Mac Pro Refesh in March

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  • rbrrbr Posts: 631member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post


    <snip>



    Whether Pro, iMac or Mini...I have an interest in Apple's desktop strategy and where it's going.



    Lemon Bon Bon.



    As do we all. :-)



    The Core i7 iMac is indeed a different breed of iMac capable of performance that allows it to assume rolls no iMac could have only a few years ago. The Mini continues to find new and interesting uses.



    All that said, your friend had the use of his machine for two years before the Apple answered. In productivity based applications that is a very long time.



    Drive failure is an entire world unto itself. Even with high quality drives, failures can be created in shipping by poor quality packing, rough handling and high impact shipping. The quality of hard drives is generally thought to have declined in recent years which makes their selection all the more important as well as backup strategies. iMacs have had a lot of drive failures as well. Thermal issues with the recent iMacs have resulted in Apple changing temperature sensors for hard drives. To date, the requires the use of pricey, proprietary drives which is not the best situation. Jonny Ives' designs have almost always had thermal issues because of his packaging choices.



    As process nodes have shrunk, the possibility of having GPUs on the same piece of silicon has become attractive from a performance perspective and feasible from a manufacturing and cost perspective. More advanced solutions will likely remain in expansion slots of one sort or another for some time though.



    The area I look forward to is a move away from the constraints of the SATA interface for SSDs. I foresee on-the-motherboard PCIe based controllers just as there are presently SATA controllers on the board. This could provide very useful performance improvements in many circumstances.



    Cheers
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,348member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Compare:



    27" iMac, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 6970M + 2x Mini Server, 4GB RAM each, 256GB SSD each ($550x2) + 4TB Pegasus R4 ($1149) = $6946

    12-core Mac Pro, 6GB RAM, 4TB hardware RAID (no SSD boot drive), Radeon 5870, 27" IPS display = $8548



    If you leave the first setup without SSD boot drives, the first price is $5346 and you can use your own 128GB SSDs if you want to get somewhere in between.



    Given that the Mac Pro refresh is now once every 2 years, you would benefit from being able to upgrade your slave drives every year and get a 50% performance boost per slave or just add more while keeping your main setup and RAID untouched.



    I should mention that I don't feel the imac display is worth $1000. While the thunderbolt display costs that, I haven't been impressed with Apple's implementations at all. They're just coasting on panel development without adding anything interesting to it. LED was actually a downgrade for anything where color matters.



    If I spend anything on displays, it'll be the new cintiq. They seem to have basically fixed the exact things that I disliked about the previous version, and I have a much easier time working precisely on screen. It was just that the previous stand lacked stability and ergonomics, and the display sucked. The cursor also lagged. That combination of issues just killed it for me. http://gizmodo.com/5839504/wacom-cin...eaven-on-earth



    I'm not sure if the futurama + star trek references in that thing made me want the tablet more.





    You know I'm kind of with you on the nodes to a degree assuming they can be efficiently managed and don't require any excessive licensing fees on software and that the rig can be set up within reasonable costs. It's just that I still think the mac pro can make more sense than the imac as a head to that rig. Service complaints with the imac aside, you still have better gpu and raid throughput options. It's really not a bad machine in any way. I know you said it's the speed of 3 laptops, but those laptops total up similar in price. I'd like to see a decent mac pro sub 3k again. Regarding refresh cycle, Apple doesn't do bumps mid cpu generation, and Intel hasn't released much. For displays, I'd definitely pick a non Apple display. After so many display problems, that's an area where I have absolutely zero trust for them.
  • rbrrbr Posts: 631member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    However special hardware means special pricing. I do hope that Apple offers a more mainstream six core platform. I'd actually be surprised if the processor is Apple only, that would be highly unusual of Intel.



    It is interesting that part of the delay appears to be due to a move to 22nm. That is a bit different than I was hearing. In any event the rumored performance of these chips is extremely impressive. I really don't think there will be many complaints when they come out.





    Not necessarily "special", just different. A 17mm wrench does not cost a great deal more than a 15mm wrench. It is just a different tool.



    More recent statements indicate that only the dual core Ivy Bridge CPUs are the ones being delayed. Apparently people are not all that interested in buying dual core processors when quad cores are available. Duh! Do you think?
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,487member
    Apparently Mountain Lion natively supports the Radeon 6970, 6950, and the nVidia 5xx series cards.



    Now, while I am running Mountain Lion and while I do have a Mac Pro, I don't have the money to drop on one of these cards (nor a valid use thereafter to justify said purchase) to check, so you'll have to take the word of other people testing this out.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,348member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RBR View Post


    Not necessarily "special", just different. A 17mm wrench does not cost a great deal more than a 15mm wrench. It is just a different tool.



