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How Apple broke Laws of Thermodynamics to keep its beastly Mac Pro cool and quiet

Let’s talk about the new top dollar Mac Pro computer that Apple is selling at $52,599. Oh wait, I forgot to clarify. That is only the price for the CPU. To get a matching monitor, the Pro Display XDR, you will need to top up with another $5,999.

So for about $58,500, Apple is promising you the most powerful (its beastliness) Mac computer money can buy. That begs the question, what lies underneath the hood, for Apple to ask such as eye-watering price? Well, read on ahead to find out:

The base model (entry-level) of the Mac Pro starts at $5,999. It comes packed with the following muscles; an octa-core Intel Xeon CPU, 32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X graphics, and a 256GB SSD storage.

Well, if you feel you need more power. Apple has upgrade options for you that will bump up these already strong computing muscles. The Mac computer can be upgraded as follows:

For an additional $7,000, you get a 28-Core, 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W with 28 Cores, 56 Threads, and Turbo Boost maxing out at 4.4GHz.

Throw in another $25,000, you get a 1.5TB of 2933MHz RAM, which comes as 12 separate 128GB pieces that the user can slot in by themselves.

To increase onboard storage, you can upgrade the SSD to 4TB SSD storage split into 2TB SSDs for an additional $1,400. (Apple is still planning on releasing a further 8TB SSD storage soon.)

Other features include GPU made up of two AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics card modules. Each having two GPUs making a total of four graphic cards. Each of the four cards has 32GB dedicated RAM for each GPU. You will need to part with an extra $10,800.

The Mac Pro also comes with an afterburner accelerator card worth $2,000. There is also the separately sold Magic Trackpad that costs $50,  and wheels for the computer for $400. That totals $52,599. When Apple adds the 8TB SSD option, the Mac Pro could very well hit the $60,000 mark and over.

All these giant Specs Generate a lot of Heat

High-end computers are inherently hot and noisy from stronger-than-usual fans trying to keep the system cool. They also include a pump-driven water cooling system. However, Mac computers have made a name for themselves for running in near-silent noise levels. Apple is not about to let the new Mac Pro ruin that reputation.

So engineers at the company had to brainstorm on new ways of breakings the existing laws of thermodynamics. With Chris Lightenberg as the Senior Director of the product design team behind the Mac Pro fan system. Apple installed a three-axial fan at the front and a blower at the back.

“Years ago, we started redistributing the blades. They’re still dynamically balanced, but they’re actually randomized in terms of their BPF (blade pass frequency). So you don’t get huge harmonics that tend to be super annoying.” – Chris Lightenberg

Noise reduction was among the top list of deliverables from the product design team. They ended up resolving that they better settle for something loud but pleasantly pitched, instead of something quiet but ineffective. They found a pleasant SPL (sound pressure level) that, though loud, sounds pleasant to the human ears.

There is no mention of how the SPL they settled for, affects other animals whose ears working differently from those of humans.


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Felix Omondi

Kenyan citizen with a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. In my spare time, I like to blog and read up on trends that's happening around the world.

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