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New Mac Pro

post #1 of 332
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

here are some thoughts for discussion for the next Mac Pro:

- general concept: a radically new design that will redefine the Mac Pro
- no optical drive bays
- built-in flash memory for OS and Apps
- 3 additional 3.5" drive-bays (with hot-swap?)
- no slots, Thunderbolt will make up for this
- way smaller case
- lower price point
- release: October 2011 (maybe at a special Mac event?)

As with Final Cut Pro X, professionals will cry out foul!

Thoughts?
post #2 of 332
Ah, you sound like me before the Nehalem model. What nostalgia! Thanks for this post.

Now, to business.

Quote:
- general concept: a radically new design that will redefine the Mac Pro

I saw it then, but I was a fool. Keeping the case the same was the best idea. But that was before Apple abandoned the servers and most of their highest-end stuff. So who's to know this time around?

Quote:
- no optical drive bays

OH PLEASE YES. But again, it's too early for that, I think. Even though anyone using a Mac Pro for high-end use will have towers of optical drive copiers that have robotic arms that can automatically burn thousands of discs without input from the user.

Quote:
- built-in flash memory for OS and Apps

Way too soon for this, still. I think even I mentioned it back in late aught eight and early aught nine waiting for the Nehalem Mac Pro. I was even more early than you.

Quote:
- 3 additional 3.5" drive-bays (with hot-swap?)

That'd be nice (and hot-swapping would be REQUIRED for the thing to be considered any sort of server replacement), but it's contingent on a new case design, so we'll see.

Quote:
- no slots, Thunderbolt will make up for this

Oh, now you're just playing with us.

Quote:
- way smaller case

I'd much rather have a LARGER case, you know? LARGER. Smaller just screams, "screw you, pros; you don't get to expand this thing at all."

And a larger case would allow for the full 12 RAM slots allowed in the chipset and create more room for the extra HDD bays.

Quote:
- lower price point

I don't think this will ever happen again. The days of the $1,400 tower Mac are long, LONG gone.

Quote:
- release: October 2012 (maybe at a special Mac event?)

If Apple kept the current models for the rest of this year and most of next, there wouldn't be anyone left to sell Mac Pros to. This is complete insanity.

Ivy Bridge server chips'll be out late Q1 2012, so that's likely when it's up for refresh.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

OH PLEASE YES. But again, it's too early for that, I think.

They might leave it in but iDVD is not on the App Store, DVD Studio Pro is gone, the Minis have no optical, the mainstream Mac laptop has no optical. This might be the start of a trend.

It would immediately wipe $200 off the cost of the machine and shrink it down in height by about 1/5th. Less engineering, less wiring, less metal, less weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'd much rather have a LARGER case, you know? LARGER. Smaller just screams, "screw you, pros; you don't get to expand this thing at all."

Smaller is also a way to change the perception that expansion is always a requirement for any work that uses the performance of a $2500+ machine. The quad-core Mini is already doing this:



Full Xeon chips, MXM graphics cards, 4 x Thunderbolt and a very small enclosure would be nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If Apple kept the current models for the rest of this year and most of next, there wouldn't be anyone left to sell Mac Pros to. This is complete insanity.

Ivy Bridge server chips'll be out late Q1 2012, so that's likely when it's up for refresh.

The roadmap says the Ivy Bridge EP chips will be out same time next year:

http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/img/pc...tml/1.jpg.html

I reckon the Mac Pro will get a Sandy Bridge Xeon refresh in October.
post #4 of 332
Note I'm not a Pro user at this time, though some of the points below could sway my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfcClue View Post

Hi guys,

here are some thoughts for discussion for the next Mac Pro:

- general concept: a radically new design that will redefine the Mac Pro

I actually believe this is a requirement. The Pros form factor is about as handy as a Prime computer from the seventies. The case reflects thinking from decades ago.
Quote:
- no optical drive bays

This is a tough one. I have no need for such a bay but I know many do. In the end I think a more radical modular approach is required.
Quote:
- built-in flash memory for OS and Apps

Built in absolutely not. A SSD or a Blade SSD yes. For Apple I think SSDs are a huge win as the OS really benefits from the speed. Thus they are supporting SSDs everywhere.

