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The new Mac Pro: Hands on, and what you need to know

Jason Snell, Dan Frakes | June 12, 2013
What better place than a room full of developers--people accustomed to harnessing as much computing power as they can get their hands on--to unveil a brand new Mac Pro? And so that's just what Apple did on Monday, devoting a large portion of the 2013 WWDC keynote to a product we've long been hoping for--and even predicting. It's a new Mac Pro, not at all like the old Mac Pro, and it's coming later this year.

What about expandability? Will I be able to use my old expansion cards?
Apple calls the new Mac Pro the "most expandable Mac yet." Many people might dispute that contention, considering that the current Mac Pro offers four PCI Express slots, four internal hard-drive bays, and two optical-drive bays, while the 2013 Mac Pro will offer...well, none of those things.

Apple bases its claim on the fact that with six Thunderbolt 2 ports, on three independent buses, you can connect up to 36 high-performance peripherals--each port supports six daisy-chained devices. Apple also says Thunderbolt 2 provides twice the throughput of the original Thunderbolt spec--up to 20 gbps to each connected device, which is actually faster than PCI Express (and up to 25 times faster than FireWire 800). The company points out that those who need PCI Express slots can add a Thunderbolt PCI-expansion chassis.

Those Thunderbolt ports also support Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort displays, and you also get an HDMI 1.4 port for connecting an HDMI display.

Is there anything else notable about the new Mac Pro?
On the non-technical side, this Mac Pro is going to be assembled entirely in the United States, marking Apple's return to American computer manufacturing. Apple's website refers to "Texas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and over a dozen other states across America" that have contributed to a product that was, of course, designed in California.

 

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