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Apple's unveils new Mac Pro desktop with up to 12 processing cores - Page 5

post #161 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by starmax View Post

Thank you!

Believe me, I know there is a lot more to these machines than just the CPU. Having owned PowerMacs for almost 2 decades, the G5/Mac Pro design is almost a work of art (IMHO) and the build quality is top notch.

My huge beef with this update is the entry level model is basically a retread of the March 2009 model w/5% faster clocked CPU and a slightly faster GPU. Apple should have made the 3.33 6-core $2499 and Quad core around $2k. Apple has been improving performance while dropping prices on almost every other model (Mac Mini excluded), why no love for the Mac Pro?

I feel like we've traveled back to the PowerMac G4 days, where years of waiting turned into marginal performance increases....

I think we can be pretty sure that the entire machine has been redesigned from the ground up internally. It's not like they just dropped a new cpu inside.
post #162 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by starmax View Post

Apple should have made the 3.33 6-core $2499 and Quad core around $2k. Apple has been improving performance while dropping prices on almost every other model (Mac Mini excluded), why no love for the Mac Pro?

I feel like we've traveled back to the PowerMac G4 days, where years of waiting turned into marginal performance increases....

I see you are a new poster. Welcome to the forum.

I tend to roll my eyes at comments regarding what a company that is hugely successful should have done. I certainly don’t know what the best path for Apple is to meet their goals. If anyone knows i’d think it’s Apple. They know what their unit sales are across each model and configuration. I can’t help but think that they realize there is a market for a cheaper headless Mac, but are choosing not to delve into that market for very specific reasons that we can only speculate on.

We can say what we wish they would have done to meet our needs or what we wish or expect them to do in the future, but I don’t think we can make an argument for what they should have done after we see the fall out from a major misstep.
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post #163 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I see you are a new poster. Welcome to the forum.

I tend to roll my eyes at comments regarding what a company that is hugely successful should have done. I certainly dont know what the best path for Apple is to meet their goals. If anyone knows id think its Apple. They know what their unit sales are for across each model and configuration. I cant help but think that they realize there is a market for a cheaper headless Mac, but are choosing not to delve into that market for very specific reasons that we can only speculate on.

We can say what we wish they would have done to meet our needs or what we wish or expect them to do in the future, but I dont think we can make an argument for what they should have done after we see the fall out from a major misstep.

It just seems to me, based on what the users for these machines need them for, that Apple doesn't want to stray far from that profile. They likely think they won't get enough sales to matter, or they want to go down a specific road, and introducing that smaller, cheaper machine will lead people away from it.

When we consider the performance of iMacs over the past two years or so, we can see that even on intense applications they often perform as well, or even better than a medium level MacPro. So MacPro buyers are looking for more than just raw performance, unless they're buying into the top machines, at a high, but competitive price (for that class of machine).

Now, for the first time, an iMac can include two drives. That surprised me, and I'm surprised I haven't read a lot of posts stating just how amazed people are at that unexpected move. Yes, it would be nice if they could allow two HDDs instead of just one plus an SSD, but still, a big move for a "consumer" machine from Apple (which isn't always).
post #164 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It just seems to me, based on what the users for these machines need them for, that Apple doesn't want to stray far from that profile. They likely think they won't get enough sales to matter, or they want to go down a specific road, and introducing that smaller, cheaper machine will lead people away from it.

When we consider the performance of iMacs over the past two years or so, we can see that even on intense applications they often perform as well, or even better than a medium level MacPro. So MacPro buyers are looking for more than just raw performance, unless they're buying into the top machines, at a high, but competitive price (for that class of machine).

My guess is Apple doesnt think the sales will be high enough to warrant the effort, and unlike many of their other products which compliment each other this may actually detract from other sales of Macs and long term profits if people could get the highly upgradable xMac that is mentioned on tech forums as it, 1) could mean more support costs from Apple from users doing more 3rd-party configurations, 2) less profit to Apple if users can buy cheaper components elsewhere for this machine, and 3) use this machine for a lot longer than typical Macs.

I say just build a Hackintosh if you really want that and save yourself the Apple tax altogether.

Quote:
Now, for the first time, an iMac can include two drives. That surprised me, and I'm surprised I haven't read a lot of posts stating just how amazed people are at that unexpected move. Yes, it would be nice if they could allow two HDDs instead of just one plus an SSD, but still, a big move for a "consumer" machine from Apple (which isn't always).

That is one thing that was on my wish list for this update so do I get brownie points?
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post #165 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

My guess is Apple doesnt think the sales will be high enough to warrant the effort, and unlike many of their other products which compliment each other this may actually detract from other sales of Macs and long term profits if people could get the highly upgradable xMac that is mentioned on tech forums as it, 1) could mean more support costs from Apple from users doing more 3rd-party configurations, 2) less profit to Apple if users can buy cheaper components elsewhere for this machine, and 3) use this machine for a lot longer than typical Macs.

I say just build a Hackintosh if you really want that and save yourself the Apple tax altogether.

Of course, this could have been possible a few years ago when PC prices still hovered around $1,000 (with monitor) for the average PC. But now that price is closer to $500 which makes the whole idea untenable.

Quote:
That is one thing that was on my wish list for this update so do I get brownie points?

I wasn't aware that we gave brown nose, I mean brownie points out. I'll look into it.

Ah, here's one for you:


post #166 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Of course, this could have been possible a few years ago when PC prices still hovered around $1,000 (with monitor) for the average PC. But now that price is closer to $500 which makes the whole idea untenable.



I wasn't aware that we gave brown nose, I mean brownie points out. I'll look into it.

