The new desktop-ready workhorse computer made its debut at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference last week. While observers couldn’t stop talking about its Duracell-like frame, it was the specs that truly excited the Apple Mac Pro faithful: a workstation-level Xeon processor (up to 12 cores), ECC memory and six Thunderbolt 2 ports. Those ports can power up to three ultra-high-definition 4K displays, if you can find one for sale.

Still, all that raw power, which won’t arrive on desktops for another six months, didn’t automatically explain the odd cylindrical design.

It’s Round Because of What’s Inside

As Apple’s SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller explained during the keynote, the Mac Pro is built around a unique thermal core. What people may not realize is that the design really is built around that chamber.

At the very center of the Mac Pro is that triangular, prism-shaped heatsink core. It’s full of air chambers, allowing you to actually see through the PC (looking down from the top). Bolted onto each flat side is circuit board, with most of the chips and CPUs facing out. Apparently, this is a good way to dissipate heat generated by the technology on those boards.

According to sources, Apple started with the core and then looked for a design that would work around it.

It Blows Air Up, Not Down

Sitting above the chamber -– and inside the chassis -– is an ultra-quiet fan. It sucks air into the vented base and up through the heatsink chamber.

Such powerful computers are usually pretty loud. We can’t wait to hear how quietly the Mac Pro operates.

It’s Not Plastic

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that that steel gray exterior is not plastic — it’s actually polished aluminum. As promised, the upper lip of the circular frame is an easy-to-grab handle and the Mac Pro is solid, but not too heavy. Overall, the Mac Pro’s black, metallic body feels cool and smooth to the touch.

There’s No Power Brick

The case, by the way, unlocks and slips off effortlessly. This means the Mac Pro should be easy to service. As many who saw the Mac Pro on the WWDC floor can attest, the memory cards are quite visible and accessible.

Despite the diminutive size — it’s not much larger than, say, a pro football — the Mac Pro’s power supply is inside, which means its power cord can go straight from the wall to the computer. There’s no bulky, awkward power brick in between.

Businesses and design pros anxious to get their hands on the Mac Pro have a long summer ahead of them, and don’t have any information about pricing yet. Still, the new Mac Pro is easily Apple’s boldest design move — consumer or business — in years.



Desktop type Tower
Operating system Mac OS X
CPU brand Intel
Graphics type Discrete
Base discrete GPU brand AMD
Wi-Fi Yes



Desktop type Tower
Case Dimensions (largest) 9.9 inches
Case Dimensions (middle) 6.6 inches
Case Dimensions (smallest) 6.6 inches
Color Black


Operating system Mac OS X


CPU brand Intel


Graphics type Discrete
Base discrete GPU brand AMD


Options Flash Memory (SSD)


USB 3.0 4
Thunderbolt 6
Ethernet 2
Ethernet type 10/100/1000 (Gigabit)


Wi-Fi Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0