Thursday, Oct 21, 2021, 11:05 Mac: Hardware

Mac Pro 2022 – Everything We Know (Or Hope For!) So Far

Apple presented the first dedicated "pro chips" for the MacBook Pro 2021, as it was said during the event. While the M1 can equally do its job in a MacBook Pro 13" as well as an iPad Pro, the M1 Pro and M1 Max require a more sophisticated cooling system. There should probably be no fan activity during normal operation, but there will be during continuous load. Apple proved with the two new chip variants that the architecture apparently scales very well and that the computing and graphics performance can be increased significantly. This makes us confident about future Pro Macs. In this article, we summarize all rumors regarding an ARM-based Mac Pro - everything looks like this is the last series whose interior Apple can exchange in favor of its own solutions.

The long wait until the end of 2022
First, the bad news: no one expects to see a Mac Pro without Intel processors before fall 2022. The current lineup dates back to 2019, and Apple recently upgraded the high-performance Mac with additional graphics card options. However, it is quite unlikely that the Mac Pro will still find many customers by then - although it is certainly not the most in-demand product in the lineup in general. Nevertheless, the upcoming Mac Pro will probably be given the task of showing the "maximum of what is currently possible".

Probably no standard graphics cards, but a lot of cores
Bloomberg reported, that Apple was primarily focusing on graphics performance. The MacBook Pro 2021 has 32 graphics cores, while the Mac Pro is expected to have up to 128. The way the chips work ("Tile-based rendering") makes it possible to directly double the performance by doubling the number of cores, depending on the application. Provided that manufacturing reasons – such as too many faulty wafers – do not prevent this, Apple thus has a convenient way to increase graphics performance. Apple already did exactly that with the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

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Interestingly, reports spoke of Apple developing a dedicated graphics card or wanting to offer graphics upgrades. This seems difficult at first, especially since an external graphics card would not be easy to integrate into the "unified memory" architecture - which counts as one of the main aspects of the impressive performance. In view of the recently shown Pro chips, the specification therefore rather means offering different chip variants. On the other hand, the use of conventional graphics cards, as they also do their job in powerful PCs, shouldn't be feasible.

Case in two variants - is the Cube coming back?
There were also reports about the form factor of the future Mac Pro. Also from Bloomberg, it was said that Apple wants to launch two versions. On the one hand, it would stick with a tower-like concept, but on the other hand, there could also be a revival of the Power Mac G4 Cube - a small power cube, only this time equipped with high-end processors and fewer heat problems.

M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 "Max Plus"?
The nomenclature of the current Mac chips holds strong clues as to which processors will work in the Mac Pro 2022. While the MacBook Air 2022 should get the M2, it should be the M2 Pro or M2 Max in the Pro versions - and in the Mac Pro a series even above the two versions. Apple can thus differentiate the individual variants well, but the name already shows to which generation the processors belong.

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