CNET First Look
Hands-on with Apple's new Mac Pro desktopThe radically re-imagined pro-level desktop is built for 4K video.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here with the new Mac Pro desktop from Apple. This is a radical redesign of a concept of a professional desktop. It's meant to replace that big, boxy Mac Pro that you've probably seen in your office or seen other people with for years. That design has not changed in a long time. What apple has done here is take essentially the same high-powered professional components and boil them down into this small cylinder that is about 1/10 of the size, also much lighter, and part of the way they do that is by fitting everything inside around a kind of a three-sided triangular heatsink/motherboard. You have RAM over here, and over here that's very easily accessible, your video cards are over here, and here this is the Solid-state hard drive, you know, it is user accessible. There's not really any reason to go and replace that right now but at least that's something else you can get to. This is not nearly as expendable as a full powered desktop but at least there are some user accessible parts inside. And they combined that with a single fan that's also very quiet and it kind of sucks hot air up and you could be feel a little bit of it coming out of the top of the system here and the end effect is we have something that is as powerful or more so than the big, gigantic Mac Pros but is very small, very portable, it could really sit next to you on your desk rather than like under it or in a closet somewhere. Even though there's a very high design product that's been described as looking like anything from a small beer keg to a part of a jet engine, all [unk] like Darth Vader black, this is not really intended for the same consumers who would go out and buy let's say a MacBook Air or even an iMac. It's intended for people who edit video and do a lot of professional graphic design or 3D graphics and things like that. That said, you could use this as your home computer but it's a pretty hefty investment. Starts at $3,000 and goes up from there. I'm almost afraid to tell you that this particular configuration has 2 of the higher end AMD FirePro graphics cards, it's got 64 Gigs of RAM, it's got 1 Terabyte Solid-state hard drive, all that adds up to about $8,000, but the $2,999 configuration is also plenty powerful. The big [unk] here is that a lot of your accessories and [unk] is gonna be added externally through the 6 Thunderbolt 2 port that are in the back of this. So you have gigantic hard drive arrays and other things that you use, they're gonna be external rather than internal, where as in an old Mac Pro you might have just open up the side and put in, you know, a card. The system is being very heavily pitched as being for 4K video use and you can connect up to 3 4K monitors at once using either the Thunderbolt 2 or the single HDMI port that's in the back. It's got some of the new upgrade we're starting to see from a lot of pc makers. It's got the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It's got PCIe connection for the SSD drives so that should make that a little bit faster as well. It's still very early days for the new Mac Pro, to the fairly radical reimagining what it means to be a high-powered professional desktop computer so we're gonna have to take some more time, run a lot of tests, run final cut [unk] on it, I'll put all kinds of 4K video to different displays, but at least on our very initial hands-on testing, this certainly feels like a very fancy, very powerful, very sexy high-powered pro grade desktop computer. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Apple Mac Pro.