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New Apple Mac Pro goes on sale today: Which setup is right for you?

Starting today, Apple is making the redesigned Mac Pro desktop available for purchase. While we knew there would be an entry level model that starts at $2,999, as well as a higher end unit with a four kilobuck price tag, there are multiple ways to customize the Mac Pro from a component standpoint. So let’s take a look at the available options.

Apple Mac Pro processor options

The $2,999 Mac Pro includes an Intel Xeon E5 3.7GHz quad-core processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a pair of AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards, each with 2GB of RAM. However, you can swap out the CPU for one of three other options, each of which is a different flavor of the Xeon E5. One is a 3.5GHz six-core processor, which adds $500 to the price. From there, you can step up to a 3GHz eight-core CPU, which will run you an extra $2,000, or a 2.7GHz 12-core chip that carries an additional asking price of $3,500.

Apple Mac Pro memory options

Though the entry-level Mac Pro includes 12GB of RAM, you can opt to add more if you so wish. Upping the count to 16GB adds an extra $100 to the price of the system. Shooting up to 32GB will cost you an extra $500. Going all out by doubling that number to 64GB costs an extra $1,300.

Apple Mac Pro storage options

One of our pet peeves with the Mac Pro is the fact that each model is outfitted with a 256GB SSD by default. Though SSDs are significantly speedier than the mechanical hard drives found within the Mac Pro’s predecessor, 256GB just won’t cut it considering that the Mac Pro is aimed at creative professionals, who typically work with large files. This is likely why its predecessor shipped with 8TB of hard drive space.

Luckily, you can up the storage size on the new Mac Pro, but it’ll cost you. Bumping up the 256GB SSD to a 512GB SSD adds an extra $300 to the cost of the system. You can even get a 1TB SSD, but doing so costs an extra $800. There are no options to outfit the new Mac Pro with mechanical hard drives, like the ones included in the older Mac Pros. Though mechanical hard drives are much slower, they’re also much cheaper on a per GB basis.

Apple Mac Pro graphics options

Anybody in the market for a Mac Pro will likely be leaning heavily on its graphics cards to get through intense tasks like video and photo editing. If you doubt that the dual AMD FirePro D300 cards will cut it for you, they can be swapped for two AMD FirePro D500 GPUs, which up the RAM count from 2GB to 3GB per card, for an additional $400. Want to go hog wild? At the top of the Mac Pro’s graphics mountain, you’ll find dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics cards, which adds an extra 3GB of RAM per card. Doing so will cost you an extra $1,000 to the price of your Mac Pro.

What do you think of the available Mac Pro component configurations? Which parts would you get and why? Do you think the default models are sufficient? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below.