Thunderbolt Expansion with the New Mac Pro and PCIe Cards


When the latest-version Mac Pro was first announced in June of 2013, it took many creative professionals aback. The radical departure from the boxy aluminum body we had come to know immediately created the love/hate response we expect from Apple enthusiasts at this point—some think the physical design is beautiful, while others regard it as a little black trash can.

Aesthetics aside, there’s a lot more to this update than faster processing, more RAM, and powerful graphics capabilities. Apple has done what many thought was unthinkable: they did away with PCIe slots in favor of their Thunderbolt connector. Thunderbolt is clearly the future of connectivity at Apple, and while its speed and versatility are impressive, it creates a conundrum for many audio and film professionals who rely on PCIe-based equipment.

The good news is, you can integrate your PCIe-based systems with a new Mac Pro and get your hands on all that raw power. The bad news? You’re going to have to invest in a PCIe to Thunderbolt chassis, effectively housing your PCIe cards outside of the new Mac Pro. This new chassis should be welcome news to those looking to update their Pro Tools HD systems with a new Mac Pro.