Ah, here's one for you:



So would we dare look far into the future? Let's assume Apple continues on their current path of expanding desktop and laptop market share driven in part by the iOS product halo effect. As OS X continues to expand, at some point would Apple actually need a mid range computer? I dunno, let's just pull this out of my proctal area and say at 20% market share would it make more sense for them to have a broader desktop range? What percentage of the Windows market is considered mid size?
post #167 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

I dunno, let's just pull this out of my proctal area and say at 20% market share would it make more sense for them to have a broader desktop range? What percentage of the Windows market is considered mid size?

I think 20% Mac marketshare is unobtainable with their current business model. Mac OS is sold for their brand of PC so we have to compare it to other PC makers, not to an OS maker that sells to any and all. Look at the others which have only barely topped 25% and have done that with cheap, profit machines loaded with shovelware to obtain a measly profit at the low end of the market.

There is simply no good reason for Apple to ruin its brand to increase marketshare, which may not even increase their profit. On top of that, if this chart is even remotely correct they have absolutely no incentive to break what in working.

I expect we’ll see a drop in Mac prices but ONLY after the current price point has been adequately saturated. This will be done like they did with the Mac notebooks a year or so ago with a drop of $100. This is a pyramid with each drop opening up to more and more customers so each drop in price will take longer and longer (assuming everything else remains constant, and so far it pretty much has with the number of switchers still being about 50% and the YoY unit sales increases outperforming the market). I don’t think they are close to reaching that saturation level for their current price points.
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post #168 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I think we can be pretty sure that the entire machine has been redesigned from the ground up internally. It's not like they just dropped a new cpu inside.

Sure, but it does not appear that they changed it from the 2009 model, which is where I'm drawing my pricing perspective from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I see you are a new poster. Welcome to the forum.

I tend to roll my eyes at comments regarding what a company that is hugely successful should have done. I certainly dont know what the best path for Apple is to meet their goals. If anyone knows id think its Apple. They know what their unit sales are across each model and configuration. I cant help but think that they realize there is a market for a cheaper headless Mac, but are choosing not to delve into that market for very specific reasons that we can only speculate on.

We can say what we wish they would have done to meet our needs or what we wish or expect them to do in the future, but I dont think we can make an argument for what they should have done after we see the fall out from a major misstep.

Thank you for the greeting.

I'm speaking purely from a consumer's perspective here. I'm actually a stock owner though Of course Apple knows what they are doing, they have come from the brink of bankruptcy to being one of the most valuable Tech companies in the world. I'm just having a tizzy cause I was really disappointed with the lack of improvement (without spending huge $$$) in Mac Pro over the last 1.5 years. It seems like Apple is over-pricing these pro models since their main customer base is probably creative professionals. Where as the iMac is targeted towards home users. You used to be able to get a PowerMac G5 for $1599, or even the first gen Mac Pros you could BTO a slower CPU to get it around $2k. I thought PCs were supposed to get cheaper over time
post #169 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by starmax View Post

I thought PCs were supposed to get cheaper over time

They are.

Measured in terms of performance per dollar, these machines are a notable improvement. And Apple has always had machines at roughly these price points, and it hasn't really shifted despite inflation. My $3000 1985 Mac128K in adjusted dollars cost (depending on how you calculate it) $5300 - $10100. And, measured in FLOPS, the performance is literally 60 million times faster and it can have a quarter million times as much memory, and tens of millions times as much disk storage.

Nobody in the industry is leaping forward, despite what the whiners go on and on about. Apple has updated to current parts, and I expect them to do it again in 12 months when Sandy Bridge is available. At that point they will include what Intel builds into the chipsets and the better between AMD and nVidia at the time. Will Apple enter the low cost tower market or the headless box market again? Not while they are selling their current machines as fast as they can... those machines are a cutthroat low margin business that cause companies to go out of business. Apple doesn't need a loss leader.
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post #170 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

So would we dare look far into the future? Let's assume Apple continues on their current path of expanding desktop and laptop market share driven in part by the iOS product halo effect. As OS X continues to expand, at some point would Apple actually need a mid range computer? I dunno, let's just pull this out of my proctal area and say at 20% market share would it make more sense for them to have a broader desktop range? What percentage of the Windows market is considered mid size?

That's an interesting question. Dare we even think they will ever get to 20%, or even close?

There's one paraphrased quote I like to use from Jobs before he came back to the company, when he was asked what he would do about Apple if he did come back.

He said "I would milk the Mac for all it's worth, and then go on to the next big thing".

It sure seems as though that's exactly what he's doing!

There's something that's heresy, but I believe actually has a chance now that Apple is such a different company, and is doing so well, and is now the most valuable brand in the world. If the Mac lines go below 20% of sales of the company, and average margins on them, particularly the consumer lines, are below the rest of the main lines Apple offers, they may be interested in doing something that's long been thought impossible again. That would be to allow clones.

Yes, as I said, it's heresy. But if Apple did it right, it could work. If they allowed just a small number of companies to do this, say Hp, maybe Dell, perhaps one other, and this time spec'ed carefully what could be done, Apple could do very well.

Unlike before, when Apple was floundering, and clones were thought to be required for business to take them up again, it was a gamble, that wasn't thought out carefully enough. But now, Apple is THE hottest brand on the planet. If Apple came up with reference designs that these companies would be required to follow, and Apple had approval, then it could work. These companies could manufacture OS X clones that fit into Apple line. Less expensive machines that Apple doesn't want to make. Gamer machines perhaps too. If Apple loses 25% of their computer sales, that would only be, at most 5% of total sales. Not much, and made up with other faster selling items.

But, this could double, and possibly eventually even triple Apple's market share. Who knows, it could go even higher. Then Apple would be selling tens of millions of OS X licenses, and making 80% profit margins off that. It would add to their bottom line greatly. Their overall margins could come to 50%.

This would solve a lot of problems, and allow companies to add machines from the big vendors they know and trust, while moving away from MS, which seems to be happening in a small way now. three or four years ago, 2% of large businesses had 250 or more Macs. Last year, that number rose to 7%. If Hp or Dell sold them, that could rise more quickly still.