    More recent statements indicate that only the dual core Ivy Bridge CPUs are the ones being delayed. Apparently people are not all that interested in buying dual core processors when quad cores are available. Duh! Do you think?



    That analogy is all wrong. You're comparing different off the shelf instruments. Whenever you order something customized rather than what is mass produced, it tends to cost more. There is nothing about the mac pro that really requires a custom part. All macs are running on generic parts, and the mac pro has a fairly captive audience as typically once you have your workflow set up around the use of Macs, it's hard to change that. Personally I wouldn't lend any credibility to this rumor. It's completely stupid. In 2007 the mac pros used a different cpu type, but it was one that the other oems passed on due to its higher tdp. Intel was stuck with them. Apple purchased them.
  • 2by42by4 Posts: 8member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    I'm sorry, in what universe does ANYONE who uses a workstation computer for actual work overclock? Workstation computers are supposed to be stable.



    Does your lack of imagination prevent you from seeing that "Workstation" could mean a few different things to a few different demographics of users?



    Is there not an abundance of 2d, 3D CG examples that literally permeate our culture on TV, independent film, major film? Do the countless people who work in this demographic who Do benefit from "all the damned speed they can get", call there computers "Workstations????? What universe do YOU live in? Where ever it is, perhaps an IMac will suit your "Workstation" needs there. So go ahead APPLE (noticed how I got it right this time>) drop the Mac Pro, beef up an IMac for users like "Tallest", sit down and shut up and let the vast PC world reign on the cutting edge of what I and many others consider real "Workstations" builds, that if built and stress tested properly are every bit as stable, overclocked or not. Do your Research!





    QUOTE=This is the only real argument you have.[/QUOTE]



    You keep missing the point
  • macroninmacronin Posts: 1,123member
    All I want is a 3U rack-mountable chassis that allows for single or dual CPUs (and the choice of said CPUs, i7s or Xeons), up to 8 RAM slots, 4 HDD bays & 3 PCIe slots (one double-width for GPU elbow room). Any further expansion would be via USB/FW/Thunderbolt or an expansion chassis hanging off of one of the PCIe slots.



    I would go for a quad-core i7 & 16GB RAM; fill my PCIe slots with a nVidea GFX590, the Apple RAID card & a bootable 256GB FlashRAM card. Fill the HDD bays with four 4TB Seagate Barracudas. Run three drives in a RAID 5 with the fourth drive as a hot-standby. This would be an ideal component in the living room serving as a combo WoW/HTPC.



    LOL… I just thought to myself that, in the guise of a HTPC, such a boxen could be monikered the TV Pro…! ;^p
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,539member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 2by4 View Post


    Is there not an abundance of 2d, 3D CG examples that literally permeate our culture on TV, independent film, major film?



    let the vast PC world reign on the cutting edge of what I and many others consider real "Workstations" builds



    For TV and film CGI, the artists don't render the content on their workstations though because even the fastest workstations are too slow. They need hundreds, often thousands of high-end PCs rendering all the time. Regardless of how much a Mac Pro jumps during an upgrade, it won't match a 1,000-strong render farm for 20 years.



    For individuals who are rendering effects, there is a case for a high-end workstation tower (assuming render farm rental is not feasible) but there will be few cases where they make enough money to afford the 12-core Mac Pro to see the benefit and the benefit they will see is going to be at most a factor of 2.5x faster over an iMac and they can easily buy a couple of networked PCs to get the same performance. The iMac will reach that performance in 2-3 years anyway.



    When it comes to content creation, an iMac can do everything a Mac Pro can with the right drive setup.



    There are benefits to the Mac Pro - Apple clearly designed it to be a machine that can take the best parts from each manufacturer and keep them contained inside a single box - 1kW PSU, can take the fastest desktop GPU, fastest Xeon CPUs and fit all manner of PCI and SATA devices. Without the Mac Pro, Apple can't offer the best that money can buy for this form factor and price range.



    But, technology has changed so much that power isn't the emphasis any more. It's not about making a game that renders every tiny hair on a human face, it's making a game that people want to play. It's not about making a movie with a hundred CGI sequences, it's about making a movie people want to watch, over and over. Power is cheap, servers are cheap, software is cheap, what isn't cheap is talent and the Mac Pro isn't changing that one bit.



    The computer doesn't contain the high order bit, we are the high order bit.



