Apple has finally made the new Mac Pro available to buy, but if you are hoping to get your hands on one soon you may be in for a bit of a wait. The latest shipping information on the Apple Store has dropped to April. Although we have had confirmation that at least one UK Apple Reseller has Mac Pro models in stock right now, read on for more information about Mac Pro availability.
This isn't the first time that that the shipping date has slipped. Ever since June 2013 when Apple promised that the Mac Pro would be available before the end of 2013 the company has struggled to meet its deadline.
On 18 December, Apple sent out a press release to announce that the new Mac Pro would be available to order from 19 December. However, when the company made the Mac Pro available for order on the 19 December stocks were limited, and unfortunately very few people got their hands on a new Mac Pro before the end of the year. Those Mac Pro stocks seemed to be limited to the USA.
Customers in the UK who ordered their new Mac early on 19 December found that they would have to wait until January for the new Mac Pro to ship, while those in the US had a 30 December shipping estimate. Later on 19 December, shipping times slipped back to February both in the UK and the US.
However, mid-January bought good news for many European customers, as the Mac Pro made its way back to the continent for the first time since the old model was banned in March 2013 for not complying with EU electrical safety laws.
On 12 January, customers in Europe who had ordered a Mac Pro on 19 December began to receive shipment notifications with delivery estimates of as early as 14 January, according to Mac Generation.
However, later in January the dispatch date for standard models of the Mac Pro here in the UK slipped to March - the wait was even longer if you want to build to order. This date has now slipped even further.
We were lucky enough to be loaned a new Mac Pro for testing and you can read our full review of the Mac Pro here and watch the video above that shows what's inside the Mac Pro.
When will I be able to buy a Mac Pro?
You can buy a Mac Pro from Apple's website here, but don't expect delivery before April, and if you want a build-to-order model (not one of the standard models) the delivery date may be even further away (although right now it appears to be April still).
If you get in touch with Apple Authorised Reseller Square Group you may be lucky enought to get your hands on a standard Mac Pro - we have been told they have Mac Pros in stock. We don't expect that will remain the case for long though!
How can I get a Mac Pro now?
Some people who have been lucky enough to get a Mac Pro already are now selling them for a premium. There is currently a Mac Pro being sold on eBay.com with bids at $2,492.98 - that auction is due to finish on 15 February.
There's also a new Mac Pro being sold on eBay.com with a buy now price of $3,599. That sale ends on 13 February.
As mentioned above, you can get a Mac Pro from London based Square Group. We have had confirmation that they have both the standard models in stock in their London warehouse, ready to ship.
Square, like other Apple resellers, offers customers a personalised service so that they can assess their needs. Suqare told us: "If a customer would like a configure-to-order Mac, our specialists are more than happy to walk them through their options and make recommendations depending on the Mac Pro's desired purpose. That's just one of the bonuses buying from Square, all our staff have extensive experience working with creative companies and providing Macs to the correct specifications."
Apple reseller HardSoft confirmed that they have sold their initial batch of non-CTO (configure to order) Mac Pros (all of them six core) and all of their customers who pre-ordered have received their units. Hardsoft told us that they have already shipped six machines to "some very happy customers."
HardSoft are still waiting to receive CTO orders, they note: "As most were ordered early on we are hoping to have some this month and next." They confirmed: "We are expecting another four before the end of February."
HardSoft added: "As for anyone ordering today we believe that they will be fulfilled earlier than the April being quoted by Apple, a complete flip on previous product lines (The iMacs spring to mind which were available in stores before we had any real stock)."
KRCS has also confirmed that they have at least one Mac Pro in stock right now.
Other resellers haven't been as lucky and haven't yet been able to ship a unit, but some have been taking orders for months now, with some orders that were placed six months ago.
Where can I buy a Mac Pro from?
Other than directly from Apple, you will eventually be able to buy a Mac Pro from Apple Premium Resellers such as Stormfront, Square Group, Western Computer, MR Systems, KRCS and HardSoft. PC World also offers the two standard Mac Pros but neither are currently available for home delivery or collection in store.
Find an Apple Premium Reseller here.
Why is the Mac Pro delayed?
Reports suggest that production of the new Mac Pro is heavily constrained. Constraints could be due to Apple's decision to manufacture the new Mac Pro in the US. It's being built in a factory in Texas. Demand for the new Mac Pro may have also exceeded Apple's expectations.
We have begun manufacturing the Mac Pro in Austin. It’s the most powerful Mac ever. Orders start tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Jrd1Gic3Ya— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 18, 2013
It's looking like a repeat of the iMac launch in 2012 - most people couldn't get their hands on a new iMac before Christmas. We were sure that wasn't a mistake Apple wanted to make twice, and CEO Tim Cook himself has admitted that he wished the company had waited until the new year to launch the iMacs.