If eventually, Apple sold 50 million licenses a year at $60 a license, not far off from what MS gets on average, though a bit less, that would total $3 billion in a year, almost all profit. Far more profit than they could get from selling much more in computers. Right now, they have to sell $20 billion of computers to make $3 billion in profit. Would they give up one for the other? They might.
post #171 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by starmax View Post

Sure, but it does not appear that they changed it from the 2009 model, which is where I'm drawing my pricing perspective from.

Faster memory in the top models, and no doubt internal improvements. Also upgraded graphics cards and such. Not actually the "same". I've got an early 2009 dual cpu model, and you're right that the changes are great, but the performance will be significantly better. For the crowd this is aimed at, that's enough.

Quote:
I'm speaking purely from a consumer's perspective here. I'm actually a stock owner though Of course Apple knows what they are doing, they have come from the brink of bankruptcy to being one of the most valuable Tech companies in the world. I'm just having a tizzy cause I was really disappointed with the lack of improvement (without spending huge $$$) in Mac Pro over the last 1.5 years. It seems like Apple is over-pricing these pro models since their main customer base is probably creative professionals. Where as the iMac is targeted towards home users. You used to be able to get a PowerMac G5 for $1599, or even the first gen Mac Pros you could BTO a slower CPU to get it around $2k. I thought PCs were supposed to get cheaper over time

I understand what you're saying, but Apple's machines used to be much more expensive than they are now. Much more! There were a few years when the pro models became cheaper, but now they're back up.

When I bought my first personal Mac in early 1992, the 950 cost me $6,000. The keyboard alone was almost $200. Over the next few years, prices came down a bit at a time, but were still very high. My 9500 was $5,000. My 9600 was almost as much. The B/W was a change. It was significantly less expensive. But this was when Apple was having problems. It was also a smaller machine that had less of everything.

The first G5 low end machines were more expensive, but seem cheaper. But when inflation is taken into account, they aren't much different from the low end MacPro today. Actually, when the price of the B/W is inflated to todays prices, it's about the same.

People just seem to want to spend less these days.
post #172 of 210
You're right on that one. For the prices Apple is asking, I'd expect significantly higher performance. Outside of the iMac, which doesn't work for me, the bang/buck ratio is way off.

I know a lot of people here haven't had their value threshold tripped, and that's fine. But I think the writing on the wall is clear with regards to Macs, the speed of their evolution, and the pricing we can look forward to going forward. The latest Mini and Mac Pros are examples of this. I'm bailing out, and I suspect that in two years or so, many, many of you will as well. All my computers have been Macs since I was in art school. I genuinely never foresaw the day when I'd be contemplating Windows 7/Direct 3D by choice. I still love OS X. So, Hackintosh it is. And Windows 7 when I need 2010 levels of graphics power.

Apple's moving into gadgets and phones, because 'that's the future.' Unfortunately for content creators, Maya and the long-dead Shake don't run on iPads and iTouches.

I don't buy music and movies from iTunes. I don't own an iPhone or iPad. I need a high performance computer I can refresh every few years, and the Mac pro is not that computer. With 500 day refresh cycles, and GPUs a solid year behind the competition, worst-in-class OpenGL/3D performance and $2500 starting price, it never will be.
post #173 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post

You're right on that one. For the prices Apple is asking, I'd expect significantly higher performance. Outside of the iMac, which doesn't work for me, the bang/buck ratio is way off.

I know a lot of people here haven't had their value threshold tripped, and that's fine. But I think the writing on the wall is clear with regards to Macs, the speed of their evolution, and the pricing we can look forward to going forward. The latest Mini and Mac Pros are examples of this. I'm bailing out, and I suspect that in two years or so, many, many of you will as well. All my computers have been Macs since I was in art school. I genuinely never foresaw the day when I'd be contemplating Windows 7/Direct 3D by choice. I still love OS X. So, Hackintosh it is. And Windows 7 when I need 2010 levels of graphics power.

Apple's moving into gadgets and phones, because 'that's the future.' Unfortunately for content creators, Maya and the long-dead Shake don't run on iPads and iTouches.

I don't buy music and movies from iTunes. I don't own an iPhone or iPad. I need a high performance computer I can refresh every few years, and the Mac pro is not that computer. With 500 day refresh cycles, and GPUs a solid year behind the competition, worst-in-class OpenGL/3D performance and $2500 starting price, it never will be.

Couldn't 'a said it better.

Apple is walking out of the computer market, saying 'see-ya sucka' to the crowd who stood by them and kept them afloat through the hard years, and getting cuddly with a very frivolous and fickle new audience.
post #174 of 210
Not exactly on topic and not exactly Light Peak, but I thought the readers on this thread would be interested in the latest optical technology from Intel.
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post #175 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I read the article, and it's clearly wrong. OS X needs trim just as much as Windows and Linux. There's nothing in OS X that gets around the problem

Unless you use a drive like OWC Mercury Extreme which does the garbage collection internally by utilizing some internal extra capacity, negating the need for hacks such as TRIM.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...8&postcount=10
post #176 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

All of us who have a Mac Pro, and who have also had the earlier G5 have seen just how expensively these machines are built. They are not even close to consumer machines as the older lines Apple always had. They are way more industrial than the older B/W or graphite G4's. They are also built much better than my older Macs. Those were all PC level machines with refinements. These are NASA quality machines.

I don't think that Apple has an interest in making a model with less. It just doesn't fit within this quality group.

Couldn't you say the same about the entire aluminium product line though? They are all engineered with precision and built extremely well and I think all Apple customers have that quality expectation. They already made a reasonably priced quad Mac Pro (<$2000) with the same quality bar you mention so it can't be about meeting quality expectations.

