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Apple Allowed Developers to Test a Prerelease Mac Pro Hidden Inside a Metal Box

Before Phil Schiller gave the world a sneak peek of the new Mac Pro at WWDC this week, Apple allowed select developers to come to its Cupertino headquarters to test out their software on preproduction hardware.

AppleInsider spoke with employees of The Foundry, a firm that develops high end rendering software used on Hollywood productions.

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The Foundry shared with AppleInsider the story of how its team worked with the new Mac Pro in a room at Apple HQ known as the "Evil Lab" ahead of the desktop's unveiling. During the tests, the Mac Pro was entirely concealed in a giant steel cabinet, keeping its new design a mystery to The Foundry and Pixar.

"We were essentially doing a blind tasting of the machine," said Jack Greasley, MARI product manager at The Foundry. "All we could see was the monitor, and the Mac Pro was encased in a giant metal filing cabinet on wheels. Experiencing the machine in this way was actually really cool, because I can tell you that the speed and power of this machine really stands up. Mari running on this machine out of the box is the fastest I have ever seen it run."
Greasley said "some real innovation and thought has gone into what users want and need" with the new Mac Pro, and he doesn't "think pro users should be concerned" about the new machine.

Representatives from The Foundry and Pixar participated in a lunchtime session at WWDC this week, demonstrating the company's MARI software running on the new Mac Pro. The company managed to get a working copy of MARI ported to the Mac in just under a week and convinced Apple executives to give a significant block of time at WWDC to demo the software and the new machine.

The Mac Pro is expected to be released later this year.

Top Rated Comments

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11 months ago
I don't want to hear anymore "Mac Mini Pro" nonsense.
Rating: 39 Positives
11 months ago
I have zero need for one, but I want one!

Will it be any good for gaming?
Rating: 34 Positives
11 months ago

I don't want to hear anymore "Mac Mini Pro" nonsense.


You'd think if it's good enough for a Hollywood Studio that would sort of put the kibosh on stuff like that.

But (sigh) it's the internet, and people are happier when they're complaining.
Rating: 32 Positives
11 months ago
This is a great design, which will be accompanied with a great price tag.

But the average consumer does not need Xeon's and dual workstation class GPU's. Way too many "developers" are going to buy this but people making iOS apps do not need a 12 core Xeon CPU to do the trick.

I am tired of Apple missing a market segment to build a "high-performing" consumer level desktop WITHOUT an integrated display. A lot of people think they are "pro" but they are deluded by Apple's marketing and the lack of a upper-middle tier desktop option. Apple just wants to funnel developers into an expensive desktop product.

Apple needs to come out with the "Mac", period. Not iMac, not Mac Mini, not Mac Pro, but a consumer level "high-end" desktop. And I don't want a laptop with "near" desktop performance.

Make a grey version of this using desktop Haswell CPU's, and the option to have one or two GPU's.

Fine, it will steal market away from the "pro" consumers, but it will INCREASE market presence overall. Now that services like Steam are no longer bound to PC gaming Apple is just ignoring the importance of not offering a desktop in this class without the Mini or "i" monikers.

Why not? It just makes sense. Do it now!
Rating: 28 Positives
11 months ago
So basically they are saying the software is running faster?

Really, who would have thought it. A brand new computer running faster than an old one.
Rating: 23 Positives
11 months ago
Awesome. I'm excited to see the price point as well
Rating: 21 Positives
11 months ago

So basically they are saying the software is running faster?

Really, who would have thought it. A brand new computer running faster than an old one.


The didn't say it runs faster. It runs faaaaaaaaster.

On stage, they gave examples where instead of waiting 12 hours for some rendering to apply changes, they could make changes in real time.

If all you want is faster, then if you still have a Macintosh G5, you need to upgrade to an iPad 4 :-)
Rating: 20 Positives
11 months ago

I wonder what the 'steel box' looks like.. ;)


Oh wait...... :D


Could have just stuffed it inside a current empty Mac Pro case and fooled everyone.
Rating: 15 Positives
11 months ago
Forget the Mac Pro, I want to see this "Evil Lab" at Apple HQ!
Rating: 11 Positives
11 months ago

So basically they are saying the software is running faster?

Really, who would have thought it. A brand new computer running faster than an old one.


Quotes for REAL video professionals doing REAL animation, texturing, transcoding and re-encoding...visual FX, rendering....this is Pixar...they're not talking about the 'old' one. They're rendering farms are many times made up of dozens of non-Mac machines...not necessarily running Windows, but derivatives of Linux and Unix for final output. Pixar's animation is some of the trickiest, most time intensive video production there is. This isn't as simple as the 'new one is faster than the old one'....this is a matter of a TRUE professional saying he's NEVER seen the software run this fast!

From the link..

MARI was ported to OSX in about a week. Pretty impressive. I've never heard of it, but odds are that someone on MR is a user.


Mari is an incredible digital 'painting' software---from their site
"MARI is the most fluid and natural way to paint in 3D. It makes life simple for artists by allowing them to paint directly onto 3D models with more time for painting and less time managing technical issues."

the old days of drawing each and every frame has changed drastically with digital animation and 'drawing'. I'm looking forward to tests with Smoke, Premier and Avid. I'm sure it'll be 'optimized' for full on incredible efficiency in FCPx. We'll see how it works with After Effects and other company's offerings for motion production. But seeing as how this machine is going to shoot straight for Hollywood...all the way down to the independent producer/director/editor/sound guy/gal....with PCI-e Storage and 6 Thunderbolt outputs...this computer could change the way rendering farms are set up...as well as the one man operation knocking out weddings and documentaries.

Exciting to say the least!

You'd think if it's good enough for a Hollywood Studio that would sort of put the kibosh on stuff like that.

But (sigh) it's the internet, and people are happier when they're complaining.


No ****!!! Hilarious....especially if we actually had a way to confirm and/or deny those folks that pretend to be professionals in the way of motion capture, animation, and the entire craft of producing video in this digital day and age. I think Apple has done something special with this new Mac Pro. It's hilarious to read the 'negative' comments when NO one on this board has used or most likely has any idea (other than the knowledge we got at WWDC) the capabilities of this machine. It's size, allowing for several....if not dozens of machines in the same footprint as a pair or 3 traditional MacPros.

I'm fired up....PCIe direct SS storage...these things are going to Flat. Fly!
Rating: 9 Positives

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