    Would an iMac ever prevent the user from doing what they want or make the experience less pleasant? In a very small minority of ever shrinking cases, maybe but is it worth it for Apple to cater to these special cases that comprise less than 5% of their user base?



    For the time being, perhaps but not for very long. These special cases shrink in number year after year until one day they will be extinguished and Apple could choose to ignore those cases today with negligible consequence.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil


    Apparently Mountain Lion natively supports the Radeon 6970, 6950, and the nVidia 5xx series cards.



    It will be interesting to see what they do for Thunderbolt support in the Mac Pro. If they ship these cards in the Pro, I suspect they will be sealed in - i.e in a slot that doesn't allow the GPU to have direct external outputs. This means upgrades can be had from Apple but no 3rd party GPU purchases with ROM flashing. Then they'd just have 4x Thunderbolt ports from the motherboard.



    This design change means no slots at all for expansion so they can reduce the size and people will buy the Pro for the power. Gradually we will become accustomed to what's inside the box staying in the box and all expansion coming from the outside and over time, whatever remaining value proposition of the Pro disappears.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,348member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post




    But, technology has changed so much that power isn't the emphasis any more. It's not about making a game that renders every tiny hair on a human face, it's making a game that people want to play. It's not about making a movie with a hundred CGI sequences, it's about making a movie people want to watch, over and over. Power is cheap, servers are cheap, software is cheap, what isn't cheap is talent and the Mac Pro isn't changing that one bit.



    The computer doesn't contain the high order bit, we are the high order bit.



    Would an iMac ever prevent the user from doing what they want or make the experience less pleasant? In a very small minority of ever shrinking cases, maybe but is it worth it for Apple to cater to these special cases that comprise less than 5% of their user base?



    For the time being, perhaps but not for very long. These special cases shrink in number year after year until one day they will be extinguished and Apple could choose to ignore those cases today with negligible consequence.







    It will be interesting to see what they do for Thunderbolt support in the Mac Pro. If they ship these cards in the Pro, I suspect they will be sealed in - i.e in a slot that doesn't allow the GPU to have direct external outputs. This means upgrades can be had from Apple but no 3rd party GPU purchases with ROM flashing. Then they'd just have 4x Thunderbolt ports from the motherboard.



    This design change means no slots at all for expansion so they can reduce the size and people will buy the Pro for the power. Gradually we will become accustomed to what's inside the box staying in the box and all expansion coming from the outside and over time, whatever remaining value proposition of the Pro disappears.



    I don't think they'd need to make thunderbolt the only option there. It could be completely split off from video in such an enclosure given that it really doesn't have the spatial constraint. It also wouldn't prevent NVidia from porting over a newer Quadro. I think those would have been much more successful Mac side had they not been plagued with issues upon release (consistently). Personally I don't care what they do as long as I can turn out work. I require 2-3 display outputs. I wouldn't try to render video sequences on my machine, but it's fine for still stuff. I can render out any matter of things for photo comps on basically any recent mac. The new ones are getting to a point where I can just render out things in the background without the wait being too insane. It's just an issue of ram and one of the more powerful computers on the market.



    The gpu is more for navigation and undrendered playback as in frame scrubbing. Viewport lag is awful because if it's really bad on a heavy scene, you can pass over what you wanted to see. With earlier machines for most of these things, people got by with reduced settings. Hide objects in your scene or reduce your photoshop history, turn off thumbnails, etc. We're getting to a point where gpus can be harvested for other things too. It's just that the code isn't totally mature yet, and it still has a lot of limitations. In a few years, things may be totally different. Becoming more reliant on the gpu has been a trend since 2009 or so, so it's not an immediate gratification kind of development.



    Regarding design... I completely disagree with you. I don't think Apple designs these anymore. I think they throw everything on Foxconn and just sign off on it, so it requires very little effort from them to keep the line moving. Because of this I wouldn't expect to see any major design overhauls. They've let OSX slip behind Windows on several points which really surprises me, but they're powerful features. Once again the percentage of their base that uses sophisticated features is relatively low. It happens, but I may replace my macs at some point because of it (totally undecided, waiting to see the next hardware generation). It's actually kind of annoying. Any way I spec out a mac other than a mac pro, it requires me to make too many compromises. I like having the older NEC to monitor background tasks. I then have my primary display, and I want to add in a Cintiq. Two of these require displayport connections, one can use dvi. The imac display will never be an option for me. Every time I try to look at one I want to smash it with a hammer.



