New Mac Pro MPX modules add potent AMD Radeon W6000 GPUs

Chris Davies - Aug 3, 2021, 9:34am CDT
New Mac Pro MPX modules add potent AMD Radeon W6000 GPUs

Apple has released three new Mac Pro MPX graphics cards modules, bringing AMD’s latest GPUs to the desktop powerhouse. The new MPX modules will be available both for new Mac Pro orders amid the computer’s custom configurations, and as standalone kits for existing Mac Pro owners looking to add new GPU power to their machines.

Apple launched the MPX – or Mac Pro Expansion – module format alongside the latest-generation of Mac Pro back in 2019. Designed to make upgrading graphics more straightforward, each Mac Pro offers space for two modules along with auxiliary power connections for 300W or more of power for them.

In addition, along with the PCI Express x16 GPU connection, the modules have a secondary, card-edge connector. That has a further x8 PCIe lanes for Thunderbolt, routing DisplayPort video, and more, meaning that the GPU’s PCIe connection doesn’t have to share its bandwidth. Finally, the modules themselves have larger passive heat sinks, aiding with quieter cooling.

The three new options are based on the AMD Radeon Pro W6000-Series GPU. There’ll be a Radeon Pro W6800X MPX Module, a Radeon Pro W6800X Duo MPX Module, and finally a Radeon Pro W6900X MPX Module. They support Infinity Fabric Link, so that up to four GPUs – or two Duo modules – to connect at up to 84 GB/s per link, in each direction.

That 168 GB/s of bi-directional bandwidth is around five times faster than the PCIe bus would be. Apple will preconfigure the Infinity Fabric Link connection for factory orders with two W6000-Series modules, and include the connection separately for standalone kits.

Each of the W6000-Series GPUs has 32GB of GDDR6 memory. The Radeon Pro W6800X and W6900X can drive three of Apple’s Pro Display XDR displays, three 5K displays, or as many as six 4K displays.

With two W6800X Duo cards, the promise is up to 60 teraflops of graphics performance, combines with 128GB of memory. Mac Pro users will see up to 84-percent faster Octane X performance, and up to 23-percent faster DaVinci Resolve performance. There could be up to a 26-percent increase in frame rate for realtime 3D interaction in Macon Cinema 4D.

Meanwhile, there are also more ports, adding to the Mac Pro’s flexibility. Each of the new MPX modules has four extra Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with an HDMI 2 port. It means the Mac Pro can end up with as many as 12 Thunderbolt 3 ports, if its modules are maxed out.

As for the existing AMD Radeon Pro Vega II MPX Module and AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo MPX Module, they’ll no longer be offered as new Mac Pro custom order configurations. However Apple will continue to offer them as a standalone kit for existing owners.

The Radeon Pro W6800X MPX Module is $2,400 on an otherwise base-spec new Mac Pro, while a pair is $5,200. The Radeon Pro W6800X Duo MPX Module is $4,600 for a single, and $9,600 for two. Finally, a single Radeon Pro W6900X MPX Module is $5,600, and a pair is $11,600.


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