Apple's 2019 Mac Pro is now three PCIe revisions behind

Posted:
in macOS
The PCI Express 6.0 standard has officially made its debut, meaning that Apple's Mac Pro -- released in 2019 -- is now several generations behind what's currently available.

Apple's 2019 Mac Pro
Apple's 2019 Mac Pro


On Tuesday, PCI-SIG -- the organization responsible for PCIe -- announced the official release of PCIe 6.0. The new revision brings a multitude of updates and new features to the expansion bus standard.

New features of the specification include a 64 GT/s raw data rate, mechanisms to mitigate bit error rate, updated packet layout in Flit Mode, and Pulse Amplitude Modulation with 4 levels. PCIe 6.0 is also backwards compatible with previous generations of the technology.

Apple's Mac Pro features PCIe expansion slots for graphics modules, I/O cards, and other upgrades. However, the Mac Pro remains on PCIe 3.0 -- a specification that was first made available in 2010.

Since then, the PCIe 4.0 revision became ready to use by hardware manufacturers around June 2017. PCIe 5.0 was made available in November 2019, and the draft PCIe 6.0 specification was first announced in February 2020. As of January 2022, the specification should now be ready to include in hardware.

Apple is largely thought to be working on a Mac Pro update that moves the line over to custom Apple Silicon. Reportedly, the professional workstation could sport a 32-core M-series processor.

Additionally, Apple is also reportedly developing a smaller Mac Pro model.

It's not yet clear if either model will have PCIe slots. There are PCIe drivers available for some upgrade cards for Apple Silicon, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Drivers are what's preventing eGPU compatibility with Apple Silicon, as the cards and eGPU enclosures are recognized by Apple Silicon Macs over Thunderbolt.

Although the PCIe 6.0 specification is now available, it will take time before it's adopted by computer manufacturers and makes its way to consumers. If the timeline for previous revisions holds true, the first PCIe 6.0 hardware will arrive at about this time in 2023.

Read on AppleInsider
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    And is Thunderbolt 3/4 capable of carrying this new PCIe 6.0 specification at this moment hardware-wise, or needs some better hardware like Thunderbolt 5 in the future?
    And also the same question with Apple M1 CPU architecture able to handle PCIe 6.0 hardware-wise, just with software tweaks, or need to wait for new and better Apple CPU of the future?
    Just interested.
    Thanks.
    edited January 11 scstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 46
    Upgrading to these new PCIE standards doesn't make much sense, since most devices you'd use are not bandwidth limited.
    killroywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,961member
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    And is Thunderbolt 3/4 capable of carrying this new PCIe 6.0 specification at this moment hardware-wise, or needs some better hardware like Thunderbolt 5 in the future?
    And also the same question with Apple M1 CPU architecture able to handle PCIe 6.0 hardware-wise, just with software tweaks, or need to wait for new and better Apple CPU of the future?
    Just interested.
    Thanks.
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..


    killroyscstrrfDr.MOROravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 46
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,954member
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 46
    killroykillroy Posts: 208member
    rob53 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 

    Just a note here, The M1 CPU is PCIe 4.
    entropysscstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 46
    swat671swat671 Posts: 118member
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    And is Thunderbolt 3/4 capable of carrying this new PCIe 6.0 specification at this moment hardware-wise, or needs some better hardware like Thunderbolt 5 in the future?
    And also the same question with Apple M1 CPU architecture able to handle PCIe 6.0 hardware-wise, just with software tweaks, or need to wait for new and better Apple CPU of the future?
    Just interested.
    Thanks.
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..


    Since when is 32 faster than 40?
  • Reply 7 of 46
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,954member
    swat671 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    And is Thunderbolt 3/4 capable of carrying this new PCIe 6.0 specification at this moment hardware-wise, or needs some better hardware like Thunderbolt 5 in the future?
    And also the same question with Apple M1 CPU architecture able to handle PCIe 6.0 hardware-wise, just with software tweaks, or need to wait for new and better Apple CPU of the future?
    Just interested.
    Thanks.
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..


    Since when is 32 faster than 40?
    Small “b” vs big “B.” G doesn’t matter but should be cap-G for giga. 
    scstrrffastasleepcharlesatlaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 46
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,954member
    killroy said:
    rob53 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 

    Just a note here, The M1 CPU is PCIe 4.
    And Thunderbolt running on PCIe 4 bus isn’t any faster than thunderbolt running on PCIe 3.
    williamlondonscstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 46
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,458member
    Upgrading to these new PCIE standards doesn't make much sense, since most devices you'd use are not bandwidth limited.
    For most people sure, and I only care for one reason. 
    These are not volume products, but priced at the level you need to exchange your first born to obtain.  It should want for nothing, be a test bed for extreme capabilities that may eventually trickle down to products most people use. A Mac Pro should be like formula one is for the car industry, or space technology is for, well everything.
    williamlondonelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,961member
    swat671 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    And is Thunderbolt 3/4 capable of carrying this new PCIe 6.0 specification at this moment hardware-wise, or needs some better hardware like Thunderbolt 5 in the future?
    And also the same question with Apple M1 CPU architecture able to handle PCIe 6.0 hardware-wise, just with software tweaks, or need to wait for new and better Apple CPU of the future?
    Just interested.
    Thanks.
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..


