Apple power users have long been waiting for the last big step in the move from Intel to Apple Silicon CPUs - a new Mac Pro. Originally, according to Apple insider Mark Gurman, a Mac Pro with an M1 Ultra chip was still planned for this year, but now its launch has been postponed until next year. This means Apple will miss its 2020 announced goal of completing the switch to its own chips within two years.
Apple M2 Ultra and M2 Extreme?
It is now clear that the Mac Pro will be equipped with a new, even more powerful chip than originally planned, namely a new M2 Ultra or M2 Extreme. Apple had previously only used the new M2 SoC in the simple version in the new 2022 MacBook Air, the 13" MacBook Pro and iPad Pro. The Apple M2 has 18% faster CPU performance than the M1 and even 35% better graphics performance thanks to its two additional GPU cores. In addition, the M2 offers up to 24GB of RAM, while the M1 is only available with 8GB and 16GB of RAM.
M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra and M2 Extreme
Analogous to the introduction of the M1 SoC, there will soon be versions of the new M2 Apple Silicon with more power, namely the M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra as well as the new M2 Extreme, of which presumably each higher version will have about twice the performance of the previous one in the top version.
The M1 models in comparison
The most powerful versions (M2 Ultra and M2 Extreme) are thereby intended for the new Mac Pro - the M2 Ultra should then have almost twice the performance of the (also not yet released) M2 Max, the M2 Extreme over twice the performance of the M2 Ultra.
Apple Mac Pro with M2 Ultra and M2 Extreme
. Thus, according to Gurman, the new Apple Silicon Mac Pro will be offered both in a version with the M2 Ultra with 24 CPU cores (16 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores) and 76 GPU cores, and in a version with the M2 Extreme with 48 CPU cores and 152 graphics cores. The RAM will not be configurable with up to 1.5 TB as before, but at least up to 256 GB RAM - a record for the new Apple M1/M2 models (the previous leader was the Mac Studio with 128 GB). Apple is increasingly working on internal tests of the new Mac Pro, but it is not expected to be launched until early 2023.
The 2019 Intel Mac Pro
Also postponed by Apple - presumably to the first quarter - was the unveiling of new 14" and 16" MacBook Pros that were actually expected for next month, which should then also be the first models with the new M2 Max and M2 Pro, as well as a Mac mini with M2 SoC. The M2 Max will be bumped up from 10 to 12 CPU cores, which its maximum number of GPU cores from 32 to 38 cores.
It will be interesting to see how Apple will differentiate a new version of the Mac Studio (possibly with M2 Max and M2 Ultra) from the Mac Pro in terms of performance, which won&t actually differ much from a Mac Pro with M2 Ultra in the top version. The new Mac Pro should look more like the Mac Studio than the old Intel Mac Pro, especially because the use of Apple Silicon will require much less power and thus less cooling. It will also be exciting to see how Apple deals with the expansion options of the Mac Pro via PCIe, which are important for professionals, and whether these will be cancelled or implemented in another way, e.g. via Thunderbolt.