New Mac Pro doesn’t support PCI-E video cards

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New Mac Pro doesn't support PCI-E video cards

Apple Silicon Mac Pro at WWDC

Apple announced the Apple Silicon Mac Pro, and while it packs a punch with M2 Ultra, pro users won’t be happy with a lack of Radeon PCI-E video card support.

Apple Silicon has finally arrived in the Mac Pro but with it some new limitations that will affect many pro users. There are seven PCI-E expansion slots, but they do not support video cards like the Radeon Pro.

Those purchasing a Mac Pro can choose between a 60-core GPU or a 76-core GPU. RAM can be configured at 64GB, 128GB, or 192GB with a premium upcharge.

Apple provides SSD upgrade kits and a Promise Pegasus 32TB RAID Module in its accessories store. Customers will not have to buy an Afterburner card this generation — the M2 Ultra is equivalent to having seven installed.

Notably, customers cannot purchase any video cards, nor are they compatible with the gen-4 PCI-E slots in the Mac Pro. Users looking to install powerful graphics cards for gaming, rendering software, or other intensive processes will have to look elsewhere.

Apple says that users should see 3x speed improvements for 3D simulations. Also, video engineers can ingest 24 separate 4K feeds and encode them to ProRes in real-time when using six video I/O cards.

Mac Pro has seven PCI-E expansion slots

Mac Pro has seven PCI-E expansion slots

Gen 4 PCI-E slots enable 2x speed improvements over the Intel Mac Pro. It’s not clear why PCI-E generation 5 has not been implemented, but is likely related to channel allocation limits in the M2 processor.

Apple specifically calls out audio pros using digital signal processing cards, video pros using I/O cards, and pros who need additional networking storage. It seems Apple expects users to get by with the integrated M2 Ultra GPUs and nothing else.

The Mac Pro starts at $6,999 and can be configured up to $12,199 with the 76-core GPU, 192GB of RAM, and 8TB of SSD storage. It can be ordered now and initial shipments begin June 13.

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