Production Sound & Video

Summer 2019

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40 Though the evolution of technology is already a staple of the 21st century, there are some breakthroughs that are widely acknowledged as being revolutionary. Within the world of film and television, one such moment occurred in 2006 when Apple unveiled the first Mac Pro. Featuring high-end Intel processors and sporting a versatile modular design that allowed for routine upgrades, the first-generation Mac Pro changed the landscape of the production world and gave creatives the kind of computing power they needed to enter the digital era. Though this particular line of computers has evolved in the years since its introduction, it remains a cornerstone of digital workflows across the globe. That is why it was so exciting when Apple announced a newly redesigned Mac Pro with some truly impressive specifications. by James Delhauer 2019 Mac Pro To understand the significance of the announcement, one must recognize the somewhat turbulent history of the Mac Pro. While the first-generation units, which were produced from 2006 to 2012, were revolutionary machines, they had begun to show their age by the end of their life cycle. Even with substantial improvements to the CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard disk drives every few years, the Mac Pro was fundamentally designed around the now obsolete Firewire, USB 2.0, PCIe 2.0, and SATA II connection interfaces. While these were industry standard and even ahead of the curb in 2006, they had been superseded by next-generation technology by 2012, making even the newest Mac Pro a problematic investment. Even the most enthusiastic of DIY users were having trouble upgrading their machines to compete with computers that took advantage of newer USB 3.0, SATA III, and PCI 3.0 technology. The widespread availability of these superior technologies in non-Apple computers started to make Windows-based workflows very appealing to loyal OS X customers. If Apple wanted to remain relevant in the high-end desktop market, they needed to overhaul the core hardware of their design. In 2013, they did exactly that when they unveiled the second- generation Mac Pro. This unit utilized a significantly smaller and more compact design. The short, black, cylindrical shape gave this unit the unofficial nickname of "trashcan," while the older, first-generation models were retroactively branded "cheese graters" due to their silver color and grate of ventila- tion holes on the front and back. These trashcan computers, like their predecessors, were a monumental leap forward for their day. While many expected the newly designed Mac Pro to rely on SATA III and USB 3.0 interfaces for hard drive and peripheral connection, the company chose to leap beyond these standards. SATA III was bypassed altogether in favor of PCIe solid-state technology, which had a theoretical maxi- mum speed five times greater than that of SATA III. USB 3.0 integration was included but this was done alongside Apple's semi-proprietary Thunderbolt 2 interface—a more versatile Cheese graters

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