In its keynote this morning, Apple teased its next-generation Mac Pro, due out later this year. Based on Ivy Bridge E, the new system will ship with two AMD FirePro GPUs with up to 4096 SPs and capable of delivering 7 TFLOPS of peak FP performance. 

We got a close look at the chassis, which is 1/8 the size of the current Mac Pro. You lose any hope for internal expansion, but Apple outfitted the machine with three Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt 2 controllers to enable expansion via external storage and external Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis options. Apple won't make any of its own Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, but you can expect that others will fill that void. With 20Gbps up/down on Thunderbolt 2, you should have enough bandwidth for any PCIe expansion.

Internally there are four DDR3 memory slots, as well as what looks like a proprietary PCIe SSD connector (I don't think it's M.2 unfortunately). Both GPUs are technically removable, but at least one is mounted as the same card as the PCIe SSD. Apple is putting every single PCIe lane available to use on the new Mac Pro. 

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  • Kevin G - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Going by the specs, they're FirePro W9000's.

    The oddity is that only three 4K displays are supported even though there are six Thunderbolt ports. A single W9000 can drive six 4K displays via DP 1.2. With Falcon Ridge supporting DP 1.2 pass through, all of six of the TB ports should be able to provide 4K resolutions in addition to the HDMI 1.4 port.
    Reply
  • cubehacker - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Certainly reminds me of the 10+ year old G4 Cube. Yes, its a cylinder instead of a cube - but the idea is generally the same. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    It's the Mac Pro "TUBE" Reply
  • MartinT - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    I think the word you're searching for is 'urn'. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    I'm curious how much Thunderbolt will hamper the performance of external graphics? TB1 certainly did, I'm not sure how TB2 will be but the aggregate bandwidth is the same. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    I think the DUAL GPU's (standard equipment in the Mac Pro Tube) obviate the need to use external graphics. Six thunderbolt ports are a bit overkill. They must expect that you will use two or more of them as display ports, 4K video capture, RAID box...etc. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    GPUs aren't just about display ports...For GPGPU, it's inevitable that in just fewer years than you can count on one hand cards will already offer many times the performance. Reply
  • rlkelly - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    But gpgpu tends to be less bandwidth dependent then driving graphics. Reply
  • Haydon987 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Sure are a good number of uninformed people commenting here. People will believe everything from Apple is awesome I suppose. Thunderbolt is not a good alternative for pro level graphics especially when multiple GPUs are involved. It can barely handle one, and not even the highest end cards at full speed. Make that two or more and you run into extreme limitations.

    Another comment stated that nothing is better than 2 graphics cards (already included)... well actually cheaper PCs running any other OS can take 4 cards, though they may not look like a cylinder. I am aware of diminishing returns on more than 2 cards, but it's still true, especially where compute is concerned rather than graphics.

    And seriously GB vs Gb... it's 2013. People should understand this by now.

    And as to pro level people only upgrading every 5 years.... um.... no. While CPUs really haven't gotten enormously faster in that time, GPUs sure have. Anyone who's a "pro" running a 5 year old graphics card is going to be hurting to keep up unless they're only doing CPU intensive things.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Has it actually been determined that the internal GPUs are not upgradable? The chassis seems easy to open although it's unclear how easy the boards are to get out. Even if Apple doesn't bother providing first-party GPU upgrade options, nVidia and ATI have been directly selling their own GPUs to Mac Pro users for years and they would presumably be interested in continuing to do so in the future if the GPUs in the new design are accessible. It's a bit early to tell if future GPU updates are forced onto Thunderbolt. Maybe Anand can clarify this while he's at WWDC. Reply

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