7th July 2023

Is The M2 Ultra Mac Pro Relevant?

After three long years, Apple has finally completed the transition to its world-class custom Silicon processor. In June 2023, after a number of delays, the M2 Ultra Mac Pro was finally unveiled.

As well as being faster than its Intel-based predecessors, it also benefits from greater connectivity and expansion. Yet despite these undeniable breakthroughs, we still landed with the same chip as the Mac Studio, which begs the question: is this device still relevant?

Let’s talk chips

The M1 chip was launched in 2020. It blew us away with how much it improved the performance and efficiency of the existing Mac collection, and the M2 series continued that upward trajectory. We saw the MacBook Pros get slightly better upgrades in the M2 Pro and M2 Max, then Apple released the groundbreaking M2 Ultra for Mac Studio. 

Though fans expected a new chip to be released for the Mac Pro (with the M2 Extreme and M3 chip being passed around the rumour mill), we instead got the same M2 Ultra chip – yes, the one that’s already in the Mac Studio. So the new Mac Pro isn’t any better than the old one – it’s just more expensive.

Is the Mac Pro relevant now?

That being said, the Mac Pro isn’t a definitive write-off, as brings specific advancements to Apple’s roster:

  • Size – bigger isn’t always better, but in this case it certainly is. The Mac’s fans give more space for airflow and thermal advantage, which delivers a more sustained performance over a longer period of time.
  • Performance – fans have reported a slightly better performance to Apple’s previous offering. Don’t expect it to blow your socks off, though – the new Mac Pro is basically just as good as the last one.
  • Ports – what this Mac lacks in wow factor, it makes up for in ports, with more Thunderbolt, HDMI 2.1, and Ethernet ports than ever before.
  • PCI expansion slots – these make the new device ideal for production studios, but there are limited use cases for small businesses.

However, for all intents and purposes, the Mac Pro has many of the same features as its predecessor. Both support 6K Pro displays, have the same storage levels, and the same amount of unified memory (though with the new Pro, you can upgrade to more RAM and SSD). Overall, it lacks the versatility of the previous model.

The reviews are in

Fan reaction so far hasn’t been wholly positive or negative. While most report that the M2 Ultra Mac Pro’s performance is fast and smooth, many can’t see what sets it apart from the cheaper Mac Studio, and are simply unwilling to splash out on the new device.

However, it’s undeniable that the Mac Pro will appeal to high-end music production studios, post houses and the like, thanks to its PCI slot capacity – for these customers, the new Mac Pro could be a game-changer (if not a slightly expensive one).

The future

With debates continuing about the Mac Pro, there’s no doubt that Apple will be taking stock when it comes to their next release. 

Both the Macbook Air and MacBook Pro got slight updates and a new chip throughout their lifetime, plus a redesign that improved the look and feel of both products – so maybe we can expect the same treatment for the Mac Pro. Regardless, only time will tell what the future holds for the M2 Ultra Mac Pro.

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