDX cards, resulting in more IO, increased voice count and two times the real-time DSP processing than any other system can achieve in Pro Tools.

Maxon’s Cinema 4D is seeing 20 percent faster GPU render performance when compared to a Windows workstation maxed out with three NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 graphics cards.

For additional performance results for the all-new Mac Pro, see apple.com/mac-pro.

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Featuring a 32-inch LCD panel with a 6016 x 3384 Retina 6K resolution with more than 20 million pixels, Pro Display XDR delivers a high-resolution viewing experience with nearly 40% more screen real estate than a Retina 5K display. Other features include a P3 wide color gamut and true 10-bit color for over one billion colors.

Schiller says the Pro Display XDR also features the industry’s best polarizer technology, delivering a superwide, color-accurate, off-axis viewing angle, so now multiple people can view more accurate content simultaneously. To manage reflected light, Pro Display XDR has an anti-reflective coating and offers a new matte option called nano-texture, with glass etched at the nanometer level for low reflectivity and less glare.

The Pro Display XDR uses a direct backlighting system with a large array of LEDs that produce 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness, far surpassing that of a typical display. With a thermal system that uses its aluminum lattice pattern as a heat sink, the display can sustain 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness indefinitely, “something that has never been possible before on a display at this price point,” Schiller says. 

With edge-to-edge glass and narrow, 9-millimeter borders in a stunning, aluminum enclosure, Pro Display XDR features a flexible design. The Pro Stand has an engineered arm that counterbalances the display, allowing users to place it into position. The Pro Stand provides both tilt and height adjustment, and also allows Pro Display XDR to rotate into portrait mode, which is good for tasks like retouching photos, designing a web page or writing code. 

Removable, the Pro Stand attaches and detaches. For pros with unique mounting requirements, a VESA mount adapter is interchangeable with the Pro Stand. With a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, Pro Display XDR connects seamlessly to the Mac product line, including the new Mac Pro, which supports up to six displays for a breathtaking 120 million pixels.

The all-new Mac Pro starts at $5,999 and will be available to order in the fall. Pro Display XDR starts at $4,999, the Pro Stand is $999 and the VESA Mount Adapter is $199. All will be available to order in the fall. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available at apple.com/mac-pro and apple.com/pro-display-xdr.