Apple explains why the 2023 Mac Pro doesn’t support graphics cards

Apple explains why the 2023 Mac Pro doesn’t support graphics cards. Unlike its Intel-powered predecessor, the new 2023 Mac Pro that Apple unveiled at WWDC 2023 does not support graphics cards. In fact, the six slots for PCI Express expansion cards that the machine provides can be used for audio, video capture, storage, networking and much more, but not to connect graphics cards.

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Graphics processing, on the other hand, is handled directly by the M2 processor, which has a 76-core GPU and can access up to 192GB of unified RAM memory.

To talk about it, albeit briefly, is the head of hardware engineering at Apple, John Ternus, during an interview with John Gruber last week for Daring Fireball, in which he just mentioned that external graphics cards are a goal that Apple did not want to pursue.

Basically, we built our architecture around this shared memory model and its optimization, and we found no way we could introduce another GPU while making it optimized for our systems.

The other big limitation of Mac Pro 2023

The impossibility of being able to connect external graphics cards to the Mac Pro 2023 is the second of two limitations that this new machine presents. The other concerns the impossibility (for the user) of being able to update the RAM, which is instead possible to do on the previous Mac Pro with an Intel processor.

Instead in Mac Pro 2023 the RAM is soldered onto the M2 Ultra chip, and this difference weighs especially if we take into account the fact that on the Mac Pro with Intel it is possible to add up to 1.5 TB of RAM, or eight times the amount (192 GB, as we wrote above) that Apple makes available during the configuration phase.

Because it’s still better than Intel

Despite this, the unified memory architecture of the new Mac Pro offers clear advantages. For example, it’s three times faster than the Intel-powered Mac Pro in certain workflows, like video transcoding or 3D simulations.

Furthermore, the performance in video processing is equal to that of the Mac Pro with Intel that mounts seven Afterburner cards. Finally, in terms of CPU performance, the base version of the 2023 Mac Pro, the one that retails for $6,999, is up to twice as fast as the 28-core Intel-powered Mac Pro, which when it was on sale it cost $12,999.

A valid alternative

Mac Pro 2023 can be ordered with shipping in 5-7 days while in stores, according to the availability indicated on the Apple Store right now, it can be collected starting from Wednesday 14 June.

Those who don’t need PCI Express expansion slots may want to consider the Mac Studio 2023, which with the new M2 Ultra processor costs about €3,000 less than the Mac Pro 2023.

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