Apple WWDC: New Mac Pro And Pro Display XDR Unveiled

By Dan Anderson ● June 3, 2019
  • What are the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR specifications? This article answers those questions.

Apple has announced the new Mac Pro at WWDC. The Mac Pro has been completely redesigned in a way that makes it look more like a cheese grater, which I think looks more appealing than the previous cylinder shape. And the new design gives the Mac Pro the flexibility of adding and removing modular components. Plus Apple also announced the Apple Pro Display XDR — which is one of the most powerful displays in the world.

The new Mac Pro features Xeon processors up to 28 cores and a high-performance memory system with a massive 1.5TB capacity (six-channel memory architecture and 12 physical DIMM slots), eight PCIe expansion slots (64 PCI Express lanes), and a graphics architecture with the world’s most powerful graphics card. Plus Apple also introduced Apple Afterburner — which is an accelerator card that enables playback of three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously (more on that below).

New Mac Pro

And the new Mac Pro features stainless-steel space frame of the Mac Pro has an aluminum housing for 360-degree access to the entire system. And it also provides more than 300W of power along with a state-of-the-art thermal architecture so that the processor can run fully unconstrained all the time. The new Mac Pro was designed for customers who demand the high CPU performance such as playing hundreds of virtual instruments or simulating an app on a dozen iOS devices at once.

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The housing as a lattice pattern for maximizing airflow and quiet operation. And for customers who want to rack their Mac Pro in edit bays or machine rooms, there is an optimized version for rack deployment will be coming this fall.

If you are a pro who is animating 3D film assets and compositing 8K scenes, you will be glad to hear that the Mac Pro features the world’s most powerful graphics card with up to 56 teraflops of graphics performance in a single system. And the graphics expansion architecture known as the Apple MPX Module features Thunderbolt integration and over 500W of power — which are both firsts for any graphics card. To support a quiet operation, the MPX Module is cooled by the Mac Pro system thermals.

For the Mac Pro graphics option, it starts with the Radeon Pro 580X. And the Mac Pro debuts the Radeon Pro Vega II — which features up to 14 teraflops of computing performance and 32GB of memory with 1TB/s of memory bandwidth, the highest of any GPU. The Radeon Pro Vega II Duo — which features two Vega II GPUs for 28 teraflops of graphics performance and 64GB of memory, making it the most powerful graphics card in the world. Plus the Mac Pro can accommodate two MPX Modules so customers are able to use two Vega II Duos.

“We designed Mac Pro for users who require a modular system with extreme performance, expansion and configurability. With its powerful Xeon processors, massive memory capacity, groundbreaking GPU architecture, PCIe expansion, Afterburner accelerator card and jaw-dropping design, the new Mac Pro is a monster that will enable pros to do their life’s best work,” said Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. “Pro Display XDR is the world’s best pro display and the perfect companion to the all-new Mac Pro. With Retina 6K resolution, gorgeous color, extreme brightness and contrast ratio, and a highly functional design, Pro Display XDR delivers the most comprehensive set of features ever offered on any display at this price point.”

Some of the points that Apple highlighted about the Mac Pro include:

1.) The Blackmagic Design brings full CPU and multi-GPU accelerated 8K real-time editing, effects and color correction in ProRes 4444 for the first time in any system

2.) Avid enables support for up to six HDX cards — which results in more IO, increased voice count, and two times the real-time DSP processing than other systems that can achieve in Pro Tools.

3.) And Maxon’s Cinema 4D is seeing 20% faster GPU render performance when compared to Windows workstations maxed out with three NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 graphics cards.

What Is Apple Afterburner?

Apple Afterburner is an accelerator card that features a programmable ASIC capable of decoding up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. And with Afterburner, video editors can use high-quality cameras that require the conversion of native file formats into proxies for easy editing and now use native formats from the camera and decodes up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video and 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW video in real time. This process virtually eliminates proxy workflows.

What are the Pro Display XDR specifications?

Apple announced the Pro Display XDR at WWDC. Here is an overview of the Pro Display XDR specifications:

The Pro Display XDR has a 32-inch LCD panel with a 6016 x 3384 Retina 6K resolution and more than 20 million pixels. And the Pro Display XDR features a high-resolution viewing experience with nearly 40% more screen real estate than a Retina 5K display.

Plus it has a P3 wide color gamut and true 10-bit color for more than 1 billion colors. And the Pro Display XDR features the best polarizer technology in the industry for delivering a superwide/color-accurate/off-axis viewing angle so that multiple people can view more accurate content simultaneously.

To handle reflected light, the Pro Display XDR has an industry-leading anti-reflective coating with a new matte option called nano-texture and glass etched at the nanometer level for low reflectivity and less glare.

The Pro Display XDR has an advanced thermal system that uses its aluminum lattice pattern as a heat sink. And the Pro Display XDR can sustain 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness indefinitely. Plus the display has an edge-to-edge glass and narrow, 9-millimeter borders in an aluminum enclosure.

What Is The Apple Pro Stand?

To hold up the Pro Display XDR, Apple also announced a Pro Stand. The Pro Stand features an engineered arm that counterbalances the display so that it feels weightless and allows users to easily place it into position. Plus the Pro Stand provides tilt and height adjustment and also allows the Pro Display XDR to rotate into portrait mode. And the Pro Stand quickly attaches and detaches so that it is easy to take on location. And the VESA mount adapter is interchangeable with the Pro Stand.

How much does the Mac Pro cost?

The new Mac Pro has a starting price of $5,999 and will be available to order this fall. The Pro Display XDR has a starting price of $4,999 and the Pro Stand is $999. Plus the VESA Mount Adapter is $199. All of these products will be available to order in the fall.