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Apple last updated the Mac Pro in June 2023, adding an M2 Ultra chip and officially completing the transition away from Intel chips. The Mac Pro uses the same M2 Ultra chip that's in the Mac Studio, leading to criticism about its lack of power.

M4-Mac-Pro-Feature-Warm-2.jpg

Apple has now gone back to the drawing board and is working on an updated version of the Mac Pro that's set to come out next year. This guide highlights everything we know about Apple's Mac Pro progress.

M4 Chip

The next Mac Pro will have a chip that's in the M4 family, as Apple is working to update its entire Mac lineup to the M4 series across 2024 and 2025.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes that Apple wants to establish a more regular Apple silicon chip upgrade cycle that would perhaps see Mac chips refreshed on an annual basis much like chips designed for the iPhone.

Gurman says that the Mac Pro will be equipped with the highest-end version of the M4 chip, which is codenamed "Hidra." Hidra is likely equivalent to an "Ultra" chip based on the way that Apple has differentiated its chips in the past. The Mac Pro is aimed at professional videographers, photographers, designers, and others who need significant processing power, and some pro users are said to have been unhappy with the M2 Ultra Mac Pro.

As a result, Apple is looking to make the M4 Mac Pro more powerful.

All of the M4 chips will be designed with a focus on artificial intelligence, with Apple aiming to highlight the AI processing capabilities of the chips and how they'll integrate into macOS. Apple is adding AI features that will run solely on device to the next operating system updates, so the M4 chips will need to have a lot of compute power.

Rumors suggest that the M4 chips will feature an upgraded Neural Engine with more cores to handle AI tasks.

Unified Memory

The Mac Pro could support up to 500GB Unified Memory, way up from the current 192GB maximum.

Will there be an M3 Mac Pro?

It doesn't sound like Apple is going to bother with an M3 Ultra chip for the Mac Pro, with the company instead focusing effort on the M4 update.

Design Updates

The Mac Pro saw a major design update in 2019, with Apple doing away with the cylindrical "trash can" look in favor of a more reserved aluminum computer tower. There were no design changes to the 2022 model when it was refreshed, and so far we've heard nothing about design changes to the upcoming M4 variant.

Launch is still more than a year away though, so it's possible Apple will make some design updates, at least internally to support M4 chip changes.

Launch Date

The Mac Pro is expected to be the last of Apple's Macs to get the M4 chip, and rumors suggest that it will come out in late 2025.

Article Link: Apple's 2025 M4 Mac Pro: What to Expect
 
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Justin Cymbal

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2008
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Boston, Massachusetts
It’s incredible how much Apple was able to lower the price of the M series Mac Pro from what a maxed out version of the Intel Mac Pro used to cost:


Hopefully the price can continue to come down with the second generation M series Mac Pro with all of the efficiencies that Apple will continue to improve upon in their manufacturing capabilities
 

CWallace

macrumors G5
Aug 17, 2007
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Seattle, WA
I concur that there is no real reason to update the Mac Pro to M3 - anyone who wanted one bought one last June.

A significant boost in performance with an M4 ULTRA that offers more performance CPU and graphics cores than two M4 MAX would certainly not hurt. And if they can stitch two ULTRAs together into an M4 EXTREME, so much the better, IMO.
 

DaveEcc

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2022
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Ottawa, ON, Canada
Didn't follow MacPro too closely, but I think the two big issues I saw mentioned were limited RAM compared to Intel versions, and no GPU support. Sound like they're addressing the RAM. Hopefully skipping M3 is a sign that it was too late to fix the GPU support in M3, but that they're addressing it for M4. Not sure that that's something that would be limited to just the highest end, or if perhaps solving the issues involved opens up giving the whole line up the eGPU capabilities.
 

mrsebsin

macrumors newbie
Feb 27, 2021
29
166
The Mac Pro has become such an unbelievable dumb product. There is literally no reason to get it except to turn your nose up at the peasants and evil laugh about how much money you have... And speaking of money, anyone that thinks Apple is going to lower their prices is kidding themselves. They are squeezing every last nickel they can out of everything.
 