It seems to me it's pushed aside to give way to the quad 27" iMac, which costs $1999. It could be a strategic move to allow them to get the 27" Cinema display so cheap by shipping in high volume vs their rivals but it doesn't seem that quality comes into it. If they were focused on quality and the Mac Pro is the best they have then they'd surely try to get them to as many people as they could by making it $1999.

In terms of impact, the 27" iMac naturally sells itself better because a Mac Pro would be hidden under a desk somewhere and could be hooked up to any display. Plus the i5 gets 4941 here vs the Xeon 3530 getting 4964:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

So when you buy an i5 iMac at $1699, you get close to the performance of a $2499 Mac Pro but with a 27" LED backlit display thrown in too (worth $999). In real world tests, the Mac Pro beats it:

http://www.barefeats.com/imi7.html

but not by that much, especially not the i7. So how can it possibly be the case that a 27" iMac with CPUs costing about the same and bundled with a 27" LED backlit IPS display is still $800 less than the Mac Pro? They aren't carving the Mac Pro out of platinum.

It has to be down to volume. When you drop the volume you raise the price and vice versa. Maybe the $1999 Mac Pro wasn't selling in a high enough volume so they dropped it but they could have analyzed why it wasn't selling. I don't think people buying at that price point wanted an 18kg workstation, they just wanted a great desktop computer. Instead they got an all-in-one with a hard drive they can't access.

But of course, it will sell in volume to people who don't care about the hard drive until it breaks so now we will be stuck with this setup until 27" screens become really cheap and they pull it down to the lower end and bring the Mac Pro down with it. This will be a long way off yet though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by starmax

My huge beef with this update is the entry level model is basically a retread of the March 2009 model w/5% faster clocked CPU and a slightly faster GPU. Apple should have made the 3.33 6-core $2499 and Quad core around $2k. Apple has been improving performance while dropping prices on almost every other model (Mac Mini excluded), why no love for the Mac Pro?

They seem to be pushing the GPU angle more and more these days. I'm sure we'll see the benefit of that someday but CPUs are just dragging along now.
post #177 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post

You're right on that one. For the prices Apple is asking, I'd expect significantly higher performance. Outside of the iMac, which doesn't work for me, the bang/buck ratio is way off.

I know a lot of people here haven't had their value threshold tripped, and that's fine. But I think the writing on the wall is clear with regards to Macs, the speed of their evolution, and the pricing we can look forward to going forward. The latest Mini and Mac Pros are examples of this. I'm bailing out, and I suspect that in two years or so, many, many of you will as well. All my computers have been Macs since I was in art school. I genuinely never foresaw the day when I'd be contemplating Windows 7/Direct 3D by choice. I still love OS X. So, Hackintosh it is. And Windows 7 when I need 2010 levels of graphics power.

Apple's moving into gadgets and phones, because 'that's the future.' Unfortunately for content creators, Maya and the long-dead Shake don't run on iPads and iTouches.

I don't buy music and movies from iTunes. I don't own an iPhone or iPad. I need a high performance computer I can refresh every few years, and the Mac pro is not that computer. With 500 day refresh cycles, and GPUs a solid year behind the competition, worst-in-class OpenGL/3D performance and $2500 starting price, it never will be.

You're not a majority opinion. Mac sales are increasing by a good clip.
post #178 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwatson View Post

Couldn't 'a said it better.

Apple is walking out of the computer market, saying 'see-ya sucka' to the crowd who stood by them and kept them afloat through the hard years, and getting cuddly with a very frivolous and fickle new audience.

Again, sales are rising faster than the Pc market as a whole, which means that you are wrong.
post #179 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Unless you use a drive like OWC Mercury Extreme which does the garbage collection internally by utilizing some internal extra capacity, negating the need for hacks such as TRIM.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...8&postcount=10

That does not solve the problem, it just makes it less of a problem. And that method that Sandforce uses is considered to be less safe, as it's easier to lose data.
post #180 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Couldn't you say the same about the entire aluminium product line though? They are all engineered with precision and built extremely well and I think all Apple customers have that quality expectation. They already made a reasonably priced quad Mac Pro (<$2000) with the same quality bar you mention so it can't be about meeting quality expectations.

It seems to me it's pushed aside to give way to the quad 27" iMac, which costs $1999. It could be a strategic move to allow them to get the 27" Cinema display so cheap by shipping in high volume vs their rivals but it doesn't seem that quality comes into it. If they were focused on quality and the Mac Pro is the best they have then they'd surely try to get them to as many people as they could by making it $1999.

In terms of impact, the 27" iMac naturally sells itself better because a Mac Pro would be hidden under a desk somewhere and could be hooked up to any display. Plus the i5 gets 4941 here vs the Xeon 3530 getting 4964:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

So when you buy an i5 iMac at $1699, you get close to the performance of a $2499 Mac Pro but with a 27" LED backlit display thrown in too (worth $999). In real world tests, the Mac Pro beats it:

http://www.barefeats.com/imi7.html

but not by that much, especially not the i7. So how can it possibly be the case that a 27" iMac with CPUs costing about the same and bundled with a 27" LED backlit IPS display is still $800 less than the Mac Pro? They aren't carving the Mac Pro out of platinum.

It has to be down to volume. When you drop the volume you raise the price and vice versa. Maybe the $1999 Mac Pro wasn't selling in a high enough volume so they dropped it but they could have analyzed why it wasn't selling. I don't think people buying at that price point wanted an 18kg workstation, they just wanted a great desktop computer. Instead they got an all-in-one with a hard drive they can't access.

But of course, it will sell in volume to people who don't care about the hard drive until it breaks so now we will be stuck with this setup until 27" screens become really cheap and they pull it down to the lower end and bring the Mac Pro down with it. This will be a long way off yet though.

The iMac is a quality machine, in that it uses better parts than the run of the mill PC. But the Mac Pro is a different animal entirely. I wouldn't say that the quality, which in this case is embodied in the ruggedness of the Mac Pro, is the same. The iMac is much more of a consumer machine, though some pros use it as well.

