updated 06:20 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
Mac Pro may get remake for rackmounting
Apple may be on the verge of a long-expected revamp of the Mac Pro that could potentially assuage fears following the end of the Xserve. A rumor Thursday had the system narrower, going from over eight inches to five, while also becoming shorter at 19 inches. The layout as described by 9to5 might help it fit into a 3U rackmount, three times bigger than the Xserve's 1U but also capable of working as a regular desktop.
The computer might also tackle a commonly-cited problem with a lack of storage. Its drive sleds would be "stacked" and fit two each, according to the tip. Each bay would be ready to take solid-state drives, although it's unknown how much of that would change. Thunderbolt is a virtual certainty given its emphasis on very high speed storage.
Little else was mentioned, but the systems would presumably use the recently refreshed Xeon 5600 processor line as well as newer graphics cards and storage options. A narrower, shorter design could be an issue for add-in cards, either by cutting down on the number of available slots or by preventing the use of certain large cards. Apple may have the opportunity to maximize space.
The Mac Pro as it's known today has remained mostly unchanged for almost five years, when the first Intel models arrived in August 2006. That workstation was in turn based on the Power Mac G5 from 2003 and by extension makes the Mac Pro the oldest surviving design in the mix. Its relatively flexible chassis gave Apple little reason to change, but poor Xserve sales and an imminent rebirth of pro apps starting with Final Cut Pro X could have pushed Apple into action.