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Verdict about Mac Pro 2019 hardware: CPU replaced, GPU projected is very strong, What is Afterburner?


Finally, the Mac Pro 2019 came out, no longer a trash can, but Apple has returned to the traditional tower design but designed many modular modules that made the upgrade easier. Of course, the new Mac Pro is also equipped with very powerful hardware with a maximum of 28 cores, Vega II graphics cards and a total RAM capacity of up to 1.5 TB. Of course the price we have to spend for a Mac Pro "Hoang Kim max opt" can reach more than 1 billion. Now, let's take a look at the hardware on the new Mac Pro, nothing special:

The Mac Pro is Apple's very special desktop workstation and the first generation was released in August 2006. The Mac Pro series replaces the PowerPC-based PowerPC microprocessors in the past, switching to microprocessors. Intel. Mac Pro is often introduced by Apple at the annual WWDC conference.




Since the first generation, the Mac Pro has a different design compared to the Windows PC, most notably the monolithic aluminum tower chassis, modularized design, easy access to hardware. inside and upgrade without using screwdrivers. It can be said that the Mac Pro has been ahead many years in designing toolless computer enclosures.



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Among the Mac Pro generations, only the second generation released in 2013 has the trash-type design and the most limited ability to upgrade. This time with the 3rd generation Mac Pro 2019, Apple has returned the inherent value of Mac Pro which is performance and flexibility to upgrade.

Mac Pro comes back with tower design:



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The trash design has led Apple to push itself into a corner of the wall, small in size, causing the inadequate heat dissipation system to meet more powerful hardware. Apple also had trouble upgrading this Mac Pro 2013 and users themselves did not have many upgrade options, just SSD and RAM at the most. So going back to the traditional tower design is a wise step for Apple on the new Mac Pro. As in "Mac Pro 2019 and the opportunity for Apple to regain confidence with professional users," Apple finally listened to users about a Mac Pro with many configuration options, high performance and lifting capabilities. flexible level.



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The size of Apple Mac Pro 2019 – 52.9 x 45 x 21.8 cm – this size is slightly smaller than the usual size of a mid-tower tank. Of course, Apple still makes it look unlike any PC box. The casing is still made of monolithic aluminum and just turn one hand on the top of the barrel and lift it up to see all the internal hardware. The two front handles are made of steel and Apple even sells a set of wheels under the barrel to push it, increasing mobility.



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The impressive point is still the system of wind slots for radiator fan system, the network is still comparing it to the design of the cheese grating device. For those who are afraid of the syndrome, they will definitely find it horrible with this design, I personally feel it is not good, but in the design philosophy of Apple, this company is always intentional with every detail.



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Now it is no longer confined like the cramped space of trash cans, Apple has land to create and when Apple has created, brothers will "lose blood" more. What is a wide bucket for? Like PCs, you have a big box, you would hate the empty space. Me too, if I use a full-tower box, then 90% I will think about making custom water radiators to help empty or find ways to add more toys. On Mac Pro 2019, the internal space allows Apple to design a custom motherboard that I think its size is equivalent to an E-ATX motherboard.



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But the special thing is that Apple designed this board in the form of double sides ie both sides have components. The main side of the board has standard components such as Xeon CPU, 8 PCIe slots, and chipset while the back side provides space for 12 RAM slots and vertical SSD slots using Apple standard. In fact, the design of 2-sided bo also often appears on PC custom models of many companies, but few firms have equipped all the rear RAM slots like that. The layout of components on both sides and the casing design to reveal both sides shows that Apple wants to optimize the upgrade capability, making it easy to access hardware.

Components on Mac Pro 2019, features about Xeon and Vega II:



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After 6 years, Apple has refreshed the real Mac Pro with a range of CPU options, all of which belong to Intel's Xeon W series with 8 – 12 – 16 to 24 – 28 versions. Apple as usual still does not disclose the CPU version. I tried searching on Intel ARK and discovered many standard versions of Xeon W with parameters very similar to Apple's CPU options, but the most curious thing about me is still the amount of cache that Apple listed above. configuration page. And then I discovered that Apple deliberately listed the L2 cache capacity and CPU L3 cache to make users think it was more special.

