Apple Pumps Up Mac Pro Desktop CPU, Graphic, Memory Specifications

Starting prices for the Mac Pro desktop machines will remain unchanged at $2,999 and $3,999, with the newly-upgraded components.

New Mac Pros

Apple has upgraded its Mac Pro desktop computer lineup with faster CPUs, beefier GPUs and more memory, while holding their starting prices to their existing $2,999 and $3,999 totals.

The move essentially brings some of the company's higher-end Mac Pro options down to the base models, giving buyers more features and value at the existing prices.

Apple didn't officially announce the new standard configurations but they first appeared on the company's website on April 4.

The former Mac Pro four-core model now gets a six-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 12MB of L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, while the former six-core Mac Pro now gets an eight-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 25MB of L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz, according to the new specifications.  

Buyers of the new six-core Mac Pro can also choose optional 3.0GHz 8-core processors with 25MB of L3 cache or a 2.7GHz 12-core processor with 30MB of L3 cache at extra cost, while buyers of the new eight-core model can upgrade to a 2.7GHz 12-core processor with 30MB of L3 cache. 

The six-core Mac Pro starts at $2,999, while the eight-core model starts at $3,999, which were the starting prices of the previous models.

The updated six-core model now also gets 16GB of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory standard (four 4GB modules), which is up from 12GB in the earlier model. Both models can be upgraded to 32GB (four 8GB modules) or 64GB (four 16GB modules) of memory at extra cost.

The six-core Mac Pro now gets dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs, replacing the previous lower-end D300 GPUs, while the eight-core Mac Pro now gets dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs, replacing their earlier D500 GPUs, according to the Apple website. The AMD FirePro D500 graphics processors each include 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM and can be upgraded at extra cost to dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs. The dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics processors each include 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM memory.

Both Mac Pro models continue to include 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage, which can be upgraded to 512GB or 1TB of storage at extra cost. The also run macOS Sierra and will each support up to three 5K displays or up to six Thunderbolt displays and include built-in 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.  Also included are four USB 3 ports, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and an HDMI 1.4 UltraHD port.

Apple is also at work on a new Mac Pro model and an accompanying new display but they won't ship in 2017, while a new iMac is targeted for release sometime later this year.

Apple hasn't updated its Mac Pro desktop line in several years, instead focusing most of its attention on its iPhone and MacBook lines.

Last October, Apple unveiled three new redesigned and rethought MacBook Pro models, bringing key improvements and enhancements to its popular laptops, from thinner and lighter profiles to a new Touch Bar that replaces the top row of clickable function keys with a touch-screen keyboard strip that enables deep customization options.

The newest MacBooks included three versions—a 15-inch model with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core 2.6 GHz processor, 16GB of 2,133MHz memory, up to 2TB of SSD storage and the new Touch Bar; a 13-inch model with a choice of sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 dual-core processors, 8GB of 2,133MHz memory and the new Touch Bar; and a second 13-inch model that comes with a standard row of function keys instead of the Touch Bar.

Also included were brighter Retina display, improved, more responsive keyboards, upgraded audio capabilities, and larger Force Track touch-pads for ease of use. The latest machines run macOS Sierra and provide up to 10 hours of use on a charge, according to Apple.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399, while the MacBook Pro 13-inch model starts at $1,799 with the Touch Bar or at $1,499 for the standard model without the Touch Bar.