The wait could be even longer if you want to buy a build-to-order Mac Pro.
Mac Pro 2013: Mac Pro UK pricing
The Mac Pro starts at £2,499 (£2,082.50 ex VAT) in the UK for a quad-core 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 10 MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz, 12GB RAM, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB of VRAM and 256GB of flash storage.
There is also a 6-core model with 3.5GHz Xeon E5, 16GB RAM, two AMD FirePro D500 cards with 3GB of VRAM, and 256GB flash storage for £3,299.
Pricing for the Mac Pro 2013 build to order options
There are also build to order options that will push the price higher. The following specifications are available:
Build-to-order options on the 3.7GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro:
3.5GHz 6-core option (add £400), 3.0GHz 8-core processor (add £1,600), or 2.7GHz 12-core processor (add £2,800); 16GB (add £80), 32GB (add £400) or 64GB- (add £1,040) RAM memory; dual AMD FirePro D500 (add £320), or or dual AMD FirePro D700 (add £800); 512GB (add £240) or 1TB flash storage (add £640)
Build-to-order options on the 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro:
3.0GHz 8-core processor (add £1,200), 2.7GHz 12-core processor (add £2,400); 32GB (add £320) or 64GB (£add £960) RAM memory; dual AMD FirePro D700 (add £480); 512GB (add £240) or 1TB flash storage (add £640).
How much will the ultimate build-to-order Mac Pro cost in the UK?
A Mac Pro with the maximum 12-core 2.7GHz processors, with 30MB L3 cache, 64GB RAM, 1TB PCIe-based flash storage, Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each will cots £7,779 including VAT (£6,482.50 ex VAT).
Get out a second mortgage and add the Sharp 4K 31.5-inch display for £3,499.
Mac Pro 2013: Specs
There are two standard Mac Pro models available along with various build to order options.
The new Mac Pro uses the latest Intel Xeon E5 processors with up to 12 cores, dual workstation-class GPUs, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, PCIe-based flash storage and ECC memory.
There are two customisable configurations. The first is has a 3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 with 10MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz. This model has 12GB of user accessible memory and Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors.
The second configuration has a 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 with 12MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz. It has 16GB memory and Dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics processors.
Both configurations come with 256GB of user accessible PCIe-based flash storage that's configurable to 512GB or 1TB.
The new Mac Pro can support up to three 4K displays or six Thunderbolt displays. In terms of conncetions, the new Mac Pro has four USB 3 ports, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI 1.4 UltraHD.
As for WiFi, the new Mac Pro supports the faster 802.11ac WiFi, and it also has Bluetooth 4.0, too.
The model number for the 2013 Mac Pro is A1481, the EMC Number is 2630.
For more information about the new Mac Pro's specs and for a better idea of what they'll mean for users, read our Mac Pro review
New Mac Pro 2013: the design and dimensions
Apple's completely redesigned Mac Pro workstation is about an eighth of the size of previous model and features a design that has already been compared to a bin, although that comparison doesn't really give credit to its diminutive stature.
When we first saw the Mac Pro at a press briefing back in October we were surprised for two reasons. The photos we had seen of the Mac Pro had lead us to expect a matt black machine but in reality, and under spotlighting, the new Mac Pro looked glossy. So glossy in fact that it was quite difficult to get a good photograph in the conditions we were in, our camera wasn't too keen on focusing on the shiny surface. It turns out the Mac Pro chassis is constructed out of aluminum with a dark anodized finish. There is a plastic cover over the fan.
The other surprise was just how small the new Mac Pro is. Many of those who've had their hands on the Mac Pro comment that it is much smaller than they had expected. The full chassis measures about 25cm tall and 16cm in diameter.
The other surprise is how easy it is to get inside the new Mac Pro. Just slide the lock switch and remove the outer casing, there aren't even any screws.
Mac Pro 2013: Ports
All the ports are found on the back of the machine and if you rotate the Mac Pro the IO panel will light up so you can easily plug in cables.
On the IO panel you will find 3.5 mm speaker and headphone jacks; four USB 3.0 ports; six Thunderbolt 2 ports; dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and an HDMI 1.4 out. There is an internal speaker.
You may find it a bit difficult to twist the unit around to see the ports at the back, it you have a lot of accessories plugged in. This was one of the concerns the video pros we spoke to about the Mac Pro had - the fact that with no opportunity to upgrade on the inside, everything will be plugged in the back and very difficult to get to.
New Mac Pro 2013 benchmarks
We are running tests on the Mac Pro we have on loan from Apple. You can read more in our full review of the Mac Pro.
