In my Apple Mac Pro update — When?, I discussed the non-arrival of a new Apple Mac Pro, and when it might appear. See my comments there about what might be expected.
At this point, I expect a Mac Pro in August and perhaps as early as next week. But I don’t expect any compelling new features as compared with the existing model, with the following exceptions:
- A 6-core (hexacore) model at the highest clock speeds, possibly retaining the 4-core model as the entry level model. Six cores is a performance sweet spot, see the Quad-core vs 8-core Shootout.
- The latest graphics cards. Which I don’t care about.
- Some kind of enhanced connectivity, such as USB 3.0, or faster Firewire. This is not exciting as eSATA serves the needs of Mac Pro users quite well.
- Support for SATA 6 Gb/sec. Which will matter eventually, but not yet.
If all of the above happens, it’s nice, but not that compelling. But Apple could have a surprise of some kind, maybe even an unpleasant one in keeping with its “keep it hip” approach, such as downsizing the form factor, and removing drive bays. Let’s hope not.
The 30" Cinema Display is long overdue for an overhaul, so the odds of something new there are very good. But I’d much rather have the NEC displays anyway.
Unlikely but possible:
- A 12-core (dodecacore) model. It would provide ample marketing hype, so Apple might offer it, but hardly anyone should care.
- We might see more memory slots eg 6 slots on the 4/6-core models or 12 slots on an 8/12 core model. Unlikely.
- BluRay support. The movie industry has seen to it that this format won’t gain traction anytime soon. It won’t be as useful as it could be if it were to appear, due to copy protection restrictions.
With a current or new model, consider an MPG Pro Workstation, taking into account the quad-core vs 8-core shootout. My top recommendation remains the 2.66Ghz quad-core “Burly” MPG Pro Workstation, with the 3.33GHz model a smart move for increased interactive responsiveness. A new 6-core model would seal the deal.
How many cores?
Remember, faster clock speed with 4 cores is very competitive with slower clock speed 8 cores.
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