I know about the performance issue, as I mentioned it. It's really when you get to the higher level Mac Pro where it really pulls ahead. You're not getting a 6 core cpu, not a 12 core dual cpu, not higher end graphics cards, not as much RAM capacity, etc in an iMac, at least not for a number of years, and then the Mac Pro will still be ahead..

These are separate lines, and are very different. Those who don't want them, and don't need them, won't buy them. We go over this same point over and again, and it still stands. If Apple doesn't care, why should we? I was one of the first to come up with a small design with the G5, but it's pretty clear by now, that it ain't happening. There's no point in insisting that it should. I've given up on it, and so should everyone else.
post #181 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by gariba View Post

no nVidia cards no CUDA GPU processing...
Bad for imaging...

Use cross card OpenCL and avoid only being good on Nvidia, you get ATi for free too.

You wouldn't believe some of the public beatings the Nvidia guys took on their CUDA this past week either. While they didn't say they were changing it, the uncomfortable looking-at-shoes-while-mumbling-something-along-the-lines-of ~the CUDA architecture isn't the only way to get more out of our GPU, we are looking at garble/mumble~ said CUDA has some issues and Nvidia recognizes it.

One thing I took away from that talk was nobody was willing to bet on what exactly low level GPU programming was going to look like five years from now, but the abstraction languages like OpenCL would be where the mass of programers ended up, and whatever low level resulted would end up supporting the higher level APIs.
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post #182 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Unless you use a drive like OWC Mercury Extreme which does the garbage collection internally by utilizing some internal extra capacity, negating the need for hacks such as TRIM.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...8&postcount=10

All current SSDs use over-specification, the chips themselves have it built in at the silicon level, and that only helps until the extra blocks are written to. Those blocks also are provided to act as fallbacks when blocks die, they just blacklist the bad block and put one of the extras into the normal rotation -- almost the same as rotating HDs.

Those processes have nothing to do with Garbage Collection, despite what the post you link to says. GC can be done just using the few MB of RAM cache on the controller chip, no extra hidden flash necessary at all. I do agree that these smarter controllers eliminate the need for TRIM or software based GC.
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post #183 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I read the article, and it's clearly wrong. OS X needs trim just as much as Windows and Linux. There's nothing in OS X that gets around the problem, which is why Apple is working on trim now.

Nothing in the OS, but the controllers are getting smarter about it, and hiding that from the OS altogether. SandForce calls their implementation Recycler, and it is part of the firmware, not in an OS driver.
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post #184 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

All current SSDs use over-specification, the chips themselves have it built in at the silicon level, and that only helps until the extra blocks are written to. Those blocks also are provided to act as fallbacks when blocks die, they just blacklist the bad block and put one of the extras into the normal rotation -- almost the same as rotating HDs.

No, there is a definite difference in some drives vs. others. It costs money to put in enough extra capacity to allow for enough extra cells to ensure there is a significant amount of totally empty flash cells available to ensure fast performance.

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Those processes have nothing to do with Garbage Collection

Your wrong - they do garbage collection. The OWC Mercury Extreme drive I am referring to is absolutely doing garbage collection with the extra space it has. Otherwise, why would they go through the expense of having storage that is otherwise useless? Otherwise your saying they are overly pessimistic about the flash they use that they need to have 7%-23% more "just in case"? That makes no sense!

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GC can be done just using the few MB of RAM cache on the controller chip, no extra hidden flash necessary at all. I do agree that these smarter controllers eliminate the need for TRIM or software based GC.

If you don't have extra capacity, and your drive fills, your not going to sustain speed. Where are the empty free cells going to be? How are you going to ensure you always have totally empty and free cells? Garbage collection with a few megabytes won't get you much in sustained speed. The links I provide below will demonstrate this pretty effectively.

It's pretty simple. TRIM exists so that manufacturers don't have to add extra flash that is not useable as extra capacity. It's a cost saving measure and a pretty piss poor compromise for performance. The amount you are talking about for over-subscription for error correction is not enough to allow for maximum performance. It's trivial to the amount of extra capacities in drives like the OWC Mercury Extreme.

You have to specifically get drives that are engineered to do internal garbage collection, and that have the extra over-subscription capacity to do it effectively. Otherwise, on a Mac, you will hit a performance wall as your free cells disappear.

But don't take my word for it - here is someone who specializes in high end photoshop work who has done extensive testing with SSDs:

http://macperformanceguide.com/SSD-RealWorld.html
http://macperformanceguide.com/Revie...y_Extreme.html

Bottom line, even Apple's SSD's are a bad deal at this point in time. You need to ensure you get an SSD that will maintain peak performance - at least until Mac OS X gains TRIM support. And right now, for me, the only SSD I'll consider is the OWC Mercury Extreme. This is based on my personal experience in owning both flavors of SSD and seeing how they run over time.

And even if Mac OS X does get TRIM, I'll probably stick with SSDs like OWC's because they work with any OS in any circumstance. No OS specific dependancies like you see with hacks like TRIM. And even with TRIM, as your drive fills your performance is going to go down as the controller on the drive struggles to juggle enough stuff around to ensure you have totally open cells to write to. If you can't fill your SSD up and maintain peak performance, the arguments for TRIM vs. over-subscription become kind of moot.
post #185 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That does not solve the problem, it just makes it less of a problem.

It does exactly the same thing TRIM does. It's no more or more less of a problem than a drive using TRIM. Instead of relying on the OS to tell it what blocks are OK to destroy the data that is within them, the controller ensures there are plenty of free cells available by having enough extra capacity to use for consolidation - even if the disk is full of data.

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And that method that Sandforce uses is considered to be less safe, as it's easier to lose data.

It shuffles data around exactly the same way TRIM does, but without a reliance on the OS telling it via TRIM what blocks to destroy.

