Apple Takes Another Stab at the Data Center Market With a 4U Mac Pro

The rack-mountable version of Mac Pro starts at $6,500 and ends north of $54,000 (but you'll save on the wheels).

2 Min Read
Apple Takes Another Stab at the Data Center Market With a 4U Mac Pro
Apple's 4U rack mounted Mac Pro server.Apple

The Apple brand is once again data center-bound. The company has come out with a rack-mountable, data center-ready version of its latest Mac Pro, which launched in its traditional PC tower form factor in December.

The 4U rack-mounted version, which came out early this month with little fanfare, represents a return to the data center market after a nine year absence for Apple. The company pulled the plug on Xserve, its last rack-mounted server, in January 2011, and began recommending Mac Pros and Minis to server customers. Its stated rationale for introducing Xserve in 2002 had been that customers were unhappy using Apple desktops as servers.

You're probably going to think more than twice before placing an order to fill your racks with Mac Pros, however. They're priced between $6,499 ($500 more than the workstation version with the same specs) and $54,048.

That high-end number is not a typo.

Also, the $500 discount for the desktop tower might not be the deal it seems. Evidently, when ordered with some configurations a Mac Pro tower might be heavy enough to require a set of wheels, which Apple will happily sell you -- for $400.

The new Apple server may not give you a lot of "bang for your buck," but it does come with plenty of bang. The bare-bones model comes equipped with an 8-core Intel Xeon W CPU, 32GB memory, a Radeon Pro 580X GPU, and 256GB SSD storage. If you go whole-hog and order one fully loaded, you'll get a 28-core 2.5GHz processor from the same family, a whopping 1.5TB memory, 2x AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPUs, and 4TB SSD storage.

Additionally, the all-the-way version comes with an Afterburner ProRes and ProRes RAW accelerator card for video processing, which is priced at $2,000 on Apple's a la carte menu.

By now you probably understand that Apple's not going after the lowly web server, or even the high-performance artificial intelligence markets with these babies. Although MacStadium, a Mac-as-a-service data center operator for Mac developers, has been installing them and publishing  impressive benchmark results for things like NodeJS thread builds, that's probably not much of a marketing focus either.

The most likely immediate uptake here will be by media makers -- the traditional market for high-end Macs -- where they'll be augmented with other audio and video production hardware.

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Data Center Knowledge

About the Author(s)

Christine Hall

Freelance author

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001 she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and began covering IT full time in 2002, focusing on Linux and open source software. Since 2010 she's published and edited the website FOSS Force. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux.

Data Center Knowledge

Data Center Knowledge, a sister site to ITPro Today, is a leading online source of daily news and analysis about the data center industry. Areas of coverage include power and cooling technology, processor and server architecture, networks, storage, the colocation industry, data center company stocks, cloud, the modern hyper-scale data center space, edge computing, infrastructure for machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality. Each month, hundreds of thousands of data center professionals (C-level, business, IT and facilities decision-makers) turn to DCK to help them develop data center strategies and/or design, build and manage world-class data centers. These buyers and decision-makers rely on DCK as a trusted source of breaking news and expertise on these specialized facilities.

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