Mac Pro Refesh in March

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Okay.. looks like Intel has the processor we've been waiting for...



Intel Corp. is projected to release its highly-anticipated eight-core Intel Xeon microprocessors for dual-socket servers in March, 2012. The new chips will be based on Sandy Bridge-EP design with all cores activated and will be very competitive on both server as well as ultra high-end workstation markets.



http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/dis...ch_Rumour.html



Oh do I love the sound of ultra high-end workstation...
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Comments

  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    Lets see, how much you want to bet immature whining about when Apple will release the updated Pro will happen right after the official Intel release?



    Even more so wait for the rush of tears when the Pro is put into a new chassis that is all my god smaller.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post


    Okay.. looks like Intel has the processor we've been waiting for...



    Intel Corp. is projected to release its highly-anticipated eight-core Intel Xeon microprocessors for dual-socket servers in March, 2012. The new chips will be based on Sandy Bridge-EP design with all cores activated and will be very competitive on both server as well as ultra high-end workstation markets.



    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/dis...ch_Rumour.html



    Oh do I love the sound of ultra high-end workstation...



  • mike fixmike fix Posts: 212member
    Apple has a pretty good track record of actually releasing machines before the actual release date of the processors...



    And there's this from this site:

    http://www.cpu-world.com/news_2012/2...ors_in_Q1.html



    Romley platform will be introduced on March 6, on the first day of CeBIT show. We suspect that the launch will include large number of "Sandy Bridge-EP" Xeon microprocessors from E5-2600, and perhaps from E5-1600 families. We reported on specifications of these Xeons last fall. Prices will range from $294 to $1080 for E5-1600 series chips, and from $202 to $2057 for E5-2600 CPUs.



    And these stats for the Sandy Bridge 8 Core chip:



    http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Xeon/T...20E5-2600.html



    I'd be very happy with 2x8 cores at 3.3ghz.



    I'm also going to guess the cost of the box to be around $6k. Which is about what I'm expecting to spend.



    I'm hoping the case stays the same size, with 4 drive bays, but with updated USB and Thunderbolt.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post


    Apple has a pretty good track record of actually releasing machines before the actual release date of the processors...



    And there's this from this site:



    Romley platform will be introduced on March 6, on the first day of CeBIT show. We suspect that the launch will include large number of "Sandy Bridge-EP" Xeon microprocessors from E5-2600, and perhaps from E5-1600 families. We reported on specifications of these Xeons last fall. Prices will range from $294 to $1080 for E5-1600 series chips, and from $202 to $2057 for E5-2600 CPUs.



    I do hope that Apple focuses on performance.

    Quote:

    And these stats for the Sandy Bridge 8 Core chip:





    I'd be very happy with 2x8 cores at 3.3ghz



    Under some workloads these processors show fairly impressive performance gains. I just hope Apple designs hardware that can realize those gains and prices it right.

    Quote:



    I'm also going to guess the cost of the box to be around $6k. Which is about what I'm expecting to spend.



    Too much. They need to deliver a machine with two processors at under $3000 for the base hardware.

    Quote:

    I'm hoping the case stays the same size, with 4 drive bays, but with updated USB and Thunderbolt.



    I think it is time for a major overhaul. They need to introduce modern hardware and stress high performance. While drive bays are still needed for example, SSDs sitting on PCI Express ports should be the standard location for the OS and apps. I also suspect that the video card will be built in to support multiple Thunderbolt ports. The writing is pretty much on the wall in some regards, this will be a major overhaul.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,355member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Lets see, how much you want to bet immature whining about when Apple will release the updated Pro will happen right after the official Intel release?



    Even more so wait for the rush of tears when the Pro is put into a new chassis that is all my god smaller.



    I think it's just a build up of expectations, but we'll see minor changes at best. By that I mean they'll put in another quad cpu in the base model at the same price point, and the 3.2 6 core (can't recall the sku number) at around $3k as it matches up with the release cpu price of the previous one used.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I do hope that Apple focuses on performance.



    Under some workloads these processors show fairly impressive performance gains. I just hope Apple designs hardware that can realize those gains and prices it right.



    Too much. They need to deliver a machine with two processors at under $3000 for the base hardware.





    I think it is time for a major overhaul. They need to introduce modern hardware and stress high performance. While drive bays are still needed for example, SSDs sitting on PCI Express ports should be the standard location for the OS and apps. I also suspect that the video card will be built in to support multiple Thunderbolt ports. The writing is pretty much on the wall in some regards, this will be a major overhaul.



