Mac Pro Overview Updated March 30, 2021

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293 'Mac Pro' stories

January 2011 - March 2021


After letting the Mac Pro become stagnant since 2013, Apple has finally unveiled the new version. In early 2017, Apple made a handful of announcements regarding the product. The company explained that it is rethinking its Mac Pro approach and plans to unveil a new modular model sometime in the future.

The company admitted that its 2013 model approach hasn’t been as upgradable in practice as it had hoped.

At some point [Apple] came to the conclusion that the 2013 Mac Pro concept was fundamentally flawed. It was tightly integrated internally, which allowed for some very nice features: it was small and beautiful (a pro machine that demanded placement on your desk, not under your desk) and it could run whisper quietly. But that tight integration made it hard to update regularly. The idea that expansion could be handled almost entirely by external Thunderbolt peripherals sounded good on paper, but hasn’t panned out in practice. And the GPU design was a bad prediction. Apple bet on a dual-GPU design (multiple smaller GPUs, with “pro”-level performance coming from parallel processing) but the industry has gone entirely in the other direction (machines with one big GPU).

Phil Schiller acknowledged that the 2013 Mac Pro had not been well received by many pros, and it was this that had led to the radical rethink.

With regards to the Mac Pro, we are in the process of what we call “completely rethinking the Mac Pro”. We’re working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.

As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a pro display as well. Now you won’t see any of those products this year; we’re in the process of that. We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.

In the interim, we know there are a number of customers who continue to buy our [current Mac Pros]. To be clear, our current Mac Pro has met the needs of some of our customers, and we know clearly not all of our customers. None of this is black and white, it’s a wide variety of customers. Some… it’s the kind of system they wanted; others, it was not.

In the meantime, we’re going to update the configs to make it faster and better for their dollar. This is not a new model, not a new design, we’re just going to update the configs. We’re doing that this week. We can give you the specifics on that.

The CPUs, we’re moving them down the line. The GPUs, down the line, to get more performance per dollar for customers who DO need to continue to buy them on the interim until we get to a newly architected system.

At WWDC 2019 Apple offered the first look at its new Mac Pro. The new version is a return of the cheese grater design from a generation previous.

Apple says the new Mac Pro was designed with easy access to its components. There are stainless steel handles for modularity, all internal components mount to the frame with 360-degree components.

Mac Pro Specs

  • 300 watts of power, runs fully unconstrained
  • 2933MHz ECC memory, 12 DIMM slots
  • 8 internal PCI slots, four double-wide slots, three single side slots
  • Half-length slot populated with two TB3 ports, audio jack, two USB A ports, two 10Gb Ethernet ports
  • Up to 1.5 terabytes of RAM
  • Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores
  • Apple designed a PCI connector with a second PCIe connector and power
  • Multiple graphics options; can configure with options such as Radeon Pro Vega II
  • Two GPUs connected via Infinity Fabric Link, 5X faster than PCI bust
  • Apple built a brand new card called Afterburner for video editing, 6 billion pixels per second. 3 streams of 8K, 12 streams of 4K

Mac Pro Pricing

The new Mac Pro starts at $5999 for 8-core, 32GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. If you include all of the upgrade options, it can reach a $50,000 price point.

Mac Pro Release Date

The Mac Pro was released in December of 2019.

Mac Pro Stories March 30, 2021

iPhone Mac Pro cheese grater design
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Along with Apple filing a patent for a reconfigurable solid-state MacBook keyboard today, the company has seen a host of other patents approved. One of the most interesting means future iPhones (and any other Apple device) could be made using the Mac Pro’s 3D cheese grater design.

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Mac Pro Stories July 1, 2020

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Apple today began selling a new Radeon Pro W5500X MPX Module for Mac Pro, offering users another GPU option. This new module comes as a cheaper choice to the Radeon Pro W5700X MPX Module, which was introduced in April this year.

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Mac Pro Stories May 28, 2020

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One of the best things about the Mac Pro, besides its beautiful design, is the fact that it can be upgraded. Nearly every part of the Mac Pro can be upgraded and enhanced after purchase, making for a machine that can be customized to meet the various needs of creative professionals.

