Apple says no problem to side-mounting the new Mac Pro, but why?

In case you were wondering, you can use your new Mac Pro on its side, according to a recent post on Apple's Knowledgebase. But why would you want to? Read on to find out.

The fan system works both horizontally and vertically, according to Apple, though users are cautioned to accommodate for unrestricted airflow into the base and out the exhaust at the top. Apple also recommends placing them side by side - not end to end - and leaving a gap of several inches between them.

The round shape makes the Mac Pro prone to rolling on its side, obviously, so Apple also recommends securing them. Apple also suggests keeping the I/O port panel - normally oriented on the back of the device - accessible if you lay the Mac Pro on its side.

So Apple has blessed the use of the Mac Pro on its side, but the question is why? In short, Apple is guiding for the use of the Mac Pro in server settings.

The Mac mini remains Apple's go to solution for workgroup and small business server configurations; you can order a quad-core Mac mini for $999 and get a system that includes an unlimited user license and all the software you need for e-mail, file server, publishing web content and much more.

But the Mac Pro has practical applications for companies looking to build render farms for large-scale visual effects processing, and organizations doing scientific research and other tasks that scale well with the Mac Pro's parallel processing architecture. The Mac Pro's Thunderbolt 2 expansion ports can also serve as a direct network bridge, further enhancing the system's ability to carrying large amounts of data across a network.

We're still waiting for third parties to unveil specific rank mount gear for the Mac Pro, but I'm willing to bet it's only a matter of time - probably once the Mac Pro is in more widespread use, once Apple's manufacturing backlog has been dealt with.

Are you interested in setting up a Mac Pro render farm or some other large-scale installation? Sound off in the comments, I want to hear from you.

Peter Cohen