Computer

Apple Mac Pro review

Good

Stellar design

Lots of expansion ports

Twin GPUs

Incredible performance

Removable SSD

Bad

Few internal expansion possibilities

No bundled keyboard or mouse

No two-processor option

No optical drive

The new Mac Pro is a professional workhorse dressed up in a very appealing high-design package. It’s a stretch to say this is a computer for casual consumers, but the starting price isn’t more than you’d pay for a similarly configured Windows PC and the radically different look and feel is cool enough to appeal to any design enthusiast who wants nothing but the best-looking, best-performing products.

The new Mac Pro is around an eighth of the size of the previous generation by volume and a quarter of the weight. Because its components are built around a single thermal core, only one fan is needed. Therefore it’s quiet enough to use on top of your desk instead of under it. Its small footprint and great looks mean it’s very welcome as a desktop computer too.

Not everyone needs the workstation-level power and performance offered by the new Mac Pro, but wouldn’t you just love one? It’s a masterpiece of engineering and suitably expensive. Fresh ideas such as the unified thermal core and backlit expansion ports together with high-performance components combine to make the Mac Pro the ultimate high-end workhorse.

The new Mac Pro is the thermal core, a unified heat sink around which the processor board and two graphics processor boards are attached. Where the previous Mac Pro had eight separate fans, the most recent Mac Pro only has one. It draws air through the base and out through the top of the casing, over the heat sink that stretches from the top of the Mac Pro to the bottom. Naturally, this means it runs very quietly. The 2013 Mac Pro is designed to be used on top of your desk, not underneath it, and its quiet running, attractive casing and minimal footprint means it’s welcome to do just that.

Every system ships with dual GPUs. Off the shelf, these are Dual AMD FirePro D300 or D500 cards, but you can custom-configure them up to D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM on the Apple Online Store. Likewise, the processor (a Xeon E5) starts at a quad-core 3.7GHz, but it can be upgraded as high as a 12-core 2.7GHz chip. Memory is industry-standard, so can be user-upgraded. Up to 64GB can be installed.

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