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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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45 months ago
Here's a quick scale / mockup
Rating: 4 Votes
45 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 Votes
45 months ago
OMG it's xServe ProBook G5!
Rating: 2 Votes
45 months ago

Replacing the desk make add 5% to the total cost of the new computer


It's not a desk, it's a wardrobe, and it holds a ton of stuff besides the computer. Replacing it would cost at least $1,000, which is about half as much as a Mac Pro costs.

In addition to which, it would be a huge PITA to replace it.

The Mac Pro is oversized for 99% of its target users. And with Thunderbolt now available, those few folks who need more room for expansion can simply buy and use external expansion boxes without paying any performance penalty.
Rating: 1 Votes
45 months ago

Yah CIA, I think you'd be surprised with what little you can get by on these days in smaller boxes and with Thunderbolt.

And I agree with you, I hate tapes...lol. I wish we would go to 1 damn standard but we know that is how people make their money...no standards. I'm so sick of all the formats and all the output formats. I just want 1080p and that's it. Burn the rest. ;)


Ya, you know what, it is OLD and Slow, and Legacy. Because that's what small (under 20) staff TV stations usually have. We're not WNBC, we are a small town TV station that is held together by ducktape and fishing wire. I would LOVE a brand new station with cutting edge equipment, but that's just not in the cards when we are fighting to stay above water. So we use what we have available and it works. I didn't buy that whole setup all at once. (yes, it's my PERSONAL setup, since when started I refused to use the PC based Avid system.) It was pieced together over the last few years as we slimmed staff over the recession and sold off Avid machines to buy new macs. Thunderbolt is awesome, but right now it's 1998 all over again, when my first DV deck and Premiere running B&W G3 system cost $10,000 put together. Is there a single SHIPPING thunderbolt device yet? No, and the first few that do ship will cost a zillion dollars that we don't have. I love the promise of thunderbolt, but I'm more excited for 2014 thunderbolt when devices are cheap and plentiful. Right now hard drives are cheap, tape is cheap, and legacy firewire cases are all over the place. It's old, legacy, but here and essentially free. If I was swimming in cash it would be a different story.

So for the moment I'd prefer a single big box that does the job of many less expensive boxes that add up in cost to more then the one box. I need a box that I can add to over the years since buying new $2,000 machines every year is out of the question. Our Edit bay is 2 Mac Pro's, and a pair of 27" 2.93 iMac i7's. A G4 for Cold Storage, and a G5 for when interns need to learn the basics of Final Cut. (also a few OLD HP Avid Workstations from 2003 or 2004.)
Rating: 1 Votes
45 months ago

How utterly retarded does one have to be to get to the point where they put workstations on top of the desk instead of on the floor where they belong? Do you really need to put your Apple computer next to your overpriced, glossy Apple display to prove yourself?


I have my mac pro on my desk i suppose it depends how big your desk is ? It's silent anyhow and well ventilated on top plus it doesn't fill up with dust and cat hair so quickly up on top ! Oh i have 2 30" matte cinema displays and it does look rather good.

I do not feel retarded or the need to prove myself, i don't really understand where your comment came from. I use my setup for rendering architectural visualizations.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago
If not this year then soon I predict Apple will revamp the MP to be a module system tied together using TB. Of course, I hope they'll wait until the 100GB TB spec is ratified and in use, otherwise it will be a step backwards. But overall I think it could be a serious improvement for the MP. You buy the "brain" you want (mini ala i3/i5, a middle brain with Desktop i5/i7, and a "pro" brain with 1 or 2 Xeons. The brain would be CPU, RAM, USB, and TB (and perhaps wireless and ethernet). You can buy storage containers and video containers as you need.

This system would be easily and quickly standardized (commoditized) giving continuing Apple's tight fist of control but letting them spin off the lowest margined, fasting changing areas of video processors and storage.

I personally think it will work a bit like RED's cameras ushering a new era of embedded and server room technology. You could have a fanless I/O station and/or monitor sitting on your desk with all the fans and heavy lifting equipment isolated somewhere else.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago

If not this year then soon I predict Apple will revamp the MP to be a module system tied together using TB. Of course, I hope they'll wait until the 100GB TB spec is ratified and in use, otherwise it will be a step backwards. But overall I think it could be a serious improvement for the MP. You buy the "brain" you want (mini ala i3/i5, a middle brain with Desktop i5/i7, and a "pro" brain with 1 or 2 Xeons. The brain would be CPU, RAM, USB, and TB (and perhaps wireless and ethernet). You can buy storage containers and video containers as you need.

This system would be easily and quickly standardized (commoditized) giving continuing Apple's tight fist of control but letting them spin off the lowest margined, fasting changing areas of video processors and storage.

I personally think it will work a bit like RED's cameras ushering a new era of embedded and server room technology. You could have a fanless I/O station and/or monitor sitting on your desk with all the fans and heavy lifting equipment isolated somewhere else.


Genius. Combined with the cloud computing and virtualization technology, a glimpse of the future emerges.
Rating: 1 Votes
45 months ago

Actually, you can get by with a mid/high level iMac now for most graphic design needs (photoshop, illustrator, etc) these days and even average video editing needs


Not if you care about colo[u]r management. While Apple continues its love affair with shiny screens, creatives need an alternative.
Rating: 1 Votes
45 months ago

Hrm.. When I hear "Mac Pro", I think of a giant behemoth of a computer, with super internals for crazy processing power for graphics design or whatever your poison may be..


Actually, you can get by with a mid/high level iMac now for most graphic design needs (photoshop, illustrator, etc) these days and even average video editing needs

MacPros are really now for higher end video and 3D applications or those that really need to get their work done fast and rendered fast.

Funny though, one of the 3D companies that works in our building actually bought high end iMacs last year and they use them for Maya and they work great they said...I think we're at a plateau for a lot of apps in what you can do with them and the latest gen processors in the iMacs, MBPros are somewhat overkill for a lot of people already.

Just to be clear, I'm well aware that there are cheaper ways of building a crazy computer that would put a Mac Pro to shame, but I'm just focusing on the Mac Pro here..


Actually, if you go blow for blow, building a PC that has the same specs (and that means same specs across the board down to the minor details), they really aren't that far off. Some magazine did that one time and they were within $300 of each other.
Rating: 1 Votes

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