Actually, you are less likely to loose data than with TRIM. Since the drive isn't destroying any data at all, but just shuffling it around, you will be able to un-erase a file just like on a magnetic disk. Good luck if you are using TRIM.

Again, don't just take my word for it: http://techgage.com/article/too_trim...s_impossible/3
post #186 of 210
Look, it really is pretty simple. Let me try an analogy using something that hopefully everyone has played with at one time or another - a sliding number puzzle

If you have a sliding number puzzle that is 100% full of tiles and all the numbers are jumbled up, you need a hole to give you space to un-jumble the numbers.

You can do that by getting rid of a number you no longer need (TRIM) or by making the overall puzzle bigger (over subscription like the OWC Mercury Extreme drives).

Either method produces a hole so you can shuffle the tiles to order the numbers.

Not a direct analogy, but hopefully close enough to give people a different way to think about what is going on at a low level, below the file system and even blocks in these drives at the flash memory cell level.
post #187 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

He said "I would milk the Mac for all it's worth, and then go on to the next big thing".

It sure seems as though that's exactly what he's doing!

How exactly is Apple "Milking the Macintosh"?

Sure, they haven't kicked out an update to the Mac Pro in a while, but seriously - other than graphics cards (which you don't need a whole new computer for, and Apple still sucks at providing new kit for) what is there to keep updating that delivers earth shattering performance differences?

Routine and steady updates have been issued - but what more do you really want from them. Computers as desktops and/or laptops have been out for decades and at this point are pretty stable. Of course compared to a new platform with lots of innovation like is happening with the iOS the traditional Mac is going to look pretty boring.

But to construe that into "Apple is milking the Macintosh" is a little silly, IMNSHO.

And Apple isn't going back to clones any time soon. The whole "secret sauce" to Apple is user experience. And if you don't control 100% of the product chain, you can't control the user experience.

It's against their DNA. It's not gonna happen. I listened to Alex Lindsey on TWIT or MacBreak (I forget which now) go on and on about this too - and although I really like Alex, he totally glossed over this core principle to get where HE wanted to be. It's not where Apple wants now, or ever, to be. You and Alex will be waiting a LONG time...
post #188 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

Nothing in the OS, but the controllers are getting smarter about it, and hiding that from the OS altogether. SandForce calls their implementation Recycler, and it is part of the firmware, not in an OS driver.

That's true, but it's interesting that they have two basic versions of their controller. One for commercial use, and one for, I guess we can say, home use. The industrial one requires as much as a 25% larger amount of memory, because of the unreliability of these controllers. That is, they're moving info around on the drive like de-fraggers. There are other possible problems that make their controllers more likely to have data loss. That's why so much extra memory (and expense). This doesn't mean that a Sandforce drive is LIKELY to lose data, just that it's more likely than other, more conventional controllers.

I've seen no evidence that over the long term, these drives won't slow down, though not as much as regular SSDs.
post #189 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I've seen no evidence that over the long term, these drives won't slow down, though not as much as regular SSDs.

Here's some evidence for you:

http://macperformanceguide.com/SSD-R...evereDuty.html

And my experience matches his testing.


EDIT: I glossed over it in the review, but they are using the sandforce controller. I thought I read another article that linked to another controller from another manufacturer (Samsung?) that does the same thing but I can't find it now - drat!
post #190 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

his doesn't mean that a Sandforce drive is LIKELY to lose data, just that it's more likely than other, more conventional controllers.

Wait, I thought all drives shuffled data to support wear leveling?

If shuffling data is bad, aren't they all just as likely to loose data?

I must be missing something - what's special about the sandforce controller that makes it "more likely" to loose data?
post #191 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

It does exactly the same thing TRIM does. It's no more or more less of a problem than a drive using TRIM. Instead of relying on the OS to tell it what blocks are OK to destroy the data that is within them, the controller ensures there are plenty of free cells available by having enough extra capacity to use for consolidation - even if the disk is full of data.

Heh! Even you're own explanation shows that it's NOT doing the same thing. Sandforce controllers are considered to be risky as to info loss over time, which is why they use the extra memory. They do not do what trim does.

One thing they do is to compress the data. That's right, they don't pass all the bits to the SSD. It's compressed first. This whole thing is totally different from trim. This is one of the things that gives improved specs.

Quote:
It shuffles data around exactly the same way TRIM does, but without a reliance on the OS telling it via TRIM what blocks to destroy.

Actually, you are less likely to loose data than with TRIM. Since the drive isn't destroying any data at all, but just shuffling it around, you will be able to un-erase a file just like on a magnetic disk. Good luck if you are using TRIM.

Again, don't just take my word for it: http://techgage.com/article/too_trim...s_impossible/3[/QUOTE]

Trim doesn't compress data the way Sandforce drives do. If you consider that to be safer, good for you. But performance falls, just, as I said, not as much.

Here's from their site. remember that it's marketing speak, so they will make it look better than it really is. At the bottom, you can see their (ideal) chart:

http://www.sandforce.com/index.php?id=146&parentId=34
post #192 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

How exactly is Apple "Milking the Macintosh"?

Sure, they haven't kicked out an update to the Mac Pro in a while, but seriously - other than graphics cards (which you don't need a whole new computer for, and Apple still sucks at providing new kit for) what is there to keep updating that delivers earth shattering performance differences?

Routine and steady updates have been issued - but what more do you really want from them. Computers as desktops and/or laptops have been out for decades and at this point are pretty stable. Of course compared to a new platform with lots of innovation like is happening with the iOS the traditional Mac is going to look pretty boring.

But to construe that into "Apple is milking the Macintosh" is a little silly, IMNSHO.

And Apple isn't going back to clones any time soon. The whole "secret sauce" to Apple is user experience. And if you don't control 100% of the product chain, you can't control the user experience.