Actually for the Mac Pro I'd like to see Apple go a step farther and define a standard for desktop SSDs that makes use of PCI-Express. Current SSDs are already bumping up against the limits SATA has.
Quote:
- 3 additional 3.5" drive-bays (with hot-swap?)

Four would be better and they really should be laptop sized. It would be even nicer if the same frame could handle the PCI-Express SSDs alluded to above. This way one could choose between fast and bulk storage. I see us as still in a transitional period with magnetic not going away anytime soon.
Quote:
- no slots, Thunderbolt will make up for this

BS!!!! It is getting to the point that everytime I see comments like this I want to grab a 2x4 and smack people about the head. You do realize that the lack of slots in a reasonably priced desktop takes Apple completely out of the running. It is a good and rational reason to select a PC solution.

Thunderbolt has problems that can not be solved anytime soon. For one it results in devices external to the chassis which is a bad thing. Second it is extremely slow compared to PCI-Express. Third it is expensive. Those are just three that come in right off the top of my mind.

Note this isn't being critical of TB but rather it is rejecting of the idea that it is a suitable replacement for internal slots.
Quote:
- way smaller case

Yep! The current case is a nice bit if engineering but it has more volume than most Pro users need.
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- lower price point

At least one model yes. I actually envision one model to serve general purpose users and one a blow out high performance machine.
Quote:
- release: October 2012 (maybe at a special Mac event?)

Why so lOng? First they need to get TB out soon. Second by the end of the year or maybe early next year the chip market will be fleshed out with all sorts of chips for both the low end and high end.
Quote:
As with Final Cut Pro X, professionals will cry out foul!

Those so called professionals can go pound salt. I never seen such a bunch of whining bastards in all my life.
Quote:
Thoughts?

For the most part I like what you propose. The Pro is very much a dinosaur. I actuall flirt with designs in my mind and I sometimes think the best option would be a 2U half rack sized box. That is a lot smaller obviously but with modern tech it is very doable. By the way I wouldn't be striving for a lot of slots in this chassis but we do need to support at least two with one suitable for a GPU card. This would allow for the lowend guy to run off an integrated GPU and at the same time offer support for a supplemental GPU.

The neat thing here is that you could put two of these easily into a 2U rack space for those so inclined. However with a bit of attention to detail you could have a very nice looking stand alone chassis. The concept is easy to play with too, they could go to 3U and have a nicer layout inside. In the end they would have a machine usable in a wide array of applications.
post #5 of 332
I say that because they need to get TB into the platform. However it could simply be a transitional machine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They might leave it in but iDVD is not on the App Store, DVD Studio Pro is gone, the Minis have no optical, the mainstream Mac laptop has no optical. This might be the start of a trend.

This is all true but you know the so called Pros will make a big stink.
Quote:
It would immediately wipe $200 off the cost of the machine and shrink it down in height by about 1/5th. Less engineering, less wiring, less metal, less weight.

I'm not sure how you get $200 it if a $20 drive but I agree with the rest. For the same reasons I'd like to see the 3.5" disk slots leave also.
Quote:
Smaller is also a way to change the perception that expansion is always a requirement for any work that uses the performance of a $2500+ machine. The quad-core Mini is already doing this:

Smaller is good. However I think you need to reconsider the issue of expansion. Expansion is the whole point of a Pro machine other wise people would buy iMacs or Minis. Here I'm talking expansion in all the various ways be it RAM, PCI Express slots, "storage bays" or what have you. Without the ability to significantly out do the other machines with expansion there is little reason for the Mac Pro to exist. Simply putting a bunch of CPU power in a box does little good if it isn't supported properly.
Quote:


Full Xeon chips, MXM graphics cards, 4 x Thunderbolt and a very small enclosure would be nice.