    Since when is 32 faster than 40?
    Since you conveniently left out certain notations that explain it, I'll clarify it this one time for you.

    32GB/s (gigaBYTES per second) is faster than 40gb/s (gigabits per second).  Notice the capitalization of "GB"?  Standard identification of "Giga Bytes" versus the lowercase "gb" referring to "giga bits".
    williamlondonscstrrfravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 46
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,596member
    rob53 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 
    The point is Apple is still touting this machine as top-of-the-line when it's not anymore, and they're still charging prices like it's cutting edge, which it's not. They *always* repeat the same cycle with their "pro" stuff:

    Apple announces something new with much fanfare, which will be cutting edge, probably niche, "courageous", and almost a tech demo, for a high price which people here try to justify as "not for the masses" whilst claiming Apple doesn't cater to niche markets so they won't release an "xMac". The product isn't really what customers wanted, and doesn't fit with anyone's budget because they don't want to pay through the nose for a computer which will be the fastest available for about 6 months. So Apple is then disappointed that their huge investment didn't reach some astronomically overestimated sales figure, therefore it languishes at the introductory price for years. Eventually parts become obsolete so Apple is forced to update just to claim they are listening to "pros" and aren't iPhone only. And then repeat. HomePod was similar. Great hardware, way overpriced, crap interface. HomePod mini should have been first, then HomePod Pro.
    edited January 11 mobirdmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 46
    elijahg said:
    rob53 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 
    The point is Apple is still touting this machine as top-of-the-line when it's not anymore, and they're still charging prices like it's cutting edge, which it's not. They *always* repeat the same cycle with their "pro" stuff:

    Apple announces something new with much fanfare, which will be cutting edge, probably niche, "courageous", and almost a tech demo, for a high price which people here try to justify as "not for the masses" whilst claiming Apple doesn't cater to niche markets so they won't release an "xMac". The product isn't really what customers wanted, and doesn't fit with anyone's budget because they don't want to pay through the nose for a computer which will be the fastest available for about 6 months. So Apple is then disappointed that their huge investment didn't reach some astronomically overestimated sales figure, therefore it languishes at the introductory price for years. Eventually parts become obsolete so Apple is forced to update just to claim they are listening to "pros" and aren't iPhone only. And then repeat. HomePod was similar. Great hardware, way overpriced, crap interface. HomePod mini should have been first, then HomePod Pro.

    Using this same logic, the current iPhone isn't top of the line because new android flagships are coming in to months. Case and point, processor performance in the mobile space.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 46
    This article is an embarrassment to AI. The first sentence is a lie.

    It says the Mac Pro "is now several generations behind what's currently available". The VERY FIRST PCIe5 machines, using Intel's Alder Lake, came out in late 2021. All servers in the world that currently exist are PCIe4. (Well, except for POWER10 IBM servers, which started shipping late 2021, but they are inconsequential.) Equally importantly, there aren't any PCIe5 devices to plug into your PCIe5 slots yet. Maybe this week, if the SSDs announced last week at CES actually ship. PCIe6, as admitted at the end of the article, will not ship AT THE EARLIEST until this time next year - though realistically, it's unlikely to be anywhere near that soon. And it'll be even longer until you can buy cards that use it.

    So, being generous to the author, the Mac Pro is about to be two generations behind... though by that reading, every other server on the planet is one generation behind. By no definition of the word is it "several".

    The sad thing is, there are legitimate and strong complaints to be made about the Mac Pro. That's what the author should have done.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamtokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 46
    ...I wish Nvidia and AMD crossfire were better supported...  The latter might have helped (or still help) the 2013 mac pro...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 46
    entropys said:
    Upgrading to these new PCIE standards doesn't make much sense, since most devices you'd use are not bandwidth limited.
    For most people sure, and I only care for one reason. 
    These are not volume products, but priced at the level you need to exchange your first born to obtain.  It should want for nothing, be a test bed for extreme capabilities that may eventually trickle down to products most people use. A Mac Pro should be like formula one is for the car industry, or space technology is for, well everything.

    The people buying these machines aren't looking for the latest and greatest, they're looking for compatibility.

    Adopting this new standard should in theory allow you to do more with less lanes, but you would need to invest in new hardware that uses the standard. That's not really practical if all you care about is being able to reuse your current cards without running into the issue of lane availability. Right now, switching to these new standards is more expensive than its really worth, which is why they'll mostly be used by servers or supercomputers.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 46
    To answer one of the questions posted here: Thunderbolt (TB3, specifically) is not tied to a version of PCIe. It is *roughly* equivalent to a PCIe3 x4 link, in bandwidth - 40gbps vs 32gbps. But you can use it with any PCIe.

    And further about the Mac: If you're sticking with Intel chips, you don't have any option for PCIe >3 yet. Though that will change in the next few months with Sapphire Rapids, and if Apple really does release another Intel Mac Pro, it will likely use that, bringing it up to PCIe5. Of course, they could have used AMD, and indeed I think they absolutely should have. Using Zen2, they'd have had PCIe4. And they'd still have that now, with Zen 3... which still puts them only one generation behind.

