What sets the Mac Pro apart from other Macs in 2023 is how scalable it is. It has the most Thunderbolt 4 ports (which double as USB Type-C) of any Mac in eight years, supported by three USB Type-A ports. On its own, this might not be a huge leap from the M2 Ultra Mac Studio, which has six Thunderbolt 4 ports and a non-Thunderbolt USB Type-C port.
A special difference is that the Mac Pro adds seven slots for PCI Express expansion cards, six of which are available because the Apple I/O card uses one of the slots out of the box. (Specifically, the Mac Pro has two extended PCIE gen4 slots, each rated at x16, a double x8, and a single x8, plus an Apple I/O card in the half-height x4 gen3 slot.)
In practice, what does this mean? Apple’s “PCIe cards that you can install on your Mac Pro (2023)” website have the best solutions. Apple says that the 2023 Mac Pro does not support adding graphics cards to PCI Express, either to increase 3D performance or simply to provide better speeds. of hardware for video uploading and downloading. Apple also claims that the M2 Ultra Media Engine “performs better than Afterburner,” an old Apple add-in card that helped speed up video codecs in PCIE-Mac Pros. According to the latest Mac Pro support, Apple writes “fiber optic cards, network cards, video and I/O audio cards, storage cards, and ethernet cards.”