Recently, Apple announced some pretty killer features for Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor, but they are Apple silicon only. The updates include machine learning based object tracking and faster exports for HEVC and H.264 by simultaneously processing video segments across available media engines but these aren't magical features that would be should be limited to Apple Silicon considering the GPU compute power that the Mac Pro 2019 offers and the ability to have multiple GPUs.
Video version of this post is attached above.
Apple wants to vector away from Intel Macs, which isn't news, but they're leaving the most dedicated Mac users or professionals in the lurch.
The Mac Pro 2019 represents inconvenient truth about Apple Silicon. To this day, Apple has not produced a GPU competing with AMD's highest-tier offerings. The highest-end GPU supported macOS still from the previous generation, the 6900 XT.
Apple’s GPUs lag in comparison to the power-sipping dedicated GPU market…
While Geekbench 6's metal benchmarks are not the only way to gauge a GPU performance, The 6900 XT in sheer compute is oodles above the current line up of integrated GPUs and almost certainly will outperform the M3 Ultra's GPU. Apple Silicon integrated GPUs have incredible TDPs (Thermal design power), which are fantastic for laptops but much less of an issue in the desktop space, where TDPs can be offset by power-consumption and arrays of fans.
Apple thus far has opted not to support the AMD 7000 series GPUs, aka Navi 31 (released December 13th, 2022). While AMD is lagging behind Nvidia, they managed to make the transition to a 5 nm Chiplet technology.
My wild speculation is Apple does not want to support these as it'd be an embarrassment for the Apple Silicon GPUs and Apple would like to move away from all things X86. For reference, the monstrous 7900 XTX is roughly 45-50% faster than the 6900 XT. Also, it supports hardware AV1 encoding.
This in itself isn't worth a blog post as Apple's lack of extended support is disappointing but not surprising or novel considering Apple's long history of abandoning computer support fast, be it the poor souls who bought PowerMac G5s 2x Dual-Core CPUs or worse, the earliest adopters of the Intel Macs, with the Core Duos, each getting 3-4 years of support before Apple abandoned them.
My absurdist Apple Store experience
The Mac Pro 2019 is completely modular, but it doesn’t matter.
The most curious thing about the Mac Pro 2019 is how much time and effort Apple spent making a modular computer, one that you cannot repair yourself. Replacing the PSU (Power Supply Unit) is a 5 minute affair, no more difficult than replacing an MPX GPU. This is wonderful... assuming you can actually buy one.
The only way to service a Mac Pro 2019 is via an Apple Store. I discovered this after my Mac Pro 2019 reported a fan issue in diagnostic mode. After trekking to a local Apple Store lugging my 50+ pound computer, it took Apple roughly a week to reach the same conclusion as me: the diagnostic mode is reporting a fan error and that Apple would need to service my Mac Pro. I learned several things:
- Apple will not sell you parts directly.
- Apple requires a technician to install the part even if you're not covered by Apple Care.
- Any parts removed become property of Apple. Under no circumstance will Apple give you your non-functioning part.
- Apple will not replace missing parts.
This is absolutely bonkers, considering the time and effort Apple took to make the Mac Pro 2019 serviceable by a novice, earning itself a 9 out of 10 from iFixit, as it requires only a Phillips and Torx screw driver. I was extra miffed that I couldn't keep my faulty fan array. It's functioning properly but may have a bad sensor. I wanted to see if I could fix it myself.
Apple may have backed a right-to-repair bill, but Apple itself is rotten to its core.