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Apple has combined raw power with ingenious vormgeving into something that will make even non-professionals drool.
After languishing with only minor updates for several years, Apple ultimately released a major update to its Mac Voor desktop te late December 2013. More than a plain redesign, the fresh Mac Professional feels like a rebirth of Apple’s vision for a desktop workstation aimed at the professional user.
Let’s be clear. The Mac Voor ter 2014 is most certainly designed for the professional user. The average Mac user — or even general Apple fan — isn’t the target market for this machine. It’s a high-end machine with a high-end price point to match , and it’s designed and engineered for users who make their living doing high-end movie, audio and other maneuverability graphics work.
Power users and enthusiasts will most likely be better suited with a MacBook Voor with Retina Display or iMac. But that doesn’t mean it’s not joy to kick the tires and explore the power of what something like the fresh Mac Professional can do.
Wij couldn’t pass up the chance to review the most powerful Mac everzwijn made, strafgevangenis could wij fight back observing just how far wij could shove this diminutive brute to its boundaries.
Our test setup
Apple sells the Mac Voor ter a multitude of configurations ranging from quad-core Xeon processors to a whopping 12 cores. Every Mac Voor ships with dual GPUs spil standard, but users can optionally upgrade to a higher-end graphics card. Likewise, the machine can take up to 128GB of RAM.
Our review units specs. This screenshot wasgoed taken before wij applied system updates.
Picture: Apple, Screenshot by Mashable
The Mac Professional wij reviewed had the following specs:
8-core Xeon E5 Three.0GHz processor with 25MB L3 Cache
32GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC RAM
Dual-AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each
This configuration retails for $6,799.
Te addition to the Mac Voor, wij also reviewed it with a standard Apple Thunderbolt 27-inch display and a 4K display. Right now, only two 4K displays are fully compatible with the Mac Professional. Wij used one of them, the Asus PQ321Q 31.5-inch 4K display, ter our tests.
Ter addition to running tests ter OS X Ten.9.Two and apps such spil Final Cut Voor X, Motility and Compressor, wij also tested the Mac Voor ter Windows 8.1 using Apple’s Boot Camp drivers.
The vormgeving surrounding the fresh Mac Voor has received a loterijlot of attention. The cylindrical form has bot compared to a Darth Vader accessory, a vacuum cleaner and of course, a trash can.
While it’s effortless to make some jokes at the round form, from an engineering perspective, the industrial vormgeving is nothing brief of incredible.
One of the goals behind the fresh Mac Professional wasgoed to make it spil quiet and power efficient spil possible. That’s where the round form comes into play. By literally building the machine around a thermal core, Apple has made it possible to dissipate warmth and improve power efficiency.
The Mac Voor (late 2013)
After languishing with only minor updates for several years, Apple ultimately unveiled a massive update to its Mac Professional line.
Power of the Ports
The fresh Mac Professional is 1/8 the size of the old monster, but even more powerful.
You can configure the Mac Professional with a quad-core, six-core, octo-core or 12-core processor. Our unit had an 8-core Intel Xeon E5 Trio.0Ghz processor.
When it comes to expansion, the Mac Professional has six Thunderbolt Two ports, four USB Three.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI 1.Four. It also has the standard assortment of high-end WiFi, Bluetooth and other connectors.
A cornerstone of the fresh Mac Professional is that it is designed around a thermal core te the center of the machine. There is a single fan that shoves air and warmth out from the top.
That permits the Mac Voor to consume less power and run with nary a sound. The Mac Voor makes about spil much noise spil a Mac mini.
What’s Your Memory
The Mac Voor wij reviewed came tooled with 32GB of RAM, but you can max he machine out to 64GB.
Unlike other Apple machines, the RAM is user accessible and replaceable. Just thrust the tabulator and take out the module.
Two Cards Are Better Than One
All Mac Professional machines come tooled with dual-graphics cards. Only one GPU is connected to the display connectors, however, permitting OS X to dedicate one total GPU towards computational power.
This means that apps such Final Cut Voor X and Adobe Photoshop CC can benefit from the enhanced speed and processing time of OpenCL.
The proefje wij tested came with two dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs, each with 6GB of VRAM.