    Anyway I had fun writing, but you are spot on regarding the fact that most of rendering and stuff is not done on a single workstation for major stuff, although for smaller ads and a lot of web content, or shared web + print assets, it is rendered on one machine.
  • lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    For TV and film CGI, the artists don't render the content on their workstations though because even the fastest workstations are too slow. They need hundreds, often thousands of high-end PCs rendering all the time. Regardless of how much a Mac Pro jumps during an upgrade, it won't match a 1,000-strong render farm for 20 years.



    For individuals who are rendering effects, there is a case for a high-end workstation tower (assuming render farm rental is not feasible) but there will be few cases where they make enough money to afford the 12-core Mac Pro to see the benefit and the benefit they will see is going to be at most a factor of 2.5x faster over an iMac and they can easily buy a couple of networked PCs to get the same performance. The iMac will reach that performance in 2-3 years anyway.



    When it comes to content creation, an iMac can do everything a Mac Pro can with the right drive setup.



    There are benefits to the Mac Pro - Apple clearly designed it to be a machine that can take the best parts from each manufacturer and keep them contained inside a single box - 1kW PSU, can take the fastest desktop GPU, fastest Xeon CPUs and fit all manner of PCI and SATA devices. Without the Mac Pro, Apple can't offer the best that money can buy for this form factor and price range.



    But, technology has changed so much that power isn't the emphasis any more. It's not about making a game that renders every tiny hair on a human face, it's making a game that people want to play. It's not about making a movie with a hundred CGI sequences, it's about making a movie people want to watch, over and over. Power is cheap, servers are cheap, software is cheap, what isn't cheap is talent and the Mac Pro isn't changing that one bit.



    The computer doesn't contain the high order bit, we are the high order bit.



    Would an iMac ever prevent the user from doing what they want or make the experience less pleasant? In a very small minority of ever shrinking cases, maybe but is it worth it for Apple to cater to these special cases that comprise less than 5% of their user base?



    For the time being, perhaps but not for very long. These special cases shrink in number year after year until one day they will be extinguished and Apple could choose to ignore those cases today with negligible consequence.







    It will be interesting to see what they do for Thunderbolt support in the Mac Pro. If they ship these cards in the Pro, I suspect they will be sealed in - i.e in a slot that doesn't allow the GPU to have direct external outputs. This means upgrades can be had from Apple but no 3rd party GPU purchases with ROM flashing. Then they'd just have 4x Thunderbolt ports from the motherboard.



    This design change means no slots at all for expansion so they can reduce the size and people will buy the Pro for the power. Gradually we will become accustomed to what's inside the box staying in the box and all expansion coming from the outside and over time, whatever remaining value proposition of the Pro disappears.



    I think you pretty much nailed the argument here. The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up. A full loaded iMac hammers the entry base Mac Pro for value. While the Pro doesn't even have Thunderbolt, less ram and a 'so-so' gpu for a 'worksation.' Add an Apple monitor to the Pro and you get yourself an Adobe Photoshop license and/or other goodies for that.



    It's less about power and more about talent.



    With Thunderbolt, the i7 (hyper threading etc), much better mobile gpus eg 6970m with 2 gigs of Vram, ram ceiling upto 16 gigs, thunderbolt raid systems....a built in 27 inch monitor...the mainstream desktops/pro laptops are reaching into territory formerly occupied by a tower.



    Add Mac Mini nodes for extra render power as you can afford it...



    I think Marv's arguments about the Pro's waning authority on traditional creative areas (Photoshop, 3D, Video or even games to take another example...) is demonstrated by Apple's positioning of the iMac in the 'mid-tower' ground of the non-existent 'X-Mac'.



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,348member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post


    I think you pretty much nailed the argument here. The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up. A full loaded iMac hammers the entry base Mac Pro for value. While the Pro doesn't even have Thunderbolt, less ram and a 'so-so' gpu for a 'worksation.' Add an Apple monitor to the Pro and you get yourself an Adobe Photoshop license and/or other goodies for that.



    It's less about power and more about talent.



    With Thunderbolt, the i7 (hyper threading etc), much better mobile gpus eg 6970m with 2 gigs of Vram, ram ceiling upto 16 gigs, thunderbolt raid systems....a built in 27 inch monitor...the mainstream desktops/pro laptops are reaching into territory formerly occupied by a tower.



    Add Mac Mini nodes for extra render power as you can afford it...



    I think Marv's arguments about the Pro's waning authority on traditional creative areas (Photoshop, 3D, Video or even games to take another example...) is demonstrated by Apple's positioning of the iMac in the 'mid-tower' ground of the non-existent 'X-Mac'.



    Lemon Bon Bon.



