It’s Not That Hard for Apple to Design a New Mac Pro

Mac pro 02Apple recently did a mea-culpa about its failed Mac Pro, and announced that the company was working on a new model, that would perhaps be released next year.

But the company doesn’t need to look far to design a new Mac Pro. They already know how to make it.

Here’s the big problem with Apple’s Mac Pro: the company thought it needed to be sexy. It certainly was, with those curved lines and small footprint. But it’s not practical.

The people who want a new Mac Pro want a computer that allows them the freedom to make changes over time. They want to be able to replace hard drives, video cards, and more; add RAM when they need to. And add PCI cards or other internals.

Apple could make a smaller version of the “cheese grater” Mac Pro pictured above. With the same easy access to the inside of the computer – one side comes off entirely – they would have the space for one or two video cards, several hard drives, and much more.

If there were a good 4K or 5K display, I would buy a Mac Pro like this. While I don’t need “pro” features, I do want a computer that is more flexible, more upgradeable. The only thing I would demand, however, is silence. When I had the cheese grater Mac Pro, it was quieter than previous Macs, but still a bit noisy. In most use, I never hear the fan on my iMac.

So make a new, smaller cheese grater or similar design. Pro users would love it. You don’t even need to bother Jony Ive; after all, his design is the one that failed.

13 thoughts on “It’s Not That Hard for Apple to Design a New Mac Pro

  1. Exactly right. I was wondering why no else was making this point.

    Apple has such a fetish about design that they sometimes forget about their customer’s needs. Customers of mobile devices highly value small weight and size, portability, long battery life, etc. Also, how the device looks and feels is important. So maximizing for that makes sense.

    But pro customers obviously have a very different set of needs (no need to list them here). They care about good design but the definition of good design in a pro-level computer is *different* than in mobile devices.

    Years ago I was showing someone a “cheese grater” Mac in an Apple Store. I showcased the ease of opening up the side panel and accessing parts, and the built in handles at the top. THAT was good design for the Mac Pro.


  2. The “cheese grater” went away because the design team ….. maybe just Ive wanted a new style, not a better computer.

    The ability for semi-pros on up to upgrade/replace components on their own, none of which are made by Apple is essential.

    Unfortunately, HP and Dell have overrun Apple’s complacency and negligence in a market Apple once owned.

  3. So glad to here that is so easy to do. That is why all the other boxes out there are so easy to get into and so quiet. Do you not remember them talking about all the time they spent designing the cheese grater and optimizing the airflow.

    This stuff done right is not easy never has been.

    • Take a mid-sized tower, and you have no issues with heat and airflow. Ask anyone who’s built a Hackintosh. When they talked about that with the cheese grater, I think they were just exaggerating.

  4. My first Mac was a IIcx in 1989, then a 7500 in 1996, then Yosemite G3 in 1999, then a Dual 1GHz G4 in 2002, then a Mac Pro 1,1 in 2006, then after my 2008 MBP died in 2015 I moved to a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK in a beautiful Lian Li desktop case, be quiet! CPU HSF, EVGA GTX-950 video card driving 2 4K 24″ monitors (total cost for all that ,~$1500, LOL).

    It’s been a pretty great 2 years running 10.10 ~ 10.12 on the hackintosh, but of course am looking forward to what Apple can do in this space.

  5. “The only thing I would demand, however, is silence.”
    That was the impressive feature of the Late 2013 Mac Pro model. I would love to see it combined with the flexibility of the previous design, as well.

    • Indeed. However, since then, silent power supplies have become very common. A friend who built a big, powerful Hackintosh said his is as quiet as his iMac.

      • The great thing about the Mac Pro models is that they do not get (much) louder once the CPU load increases. The iMac 5K is quiet but only when relatively idle. Thus, I’d be very careful making a categorical comparison.

        • In normal operation, my iMac is silent. The fan runs at 1200 rpm, and I don’t hear it. The only time I hear it is when I’m doing something processor-intensive, such as converting a video with Handbrake, or conducting a video conference with Skype. Certainly, some users will hear more fan noise with other apps.

          The trashcan Mac Pro was the same; the fan did ramp up for certain operations. It was probably a bit quieter at high RPMs, but it was certainly audible.

          • My tests with the “trashcan” are limited, since I never owned one. Occasionally doing some video transcoding I get a bit annoyed with the kind of noise my iMac almost immediately produces. It could be due to the dramatic increase or the type of fan. I felt that the Mac Pro’s noise was “smoother” under the same circumstances.
            So, a combination of iMac noise level under low CPU workload and Mac Pro noise level under heavy CPU workload would be ideal for me.

            • I owned the trashcan for about six months. I agree that the Mac Pro sounded smoother; the iMac’s fan sounds a bit harsh, with more high frequency sounds. Nevertheless, both are silent in “normal” operation. But I can understand that some people who do push their computers more will have more noise. Again, modern PC power supplies are a lot quieter than the were in the past.

  6. Please Apple, redesign the MacBook too — which is light and thin and overly expensive and impractically useless (no Ethernet, no HDMI, no power, ugh). You should go for something usefully and beautifully designed like the Powerbook Lombard, where you can lift the keyboard to replace memory, and eject the hard drive and the optical disk to add more battery or another hard drive, all in a beautifully designed case that one loved to look at and touch:

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