Apple's new Mac Pro kicks HDDs and SSDs to the curb in favor of PCI-e flash

Under the Mac Pro's black, cylindrical, aluminum shell is a whole raft of high tech components, including super-fast next-generation PCI Express flash storage.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Yesterday, Apple took time during its WWDC 2013 keynote speech to give the developers a sneak peek at the upcoming newly revamped Mac Pro workstation.

Everything about the new Mac Pro is cutting edge, from the dual Xeon E5 processors, to the twin FirePro GPUs, all the way to the thermal core and the machined aluminum cylinder encasing the components. But one place where the new Mac Pro really shines is in the storage department.

(Source: Apple)

See alsoHow Apple's new Mac Pro revolutionizes the desktop workstation

Since a system like the new Mac Pro needs something special when it comes to storage, and Apple hasn't disappointed us.

Rather than go for old-school hard drives (HDDs), or even faster solid state drives (SSDs), Apple has instead chosen to top both of thee and go for next-generation PCI Express flash storage.

This storage is not just fast, it blows away SSDs. PCI Express flash storage is up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive, and a whopping 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm a SATA hard drive.

To put this into hard numbers, a SATA hard drive offers about 110MBs, while a SATA flash drive can top 550MB/s. Compare this to PCI Express flash which can manage 1,250MB/s.

That's an incredible level of data throughput. 

(Source: Apple)

This means that the new Mac Pro will have the fastest storage available to a desktop workstation.

The new Mac Pro is, in my opinion, a game changer. Just as SSDs have replaced HDDs, PCI Express storage is now set to push aside SSDs in high-end systems. PCI Express flash storage isn't new, there are a number of PCI Express flash storage cards on the market, but what Apple has done by putting it into its Mac Pro is legitimize it. I have no doubt that we will be seeing similar storage making its way into high-end PC systems – and quite possibly high-end gaming systems – over the coming months.

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