The MXM card can go as those have little draw when it comes to Pros. You did not mention RAM expansion which is a valued part of the current Pro.
Quote:


The roadmap says the Ivy Bridge EP chips will be out same time next year:

Ivy Bridge holds a lot of promise for Laptops. I'm doing everything I can to resist buying before that hardware shows up. However I'm not so certain such chips will make sense in a Mac Pro. I'm actually hoping that AMD has really good luck with Bulldozer, especially bulldozer cores integrated into Fusion chips. Bulldozer is so different that Apple will likely have to do a bunch of testing but I see great potential for common workloads on Mac OS. Of course this means Apple would need TB hardware that would work with AMD systems but I'm under the impression that will not be a problem.
Quote:
http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/img/pc...tml/1.jpg.html

I reckon the Mac Pro will get a Sandy Bridge Xeon refresh in October.

Sounds about right but this could happen earlier, again mainly to support the TB initiative.
post #6 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

For the same reasons I'd like to see the 3.5" disk slots leave also.

How will you install a hard drive? How do you expect anyone to have any measurably sufficient amount of internal storage? 2.5" drives? Can't even get a terabyte that size without paying an arm and a leg, and that's as large as those get. We'll have 5TB 3.5" drives before long (and I realize that's the end of the road for them), so until you can buy the same amount of storage in SSD form without taking out a fifth mortgage, 3.5" drives are here to stay.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #7 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

A
I don't think this will ever happen again. The days of the $1,400 tower Mac are long, LONG gone.

$1400 Mac Pro towers yes. $1400 iMac based tower sounds like just the computer I'm looking for.
post #8 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

How will you install a hard drive? How do you expect anyone to have any measurably sufficient amount of internal storage? 2.5" drives? Can't even get a terabyte that size without paying an arm and a leg, and that's as large as those get. We'll have 5TB 3.5" drives before long (and I realize that's the end of the road for them), so until you can buy the same amount of storage in SSD form without taking out a fifth mortgage, 3.5" drives are here to stay.

There are probably a number of reasons for that but one issue is power usage. Another is that more go into a box thus when combined in RAID form can offer awfully good performance. That is data center / server hardware.

I'd be the first to agree that this solution is suboptimal for bulk storage. However everybody seems to think the solution there is a TB connected RAID box. In the end part of the reason the Pro is so big is its internal drive bays. With 2.5" drives a bank of three takes up far less space and puts less of a demand upon the power supply. While not the best approach for bulk storage it can easily take care of the needs of many users.

The other way to look at this is that if the Mac Pro is to stay in production they need to move a lot more hardware. The way to do that is to lower the price to make it more attractive to a greater number of users. To do that they need to remove hardware targeted at Pros, especially if it can be moved to a TB connected box. So a Pro with three bays effectively takes care of the needs of a very large number of users while the Pros get to buy external RAID boxes.
post #9 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

the lack of slots in a reasonably priced desktop takes Apple completely out of the running. It is a good and rational reason to select a PC solution.

Out of the running for what? The mass exodus away from desktop to portable computing?

The market isn't there. 70% laptops, 30% desktops, < 5% towers (750k units per year).

Out of that 5% (if it is even that much), what percentage are installing PCI cards? People who make clusters e.g:

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...teraflops.html

use infiniband cards:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfiniBand

but stick an adaptor on a couple of Thunderbolt ports and bond the channels.

The internal storage expansion can be an issue with SSDs like the OCZ IBIS XL:

http://semiaccurate.com/2011/03/03/o...-off-4tb-ssds/

but who's really going to be using this (likely over $12,000 device) before Thunderbolt goes optical? Who really cares if SSDs with read/write speeds in excess of 700MB/s become mainstream and SATA is saturated? Isn't 700MB/s fast enough for the next few years?

One day not too far into the future, they will have 1TB mini SATA cards that go in the MBA and people will wonder why they have a machine the size of a fridge to put them in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Thunderbolt results in devices external to the chassis which is a bad thing. Second it is extremely slow compared to PCI-Express. Third it is expensive.