If you’re looking to supercharge your Mac Pro, then OWC provides upgrades that will not only speed up your Mac, but save you lots of money in the process. Watch our hands-on video as we explore OWC’s cost-saving RAM and the OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories May 21, 2020

Adobe Premiere Pro beta gains Apple Afterburner Card support on Mac Pro

After recently adding native support for ProRes RAW in Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects and Media Encoder, Adobe has added support for Apple’s Afterburner card in beta builds of Premiere Pro.

As noted by MacRumors, the Apple Afterburner Card will accelerate ProRes 4444 and ProRes 422 video codec decoding in Adobe’s NLE, supplementing other hardware to aid performance. ProRes RAW acceleration is not yet available in the beta.

Mac Pro Stories May 12, 2020

How hard is it to kickflip a skateboard made with $700 Mac Pro wheels? This YouTuber found out…

Apple’s Mac Pro Wheels are a $400 upgrade if you buy them when you’re configuring the machine but if you want to buy them after? That runs a cool $700. We’ve seen lots of fun had around the sky-high price and minimal utility of these computer wheels but now YouTuber Braille Skateboarding has taken things to the next level with a functioning Mac Pro Wheel custom skateboard.

Mac Pro Stories April 18, 2020

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Apple this week officially started selling replacement kits for Mac Pro feet and wheels. Now, our first look at the $700 Mac Pro Wheels Kit in the wild has emerged. Head below for a close-up look at what you get for that price.

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Mac Pro Stories April 16, 2020

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Months after the launch of the Mac Pro, Apple has finally made available the Radeon Pro W5700X MPX Module GPU option during the build-to-order process. The Navi 10-based GPU is a nice addition for video editors working with high quality 10-bit footage. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories April 15, 2020

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An aggressively priced iPhone SE isn’t the only new hardware coming from Apple today. Apple is also selling replacement kits for Mac Pro feet and wheels, and they’re aggressively priced in a totally different way.

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Mac Pro Stories March 18, 2020

Apple makes Mac Pro Afterburner Card available as standalone purchase

Sneaking in with the major product releases today, Apple has started selling its Mac Pro Afterburner Card as a separate purchase.

Mac Pro Stories March 13, 2020

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A report from AppleInsider shines a light on how Apple’s staff are not adequately trained and prepared to deal with Mac Pro problems. Their production Mac Pro started exhibiting issues, but found the Apple support experience less than satisfactory.

In a clear case of Apple Stores not being ready to service the Mac Pro effectively, the report describes how one Apple Store Genius tried to power the machine by plugging a MacBook PRO USB-C charger into one of the Mac Pro’s Thunderbolt ports.

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Mac Pro Stories March 2, 2020

Mac Pro pictured with Pro Display XDR
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The Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR reviews continue to flow in. The latest review comes from The Verge, and it offers a detailed look at Apple’s latest Pro-grade hardware in the real world.

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Mac Pro Stories February 24, 2020

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Earlier today, Apple published a new white paper offering detailed information about the newest Mac Pro. Hidden in this document is the news that the Mac Pro wheels will, at some point, be available as a standalone purchase.

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Mac Pro pictured with Pro Display XDR
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Apple has made two incredibly thorough white papers available today covering the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. These “Technology Overview” documents highlight the inner workings of both of Apple’s newest pro-grade pieces of hardware.

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Mac Pro Stories February 7, 2020

What does it take to use 1TB of Mac Pro RAM? Try 6,000+ Chrome tabs

Chrome is known for being a fast and responsive browser and along with that, it’s also notorious for slurping up lots of your machine’s RAM. In a hilarious turn of events, Jonathan Morrison has seen Chrome running thousands of tabs on his Mac Pro eat up over 1.2TB of RAM.

Mac Pro Stories February 5, 2020

OWC green lights aftermarket RAM from $500 for rack mount Mac Pro

OWC has confirmed today that the RAM it’s been offering for the Mac Pro starting from $500 is compatible with the rack-mounted Mac Pro that recently hit the market. Customers looking to save on upgrading can also take advantage of OWC’s memory trade-in program.