It's against their DNA. It's not gonna happen. I listened to Alex Lindsey on TWIT or MacBreak (I forget which now) go on and on about this too - and although I really like Alex, he totally glossed over this core principle to get where HE wanted to be. It's not where Apple wants now, or ever, to be. You and Alex will be waiting a LONG time...

They're milking it by taking the profits from that, and putting it into other areas, which have now exceeded by a good margin, the sales of the computer division itself. They could have come out with the less expensive computer systems so many people say they want, and increased sales of them by 100%, possibly a lot more. But that's not what they're doing. Computers are becoming a smaller part of the company as time goes on.

This expression may be silly to you, but Jobs said it, I'm merely repeating his statement. So if you think he's silly, then go right ahead.

Go send him an e-mail, and argue with him that he doesn't know how to run Apple, but that you do.

Here's the exact quote, and the link to where it can be found:

Quote:
"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
-- Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/com...#ixzz0vIEwOcrp

link to site:

http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/com.../2006/03/70512

Don't say what's in their DNA, because you have no idea.
post #193 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Here's some evidence for you:

http://macperformanceguide.com/SSD-R...evereDuty.html

And my experience matches his testing.


EDIT: I glossed over it in the review, but they are using the sandforce controller. I thought I read another article that linked to another controller from another manufacturer (Samsung?) that does the same thing but I can't find it now - drat!

The Samsung controllers suck. They are some of the worst performing controllers around, and Apple's been criticized for using them. But they must be reliable because big business often specs them.
post #194 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Wait, I thought all drives shuffled data to support wear leveling?

If shuffling data is bad, aren't they all just as likely to loose data?

I must be missing something - what's special about the sandforce controller that makes it "more likely" to loose data?

As i've been saying, it's the compression. While Sandforce likes to talk about reliability of their controllers, the amount of lost bits over time and ops, they don't mention specifically what affect the compression will have.
post #195 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Wait, I thought all drives shuffled data to support wear leveling?

If shuffling data is bad, aren't they all just as likely to loose data?

I must be missing something - what's special about the sandforce controller that makes it "more likely" to loose data?

Shuffling data is the last thing an SSD controller wants to do, that just uses up lifetime cycles. The controllers don't shuffle the data as much as they shuffle which blocks can be used at any point in time. So if a block is used it doesn't get shuffled just to wear-level, but when the block needs to have some sectors erased and is written out, it may or may not go back onto the assignable list depending on where the block sits on the wear list.

I wouldn't say that auto GC is any more likely to lose data than TRIM would be. Both ways you pull off a partially deleted block to DRAM someplace, slick the old block and mark it writable, update the usage tables and then write the logically "cleaned" block from DRAM back to a NVRAM block. With SandForce's GC that is all done in the controller, with TRIM the OS is calling the shots. Both ways suffer the same potential problems with power failures in the middle of the block cleaning process too.

Ignore DocNo's technical ramblings, he is really off in left field.
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post #196 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

No, there is a definite difference in some drives vs. others. It costs money to put in enough extra capacity to allow for enough extra cells to ensure there is a significant amount of totally empty flash cells available to ensure fast performance.

No, you have no idea what you are talking about. SSD NVRAM is fabbed with over specification built-in, it always has been, it isn't added after the fact. Different drive manufactures just decide differently how they are going to expose the over specification. It isn't an extra cost because you cant get NVRAM for SSDs without it.

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Your wrong - they do garbage collection. The OWC Mercury Extreme drive I am referring to is absolutely doing garbage collection with the extra space it has. Otherwise, why would they go through the expense of having storage that is otherwise useless? Otherwise your saying they are overly pessimistic about the flash they use that they need to have 7%-23% more "just in case"? That makes no sense!

Glad you aren't a project engineer then. You really are out of your element here.

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If you don't have extra capacity, and your drive fills, your not going to sustain speed. Where are the empty free cells going to be? How are you going to ensure you always have totally empty and free cells? Garbage collection with a few megabytes won't get you much in sustained speed. The links I provide below will demonstrate this pretty effectively.

ZOMG!!! Ohes Noes!! But, but you're all wrong...

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It's pretty simple. TRIM exists so that manufacturers don't have to add extra flash that is not useable as extra capacity. It's a cost saving measure and a pretty piss poor compromise for performance. The amount you are talking about for over-subscription for error correction is not enough to allow for maximum performance. It's trivial to the amount of extra capacities in drives like the OWC Mercury Extreme.

You have to specifically get drives that are engineered to do internal garbage collection, and that have the extra over-subscription capacity to do it effectively. Otherwise, on a Mac, you will hit a performance wall as your free cells disappear.

Over subscription has absolutely NOTHING to do with GC. Period. Ever. It serves exactly two engineering purposes: 1) Avoid having to do write-to-block-cleaning during a write because you can just select one of those extra unused blocks. 2) Bad-block replacement, which happens to be the primary reason. Should you be working with 1) and happen to have used all the extra unwritten-to blocks, then you get the drive slowdowns because now the drive is forced to write-to-block-clean on the fly.

Quote:
But don't take my word for it - here is someone who specializes in high end photoshop work who has done extensive testing with SSDs:

Trust me, I won't and advise everyone else to steer clear too.


Reasonable tests, I have no quibble with them at all. They don't support your technical comments in the least though.

Quote:
Bottom line, even Apple's SSD's are a bad deal at this point in time. You need to ensure you get an SSD that will maintain peak performance - at least until Mac OS X gains TRIM support. And right now, for me, the only SSD I'll consider is the OWC Mercury Extreme. This is based on my personal experience in owning both flavors of SSD and seeing how they run over time.

And even if Mac OS X does get TRIM, I'll probably stick with SSDs like OWC's because they work with any OS in any circumstance. No OS specific dependancies like you see with hacks like TRIM. And even with TRIM, as your drive fills your performance is going to go down as the controller on the drive struggles to juggle enough stuff around to ensure you have totally open cells to write to. If you can't fill your SSD up and maintain peak performance, the arguments for TRIM vs. over-subscription become kind of moot.

