Apple introduced the new Mac Pro Monday, but much like the Mac Studio, it’s hard to tell what’s changed. Like the Mac mini, the outside of the Mac Pro is identical to its predecessor, and you need to open it up to see what’s changed.
The most obvious difference is the lack of a graphics card. The Intel Mac Pro had discreet graphics and shipped with an AMD Radeon RX 5500X MPX Module that took up one or two of the eight PCIe slots, depending on the configuration. Without that sizable module, the Mac Pro looks downright empty.
You can also see the difference in the price. The Apple silicon Mac Pro actually costs a thousand dollars more than the Intel model, now starting at $6,999. The reason for the price hike: more storage (1TB vs 256GB) and RAM (64GB vs 32GB), as well as the inclusion of Afterburner-level performance, which was a $2,000 upgrade on the Intel model. Add it all up and Apple will tell you you’re actually saving about a thousand bucks.
At the high end, the Mac Pro is about a quarter of the price of the most expensive Intel model. That’s mostly due to an overall lack of upgrade options—other than RAM and storage, the only graphics upgrade is the M2 Ultra with a 76-core GPU for an extra $1,000. Oh, and you can still get a set of wheels for your Mac Pro for $400 at purchase or $699 after.
There are six open PCI slots inside the Mac Pro (two x16 slots and four x8 slots), but only the highest-end users will fill them up. Apple limits the Apple silicon Mac Pro to audio and video I/O, networking, and storage cards. Considering the Mac Pro already has a pair of 10Gb Ethernet ports and up to 8TB of storage, as well as HDMI support for up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz, variable refresh rate, HDR, and multichannel audio, there isn’t much the Mac Pro is missing. Other than, well, about $40,000 in upgrades.