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The Mac Pro is Dead

post #1 of 308
Thread Starter 
Does anyone care about this overpriced Mac any more?

It has kept the same overall design since the Power Mac G5. I'd buy it & a cinema display but the price would set me back $3,500. How about something a little more reasonable, Apple?!
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #2 of 308
If you're buying it for the design, you're not buying it for any of the reasons it exists.

You're one of the few who still seem to think an xMac is the way to go. Build a Hackintosh and be done with it.
post #3 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If you're buying it for the design, you're not buying it for any of the reasons it exists.

You're one of the few who still seem to think an xMac is the way to go. Build a Hackintosh and be done with it.

I have to wonder how much longer Apple is willing to service this niche of computer user. Not trying to upset anybody, or offend anyone's delicate sensibilities. Numbers and facts are what they are.

I get the feeling that if they felt they could get away with it, they would just cut these people loose. But for now they probably can't and I doubt they will. Still I think its a ticking clock.
post #4 of 308
I would have agreed with you a couple of months ago, but I've recently had the opportunity to work with video production designers and it has been quite an eye-opener.

Due to the nature of my work, I rub shoulders with a wide variety of creative professionals working in almost every field. The guys working in video production in particular, are still very much driven by the 'time is money' model, and for them anything that can cut production times is a no-brainer. These guys are still rendering sub-realtime. Hardware is routinely purchased on a 'cost is not an issue' basis.

Whilst graphic design studios will worry about purchasing an new Mac mini or iMac, and expect that purchase to remain productive for 3-5 years, the video production guys won't think twice about spec'ing-up a Mac Pro for a single project.

When the consumer's appetite for rich media content wanes, and the consumer-orientated iMac becomes more powerful than the Mac Pro, then the Mac Pro will be dead.

Until that day, the Mac Pro is neither overpriced or irrelevant. There are still certain growth markets where you can never have enough processing power, RAM or storage, and the content that these markets produce is in higher demand than ever before.

Of all the 'standard configuration' MacOS hardware, the Mac Pro has the highest profit margin by far. Given that creative professionals seem to have no qualms about spec'ing-up the Mac Pro with masses of Apples overpriced RAM, storage and graphics options, I think it continues to make good business sense for Apple to hang in there. After all, how many consumers are going to buy a £16k+ machine without a second thought?
OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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post #5 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

I would have agreed with you a couple of months ago, but I've recently had the opportunity to work with video production designers and it has been quite an eye-opener.

Due to the nature of my work, I rub shoulders with a wide variety of creative professionals working in almost every field. The guys working in video production in particular, are still very much driven by the 'time is money' model, and for them anything that can cut production times is a no-brainer. These guys are still rendering sub-realtime. Hardware is routinely purchased on a 'cost is not an issue' basis.

Whilst graphic design studios will worry about purchasing an new Mac mini or iMac, and expect that purchase to remain productive for 3-5 years, the video production guys won't think twice about spec'ing-up a Mac Pro for a single project.

When the consumer's appetite for rich media content wanes, and the consumer-orientated iMac becomes more powerful than the Mac Pro, then the Mac Pro will be dead.

Until that day, the Mac Pro is neither overpriced or irrelevant. There are still certain growth markets where you can never have enough processing power, RAM or storage, and the content that these markets produce is in higher demand than ever before.

Of all the 'standard configuration' MacOS hardware, the Mac Pro has the highest profit margin by far. Given that creative professionals seem to have no qualms about spec'ing-up the Mac Pro with masses of Apples overpriced RAM, storage and graphics options, I think it continues to make good business sense for Apple to hang in there. After all, how many consumers are going to buy a £16k+ machine without a second thought?

Good points. When I strike it rich, I have my $11,000 mac pro with dual 27" displays all ready to go in my cart.
post #6 of 308
There is a niche for a MacPro...Apple can fund this with the proceeds from the other products.
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #7 of 308
People are still buying them, so presumably they care...

Spec up a Dell workstation with dual Xeon CPUs and I would guess you'd come very close in price.
post #8 of 308
Ha ha! No it isn't.
post #9 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikef View Post

People are still buying them, so presumably they care...

Spec up a Dell workstation with dual Xeon CPUs and I would guess you'd come very close in price.

Its true, I just did it. Each site has some options the other doesn't, and the Dell was a bit cheaper. But Dell didn't have a 16GB ram option (only 12 or 24GB) and they don't offer 2TB drives (just 1 or 1.5TB). So you get less computer for a little less money. They also don't offer anything near the resolution/quality of the 27in displays that I could find, although I wouldn't put it past them to have something similar buried on the site somewhere.

(poked around)
Holy crap, Apple's 27in 2560x1440 display is actually $100 less than Dell's equivalent. Hehe!

Also just realized that the 27in display is the only standalone display Apple sells. No 20 or 30in models, just the 27. Definitely in stark contrast to their competitors that sell too many different kinds.
post #10 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Does anyone care about this overpriced Mac any more?

Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

Numbers and facts are what they are.

And what numbers and facts are those?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

It has kept the same overall design since the Power Mac G5. I'd buy it & a cinema display but the price would set me back $3,500. How about something a little more reasonable, Apple?!

The same pretty cool design. I'm looking at mine right now and it's a thing of beauty. It may not have changed much on the outside but internally the Power Mac G5s and Mac Pros have undergone many significant design refreshes over the years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You're one of the few who still seem to think an xMac is the way to go.

