The new Mac Pro is pretty interesting. Would fun to do a casemod with a broken Dyson vacuum or something
So just to discuss hardware -
1. Processors & Memory:
lightninhopkins over on the Tonymac forums has been running a 16-core (32-thread) Hackintosh with 128gb RAM (I believe 96gb usable) for over a year now:
It'd be interesting to see how the cost compares to the newly-announced Mac Pro. The top-end 3.1ghz 8-core Xeons are $1935 each on Newegg:
So you can still build a beefier Hackintosh. However, 1155 is the best for maximum compatibility on a Hackintosh right now, so you're capped at 32 gigs max if you want to go that route, although you can get 64-gigs on a 2011 board if you don't mind a few shortcomings (I think power management still has issues, so the cpu runs at full-tilt 24/7).
As far as memory goes, Apple is saying the Maverick has been tested at up to 128 gigs; the max for Mountain Lion was 96gb usable. The Mac Pro takes 4 sticks according to pictures; 32gb individual modules are currently available (albeit for a hefty $3700 a pop) so you can max out at 256gb RAM in theory. You could probably match that on a very expensive server board if you wanted to Hackintosh it, although there's not too many applications that would use that much RAM right now, so the point is moot for most people.
2. Solid-State Drive:
OWC has a really nice PCIe SSD product called the Mercury Accelsior_E2:
Advertised 820 MB/s speed, available capacities & prices are 120gb ($320), 240gb ($478), 480gb ($735), 960gb ($1300). I buy these at work sometimes and they are pretty nice for an easy solution. I'm sure with PCIe 3.0 we'll see even faster speeds!
The big card the Mac Pro is playing is Thunderbolt 2. You can build a Hackintosh now with Thunderbolt 1:
But it has it's quirks (I believe you still have to boot up with the Tbolt device already plugged in for it to be recognized) and you don't get the new 20Gb/sec speed yet. It looks like Apple is pretty much going the solid-state internal/modular external route for the new Mac Pro, which makes sense in a lot of ways, even though initially it seems a little nuts (imagine the mess on your desk!).
However, Intel is really pushing Thunderbolt and is trying to make it more mass-market friendly:
However, 2 notes:
Thunderbolt 2 provides that solution. By combining the channels together, Thunderbolt 2 enables two 20Gbps bi-direction channels instead of two sets of 10Gbps channels. There's no overall increase in bandwidth, but the solution is now more capable. Since there's 20Gbps of bandwidth per channel, you can now do 4K video over Thunderbolt. You can also expect to see higher max transfer rates for storage. Whereas most Thunderbolt storage devices top out at 800 - 900MB/s, Thunderbolt 2 should raise that to around 1500MB/s (overhead and PCIe limits will stop you from getting anywhere near the max spec).
Thunderbolt 2/Falcon Ridge still feed off of the same x4 PCIe 2.0 interface as the previous generation designs. Backwards compatibility is also maintained with existing Thunderbolt devices since the underlying architecture doesn't really change.
So basically, it's still on old-tech PCIe 2.0 instead of the newer 3.0, so you get capped at 1500 MB/s theoretical. The Anandtech article above said that peak performance of a tested SSD array was just under 1100MB/s, which "Intel expects will be much higher once final hardware is ready."
I'm very impressed with the new Mac Pro's size...it will be extremely difficult to replicate as a Hackintosh unless the manufacturer's change the form factor. I guess you could do a Mini-ITX, but then you'd be stuck with only one GPU instead of two, if you want to do a 1:1 build. Really though, I don't see much of an issue with building a box. I've been using the Antec VSK-3000 in a lot of projects lately - small, sturdy, inexpensive:
I build most of my $4,000+ engineering rigs using this - a slim gen2 Quadro 4000, 32 gigs of RAM, SSD & backup drive, i7-3770K. Extremely quiet too!
So Apple has made an interesting design trend here - tiny, solid-state, all expansion is external. Really I think it was just a matter of time before this happened, because the performance of hardware is such that it's going faster & small, so modularization makes a lot of sense, even though it doesn't seem to at first.