Apple has decided that bigger is not always better when it comes to the powerhouse Mac Pro. A brand-new offering is apparently in the works, and there are major changes afoot – including good news for users who resent the monstrous size of the current version. Rumour has it that Apple is planning on releasing a new Mac Pro that's only HALF the size of the current version.
But, what of the power, we hear you ask? Of course, we wouldn't want to sacrifice performance to get a smaller machine, either – it's called a Pro for a reason. Well, Apple plans to make the smaller model even more powerful, with an upgraded Apple-made M1 silicon chip that will boast a whopping 32 high-performance cores (up from the 28 core Intel chip currently powering the Mac Pro). We imagine this will be an immediate contender for our best computer for graphic design list.
According to a Bloomberg report (opens in new tab), it's not only the chip that's going to get a turbo boost. Apple is also testing out a spanking new graphics card for the new machine and other high-end models. Codenamed 'Lifuka', it will be "several times faster than the current graphics modules Apple uses from Nvidia and AMD". If this is what self-sufficiency looks like from Apple, then we're all in.
Housing such powerful tech would usually take up a huge amount of space, meaning that a smaller machine would necessarily mean it would be less powerful. But, as the ARM silicon chip is so efficient, a large cooling system may not be necessary to keep it working smoothly – so that's one fewer element to build around. And if Apple is able to bring its custom GPU down to size, a smaller enclosure will be more than possible (maybe the Mac Pro will no longer need a $999 Apple stand).
If all this is true, we can't see a reason for the old Mac Pro to continue production as its shiny new sibling will do its job – and do it better. But if Apple struggles to bring all the elements down to size, we imagine the small Mac Pro may be sold alongside the bigger one to give users a choice between certain performance elements and portability/compactness.
Apple's transition into self-made silicon has started off with a bang. M1 MacBooks, which are equipped with eight-cores, have been blowing creatives away with the leap in performance and speed – and the rumours of what's to come from the next MacBook chip (supposedly named M1X) have also got fans hot under the collar.
There isn't long to wait for the entire planned roll out as the new, improved MacBooks (with the M1X chips) are expected to be released sometime in 2021, and the new Mac Pro should be with us in 2022 – which will also be the year Apple completes its transition from Intel to self-made chips. We just hope the new model will need fewer ridiculous accessories (remember those wheels? Ugh.)