It means you can buy a single peripheral and use it with a laptop, Mac Pro, iMac or Mini. It also means you don't have to design your product based on the PCI slot size - you can make them as small or as large as you want. You hit a much large volume of Mac users (20x more) so you can price products cheaper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

I'm not sure how you get $200 it if a $20 drive but I agree with the rest. For the same reasons I'd like to see the 3.5" disk slots leave also.

I noticed they only ship with one so It would be $100 - the drives are not $20. If you configure a second drive, they cost $100. Apple reduced the Mini by $100 by taking out the optical. The Mac Pro would also shrink in size so less metal used and less cabling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

Expansion is the whole point of a Pro machine other wise people would buy iMacs or Minis.

RAM, storage and high performance not PCI expansion. The PCI slots mainly are beneficial for GPUs but MXM cards take up much less space and high-end ones are more than half the performance of a high-end full-size GPU.

A 244W GTX 580 (fastest single-GPU desktop card) is only 75% faster than a 100W 6990M (fastest mobile GPU). Just like Intel is going ULV as standard, GPU manufacturers should go MXM as standard.
post #10 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

but stick an adaptor on a couple of Thunderbolt ports and bond the channels.

What does that mean?
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post #11 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Out of the running for what? The mass exodus away from desktop to portable computing?

the desktop is not dead and in industry you need hardware with slots. And no TB is not a solution.
Quote:
The market isn't there. 70% laptops, 30% desktops, < 5% towers (750k units per year).

Those are Apples numbers but don't represent industry as a whole. In Apples case they don't have the hardware to market to actually generate solid sales. It is extremely difficult to sell All In Ones or slotless PCs to IT departments.
Quote:
Out of that 5% (if it is even that much), what percentage are installing PCI cards? People who make clusters e.g:

In one installation I know of every PC has cards installed in it's PCI slots. This amounts to hundreds of machines at one installation. The problem is that Apple is totally excluded from such uses because of the lack of an economical computer with slots.

By the way this has nothing to do with clusters. There is a wide variety of uses for those slots. For example: networking cards, additional ports (USB these days), I/O cards, Vision system support cards and a host of other hardware. You never see Apple in these applications because the lack of slots in a reasonably sized and priced machine takes them out of the running.
Quote:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...teraflops.html

use infiniband cards:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfiniBand

but stick an adaptor on a couple of Thunderbolt ports and bond the channels.

Now you are way off in left field! You are trying to imply that the only use for those slots is to install infiniband cards yet I've never seen an infiniband card. Very poor argument if you ask me.
Quote:
The internal storage expansion can be an issue with SSDs like the OCZ IBIS XL:

http://semiaccurate.com/2011/03/03/o...-off-4tb-ssds/

but who's really going to be using this (likely over $12,000 device) before Thunderbolt goes optical? Who really cares if SSDs with read/write speeds in excess of 700MB/s become mainstream and SATA is saturated? Isn't 700MB/s fast enough for the next few years?

They simple answer there is no! No 700MB/s will not be fast enough, we have already seen what a SSD can do for a laptop with a puny processor, for a desktop it could potentially do even more. Imagine a desktop consuming video data at 1GB/s.

The reality is this secondary storage has trailed in performance for more than a decade now. It has become the worst bottle neck on a PC, so getting performance back up there will lead to more innovation in software and open desktops up to uses that where previously impractible.
Quote:
One day not too far into the future, they will have 1TB mini SATA cards that go in the MBA and people will wonder why they have a machine the size of a fridge to put them in.

This is one of the reasons I think now is a good time to transition to the 2.5" format. Yeah it is a problem for people that need lots of storage however various forms of solid state storage will displace magnetic storage in the near future.

