Mac Pro Goes ARM

Apple unveils new M2-powered Mac Pro model at WWDC23

The updated Mac Pro features six open PCI-e expansion slots, making it the first Apple Silicon product to support internal expansion. Photo by Apple.

By Josh Levin
Published June 8, 2023 | Updated February 18, 2024 at 10:28 am

Apple announced an M2-based Mac Pro Monday, marking the product’s first update since 2019.

The new model can already be purchased online and will be available in Apple Stores June 12, according to Apple.

The refreshed model is available in the same tower or rack-mount form factors as the previous-generation Intel-based Mac Pro. The tower can be configured from $7000 to $12200, while the rack-mount chassis ranges $7500 to $12300.

The refresh comes nearly three years after Apple announced M1 chips, making it the first Apple-silicon-based Mac Pro model. “It combines our most powerful chip with PCI expansion to tackle the most demanding workflows,” Director of Engineering Program Management Jennifer Munn said during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.

“Every Mac Pro comes with the outrageous performance of M2 Ultra,” Munn said. The M2 Ultra chip, also announced Monday at WWDC, features 24 CPU cores, – 16 performance cores and eight efficiency cores – a 32-core neural engine and can be configured with up to 76 GPU cores.

Apple silicon SoCs, including the M2 Ultra, are custom chips designed by Apple based on the ARM64 architecture.

The base model comes with 64 GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, configurable up to 192 GB of RAM and 8 TB of storage.

The updated Mac Pro is the first Apple silicon device to offer PCI Express expansion capabilities. “Users can customize Mac Pro with essential cards including audio and video I/O, networking and storage,” Munn said. There are six full-length PCI-e gen 4 slots available – two at x16 bandwidth and four at x8 bandwidth – as well as one half-length PCI-e gen 3 slot with an “Apple I/O card” installed, according to the product page.

The announcement did not mention whether discrete GPUs will be compatible. Apple did not respond to The Terabyte Tribune’s request for comment.

Until Monday, Apple had not updated the Mac Pro since 2019, making it the last product in the Mac lineup to be updated to Apple silicon. Apple previously teased the refresh at an event in April 2022.

“The new Mac Studio and Mac Pro with Apple silicon are the two most powerful Macs we’ve ever made,” stated John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering. “The new Mac Studio and Mac Pro join our other pro systems to give our users the most powerful and capable lineup of pro products that Apple has ever offered.”

Josh Levin is the founder and editor in chief of The Terabyte Tribune, handling all aspects of operations and coverage. He can be reached via email at [email protected]