Power users with money to spend will have a present to buy for themselves in December: That's when Apple's new Mac Pro, which the company previewed back in June, will finally be available for purchase.
The base $2999 configuration includes an Intel 3.7GHz Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of 1866MHz ECC DDR3 RAM, 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage, and two AMD FirePro D300 GPUs (2GB VRAM each).
During Tuesday's presentation, Apple boasted about the Mac Pro's 7 teraflops of graphics performance, a boost over the previous 2.7 teraflops of the old Mac Pro. The two FirePro GPUs are capable of supporting up to three 4K displays. (A 4K display has a native screen resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels. By comparison, Apple's Thunderbolt Display and 27-inch Cinema Display have 2560-by-1440 resolution.)
With a height of 9.9 inches and a diameter of 6.6 inches, the 2013 Mac Pro has no room for expansion with PCI cards or internal storage devices. Mac Pro users must rely on the machine's six Thunderbolt 2 ports and four USB 3 ports to connect such devices. Users of the previous Mac Pro tower who have expansion cards or internal storage that they still want to use will have to buy external boxes to house those devices--a extra cost to consider when buying one of the new Pros. Each Thunderbolt 2 port supports up to six daisy-chained devices, so the Mac Pro can support up to 36 Thunderbolt peripherals.
Once the machine's metal sleeve is removed, you can access the Mac Pro's four memory slots, so RAM upgrades can be done after purchase. The flash-storage card connects to a socket in the Mac Pro, so theoretically, you could replace it if aftermarket flash-storage upgrades become available.