The latest Bloomberg report says that we could see the upcoming Apple Silicon Mac Pro by WWDC in June. The M1 Max MacBook Pro has already given some indications of just how powerful the new machine is likely to be, making it an eagerly awaited product for high-end video production.

However, a new analysis of what we can likely expect says that the 2022 model may be less upgradable than its predecessor …

We’ve already seen just how much power can be offered by Apple Silicon chips compared to the 2019 Mac Pro. Benchmarks published last month show that the M1 Max MacBook Pro exports ProRes video three times faster than the Mac Pro.

M1 Max ProRes benchmark testing on ProRes video exports shows that the high-end 2021 MacBook Pro is three times faster than the 2019 Mac Pro.

Even if you fit the $2,000 Afterburner card to the Mac Pro, the M1 Max MacBook Pro is still twice as fast.

A new Macworld piece notes that this integration of Apple hardware with its own ProRes codec benefits more than rendering.

This same speed advantage can be applied across other facets of ProRes video editing. Intensive tasks like noise reduction and stabilization typically are faster on the M1 Max.

However, as soon as you remove ProRes from the equation, the M1 Max loses its advantage, falling significantly behind the 2019 Mac Pro when it comes to R3D Raw playback and export. Here Apple will need brute force in the form of the rumored 128 graphics cores.

Macworld’s Thiago Trevisan says that there is one big question mark: the form factor of the new machine.

The 2013 Mac Pro, affectionately called “Trash Can” due to its design, was notoriously limited by its thermal limits and lack of true expandability. Enter the 2019 Mac Pro, with three enormous airflow fans and enough PCI Express slots to make any pro user happy.

What approach will Apple take with this year’s machine? Trevisan thinks that the company may take a back-step when it comes to upgradability.

An Apple silicon Mac Pro may eliminate some of these needs with its hyper-performance GPU and optimized software. Thermal concerns are likely void, as Apple Silicon is efficient, and the Mac Pro enclosure will typically allow for better airflow compared to the MacBook Pro […]

With the current design of Apple silicon having everything integrated on a chip, we’re not sure how or if Apple will implement any such upgradability that has been vital to the needs of current Mac Pro customers […]

All of this comes at what should be a more affordable price and better energy consumption compared to the 2019 Mac Pro. This initial cheaper price may be offset by less upgradability, however, making it more likely you’ll need to purchase a new machine when it’s time to upgrade. 

Top-end users may not care much. If you’re using a Mac Pro for movie and TV show production, the machine represents such a small proportion of your budget that regular replacements are no big deal. But if Trevisan is right, that could make the Apple Silicon Mac Pro significantly less appealing to video pros who don’t work on such big-buck productions, and expect to be able to retain a machine for many years thanks to upgrades as required.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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