Thus, the possibility that Apple did not use its own version of the CPU, using the Xeon W series sold by Intel to other vendors making workstation and this means that Apple will ensure the supply chain. One thing worth noting is that with these 5 Xeon W versions, only 2 versions with the suffix M support up to 2 TB of memory. These are two more recent Intel versions for Xeon W-3275 and Xeon W-3265 which only support 1 TB DDR4-2933 in which the M suffix means Medium Memory. The lowest version of the Xeon W-3223 with 8 cores only supports a maximum memory speed of 2666 MT / s.



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All of these CPU options are in the Xeon W-3200 series using Cascade Lake architecture, a 14 nm process. The improvement in this architecture is that Intel added new instructions to speed up processing for machine learning applications, supporting up to 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes and especially Turbo Boost Max technology. This is something that Apple does not mention, but it can be envisioned that the core of the Xeon W-3200 will have the cores that Intel calls the superior core, its maximum clock rate will be about 100 – 200 MHz higher. with Turbo Boost. For example, the Xeon W-3275M version will be able to reach the Turbo Boost Max maximum of 4.6 MHz, which can be over 2 cores or 1 core.

Can the CPU on Mac Pro 2019 be upgraded?



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Intel Xeon W microprocessors do not have Embedded solutions or embedded chips, and on-chip chips into Xeon Ws mounted on Mac Pro 2019 will be the same as Xeon Ws equipped by other OEMs on the workstation. It still uses socket LGA 3647 and uses the C621 chipset – a pretty big chip on the bottom left of the board. According to the Apple graphics, the company redesigned the CPU fixation bracket to mount a custom air-conditioner, unlike the larger bracket on regular C621 motherboards (right corner in white frame).



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Looking at the solder pins (2 rows of white lines running along the CPU), I guess the power system for CPU designed by Apple with 12 phase VRM, I think is enough to ensure the highest performance for Xeon W-3275M 28 TDP 205 W core because I have seen the ASRock Rack Mini-ITX board can pull the Xeon W-3175X 28 by TDP 255 W with only 6 phase VRM design. Besides, you can see another staging of 5 phase VRM, probably for RAM.

How strong is the Xeon W-3200 series?



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This CPU series has just been introduced by Intel, so the performance information is still very small. Just recently, the version of Xeon W-3275 is 28-threaded with 56 threads (no M, basically the same W-3275M is equipped by Apple for Mac Pro, but only supports up to 1 TB of RAM instead of 2 TB). Supermicro was specialized in server testing with Geekbench and it resulted in 5211 single-point and 39869 multi-core points. This multi-core score even surpassed that of the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX with 32 people with 64 streams (34692 points). Interestingly, its single-core pulse recorded at 4.58 GHz – which is close to the Turbo Boost Max level announced by Intel at 4.6 GHz.



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Both use the Vega 20 GPU, a 7 nm process instead of the original 14 nm Vega. In fact, before that Vega 7nm was used by AMD on a number of accelerator cards processing deep learning tasks (High Learning), high performance computing (HPC), cloud computing and rendering as Radeon Instinct MI50 and MI60 as well as Radeon VII graphics cards for gamers. This time with the graphics solution for Mac Pro 2019, AMD also officially introduced the 7nm Vega line to the Radeon Pro – professional graphics card with two versions: Radeon Pro Vega II and Radeon Pro Vega II Duo. So what's special about these versions?



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In the table above you can see that basically Radeon Pro Vega II and Vega II Duo use GCN 5.1 GPU architecture (Vega 20) but not the new RDNA architecture like AMD's Navi GPU line. Let's talk about the GPU single Radeon Pro Vega II for easy visualization, it will have 64 compute units (CU) equivalent to 4096 Stream multipliers, run at a maximum of 1.7 GHz and give the signal FP32 processing capability reaches 14.2 TFLOPs. The GPU comes with 32 GB of HBM2 memory and of course HBM2 offers the advantage of 1 TB / s bandwidth thanks to the 4096-bit bus width.

The Radeon Pro Vega II Duo version will double those numbers because it will have 2 Vega 20 GPUs, from which we will have 128 CU, 8192 Stream with the same 1.7 GHz, performance FP32 logic will be 28.4 TFLOPs and HBM2 memory is also 64 GB with the same bandwidth. 2 GPUs will be connected together with Infinity Fabric Bridge with 84 GB / s bandwidth.



