What just happened? If you have the cash to spare, Apple's Mac Pro is a pretty solid machine. Whether or not it's worth its starting price of $6,000 is a topic best saved for another day, but for creative professionals who don't want to break out of the Apple ecosystem, it's the best the company offers. However, the Mac Pro's baseline AMD Radeon Pro 580X isn't quite enough for some more intense workloads.
Apple has let you upgrade that GPU to the $2,400 Radeon Pro Vega II in the past, but even for professionals who demand the best, that's a tough amount to swallow. Now, though, Apple is giving customers the option to pick either one or two Radeon Pro W5700X GPUs (with 16GB of VRAM) instead -- a single-card configuration will run you $600, while the dual config is $1,600.
It's unclear why Apple is charging only $600 for the first card, but (effectively) $1,000 for the 2nd, but clearly, the company feels this is the best path forward. If you do decide to go with a single W5700X when building your Mac Pro for the first time, but later realize you need a bit more power, you aren't out of luck. Apple is happy to sell you a second standalone card as a separate purchase for $1,000.
$1,600 or even $600 is still a sizable chunk of change for many, but in the realm of enthusiast and professional-grade GPUs, the pricing isn't all that outrageous -- especially given how much of a performance improvement the W5700X offers over the 580X.
We look forward to seeing whether or not Apple will roll out any other upgrade or customization options for the Mac Pro over the next year or two -- not counting the machine's new $700 wheel kit or $300 feet kit.
Masthead credit: TechCrunch
Middle image credit: TechRadar