iMac Pro Works With Apple's New Pro Display XDR, But Limited to 5K Resolution

Shortly after the Pro Display XDR became available to order this week, Stephen Hackett of Relay FM noted that the iMac Pro was not included in the list of Mac models compatible with the display on Apple's website.


Fortunately, video editor Thomas Grove Carter has since demonstrated that the iMac Pro can in fact drive the Pro Display XDR, but only at a 5K resolution. This is likely because the iMac Pro uses Intel's older "Alpine Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 controller without enough bandwidth to drive a 6K display.


To use the Pro Display XDR at its full 6K resolution, the display must be connected to the new Mac Pro with MPX Module GPUs, a 2018 or later 15-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch MacBook Pro, or a 2019 iMac. To our best knowledge, all of these models are equipped with Intel's newer "Titan Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 controller.

The Pro Display XDR also works at full 6K resolution with any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports paired with a Blackmagic eGPU or Blackmagic eGPU Pro. Those external GPUs are equipped with the "Titan Ridge" controller as well.

The Pro Display XDR is aimed at professional users, with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. It is priced at $4,999 and up.

(Hat tip to Myke Hurley!)

Related Roundups: Apple Pro Display XDR, iMac Pro
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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6 weeks ago


Apple has some explaining to do to iMac Pro customers.


"the iMac Pro uses Intel's older "Alpine Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 controller without enough bandwidth to drive a 6K display."

So I guess the explaining would be technology improves over time?
Rating: 14 Votes
6 weeks ago


Nope. Working in a degraded state from its peak performance is not best described as simply "working". That the iMac Pro can't push any flavor of 6k to their own external Pro display, just a huge flop and egg on Tims face.

Keep in mind the 16" MBP can drive the full 6K. Apple has some explaining to do to iMac Pro customers.


Or maybe you should understand how technology works before talking about it. iMac Pro customers bought a product that by its own spec is able to drive displays up to 5k, so I really doubt they expected it to drive a 6k display. Hardware specs are fixed, they don’t magically auto update when a new product it’s released. I don’t expect my MacBook Pro model 2015 to drive a 5k display just because now there are 5k display on sale.
Rating: 12 Votes
6 weeks ago
That sucks. I wonder if Apple will release a "normal" 5k display that would pair nicely with the iMac Pro/iMac and the mac mini.
Rating: 12 Votes
6 weeks ago
Nope. Working in a degraded state from its peak performance is not best described as simply "working". That the iMac Pro can't push any flavor of 6k to their own external Pro display, just a huge flop and egg on Tims face.

Keep in mind the 16" MBP can drive the full 6K. Apple has some explaining to do to iMac Pro customers.
Rating: 12 Votes
6 weeks ago


Nope. Working in a degraded state from its peak performance is not best described as simply "working". That the iMac Pro can't push any flavor of 6k to their own external Pro display, just a huge flop and egg on Tims face.

Keep in mind the 16" MBP can drive the full 6K. Apple has some explaining to do to iMac Pro customers.

There's not really any explaining needed. The Thunderbolt spec for 6K wasn't included on the iMac Pro, so it wasn't possible. Not a scam or anything. They will need to update it in the next model, I am certain it will support the 6k display if they release a new model.
Rating: 11 Votes
6 weeks ago
No one expected Apple to update its iMac Pro often but I do think Apple's "Pro" iMac should be able to drive their "Pro" display. They really should update it with new GPU & CPU options by Spring if they can. I would also love to see a "baby XDR" put into the iMac Pro. Further differentiate the iMac Pro from the iMac by sticking with 5K resolution but adopting some of the XDR's backlighting & anti-reflective finish on the iMac Pro.
Rating: 7 Votes
6 weeks ago


Nope. Working in a degraded state from its peak performance is not best described as simply "working". That the iMac Pro can't push any flavor of 6k to their own external Pro display, just a huge flop and egg on Tims face.

Keep in mind the 16" MBP can drive the full 6K. Apple has some explaining to do to iMac Pro customers.


Such drama!

Seems you are not aware the iMac Pro was released before the Pro Display XDR.

Should I be just as steamed it also doesn't work with my 2017 MBP?
Rating: 6 Votes
6 weeks ago

The issue here is that Apple is still selling the iMac Pro for a premium over the normal 5K iMac, with this limitation. Customers are going to buy it thinking that it can do whatever the normal 5K iMac can do.


A customer ready to drop five-figures on an iMac Pro and XDR display is going to perform their due diligence before buying and will know that the current iMac Pro cannot drive that display.

And honestly, if they are looking at an XDR display, they are looking at a Mac Pro (or maybe a MacBook Pro). Not an iMac Pro.
Rating: 6 Votes
6 weeks ago


Nope. Working in a degraded state from its peak performance is not best described as simply "working". That the iMac Pro can't push any flavor of 6k to their own external Pro display, just a huge flop and egg on Tims face.

Keep in mind the 16" MBP can drive the full 6K. Apple has some explaining to do to iMac Pro customers.


That's nothing compared to the egg on Steve's face-- my PowerMac G5 can't even drive it at 5k!
Rating: 6 Votes
6 weeks ago
The Mac Pro has a sweet spot around $10k. Dollar for dollar, it destroys the iMac Pro, and you can use whatever monitor you want (instead of that 27" mirror that's barely adjustable unless you use the sketchy VESA adapter). Not to mention you can upgrade it down the road...
Rating: 6 Votes

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