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Smaller and faster - What the future MacPro might look like part two

new macpro part two

When we posted Peter Zigich's first design thoughts on a new MacPro last year, we didn't realise how popular the article would be. He's back with round two of possible design thoughts and this time there is something new at the core. 

Our first article on possible new MacPro designs based on a modular concept sparked off quite a debate. The second round of thoughts from Peter Zigich this time is based on the idea that Apple might switch to using power efficient ARM chips.

All speculation of course, but one thing we do know is that Tim Cook has committed to building a new pro machine. Let's hope that at WWDC or earlier, we will be treated to a new form factor MacPro rising up from the dry ice.

In the meantime we will let Peter continue with his thoughts...

 

There's been a lot of talk of Apple ditching Intel for ARM.
 
ARM Advantages:
  • optimised for performance/watt
  • power-efficient
  • cooler
  • fully scalable
  • smaller
  • cheaper
  • custom CPU design

 What does it mean?

  • significantly smaller enclosure
  • increase computing power by adding more CPUs
  • increase & tweak important performance (custom chip design)
  • cheaper CPUs - higher profit
  • smaller, lighter, quieter, cooler (less heat), "Greener" (Environment)

  

MacPro-size-comparason

Size comparison with current MacPro
W x D x H - 230mm x 280mm x 220mm
 
 
arm001
 
Aluminum enclosure with removable side panel
3/4 View Perspective
 
 
arm003a
Front View
Slide up/down front door to access USB3 & Thunderbolt ports
 
 
arm005
Back View
USB3, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, Optical In & Out, Mic, Speaker, Power ports + 3 PCI slots
 
 
arm007
Folding Snap & Lock Handle
 
 
arm002
Removable side panel & Slide out Tray
4 HDD, 6 RAM slots, 3 PCI slots
 
 

Version 1a

Custom Apple designed ARM CPU  A10

 
2 CPUs on a Daughterboard Card. 
Each Processor has 4 cores for a total 8 cores per Card. 
4 Cards for a maximum of 8 CPUs (32 Cores).
 
ARM-CPU-001
CPU Daughterboard Card
2 Processors on Card 4 Cores each. Total of 8 Cores per Card
 
 
CPU001--cutout
Heat Sink Cross Section
Up to 4 Cards - total of 8 CPUs (32 Cores)
 
 
 
arm009
MacPro ARM CPU Workstation with Tray Out
Total of 8 CPUs (32 Cores) + 6 Memory Slots
 
 

Version 1b

How about Intel Inside?

CPU001

Maybe Intel can come up with super efficient Haswell Xenon CPU  2 Xenon CPUs can fit in the Heat Sink


It's impossible to ignore Intel. They are working on energy efficient CPUs.
Is it possible to put Haswell or Broadwell Xenons in such a small enclosure?
Liquid cooling, maybe. Intel will do their best to keep Apple happy.

Version 2

Custom Apple designed ARM CPU  A10


Combined CPU & RAM Module. 
CPU Daughterboard Card comes with 2 CPUs and integrated 16GB RAM. 
6 Cards for a maximum of 12 CPUs (48 Cores) and 96GB RAM
 
ARM-Processor-memory-001
Second Version of CPU Daughterboard Card
2 CPUs on Card (4 Cores each) with 16GB embedded RAM. Total of 8 Cores per Card
 
 
arm009
MacPro Workstation with 6 Daughterboard Card Slots
Total of 12 CPUs (48 Cores) + 96 GB RAM
 
Alternative aluminium enclosure

arm010

Darker aluminum enclosure
Anodized Aluminium Color (same as iPhone 5)
 

MacPro Cube


If Apple creates custom GPU (shorter, less heat), enclosure dimensions could shrink even more. 

MacPro Cube with a footprint of a Mac Mini.  200mm x 200mm x 200mm Cube.
This will be ideal "Made in USA" Apple Computer.
 
Cube-3d
Apple Mac Pro Cube
with custom (smaller) GPU, 200mm Cube
 
 
Some interesting food for thought from Peter, let's hope that the new MacPro isn't far away. Many thanks to him for supplying us with the ideas & images.
 
 

Written by
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I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

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