    That would be pretty cool, but I think the languishing is just one of those things Apple does at times. I think they'll reuse as much of the design as possible and update the cpus and obviously gpus (hopefully with decent OpenGL performance for once).
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,622member, moderator
    Right now, the entry Xeon they use costs $294. The 6-core/12 thread E5-2620 costs $406. That's just $112 more that can easily be absorbed by Apple by ditching the entire optical bay.



    The highest Mac Pro CPU costs $1440 per chip so that maxes the new one out at the 8-core 2.4GHz E5-2665.



    Personally, what I'd like to see them do is abandon dual CPU models, get rid of the 5.25" bay, remove all internal PCI slots, put in a high-end Radeon 7000M or NVidia Kepler mobile GPU, cut the PSU, cut the chassis size way down, put on 4 x Thunderbolt ports and keep internal drive expansion slots.



    The special sauce would be a zero-config multi-computer link via Thunderbolt. The operating system would detect when you connected another Mac via Thunderbolt and be able to us it for computing transparently. So for example, you start a graphics render on Mac Pro 1, hook up another Mac Pro via Thunderbolt and it automatically knows there's another set of CPUs to use.



    There would just be one model of Mac Pro:



    6-core 12-thread Xeon E5-2620

    8GB RAM

    NVidia kepler 1GB VRAM

    $2499



    there would be an option for an 8-core 16-thread Xeon E5-2650 upgrade

    $2999



    The downside to multi-computer setups is having to pay some software companies for multiple licenses, in which case Apple making a dual 2.4GHz E5-2665 for $6,200 might be more cost-effective but they have to use dual socket motherboards and accommodate the heat from two CPUs.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,355member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Right now, the entry Xeon they use costs $294. The 6-core/12 thread E5-2620 costs $406. That's just $112 more that can easily be absorbed by Apple by ditching the entire optical bay.



    The highest Mac Pro CPU costs $1440 per chip so that maxes the new one out at the 8-core 2.4GHz E5-2665.



    Personally, what I'd like to see them do is abandon dual CPU models, get rid of the 5.25" bay, remove all internal PCI slots, put in a high-end Radeon 7000M or NVidia Kepler mobile GPU, cut the PSU, cut the chassis size way down, put on 4 x Thunderbolt ports and keep internal drive expansion slots.



    The special sauce would be a zero-config multi-computer link via Thunderbolt. The operating system would detect when you connected another Mac via Thunderbolt and be able to us it for computing transparently. So for example, you start a graphics render on Mac Pro 1, hook up another Mac Pro via Thunderbolt and it automatically knows there's another set of CPUs to use.



    There would just be one model of Mac Pro:



    6-core 12-thread Xeon E5-2620

    8GB RAM

    NVidia kepler 1GB VRAM

    $2499



    there would be an option for an 8-core 16-thread Xeon E5-2650 upgrade

    $2999



    The downside to multi-computer setups is having to pay some software companies for multiple licenses, in which case Apple making a dual 2.4GHz E5-2665 for $6,200 might be more cost-effective but they have to use dual socket motherboards and accommodate the heat from two CPUs.



    Gimping the graphics actually takes away one of the more useful things about the machine. I don't see why they'd want to go with one of the "M" as in mobile gpus. They cost more for the performance obtained. I don't think this would be necessary in such a machine. I don't see it shrinking much if at all, especially not to a point where cooling for a normal gpu would be too difficult, so it would not really warrant the cost of implementing such a solution for a potentially flat performance increase. Apple did use a dual socket board with one and two socket configurations in the past. Other companies still employ such a strategy on many models. Right now the flow of the line is just weird with many hiccups in performance gains as you go up or down it. I kind of wonder how many people actually buy the 8 core.
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,622member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Gimping the graphics actually takes away one of the more useful things about the machine. I don't see why they'd want to go with one of the "M" as in mobile gpus. They cost more for the performance obtained.



    It's about changing the Mac Pro from a boring workstation that people expect to last 6-7 years into one that they want to upgrade every refresh cycle. This is where consumer products get the volume and value. GPU upgrades just mean that Apple has to get custom PCI cards out and offer driver support.



    You can see people in the comments on this page:



    http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MC743ZM/A



    trying to upgrade the GPUs in their 4 year old Mac Pros instead of buying a new one. That sort of thing might seem fine from a consumer point of view but if it kills the profitability from Apple's (and by extension Intel's) point of view, then it's not in the best interests of the consumer either because the prices have to be jacked up and the updates won't be frequent.