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For Mac Pro, AMD has designed this graphics card duo especially with PCB boards having up to 2 PCIe pins. One foot is the standard PCIe 3.0 x16 and the other is connected pins for extra power and PCIe 3.0 x8 bandwidth for Thunderbolt 3 ports on the card. As a result, this card does not need a PCIe cable from the PSU, but instead takes power directly from additional PCIe pins. Apple says these design pins give a maximum of 475 W while the standard PCIe 3.0 x16 slots for 75 W. Besides the two new versions of the graphics card, Apple still offers the Radeon Pro 580X version using Polaris 20 GPU. , the old GCN 4.0 architecture, 8 GB of GDDR5 memory and FP32 computing performance reached 5.53 TFLOPs.

So how strong is Radeon Pro Vega II?



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It is not possible to determine the "strength" of this brand new card, but we can refer to the Vega 20 with Radeon VII. This card series was released by AMD a few months ago, using the Vega 20 GCN 5.1 architecture GPU but the number of units calculated is less than 4 CU 60s, the Steam multiplier is 3840, the maximum operating pulse is 1.75 GHz. Radeon VII also uses HBM2 memory but has a capacity of 16 GB, equivalent bandwidth. Radeon VII's FP32 computing power is 13.44 TFLOPs, slightly less than the GPU Radeon Pro Vega II.



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Although it is a series of gaming cards, some sites like Techgage have tested Radeon VII's professional graphics processing capabilities, you can look in the above tables with many applications such as Maya, SolidWorks, applications. render like Blender, edit video with Premiere Pro. In which, with Premiere Pro, Techgage side test video encoding time in H.264 and H.265, 8K to 4K, 4K to 1080p and Radeon VII is no less than Nvidia's top solutions running on Windows. I think that Radeon Pro Vega II will be very powerful on MacOS because it is well optimized.



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However, it should be noted that many professional graphics software are designed to optimize the CUDA core on Nvidia GPUs, which many professional users who are attached to Mac Pro require Apple to support Full Nvidia card support on the new MacOS. But with the Mac Pro 2019, Apple once again emphasized: we don't support Nvidia, all graphics solutions come from AMD.

Can another graphics card be attached to Mac Pro 2019?



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May or may not. Apple deliberately designed Radeon Pro Vega II and Vega II Duo cards as MXP modules so users can upgrade easily. At the same time, the company has built an extra PCIe slot to power the card without the need for a power cable. So even though the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot on the Mac Pro motherboard is still standard, card mounting space is available thanks to the full-length design, but if we add more powerful AMD cards, we will need the cable. PCIe source while Mac Pro has absolutely no such thing, everything is integrated on board. However, I think that in the future, the Chinese friends will also think of a cable that takes electricity from the PCIe slot on the normal PCIe power cable, then the problem of power for the card will be solved.

And it should be noted that the new MacOS does not support Nvidia's graphics card so far because Apple requires graphics cards to support Metal API. Nvidia cannot provide drivers for MacOS anymore because of this requirement. So if you want to upgrade, it is still a Radeon solution from AMD.



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One thing I find quite strange on the new Radeon Pro Vega II card series is that it has connector pins opposite the PCIe 3.0 x16 pins. These pins are quite similar to Nvidia's SLI multi-GPU bridge pin but more legged and on the Apple illustration, I also saw a connection cover between the MXP modules. So I guess that this lid is the special connection for setting up two MXP modules. While AMD has been using CrossFireX for a long time, there is no need to physically connect to a Radeon multi-GPU solution, the appearance of these pins makes me think that the bridge will use Infinity Fabric technology similar to the link. Connect between 2 GPUs on Radeon Pro Vega II Duo.

8 PCIe 3.0 slots and assume lane division for additional cards:



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All Xeon W CPU versions support up to 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes (60 lanes with 4 lanes for DMI connection with the C621 chipset). Try to calculate the number of lanes and the ability to exploit these PCIe 3.0 slots, Apple has a built-in PCIe 3.0 x4 card for Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.0 ports, which will take 4 lanes to the remaining 56 lanes. The other slot will be 7 PCIe slots with 3 half-length slots on the top for add-in cards and 4 full-length slots for graphics cards.



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Next with 4 slots from the bottom up to attach the graphics card, there are 3 situations I anticipate as follows: With the Mac Pro 2019 using Radeon Pro Vega II or Vega II Duo graphics cards, these cards are designed in the MXP module. As mentioned, each card will operate 16 graphics lanes and 8 lanes for Thunderbolt 3. So one card will eat 24 lanes. And if you use two MXP modules, up to 4 Vega 20 GPUs, the duo can swallow 48 lanes. With 56 lanes – 48 lanes, we have 8 lanes for 3 PCIe slots above.



