The 16-inch MacBook Pro just got a huge upgrade to beat the Dell XPS 15

MacBook Pro 16-Inch
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The MacBook Pro 16-inch just got a pretty big update from Apple that debuts a brand new GPU option. And while it may have happened silently, it's a huge deal for creators and pros, and could be enough of a booster jet for graphics performance to give MacBook Pro an edge against the Dell XPS 15.

So, the nitty gritty: The 16-inch MacBook Pro can now be configured with the recently released AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU (which has 8GB of HBM2 memory). The GPU is rated to offer performance gains up to 75% faster than the 4GB Radeon Pro 5500 GPU, and it costs $700 more than that GPU. 

If you've waited even longer to upgrade (like I am) you'll see even more pronounced gains, of up to 3.5 times faster performance than a previous-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro. These improvements will likely be seen in creator applications, such as work rendering 3D models, building and designing games and work in video.

Hopefully, this is enough graphical prowess to take on or exceed the performance of the Dell XPS 15 (2020), which maxes out at the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (4GB GDDR6 memory), which was in our review unit. Said XPS 15 beat the 16-inch MacBook Pro on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider test, running it at 29 frames per second vs the MacBook's 27.2 fps. While the Radeon Pro 5600M GPU is seemingly more for creators than gamers, this boost should give the MacBook Pro the extra push it needs to compete.

Over on the Mac Pro (2019), Apple's added a new SSD customization option, with a Mac Pro SSD Upgrade Kit that allows customers to upgrade internal storage. You'll get two SSD modules per kit, with the following options: 1TB ($600), 2TB ($1,000), 4TB ($1,600), or 8TB ($2,800). 

This is an important change to the Mac Pro, as its modular design provided an allure of ultimate upgradability. Instructions and full info can be found here, though the kits have yet to actually appear on Apple in the near future, likely later today (June 15). 

As I mentioned earlier, these upgrades and updates come as we await Apple's online-only developer conference, where it is expected to reveal that it will be soon moving its laptops and desktops to its own Apple-made processors. 

The MacBook ARM and use of ARM chips throughout Apple's hardware will shake up how the Mac works, and I've heard some grumblings from the developer and pro worlds about how changes to applications could put the Mac through significant growing pains if apps don't get updated in time for the eventual release.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.