    Right now, the top 27" iMac is faster than the 3.2GHz Mac Pro ($2900) and includes a 27" IPS screen ($999) for just $2199 - iMac is $1700 cheaper than an equivalent Mac Pro setup. Mobile GPUs aren't nearly as gimped as they used to be:



    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/vi...adeon+HD+6970M



    That site places the 6970M above the Mac Pro's 5770 but below the 5870. I think it may in fact be slower than the 5770 but it's in the same range that you wouldn't notice the difference. There is the issue of double-precision support but there are DP mobile GPUs and Apple can share the lower-end models between the iMac and Mac Pro. As the stats show, there's not really a noticeable performance loss going with a mobile GPU but you save space and lower heat.



    There's no real harm in using desktop GPUs though so if that's the better option for the Mac Pro, so be it. I think it's the one component that urges Mac Pro owners to hold onto their machines longer instead of replacing them and getting the latest CPU upgrades.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    I kind of wonder how many people actually buy the 8 core.



    The total Mac Pro sales will be in the hundreds of thousands per quarter. I'd expect the number of buyers across the models to be spread out based on usual wealth distribution - the vast majority at the bottom and the minority at the top. Each model, I'd say less than 100k each per quarter.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    There are what I believe to be sound reasons to move away from the current design, one being cost, that are enabled via changing technology. Frankly the Pro has to change some simply to support some of Apples other already established initiatives. The big example here is Thunderbolt (TB) that requires integration of the GPU onto the motherboard. Simply supporting TB requires an overhaul of the whole Pro concept.



    Then you have some lesser realities that are telling in the industry. One is that optical drives are going away. Another is the growing desire to see secondary storage on Solid State devices. Then you have cube memory, which might be a bit early to expect.



    Take SSD's for example, eventually the interface for them will be PCI Express. Now the industry is actually struggling with the best way to offer up PCI Express based storage cards, should they be standard PC expansion cards or one of the many smaller formats being discussed. I believe Intel and others are working right now on a slimmer card format for SSD's in PC's, and such a format would be advantageously engineered into a new Mac Pro.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    I think it's just a build up of expectations, but we'll see minor changes at best. By that I mean they'll put in another quad cpu in the base model at the same price point, and the 3.2 6 core (can't recall the sku number) at around $3k as it matches up with the release cpu price of the previous one used.



    Apple has a huge problem with the cost of the Mac Pro, being that it is the only machine with viable internal expansion. A $3K machine just isn't viable anymore as an entry level expandable machine. To that end I'm really hoping Aple has seen the light here and seriously considers a wider split between the high end and the low end of the platform. I'd actually would like to see the low end populated with a desktop Ivy Bridge chip at under $1500. The high end machine should take up the Xeon and high reliability end of the spectrum.



    To save the Mac Pro the platform needs to generate more volume in sales. That means addressing the lower cost expandable market.

    Quote:

    That would be pretty cool, but I think the languishing is just one of those things Apple does at times. I think they'll reuse as much of the design as possible and update the cpus and obviously gpus (hopefully with decent OpenGL performance for once).



    Well like I said at the beginning this wouldn't be the first time I would be wrong. I just see a whole bunch of technologies coming forward that will allow for a significant overhaul of the Pro. Maybe allow isn't the right word, some tech like TB will require an overhual.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Right now, the entry Xeon they use costs $294. The 6-core/12 thread E5-2620 costs $406. That's just $112 more that can easily be absorbed by Apple by ditching the entire optical bay.



    At the low end the Pro needs a very aggressive price drop to put into a reasonable range of other expandable machines. For this to happen they will need to refactor the whole machine.

    Quote:

    The highest Mac Pro CPU costs $1440 per chip so that maxes the new one out at the 8-core 2.4GHz E5-2665.



    Personally, what I'd like to see them do is abandon dual CPU models, get rid of the 5.25" bay, remove all internal PCI slots, put in a high-end Radeon 7000M or NVidia Kepler mobile GPU, cut the PSU, cut the chassis size way down, put on 4 x Thunderbolt ports and keep internal drive expansion slots.



    They really dont need to abandon the duallies, what they need to do is to secure the low end with a single chip platform for those more interested in expansion than raw CPU power.

    Quote:

    The special sauce would be a zero-config multi-computer link via Thunderbolt. The operating system would detect when you connected another Mac via Thunderbolt and be able to us it for computing transparently. So for example, you start a graphics render on Mac Pro 1, hook up another Mac Pro via Thunderbolt and it automatically knows there's another set of CPUs to use.



