Apple has good news for movie makers, game designers and anyone else with 12 cores of processing power on their Christmas lists: The newest Mac Pro will be available Dec. 19.
Apple introduced its "most radical Mac ever" alongside the iPad Air, MacBook Pro with Retina display, and its next-generation iWork and iLife apps at its Worldwide Developer Conference 2013 in San Francisco Oct. 22.
The Mac Pro is a complete redesign of the form factor. Apple's black cube has been replaced with a smaller, gleaming black cylinder that's constructed around a "unified thermal core" that enables the system to share thermal capacity across all its processors, Apple explained in a statement.
"An innovative fan draws in air incredibly efficiently and makes the new Mac Pro as quiet as the Mac mini," Apple continued. "The result is a pro desktop with unprecedented performance packed into a design that is just 9.9 inches tall and one-eighth the volume of the previous Mac Pro."
The Mac Pro runs the latest Intel Xeon processors, with a choice of 4-, 6-, 8- or 12 cores, running at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9GHz and delivering "double the floating-point performance" of its predecessor.
Also besting the previous Pro, two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs, with up to 12GB of video memory, offer up to 7 teraflops of compute power and eight times the graphics performance.
The Mac Pro's PCIe-based flash storage provides sequential read speeds up to 1.2GB per second and is as much as 10 times faster than traditional hard drives.
The new design gives the Mac Pro not just a Thunderbolt 2 port but six of them, each of which can support six daisy-chained devices for a total of 36 high-performance peripherals, such as storage boxes and audio and video breakout boxes.
The Thunderbolt 2 ports support copper or optical cables, and are backward-compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals and cables.
The Mac Pro ships with OS X Mavericks, Apple's newest desktop operating system—which, among other technologies, includes Compressed Memory, which helps to keep the Mac running quickly.
The Mavericks OS also robustly supports professional Apple apps like Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X and Aperture. Further, Apple says Final Cut Pro 2 has been optimized to support dual GPUs, for faster rendering, quicker export and 4K video monitoring through Thunderbolt 2 and High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI).
Plus, the Mac Pro's efficiencies don't end with the workloads it takes on. It uses 70 percent less energy than the earlier Mac Pro, is constructed with 79 percent less aluminum and comes in 80 percent less packaging.
Configure-to-order options include faster 8- or 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processors, AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of VRAM, up to 64GB of memory and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage.
Pricing for the new Apple Mac Pro will start at $2,999.