I used to be a pretty strong supporter of a headless iMac or "xMac" too, though now that I've got my Mac Pro I'm sure glad I did. For me, having the ample internal storage (currently 4 x 1 Tb hard drives) is a godsend. I could never go back to laptop-sized storage or even having to partition the hard-drive in an iMac to suit my needs..and lets face it external storage looks ugly. I'm currently set up as 1 x SL, 1 x W7, 1 x TMachine and one spare/scratch.

I have never liked the concepts of iMacs. They're trying to fit too much heat producing technology into too little space and as a result iMacs never last as long as separate components before some aspect of it dies, be it the video card, logic board, hard-drives etc. They also have to compromise some aspects of its performance like the video card, which is not a proper desktop card. Having got my 27" Cinema Display, I realise how the screen itself can put out a bit of heat as well. If your iMac can last much longer than 3-years you're doing pretty well.

The Mac Pro on the other hand is so ridiculously over-designed for performance it's not funny. I only have the 3.33 GHz 6-core, but what's amazing is that I can max out the processor at 100% infinitely and the processor temps never get above about 57-60 degrees, that's with the fans not doing anything either because they don't have to! I've never seen or heard the fans even elevate above idle speeds outside of 3D gaming, and even then I think it's the graphics card fan that's ramping up. Compare that with the leg-scorching internal temps of my old MacBook Pro (processor temps of 90-100 degrees or more) and you can see why laptops also never last as long.

For me, the iPad was the third nail in the coffin of laptops for me. It's all I need in a portable and if I wanted to I can use the iPad to remote desktop to my Mac Pro and control it.

I can easily see my Mac Pro lasting me 5-years plus as most aspects of it can be upgraded when I need more storage, better graphics or even potentially a processor upgrade as well. That means less Apple tax because you're upgrading less frequently as well as less pain because upgrading always takes time to set up new hardware.

I work in science and have several applications that are designed for parallel processing and can take hours even on my 6-core. I will often let it do some processing work overnight and design a variety of experiments that take many, many hours of computer processing time. For me, the Mac Pro is a great platform for science because I can use native UNIX applications without having to leave the beautiful OS X.
post #11 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

It has kept the same overall design since the Power Mac G5. I'd buy it & a cinema display but the price would set me back $3,500. How about something a little more reasonable, Apple?!

The value aspect of the Mac Pro is highly questionable. There is the argument about needing the highest performance CPU, best GPU, RAM etc but a quad-core i7 iMac matches the entry Mac Pro performance for $500 less and you get a 27" screen worth $1000 included.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah

Of all the 'standard configuration' MacOS hardware, the Mac Pro has the highest profit margin by far.

True, the entry Mac Pro has a single $300 CPU and a $140 GPU, $80 of RAM, $60 HDD, $50 ODD, $60 keyboard & mouse, Xeon motherboard for $600, chassis $400, PSU $300. So in a $2500 machine, they can make about $500 per unit. The iOS devices make about $100-200.

There aren't more than 100 million Macs out there in the wild and we know about 70% are laptops. This leaves 30 million desktops. The iMac and Mini will take up the bulk of it but say 5 million are Mac Pros. That still gives $2.5b profit.

That isn't every year of course but it's not a market that is going to easily migrate to iMacs because you can't use them as servers and that profit is reasonable. I still see that market eroding away though and one day Apple will stop making Mac Pros. I really don't see it as if but when. It may be 10-20 years but it will happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.metcalf

If your iMac can last much longer than 3-years you're doing pretty well.

Hardware moves on quickly though. The current iMac is faster than a 3 year-old Mac Pro. You can expect that to happen every two years in fact.

I wanted an affordable mid-range Mac tower ever since the introduction of the first iMac and people were arguing about SCSI vs SATA and how SATA wasn't fast enough. For 13 years, Apple has refused to go back to an affordable tower. The closest we got was the $1999 quad Mac Pro.

At this stage, I think it's too late to build one. All I ever wanted from one was a quad-core CPU and a GPU that matched the MBP. Next year, Ivy Bridge will bring quad-cores to the entire lineup and the GPU will exceed the 330M in the current MBP, we will have SSDs and you can put 8GB RAM in it and this is in the size and cost of a Mac Mini.

Obviously the performance bar keeps moving but the tasks we need to do don't all move with it. Those that do will diminish in number over time.

Think where we will be just 5 years from now. In the past 10 years, GPUs have jumped to over 30x faster. We will have 3 CPU die-shrinks within 5 years from now so quad-core next year, 6-core after 3 years, 8-core after 5 years. GPUs will jump by another 5x.

At that point, will we really be asking for more than 8-cores and entry IGPs that can run games at the highest quality in 1080p real-time and 1TB SSDs running over 10-100Gbps Light Peak with 8-16Gb/s throughput? Even if everyone is making 1080p stereoscopic CGI films, I'd have to say no because entry-level GPUs will do that in real-time.

3D engines and techniques will evolve along with specialised hardware to the point where you stop an ask what do we really need to do with computers any more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJoq42vVnLs

Scientific computation will probably be the last remaining market for high-end towers and even entry GPU computation will be enough for a lot of that. I think that there won't be a need for Apple to sell the Mac Pro 10 years from now.
post #12 of 308
While some may scoff, my issue is Cupertino's insistence on using make-up mirror faced displays. Sure they look impressive, all contrasty and carefully placed in the stores to minimize reflections... but even there, I look at the screen and see myself pretty clearly.

Something tells me y'all are very familiar with "torch mode" that retailers use to "sell" HDTVs. Sure this fools a lot of people... they seem very impressed with how "stunning" a mal-adjusted, way too contrasty screen is. I even have one friend who knows better who is a big fan of "unnatural" contrast.

Sure, I could turn my place into a dark cave, but the very reason why I HAVE my place is it has windows all around and is substantially more "lit" by sun than many other apartments (being on the top floor with lots of south, west and north windows).