    "I" clusters!!!!!



    It isn't a bad idea though I really don't know how well that would work long term. Clusters of any value usually end up with complex interconnects.

    Quote:

    There would just be one model of Mac Pro:



    6-core 12-thread Xeon E5-2620

    8GB RAM

    NVidia kepler 1GB VRAM

    $2499



    there would be an option for an 8-core 16-thread Xeon E5-2650 upgrade

    $2999



    To really drive volume Apple needs a Ivy Bridge based machine at around $1500. This to address the rather large market that is forced onto PC hardware for lack of an expandable low end Mac. Such a machine would still need a modest GPU, but a 4 core 8 thread CPU complex would be just about right for many users.

    Quote:

    The downside to multi-computer setups is having to pay some software companies for multiple licenses, in which case Apple making a dual 2.4GHz E5-2665 for $6,200 might be more cost-effective but they have to use dual socket motherboards and accommodate the heat from two CPUs.



    The majority of users aren't all that concerned about high end software packages. It would be easy for Apple to continue to offer dual Socket machines for those that are high end. The problem is pretty clear, high end users are not enough volume wise to justify the platform. That is one of the reasons why I'd like to see the platform refactored to cover a wider array of needs.



    I actually think Apple has shot themselves in the foot here. They are no longer considered credible as a desktop supplier of computing hardware. This will not be easy to recover from no matter what they do with the Mac Pro. However as long as they only have a grossly over priced solution in the desktop sector they will continue to suffer from customer disgust.



    By the way folks neither the iMac nor the Mini really pass as desktop solutions. The whole point of buying desktops these days is expandability, performance and serviceability. Otherwise laptops are the order of the day.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,355member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    It's about changing the Mac Pro from a boring workstation that people expect to last 6-7 years into one that they want to upgrade every refresh cycle. This is where consumer products get the volume and value. GPU upgrades just mean that Apple has to get custom PCI cards out and offer driver support.




    I could go on for pages, but your analysis is severely flawed. In corporate environments lighter desktops will probably be displaced by thin clients unless net top type machines begin to make sense. If you look at what younger people are buying, they're all laptops. Desktops still have advantages in a few areas including stability, expansion, and sometimes speed. If you inch it toward what is offered by another product line, those advantages dry up quickly. If the mac pro is slow relative to the top imac, blame Apple. They did very little to make it competitive. They adjusted their hardware choices to ones that offered relatively flat speed increases from 2008 to 2009, and now in 2012 we still haven't seen a real update at the base level there (in spite of price adjustment by intel that would have allowed for it). Their gpu drivers suck. Their OpenGL implementation sucks. They don't support 10 bit displayport. The trend from Apple is to dumb every device down to the level of the iphone and call it a feature. It doesn't really make for a better experience.



    If you're buying a desktop, you probably also own a laptop. There needs to be a reason to own multiple computing devices. If they get too close in reliability, expansion, and speed, one will cannibalize the other. It's just that in this case that move is being forced in an artificial manner.
  • mactacmactac Posts: 315member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Apple has a huge problem with the cost of the Mac Pro, being that it is the only machine with viable internal expansion. A $3K machine just isn't viable anymore as an entry level expandable machine. To that end I'm really hoping Aple has seen the light here and seriously considers a wider split between the high end and the low end of the platform. I'd actually would like to see the low end populated with a desktop Ivy Bridge chip at under $1500. The high end machine should take up the Xeon and high reliability end of the spectrum.



    To save the Mac Pro the platform needs to generate more volume in sales. That means addressing the lower cost expandable market.



    Maybe I need to go to my old Catholic church and light a votive prayer candle and pray for Apple to see the light.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTac View Post


    Maybe I need to go to my old Catholic church and light a votive prayer candle and pray for Apple to see the light.



    There was little good mentioned about the desktop line up today. Let's just hope that the allusions to great products this year includes refactored desktop machines that sell.
  • macroninmacronin Posts: 1,123member
    Entry MacPro needs to be low priced and have a desktop class (meaning not Xeon server class) CPU; quad-core, of course?



    And now I totally jack up the price with options?! Yay options?!!!



    Give me four ram slots & three PCI Express slots (one 16x double width, two 8x single width)



    Put (and write REALLY good drivers for) a nVidia GFX590 GPU card in the 16x spot, an Apple RAID card & a bootable 256GB PCI Express SSD in the 8x spots?