Good Enough For 4K. Times Three.
The Mac Voor can power up to three 4K displays, two running at 60Hz refresh.
You can actually connect up to six regular monitors to the Mac Professional, using either Thunderbolt Two or a single HDMI port.
Solid State Delight
The Mac Voor comes with a super-fast SSD drive, connected via PCIe. Ter our tests, wij were getting almost 1GB/s read and write speeds.
The base SSD is 256GB but our unit came with 512GB of super rapid storage.
Made ter America
The Mac Voor isn’t just designed te the United States, its assembled stateside too.
The core at the center of the Mac Professional contains one fan that shoves air up, not down. This permits the machine to be not only enormously klein, but quiet spil well. The fresh Mac Voor, even while under intense explosion, is remarkably quiet, it’s about spil noisy spil a Mac mini.
Ter spite of the power inwards the machine, the fresh Mac Voor’s power supply is just 400 watts. Compare that with the overheen 1,000 watt power supply inwards the old tower Mac Professional.
The fresh Mac Professional is one-eighth the size of the old tower prototype, but one-quarter the weight. That makes it more dense and strong than it may show up. But that’s a good thing.
When it comes to servicing the fresh Mac Voor, the entire system is remarkably modular.
Lifting off the brushed aluminum chassis, you have total access to the RAM sockets for effortless upgrade access. The other components, including the SSD slot, aren’t necessarily user-upgradable, but they are accessible for repair.
iFixit’s teardown of the machine back te late December demonstrated this is one of the more easy-to-access and repair Mac computers on the market.
Still, the fattest switch with the vormgeving of the fresh Mac Professional — aside from its form — is that component expansion now takes place via outward accessories rather than internal cards and drives.
The old Mac Voor wasgoed a mid-tower vormgeving that had slew of empty drive bays and PCIe slots for expansion. Sure, the user could connect an outward drive or accessory to the machine, but most of the add-ons went inwards the case.
Aside from a RAM upgrade (and possibly the SSD), the fresh Mac Voor has add-ons and accessories that are plugged into the machine. Fortunately, it has lots of expansion options: six Thunderbolt Two ports, four USB Trio.0 ports, two gigabit Ethernet ports, audio ass-plugs and an HDMI out.
The externally expandable vormgeving has benefits and drawbacks. On the plus side, just plugging things into the machine is a quick, ordinary way to expand its power. Connecting a LaCie Thunderbolt/USB Trio.0 outward SSD into the machine talent us read/write speeds every bit spil rapid spil if wij had plugged the Two.5-inch drive directly into a SATA slot on a standard machine.
Anand Lal Shimpi dives into more detail around the PCIe layout ter his comprehensive Mac Voor review, but the brief version is that thanks to Thunderbolt Two, the user has outer access to a high-speed interface directly located on the CPU. Ter other words, there is no reason that outward accessories should be a tradeoff to internal upgrades.
The downside of outward upgrades, however, is that it those types of add-ons can take up more desk real estate and can potentially cost more money.
The fresh Mac Professional is beautifully klein, but for a busy professional, I can see a desk becoming quickly cluttered with accessories. Just for my setup, I had two monitors, one outer Thunderbolt hard drive and one USB Trio.0 hard drive connected to the machine at once. I still had slew of ports left, but my desk wasgoed a bit of a mess.
This is one reason I fully expect Apple to update its Thunderbolt Display to Thunderbolt Two (and thus, 4K) ter the near future, permitting the monitor to dual spil a hub or dock of sorts. Being able to butt-plug devices and accessories into a monitor — such spil a keyboard, mouse, iPhone or tablet — will mitigate some of the overcrowding issues, but a tricked-out modern Mac Professional does mean you might have lots of devices stacked on top of one another. (You can use the existing Thunderbolt Display spil a Thunderbolt hub but it will obviously limit Thunderbolt Two devices to act spil if they were Thunderbolt 1. It’s USB hub is also relegated to USB Two.0, rather than USB Trio.0.)
It’s also worth noting that If you have a loterijlot of existing Two.5-inch or Trio.5-inch drives that you need to access frequently, you’ll very likely need to upgrade your outer enclosure or storage-array setup to Thunderbolt.
