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The new Mac Pro: You have to see to believe (pictures)

Apple brings a radical new look to the Mac Pro in its 2013 edition. It's a tall black cylinder -- but much smaller than the high-end tower it replaces.

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Dan Ackerman
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James Martin
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1 of 10 Josh Lowensohn/CNET

The new Mac Pro

Although Apple unveiled the radically designed Mac Pro earlier in 2013 during the Worldwide Developers Conference, CNET got a closer look at the computer during Apple's October keynote in San Francisco. The powerful desktop, with its new cylindrical design, will be available on a still-unspecified date in December, starting at $2,999.

Editors' note: This slideshow was originally published June 10, 2013. It has now been updated with information from Apple's October 22 event.

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A unique aesthetic

The new model has a striking new look. It's a tall black cylinder, but much smaller than the tower it replaces, about one-eighth the volume of the previous Mac Pro.

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Fast and expandable

The new Mac Pro is built for Apple's "most advanced users," according to Apple executive Phil Schiller. It's Apple's fastest and most expandable device, and the company calls this device the future of the pro-level desktop, emphasizing its use in high-end movie and music production.

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Thermal core

Components are built around a "central thermal core," and the specs include an Intel Xeon CPU and faster 1,866GHz RAM.

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Boosted performance

Users will also get Dual AMD FirePro GPUs support (even though current MacBook Pros use Nvidia graphics), and new solid-state drive storage that's 2.5 times faster than current SSDs.

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Inside the Mac Pro

The system can output to as many as three 4K resolution displays. The new desktop will offer two times the performance of the existing version.

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Need for speed

Schiller said the new Mac Pro is 10 times as fast as any notebook hard drive.

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PCIe flash storage

The new Mac Pro will use PCIe flash storage, a 3.7GHz Intel Xeon 12-core processor, 12GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

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Ports that light up

Ports and connections are normally covered, but the port panel lights up when you open the cover, allowing easy access.

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Humming along in silence

There, you'll find six Thunderbolt 2 ports, including one from a built-in HDMI output. The machine is reportedly very quiet, with minimal fan noise, which Apple compares to the sound level of a Mac Mini desktop.

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