Apple Developing Narrower, Rackmountable Mac Pro Prototypes?

152122 mac pro 2010 inside
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
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

hobbbz Avatar
127 months ago
Here's a quick scale / mockup
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Consultant Avatar
127 months ago
OMG it's xServe ProBook G5!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
peskaa Avatar
127 months ago
Redesign to a rackmountable? Yes please, even if it isn't as convenient as 1U.

Smaller for desktop use too? Bonus!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hyper-meta Avatar
127 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnomeisland Avatar
127 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
firestarter Avatar
127 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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