The Mac Hardware Report: Not Another Mac Pro Rumor

July 19th, 2006

Talk about rising expectations. Not long ago, I was seriously suggesting that Apple might release its Mac Pro desktop early, simply because of the availability of the new Intel Xeon chips, which are ideal for a powerful workstation. If that doesn’t happen, the next moment of opportunity is Apple’s WWDC next month, even though Leopard will be the major talking point.

At the same time, there are other sides of the story that probably rate equal coverage. You see, the people who buy these products are a conservative lot and they are not apt to rush madly into the stores to acquire a Mac Pro right out of the starting gate. They might prefer to wait for others to be the early adopters, in case there are defects of one sort another, particularly if there’s a major change in the form factor. In addition, if the software they require hasn’t appeared in Universal form, they might just wait on the sidelines.

For video production people using Apple’s Final Cut Studio, which will run native on Intel processors, this won’t be a problem. Assuming QuarkXPress releases a final Universal version 7.0, the same is true, and there are certainly other applications for content creators that are ready to roll or already available.

But Photoshop will not be among them, and would it make sense to shell out three grand or more for a computer that will run Adobe’s Creative Suite at half speed?

This doesn’t mean Apple would want to delay its professional desktop, although there’s good reason to keep some Power Macs in the catalog for folks who aren’t ready to ditch the PowerPC, and perhaps even the Classic mode for legacy Mac OS 9 software.

On the other hand, assuming a Mac Pro does appear as expected. How would you like to see it changed? No more of that cheese grater look, or does it even matter, so long as its powerful enough to get the job done?

Besides, it’ll probably be placed below your desk, and you’ll only pay attention if you have to change connections.

So it’s quite possible, as some rumor sites suggest, that the Mac Pro will look very much like today’s Power Mac G5. But wait a minute! Consider all that elaborate cooling gear, including the liquid system on the high-end models. Right now, only two hard drives fit inside, and there’s but a single optical device. Since the Intel chips supposedly run a whole lot cooler, you have to believe Apple will simplify the ventilation network and provide more room for extra drives, perhaps four as in the Power Mac G4. There also ought to be room for a second optical drive, just as you see even in lower priced PC minitowers.

You see, a Mac Pro would have to be designed for usability more than having just another pretty face. There’s also the evidence of recent history, since Apple’s Intel-based line looks a lot like the PowerPC predecessors, and only the MacBook has gotten a somewhat updated form factor to accommodate the widescreen display.

There is also good reason to expect a rich selection of 3D graphic cards, some with superior gaming capability. You see, gamers are a major audience for professional-caliber desktops as well. Ask Alienware, now a subsidiary of Dell.

But as I said, this is not a rumor, just a little-common sense that may end up being totally wrong when the real thing finally makes its debut.

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5 Responses to “The Mac Hardware Report: Not Another Mac Pro Rumor”

  1. gopher says:

    The side of the tower is also an LCD screen itself! People are so apt to put towers on their desks, why not make it a space saver by making the panel that comes off for upgrades an LCD screen?

  2. Max says:

    Ok, LCD is kind of pushing it too hard, but its one of that crazy brainstorm ideas. I hope Apple can provide an Intel desktop wich will be perfect for everybody, like the G4 is until now for loads of designers and musicians as i am.

    As a rumor was created that the new desktop will be different. Young people wants it to be black, chrome or another mainstream Alienware color. the gaming market is huge, and now (with intel) its time to show Dell and others who can beat them. Believe me, Dell is afraid of Apple. Youngs want new stuff…new software…they want to be show it to they´r friends.

    If Apple delivers the ultra-superfast high end design machine (wich we are expecting to), they´ll capt the attention of those 14-20´s full time gamers, who are always craving for more.

  3. David says:

    I’ve long believed that gaming was a major force in the Windows world, but a recent trip to the mall has made me question that. You see, I walked past a store devoted entirely to games and had difficulty finding any for the PC. The entire left side and back wall were devoted to X-Box and X-Box 360. PlayStation occupied most of the right side with a small selection of Nintendo titles. There was just one narrow set of shelves for PC games. Now this was just one chain of stores, but maybe the consoles have reached a point where most gamers are satisfied.

    I’m hoping the MacPro consists of 4 machines ranging from $1500 to $3500 for a Quad core 3 GHz monster.

  4. Andrew says:

    Games are a big deal, but the actual game stores focus on consoles. Gamers go to computer stores to buy PC games. Look at the selection at CompUSA or Fry’s if you want an idea how big the market is.

  5. woz says:

    Like Gene says; the 3D graphic card will make all the difference. Let’s hope Apple selects a top -of-the-line one for the next MacPro/G6…

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