    You guys do miss certain points. The imac is a bad point of progression. Better ones are available even if not manufactured by Apple. The ram thing is also a bad way to look at it. What sounds high today? What sounded high a decade ago? Who could use a gig of ram? Who could use a MB of ram? Laptops would be a more suitable point of progression for most people. If you really need everything, the imac isn't such a great solution. If you're compromising, you probably own a laptop + desktop already, why own two devices that are now closer together than before? One just doesn't provide a lot over the other. The mini has a few advantages, but I think it's a bit constrained.



    As for upgrading stuff, it's not necessarily about progressive upgrades. Some people do them, but the ability to do so is roughly on par with PC workstation towers. What sucks is the amount of parts that have to go into the shop at once to achieve a repair.



    You guys should consider logical steps in technology as opposed to whatever flavor of kool-aid Apple is serving that year. They make sure your entire workflow is set up for Macs. Your drives are formatted in a format friendly to them. Everything is set up around the use of a Mac, so it's not very easy to migrate away from that company. I agree it's working for Apple, but I think you guys grossly overstate how hard it is for them to maintain such a line. The only place I could understand remote concern would be retail space in the Apple store. I wonder if smaller Apple stores outside of major markets still stock them.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    You guys do miss certain points. The imac is a bad point of progression. Better ones are available even if not manufactured by Apple. The ram thing is also a bad way to look at it. What sounds high today? What sounded high a decade ago? Who could use a gig of ram?



    In today's modern computers the only things worth upgrading are storage related. RAM upgrades often justify their costs and are not a huge Mac problem. What is a problem is the updating of secondary storage, that is hard drives or SSDs. This is where all Mac fall flat on their face with the exception being the Pro. The problem with the Pro of course is that it is way to expensive to buy to just get flexible storage.

    Quote:

    Who could use a MB of ram? Laptops would be a more suitable point of progression for most people. If you really need everything, the imac isn't such a great solution. If you're compromising, you probably own a laptop + desktop already, why own two devices that are now closer together than before? One just doesn't provide a lot over the other. The mini has a few advantages, but I think it's a bit constrained.



    For many users I can see laptops being replaced by tablets and desktops. I'm seriously considering this and frankly just need a better desktop solution from Apple. Apple obviously needs to do more here with iOS and the Mac hardware solutions but it might only be a year or two before this sort of solution becomes compelling.



    The Mini in my opinion is an excellent little computer, it is not however an ideal hub machine. That is mostly due to its internal storage provisions.

    Quote:

    As for upgrading stuff, it's not necessarily about progressive upgrades. Some people do them, but the ability to do so is roughly on par with PC workstation towers. What sucks is the amount of parts that have to go into the shop at once to achieve a repair.



    My desire for an XMac really has nothing to do with upgrading in the traditional sense of processor or motherboard upgrades. I really don't see adding a hard disk or an I/O card in that sense upgrading. It is more of a case of configuration.

    Quote:

    You guys should consider logical steps in technology as opposed to whatever flavor of kool-aid Apple is serving that year. They make sure your entire workflow is set up for Macs. Your drives are formatted in a format friendly to them. Everything is set up around the use of a Mac, so it's not very easy to migrate away from that company. I agree it's working for Apple, but I think you guys grossly overstate how hard it is for them to maintain such a line. The only place I could understand remote concern would be retail space in the Apple store. I wonder if smaller Apple stores outside of major markets still stock them.



    Things are working out well for Apple, but maybe not so much for their customers. Right now if I want to do anything different I'm compelled to go the Linux route. Nothing wrong with Linux of course but if you like the Mac environment very frustrating. Actually the divid between Linux and the Mac is pretty thin, it isn't hard to migrate away or maintain two paths. It is just that Apple offers enough to really desire that everything be Apple powered.



    As to retail, well the stores are crowded now. Apple will have to expand many of them especially if some of the rumored products come to be.
  • mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,056member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The problem with the Pro of course is that it is way to expensive to buy to just get flexible storage.



    This is one of the reasons why I believe few Mac Pro customers are buying them to get flexible storage. I believe the overwhelming majority of Mac Pro customers are buying them for CPU/GPU performance and the ability to address more RAM than an iMac or Mac Mini can address. A believe a Mac with the expansion of the Mac Mini (plus one more Thunderbolt port) and the performance of an updated Mac Pro could be priced attractively and sell well.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The Mini in my opinion is an excellent little computer, it is not however an ideal hub machine. That is mostly due to its internal storage provisions.