No this isn't the NLY factor I used, but certainly one of several that lead me to the tower rather than an iMac.
post #13 of 308
Thread Starter 
I'm one of those people who would rather a tower with a display than an all-in-one. No, not an "xMac." I like the Mac Pro design. I don't need Nehalem or Westmere Xeon processors. I'm not certain why Apple refuses to sell less expensive Mac Pros using Core i7 processors. And I'm still lost on why Apple had to kill the lower-priced 24" LED Cinema Display.

I understand the need for speed. Time is money. If Apple was really serious about the Mac Pro, they'd offer more options.

If you go back in time, their entry-level professional tower started at $1,599. There used to be 3 display sizes. Now it's all whittled to high-end, very expensive gear with long periods of time between product updates, just like the Xserve. Oh yeah, that's right. Apple killed Xserve. The Mac Pro right now is really is baffling to me unless Apple's intention is to kill it.
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #14 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Think where we will be just 5 years from now. In the past 10 years, GPUs have jumped to over 30x faster. We will have 3 CPU die-shrinks within 5 years from now so quad-core next year, 6-core after 3 years, 8-core after 5 years. GPUs will jump by another 5x.

At that point, will we really be asking for more than 8-cores and entry IGPs that can run games at the highest quality in 1080p real-time and 1TB SSDs running over 10-100Gbps Light Peak with 8-16Gb/s throughput? Even if everyone is making 1080p stereoscopic CGI films, I'd have to say no because entry-level GPUs will do that in real-time.

3D engines and techniques will evolve along with specialised hardware to the point where you stop an ask what do we really need to do with computers any more

I do think about where we'll be in 5 years.

I expect we'll be running some flavor of OS11. I expect all the real hardware innovation to be in the mobile space, and all the hardware you listed above to be in a device thinner and lighter than an ipad1.

You remember that scene in Avatar where the scientist is working on something with his mobile slate and he walks over to his desktop hardware and flings the data (physically with a gesture) to the desktop? Yeah. I expect we'll be doing that in 5 years, and that will be the primary focus and reason for innovation in hardware and software.

The future is data independence. Right now our windows into our data (by windows I mean, a display) are fairly static and modal. We think of desktop hardware/software and mobile hardware/software as very different things. I think the next major revision to MacOS, OS11, will be all about unifying them. We see hints of that now, but only hints. In 5 years this will be more possible because mobile hardware is rapidly catching up to desktop hardware.

With sufficiently performing networks, a unified OS and desktop class power in a 10" display, the sky is the limit. The window you look into to do your work won't matter any more than what you are comfortable in using. Desktops can still have keyboards and mice cause they make sense, but at any point you can fling your work to an iPad 7th Gen and take it with you and get an appropriate mobile UI for doing the same thing. I expect Apple to lead this charge by selling one device: a desktop with removable display on the go, or a mobile device that docks to a workstation. Maybe those distinctions won't matter anymore.

Your data will exist anywhere and everywhere, a pad, a desktop, a laptop, a phone, a TV. Maybe its more appropriate to call this location irrelevance.

I don't expect Apple to do much with or lead any charges on 3D technology. Every indication so far shows this to be a gimmick that basically has poor quality, and the auto-stereoscopic stuff is promising but still a ways off from being practical (even if they manage to produce these kinds of displays cheaply in 3-4 years, there's no indication today that the quality will be there. That won't stop lots of other companies from trying to use it though to gain a competitive advantage). That will probably really take off in 10 years, not 5. And I expect Apple to be late to that party, they'll wait till it makes sense.
post #15 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

I'm not certain why Apple refuses to sell less expensive Mac Pros using Core i7 processors.

And I'm still lost on why Apple had to kill the lower-priced 24" LED Cinema Display.

They have to think about sales volume. Only selling one model of display means they can streamline the manufacturing and save money on volume. If Dell can't match their price, Apple have put some serious work into this. This is Tim Cook's area it seems. The iPad looks like it has a similar thing going on - I haven't seen anyone yet with 10" IPS screens for $500. CES has some IPS tablets but they don't have the full package and they are not competitive with Apple's pricing.

The implication this has for the iMac vs Mac Pro issue is that they likely use the same 27" panels in the iMac as the Cinema Display. Note they no longer sell a 24" iMac. This means that people buying the 27" iMac contributes to lower Cinema Display pricing.

If they sold an affordable tower, they sell fewer displays because you'd go for a matte screen. I would too. You likely wouldn't go with Apple's $1000 screen whether it was glossy or not anyway because you will have already spent $1000-1500 on the machine. This means homes end up with a mish-mash of display sizes, styles and qualities (mostly TN). To transform that ugliness into eutopia, they don't have much choice:



One thing they could do is sell a bundle and force people to take a Cinema screen away with a cheaper tower but do people really want something the size and weight of the Mac Pro at home? It has a 1kW PSU - electric heaters are 1kW. If it was smaller/lighter, I think it still has to have a selling point and generic towers have none. The only machine they had like that was the Cube:



But could they fit all those i7 iMac components into a cube shape? Let's say they can, they have to go about selling it. If they sold it alone, it would kill the iMac because it would be much cheaper with the same specs. If they forced you to take a Cinema display, people would complain and it would probably cost the same - $1000 machine, $1000 display = $2000 iMac. So there's no point because you just took the parts out of the screen and put them in a box. If you sell the Cube alone, bye bye eutopian desktop.

