Over the past few months, underdog chip maker AMD has had a series of big wins. It has negotiated its silicon into all the major games consoles, including the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. It has also announced plans to support Android and Chrome OS in addition to Windows, hoping to break free of the stagnant PC market.
And today AMD has scored yet another prominent win; Apple's updated Mac Pro, demoed at the WWDC 2013 keynote and expected to be available later this year.
While the CPU has gone Intel's way – the updated Mac Pro run new-generation Xeon CPUs – but the GPUs are supplied by AMD. And the Mac Pro doesn't have just one GPU, it has two.
The new – and as yet unspecified GPUs – will offer 4,096 stream processors, 384-bit memory buses and 528 GBps total bandwidth. That's a lot of power packed into a workstation.
Apple has also done with the Mac Pro what many OEMs are doing with PCs, and tinkered with the form factor. Rather than a being a big, rectangular aluminum box, the new Mac Pro is smaller, black, cylindrical, and built aroud what Apple calls a "thermal core." In fact, the new workstation is positively petite compared to the Mac Pro's that people are currently used to.
This is an interesting shift in workstation design, and it will be interesting to see whether others -- and by others I mean PC OEMs -- borrow ideas from this new look Mac Pro.