Our review unit features an 8-core 3.0GHz Xeon E5 processor, 512GB of flash storage, 32GB of RAM, and dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics with 6GB of video memory for each card. Our Macworld US colleagues recorded the following Speedmark 9 scores:
The late 2013 Mac Pro 8-Core/3.0GHz scored 312 points. This was 63 percent faster overall than the 2012 12-core 2.4GHz Mac Pro (191 points), and nearly twice as fast overall as the 2012 3.2GHz quad-core Mac Pro (164 points).
Up until the launch of the new Mac Pro the fastest Mac was the 27-inch iMac quad-core/3.5GHz CTO from late 2013, which scored 288. The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro quad-core/2.3GHz from late 2013 wasn't far behind, scoring 252.
We also ran Geekbench 3. In that test our eight-core Mac Pro got a single-core score of 3628 and a multi-core score of 26,086. For comparison, a 12-core 2012 Mac Pro (two 2.4GHZ Xeon processors) had GeekBench 3 scores of 2142/22,886, and a 2013 27-inch quad core iMac with a 3.5GHz Core i7 processor GeekBench 3 scores of 3859/14,705. The best 2013 Retina MacBook (2.3 GHz) reaped 3461 points from its more efficient Haswell chip, but couldn’t keep up in multi mode, finishing with around half the point score of 13,571 points from its quad-core/octo-thread processor
What's inside the new Mac Pro?
The 2013 Mac Pro: Graphics
The dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards are placed on two sides and held in place by a clamp and four screws.
Unfortunately the graphics cards are proprietary so it doesn't look like you will be able to update the 2013 Mac Pro graphics in a few years from now.
Howeever, the two graphics cards aren't completely identical, notes iFixit. One GPU hails from China and its twin from Taiwan. The main difference is the fact that one card includes a slot for the SSD. IFixit thinks that this may mean there is opportunity for SSD expansion – if it was possible to use pick two GPUs with SSD mount capabilities, for example.
Apple says that the cards will allow you to do VFX and editing work on full-res 4K video – and output the three 4K displays at once. Unlike the PC-based FirePro W9000 though, there are no DisplayPorts on the 2013 Mac Pro – instead the three of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports can be used as mini-DisplayPort outputs that output to DisplayPort monitors using an adapter, as with Apple's MacBook Pro and iMac.
The 2013 Mac Pro: the CPU
The CPU board is located behind the IO panel. It's a Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5-1620 v2 with 10 MB L3 cache, clocked at 3.7 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz, according to iFixit. That site believes that a CPU upgrade at a later date could be plausible.
Being from Intel's 'Ivy Bridge' processor line, the Xeon E5 V2 chips give support for up to an as-yet unknown amount of 1,866MHz ECC RAM – up from 1,333MHz in the previous generation of Mac Pros and up from 1,600GHz on the previous generation of PC workstations. ECC RAM uses error correction to be more stable that the RAM used by consumer PCs and Macs – which is important for longer processes such as video encoding and 3D rendering.
The 2013 Mac Pro: SSD
The SSD cage sits in front of one of the graphics cards. It is easily removed, you only need to remove one screw and that screw isn't even proprietary.
According to iFixit's teardown the board features a Samsung S4LN053X01-8030 (ARM) Flash Controller; Samsung K9HFGY8S5C-XCK0 Flash Storage; and Samsung K4P4G324EB 512 MB RAM. This SSD is similar to the latest MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air, notes iFixit.
The new Mac Pro features PCIe flash storage, which with a data transfer rate of 1,250MBps is 2.5x faster than the fastest SATA-based flash storage, according to Apple, and over 10x faster than a 7,200rpm SATA drive.
When we first saw the Mac Pro in October, Apple told us that the flash memory will be user upgradable.
The 2013 Mac Pro: RAM
There are four vertical RAM slots on either side of the I/O panel. The RAM is easily accessible and user upgradable. It is configurable to 16GB, 32GB or 64GB in groups of four.
The 2013 Mac Pro: Fan
There is only one fan inside the Mac Pro but Apple has arranged all of the components around it. The cooling system takes the form of a central wind tunnel with a single big fan. It pulls air in from below and blows it quietly out the top of the case. The graphics cards and CPU share a triangular heat sink.
Teardown experts iFixit have dissected the new Mac Pro to find out how easy it is to repair and upgrade, and potential Mac Pro customers should be happy with the results.
"For being so compact, the design is surprisingly modular and easy to disassemble," iFixit said of the new Mac Pro, which received a "repairability score" of 8 out of 10.
RAM is easy to access and upgrade, and the central fan is easy to replace, too. The new Mac Pro's Intel CPU is removable, too, though iFixit does note that it requires "a bit of digging" to access it.