Potential outer clutter aside, there isn’t much I can fault about the vormgeving of the fresh Mac Voor. It truly is a magnificent feat of engineering.
Speed and power: disk, processor and graphics
The Mac Voor, especially with our configuration, is a brute of a machine. Spil with previous Mac Voor models, Apple has chosen to use Intel’s latest Xeon processors. Te this case, its the Xeon E5 running on the Ivy Bridge-EP processor line, very first introduced ter September 2013. Thesis chips are some of Intel’s most advanced workstation CPUs.
The graphics cards are dubbed FirePro by AMD and are designed specifically for the Mac Voor, but there are PC equivalents available. The pair of AMD FirePro D700 cards wij tested share the same specifications spil the FirePro W9000 series of cards.
When it comes to the SSD, Apple has taken the PCIe technology it very first introduced ter the 2013 MacBook Air and 2013 Retina MacBook Professional line and supercharged it.
Ter my disk speed tests, I received read/write speeds of almost 1GB vanaf 2nd. This isn’t a prompt SSD — it’s a freaking gazelle.
Black Magic’s disk speed test run on the 2013 Mac Professional.
Photo: Black Magic, Screenshot by Mashable
I ran other assorted benchmarking tests, too. According to GeekBench Three, the system rates an insane 25,175 across all eight cores. You can view my total GeekBench Trio score online.
The Mac Professional under GeekBench Trio.
Picture: GeekBench Trio, Screenshot by Mashable
I also tested the Mac Voor under Windows 8.1. According to Microsoft’s Windows Practice analysis, the Mac Professional spil configured gets an 8.Trio. This may be low, depending on how Microsoft recognizes the various system components.
The Windows Practice Score for the fresh Mac Professional
Photo: Microsoft, Screenshot by Mashable
Using the Mac Voor with 4K
One of the real highlights of the fresh Mac Professional and Thunderbolt Two is its support for 4K displays and cameras.
It’s significant to note that the world of 4K displays — under both OS X and Windows 8.1, is very much te its infancy. If you want to connect a 4K television monitor to the Mac Professional for movie playback, that’s relatively elementary, but using a 4K monitor is something else entirely.
At the time of this writing, Apple officially supports two 4K monitors to work at a 60Hz refresh rate. Those monitors are the Acute PN-K321 and the aforementioned Asus PQ321Q. You can use other 4K displays with the machine, but they won’t run at 60Hz, which means that if you want to use it for moving a mouse cursor, playing a spel or doing more than playing back movie, it’s going to drive you insane.
Fortunately, developer betas of OS X Ten.9.Three indicate support for more 4K monitors spil well spil retina-like resolution scaling. I’ll discuss some of the challenges and technologies for dealing with 4K monitors under both Windows and OS X ter a separate postbode.
I tested the Asus monitor with our setup under both OS X Ten.9.Two and Windows 8.1. Under OS X, using standard applications at Three,840 x Two,160 on a 31.5-inch monitor is a bit much. On a 4K monitor, user interface elements are just too petite for convenient use , and I wound up mostly using that display for 4K movie playback or playing games.
Both Final Cut Voor X Ten.1 and PremierePro CC support 4K movie workflows. To test the effectiveness of the fresh Mac Voor with 4K, I imported raw 4K into Final Cut Voor X Ten.1, made some adjustments, rendered the project and then exported the footage te 4K ProRes.
The show wasgoed insanely quick. It took about 15 seconds to bring ter a minute of 4K movie into Final Cut Voor X.
When it came time to uitvoer, that wasgoed quick, too. For a one-minute project, exported ter 4K ProRes ter Compressor, it took about three minutes. For the uitvoer test, I actually ran the project off of a Thunderbolt SSD drive, that’s what I anticipate the average user doing. Keep ter mind the final verkeersopstopping wasgoed several gigabytes ter size for a 60-second clip.
I used the multi-cam feature te Final Cut Voor X Ten.1 to edit eight simultaneous 4K ProRes flows at the same time. I’m not a professional videographer by any means, but I walked away affected and then some.
If you shoot or edit 4K movie, surplus assured that the Mac Professional will treat it like a champ.
But can it play Crysis Trio ter 4K?