The big problem right now is the lack of an industry standard for solid state storage printed circuit cards. Considering we are in a traditional time here it would be nice to have a high speed card standard that can use the same bays as the magnetic 2.5" drives.
Quote:
It means you can buy a single peripheral and use it with a laptop, Mac Pro, iMac or Mini. It also means you don't have to design your product based on the PCI slot size - you can make them as small or as large as you want. You hit a much large volume of Mac users (20x more) so you can price products cheaper.

The problem is PCI cards are extremely cheap. TB solutions will never be comparably so.
Quote:


I noticed they only ship with one so It would be $100 - the drives are not $20. If you configure a second drive, they cost $100. Apple reduced the Mini by $100 by taking out the optical. The Mac Pro would also shrink in size so less metal used and less cabling.



RAM, storage and high performance not PCI expansion. The PCI slots mainly are beneficial for GPUs but MXM cards take up much less space and high-end ones are more than half the performance of a high-end full-size GPU.

You keep going around and around with this stuff about PCI slots only being good for x,y & z yet that clearly isn't the case. PCI slots are useful to support any card you can get a driver for.
Quote:

A 244W GTX 580 (fastest single-GPU desktop card) is only 75% faster than a 100W 6990M (fastest mobile GPU). Just like Intel is going ULV as standard, GPU manufacturers should go MXM as standard.

I'm not a GPU snob, nor do I have demanding OpenCL needs, however isn't the whole point of the Pro to support the needs of demanding users? If you tell such people that they will not be able to run the faster GPU hardware do you think they will stay around as customers?

I look at this way, by the middle of next year there will likely be processors out that suitably support my needs for a GPU right on the chip. I'm thinking Ivy Bridge in Intels case or AMD Fusion APUs with a new CPU core. That is me, it says nothing about the people that leverage GPU cards on a daily basis. Will those people be happy with a MXM card that might give them half the performance they where expecting. I doubt it honestly. The Pro simply isn't directed at the market that is happy with the current integrated GPU solutions nor will they be happy with future solutions.
post #12 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

What does that mean?

General this is done to go faster. Sometimes it is a good solution other times it isn't so good. Implementation details make all the difference.
post #13 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

What does that mean?

Channel bonding is using multiple data channels as one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_bonding
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.3ad

So even though a single Thunderbolt channel is 10Gbps, it's possible they can use multiple ports together for higher throughput.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

There is no mass exodus away from desktop hardware in industry.



http://gigaom.com/apple/decline-of-the-desktop-mac/

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

Those are Apples numbers but don't represent industry as a whole.

The industry as a whole is also 70% laptop, 30% desktop. 350m units per year so 105m desktops of which 10 million AIOs + however many of those HTPC machines.

The PC industry still has the tower thing going but it's not a growth market by any stretch of the imagination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

There is a wide variety of uses for those slots. For example: networking cards, additional ports (USB these days), I/O cards, Vision system support cards and a host of other hardware. You never see Apple in these applications because the lack of slots in a reasonably sized and priced machine takes them out of the running.

I'm glad about that tbh. One look at this page only strengthens my opinion that this stuff needs to just go:

http://www.visionsystems.de/1_1_3_2_2.html

To me installing a specialised card for such low bandwidth ports is a silly thing to do. Driver support is a nightmare and you get stuck with horrible legacy hardware. The 'U' in USB is there for a reason - we should be moving closer and closer towards IO standardisation and minimalism and you don't get much more standard or minimal than a Thunderbolt port.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

Imagine a desktop consuming video data at 1GB/s.

Ok but why is someone running 25x 1080p ProRes 4444 streams at the same time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

No 700MB/s will not be fast enough, we have already seen what a SSD can do for a laptop with a puny processor

We've seen what 150-200MB/s SSDs can do so we still have room over the next few years to actually saturate SATA in the mainstream before we need to transition to a faster connection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

This is one of the reasons I think now is a good time to transition to the 2.5" format.

Apple doesn't seem to be thinking this way yet - the iMac still uses the 3.5" drives - but I'm not a fan of 3.5" drives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

The problem is PCI cards are extremely cheap. TB solutions will never be comparably so.