DavidSchaub

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2016
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The most interesting question is:

Will the M4 Ultra be a single ~150 billion transistor chip (instead of two M4 Max), which would then support Ultra Fusion to allow for an M4 "Quadra" (two M4 Ultra chips) to really let the M4 Mac Pro full-fill its super-car destiny?

In a few years Apple will probably have to move to a true chiplet architecture... so who knows what that future might look like after that. :)
 
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blazerunner

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2020
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It’s incredible how much Apple was able to lower the price of the M series Mac Pro from what a maxed out version of the Intel Mac Pro used to cost:


Hopefully the price can continue to come down with the second generation M series Mac Pro with all of the efficiencies that Apple will continue to improve upon in their manufacturing capabilities
It's still overpriced. Why would you omit that fact and boast about it coming down from 50k to 10k?
 

DavidSchaub

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2016
431
487
The Mac Pro has become such an unbelievable dumb product. There is literally no reason to get it except to turn your nose up at the peasants and evil laugh about how much money you have... And speaking of money, anyone that thinks Apple is going to lower their prices is kidding themselves. They are squeezing every last nickel they can out of everything.
A very small niche of users probably need the PCIe slots... but it is hard to imagine their volume would cover the overhead of Apple shipping the Mac Pro at all.
 

DavidSchaub

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2016
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What exactly can you put in a Mac Pro's PCI slot anyway? What can it do that a Studio Ultra can't?
High speed networking cards.

High speed video encoders/decoders, maybe?

Professional digital video capture and output.

Professional audio I/O boards.

Massive and super fast storage cards.

... lots of exceptionally niche products with very few users.
 

Justin Cymbal

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2008
449
2,579
Boston, Massachusetts
It's still overpriced. Why would you omit that fact and boast about it coming down from 50k to 10k?
I don’t know if I can say that $10k for a maxed out Mac Pro it’s overpriced. I’m certainly not in the market for one, but I can imagine somebody that needs that kind of power would say $10,000 is not a crazy price to pay

The 80% nominal price cut coupled with the fact that inflation since the 2019 Intel Mac Pro was released would make $52,768 over $64k today:

 

DavidSchaub

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2016
431
487
Whats incredible? Apple simply over-inflated the original price of base and components. Clearly this strategy failed dismally.
It is also hard to compare: buying a large optional Xeon processor and buying 1.5 TB of RAM, VS the M2 Ultra Mac Pro.
 

sunny5

Suspended
Jun 11, 2021
1,712
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It’s incredible how much Apple was able to lower the price of the M series Mac Pro from what a maxed out version of the Intel Mac Pro used to cost:


Hopefully the price can continue to come down with the second generation M series Mac Pro with all of the efficiencies that Apple will continue to improve upon in their manufacturing capabilities
By lowering overall specs lol.
 

drrich2

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2005
237
139
And if they can stitch two ULTRAs together into an M4 EXTREME, so much the better, IMO.
In the past when I read reviews of the Mac Studio, it was my impression the performance improvement of an Ultra over a Max version of a chip was very modest. To the point it made no sense except for the extravagantly wealthy or people with heavy demand workflows where knocking a little time off here and there added up. I may've gotten the wrong impression?

If two Ultras get put together to make an Extreme version of a chip, is there any basis to believe the Extreme's 'step up' in performance over an Ultra will be much greater than an Ultra's over a Max?

I get that some professionals are better financed and value time more than most of us, but there's got to be a point of diminishing returns.
 
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DavidSchaub

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2016
431
487
Mac Pro with Apple silicon will be a failure as long as they support upgradability and expandability on it. 500GB of RAM is still low when Mac Pro 2019 can go up to 1.5TB of RAM.

Hardly a failure, just an expensive niche.

There's a diminishing curve of users to consider here.

The number of users who need 500GB of RAM is really small.

The number of those users who need 1000GB is a fraction of those people.

The number of that fraction users is huge in comparison to the puny number of users who need 1.5TB of RAM.

Over 500GB, we quickly hit such a small market that Apple might be right not to care about them.

Apple didn't really need to support 1.5 TB of RAM, and I suspect they regret offering it now. It was just free from Intel, and allowed them to get a few whales to spend a ton of money. Apple never cared about users who needed 1.5 TB of memory.
 
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