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New Mac Pro 2016 release date, specs & new features rumours

Karen Haslam | June 24, 2016
El Capitan code hints at new Mac Pro

Another thing Apple could add is a Lightning port as seen on the iPhone. Yes really. There are rumours that the lightning port will be used on Macs for plugging in headphones which could allow for high-res audio.

However, many traditional Mac Pro users are still calling out for PCI slots, which would allow users to add faster SSDs and better video cards. Some even ask for internal drive bays, with Mac Observer noting that a 3.5in hard drive bay would allow for archival space to be added.

New Xeon E5 v3 'Grantley' processor

The 2013 Mac Pro features Intel's Xeon E5 V2 processors (code-named Romley) offering up to 12 cores (as a build-to-order option). Back in September 2014 new Xeon E5 V3 chips (code-named Grantley) started shipping - bringing the Haswell architecture to pro workstations. At the time we thought the processor would soon make their way to the Mac Pro, but no upgrade emerged.

Those Intel Xeon E5 V3 chips were being used in Dell's new Xeon Precision Tower (5810, 7810 and 7910) - find out more on Dell's website. These Dell workstations use the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor series featuring either 14 or 18 cores per processor.

The processors in the current Mac Pros are configurable up to 3.5GHz for a six-core option, 3.0GHz for an 8-core option, and 2.7GHz for a 12-core option. We may see a slight boost in these numbers, but we could equally see the same clock speeds, with the processors themselves being faster.

It is possible that the new Mac Pro will, like the Dell above, offer an option of 14 or 18 cores.

New Xeon E5 v4 processor

It is likely that Apple has been waiting for the next generation of E5 chips. Intel's Xeon E3-1200 V4 (Broadwell) launched this summer and these may be destined for the Mac Pro. Alternatively the equivalent E3-1200 V5 (Skylake) Xeon processors launched at the end of October and may be Apple's processors of choice for the new model.

According to WCCFTECH, these future Xeons will offer a greatly improved micro architecture, better graphics, better DDR4 support and capactity for more RAM.

The Xeon E3-1200v4 launched at Computex 2015 at the beginning of June 2015, but Anandtech stated that: "It looks like the current Xeon E3-1200 v4 is somewhat a niche product", emphasising that along with being a chip for workstations with moderate graphics power, it should be ideal for video transcoding."

Graphics

The 2013 Mac Pro features dual workstation-class GPUs. The Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each in the Quad-Core version, and Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each in the 6-Core model. There's also a build-to-order option of the Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each (an extra £480). 

 

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