Rumour: Smaller, rackmountable Mac Pro on the way

A prototype of a shorter, narrower Mac Pro is reportedly making its way around the Apple campus right now, sources claim. The new design is also said to be rackmountable, potentially replacing the discontinued Xserve and providing IT professionals with a suitable upgrade path.

According to 9to5Mac, the new design is said to be narrowed down to just over 5 inches (13cm) and shortened down to 19 inches (48cm). The design will allow for a higher drive density than current server hardware, allowing for two drives per sled in a stack. Both traditional hard drives and newer solid state drives will be supported. Overall, in rack mount terms the new system will take up 3U of space.

The current design on the shelves made its debut in 2003. Known as the Power Mac G5, the system replaced the aging Power Mac G4, which featured a unique translucent plastic design. The redesign marked an aesthetic shift away from the ubiquitous plastic smooth casing in Apple's lineup to a more refined aluminium look. The minimalistic design motif that Apple moved towards during this time, particularly in its professional lineup, has been employed by the company's designers even today, making the G5-era Power Mac design still look quite modern. Apple tend to refresh product design every three or four years though, so for the Mac Pro to look nearly the same after eight years is particularly unusual in Apple's lineup.

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is it going to be a 6U case? *LOL* Serisouly, they could do what they have now in smaller space... lets ignore software for a minute (OSX) but I can buy systems that are more powerful, and beutifully designed inside that fit into 3U's and even hold 8 2.5" 10K enterprise SAS hard rives, have a large cooling system with redundant fans, redundant power supplies, dual CPU's and support a massive amount of RAM... and the last one we bought still cost less then some of the Mac Pro configs that were similar... I configed a mac pro "server" to under our latest server buy and it came in at $6,200 with fiber channel (we have a SAN that has fiber connections) and 4 2TB HD's..... plus 8 core (2 cpu's) and our server only cost us $5,350... $850 doesnt sound like much, but we got more features that the mac pro doesnt have! like hardware system monitoring, IP KVM built in, etc....

and are they going to make hard drives hot swapable from the front? huge thing in the server arena... and have LED status indicators on them for failed drives / online drives?

I'd say there is a fine line between calling this a "rack mountable Mac Pro" and a new model Xserve. If anything, I think they will come up with a new name for this model. Remember too that starting with Lion, the client and server versions of OS X will be combined.

It's true that their current Mac Pro form factor is massive. Is this new form factor supposedly going to be a universal change or is this a new model specifically for server purposes?

_DP said,
It's true that their current Mac Pro form factor is massive. Is this new form factor supposedly going to be a universal change or is this a new model specifically for server purposes?

Good question...since the Mac Pro is due for an update, I wouldn't be surprised if this is one new form factor for both server and desktop uses. Otherwise, I doubt they would have discontinued the Xserve so many months in advance.