This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.
Apple has debuted the new Mac Pro -- a dramatically retooled version of its flagship desktop computer that had not been significantly updated since 2013 -- on Monday at WWDC. The new $5,999 entry-level configuration features an eight-core Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro 580X graphics card and a 256GB SSD, and will start shipping in the fall.
Higher-end configurations of the 2019 Mac Pro feature some new and very heavy duty components, however, including a new Radeon Pro Vega II graphics processor and a specialized graphics card, Apple Afterburner, that can process more than 6 billion pixels per second. In addition to the new computer, Apple also announced a new 6K Retina display.
Here's what we know about the 2019 Mac Pro's specs:
- Stainless steel frame that offers 360-degree interior access
- Up to 28-core Intel Xeon with 300 watts of power
- Up to 1.5TB of system memory
- 8 PCIe expansion slots
- Radeon Pro Vega II Duo or Radeon Pro 580X graphics cards
- Support for up to 2 MPX modules, which feature Thunderbolt support and 500 watts of power
- Afterburner graphics ASIC: can process 6 billion pixels per second, can playback 3 streams of 8K RAW
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Two USB-A ports
- 3.5mm audio minijack
- PCIe, DisplayPort and power
- Two built-in 10GB Ethernet ports
The new model looks more like the company's previous "cheese grater" design, which offers far greater customizability than the "trash can" aesthetic of the 2013 Mac Pro. The 2019 version features a stainless steel frame and aluminum case that, when removed, provides unfettered access to the Mac Pro's interior. That makes the new Mac Pro distinct from most modern Apple devices, which are designed to be upgraded rather than easily modified (or repaired).
Apart from a minor spec bump in 2017, the company had for six years neglected its high-end desktop PC -- a period during which Windows-based competitors leveraged new processors, graphics cards and case designs to make inroads in a premium market niche that it previously dominated absolutely. The new Mac Pro is easily the most powerful computer Apple has ever sold, and will compete with high-end Windows-based PCs optimized for handling hardcore video-editing and multimedia applications.
WWDC 2019: A quick visual recap of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynoteSee all photos
Hailed for its elegance and power in 2013, the previous Mac Pro delivered cutting-edge components and performance at an extremely premium price. The configuration we tested at the time ripped through our benchmark tests, besting the highest-end Windows machines of the day. It also cost $8,099 -- more than two grand more than the new model introduced today.
But it was the 2013 Mac Pro's cylindrical case — sometimes referred to as the "trash can" design — that came to be seen as its most fateful limitation in a world where creative pros would seek increasingly powerful (and hotter) graphic cards and GPUs. "I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will," Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi told a group of journalists in April 2017.
Follow our WWDC liveblog, and see all of today's Apple news, including the consumer electronics giant's decision to kill off iTunes and create a new operating system for iPads.