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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The new Mac Pro coming later this year is expected to feature the same spacious modular design as the 2019 model, but with fresh concerns over its lack of upgradeability surfacing, some users are beginning to wonder what the transition away from Intel architecture actually means for Apple's most powerful Mac.


The current Intel Mac Pro that Apple sells is popular with creative professionals because of its modular, highly upgradeable design. It accepts Xeon processors with up to 28 cores and 64 PCI Express lanes, and up to 1.5TB of high-performance memory. It also has eight PCIe expansion slots, while the APX Modules can be configured with six different GPUs. All of the components can be upgraded after purchase.

Given that Apple's high-end M2 Extreme chip has reportedly been cancelled, the new Mac Pro is expected to feature a new M2 Ultra chip, which is essentially two ‌M2 Max‌ chips connected together,‌ featuring up to a 24-core CPU, up to a 76-core GPU, and at least 192GB of unified memory.

But it is just this unified architecture that is raising doubts about the Mac Pro's modularity among prospective owners. Earlier this month, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman revealed that unlike the current Intel-based ‌Mac Pro‌, the upcoming model will not feature user-upgradeable RAM because the memory is tied directly to the M2 Ultra's motherboard.

Now, Gurman has seemingly doubled down on this limitation of Apple's unified architecture by suggesting that the next Mac Pro "may lack user upgradeable GPUs" in addition to non-upgradeable RAM. As he points out: "Right now Apple Silicon Macs don't support external GPUs and you have to use whatever configuration you buy on Apple's website."

Apart from space for media and networking cards, that leaves only storage as the main user-upgradeable component in the Mac Pro. As for the seemingly large empty space that would remain in the unchanging tower case, Gurman suggests it could accommodate a larger cooling system, which would differentiate it from the Mac Studio by affording significantly faster performance.


It's worth noting that on the subject of non-upgradeable GPUs, Gurman appears to be reaching this conclusion based on logical reasoning rather than specific insider information. But if it turns out that he is correct, it could dissuade would-be buyers from investing so much money in a machine that does not offer the same future-proofing expandability.

The ‌Mac Pro‌ currently starts at $5,999, with the potential to price it up to over $52,000 in custom configurations. The base model Apple silicon ‌Mac Pro‌ with the ‌M2‌ Ultra is almost certain to cost more than the high-end ‌Mac Studio‌ with the ‌M1 Ultra‌, which starts at $3,999.

Apple has already teased the launch of the first Apple silicon Mac Pro, so it is undoubtedly coming regardless of the rumors. Indeed, Apple is already testing one of the new ‌Mac Pro‌ models, and it is running macOS Ventura 13.3, an updated version of ‌macOS Ventura‌ coming out later this year. Timing wise, ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.3 is expected to come out around March or April, so we could also see the ‌Mac Pro‌ launch in this timeframe.

Article Link: Mac Pro Enthusiasts Raise Concerns Over Upgrade Limitations of Apple Silicon
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macrumors 68020
May 1, 2021
It’s the Trash Can Mac Pro all over again but worst!

Although I do expect this new Pro to perform much better then the current Intel Mac, but some have fitted top end Nvidia or AMD GPUs to their 2019 Mac Pros which I’m sure will easily beat Apples integrated options.
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macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
I hope Apple has a plan here. If it is “just” an M2 Ultra, the motherboard will be in a tiny corner of the case (Given it fits within a Mac Studio. Without upgradable RAM and GPU you basically removed the reason you would buy the Pro over a studio. So you are left with a giant, heavy, case and an extra few $K in price for…what?

The Mac Studio is the Trash Can Mac Pro, but implemented in 2021 when Thunderbolt 4 can actually handle the external expansion Apple envisioned.


macrumors newbie
Apr 14, 2021
The latest rumors on this thing don't make any sense really. Doesn't make any sense that it would only have an M2 Ultra chip in the exact same body as the current Mac Pro, nor would it make sense that the "M2 Extreme" chip would have been canceled. If all that is actually true, they might as well just discontinue the Mac Studio, make it a little taller and call it a Mac Pro. I get the non-upgradable RAM & GPU part, but every other recent rumor about this thing makes no sense whatsoever and hopefully doesn't turn out to be true or it'll be repeated outrage even more justified than what happened with the 2013 Mac Pro.


macrumors 68030
Aug 5, 2007
I don't think Apple will have upgradable RAM and other PCI Express things at least for another generation or so.
Also, the question is, wheter they will keep the 2019 Mac Pro cheese grater case or not. Or they will simply have two version of Mac Studio.

