Apple adds new MacBook Pro 16″ GPU and Mac Pro SSD kits

Chris Davies - Jun 15, 2020, 11:57am CDT
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Apple adds new MacBook Pro 16″ GPU and Mac Pro SSD kits

Apple is quietly adding new options for the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro, including SSD upgrades that will allow owners to squeeze more storage into their macOS desktop. Expected to be put up for sale later today, it’ll add a new flagship GPU option for Apple’s top-spec notebook, too.

For the Mac Pro, it’ll mean a new DIY way to add in storage. The SSD kits will use the same sort of storage as Apple fits itself when you first order the computer, and will come in sizes up to 8TB.

It’ll fit into the Mac Pro’s SSD modules, rather than using the PCI Express slots as third-party storage upgrades would. While many of Apple’s computers have been criticized for making upgrades, repairs, and hardware-swaps tricky, that’s something the Mac Pro actually embraces, relatively speaking. The casing – with its distinctive three-dimensional vent holes – is designed to easily slide up and off the frame.

For the 16-inch MacBook Pro, meanwhile, there’s a new graphics option. Custom orders will now be able to specify the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M, complete with 8GB of dedicated memory.

It differs from the previous maxed-out GPU option, the Radeon Pro 5500M, in two key ways. For a start there are more compute units, but the memory is different as well. The Radeon Pro 5500M also has up to 8GB, but it’s GDDR6 memory. In contrast, the 8GB that comes with the Radeon Pro 5600M is HBM2 memory.

“High Bandwidth Memory” means, as the name suggests, much faster bandwidth between the memory and the GPU. Compared to the base Radeon Pro 5500M which Apple offers on the notebook – which has 4GB of GDDR6 memory – the Radeon Pro 5600M with its 8GB of HBM2 could be up to 75-percent faster, the Cupertino firm suggests.

You’ll pay handsomely for that speed bump, mind. The Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB comes as standard on the $2,799 version of the MacBook Pro 16. Upgrading that with double the GDDR6 memory – to 8GB – will cost you $100, but swapping it for the Radeon Pro 5600M with 8GB of HBM2 memory is a $700 upgrade.

Overkill for many, most likely, but it’s a solid bump for those who demand the very best performance from their portable macOS machine. It’s available to order now, while the Mac Pro SSD kits will be offered later today.


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