The Mac Pro: 4K Monitor
The new Mac Pro can support up to three 4K monitors, so many potential customers had supposed that Apple might manufacture a 4K monitor. Apple is currently selling its Thunderbolt display, but that's a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels compared with the 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
However, Apple is selling a Sharp 32" PN-K321 - 4K Ultra HD LED Monitor for £3,499. That display offers a resolution of 3840 x 2160 - over eight million pixels.
New Mac Pro 2013: can the new Mac Pro be upgraded
Teardown experts iFixit have dissected the new Mac Pro to find out how easy it is to repair and upgrade, and potential Mac Pro customers should be happy with the results. iFixit gives the Mac Pro a reparability score of 8 out of 10, noting that the design is "surprisingly modular and easy to disassemble".
RAM is easy to access and upgrade, and the central fan is easy to replace, too. The new Mac Pro's Intel CPU is removable, too, though iFixit does note that it requires "a bit of digging" to access it.
A teardown by Other World Computing has found that the Intel Xeon E5 processor in the new Mac Pro is removable, which could allow for upgrades in the future. This will be welcome news for potential Mac Pro owners who may want to modify their Mac one day.
The new Mac Pro and the environment
On 2 January, Apple released a new Mac Pro environmental report that reveals the impact of the computer on the environment. The report notes that the Mac Pro is material efficient, and uses 74 per cent less aluminium and steel than the previous Mac Pro.
The retail packaging for the new Mac Pro is also better for the environment, as it weighs 84 per cent less than the packaging for the older Mac Pro and is 82 per cent smaller, enabling three times more units to fit into an airline shipping container.
New Mac Pro 2013: The competition
Earlier in 2013 we saw another system with a single 8-core, 3.4GHz Xeon E5-2687W processor. This is a Windows-based workstation, but we've seen comparable scores between Macs and Windows PCs in the past using the Cinebench benchmark – which is based on Maxon's Cinema 4D 3D animation suite.
Running Cinebench's 3D rendering test – which is almost exclusively a measure of CPU performance – we saw a score of 14.04 points (a measurement that only applies to Cinebench scores and has no wider context). This is actually 6.8% slower than the 12-core Mac Pro we reviewed back in 2010, which obtained a score of 15.07– though we expect the 12-core Mac Pro to be significantly faster. It's also 47.5% slower than the 26.78 score that the same Windows workstation with two Xeon E5-2687W chips installed.
Does the new Mac Pro live up to expectations?
It's been a long time coming and the traditional user base has a hell of a big wish list. Many of these pro users - particularly the ones who need the absolute best performance and the most expandability (and, it should be said, who were once Apple's bread and butter) – already believe that Apple has abandoned them. It is likely they have already bought specialized workstations from other vendors.
We asked video pros for their thoughts about the new Mac Pro. Read our article New Mac Pro reaction story where video pros speak to us about GPU and storage concerns to find out more. Concerns include fears about expansion, concerns about storage and problems with existing software not working with the new Mac Pro.
Should I buy a new Mac Pro
The Mac Pro is not the same machine as the MacBook Pro, as any professional Mac user knows. However, for some of those pro Mac users the MacBook Pro is now adequate for their needs.
However, the Mac Pro is a very different machine to the MacBook Pro. It's not a high-powered consumer computer and it isn't even a business computer used in a design setting. It's a workstation, and workstations operate to different rules to desktop computers.
The Mac Pro is the tower system for Mac professionals who like adding things other than stickers to their computer. It's designed to be used by a single person who requires serious computing power.
The typical market for workstations is 3D mechanical design, engineering simulation, animation studios, and video production houses. Over the years the Mac Pro has risen in popularity with this group, only to fade as Apple failed to keep up with the times. Now this market don't lack for serious alternatives that are cheaper, updated more frequently and have similar - or even better - levels of software support.
Apple's update to the Mac Pro may have come just in time, or it may have missed the boat. [Read our review of the old Mac Pro]
While the Mac Pro has languished (and in Europe was the Mac Pro was discontinued early in 2013), Apple has pursued the highly profitable consumer market. Some question whether Apple should even bother with the professional user in this new era of iPads and iPhones? Didn't Steve Jobs say the PC was dead?
Apple's apparent lack of interest in its Mac tower over the past few years had lead many to suppose that the company intended to lay the Mac Pro to rest. The Mac Pro's current design was introduced 10 years ago at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2003. Call it a design classic by all means, but the Mac Pro case is still long in the tooth. Ten years is a heck of a long time in computing. Since the launch of the G5, which introduced the classic Mac Pro tower design, much has changed in the world of desktop computers. Bear in mind that Apple introduced the G4 Sunflower iMac in the same year, and look at how much the iMac has changed in that time.