The first thing that strikes you about the new Mac Pro is that is really doesn’t look anything like a computer. The shiny black tube, which is far smaller in reality than you’d think, has a terrifyingly long spec list that includes everything from Xeon processors with up to 12 cores to 64GB of superfast DDR3 memory.
Where's the dry ice?
In reality, all you need to know is that it’s fast - really fast.
We put the Mac Pro through its paces with some real time 3D rendering, and it’s astonishing.
Complex scenes are rendered almost instantly, many of which would take several minutes on current high-end kits.
We also played with the Mac Pro using two large 4K monitors, although the Pro can drive four.
Even with two, however, you get a real sense of the power of the machine, with a breathtaking display.
Music production is also likely to be one of the Mac Pro’s big markets (indeed, Apple has been testing the machine with Stuart Price, the man behind Lady Gaga and The Killers' latest albums).
Running Logic, Apple's high-end music software, multiple tracks with effects are no problem.
It’s also incredibly quiet, and one music producer who has tried the machine told us it was almost disconcerting not to have the hum of a PC in the studio.
The hardware is also something unique - and there’s something incredibly sci-fi about every aspect of the machine, from the motion sensor that lights up the port indicators when you move it to the button you press to remove the cover (it’s just a shame Apple couldn’t make it produce a little bit of dry ice to finish the effect).
It's also smaller than you'd expect at 9.9inches tall.
The Mac Pro isn’t for everyone - and in reality, the newly refreshed Haswell MacBook Pro models will be a desktop replacement that’s more than adequate for most of us. But for those who need the extra power, there’s nothing quite like the Mac Pro.
It’s an astonishing example of the future of the desktop PC - and a design so radical it’s hard to think of any other firm that would come up with it.
However, one thing we couldn’t help thinking while playing with it is how cool it would look in the living room - and what an amazing gaming machine it would make.
Here's hoping we’ll see a round Mac Mini sooner rather than later...