    Anyone serious about storage will buy an external RAID device and connect it either as a NAS device or using Thunderbolt. The real limitations of the Mac Mini are CPU/GPU performance and addressable RAM. Obviously, any Mac with dramatically more CPU/GPU performance than the Mini would require a larger case.
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,539member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    I don't think they'd need to make thunderbolt the only option there. It could be completely split off from video in such an enclosure given that it really doesn't have the spatial constraint.



    It could be but then it wouldn't be compatible with Intel's spec nor would it be compatible with Apple's Thunderbolt Cinema displays.



    If Apple went with Thunderbolt ports on the GPU, it means a custom GPU and Intel has already said that PCI cards won't be made with Thunderbolt connections.



    So, if Apple wants to add spec-compatible Thunderbolt connections to the Mac Pro, they have no choice but to prevent direct external connections from a PCI GPU.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Any way I spec out a mac other than a mac pro, it requires me to make too many compromises. I like having the older NEC to monitor background tasks. I then have my primary display, and I want to add in a Cintiq. Two of these require displayport connections, one can use dvi. The imac display will never be an option for me.



    You get a Mini-DP to dual HDMI adaptor so I imagine you'd be able to hook up 2 DVI displays (one display + one Cintiq) to a single Thunderbolt port:



    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005FSHHH...SIN=B005FSHHHG



    If you only used 3 displays with a Pro, the built-in iMac display would take the place of either the primary or secondary display. You can also connect secondary (non-GPU accelerated) displays over USB:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnycEPymZF8



    The Mac Pro does allow more display connections than the iMac but Apple did a one-to-one between machine and display for their wall:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2IMHuZXfl0



    An iMac would allow 7 monitor connections with splitters + internal = 8 monitors with 5 supporting GPU acceleration. In fact many more if you use a ViDock-type device.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon


    The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up.



    This is an important point. We cycle through these discussions every now and again and every time the theoretical minimum requirements for professional work get artificially pushed just out of reach of the iMac. By now, the iMac has become almost everything we asked for 3 or 4 years ago and the Mac Pro has been getting stale.



    The Mac Pro has a 300W power limit on the PCI slots so you can't put multiple high-end GPUs in there for SLI/X-Fire like you can with a PC tower and you can't use the latest GPUs until Apple gets the new drivers out. You have to take out the optical unit if you want to attach an SSD and have the 4 drives in RAID 01.



    PCI slots open up risk of internal damage to a very expensive machine that isn't covered by warranty.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm


    The ram thing is also a bad way to look at it. What sounds high today? What sounded high a decade ago?



    I'd say 32GB (which the iMac can take) is a decent amount of RAM. Even if you run ZBrush, Maya, AE and Photoshop together, 32GB should be plenty for what you are doing and I can't imagine any tasks that exceed this. Certainly nothing that needs over 32GB of contiguous space.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm


    What sucks is the amount of parts that have to go into the shop at once to achieve a repair.



    Yeah, if your display fails, having to send back your computer isn't good but if they allowed you to remove storage, you could always pull the drive, plug it into another machine via enclosure e.g cheap backup Mini and keep working as normal. This covers you for failures beyond the display too.
  • mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,056member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Intel has already said that PCI cards won't be made with Thunderbolt connections.



    If that's true, I suspect that Intel may have plans to end-of-life PCI -- at least PCI as we know it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I'd say 32GB (which the iMac can take) is a decent amount of RAM. Even if you run ZBrush, Maya, AE and Photoshop together, 32GB should be plenty for what you are doing and I can't imagine any tasks that exceed this. Certainly nothing that needs over 32GB of contiguous space.



    I agree that 32GB is decent (more than decent). However, there are dynamic modeling applications which need more than 32GB of RAM. There are probably other applications which need more than 32GB of RAM.
  • lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,073member
    Quote:

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon

    The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up.

    This is an important point. We cycle through these discussions every now and again and every time the theoretical minimum requirements for professional work get artificially pushed just out of reach of the iMac. By now, the iMac has become almost everything we asked for 3 or 4 years ago and the Mac Pro has been getting stale.



    I think that is the killer point.



    It's the same cyclical arguement.



    LOL. I recall when Lightwave was asking for 256 megs of ram and that was recommended...then it became the minimum.



    It used to be that you couldn't do Photoshop work with 128 megs of ram. Then 256 was idea...then it was 512 megs...



    I don't know how we got to a point where 2 gigs of Ram isn't enough. Or 4gigs! 300 dpi/600dpi with plenty of layers and 4 gigs of Ram I demo'd Photoshop on this Core 2 Duo iMac on a then Windows partition. Worked like butter. Even with lots of layers. The days of going to make coffee on filters is over for me.



