The new apple Mac Pro and Mac Studio are two of the most powerful products from the Cupertino giant. You can kit both with the highest-end custom silicon that Apple sells at the moment, the M2 Ultra. And let's not forget to mention that Apple offers up to 192GB of memory and 8TB of storage for both.
In short, you can customize the setup of the Apple Mac Pro and Mac Studio in a very similar fashion and make them perform the same. However, even with the same specifications, the price difference between the two is $3000. Like you, I was surprised to find such a price difference while browsing the official product pages. But there's a lot more to the story.
More Thunderbolt 4 Ports and Additional Accessories Might Be Making Mac Pro Expensive
If you visit the Apple online store right now and configure the Mac Pro and Mac Studio, you will notice that one costs $11799, while the other is $8799. That means there's a $3000 price difference between the two.
Before anything else, you need to consider that Mac Pro comes with extra goodies. Apple is offering Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and a USB-C to Lightning cable with the Mac Pro. You do not get them with the Apple Mac Studio.
Now, while they are really expensive goodies, they will be useless for a professional user who already has these accessories.
And it's not like you will not have a proper experience with the Apple Mac Pro without these peripherals. So, the price increase for bundling the workstation with Apple-branded peripherals does not really make that much sense.
Additional Thunderbolt 4 Ports
The Apple Mac Studio comes with a total of six Thunderbolt 4 ports. There are four at the back and two at the front. In comparison, the Apple Mac Pro comes with a total of 8 ports.
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Of course, there's no denying that Mac Studio is extremely compact in size. So, it's understandable why it offers two fewer Thunderbolt 4 ports than Mac Pro.
Other Upgrades of Apple Mac Pro
The additional Thunderbolt 4 Ports and bundled peripherals will not be worth spending an extra $3000 for most buyers. In addition, Apple offers one extra HDMI and Ethernet port on the Mac Pro. Also, the workstation has seven PCIe expansion slots.
But the bad news is that you can only install networking cards or storage on these PCIe slots. That is, they do not have support for dedicated graphics cards. And this practically discourages a large customer base from picking up the Apple Mac Pro.
So, what really makes the Apple Mac Pro worth an extra $3000? At the WWDC 2023 keynote, Apple only talked about the Mac Pro for two and a half minutes. And if you asked me, it seems like Apple is not putting that much focus on the workstation.
It's likely because Apple understands that consumers prefer compact machines over clunky workstations. And with the Mac Studio, Apple proved that compact machines can be powerful and thermally capable at the same time. So, if you make a price-to-price comparison, the Mac Studio is a no-brainer option at the moment.
However, the place where the extra $3000 will start to make sense is in terms of upgradability. You can not upgrade the Apple Mac Studio in any way. After all, it's Apple that we are talking about.
So, whatever you are configuring it with at the Apple online store, you are stuck with it. If that's something you think is not paying an extra $3000 for, you will be well-off with the Apple Mac Studio.