Look, the Mac Voor is not designed spil a high-end gaming machine. The graphics cards, while exceptional, are workstation cards and not optimized for ultimate spel exploitation.
Still, with two 6GB GPUs, I couldn’t not attempt this thing out while gaming.
Ter Windows 8.1, I loaded up Crysis Three while connected to the 4K display. With every option set to high or max, I managed to get overheen 40 frames vanaf 2nd with the spel. If I turned down the textures or some of the other settings, I lightly could have reached 60-70 frames vanaf 2nd with absolutely no problem at all.
Running the same spel on the Thunderbolt Two display (which has a resolution of Two,560 x 1,440), the spel performed even better.
Fairly honestly, if you just want a truly kick-ass gaming system, you’re very likely better off not buying a Mac Professional — but it can spel with the pros when called upon. Even te 4K.
I also ran 3DMark under Windows 8.1, via Steam. The GPU evidently wasn’t te the system, but the results were still amazing. My utter 3DMark results demonstrate just how much.
The Mac Voor spil rated by 3DMark.
Photo: 3DMark, Screenshot by Mashable
General app voorstelling
The 8-core Mac Voor is an enormously swift machine. I went through the paces to see how it would perform normal tasks, spil well spil some tasks such spil encoding a Blu-ray or TV voorstelling via Handbrake.
For the Handbrake test, I took a 1.2GB MKV opstopping and transcoded it to iPad format using standard settings. It took about two minutes to transcode the verkeersopstopping.
Other apps, including Photoshop CC, Aperture and Lightroom all ran without kwestie. Te fact, the best thing I can say about the Mac Professional is that I didn’t notice having to wait for anything, even when I wasgoed doing numerous things at once.
At one point, I had three different virtual machines running while I had a browser open with 40 tabs, Spotify and a myriad of talk windows. The virtual machines seemed to run better than my 2012 MacBook Air, which says something.
Te my quest to bring the Mac Professional to its knees, only one task wasgoed able to do the job: Bitcoin mining.
Using the apps Cgminer and BFGMiner, I used the Mac Voor’s dual GPU’s for some OpenCL and GPU-based cryptocurrency mining. Mining can be utterly brutal on a GPU — especially if you have strength settings all the way up.
Yes Virginia, the Mac Voor can mine Bitcoin.
Pic: Screenshot by Mashable
I managed to crash the Mac Voor using MacMiner while attempting to mine Litecoin at an force above Legal. By “crash,” I mean that the system slowed to a crawl and even after exiting the app, only a hard reboot would get it functional again.
With the power set to a more normal level, however, I wasgoed able to consistently do almost 1,000 Mh/s. For Bitcoin, this still isn’t enough to become a profitable endeavor, but I suppose it could be useful for Litecoin.
Again, I don’t think anyone should taking a chance searing out a $6,800 pc by mining for crypto-currency. Still, it’s joy to see the power of the Mac Voor.
Spil configured, the Mac Professional I tested, along with a 4K monitor and a Thunderbolt Two display, clocks ter at overheen $Ten,000. That’s a loterijlot of money. Is it worth it?
For the regular user, almost undoubtedly not. You’re better suited for a Retina MacBook Voor or an iMac.
But for the professional, the person who wants a machine that can edit 4K movie, render maneuverability graphics and do tons of photo work, it’s a different story. This is the sort of machine that is built with an eye towards the future.
It’s also remarkably klein and quiet. While testing the machine, I kept attempting to think of screenplays that would make sense for mij to own one ter my day-to-day life. Alas, for mij, it doesn’t gezond. If you are a professional or see yourself needing a machine with tons of computing power, the Mac Professional is not just the fastest Mac on the planet, it’s one of the finest computers I’ve everzwijn tested.
Apple Mac Professional
Fastest Mac everzwijn • Supports 4K ter and out • Can play high-end games while mining bitcoin
Kludgey 4K monitor support • Outward expansion may clutter your desk • You most likely don’t need all this power, even if you want it
The Bottom Line
The fresh Mac Professional is the ultimate professional machine that even non-Pros can covet. Spil Ferris Bueller said, ‘If you have the means, I very recommend picking one up.’