    There are plenty of problems with the Mac Pro, but this PCIe nonsense is a meaningless sideshow.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 46
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,596member
    elijahg said:
    rob53 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 
    The point is Apple is still touting this machine as top-of-the-line when it's not anymore, and they're still charging prices like it's cutting edge, which it's not. They *always* repeat the same cycle with their "pro" stuff:

    Apple announces something new with much fanfare, which will be cutting edge, probably niche, "courageous", and almost a tech demo, for a high price which people here try to justify as "not for the masses" whilst claiming Apple doesn't cater to niche markets so they won't release an "xMac". The product isn't really what customers wanted, and doesn't fit with anyone's budget because they don't want to pay through the nose for a computer which will be the fastest available for about 6 months. So Apple is then disappointed that their huge investment didn't reach some astronomically overestimated sales figure, therefore it languishes at the introductory price for years. Eventually parts become obsolete so Apple is forced to update just to claim they are listening to "pros" and aren't iPhone only. And then repeat. HomePod was similar. Great hardware, way overpriced, crap interface. HomePod mini should have been first, then HomePod Pro.

    Using this same logic, the current iPhone isn't top of the line because new android flagships are coming in to months. Case and point, processor performance in the mobile space.
    That is not the same logic whatsoever. Unlike the Mac Pro vs competitors, iPhone is still faster than any Android phone, it's not 3x the price of the fastest Android phone, and it's not languishing without updates for years with no price drops. Each year the old iPhone model gets a price cut as it's replaced, doesn't happen with Macs.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 46
    [quote]As of January 2022, the specification should now be ready to include in hardware.[/quote]

    That's not at all how standards like this work.  The spec was just released.  Now companies take that spec and make sure their designs actually conform to it.  There's also time for other companies to start validating PCIe 6 components - not just things major like CPUs and SSDs - but all of the little chips on motherboards and devices that are part of connecting devices.  Apple doesn't make those seemingly insignificant bits.
    williamlondonfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 46
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,252member
    elijahg said:
    rob53 said:
    sflocal said:
    Dr.MORO said:
    Hi all,
    Just an amateur question.
    Thunderbolt 3/4 is compatible to carry PCIe of what specification or lower at this moment?
    The current Thunderbolt spec provides 40gb/s bandwidth.  While fast, it's still far below PCIe 3.0 max of 32GB/s.  I don't see a time where Thunderbolt will be at the same speed as the native PCIe bus.  

    The PCIe 6.0 specification I think will be geared more for servers than for consumer PC's.  It involves some pretty expensive tech, and motherboard fabrication to handle those high speeds which is why it will be limited to servers, render-farms, etc..
    In other words, there’s nothing really wrong with the version Apple used in the 2019 Mac Pro. Apple didn’t put any devices in the Mac Pro that would economically benefit from PCIe 4/5/6 so author is complaining about nothing. 
    The point is Apple is still touting this machine as top-of-the-line when it's not anymore, and they're still charging prices like it's cutting edge, which it's not. They *always* repeat the same cycle with their "pro" stuff:

    Apple announces something new with much fanfare, which will be cutting edge, probably niche, "courageous", and almost a tech demo, for a high price which people here try to justify as "not for the masses" whilst claiming Apple doesn't cater to niche markets so they won't release an "xMac". The product isn't really what customers wanted, and doesn't fit with anyone's budget because they don't want to pay through the nose for a computer which will be the fastest available for about 6 months. So Apple is then disappointed that their huge investment didn't reach some astronomically overestimated sales figure, therefore it languishes at the introductory price for years. Eventually parts become obsolete so Apple is forced to update just to claim they are listening to "pros" and aren't iPhone only. And then repeat. HomePod was similar. Great hardware, way overpriced, crap interface. HomePod mini should have been first, then HomePod Pro.

    Using this same logic, the current iPhone isn't top of the line because new android flagships are coming in to months. Case and point, processor performance in the mobile space.
    How would he ever know that it took three years just to get PCIe 5 supported 🙄️.  Why would he expect everyone jumps on to left Macs behind?

    Quick to response, but lack any knowledge of how things work.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,252member
    To answer one of the questions posted here: Thunderbolt (TB3, specifically) is not tied to a version of PCIe. It is *roughly* equivalent to a PCIe3 x4 link, in bandwidth - 40gbps vs 32gbps. But you can use it with any PCIe.

    And further about the Mac: If you're sticking with Intel chips, you don't have any option for PCIe >3 yet. Though that will change in the next few months with Sapphire Rapids, and if Apple really does release another Intel Mac Pro, it will likely use that, bringing it up to PCIe5. Of course, they could have used AMD, and indeed I think they absolutely should have. Using Zen2, they'd have had PCIe4. And they'd still have that now, with Zen 3... which still puts them only one generation behind.

    There are plenty of problems with the Mac Pro, but this PCIe nonsense is a meaningless sideshow.
    Right, can you list all the problems then?  Zen 2 aren't that reliable back then.
    edited January 11
Sign In or Register to comment.