Today’s higher resolution cameras and postproduction standards have led Apple to up the ante on the latest model of its Mac Pro desktop system. Now supporting 4K digital video, the newest Mac Pro features a very slick-looking chrome cylindrical design that, like other desktop systems, requires the user to attach an external keyboard, rodent and display. The new system offers Thunderbolt 2 and dual AMD FirePro graphics processing units with up to six gigabytes of dedicated VRAM, which is enough horsepower to drive three 4K displays simultaneously — an ideal scenario for pro video workstations, visual effects work in cinema, and film editing.
All this only scratches the surface of what the latest Mac Pro can do. It now has a dedicated HDMI port that conforms to the 1.4 specification supporting 4K video, so users can connect it directly to a 4K “broadcast monitor” to see how the images they’re working on will look in real life. The new Mac Pro will be seen as a digital filmmaking powerhouse, as it features six ports, each operating at 20Gbps bandwidth, plus parallel processing capabilities using both CPUs and GPUs to streamline the throughput as much as possible.
Third-party companies already offer video professionals the ability to upgrade to 4K with things like capture and playback cards, but native support is new. While Apple has long been catering to filmmakers and TV producers with products like Final Cut Pro editing software, the Mac Pro hasn’t aged well in this new era of digital filmmaking. As 4K imagery becomes more common in movie theaters and at home, it’s important for Apple to keep pushing the envelope with cutting-edge technology so filmmakers will continue to buy Apple products. While the AMD FirePro GPU incorporated into the Mac Pro supports 4K video, Apple does not yet offer a 4K monitor. For that, users will need a third-party product, like the $17,500 Sony PVM-X300 4K TRIMASTER 30-inch LCD monitor that supports full 4096x2160 resolution. For those on a smaller budget, ASUS offers a 31.5-inch UltraHD monitor with slightly narrower 3840x2160 resolution for $3,499.