Mac Pro 2019 review: Our first hands-on impression

Mac Pro 2019 is finally here and it has the greatest power ever seen on a Mac model

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After relentless rumors and leaks, it’s finally here! This year’s workstation surpasses the current model to be the most powerful Apple-branded computer on the market. Indeed, the new Mac Pro comes with modern hardware and looks awesome.

To be honest, this is what the Mac Pro professionals out there have been wanting to see for years. Apple has not just upgraded the hardware, they have introduced a pro-level monitor, the Pro Display XDR. That’s a 32-inch 6k display that features a superwide viewing angle.

If you are an advanced user who is in the market for a powerful workstation, then it’s time to consider buying one. And, we will help you discover how in the section below.

A New Design

The Mac Pro 2019 features a new design, something we have been demanding for years. That’s Apple’s move away from the old trashcan design that first launched in 2013. The new model takes some design hints from the old Power Mac g5 model from 2003.

The outer casing is now removable, making it easy for Mac users to upgrade their computer and add in things like more RAM or storage. On the top, there are stainless steel handles, making it easy to carry around. The coolest part is that there are now custom wheels (optional), which should come in handy if you want to move between workspaces.

There are multiple USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports on the top and rear of the machine, allowing users to easily connect to accessories. There are also two USB-A ports at the rear of the model. To be honest, I love the idea of having multiple connectivity ports on a machine as I use a number of accessories like keyboard or external GPU.

Specs and performance

The new Mac Pro comes with a huge performance when compared to the previous generation. Indeed, the new machine is powered by a brand new Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores, making it a beast when it comes to running handling apps. Apple says that the new chip can run fully unconstrained at all the time.

However, the base model only has an Intel Xeon W processor with 8 cores and 16 threads, meaning that you need to slash a lot of cash if you want an ultimate, powerful workstation. Of course, you can upgrade your Mac Pro with 28-core, 56-thread Intel Xeon W CPU, but that’s a huge investment.

To be honest, the 8-core and 16-thread CPU inside the base model is far from a professional level chip, especially when compared to the Intel Core i9-9900k, which starts at $475. I am wondering why Apple is not teaming up with AMD for access to their Ryzen Threadripper processors, one of the most powerful GPUs on the market.

There are 8 available PCIe slots, 4 double-wide slots, and 3 single-wide slots, allowing users to build their own system. It remains unknown what the new Mac Pro is capable of, but I have to admit that it is super fast.

As for the GPU, the base Mac Pro comes with the Radeon Pro 580X, offering a graphics performance boost, but it is not massive. Of course, you can add more power to your machine, but that won’t come cheap.

Apple says that the company has created a new graphics architecture, the Mac Pro Expansion Module (MPX Module). Apple says that the MPX Module can ship with up to two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPUs. Yes, you heard that right. You can configure your Mac Pro with up to 4 Radeon Pro Vega II cards, allowing for superior graphics boost and 5x faster data transfer.

However, it remains unclear how much it will cost to buy these GPUs. We believe you will pay around $12.000 for the quad-GPU package. That’s a lot of money as the Mac Pro is already expensive. To be honest, if you are a pro user, then the base Radeon Pro 580X is not powerful enough to run heavy workloads as you need a “big gun”.

In reality, the Vega GPUs really make a difference when it comes to rendering and gaming. Sources say that the Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs offer twice the performance compared to the Vega 56. However, we have to wait and see.

As for the RAM capacity, the new Mac Pro allows for up to 1.5TB of RAM, which is impressive. This is because of 12 DIMM slots available under the hood.

Thermal issues solved?

Mac Pro 2019
New thermal architecture allows for a cooler gaming session

The Mac Pro has an advanced thermal architecture, allowing the device to run continuously without any lag. To achieve this, Apple uses three large impeller fans that channel air from front to back while making sure the heat won’t get stuck in the memory. Plus, the adoption of the MPX Module allows for a better heat dissipation thanks to its form factor. We will run some in-depth tests when the machine hits the market this Fall.

Release Date and Pricing

The 2019 Mac Pro starts at $5,999 for the base model. Complete with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor and Radeon 580X GPU. Of course, you can upgrade your Mac with more RAM and storage. The new Pro Display XDR retails for $4,999 and acts as a separate accessory. That’s a lot of money for a monitor, as you can buy a 4K or 5K display out there for a lower price. To be honest, this is not something that’s worth your time. It might satisfy some fans that take 6K resolution seriously.

The new Mac Pro will be available this Fall, but there is no word on the exact date. We are expecting to get an official release from Apple in September. Back in 2013, Apple released the Mac Pro to the public in December and it seems fair if Apple does the same thing this year.

The Verdict

Pros

Cons

New design Expensive
Powerful Radeon Pro 580X still not strong enough
Impressive cooling system Pro Display XDR is not bundled
Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs with great power Native gaming experience still not great

The Mac Pro is a computer that professionals and creatives have been expecting to see for years. Mac Pro 2019 has everything you need, but there are some compromises that prevent it from getting the perfect score.

One of the biggest drawbacks here is the price. Indeed, the base Mac Pro model now costs up to $6000. That would not be a big problem if it has the horses to back it up. Instead, you will be getting an 8-core, 16-thread CPU, 32GB of RAM,256 SSD, and Radeon Pro 580X. That’s the same specs you have already seen on the base iMac Pro, which even has a lower price and more SSD. If you want to buy a new Mac Pro, then the top spec model should be a better option.

Let us know your thoughts on the new Mac Pro in the section below.

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