Wednesday, July 24, 2024

No GPU Upgrade On Mac Pro

The Apple Silicon Mac Pro has generated mixed opinions due to its lack of support for PCIe graphics cards. This means that users who have spare AMD Radeon GPUs will not be able to utilize them in the latest Mac Pro. In contrast to previous generations where consumers could swap out components for more powerful ones, the updated Mac Pro restricts upgrades because the CPU, GPU, and memory are integrated into a single die.

Before the official announcement at WWDC 2023, there were rumors suggesting that storage would be the only upgradable aspect of the Mac Pro. This speculation seemed plausible considering Apple’s custom chips, which combine multiple components on a single die, making it impossible to swap them individually. In earlier Mac Pro models, users could easily upgrade RAM and storage, and although replacing the Intel Xeon processor required some effort, it was still feasible to install a more capable chip.

With the new Mac Pro, storage can only be expanded through the seven available PCIe slots. Apple’s support document confirms that while adding a discrete GPU is not possible, buyers can increase the GPU cores in the higher-performance version of the M2 Ultra chip to achieve greater performance. The base model of the Mac Pro, priced at $6,999, includes the M2 Ultra with a 20-core CPU and 64-core GPU. To acquire the most powerful variant of the M2 Ultra, featuring a 24-core CPU and 76-core GPU, an additional $1,000 must be spent, bringing the total cost to $7,999.

Apple’s statement regarding the M2 Ultra chip in the Mac Pro is as follows: “Mac Pro is powered by the M2 Ultra chip which features a GPU configurable with up to 76 cores. The GPU is integrated into the M2 Ultra chip and doesn’t support additional graphics processors such as PCIe graphics cards or MPX modules. You can configure the number of GPU cores in your Mac Pro when you purchase it.”

We also discussed how the Mac Pro lacks the same value proposition as the Mac Studio, with the latter being $3,000 cheaper despite having identical hardware. However, the Mac Studio sacrifices storage expansion via PCIe slots and offers greater portability, making it a more appealing choice for upgraders.

Given Apple’s reduction in features for the latest Mac Pro, some have expressed the belief that this product will eventually be phased out. Nonetheless, for those who still wish to upgrade, maximizing the use of the available PCIe slots is advised, despite the limitation of not being able to add AMD GPUs to the motherboard.

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