Even my old Crucial SSD still running FW18xx, with no auto GC or TRIM support runs rings around a rotating drive on read performance, it makes a four year old MacbookPro almost as fast as a 2009 version. It won't win any write races, but until I build something the write performance really doesn't mean anything. I suggest you get a clue before you try to tell the world how stuff works and why to buy or not buy it. Read performance is king unless you are in some very specific write throughput computations, and there SSDs don't generally have enough capacity anyway, go use a good RAID. So even when SSD write performance degrades, the majority of users will still be amazed by how responsive it makes the machine feel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Look, it really is pretty simple. Let me try an analogy using something that hopefully everyone has played with at one time or another - a sliding number puzzle

If you have a sliding number puzzle that is 100% full of tiles and all the numbers are jumbled up, you need a hole to give you space to un-jumble the numbers.

You can do that by getting rid of a number you no longer need (TRIM) or by making the overall puzzle bigger (over subscription like the OWC Mercury Extreme drives).

Either method produces a hole so you can shuffle the tiles to order the numbers.

Not a direct analogy, but hopefully close enough to give people a different way to think about what is going on at a low level, below the file system and even blocks in these drives at the flash memory cell level.

No. That's so broken an analogy as to be uncorrectable.
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post #197 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Heh! Even you're own explanation shows that it's NOT doing the same thing. Sandforce controllers are considered to be risky as to info loss over time, which is why they use the extra memory. They do not do what trim does.

One thing they do is to compress the data. That's right, they don't pass all the bits to the SSD. It's compressed first. This whole thing is totally different from trim. This is one of the things that gives improved specs.

The over specification and the data compression are independent even though both are used for overall drive performance. SandForce uses the compression so they can use fewer blocks per write and so have longer life for the same amount of written data coming into the controller. Completely orthogonal to using the over specification to avoid write-to-block cleaning.

I won't argue a whit that they need to prove long term their compression/decompression is perfectly safe.
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post #198 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

The over specification and the data compression are independent even though both are used for overall drive performance. SandForce uses the compression so they can use fewer blocks per write and so have longer life for the same amount of written data coming into the controller. Completely orthogonal to using the over specification to avoid write-to-block cleaning.

I didn't say they had anything to do with each other. But they are two methods they use that makes their drives different from others.

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I won't argue a whit that they need to prove long term their compression/decompression is perfectly safe.

No on the fly compression/decompression scheme is completely safe.
post #199 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I didn't say they had anything to do with each other. But they are two methods they use that makes their drives different from others.



No on the fly compression/decompression scheme is completely safe.

There are formal methods mathematical techniques that can be used to verify the algorithm and then that can be cross checked against the firmware commands to make sure they match. If that all checks out then the only other thing that could go wrong is the omnipresent cosmic ray flip. And there, if it hits the firmware in a wrong spot, it could create holy havoc. But even that is more likely to crash the firmware than allow it to run in an incorrect manner.

So IF SandForce has done the formal methods analysis and mapped that against the firmware, then they should be VERY safe, where VERY means at least just as safe as any other computation on the machine. Controllers like this are far smaller of a verification problem than a CPU or run of the mill program because of the limited code size and restricted functionality.

I agree it is not completely safe, but no computation in a computer is because of external factors and unknown bugs. So the operative question becomes do you think they shipped the controllers without doing the above analysis? Or that they are shipping known incorrect firmware?
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post #200 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's an interesting question. Dare we even think they will ever get to 20%, or even close?

There's one paraphrased quote I like to use from Jobs before he came back to the company, when he was asked what he would do about Apple if he did come back.

He said "I would milk the Mac for all it's worth, and then go on to the next big thing".

It sure seems as though that's exactly what he's doing!

There's something that's heresy, but I believe actually has a chance now that Apple is such a different company, and is doing so well, and is now the most valuable brand in the world. If the Mac lines go below 20% of sales of the company, and average margins on them, particularly the consumer lines, are below the rest of the main lines Apple offers, they may be interested in doing something that's long been thought impossible again. That would be to allow clones.

Yes, as I said, it's heresy. But if Apple did it right, it could work. If they allowed just a small number of companies to do this, say Hp, maybe Dell, perhaps one other, and this time spec'ed carefully what could be done, Apple could do very well.

Unlike before, when Apple was floundering, and clones were thought to be required for business to take them up again, it was a gamble, that wasn't thought out carefully enough. But now, Apple is THE hottest brand on the planet. If Apple came up with reference designs that these companies would be required to follow, and Apple had approval, then it could work. These companies could manufacture OS X clones that fit into Apple line. Less expensive machines that Apple doesn't want to make. Gamer machines perhaps too. If Apple loses 25% of their computer sales, that would only be, at most 5% of total sales. Not much, and made up with other faster selling items.

But, this could double, and possibly eventually even triple Apple's market share. Who knows, it could go even higher. Then Apple would be selling tens of millions of OS X licenses, and making 80% profit margins off that. It would add to their bottom line greatly. Their overall margins could come to 50%.

This would solve a lot of problems, and allow companies to add machines from the big vendors they know and trust, while moving away from MS, which seems to be happening in a small way now. three or four years ago, 2% of large businesses had 250 or more Macs. Last year, that number rose to 7%. If Hp or Dell sold them, that could rise more quickly still.

If eventually, Apple sold 50 million licenses a year at $60 a license, not far off from what MS gets on average, though a bit less, that would total $3 billion in a year, almost all profit. Far more profit than they could get from selling much more in computers. Right now, they have to sell $20 billion of computers to make $3 billion in profit. Would they give up one for the other? They might.

What do you think would be the advantage or disadvantage [ to Apple] of spinning off
the design and manufacture of Macs (and only Macs) to a wholly owned subsidiary?
Would there be advantages or disadvantages to Mac buyers if Apple did so?
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