Ever wondered how Apple's classic Macintosh 128K from 1984 compares to the brand new Mac Pro? We have, so we decided to take a closer look. How does the computer that defined Apple compare to today's premium powerhouse?
The Mac Pro is the most powerful Mac ever made. With up to 12-Cores, 128GB of RAM and ultra-fast PCIe-based flash storage it whips through the most demanding of tasks.
Obviously it's faster than the Macintosh 128K, but just how much faster? And is the new Mac Pro a better computer for today than the Macintosh 128K was in its day?
New Mac Pro vs Macintosh 128K: the basics
The new Mac Pro is Apple current premium computer. Launched in late 2013 it represents a radical new direction for Apple's Intel-based workstation. The new Mac Pro eschews a classic tower case in favour of a small circular base designed to house a thermal core and single fan. Inside the new Masc Pro a single CPU, but it's a whopper: up to 12-core Intel Xeon E5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9GHz.
The Macintosh 128K is the original Mac. The computer that was released initially as just "Apple Macintosh". A labour of love started at Apple by Jef Raskin and championed by Steve Jobs. It's possibly the most important computer ever made, and Apple itself claims that it: "reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh."
Macintosh 128K vs Mac Pro: Design and build
One thing that sticks out is the design similarities. The Macintosh 128K unit did not rely on a fan, instead it relied on convection cooling which made it quiet. This was at the insistence of Steve Jobs. A fan was introduced in later models to prevent component failures. The new Mac Pro features a fan, but only a single one, and it mostly consists of a thermodynamic cooling design that sucks air in at the bottom and ejects hot air from the top.
The Macintosh 128K features a built-in screen, so it is more like the iMac in that respect (it also shipped with a keyboard and mouse, both of which are absent in a new Mac Pro).
There are notable differences between the ethos of the Mac Pro and the Macintosh 128K. The original Macintosh 128K was not conceived to be a particularly powerful computer: instead it was mostly designed to offer decent graphics performance at a dramatically lower price than other computers (most computers with GUI's cost well over $100,000). A teardown by iFixIt shows the Macintosh 128K's innards in all its glory.
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