    Don't get me started on 32 gigs! Even 8 gigs would seem alot to me now. But it's relative.



    Not a coincidence that these software 'recommendations' collude with natural advances in hardware.



    However. The areas where a Mac Pro can claim to sole province in a creative sense are over.



    3D, Photoshop, Video used to need those old Blue and white G3 towers. That territory has long since been outclassed by the current iMac. No coincidence that alot or publishing firms have iMacs on their desks now.



    I guess if Apple aren't offering what you want you go elsewhere.



    I remember the days when an iMac used to huff and puff a bit on Photoshop and had a really tiny screen. But like the gum drop colours of yesterday, a distant memory. Today's top end iMac with Thunderbolt HD/Raid is a a machine that is very respectable at 3D, Photoshop and can take on video work. More 3D rendering? Just add a few Mini render boxes?



    As for Dynamic Modelling Applications. I guess the Mac Pro has to have 'a' reason for it's existence... And if someone wants to pay almost 3 times the price for 2.5 x the performance...that's up to them. But for serious stuff I thought people would just use render farms...whether that be games companies, universities or movie companies.



    For that mainstream 'tower' market Apple are selling laptops over 4-1 over their desktops. And the most popular one is the iMac. It and the Macbook Pros offer all the power most people use. Photos, videos, image manipulations, 3D.



    I remember when my Athlon could barely run Softimage XSI. That was in 2000. Now, my iMac can run Lightwave 3D heaps better. *Shrugs. Times change.



    Keep up the debate. I'm enjoying it...while waiting for the new iMac and Mac Pro. (Which I hope both get juicy updates.)



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,073member
    As for Apple monitors. I never liked Matte. I wanted glossy before I'd buy one. I have it on my iMac. I hated the Matte screens. It looked cheap.



    But I felt that LCD/LED screens were a step back over CRT in terms of colour.



    Now I've got used to the retina scorching quality of LED I don't even remember CRT...or the back breaking need to hump my 21 inch D2 monitor (trinitron it was...and bloody heavy...) Beautiful for graphics work at the time...on a 200mhz 604e (...I think...) Computer Warehouse 'Manhattan' clone with 160 megs of ram. Running Photoshop 4 (the best version in my view...heh, heh, heh...) The gpu had 8 megs of ram on it. 2D only.



    The current iMac in my mits makes me smile at those days.



    Apple and the Mac have come along way. I just see the iOS as 'mini macs', the evolutionary or revolutionary next step. I was torn between the Mac Pro and the iMac.



    But after the price hikes of the Mac Pro G5 from the entry £995 tower to the £1495, to the £1895 to £1995 to £2095...I have to laugh at how it got there. The pricing is clearly artificial to gauge customers. We get it. Mini 'low', iMac 'medium' and Mac Pro 'high'. As they do on Ram and SDD pricing.



    Apple aren't santa claus.



    So I plumped for the value in the iMac. It's in no way a 'limited' machine. I even took it apart and put in a faster 7200 rpm HD. Works even faster.



    Part of me still longs for the Mac Pro. But they'd have to lop at least £500 off the entry price to get back to me even thinking about it...and maybe offer a bundle price with that monitor of theirs. Unlikely, I know. But PC tower buyers just laugh at the Pro.



    So it looks like I'll wait until we see what happens over the next two years. This is still a decent machine.



    One last snippet. There's a comic artist that works for DC. His wrote his book on using computers for comic art with photoshop almost 3 years ago. His Mac tower was a Core 2 Duo set up. His laptop was just as powerful. Yet his creativity and his innovate thoughts on streamlining comic production an almost assembly line approach allowed him to work faster than other artists doing it the manual or old fashioned way.



    That kind of ties in with Marv's thoughts on machines having no limit on creativity. It's about the artist in the above example. I find the iMac the perfect artist's machine. Manga Studio Pro. Runs just fine. Photoshop. Just fine. Scrivener. Just fine. General computing just fine. 3D. More than capable. Multimedia. Just fine. And it's a 2-3 year old machine now.



    I wouldn't say no to a fully loaded current top of the line iMac with it's dream like 2 gigs of VRAM option...and the punchy i7 with hyper threading.



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • misamisa Posts: 583member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    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.



    I stopped reading the second you said "get rid of" , I think you completely misunderstand what the Mac Pro is used for.



    The Mac Pro is the end-user configurable workstation or server option that the MacMini does not fit in.