But now take a look at the other machine in the picture: the Mini. Next year, it can get a quad-core i5 chip with a GPU twice as fast as the 320M. That will be close (within 80%) to a current i7 iMac in performance with nowhere near the heat. The SSD chip is icing on the cake and would shrink the machine down by 1/4 again. Take out the optical and it's even smaller.

The Mini will continue the display design problem but there's no way round it. One day I can see the Mini killing off the iMac too because there are more instances where you can use a headless machine than an AIO. iOS devices can kill both. The next iPhone will be as fast as the first XBox with a dual-core CPU and is enough to power the desktop experience for a lot of people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

The Mac Pro right now is really is baffling to me — unless Apple's intention is to kill it.

Their intention is to kill the tower primarily for consumers by pricing it out of the market. Towers don't have the same impact in a home as they are bulky and get hidden away under the desk. But in the target market, they keep it competitive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by REC

I expect Apple to lead this charge by selling one device: a desktop with removable display on the go, or a mobile device that docks to a workstation.

I agree. I see that device being the iPod Touch/iPhone. It is the modular piece of hardware that people really want that can adapt to any situation, even a server environment. Add in WiDi and you basically sit the iPhone down next to any screen - TV, projector, desktop screen - and start using it.
post #16 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Does anyone care about this overpriced Mac any more?

Me personally no! But that doesn't mean it idnt useful to many.
Quote:
It has kept the same overall design since the Power Mac G5.

It is a good design and very functional thus little incentive to change it. Plus you have to consider the markets it is sold into. Quarterly superficial changes would be seen as a big headache.
Quote:
I'd buy it & a cinema display but the price would set me back $3,500. How about something a little more reasonable, Apple?!

This is a really good question especially considering the greater acceptance of Macs in General. I generally use the term XMac to describe such a machine. Something in the $1100 to $1500 dollar range with desktop components instead of server grade hardware.

Before logging on today I had this flash of insight that many wil likely reject but I will offer up anyways. For those familiar with Agilent look at their half rack portable instruments like their DVMs and Counters. It is the perfect form factor for an XMac they can even throw in the fancy handles if they want. There is enough room for power, storage and even an expansion slot. Just make sure there is plenty if space for I/O.

With the latest Intel or AMD APUs such a platform could be very powerful but yet rather cool running. It certainly would be more usable than the Mini for many users. It is a shape that can be placed just about anywhere.

Just a thought.
post #17 of 308
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They have to think about sales volume. Only selling one model of display means they can streamline the manufacturing and save money on volume.

Why not offer a 21.5" LED Cinema Display too?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If they sold an affordable tower, they sell fewer displays because you'd go for a matte screen.

That doesn't make sense. If you wanted a matte screen you wouldn't be buying Apple anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

But could they fit all those i7 iMac components into a cube shape? Let's say they can

The Power Mac G4 Cube concept is dead & not coming back. Ever. Not with the Mac mini. I want the Mac Pro with $1,000 less expensive Core i7 processors.
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post #18 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

I want the Mac Pro with $1,000 less expensive Core i7 processors.

So... an xMac. They're called Hackintoshes.
post #19 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Why not offer a 21.5" LED Cinema Display too?

It likely won't compete with displays from other manufacturers. People are selling IPS screens that size around $300. Smaller size screens are high volume for everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

That doesn't make sense. If you wanted a matte screen you wouldn't be buying Apple anyway.

Plenty of people use matte screens with Macs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

The Power Mac G4 Cube concept is dead & not coming back. Ever. Not with the Mac mini. I want the Mac Pro with $1,000 less expensive Core i7 processors.

The processor in the entry Mac Pro costs $300, which is round about the same as the i7. The cost savings would come from the other parts but I think the Mac Pro chassis is overkill for this purpose. It would also severely cut into sales of the higher up models. Why would you ever buy the $2500 Xeon Mac Pro if you can get an i7 one that is close enough to the performance for $1500? They'd pretty much have to stop selling the quad Mac Pro and create an even bigger gap between the models.

I don't think the i7 vs Xeon matters. I think that they need to cut the costs wherever they are coming from. In my list above, it's the motherboard, chassis and power supply that are the most expensive parts. They probably can't cut the motherboard cost but the chassis can be designed smaller and lighter and they can use a smaller PSU. I think a $500 drop is all we could expect and would match the 27" iMac price.
post #20 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

I'm one of those people who would rather a tower with a display than an all-in-one. No, not an "xMac." I like the Mac Pro design. I don't need Nehalem or Westmere Xeon processors. I'm not certain why Apple refuses to sell less expensive Mac Pros using Core i7 processors. And I'm still lost on why Apple had to kill the lower-priced 24" LED Cinema Display.

I understand the need for speed. Time is money. If Apple was really serious about the Mac Pro, they'd offer more options.

If you go back in time, their entry-level professional tower started at $1,599. There used to be 3 display sizes. Now it's all whittled to high-end, very expensive gear with long periods of time between product updates, just like the Xserve. Oh yeah, that's right. Apple killed Xserve. The Mac Pro right now is really is baffling to me unless Apple's intention is to kill it.

The problem isn't the price of the cpus or alleged "server-class" components. Xeons of the W35xx/36xx series are priced the same as the Core i7-9xx series. And the Core i7-7xx/8xx series start at a lower price, but with lower performance and chipsets with very few PCIe lanes (unsuitable for a full Mac Pro).

2.80 QC W3530 $294, 2.80 QC Core i7-930 $294, 2.80 QC Core i7-860 $284
3.20 QC W3565 $562, 3.20 QC Core i7-960 $562, 3.06 QC Core i7-880 $583
3.33 6C W3680 $999, 3.33 6C Core i7-980X $999

Let's get the facts right, UP Xeons are not more expensive than Core i7 desktop cpus with similar specs. DP Xeon cpus are more expensive because thay can be used in pairs (dual QPI link), something that you can't do with desktop Core i7 cpus.