Mac Pro Stories February 3, 2020

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Quite a few viewers and readers have asked me to do a behind the scenes look at my video editing workspace, so in this latest edition of Back to the Mac I’ve decided to do just that.

Although my setup is currently built around a Mac Pro + Pro Display XDR, a similar setup can be achieved with virtually any Mac machine and monitor combination. Watch our hands-on behind the scenes video for a look at the hardware on my editing desk. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories January 29, 2020

Tyler Stalman explores which creative professionals should consider a Mac Pro in new video

With the new Mac Pro out in the wild for going on two months now, more professionals have been able to see how the modular desktop is able to impact a variety of workflows. YouTuber Tyler Stalman is out today with a new video that gives advice on which creative professionals should consider the Mac Pro and what kind of performance they can expect across a variety of applications. He also dives into the Mac Pro builds he recommends for photographers vs. filmmakers, and more.

Mac Pro Stories January 28, 2020

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Last week, we got our first glimpse of the rack mount Mac Pro in the wild following its release earlier this month. Now, music professional Neil Parfitt has taken a deeper look at the new machine in an over 37-minute unboxing and hands-on video.

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One of the great things about the Mac Pro, and the primary reason why I’ve been anticipating it so much, is its ability to accommodate PCIe expansion. With the Mac Pro we finally have a modern Mac that can be expanded, not only via external Thunderbolt 3 peripherals, but via internal PCIe cards like the OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD.

OWC’s newest Mac Pro-friendly accessory allows users to add a significant amount of fast solid state storage to their machines in just a few minutes. But the Accelsior 4M2 may also a viable option for MacBook Pro users looking to add external external storage to their laptops via a simple Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories January 20, 2020

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Apple made the rack-mountable version of the Mac Pro available last week, and now the first orders are arriving to customers. As expected, the folks at MacStadium are planning to host the new Mac Pro in their data centers, and they’ve gotten their hands on the new rack-mountable machine today.

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Mac Pro Stories January 16, 2020

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The Pro Display XDR landed on my desktop a few days ago, and I’ve spent enough time with it to gather some early first thoughts about Apple’s high-end monitor. As a former 27-inch Thunderbolt Display owner, I’ve been pining for a modern replacement for it for years, but is this the answer?

Watch our unboxing and overview as I consider the Pro Display XDR top features in our hands-on video walkthrough. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories January 14, 2020

Rack-mounted Mac Pro RAM
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Today Apple made the rack-mountable Mac Pro available for purchase, starting at $6499. The unit, which features the same build to order components as the regular Mac Pro, features rack mounting rails that ship in a separate box. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories January 13, 2020

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As I alluded to in my initial Mac Pro top features overview, I don’t need a Mac Pro to get my day-to-day work done, but the benefit I receive from its expandability makes it a very appealing machine for me.

In this latest episode of Back to the Mac I discuss why I purchased the Mac Pro, my Mac Pro setup, how I currently use it, and talk about some of the upgrades: a 24TB SSD and 384GB of RAM. Watch the full video for the details. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories January 11, 2020

Mac Pro external display
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The Mac Pro was recently released to much fanfare after years of speculation about features, price, and design. While the pricing of the machine and its upgrade options have caused somewhat of an uproar, it certainly has its place in the IT world. After looking over all the information about the machine, watching reviews, and pondering its place in the enterprise, here’s a look at the Mac Pro from an enterprise perspective. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories January 6, 2020

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The new Mac Pro is here, and Apple says this is the ideal computer for heavy tasks like programming and video editing. But can this machine handle heavy games? YouTuber Quinn Nelson tested it and published the rather disappointing result on his channel Snazzy Labs.

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Mac Pro Stories December 27, 2019

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Not everyone needs 4-bay RAID solutions like the Promise R4i, and not everyone needs ridiculously-fast RAID SSD setups like the Sonnet M.2 4×4 PCIe Card. Enter the Promise Pegasus J2i.

