By Stephen Hackett
August 4, 2021 1:11 PM PT
Apple keeping its Mac Pro promise in the waning days of the Intel era
Earlier this week, Apple announced a range of new GPU options for the Mac Pro, adding support for AMD’s RDNA2 architecture via its own MPX module format. All three of the new options are overkill for my uses, so I’ll be sticking with my Radeon Pro W5700X, which was the first additional GPU offered by Apple beyond the options that originally shipped with the machine.
All in all, there are almost two dozen components on Apple’s online store that can be installed inside the Mac Pro, including GPUs, SSD modules, cables, drive enclosures, and RAM kits.
The ability to upgrade a machine over time is exactly why some users are drawn to the Mac Pro—and one reason the 2013 model was such a dud. No, the Mac Pro isn’t as open as the old-school Power G3 and G4 towers, but even this level of upgradability isn’t present anywhere else on the Mac.
This hardware is not cheap—not even close—but the flexibility is there if you’re willing to pay for it.
I’m encouraged to see Apple still putting out new parts for this Mac, and not only because one is silently doing its thing under my desk. When Apple announced the Mac Pro, it was making a promise to high-end users that the company wasn’t going to ghost them again as it had with the previous model. Apple made that commitment while knowing that Macs running Apple silicon were just around the corner.
I hope this newfound willingness to support users with high-end and esoteric needs continues into the Apple Silicon era. The time of Intel Macs and the 2019 Mac Pro is inevitably drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean that the period of Apple offering high-end Mac users a computer with plenty of upgrade options has to end.