Apple announced today that its new Mac Pro starts at an already pricey $6,000, but the company neglected to mention how much the top-of-the-line model will cost. So we shopped around for equivalent parts to the top-end spec that Apple’s promising. As it turns out: $33,720.88 is likely the bare minimum — and that’s before factoring in the four GPUs, which could easily jack that price up to around $45,000.
For all that dough, big-budget video editors and other creative types get a lot of firepower: a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, an almost-impossible-to-comprehend 1.5TB of RAM, 4TB of SSD storage, and four AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPUs — assuming you can afford one.
Add in a Pro Display XDR monitor (and a Pro Stand to go with it), and you’re looking at a workstation that could clear $50,000. Keep in mind too that these estimates are based on market prices for these (or similar) parts: Apple historically has charged far more for its pre-built configurations than for a computer you’d build on your own.
Here’s how it all breaks down.
We start with the base Mac Pro itself, which we know Apple is selling starting at $6,000 for the base model. Because you can’t just buy an enclosure on its own, this price also includes things like the motherboard, power supply, heat sink, cooling system, and chassis (the optional wheels may cost extra). It’ll probably also come with a CPU, a GPU, and some RAM, but we’ll be replacing those shortly anyhow.
The easiest thing on our shopping list is RAM. The new Mac Pro has 12 user-accessible DIMM slots that take DDR4 ECC memory. For the maximum of 1.5TB of RAM, we need 12 128GB sticks of RAM; at roughly $1,388.99 each, that rings up to a whopping $17,867.88 for memory. But just imagine: with $18K of RAM, you might even be able to keep three whole Chrome tabs open at once!
This one’s easy: Apple charges $2,400 to upgrade its iMac Pro to 4TB of storage, so we can extrapolate that it’ll probably charge the same to upgrade the Mac Pro to the same. It’s not clear whether this storage is user upgradable or not (especially considering that it’s encrypted by Apple’s T2 chip, which implies some hardware level integration on Apple’s end), so we’ll take Apple’s far pricier number as the minimum here for now.
Next up: we need the best CPU we can get: in this case, a 2.5GHz, 28-core Intel Xeon W processor that can Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz, with a 66.5MB cache and support for up to 2TB 2933MHz memory. Now, Apple doesn’t specify what 28-core Xeon processor it’ll be shipping with the Mac Pro, but looking at Intel’s product database, the closest option out there is the Intel Xeon W-3275M, which the company lists a recommended customer price for of $7,453, which we’ll assume to be the bare minimum here. Now Apple’s processor probably isn’t the W-3275M (Apple lists a much higher cache size, to start), but the rest of the specs are pretty close.
Here’s the tricky bit. AMD announced its Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs alongside the Mac Pro, which means we’ve got no idea how much it’ll cost to buy them. We also don’t know if you’ll even be able to buy them separately at all; depending on how Apple’s MDX Module system works, that might not be an option.
Apple will sell you up to four Vega GPUs in total: Two Vega II Duo cards, each with two GPUs, linked together with Apple’s Infinity Fabric Link across two of Apple’s MDX Modules. Whatever the grand total is there, it won’t come cheap.
Assuming AMD prices the Vega II similarly to Nvidia’s professional grade Quadro RTX offerings, though — the Quadro RTX 6000, for instance, cost $6,300 new with only a little more raw compute than Apple’s promising here — we’ll say Apple’s solution will cost at least $12,000 for the whole quad-GPU package. Add the MDX Modules and Apple’s markup, though, and we wouldn’t be totally surprised if it was double that.
Technically this is an optional accessory, but it comes from Apple so I’m including it here. No idea how much it’ll cost, though.
Apple announced the Pro Display XDR monitor alongside the new Mac Pro. Sure, you could use a cheaper (and lesser display), but the Pro Display XDR was designed specifically to pair with the Mac Pro, so you’ll probably want to pick one up. Or six. It supports six.
You probably should buy a mouse and keyboard, too. Apple currently sells these separately on the existing Mac Pro, so I doubt they’ll start giving them away for free now.