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Re: The Cheese Grater is back

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Drew Lahat
Re: The Cheese Grater is back
on Jun 3, 2019 at 10:33:26 pm
Last Edited By Drew Lahat on Jun 3, 2019 at 10:35:39 pm

Finally... meaningful post-production news from Cupertino! 😉
Some less-obvious observations, from a post I wrote for CML:

1. That Cheese Grater Shape
You'll find some "Krafty" comments about the "cheesy" design... still debating if Apple messed up again or if it's charming retro. But then it dawned on me... it's all about being able to pop off the entire external case - it'll be easy to design alternative 3rd party casings! I'd be surprised if Sonnet and OWC aren't already thinking those up. (Unless the case latches employ a 2048-bit encryption scheme with special T2 chips, of course. ☺ )

One more concern, and reason for a 3rd-party shell: If I'm seeing what I'm seeing... you have to disconnect all cables and peripherals before opening the computer. Just look at the way the case wraps below the rear ports...

2. Expansion
8 PCI slots! I don't think any Mac ever had more than 6 expansion slots, and I also counted up to 12 Thunderbolt ports. That's some scary expansion capability.

2 10Gbase-T ports (actually Nbase-T, meaning you can do 10, 5, 2.5, or 1 Gb Ethernet) are a welcome addition for shared editing workflows.

3. Storage
You get 2 M.2 ports for SSD's, but that's it. I'm not seeing any provisions for mounting internal SATA drives. There's a large unexplained empty space above the PCI slots with what looks like 2 SATA ports, so you may be able to mount 2 SATA drives of your choice. But it's notable that with a machine as big and heavy as the classic Mac Pro, there's less space for storage. Apple apparently counts on you using a big external RAID chassis.

4. Rackmount
I got all miffed about how they screwed up again (the chassis itself is 17.1" - but the handles it's 20.8"), but thanks Andre for pointing it out - there will be a rack edition. It's not in the specs, but in the press release.

5. $$$
Is Apple out of touch again, or is this a good value for the extreme specs? Everyone will have their opinions on that. Personally, I'm happy with my 2009 Classic Mac Pro which is churning along just fine. You can kit it to newer firmware, CPUs, modern GPUs, USB3, SATA6, SSDs... That makes me hope that this new Mac, in a welcome departure from Apple's glue-all philosophy, could be useful on your desk 10 or 12 years from now. It's been a while since we were able to consider Macs as such a long-term investment.

6. Pro Display XDR
The Dolby Vision specs for a reference monitor are SMPTE 2084/PQ, >1000 nits, P3 gamut, and 200,000:1 contrast. This display satisfies all those specs. Assuming you can feed it accurate color (no SDI ports here ☺ ) this could be a good budget Dolby Vision monitor. $5-$6K is insane for a GUI monitor, but a bargain compared to a $30K Eizo CG3145.

We had our expectations set a certain way after the trashcan Macs... and while Apple would never admit it, they actually went retro for once. A modular, expensive, top-spec beast that's every bit as big and heavy as the 2003-2012 Mac Pros. Now we just gotta get our hands on the production units...

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