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)



Size comparison with current MacPro
W x D x H - 230mm x 280mm x 220mm
Aluminum enclosure with removable side panel
3/4 View Perspective
Front View
Slide up/down front door to access USB3 & Thunderbolt ports
Back View
USB3, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, Optical In & Out, Mic, Speaker, Power ports + 3 PCI slots
Folding Snap & Lock Handle
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).
CPU Daughterboard Card
2 Processors on Card 4 Cores each. Total of 8 Cores per Card
Heat Sink Cross Section
Up to 4 Cards - total of 8 CPUs (32 Cores)
MacPro ARM CPU Workstation with Tray Out
Total of 8 CPUs (32 Cores) + 6 Memory Slots

Version 1b

How about Intel Inside?


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
Second Version of CPU Daughterboard Card
2 CPUs on Card (4 Cores each) with 16GB embedded RAM. Total of 8 Cores per Card
MacPro Workstation with 6 Daughterboard Card Slots
Total of 12 CPUs (48 Cores) + 96 GB RAM
Alternative aluminium enclosure


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.
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.

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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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