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And if you use 4 Radeon Pro 580X cards, they will run with 8 + 16 + 8 + 16 settings, the Radeon Pro 580X card doesn't have an Thunderbolt 3 integrated port. So the remaining 8 lanes for 3 slots are enough?



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I think it is enough because SSDs can exploit lane of C621 chipset. Normally the PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD will take the lane from the CPU. However, based on the diagram of the ASRock Rack EPC621D4I board for Xeon W, I can see that the C621 chipset can provide 8 lanes for SSD. So I thought that 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs on Mac Pro 2019 will use 8 lanes from the chipset instead of directly from the CPU. Thus, the remaining 8 lanes from the CPU can be used for the remaining 3 PCIe slots. Even if you have the Afterburner card inserted, assuming it uses all 8 lanes, the C621 chipset which supports 20 lanes (except for 8 for SSD and 12 lanes) can still provide additional lanes for the add-on cards. Other printing. So if you installed all the PCIe 3.0 slots on Mac Pro 2019, I think it doesn't lack bandwidth.

Afterburner accelerator card?



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This is a type of accelerator card dedicated to video processing. Simply put, Afterburner will replace the CPU and GPU to perform part of the task such as processing video between formats, speeding up decoding, encoding and thereby reducing the load for CPU and GPU. Speaking of functions, it is very similar to the RocketX card of RED and costs up to 7000 USD.



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Afterburner uses programming chips FGPA (Field Programmable Gate Array) or ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit). It is not clear whether Apple designed this chip itself or used a solution from an external partner, such as Intel whose subsidiary eASIC specializes in programming chip solutions like the Stratix 10 TX series. Why need Afterburner?



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The CPU or GPU is still the "general" type chip used to handle many types of tasks, very flexible and obviously the processing power will not be optimized for a certain task. Afterburner on the other hand uses ASIC chips designed for certain tasks, here is the speed of decoding / encoding ProRes and ProRes RAW formats. Apple says Afterburner has more than 1 million cell logic, allowing processing up to 6.3 billion pixels per second.

Decoding / encoding formats such as ProRes and ProRes RAW is a task of eating a lot of system resources if only using CPU and GPU power. With Afterburner, the CPU and GPU will be released, the card itself can handle 3 streams of ProRes RAW video format 8K @ 30 fps at the same time. With 4K @ 30fps will be 12 streams, 4K ProRess 422 will be 16 streams at the same time. Thus, Afterburner will be essential for content producers, high resolution video editing when it contributes to shortening processing time, increasing productivity. Apple said Afterburner will work with ProRes and ProRes RAW formats with applications such as Final Cut Pro, QuickTime Player X and some third-party applications but not stated.



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In fact, the Afterburner solution is not new, as I said above, the RED Camera also has the same card as Rocket but instead of just optimizing for ProRes and ProRes RAW, RED's solution supports many types of formats used. by many cameras, current cameras. So unless you work with ProRes and ProRes RAW formats, you need to go to Afterburner, but if you buy this card attached to the Mac Pro, it won't help.

RAM and SSD on the new Mac Pro?



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With the exploitation of the new Xeon W series, the Mac Pro 2019 now supports DDR4 RAM at a much higher speed than DDR3 on Mac Pro 2013. It is noteworthy except for the Xeon W-3223 8-core version only supports DDR4 -2666 ECC, the remaining Xeon W versions support DDR4-2933 ECC. I think the RAM upgrade for Mac Pro 2019 will not be too difficult because the RAM is still the standard RDIMM 288 battery type. Xeon W 24 and 28 versions support up to 2 TB of RAM but in fact you can only mount up to 1.5 TB because Mac Pro 2019 has 12 RAM slots with a capacity of 128 GB each. Recently, Samsung has released a 16 GB DRAM chip so it is likely that 1 RAM capacity will double to 256 GB. However, if you have more than enough money to install 12 256 GB sticks, Xeon W still only accepts up to 2 TB instead of 3 TB.



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As for SSDs, based on Apple's descriptive image, please condolences the brothers: Apple once again uses sockets using sockets made by the company. Although these SSDs still exploit PCIe 3.0 x4 connectivity, it does not use the usual M.2 socket. Apple offers options ranging from 256 GB to up to 4 TB with 2 2 TB drives, so you must buy an Apple drive to upgrade. However, there are a number of companies specializing in making Apple computers, typically Other World Computing (OWC). In the near future, the company will also launch SSDs for Mac Pro 2019 with standard design and license from Apple. You can have the same or higher quality, you will have more options with a little lower price.

