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2013 Mac Pro: Introduction
The 2013 Mac Pro (street nickname of 'trashcan' Mac Pro) is a high performer, but takes a radical new approach to expansion: no internal expansion beyond the 4 memory slots and single PCIe flash module.
Essentially it is a modular CPU unit to which one attaches storage via Thunderbolt and USB3 cables, each with its own power cable. Users with modest expansion needs will find this approach of no import; those used to 4+ hard drives, several SSDs and so on might take a while to warm up to the idea, and its extra cost. Certainly this expansion strategy will drive growth in the market for many and varied Thunderbolt peripherals, especially multi-purpose units and multi-bay storage units.
The 134mm-long memory module should give a good idea of just how compact the Mac Pro really is.
- Sound input/output jacks.
- Four (4) USB3 ports.
- Six (6) Thunderbolt 2 ports, with each pair having its own channel.
- Two (2) gigabit ethernet ports.
- One (1) HDMI 1.4 Ultra-HD port (4K video output, supports multichannel audio output).
- Cable-lock widget.
- Power button
- Power cord receptacle.
These ports are apparently intended to face away from the user, since the idea of a power cord snaking across one’s desk to the front is clumsy.
There is no SDXC or CompactFlash slot, which would have been a handy thing (on the opposite side, the front). So one will have to use a separate USB3 card reader.
The meager number of USB3 ports means an almost certain requirement for a USB3 expansion box of some kind: on my system I prefer/need a wired keyboard, two types of digital camera card readers, cycling units needing USB3, DVD drive, color calibrator, and so on. Six ports would suffice, but four is meager to the point of being a nuisance.