An Early Eulogy for the Intel Mac Pro

The Intel Mac Pro at it's introduction

As Apple gets closer to replacing the Intel Mac Pro, I’m not sure what my next desktop Mac is going to be.

I’ve always found myself working on many different kinds of projects over the life of my Mac. And it’s been important to me that my Mac should be able to evolve with me. If I have a new graphics project, I should be able to install the GPU that I need. New project going heavy into virtual machine use? Throw in some more storage and RAM. When I needed to learn Metal – I didn’t need to buy a new Mac. I just needed to toss in a new graphics card.

The closer we get to an Apple Silicon Mac Pro – the more it looks like those things might be lost. RAM slots and upgradable GPUs look like they could be on the cutting block.

The 2019 Intel Mac Pro is the very last holdout in the Apple lineup that gives me the sort of flexibility I’ve been used to. I wish the 2019 Mac Pro had been the start of a comeback in upgradable Macs. But it never quite got the support in needed. Upgrades like the W6900X MPX module cost $6000 – while the generic PCIe version retails regularly for $700. And while you could also install a generic card, only MPX modules worked well with Thunderbolt displays and the Mac Pro’s cooling system.

If I’m going to accept my computer is disposable, the Mac Studio might become my best option. But it’s very likely Apple will only make their best GPU available on the Mac Pro. And I’m not sure if I could stomach buying an expensive workstation that isn’t upgradable.