SSDs using this special socket first appeared on the Mid-2013 MacBook Pro Retina. I think Apple designed its own socket for the purpose of optimizing voltage and bandwidth while supporting the encryption feature of Apple security chip T2. On 2019 Mac Pro, SSDs are also encoded by this chip.

Is it possible to mount SATA drives?



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Stuck between the board, on a separate panel are 2 SATA ports, a USB-A-like port and a strange socket. So SATA has but it is unclear how to add a HDD or SATA SSD drive to follow the style of throwing into the box and then plug it or how? Apple has arranged 2 SATA ports in this position, I think before then the company will also sell a module that allows us to fit in the 2.5 "HDD / SSD (3.5" maybe hard by the space) enough) and the other strange socket could be the port to power SATA drives through another special cable.

Fanless cooling system?



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The heat dissipation system on the 2019 Mac Pro has a design unlike those of a regular Windows computer. I see somewhere familiar with this design between the Mac Pro 2019 and Mac Pro first generation when Apple uses thick, low-wing radiators to cool the internal components. The 3 main fans in the front will play the role of absorbing cool air from outside and pushing through the heatsink backwards.



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Heatsink of the GPU inside the MXP module.

Apple calls the heat sink design for CPU and graphics card on Mac Pro 2019 as fanless design. In fact, it is still a radiator with a heat pipe (heatpipe), a heatsink and a fan, but the layout of Apple is different from the traditional one: the fan is located on the heatsink and is used instead. Large fan blowing through heatsink. The principle of heat dissipation is still similar to the air radiators that we use on CPUs and on graphics cards. However, it can be imagined that Apple has carefully calculated the heat when applying this nearly fanless design.



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Heatsink for Xeon W. CPU

The CPU heatsink is said by Apple to provide a heat output of up to 300 W. The heatsink design and large, thick copper pipes, the gap between aluminum foil in the heatsink is not too close to ensure airflow, ie flow The front suction wind can move quickly back without hissing and reducing the speed due to the heatsink being too thick. The wind speed from these fans I think will be very large, in the past, on the Mac Pro 2006, its fan reached a speed of up to 2900 rpm, creating a strong enough airflow to diffuse hot air from the heatsink of many side components. in. In addition, the other side of the case has a fan placed in the funnel-shaped cage. The function of this fan is to cool the RAM, SSD and it also draws in the air before pushing it back.



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Of the 3 fans, the top fan will be close to the heatsink of the CPU while the other two will diffuse the GPU heatsink heat by Apple inside the NXP module as well as other add-on modules like Afterburner. So instead of every component that attaches its own fan, it is enough to use the wires, Apple only needs to use 3 main fans for the entire internal hardware. The design of the front wind vents looks like real cheese but Jony Ive said that this design helps to optimize air flow in and out as well as to ensure structural stability.

System of Thunderbolt 3 I / O ports:



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The Mac Pro has an I / O port system on the removable card. In addition to the 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the roof, there is a card containing 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports (5 Gbps, USB-A) in the case, and 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports of course support DisplayPort output, USB 3.1 connection Gen2 (10 Gbps, USB-C), jack âm thanh 3,5 mm và bên dưới nằm kế bên cổng cắm nguồn là 2 cổng Ethernet 10Gb.

Tùy theo thiết lập card đồ họa mà anh em sẽ có thêm các cổng trình xuất. Chẳng hạn như nếu chọn Radeon Pro 580X thì trên card sẽ có 2 cổng HDMI 2.0 trên card, Radeon Pro Vega II sẽ có 4 cổng Thunderbolt 3 và 1 cổng HDMI 2.0 trên card và Radeon Pro Vega II Duo tương tự.

Như vậy về số lượng cổng Thunderbolt 3 thì Mac Pro 2019 có vô số. Nếu muốn chuyển sang các cổng khác như USB chuẩn A, đầu đọc thẻ SD thì … Apple đã tính tới chuyện này và mời anh em mua thêm adapter của hãng với giá cắt cổ :D.

Toàn hệ thống sẽ dùng nguồn 1400 W, tùy cấu hình mà công suất tiêu thụ sẽ thay đổi.

Anh em nghĩ như thế nào về Mac Pro mới? Mời anh em chém gió nha :). Mình là mod Windows, ghét Mac lắm nhưng thích mổ xem Apple đã làm trò gì với nó.



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