That can only change with adoption. You will sell far more USB storage drives than PCI SSD drives and it's just due to accessibility. If people have the port and manufacturers support it, the price of the solutions will drop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

You keep going around and around with this stuff about PCI slots only being good for x,y & z yet that clearly isn't the case. PCI slots are useful to support any card you can get a driver for.

And limited to under 20% of the total computing market and shrinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

isn't the whole point of the Pro to support the needs of demanding users? If you tell such people that they will not be able to run the faster GPU hardware do you think they will stay around as customers?

I don't think people would migrate away from a platform for the sake of dropping to 60% graphics performance. Nobody is buying a $2500+ machine to play video games and for other 3D tasks, the high-end mobile GPUs are perfectly capable. It's only really equivalent to being a year or two behind in performance, which Mac users have been used to for a long time and hasn't really affected anything.

The CPUs wouldn't be compromised, which is the main thing.
post #14 of 332
Hopefully they'll go all out on the 2011 Mac Pro:

Probably the same case. It'll be interesting if they redesign it to be rackmounted per rumors, but it'll need a big case in any situation.

They should just forget about single socket machines. All machines should be 2 sockets, minimum, in a 8-core, 8-core, 12-core good, better, best lineup. A 16-core upgrade should be offered. Going 2-socket with 8 memory slots will necessitate a pretty large case, especially of they want it to be quite. A rack mount system should be a 3U thickness minimum.

They should keep the current 4 PCIe slot, 2 5.25" bay and 4 3.5" bay design.

It aint going to be cheap. A 2 socket 8 core system would probably be something like $2500.
post #15 of 332
remove the optical drive, use new battery technology (rollls ?), keep same body size, use extra space for battery room, insert imac processor and GPU. No mobile version, or low energy consumption, just full on power!

catch and beat everything out on the market!

*Upgradable to a 1.8" SSD rather then a 2.5" drive for more battery room!*
^in a perfect world
post #16 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by accessoriesguy View Post

remove the optical drive, use new battery technology (rollls ?), keep same body size, use extra space for battery room, insert imac processor and GPU. No mobile version, or low energy consumption, just full on power!

catch and beat everything out on the market!

*Upgradable to a 1.8" SSD rather then a 2.5" drive for more battery room!*
^in a perfect world

Mac. Pro.

Not your laptops, for heaven's sake.

DESKTOP USERS STILL EXIST.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #17 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

Hopefully they'll go all out on the 2011 Mac Pro:

Yes! Apple really needs to overhaul the whole concept.
Quote:
Probably the same case. It'll be interesting if they redesign it to be rackmounted per rumors, but it'll need a big case in any situation.

It doesn't "need" to be big. The current Pro is rather spacious. On top of that you can get a lot of performance out of lower power processors these days.
Quote:
They should just forget about single socket machines.

This statement really bothers me. They need a single socket option to allow shipping the base Pro at a far lower price point.

Beyond the need for a lower price eight cores on a single die should be a reality in a few months. With the smaller processes the ability to get a lot of functionality out if a single core is significant. The whole point of a base machine would be to offer up a performance metric somewhere between a Mini and a Dual Socket Pro.
Quote:
All machines should be 2 sockets, minimum, in a 8-core, 8-core, 12-core good, better, best lineup. A 16-core upgrade should be offered. Going 2-socket with 8 memory slots will necessitate a pretty large case, especially of they want it to be quite. A rack mount system should be a 3U thickness minimum.

That is all well and good for the high end of the market but it sucks for somebody just needing midstream performance and a good GPU.
Quote:

They should keep the current 4 PCIe slot, 2 5.25" bay and 4 3.5" bay design.

Nope, not a chance. They would accomplish nothing by just throwing a new mother board in the box.
Quote:

It aint going to be cheap. A 2 socket 8 core system would probably be something like $2500.

Which is no problem for people that need that sort of machine. However it is pretty obvious Mac Pro sales suck and are getting worst. They need to make a machine that is attractive to a wider audience.
post #18 of 332
I just traded my 2006 MAC Pro for a new Mini until I see what becomes of the Pro. Hopefully they will add many of the features requested on these forums but I really doubt it.