The Promise Pegasus J2i is a two-bay SATA enclosure with a pre-installed 3.5-inch 8TB HDD that fits inside the Mac Pro. Should you consider it? Watch our hands-on walkthrough for the details. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories December 24, 2019

New Mac Pro used by animation studio
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We’ve seen plenty of benchmarks for the new Mac Pro, but if you want an idea of how it stacks up in real-life use, a British animation studio has shared the story of how it used early access to one to work on the movie Jumanji: The Next Level.

Lunar Animation said that animation is one of the toughest tasks for a computer, and it had initially thought Apple’s failure to update the trash can Mac Pro might have forced it to switch to PCs…

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Mac Pro Stories December 23, 2019

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If you’re looking for the fastest SSD available for the Mac Pro, then this may be the solution for you. When paired with the right SSDs, the Sonnet M.2 4×4 PCIe Card produces speeds of the bonkers variety.

During benchmark tests with the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test utility, I was getting write speeds in that easily surpassed 6,000 MB/s, and read speeds that eclipsed 7000 MB/s.

For comparison’s sake, Apple’s fastest 8 TB SSD produces speeds “only” up to 3400 MB/s, so this setup is capable of running circles around the Mac Pro’s fastest built-in SSD for less money. Watch our hands-on video review for the details. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories December 20, 2019

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As a happy owner of a Promise Pegasus3 R6 external RAID enclosure, I was excited to try the new Promise Pegasus R4i internal RAID MPX Module, a unit that’s been specifically designed for the Mac Pro.

The Promise Pegasus R4i is a four-drive hardware RAID array that can easily slide into your Mac Pro thanks to its MPX form factor. Adding the R4i to your Mac Pro instantly gives you a ton of on-board storage via four 8TB drives set up by default in a RAID 5 configuration.

Does the Promise Pegasus R4i produce good performance results? Is it easy to install? Does it stay relatively quiet? How does it compare to a standalone Promise Pegasus? All of these questions and more are answered in our hands-on video review. expand full story

Mac Pro: Here are all the external display configurations possible

The 2019 Mac Pro packs a huge amount of power. It’s designed to pair with the 6K Pro Display XDR (up to six of them) but it can also push up to a dozen 4K displays. Read along for all the external display configurations possible with the Mac Pro.

Mac Pro Stories December 19, 2019

Mac Pro OWC SSD 8TB PCIe
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Just as Apple announced the 8TB SSD option for the Mac Pro, OWC has launched a PCIe SSD with storage up to 8TB capacities and speeds hitting up to a blazing 6000MB/s. The OWC Accelsior 4M2 SSD is slot powered and starts at $480 for the 1TB model.

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Apple has updated the Mac Pro configurator to include a new 8TB SSD option. This configuration was initially listed as coming soon when Mac Pro orders first began last week.

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Earlier this week the highly-anticipated Mac Pro finally touched down on my desktop after several years of anticipation. In this initial hands-on video, I take a look at the top 2019 Mac Pro features and explain why even the base model Mac Pro might be the best system for you if expandability is at the top of your list. expand full story

Mac Pro Stories December 18, 2019

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New Mac Pro videos from YouTubers Quinn Nelson and Jonathan Morrison give us further deep dives into the 2019 modular machine. Quinn gives a complete disassembly and analysis revealing some of Apple’s neat innovations with the new pro desktop along with some fine details. Meanwhile, Jonathan gives us a look at how the Mac Pro handles 16K video with just one video card, hinting at how powerful the Afterburner card is.

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Mac Pro Stories December 17, 2019

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iFixit has completed its full teardown of the new Mac Pro. Given iFixit’s focus on repairability and that Apple’s new professional desktop is a modular machine, well, it got one of the highest ever ratings from iFixit — as far as Apple products go. Read on for some of the fun details like how the feet/wheels work, whether the built-in SSD and CPU are replaceable, where the speaker hides, a detailed look at the thermal system, and why it just missed out on a perfect rating from iFixit.

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Mac Pro Stories December 16, 2019

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Last week we posted a speculation piece about the now-available Mac Pro. Specifically, we conjectured that, like other Apple desktop machines, it would be possible to upgrade Mac Pro RAM ourselves and save a lot of money in the process.