Xeon W35xx/36xx and Core i7-9xx series use the exact same X58 chipset ($52-55), the only real difference is free ECC support on the Xeon cpus, for 3GB of RAM that's not even $20 more expensive for the Xeons. For the Core i7-7xx/8xx, the chipsets are H55, P55, H57 or Q57 ($40-44), it would not make the computer that much less expensive (for similar performance level) and it would lack a lot of PCIe lanes/slots. Drives, video cards, etc... are all desktop-class components. Nothing special in the MP.

Even if the current MP compares well with other manufacturers' products, the cost of parts doesn't match the price, when you compare with previous MPs that used more expensive parts (cpus/chipsets/RAM) and were priced lower that the current MPs. Best example is the 2008 "Harpertown" MP that used $800+ cpus, a more expensive chipset, much more expensive FB-DIMM RAM, and was priced at $2299 (single $797 QC 2.80GHz cpu), $2799 for dual-quad 2.80.
post #21 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Xeon W35xx/36xx and Core i7-9xx series use the exact same X58 chipset ($52-55), the only real difference is free ECC support on the Xeon cpus, for 3GB of RAM that's not even $20 more expensive for the Xeons. For the Core i7-7xx/8xx, the chipsets are H55, P55, H57 or Q57 ($40-44), it would not make the computer that much less expensive (for similar performance level) and it would lack a lot of PCIe lanes/slots. Drives, video cards, etc... are all desktop-class components. Nothing special in the MP.

The Intel X58 is listed as $260 on Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-502-_-Product

The i7 boards are under $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-396-_-Product

Still not that significant a difference as you say and it leaves an extra $340 to the $500 margin I mentioned above on the entry Mac Pro. $1650 worth of parts in a machine priced at $2500 and that's with the chassis estimated at $400 and the PSU at $300. You get 1kW PSUs for under $150. There are other parts like bluetooth, wifi that would make up $100 or so but the margin on top would appear to be over $800. Free shipping of a 20kg machine will take a small amount as well as packaging $800 is excessive.

This is what happens when products don't sell. The original iPhone was priced way too high and then they started selling a lot of them and the price came down. It wouldn't be worth the effort making Mac Pros if they only made $300 profit on each one.

But that goes to show that if they weren't selling enough at $1999 then the large market clearly doesn't want towers like the Mac Pro because those people have to buy screens on top whereas they get a $1000 screen included with the iMac for the same price.

That's why I think the only way they can do this is to build a unique tower machine like the Cube. But if they can't do that due to the size restrictions and because it would affect the iMac line then it won't ever happen. The Mini is the last hope there is for an affordable headless machine and I think it's enough. If people just want i7 performance now then next year's Mini with Ivy Bridge can reach 80% of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Best example is the 2008 "Harpertown" MP that used $800+ cpus, a more expensive chipset, much more expensive FB-DIMM RAM, and was priced at $2299 (single $797 QC 2.80GHz cpu), $2799 for dual-quad 2.80.

That would confirm the huge margin. It allows them to price the entry Mac Pro anywhere between $1800 and $2500 and still be in profit.
post #22 of 308
Really it is as simple as that. They do pretty good on the laptop side where they implement new ideas in rather fine fashion as can be seen with the new AIRs and even the unibody concept. This has driven a lot of business Apples way even from businesses. On the desktop side of the line things are and have been stagnet for a long time. This impacts sales and the limited reasonable selection turns people off. Plus some of the hardware they offer up just makes them look lazy --> for example the Mini Server. The Mini server likely leaves more people with a negative impression of Apple than the Mac Pro. This is because the Mac Pro does what it is designed to do very well. The Mini server on the otherhand is an example of of an idea that had merit that gets trashed by a company looking for a cheap way to deliver.

What i'm saying is there is a place for small inexpensive servers. But servers need to be servicable and not overly fashion conscious. The Mini is a great little product, that got stretched a little thin when configured for server duty.

So you may be asking: Dave what is all this rambling about? Simple there is a market for a chassis that is slightly larger than the Mini and significantly smaller than the Mac Pro. Call it XMac if you want but if properly realized could be effectively configured for many duties including that of a server, desktop general purpose computer or as a limited work station where the Pro isn't needed. The goal should be performance centered between the Mini and the Pro, which means modest desk top class parts.

&&&&&&&&&&&

In any event I think one big mistake would be for Apple to manage it's Mac Lineup like it has in the past. The dark days are gone, the interested parties are more than just the faithful. Apple is now on solid ground growing sales. Well at least in laptops, desktops suffer from a significant inability to meet the needs of a wide range of users. Adjustments to the desktop lineup are needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Intel X58 is listed as $260 on Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-502-_-Product

The i7 boards are under $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-396-_-Product

Still not that significant a difference as you say and it leaves an extra $340 to the $500 margin I mentioned above on the entry Mac Pro. $1650 worth of parts in a machine priced at $2500 and that's with the chassis estimated at $400 and the PSU at $300. You get 1kW PSUs for under $150. There are other parts like bluetooth, wifi that would make up $100 or so but the margin on top would appear to be over $800. Free shipping of a 20kg machine will take a small amount as well as packaging $800 is excessive.

This is what happens when products don't sell. The original iPhone was priced way too high and then they started selling a lot of them and the price came down. It wouldn't be worth the effort making Mac Pros if they only made $300 profit on each one.

But that goes to show that if they weren't selling enough at $1999 then the large market clearly doesn't want towers like the Mac Pro because those people have to buy screens on top whereas they get a $1000 screen included with the iMac for the same price.

That's why I think the only way they can do this is to build a unique tower machine like the Cube. But if they can't do that due to the size restrictions and because it would affect the iMac line then it won't ever happen. The Mini is the last hope there is for an affordable headless machine and I think it's enough. If people just want i7 performance now then next year's Mini with Ivy Bridge can reach 80% of that.



That would confirm the huge margin. It allows them to price the entry Mac Pro anywhere between $1800 and $2500 and still be in profit.
post #23 of 308
Thread Starter 
I guess where the rubber meets the road for me is that a pro desktop Mac used to be way more affordable. Now it isn't.
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post #24 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

I guess where the rubber meets the road for me is that a pro desktop Mac used to be way more affordable. Now it isn't.

And the 27" iMac doesn't count because [fill in the blank].
post #25 of 308
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And the 27" iMac doesn't count because [fill in the blank].

I like the iMac, but I'd prefer a tower and display. And enough with this Hackintosh crap.
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post #26 of 308
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Let's get the facts right

You're right there. I'm sorry I said $1,000...I was thinking that the total cost of a system should be offered starting at $1,000 less. I bought my Power Mac G4 933MHz system and Apple display at the time for under $2,300. I can't even get the tower at this point for that. So I'm struggling to understand how Apple's current line-up is better & more affordable.
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post #27 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Intel X58 is listed as $260 on Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-502-_-Product

The i7 boards are under $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-396-_-Product

X58 boards start at $165, with dual 16X PCIe slots and more, H55 (not i7, since those don't support Core i7-9xx series) boards (starting at $65) come with one 16x PCIe slot and a couple of shitty slots. Anyway H55 is limited to DMI-based cpus (up to Core i7-8xx series, up to QC 3.06GHz), so no 6C for you, and if with slower cpus it is a more affordable solution, it is not overall the case with the Core i7-8xx series.

H55 motherboard $65 2.80 Core i7-860 $284 = $349
X58 motherboard $165 2.80 Core i7-930 $294 = $459 (+$110)
and
H55 motherboard $65 2.93 Core i7-870 $294 = $359
but:
X58 motherboard $165 3.06 Core i7-950 $294 = $459
H55 motherboard $65 3.06 Core i7-880 $583 = $648 (+$189)
and
X58 motherboard $165 3.20 Core i7-960 $562 = $727 (+$79)

If you go 2.80 and 3.06, it's overall cheaper to go X58 (compared to a very low-end $65 H55 board), and you can offer even faster models, up to 6C.

This may change (or not) with SB cpus, Intel is being very agressive in terms of pricing on the DMI-based Core ix-2000 series, but details are yet to be released on the QPI-based models (Summer 2011).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil

And the 27" iMac doesn't count because [fill in the blank].

For me:
#1 no PCIe slots.
#2 no easy access to internal storage, and few storage options.

There are some devices that simply don't exist in USB, Enet or FW format. Not just for production where the cost of the computer doesn't always matter, but also for education/training where the funding is much more limited.

If and when Light Peak is released into lower cost Macs, it may solve some of the issues since LP supports PCIe up to 4x on a single port, but that means that current PCIe devices must also be released in LP format... or PCIe expansion cases with LP port(s). It could take a lot of time.

At one time the PM G4 with PCI slots started at $1299, those were excellent machines for PCI-based audio/video production/training (up to 3 or 4 I/O/DSP cards, and up to 4 internal HDDs) and the "slower" cpu didn't matter much since most of the processing was handled by the cards themselves.
post #28 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

For me:
#1 no PCIe slots.
#2 no easy access to internal storage, and few storage options

Access to storage is the main part of the iMac I don't like but there are other issues like the headphone port and others being at the back, the screen glare and not being able to adjust the screen beyond tilt. I like displays that can turn into portrait mode.

Cost of ownership is another issue as one part failing, even dead pixels means your whole machine needs sent away to be repaired.

Once they migrate everything to SSD chips, I doubt we will have access to the storage anyway and you likely couldn't add anything to the mini-SATA port.

There is a teardown of the 27" iMac:



It almost seems like there are more parts than would fit inside the 27" chassis. That stuff likely wouldn't fit in a mini desktop without some seriously good engineering skills. Sony would be able to fit all that into a small box but I don't think Apple could.

If the display panel was $600, then Apple could sell a screen-less 27" iMac for $1399.

They wouldn't make it like the Mac Pro though because they would have an entry model over $1000 cheaper than the Xeon and no reason for the difference in price.
They can't make it a small desktop as the parts won't fit.
The iMac is the best design for them to spread out the parts and also keep costs down.

If they'd just improve the iMac, it wouldn't be such a big deal. With Light Peak as mentioned, external PCI speed is possible so while internal cards are better in some cases, I'm sure they will come up with a solution. They could offer an affordable display and logic board repair service to take some worry out of repairs outside of warranty and allow you to easily remove the panel itself and ship it back for replacement.

They could allow access to storage in the same way as RAM. There's no more risk of someone stealing the drive than from a Mac Pro, less so if it's screwed in.

They can put headphone sockets on their keyboards so that people with short iPhone-length headphones can use them easily.

They can make the display a bit more adjustable. It would be so neat if they went back to the original swivel iMac design but with a smaller base. Like the parts from the i5 iMac in a short dome with the Mini footprint connected to a 21.5" display that is styled like the Cinema display but offering an anti-glare option like the MBP - they just leave out the glass. They couldn't make a 27" option with that design though.
post #29 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Sony would be able to fit all that into a small box but I don't think Apple could.

Uhh, what? You really can't be serious. Take your trolling elsewhere.

Apple has FAR more experience with Micro-Engineering than Sony does. The iMac itself is testament to that, as is the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro, the iPhone, and iPad, etc. Really, EVERY Apple product with the exception of the Mac Pro is an example of an extremely high degree of low-profile engineering, placing far more components in a space where they shouldn't fit and then doing so with very few (if any) fans. Sony may as well be Dell when it comes to this sort of thing.
post #30 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wilkie View Post

EVERY Apple product with the exception of the Mac Pro is an example of an extremely high degree of low-profile engineering, placing far more components in a space where they shouldn't fit and then doing so with very few (if any) fans. Sony may as well be Dell when it comes to this sort of thing.

Nah, they have better engineering. The 13" Vaio Z is 24mm thick vs 17mm in the Air. It weighs 1.47kg vs 1.06kg. But they pack in:

dual-core 2.8GHz Core i7
6GB RAM
256GB quad-raid 0 SSD (twice as fast as Apple's SSD)
Blu-Ray drive
1920 x 1080 resolution
NVidia GT 330M (same as the MBP, no actually it has 1GB VRAM)
3 x USB 2 ports
HDMI, VGA
ExpressCard
Gigabit ethernet
802.11n, 3G
carbon fibre shell

Now it's expensive but that example alone shows they can fit higher performance parts into a smaller form factor than Apple can. That machine is almost as thin and light as the Air but the Air uses shrunk down low voltage Core 2 Duos, Sony's uses the i7 in the MBP. Apple can't even put a dedicated GPU in anything less than a 15" laptop, which is why the entire low-end is stuck on Core 2 Duo.

The day Apple get even an i5 and a dedicated GPU into the Air will be the day they start to catch up to Sony and I don't have my hopes up for this year.
post #31 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Nah, they have better engineering. The 13" Vaio Z is 24mm thick vs 17mm in the Air. It weighs 1.47kg vs 1.06kg. But they pack in:

dual-core 2.8GHz Core i7
6GB RAM
256GB quad-raid 0 SSD (twice as fast as Apple's SSD)
Blu-Ray drive
1920 x 1080 resolution
NVidia GT 330M (same as the MBP, no actually it has 1GB VRAM)
3 x USB 2 ports
HDMI, VGA
ExpressCard
Gigabit ethernet
802.11n, 3G
carbon fibre shell

Now it's expensive but that example alone shows they can fit higher performance parts into a smaller form factor than Apple can. That machine is almost as thin and light as the Air but the Air uses shrunk down low voltage Core 2 Duos, Sony's uses the i7 in the MBP. Apple can't even put a dedicated GPU in anything less than a 15" laptop, which is why the entire low-end is stuck on Core 2 Duo.

The day Apple get even an i5 and a dedicated GPU into the Air will be the day they start to catch up to Sony and I don't have my hopes up for this year.

Those are completely different machines in completely different price categories. Comparison is null.
post #32 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And the 27" iMac doesn't count because [fill in the blank].

Seriously if you need a desktop type chassis the iMac simply doesn't cut the mustard. You can fill in the blank with whatever you want but it doesn't take much effort to see that many things won't go into an iMac. In fact pretty much nothing goes into the Mac as an expansion capability.

As to why, I guess you would have to get out in the real world and see how PCs are put to use. It is not unusual to add Ethernet cards, USB or RS232 cards or special purpose cards to a chassis. Not to mention a few drive slots go a long way to justifying a desktop chassis for many users.

The current Mac Pro is an excellent machine for what it is. It is not however an economical desktop platform. The problem is most people think of a Mac Pro as desktop and honestly it isn't. At least not in the sense of what most people need.
post #33 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The problem is most people think of a Mac Pro as desktop and honestly it isn't. At least not in the sense of what most people need.

You're right, it's not what most people need. Most people don't need any expansion at all. Hence the iMac. Most people never open up their machines and those who do are growing fewer all the time. Computers are becoming more and more like appliances and that trend will continue. For those who actually need expansion for work, there is the Mac Pro. The price should not be a hinderance to pros.

Those who do upgrades on their home computer outside of RAM represent a minority class of hobbyists who like to tinker. And if you're the tinkering type then the Mac platform is probably not for you. Build a PC and install Ubuntu.
post #34 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wilkie View Post

Those are completely different machines in completely different price categories. Comparison is null.

Obviously the spec cost is similar to a MBP but they managed to fit that spec into a MBA size so it's a valid engineering comparison.

I don't mind the Blu-Ray drive, I don't mind the 1080p display, I don't mind the i5/i7 chips, I don't mind the quad SSD, I don't mind the 6GB RAM, I don't mind the extra ports. The one thing I do mind is when Sony can fit all those parts into that chassis and Apple still can't put a dedicated GPU in their design.

The CPUs they use in the Air, Mini and 13" MBP came out Q3 2008. This is 2011 now and the reason we have over 2 year-old hardware is because their engineers don't put a dedicated GPU in the machines.

All they have to do is put the Radeon 6550 in the low-end and 6770 in the higher end and we can have all the latest CPUs that cost the same as the 2 year-old ones.

We have to wait until late February to see what they decide to do but they could have done a lot more already. The Macbook Air is a good design for all future laptops but it's not going to be very good if they keep using such old hardware. The design can be small and light and not compromise the parts that can go inside it as Sony has shown numerous times.
post #35 of 308
Thread Starter 
I've found that Sony computers are complete shit. Utter garbage.
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post #36 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Obviously the spec cost is similar to a MBP but they managed to fit that spec into a MBA size so it's a valid engineering comparison.

Ah...you specified a laptop that is 3 times thicker. That's not nearly a fair comparison. The Air is 0.3 cm to 1.7 cm while the Vaio is 2.54 cm to 3.3 cm. Width and height is bigger too...the MBA is only 29.95 cm x 19.2 cm vs 31.49 cm x 21 cm.

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...tegoryId=16154

http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html

Size wise the Vaio Z is much more the size of the 13" MBP (2.4cm) and even there its still thicker.

You can argue that the 13" MBP is underspec'd with a C2D but it's not because Apple can't cram more stuff in as opposed to how they want their line up to work.

The MBA is the ultra light exec laptop, the MBP 13" is the uber battery life laptop and there is no performance 13" in their line up. Each is spec'd for the upsell, not because of some engineering deficiency.
post #37 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

You're right there. I'm sorry I said $1,000...I was thinking that the total cost of a system should be offered starting at $1,000 less. I bought my Power Mac G4 933MHz system and Apple display at the time for under $2,300. I can't even get the tower at this point for that. So I'm struggling to understand how Apple's current line-up is better & more affordable.

Adjusted for 2010 money? Assuming you got the Power Mac G4 Quicksilver in 2002 that $2,300 is $2,787 today.

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc....002&year2=2010

The base Mac Pro is $2499. That leaves around $300 for a monitor. Okay, that won't get you a Apple monitor but you can get a decent 23"-24" monitor (TN, not IPS) from somewhere.

Note that the MSRP for the G4/933 was $2,299. If you got it for under $2300 including an ACD you got quite a deal.

http://lowendmac.com/ppc/quicksilver...power-mac.html

Yes, there is no equivalent to the $1600 PowerMac but it's been that way for years.
post #38 of 308
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Yes, there is no equivalent to the $1600 PowerMac but it's been that way for years.

And it should cease to be that way!
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post #39 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Ah...you specified a laptop that is 3 times thicker.

2.4cm is not 3x 1.7cm - tapered edges don't count. You're right it is the same as the 13" MBP but the MBP is really the problem area anyway, which Sony have surpassed them on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

You can argue that the 13" MBP is underspec'd with a C2D but it's not because Apple can't cram more stuff in as opposed to how they want their line up to work.

I don't think so. I highly doubt that Apple want their highest selling model of computer to be stuck using over 2-year-old CPUs. The problem being caused by Intel of course. If Intel had allowed NVidia or AMD to build chipsets for their processors then the 13" MBP would have an i5 chip in it right now, likely with an IGP 50% faster than the 320M.

Apple may be waiting out the technology shifts going on but everyone else adapts to them and makes it better for the consumer.

It's clear from Sandy Bridge that the IGP won't improve on the 320M so a hybrid between the 13" Air and 13" MBP would have allowed them to build an i5 model last year with a dedicated GPU and this year we'd get the latest chips with a powerful GPU too.

Weight is the most important factor, not thickness. The MBA would only need to be a bit thicker to take a standard i5 and the impact to the battery would be minimal - their batteries far outclass PCs so no one would even notice.

We'll see, February 20th is when they choose if they put a dedicated GPU in the 13" MBP. If they stick with the Sandy Bridge IGP, it's getting marked as an engineering fail because it doesn't make sense for them to go this route, likewise if it's C2D again with a 320M. It's not fair to blame them entirely as it's clear CPUs and GPUs will merge so it's smart to wait it out but by missing the intermediary steps, it creates a very bad gap between and it can be avoided.

Say for example they stick with C2D in the 13" MBP and decide to hold out for Ivy Bridge, that jump will be quite large from this generation to the next and almost make the current ones instantly obsolete as the Ivy Bridge ones will be quad-core with double the GPU performance - overall, a 300% speedup over the C2D model.

The concept of waiting out technology improvements I don't mind but the intermediate steps are so tiresome. Same goes for the Mac Pro and smaller desktops. As time goes on, they make less and less sense because the low-end gets ever more powerful but the need won't disappear until a few years further down the line and the computer makers keep wanting to switch the form factors so that it holds people back from reaching that point of complete satisfaction.
post #40 of 308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wilkie View Post

You're right, it's not what most people need. Most people don't need any expansion at all. Hence the iMac.

I mentioned this somewhere else but will repeat here, it is very common for people to expand their machines. They may not do it themselves and frankly may not even understand completely what is being done. What they do is take the machine to a trusted repair tech. If the complaints revolve around speed or storage space upgrades are often done. That can mean more RAM or a bigger HD.

I know of at least two guys that do this regularly. One has even established himself as a parttime business. At the other end of the commercial spectrum local stores do similar trade all the time. Demand for more storage and the snappy is always there.
Quote:
Most people never open up their machines and those who do are growing fewer all the time.

Actually I think this is BS too. People may not open their machines personally but they do get updated. Mainly because hardware isn't advancing as fast as it has in the past. At least not relative to their processor needs.
Quote:
Computers are becoming more and more like appliances and that trend will continue. For those who actually need expansion for work, there is the Mac Pro. The price should not be a hinderance to pros.

Actually price is a huge factor. If you have a project involving a hundred PCs it is foolish not to look at price. In any event the types of desktops we are talking about here range in price from $400 to $1000 each so yeah the Mac Pro is very expensive. Especially if you can't work a deal.

Note here that their is something I disagree with. Corporate buyers are often more concerned about initial costs than anything long term. What makes sense to the corporate world seldom makes sense to the wider world.
Quote:
Those who do upgrades on their home computer outside of RAM represent a minority class of hobbyists who like to tinker. And if you're the tinkering type then the Mac platform is probably not for you. Build a PC and install Ubuntu.

Again I really think this is BS but won't go any farther.
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