I'd love to see better options for sound output since aftermarket (internal) sound cards wont work.
post #19 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by p40whk View Post

I'd love to see better options for sound output since aftermarket (internal) sound cards wont work.

Uh, what's wrong with the internal optical audio instead of trashy PCIe sound cards?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #20 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Uh, what's wrong with the internal optical audio instead of trashy PCIe sound cards?

Well, I have a real nice Sennheiser headset that wont work with optical and I use it for both my MAC and PC, I get much better sound on the PC because I don't have to use an adapter (external USB sound card).

Yeah, I could get a new headset but it's nice to have the option.
post #21 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This statement really bothers me. They need a single socket option to allow shipping the base Pro at a far lower price point.

They do this currently with the 4-core 2.8 GHz Nehalem single socket Mac Pro. $2500. It's not a good deal, especially when for $3500, you can get 2 Westmere CPUs (8-cores total) and double the RAM.

If someone is buying it, their needs have to be pretty unique. It's an outrageous deal in the bad sense if you are buying it just for the expansion.

Quote:
Beyond the need for a lower price eight cores on a single die should be a reality in a few months. With the smaller processes the ability to get a lot of functionality out if a single core is significant. The whole point of a base machine would be to offer up a performance metric somewhere between a Mini and a Dual Socket Pro.

How could this work when Apple doesn't sell a Mac Pro for less than $2500? And 2 low end 4-core Westmere CPUs will cheaper than an 8-core Sandy Bridge Xeon. The biggest question in my mind is that 8 cores is probably too much power for Apple to put in there low end Mac Pro.

Quote:
Which is no problem for people that need that sort of machine. However it is pretty obvious Mac Pro sales suck and are getting worst. They need to make a machine that is attractive to a wider audience.

It appears Apple is happy with selling Mac Pros for $2500+ and offering consumers an iMac or a Mac mini.
post #22 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

They do this currently with the 4-core 2.8 GHz Nehalem single socket Mac Pro. $2500. It's not a good deal, especially when for $3500, you can get 2 Westmere CPUs (8-cores total) and double the RAM.

Exactly my point, Apple needs a single socket expandable machine in the $1200 to $1500 range. $2500 dollars as you note is terrible for a single socket mspachine.

The implication here is a low end motherboard for mainstream computing. This means a board with run of the mill desktop parts. This would allow for a reasonably priced machine that can be implemented by those needing expansion capability.
Quote:
If someone is buying it, their needs have to be pretty unique. It's an outrageous deal in the bad sense if you are buying it just for the expansion.

Exactly my point, Apple doesn't have a machine that serves the needs of people with expansion requirements. At least not at reasonable prices. Thus they get zero play in those markets where expansion is important.
Quote:
How could this work when Apple doesn't sell a Mac Pro for less than $2500? And 2 low end 4-core Westmere CPUs will cheaper than an 8-core Sandy Bridge Xeon. The biggest question in my mind is that 8 cores is probably too much power for Apple to put in there low end Mac Pro.

Frankly they need to make something work or the Mac Pro will go the way of the XServe! As to the number of cores put into the low end machine that is open to discussion but we can't look to the past here. You can already get a chip from AMD with four cores and a GPU, with the GPU taking up most of the chips space. Another node drop and six to eight cores would be easy. Remember this is a low end machine not the high end Mac Pro performance beast. It is also notable that Intel balances the hardware on their chips differently so maybe we would be stuck with six cores on an Intel machine.

The point is hardware costs wise this is doable in the 12-15 hundred dollars range.
Quote:
It appears Apple is happy with selling Mac Pros for $2500+ and offering consumers an iMac or a Mac mini.