Today we tested that theory and experienced positive results. In this post and hands-on video, we’ll show you how easy it is to upgrade Mac Pro RAM yourself. Watch our video walkthrough for the details. expand full story

Mac Pro pictured with Pro Display XDR
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It’s been an interesting journey for Apple as it has figured out its manufacturing plans for the new Mac Pro. While the US factory that produced the 2013 Mac Pro in Austin, Texas is indeed handling the 2019 Mac Pro after all, that’s not the case for international customers.

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Mac Pro: How to install PCIe cards, slots, specs, power, more

The new Mac Pro has a modular design that makes it easy to upgrade or swap out components. Read along for details on how to install PCIe cards as well as specs like the power of the PCIe bus and what types of PCIe hardware you can use.

Mac Pro Stories December 13, 2019

iFixit dives into the Mac Pro with initial look at the modular machine

Continuing the recent tradition of doing a live initial look inside Apple’s machines as soon as they get them, iFixit is diving into the Mac Pro to check out the new modular pro desktop (and yep, they actually grated cheese with it 😅).

Apple Pro Display XDR works with iMac Pro, but with limitations

Apple shared which Macs will be compatible with the Pro Display XDR and very notably, the iMac Pro wasn’t on the list. However, we’ve got confirmation today that it will work, but with a limitation.

Mac Pro Stories December 12, 2019

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Apple is known to charge exorbitant prices for memory, and the just-released Mac Pro is no exception. For example, the Mac Pro comes with a base amount of 32GB of RAM in a 4x8GB configuration, but upgrading to 48GB costs $300 and quickly balloons to $1000 for 96GB of RAM.

Even worse is the RAM that Apple sells separately. In that case, a mere 16GB of RAM in a 2x8GB config will cost you $400, while 64GB in a 2x32GB config will cost you a whopping $1200. Want 256GB? Prepare to pay $6000.

But there may be good news in all of this. As has been the case for many years, it may be possible to utilize third-party RAM, which comes at a much more reasonable price. For example, this 64GB kit in a 2x32GB configuration from NEMIX RAM costs under $200, a $1000 savings over Apple’s kit. expand full story

Renowned music producers put the Mac Pro to the test with Logic Pro X session

After we saw first impressions and some early benchmarks for the Mac Pro, YouTuber Jonathan Morrison has partnered up with two successful music producers to see how the new pro machine performs during a recording session in Logic Pro X.

Mac Pro fans
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Apple likes to boast about how much thought it put into the little things, and that includes the new Mac Pro fans.

The funky-looking lattice grille that gives the new Mac Pro its distinctive look got a lot of attention when the machine was first unveiled back in June. More air than metal, the grille plays a key role in both passive cooling and allowing efficient extraction of air pulled through by the fans, but plenty of work went into designing the fans themselves…

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Mac Pro: How to install more storage or another GPU with an MPX module

The 2019 Mac Pro features a modular design that makes it easy to upgrade or swap out components like graphics cards and storage. Follow along for how to install more storage or another GPU with an MPX module.

Mac Pro Stories December 11, 2019

Mac Pro: Memory specifications and how to install more RAM

The 2019 Mac Pro features a user-accessible modular design, and customers can easily upgrade RAM, MPX Modules, PCIe cards, and more. Read on for how to check on the memory specs required for the Mac Pro, and a step-by-step walkthrough on how to install more RAM.

Mac Pro Stories December 10, 2019

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Following the release of the new Pro Display XDR earlier today, Apple has published a new support document outlining how to keep the display clean. In typical Apple fashion, the company has specific instructions for the cleaning process.

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Apple details how to upgrade Mac Pro RAM, MPX Modules, PCIe cards, more in new videos and docs

Since the Mac Pro brings a user-accessible modular design Apple has shared new resources ahead of the machine shipping to customers on how to upgrade RAM, MPX Modules, PCIe cards, and more. Follow along for Apple’s new resources on upgrading your Mac Pro.

Mac Pro accessories
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We learned about many of the planned Mac Pro accessories both from third-parties and Apple back in June at WWDC. Now we’ve got specs and pricing for accessories like storage and GPU modules, the Afterburner card, a specially designed Logitech webcam, the Apple VESA mount adapter, a lock from Belkin and more.

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