Apple Announces Updates to Macbook Pro and Mac Pro Lineups
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2013 - 03:53 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: xeon e5, macbook pro retina, macbook pro, Mac Pro, iris pro, iris, haswell, gt3e, firepro d500, firepro d300, crystalwell, apple
During their annual event today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple announced updates to their Mac lineups. After updating the MacBook Air with Haswell processors and teasing the new Mac Pro in June during WWDC, the rest of their offerings have seemed a little outdated.
Today, Apple started with a recap of the upgrades they have included in the next OS X release, Mavericks. Things like improved multi monitor support, and even more technical features like OpenCL support for integrated graphics and RAM compression were all talked about.
Perhaps the biggest news about OS X Mavericks is that it will be a free release to all users on 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), or 10.8 (Mountain Lion), as long as their hardware is compatible. Mavericks is available today through the Mac App store.
As for hardware, the 13" Retina MacBook Pro was first up. While upgrading the processors to Haswell variants was to be expected, no one was quite sure which chips they would go for. Apple is going for standard Iris graphics across the board, starting with the i5-4258U (2.4GHz turbo to 2.9GHz) as the base processor, with upgrades to the i5-4288U (2.6GHz turbo to 3.1GHz) , and i7-4558U (2.8GHz turbo to 3.3GHz) for $100 and $300 respectively.
In addition to the processor change, Apple also moved to the same PCI-e SSDs and 802.11AC WiFi controller we found in the 2013 MacBook Air. There is also an upgrade of the Thunderbolt controller, which moves to the new Thunderbolt 2 standard.
With the move to Haswell comes a claim of 9 hours of battery life, as well as a $200 price drop, bringing the base model from $1500 to $1300.
Next, the 15" Retina MacBook Pro was discussed. For the 15", Apple moved to to the Intel Crystalwell processor. Crystalwell is a quad-core platform which features Iris Pro graphics on the die. Iris Pro, with it's onboard 128MB of eDRAM should provide substantially improved graphics performance. On top of the Iris Pro GPU, there is also a GTX 750M option on the higher end SKU. The i7-4750HQ is the entry level SKU (2.0GHz turbo to 3.2GHz) with upgrades to the i7-4850HQ (2.3GHz turbo to 3.5GHz) as well as the i7-4960HQ (2.6GHz turbo to 3.8GHz) for $100 and $300 respectively.
The 15" rMBP has gotten the same treatment as the new 13" in regards to the PCI-E SSD, AC wireless and Thunderbolt 2, with a claim of 8 hours of battery life. The 15" model also saw a price break, starting at $1999 now instead of $2199 as it did previously.
Both the 13" and 15" Retina MacBook Pros are shipping starting today.
The last Mac product that Apple talked about today was the newly redesigned Mac Pro. While they teased the formfactor and some specs at WWDC in June, we got more details today.
In the two shipping configuations Apple currently lists, (built to order is not available yet) the Mac Pro can be seen in both Quad and Six core configutarions. The Quad core CPU is likely the Xeon E5-1620V2, and the Six core variant, is likely the E5-1650V2. Apple has also teased a 12-core variant of this machine, with the E5-2697V2.
On the GPU side, Apple lists dual FirePro D300 GPUs (2GB VRAM each) in the base model, and Dual FirePro D500s (3GB VRAM each) in the upgraded version. While these don't seem to be current FirePro SKUs, so we can't really get details on them. Apple did release some vague specs about the highest end GPU configuration they'd offer, "up to 4096 stream processors, dual 384-bit memory buses, up to 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 528GB/s total bandwidth, up to 7 teraflops of compute power." Considering the full AMD Tahiti GPU die contains 2048 stream processors, it would seem like we are going to see FirePros based on Tahiti, not the new Hawaii GPU.
These new Mac Pros also recieved the newest PCI-E-based SSDs, configurable up to 1TB in size.
The entry level Mac Pro will start at $2999, while the upgraded version will cost $3999, both will be available in December. No words on how the build to order process will work with these new Mac Pros.