For upgradable RAM one option could be the CAMM format of modules:

Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68030
May 30, 2016
here come the pages of people who never even planned on purchasing the thing complaining…
It was inevitable.
Steve certainly knew it, he worked on their first MacBooks without replaceable batteries, and the first MacBooks without upgradable ram came out only a few short months after his death, and he obviously knew about the trashcan MacPro.
But I’m sure we’ll have some “but Steve would never” comments in here.
It’s really simple, the Macpro doesn’t even sell in the millions per year. Neither does the Mac Studio.
The cost of making custom parts for it that make the computer totally upgradable is a huge waste of money for them.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2001
Best case scenario, Apple makes M3 pro-extreme daughter cards that can be added or removed for RAM and CPU upgrades. One motherboard for those that want PCIe slots with fewer daughter cards and another motherboard for those that want more daughter cards with no PCIe.

I'd hope that they'd make the Mac Pro chassis for years letting an aftermarket grow for used modules every time they come out with a new SoC.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2016
On chip memory is exactly what makes M1 and M2 so powerful and this is also coming to x86 etc. It's the only way to reduce memory latency. This should maybe be stated in the article, but I understand users want flexibility, but I would not sacrifice efficiency and latency for that.
Until the Fans quit buying them, Apple will continue this trend. They will never allow users to have the option to upgrade certain components over a 5-10 year span, when they can force them to buy every 3-5 years to keep up with what’s needed.
Well, we need to start complaining here and raise the concerns. People complained about HomePod and look Apple brought it back. The same goes for the 🔋 battery percentage indicator on an iPhone. Stopping CSAM is another prime example.

Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68030
May 30, 2016
If you are going to pay a hefty price for a Mac Apple should let you consider customizing it the way you want. It’s simple as that.

Why else do we pay premium prices for Apple products?
I don’t know about you, but I pay more for Apple products *specifically* so I don’t have to customize them.
If I wanted to customize, I would’ve went with windows and Android.


macrumors 6502
Oct 11, 2019
I think one should buy this and have a grand sweeping plan for the beast, and make dividends off of it somehow.

Only then could I justify the purchase and lack of upgradability.

I’d have to consider myself like a total auteur of his respective field out to flip said industry on its head.

There are maybe… 100 of those people on the planet and actually in their element at any given time?


macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2012
This does not sound promising for the future of the Mac Pro but all we have at this point are rumors. Every single new Apple Silicon device that replaced an Intel device has been a huge step up in every way. Will Apple really let their flagship Mac be the one device that’s actually a downgrade with Apple Silicon? I don’t think so.

Personally I think the Mac Pro will use a modified version of the M2 Ultra perhaps with a few extra cores. Maybe this modified version will allow users to upgrade their RAM for system memory while the internal unified RAM is reserved for GPU task. For an extra power bump, Apple could create their own GPU that can plug in and work with the built in M2 Ultra to add additional GPU grunt. From there Apple could make their newer chips (M3 ultra, M4 ultra, etc) available to purchase as a standalone unit that can be installed in the Mac Pro chassis to upgrade to the latest CPU. I believe there were rumors last year about Apple modifying their silicon for use with the Mac Pro so maybe this is a possibility.

I just can’t see them releasing another Trash Can like, locked down Mac Pro, right after releasing such a customizable Mac Pro. It’s already bad enough that they are apparently using the same design…


macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2013
It's a straw man that doesn't even exist yet. Let's all panic!

"Based on nothing other than some past mistakes, and because I have no real information, let's consider the worst thing that could happen."
"Did you hear that? Apple might do the worst possible thing."
"They're almost certainly going to do the worst possible thing. They did it before!"
"I can't believe it. Apple did the worst possible thing AGAIN?"
"I know, right? They're doomed.

Rinse and repeat.
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
Since the first M1 variant, it was obvious that despite all its awesomeness (no sarcasm, it is awesome for almost all uses), the Mac Pro as known was over.

That could only change if Apple decided on some M Mac Pro frankenchip to insure the usual traits. That never seemed quite possible (at least to me).
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