Concept Imagines What a Modular Mac Pro Might Look Like

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in Future Apple Hardware
Concept Imagines What a Modular Mac Pro Might Look Like

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    What is funny is how ambiguous the word "modular" seems to be. Everybody just takes it to mean whatever it is they think they want in a Mac Pro. You have to wonder if the word was chosen for exactly that reason.

    For many, like this designer, it means modules that fit together inside an enclosure. [Let's set aside the fact this concept is much too small and compact to house higher-end Xeon(s) or manage the thermal-nightmare GPU dilemma that brought down the 2013 Mac Pro design.]

    More likely, and most here have heard this pitch already, is that modular means the CPU and GPU are going to be separated. That's one of the least-understood promises of Thunderbolt. Correct me if I'm wrong (I stopped messing with the insides of my computers about ten years ago and haven't looked back), but as I understand it, the GPU wouldn't know it is in a separate module, or that Thunderbolt even exists. It connects to the Thunderbolt controller in the CPU module and that's it. It's a one-way street.

    Here's where I get a little fuzzy -- Intel doesn't currently make Thunderbolt controllers that support DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 (even though Thunderbolt 3 has sufficient bandwidth to do so) -- only DisplayPort 1.2 is supported, which can't run the new 32" 8K Dell monitor (ships at the end of next month) at its full refresh rate of 60 Hz. There's nothing to stop Intel from making them, and it seems likely that they will soon enough (i.e., as soon as Intel's Iris Pro graphics support it). BUT I'm not clear on whether that matters -- if it's a one-way street and the GPU module doesn't even know Thunderbolt exists, then can't the GPU simply output to dual DisplayPort 1.4 ports and thus drive the new Dell at full refresh rate? So Apple doesn't have to wait for Intel to update its controllers to be able to remove the GPU and put it into a separate module (and/or the display itself), connected to the CPU base module via Thunderbolt?
    edited April 14
  • Reply 2 of 6

    Here's where I get a little fuzzy -- Intel doesn't currently make Thunderbolt controllers that support DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 (even though Thunderbolt 3 has sufficient bandwidth to do so) -- only DisplayPort 1.2 is supported, which can't run the new 32" 8K Dell monitor (ships at the end of next month) at its full refresh rate of 60 Hz. There's nothing to stop Intel from making them, and it seems likely that they will soon enough (i.e., as soon as Intel's Iris Pro graphics support it). BUT I'm not clear on whether that matters -- if it's a one-way street and the GPU module doesn't even know Thunderbolt exists, then can't the GPU simply output to dual DisplayPort 1.4 ports and thus drive the new Dell at full refresh rate? So Apple doesn't have to wait for Intel to update its controllers to be able to remove the GPU and put it into a separate module (and/or the display itself), connected to the CPU base module via Thunderbolt?
    Yup, it certainly could do that. There aren't major roadblocks as it stands today. I type to you now on a Nvidia 980ti connected to a 4K Acer CB281HK through an eGPU.

    We didn't cover the Mac Pro design that was spewed out the other day because it is literally based on nothing more than the word "modular."
  • Reply 3 of 6
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 455member
    I don't think the creators of this even listen to what Apple was reported to say.

    It doesn't seem to address the Thermal Issue at all.
    I mean the current but limited to 350w MacPro has better airflow than this would seem to have. They noted that envelop only worked if they could get 2 lower watt GPUs working together well, but the market was demanding higher watt single GPUs.

    If a single High watt GPU is going to the driver for the design. I just can't see them backing away custom GPU cards/modules so they can control fan types and speeds. 
  • Reply 4 of 6
    mattinoz said:
    ... If a single High watt GPU is going to the driver for the design. I just can't see them backing away custom GPU cards/modules so they can control fan types and speeds. 
    Agree. Is Apple the only one doing this? Do Dell and HP, both of whom partner with AMD for FirePro graphics in professional workstations/servers, ever do this?

    They are PCIe-standard cards, but are they ever customized in some way (i.e., "fan types and speeds") for Dell and/or HP?

    It's not hard to imagine AMD putting up Apple "partner" pages similar to these:
    http://www.amd.com/en-us/solutions/professional/partner/dell-workstation
    http://www.amd.com/en-us/solutions/professional/partner/hp
  • Reply 5 of 6
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 455member
    mattinoz said:
    ... If a single High watt GPU is going to the driver for the design. I just can't see them backing away custom GPU cards/modules so they can control fan types and speeds. 
    Agree. Is Apple the only one doing this? Do Dell and HP, both of whom partner with AMD for FirePro graphics in professional workstations/servers, ever do this?

    They are PCIe-standard cards, but are they ever customized in some way (i.e., "fan types and speeds") for Dell and/or HP?

    It's not hard to imagine AMD putting up Apple "partner" pages similar to these:
    http://www.amd.com/en-us/solutions/professional/partner/dell-workstation
    http://www.amd.com/en-us/solutions/professional/partner/hp
    There is one on the side bar already.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 41,324member
    Do these people not know why feet exist?

    mattinoz
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