    Give me four drive bays with 3TB drives in each bay, attached to the Apple RAID card and running as RAID 5?



    Attach it to a Sharp 80" LED HDTV & Onkyo HT-S9400THX HTiB system, the perfect WoW/HTPC rig?!



    ;^p
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,897member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post


    Entry MacPro needs to be low priced and have a desktop class (meaning not Xeon server class) CPU; quad-core, of course?



    Then it isn't a Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is a workstation computer, and therefore needs a workstation processor.



    Quote:

    Bunch of extra stuff that Apple would never do with the intent to let all of that power and expandablity go to waste



    Sounds like you really want a custom PC instead.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Then it isn't a Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is a workstation computer, and therefore needs a workstation processor.



    You forget that he implied a range of machines. That is a very important concept for recapturing desktop sales. Apple simply doesn't have a credible desktop machine these days, that is nothing suitable for a low end desktop installation. And no neither the Mini nor the iMac are suitable as expandable machines

    Quote:





    Sounds like you really want a custom PC instead.



    why should people be forced to buy PC hardware to have a flexible machine that can be configured for specific tasks? This attitude is really hard to digest in an Apple forum. For the same reason why do we have some really stupid choices for home and small business servers from Apple?



    Yes I'm implying that the Mini server is perhaps the stupidest thing Apple has done in some time. I'm not sure why Apple is so hemmed in with desktop design that they can't address the needs of their users better. A low end Mac Pro or XMac could effectively address these issues. That is Apple could sell a chassis that could be a respectable server, low end workstation or power users desktop.
  • co4ndco4nd Posts: 11member
    What would be awsome is if killed the pro and sold Mac Pro capable pc standard motherboards, let users customize the cpu, graphics ext. They could sell midrange, high end, and server class motherboards. Keep the geeks happy and not compete with the iMac / MacMini crowd. Make them online only so as not to confuse the consumer in the apple stores.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,897member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by co4nd View Post


    What would be awsome is if killed the pro and sold Mac Pro capable pc standard motherboards, let users customize the cpu, graphics ext.



    Every single other company does that. That's not Apple at all.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,477member
    And then get Mac OS running on it.



    I really don't see this as a successful path for Apple. AS for the consumer, most of them already know that the Mini and the Pro are crap for their uses.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by co4nd View Post


    What would be awsome is if killed the pro and sold Mac Pro capable pc standard motherboards, let users customize the cpu, graphics ext. They could sell midrange, high end, and server class motherboards. Keep the geeks happy and not compete with the iMac / MacMini crowd. Make them online only so as not to confuse the consumer in the apple stores.



  • macroninmacronin Posts: 1,123member
    OWC PCIe-based SSD



    Modular, from 60GB to 2TB?



    Start with the base card & the 60GB module for cost-cutting measures; everyone gets the benefit of the faster technology implementation, those with higher capacity needs will upgrade their modules!



    Come on Apple, release a new Mac Pro already! New form factor, new architectures?



    3U rackmount is what I am envisioning.
  • lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    And then get Mac OS running on it.



    I really don't see this as a successful path for Apple. AS for the consumer, most of them already know that the Mini and the Pro are crap for their uses.



    Apple laptops out sell the desktops by over 4 to 1.



    The mini and pro are almost irrelevant. And Apple's attention to them reflects that.



    A PC swiss army knife by apple? A compnay who likes people to buy their overpriced Macs and throw them away (sorry, put them to other uses...or give to Auntie or the kids) after a few years and buy another one? PC gneric design? They've spent 15 years moving away from that. It's all about Apple. Not about 'PCs.' I don't see any evidence at all in the last 15 years that Apple will offer a generic box, a x-Mac (despite the fact I'd like one) or any other port wire infested fantasy. The future of the Mac desktop? It's the iMac. Front and not so centre. It's the one they sell most of... 600-800k sales, I'd guess. But wayyyy behind the laptops.



    Apple wants you to fall in love all over again not upgrade the motherboard or the GPU. Like you can do that on a Mac Pro? Or the abundance of GPUs for it? or Chip upgrades? The mac pro's rep as an expandable machine that you can upgrade is kinda ironic...



    That said. I'd still like to see a refresh. I'd be amazed if it gets a face lift.



    or a price cut. Expect to see the entry level price rise if anything.



    Apple are a mobile computing company. The more I say it...the more I feel uneasy. But maybe I'll forget about that uneasy ('still want an x-Mac') feeling when I sit at my iMac or play with an iPad 3...



    Lemon Bon Bon.
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