Should You Buy the Mac Pro?
Apple created the Mac Pro price to be its most powerful Mac. It offers extreme performance, a lot of modularity, and configuration options. The Mac Pro is aimed specifically at those who require access to PCIe slots for storage and audio/video I/O.
The M2 Ultra Mac Studio is the best option if you want to get the performance of a Mac Pro but do not need the flexibility to add additional components. The M2 Ultra chip is the same in both machines, making the Mac Pro an specialized machine for professionals.
Apple updated the Mac Pro on June 20, 2023. This means that now is the time to purchase the Mac Pro. Apple could update the Mac Pro in 2024 with the M3 Ultra processor, but this has not been confirmed.
Apple’s Mac Pro, Apple’s most flexible desktop Mac, is priced accordingly. It starts at $6,999. Starting at $3,999 is the M2 Ultra Mac Studio, while the Mac Studio starts at $1,999 when you upgrade to the M2 Max processor. Apple also offers the Mac Mini which is an affordable desktop computer. It has the M2 or the M2 Pro processor and isn’t as powerful as the Mac Studio.
The 2023 Mac Pro
In June 2023, Apple is going to update the Mac Pro with new Apple chips, moving away from Intel. The Mac Pro and all Macs will have M series chips, and the Mac Pro will use the M2 Ultra.
The M2 Ultra in the Mac Pro is the same as the one in the Mac Studio, but the Mac Pro has a different design for heat and more options for upgrades. It’s a powerful machine designed for professionals.
The Mac Pro is Apple’s big desktop computer, made with a steel frame and aluminum casing. It’s easy to access and move around with handles and wheels. The M2 Ultra version looks the same as the 2019 Intel version but runs cooler and quieter.
This Mac Pro costs $7,000, and it does similar things as the $4,000 Mac Studio. But, it’s specialized for specific tasks, like those needing PCIe expansion for sound, video, or more internet and storage space.
It has seven expansion slots, with six being PCIe Gen 4 for better performance. Apple calls this design UltraFusion. The M2 Ultra chip has a 24-core CPU, a 60-core GPU (upgradable to 76 cores), a Neural Engine, and impressive memory capabilities.
Apple says the M2 Ultra Mac Pro is three times faster than the previous Intel model. It also has Apple Afterburner technology built in, performing as well as seven Afterburner Cards. It can handle multiple high-quality video streams and supports up to eight 4K displays.
Unlike the Intel model, the M2 Ultra Mac Pro doesn’t support 1.5TB RAM. The base model has a 1TB SSD, but you can upgrade it to 8TB using Apple’s upgrade kits.
For connectivity, there are eight Thunderbolt ports, two HDMI ports, USB-A ports, 10Gb Ethernet, a headphone jack, and support for WiFi 6E and Bluetooth.
How to Buy
The Mac Pro 2023 looks the same as the 2019 model on the outside. Apple made it so users could easily upgrade and customize it with the latest high-end parts.
It has a classic tower design with a strong stainless-steel frame. You can take off the aluminum covering to access all the inside parts. The Mac Pro has an M2 Ultra processor and needs good airflow. It uses three fans to cool the Apple silicon chip, and a blower pulls air through other parts.
The aluminum covering isn’t just for looks—it helps seal the Mac Pro’s insides. Combined with the fans and blower, it keeps the Mac Pro cool and almost silent.
The lattice pattern on the Mac Pro is like 3D hexagons that help with airflow and make the structure strong. Stainless steel handles on top let you easily remove the covering and access the inside. They’re part of the frame, making the Mac Pro stable when lifted or moved. There’s a twist latch on top to secure the covering to the frame.
You can add optional wheels for easy moving between places. The Mac Pro is about 20.8 inches high, 17.7 inches long, and 8.58 inches wide. With wheels, it’s 21.9 inches tall. It’s Apple’s biggest desktop, weighing 37.2 pounds.
Apple’s Mac Pro is the most powerful device available. Its design allows it to be customized for Pro users.
The Mac Pro has seven PCI Express slots. Six of them are open and one is occupied by an Apple I/O expansion card. According to configuration, the previous generation Intel-based Mac Pros had up to eight PCIe slots. The Mac Pro has two x16 and four x8 PCIe slots. Apple maintains a listing of PCIe cards that are compatible with the Mac Pro. Unlike its predecessor, this model does not support graphics card.
The Mac Pro comes only in a single-chip configuration and ships with the same M2 Ultra chip as the Mac Studio. The M2 Max chip is two M2 Max chips that are combined to create a single chip with double the performance. Apple uses UltraFusion for the M2 Ultra, which is a custom-built architecture.
The M2 Ultra has a 24-core processor with 16 performance and 8 efficiency cores. The M2 Ultra has a 24-core CPU, including 16 performance cores and eight efficiency cores. It also has a 60-core, 76-core GPU or 32-core Neural engine. Memory bandwidth is 800GB/s.
