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Apple keeps Mac Pro alive with minor update [U]

updated 09:03 pm EDT, Mon June 11, 2012

Pogue claims hope for new design in 2013

[Update: added comments from NYT columnist David Pogue, alleged Tim Cook email] Apple has quietly updated its Mac Pro line, putting an end to speculation that the product would be discontinued -- but has instead given the machine the lightest possible refresh, updating the processors slightly (faster versions of the same two-year-old Westfield chips) and dropping the price of the 12-core standard configuration by $1,200 to $3,800. However, some evidence has emerged that this is a transitional move to a full re-design in 2013.

The base configuration offers the same single Xeon W3565 chip clocked at 3.2GHz (with 8MB of L3 cache), but now includes 6GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM (the machine previously came with no included RAM) and officially supports up to 32GB of RAM. It still includes a 1TB hard drive (with three additional HD slots available) and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 (or optional 5870) graphics card. It retains its former price of $2,500.

The standard 12-core model is the most changed upgrading to a 2.4GHz pair of 6-core E5645 Xeon processors (with fully-shared 12MB of L3 cache), with 12GB of 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM on board (upgradeable to 64GB). The previous version of this system sold for $5,000, and did not include RAM. In Apple-supplied benchmarks, the new 12-core model is (unsurprisingly) rated as 50 percent faster than the previous eight-core model.

A server model is also available, with similar specs to the base model but including 8GB of and two 1TB drives, selling for $3,000.

The Mac Pro line is of course highly customizable, and all models include Turbo Boost and hyperthreading for a total of up to 24 virtual cores. The 12-core model, for example, can be upgraded to 3.04GHz chips at an additional cost of $2,400. 512GB solid-state drives (SSDs) are also available rather than 1TB HDs for an additional $850.

The shocking lack of included Thunderbolt ports on the updated machine will likely enrage those in the pro-video community. The unit retains its dual MiniDisplayPorts and Firewire 800 connections but does not include any mention of Thunderbolt, despite a promise by Apple that it would bring the technology to its entire lineup. The Mac Pro is now the only Mac model without Thunderbolt, nor have the USB 2 ports been upgraded to USB 3.0 as was seen on the new MacBook Pro and Air lineup today. The high-speed connectors can of course be added via one of the PCI 2.0 slots available.

Update: As pointed out by a MacNN reader, New York Times columnist David Pogue says he talked to an unnamed Apple executive who assured him that "new models and designs are underway" for the iMac and the Mac Pro, to which Pogue adds "probably for release in 2013." A rumored update to Ivy Bridge processors for the iMac, along with some pre-WWDC predictions, were not announced at this morning's keynote.

Further, a Mac Pro customer who wrote to Cook asking about the absence of Mac Pro news allegedly received a reply from the CEO, which said "Our pro customers are really important to us...don't worry as we're working on something really great for later next year." The email is unconfirmed, though Cook has been known to occasionally respond directly to email inquiries.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Let's slap some lipstick on a two-year old box and try to get people to buy it!

    Basically it's just apple upping the specs to warrant the price, since I'm sure many people were saying "Wait, I can get a new MacPro today for the same price it went for when it first went on sale 2 years ago, with nary a difference? Um, what happened to economies of scale and such?"

    Look for a 'real' refresh by end of summer. Otherwise, it is just paying the electric bill to keep the life-support going for another 6 months before they toast it.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And their premier machine, top-of-the-line, and all that, and it doesn't even have any new features to it from two years ago? Yeah, why would people who'd buy a MacPro need some silly new port like Thunderbolt. That'd be like making the assumption they'd want to, I don't know, transfer files as quick as possible or something.

  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2012


    Pull the plug already

    This is hardly the update the pro market was hoping for. No USB3? No Thunderbolt? No deal, sorry.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So, this is why people want

    the Mac Pro to survive? Apple doesn't give a c*** about the Mac Pro. Apple is rich beyond means and this is the best they can do because it's not a profitable product and sells in such small quantities. When a company with the power that Apple has can't put full support behind their once top-of-the-line computer, then it's proof they just don't care anymore about that segment of the computer market.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So, is it dead or just a zombie?

    Sorry for the sentimental pros that have yet to move off Apple,
    but the latest and greatest for the pros from Apple is just plain PATHETIC!

    The gist of it is an "upgrade" from Westmere to Sandy bridge,
    well that and a so called "server" with just 8 MB of RAM!

    Just like Timothy said:

    "Pull the plug already"

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Mac Pro is still alive!

    Let the whining begin! Oh, wait...

  1. facebook_Eric

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2012


    Yeah really sad

    since these machines were once so fast they were banned for export to China. But having no high speed IO is incredible.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That's pathetic, I agree.

    Better just let it die gracefully. This is just adding insult to injury.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    All that configurability appears

    to be nothing to some folks. Hunh. I never would'a guessed.

    This: "In Apple-supplied benchmarks, the new 12-core model is (unsurprisingly) rated as 50 percent faster than the previous eight-core model."
    So, no lipstick, I'm thinking. The configurability that was so much clamored for before this news seems to be a non issue? Put your own lipstick on it.
    If you're a pro, I can't imagine USB3 would even be that big a draw. You would put a non dedicated bus on a pro grade machine? Maybe you do want Thunderbolt on it, maybe you don't. "Why is Apple making me buy ports I'll never use?"
    Just a different perspective.

  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2012


    Of course it doesn't sell well

    It's not competitive, that's why it sells poorly.

    For some reason Apple understands being competitive in other areas - but has developed some kind of blind spot with the Mac pro.

    It's slow, its heavy, it's expensive.

    Yes, there is a market for towers, but no, Apple hasn't figured that market out.

    The lack of sales, is due to Apple being noncompetitive, and the solution is to fire someone at Apple.

    Drop the Xeon chips, these aren't servers. Maybe take a clue from Dell, look at some of their gaming towers, if you wan't do anything else.

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