    - Xeon DP/UP processors

    - ECC RAM

    - Multiple GPU's

    - Multiple drives in RAID arrays

    - PCIe slots for specific DSP cards (Music, live HD video switching, etc)



    Instead of having 60 different throw-away configurations, you have just base configurations, which saves Apple engineering costs. There is no "regular desktop model" because that is the MacMini/iMac. That's the model for people who never upgrade a thing.



    Apple could do something like this...

    Mac Pro and MacMini Pro



    The Mac Pro has familiar configurations with the full complement of expansion ports.



    The MacMiniPro instead is designed for clustering (more like your suggestion) which allow the mini's to either be daisy chained using two TB ports, Two GigE Ethernet ports or ring/hub configurations. These also have ECC memory. Each would have an external 16 link PCIe 3.0 cable port (Thunderbolt is only 4 link) That port also solves drive expandability issue by leaving both the TB ports and the external PCIe free to connect to external drive arrays.



    But I think short of silly situations (Think about the military's use of PS3's in a cluster) there is little demand for this except maybe from Macmini Colo. It could conceivably give an Apple answer to blade systems. It's also messy which is why I don't see Apple doing it, and Apple "OS X" servers aren't any more useful than FreeBSD or Linux systems if they're only going to be used as web servers.
  • mactacmactac Posts: 313member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    In today's modern computers the only things worth upgrading are storage related. RAM upgrades often justify their costs and are not a huge Mac problem. What is a problem is the updating of secondary storage, that is hard drives or SSDs. This is where all Mac fall flat on their face with the exception being the Pro. The problem with the Pro of course is that it is way to expensive to buy to just get flexible storage.



    The Mini in my opinion is an excellent little computer, it is not however an ideal hub machine. That is mostly due to its internal storage provisions.



    My desire for an XMac really has nothing to do with upgrading in the traditional sense of processor or motherboard upgrades. I really don't see adding a hard disk or an I/O card in that sense upgrading. It is more of a case of configuration.



    Things are working out well for Apple, but maybe not so much for their customers.



    How come you get it but Apple doesn't?
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,539member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    If that's true, I suspect that Intel may have plans to end-of-life PCI -- at least PCI as we know it.



    I expect they will get rid of the PCI slots from their motherboards eventually (3rd party motherboards will likely keep them), the PCI standard itself will remain given that Thunderbolt just joins PCI and displayport together. This slot removal helps Intel stifle GPU competition and boost Thunderbolt support (which hurts AMD). They are supposedly bringing in optical parts this year:



    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...-next-year.ars



    While the speeds likely won't be much faster with current ports, it means further distances.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    there are dynamic modeling applications which need more than 32GB of RAM.



    Yeah, fluid sims and smoke sims do take up a lot but the following examples are quite high resolution and use less than 12GB RAM:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrJHn9sBAZQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RolbMDrDF60

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFxzk0tuaW4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TawnuP5xPo4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfVImNxiJLY



    The second video apparently generated 400GB of simulation data. For an individual artist, those examples probably represent the limit of what they'd need to render, like if you render TV commercials with fluid sims.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Misa


    The Mac Pro is the end-user configurable workstation or server option that the MacMini does not fit in.



    - Xeon DP/UP processors

    - ECC RAM

    - Multiple GPU's

    - Multiple drives in RAID arrays

    - PCIe slots for specific DSP cards (Music, live HD video switching, etc)



    The audio and video manufacturers have Thunderbolt connections for their products:



    http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/symphony-io.php

    http://www.blackmagic-design.com/pro...ultrastudio3d/



    They need to learn to put two Thunderbolt ports on things but that only really affects laptops. ECC RAM is not really that big of a deal besides server use and as Mac Mini Colo shows, you can easily run servers without it. The Mac Pro has a 300W PCI limit so while you can put in multiple GPUs, there's little reason to as they won't be very high-end cards. External RAID works well and you can share the same RAID with multiple computers without migrating data - software RAID is a waste of time so you are dropping $700 on Apple's RAID card anyway.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Misa


    That's the model for people who never upgrade a thing.



    That assumes people who have Mac Pros are currently upgrading them. I highly doubt that's the case. Sure, people who bought Mac Pros in 2008 don't want to drop $1500 on an upgrade so they buy a $450 GPU upgrade but these are people who pay for computers once every 6 years and will likely do 1 upgrade.



    This is more about paying the least amount of money they can to get the form factor they prefer than getting the best that money can buy.



    You may say that's a perfectly valid way of working but today's 12-core Mac Pro will be outclassed by the high-end iMac in 3 years. Using an external RAID and buying AppleCare, you can stay permanently inside your warranty by upgrading your iMac every 3 years.
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