The M2 Ultra benchmarks show that the machine has a single core score of 2837, and a multiple-core score 21730. This means that the CPU is 20 percent faster than the M1 Ultra. Apple’s silicon chip is the fastest ever.
The 24-core processor is up to 18x faster than a 28-core Intel Mac Pro. Meanwhile, the 76 core GPU delivers up to 3x better graphics performance. It can play up to 22 streams 8K ProRes videos.
Apple’s silicon chips now include Secure Enclave in the T2 chip that was previously used by Intel Mac Pros. Apple no longer offers a separate Afterburner Card for the Mac Pro.
The Mac Pro does not have the option of upgrading its CPU, nor is it compatible with graphics cards.
Mac Pro comes with a Media Engine which offers hardware acceleration for H.264/HEVC, ProRes and ProRes Raw. Two video decoders, four video encoders, and four ProRes encoders and decoders are included.
Apple’s silicon chip supports up to 192GB of unified memory. The unified memory architecture enables the SSD, Neural Engine and CPU to all access the same data pool without having to copy it between them.
Changing the memory in the Mac Pro is not something users can do themselves. This might be disappointing for some people who are used to upgrading their Intel-based Mac Pro on their own. Prior Intel-based Mac Pros supported up to 1,5TB of RAM.
It is upgradeable, and Apple sells standalone upgrade modules for the M2 Ultra machine. Apple sells standalone upgrades for M2 Ultra machines. Base Mac Pros come with a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD), which can be upgraded up to 2TB or 4TB.
Mac Pro has eight Thunderbolt 4 ports (USB-C), six are at the rear of the enclosure, and two are on top. Thunderbolt ports can support up to 40Gb/s of transfer speed.
Two USB-A ports (5Gb/s speed), two HDMI ports and two 10Gb Ethernet port are also available. A 3.5mm headphone socket is included that supports headphones with high impedance.
The Mac Pro has two Serial ATA (6Gb/s) ports and one USB-A (5Gb/s).
Mac Pro comes with a silver-and-black Magic Keyboard Numeric Keypad, and a black Magic Mouse 2 as standard. Add-ons include a black Magic Trackpad 2.
A 1.4-kilowatt Power Supply, USB-C to Lightning Cable, and a Power Cord are also included with the Mac Pro.
It supports Bluetooth 5.3 – the latest Bluetooth protocol. The Mac Pro price has the fastest WiFi 6E connectivity.
The thingamajig has two super-fast internet ports that can work with slower speeds too, like 1Gb and 2.5Gb. It’s like having different gears for your internet, whether you want to go slow or zoom at 5Gb or 10Gb.
The Mac Pro comes with built-in speakers and a 3.5mm audio port that supports high-impedance headphone.
Mac Pro supports up to eight displays. It can run up to eight displays at 4K resolution and 60Hz.
Build to Order Options
The only base Mac Pro is the tower version, which costs $6,999, or the rack mount model, which costs $7,499 The base Mac Pro includes the M2 Ultra processor with 24-core CPU and 60-core GPU. It also has a 32-core Neural engine.
Apple’s silicon chip, memory and SSD can be upgraded.
- Apple M2 Ultra with 24-core graphics, 76 core GPU and 32-core Neural engine – plus $1,000
- 128GB unified Memory – +$800
- 192GB of unified memory +$1,600
- Buy 2TB SSDs for +$400
- 4TB SSD +$1,000
- 8TB SSD +$2,200
Upgrades are not possible on Mac Pro price components after purchase, except for the SSD.
Okay, imagine the metal part that holds your Mac Pro. One type comes with regular feet, and the other has four wheels. The one with wheels costs $400 more than the one with feet. And here’s a heads up – the wheels don’t stay still, they move around.
The wheel add-on package, priced at $700, is available for purchase after a Mac Pro price order . Apple offers a $300 feet set for Mac Pro owners that purchased wheels but would prefer to have feet.
Mac Pros come with a Magic Mouse 2. A Magic Trackpad 2 can be added for $50. Mac Pro price users can purchase both the trackpad and mouse for $149.
Rack mount options for Mac Pro start at $7,499 and cost an extra $500.
Pro Display XDR
Apple created the Pro Display XDR to go with the Mac Pro. It is a 32-inch display that has a 6K resolution of 6016 x 33844 and over 20 million pixels.
Apple’s extreme HDR display has a 1,600-nit peak brightness, 1,000-nit sustained brightness, a super wide viewing angle and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1.
The Pro Display XDR is made to match the Mac Pro in terms of cost. It has a cool-looking lattice design that also helps keep it from getting too hot. The screen goes all the way to the edges, and it comes with a Pro Stand that you can turn sideways if you want to.
Check out our Pro Display XDR Roundup for more information on the Pro Display XDR.
What’s Next for the Mac Pro
As early as 2024, a new Mac Pro price could be released with the upcoming M3 ultra chip. The M3 Ultra will have twice as many CPU and GPU cores as the M3 Max. This means that it could include up to 80 GPU cores.
Mac Pro (2019)
Mac Pro (2023): M2 Ultra, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD