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Apple's New Mac Pro: Up to 28 Cores and AMD Vega Graphics

Apple revealed a new Mac Pro at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California. It will be available this fall starting at $5,999. The starting configuration has an 8-core Xeon procesor, 32GB of memory, a Radeon PRo 580X and a 256GB SSD.

There will also be a model with a 28-core Intel Xeon processor powered by 300 watts with a "massive" heatsink. There's six channels of 2933 MHz ECC memory in six DIMM slots with up to 1.5 TB of system memory. 

(Image credit: Apple)

It has a new connector for GPUs called an MPX module which has an x16 PCIe connector, DisplayPort and power, along with a heatsink for thermals. The Mac Pro will start with a Radeon Pro 580X GPU, but can be configured with up to a Radeon Pro Vega II with 14 teraflops of compute and 32GB HBM2 memory. There will also be a version with two Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs, which Apple called "the world's most powerful graphics card." 

Two MPX modules with dual Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs can be connected to have the power of four in a single workstation. The Mac Pro has eight PCIe slots for expansion - four double-wide slots and three single-wide slots, as well as an I/O card with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and two USB Type-A ports, as well as a headphone jack.

Afterburner. (Image credit: Apple)

Apple also has a card for video editors called Afterburner with an ASIC that processes 6 billion pixels per second for ProRes and ProRes RAW codecs. With Afterburner, Apple claims it can play back 3 streams of 8K ProRes Raw video (or 12 streams of 4K). 

Each Mac Pro has a 1.4 kW power supply. The cooling system has three fans in the front and a large blower.

The internals. (Image credit: Apple)

Apple's new workstation uses a stainless steel frame with handles to move the system around. There are also optional wheels.

Adobe, Autodesk, Serif and BlackMagic have announced support for the Mac Pro with apps, as have SideFX, Red and Avid. Otoy is designing a version of Octane to work with the desktop.

In a demo on stage, Apple showed over 1,000 tracks playing in Logic without a hiccup. With AfterBurner, Apple demoed three ProRes RAW videos in 8K on the one computer - over 100 million pixels.

One things pros had been asking for that didn't show up on stage? Nvidia GPU support, which hasn't been available in macOS since the release of macOS Mojave in 2018.

The company had first promised the redesigned desktop in 2017. Apple had lost the confidence of some creatives with a need for desktop-class power with its last Mac Pro, which it released in 2013. It was an innovative design, for sure, but it sealed in components and was almost impossible to upgrade.

Apple also announced a display to go with the Mac Pro, the Pro Display XDR, which will start at $4,999. It has a similar cheese grater design. It has a 32-inch, 6016 x 3384 display with HDR, P3 wide color and 10-bit with a reference mode. Apple is also claiming it pushes 1000 nits of brightness indefinitely, with 1,600 nits peak. The lattice design on the back acts as a heatsink to keep the display cool.

(Image credit: Apple)

The display uses Thunderbolt 3 for one-cable connectivity. A Mac Pro could push six of these displays, and a 15-inch MacBook Pro can power two.

The Pro Display XDR has an arm with a counterbalance to make adjustments seem weightless, and it comes with a portrait mode for writing code or editing photos. The display can also detach from the ARM, and there's a VESA mount adapter for those who want to keep their stands.

If you buy the monitor, be prepared to spend extra to mount it. The stand will go for $999 and, if you have your own third-party stand, you'll still need to plunk down $199 for the VESA adapter.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex. among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE