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Apple Developing Narrower, Rackmountable Mac Pro Prototypes?


Inside Apple's current Mac Pro

According to 9 to 5 Mac, Apple is "toying with" a redesigned prototype for its Mac Pro line, narrowing the design from its current 8.1-inch width to something slightly over 5 inches wide. Combined with a slight reduction in height to around 19 inches, the redesign would apparently allow the Mac Pro to be rackmountable in server cabinets as a 3U component.

Nearly eight years after the Mac Pro's current design debuted, Apple is toying with a re-designed version of the product. The new design is said to be narrower at just over 5-inches and a few inches shorter at around 19-inches. One of the reasons that Apple might be making this particular Mac Pro prototype smaller is because it is able to fit on to a standard server rack.

Apple of course used to offer its dedicated Xserve product line offering a thinner 1U component for rackmountable use, but the company discontinued the line as of January 31st of this year. The company has since introduced a new "server" configuration of the Mac Pro, but a redesign to accommodate both standard upright orientation and a sideways rackmounted one would likely be a welcome move for server fans despite the significant increase in rack space required.

The report claims that Apple has developed a "stacked" drive configuration utilizing sleds capable of handling two conventional or solid state hard drives apiece, increasing the density of drives in an attempt to squeeze all of the existing components into the smaller form factor while still preserving space for expandability.

Apple's Mac Pro was last updated in late July, meaning that the line could be due for an update, although the company has been stretching out its Mac Pro product cycles over the past few years.

Related roundup: Mac Pro

Top Rated Comments

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39 months ago
Here's a quick scale / mockup
Rating: 4 Positives
39 months ago
CIA...

That setup screams 'old, slow legacy stuff'.

Why should a new iteration of the MacPro be a hostage to someone wanting a housing for 6 of their old, slow and small drives?

Why support 3 or 4 eSATA and Firewire expansion PCIe cards when that can all be done over a single Thunderbolt cable?

Sounds like your setup needs a bit of a spring clean. A newer, smaller box would force you to consolidate onto a smaller number of bigger and faster drives (those 150GB raptors are slow by today's standards).
Rating: 2 Positives
39 months ago

Agreed. The Mac Pro case has been perfected over years and doesn't look at all dated. The more Apple has to pour R&D into a small new case with almost certain version 1 cooling issues, the more likely prices will continue to rise.


IMO the Mac Pro looks like an old granny these day's. It's in dire need of a refresh and looks totally out of line when compared to the rest of Apples range. And it's interesting to think that Apple is incapable of properly re-designing the computer because that's what you are saying effectively.
Rating: 2 Positives
39 months ago
Redesign to a rackmountable? Yes please, even if it isn't as convenient as 1U.

Smaller for desktop use too? Bonus!
Rating: 2 Positives
39 months ago
OMG it's xServe ProBook G5!
Rating: 2 Positives
39 months ago

IMO the Mac Pro looks like an old granny these day's. It's in dire need of a refresh and looks totally out of line when compared to the rest of Apples range. And it's interesting to think that Apple is incapable of properly re-designing the computer because that's what you are saying effectively.


I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder :D With the quality control of Apple these days my confidence in them being able to design such a small case with such high powered processors without cooling problems is low.

It would save money with the need for less raw materials.


If there was 1/2 the amount of raw materials in the case can you see the price going down by any more than a few dollars? Isn't most of the cost of a Mac Pro the components?
Rating: 1 Positives
39 months ago

It would save money with the need for less raw materials.


It would save very little money in material costs for the overall market. They don't have 2 options for a Workstation.

This would be their section option.
Rating: 1 Positives
39 months ago
Guys, no one said that Apple was considering making the Mac Pro into a formal rackmount server -- you can already do that on your own.

The only thing that was said was that the case may be smaller, and that because it might be less than 19" across, you could toss it in a rack.

Nothing was said about rack ears, a 1U, 3U or 6U chassis, just that the case would be smaller. 3rd party companies could do whatever they want to make it rack-compatible from there.
Rating: 1 Positives
39 months ago

And how do you operate it? A server can be accessed from a workstation but a Mac Pro IS a workstation, it's not a server. It's not a logical step. I have a professional photographer in the family, with a Mac Pro. He needs to load his RAWs onto his Mac for post processing. How to do this if that Mac is in another room, in a rack :confused: Very inconvenient if you ask me.


Not sure you quite get it. The idea here would be that the one machine could be used either as a workstation, or as a server. You could use it in a SOHO situation as a workstation/under the desk server. An enterprise could configure it as a rack mounted server. One assembly line. Two products.
Rating: 1 Positives
39 months ago

I need:
8 Internal Bays.
More PCIe Slots.
Thunderbolt.
Keep Dual Optical Bays.
More Ram Slots.
Built in Fibre Channel (This is a stretch)
That should be a MacPro. What you guys want is that magic headless iMac. I want more, not less.
Working in Video I need the most horsepower possible. 32 Cores would be nice.

At home I can live with my iMac, but editing on it is a pain. A MiniMacPro might work there, but it will still cost 2k and people will bitch.
For work I can justify spending $8,000 on a high powered PRO machine.


What he said...
Rating: 1 Positives

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