Yeah I know, Apple is totally happy with the idea of having an unsalable machine in the Pro. What I find perplexing here is the attitude that Apple can just leave the Pro as it is, a large high priced performance machine. It is that very attitude though that is resulting in diminishing Mac Pro sales. Apple needs a product that sells significantly in at least one form to justify the development costs. This is why I advocate a Mac Pro replacement available in two distinctly different performance levels, one for general purpose use and another for performance. The chassis would be identical but configured with either a high performance motherboard or a mainstream one.
post #23 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

A rack mount system should be a 3U thickness minimum.

They should keep the current 4 PCIe slot, 2 5.25" bay and 4 3.5" bay design.

3U systems are 5.25" wide maximum so wouldn't fit a 5.25" drive the way the Mac Pro does, it would have to go in vertically, which isn't great for tray-loading drives.

I reckon they should aim for 2U (double the XServe) but this won't fit PCI cards in unless they are sitting parallel with the motherboard.

I think Thunderbolt will be the key decider of what happens here because Apple has to put support into the Mac Pro and it can't go on the dedicated GPUs nor on a PCI card. It has to come from the motherboard.
post #24 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think Thunderbolt will be the key decider of what happens here because Apple has to put support into the Mac Pro and it can't go on the dedicated GPUs nor on a PCI card. It has to come from the motherboard.

So we'll have a Thunderbolt port that drives displays using the chipset's Intel 3000 graphics and graphics cards with Mini DisplayPort and DVI that'll do everything else.

Thunderbolt SHOULDN'T be forced to do graphics (or at least should be allowed off the motherboard) but whatever, Intel.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #25 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So we'll have a Thunderbolt port that drives displays using the chipset's Intel 3000 graphics and graphics cards with Mini DisplayPort and DVI that'll do everything else.

No, the Mac Mini with the Radeon 6630 still outputs over Thunderbolt and HDMI - same deal with the iMac GPUs - but they wouldn't be able to do that with a PCI card with its own display outputs.

That's why I think they need to follow the same design as the iMac. As I say, I don't think putting a Radeon 6990M in is going to make a big difference to buyers. As long as the fast CPUs are there, it should be fine.
post #26 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Exactly my point, Apple needs a single socket expandable machine in the $1200 to $1500 range. $2500 dollars as you note is terrible for a single socket mspachine.

The implication here is a low end motherboard for mainstream computing. This means a board with run of the mill desktop parts. This would allow for a reasonably priced machine that can be implemented by those needing expansion capability.

Exactly my point, Apple doesn't have a machine that serves the needs of people with expansion requirements. At least not at reasonable prices. Thus they get zero play in those markets where expansion is important. ...


Apple needs a product that sells significantly in at least one form to justify the development costs. This is why I advocate a Mac Pro replacement available in two distinctly different performance levels, one for general purpose use and another for performance. The chassis would be identical but configured with either a high performance motherboard or a mainstream one.


Im glad you suggest this concept, and I agree that it would boost Mac sales a lot. Id be very eager to buy a mainstream Mac Pro in the $1200 to $1500 range. I dont need a workstation, but much prefer an expandable tower to an iMac or Mac Mini. So, what have I been doing for a computer? I buy older Mac Pros from Craigslist. It does nothing for Apples sales, but it give me a computer that I like. Im now looking for another to replace the G5 in my office.
post #27 of 332
Ugh. The inevitable xMac discussion.

Yeah, it would be nice if Apple built the "xMac", essentially half a Mac Pro with 1 socket, 4 DIMM slots, 2 PCIe slots, 2 3.5" drive bays and 1 5.25" drive bay and sell it for $1000 to $2000. But Apple under Jobs will never do it. It's iMac or bust.
post #28 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

Im glad you suggest this concept, and I agree that it would boost Mac sales a lot. Id be very eager to buy a mainstream Mac Pro in the $1200 to $1500 range. I dont need a workstation, but much prefer an expandable tower to an iMac or Mac Mini. So, what have I been doing for a computer? I buy older Mac Pros from Craigslist. It does nothing for Apples sales, but it give me a computer that I like. Im now looking for another to replace the G5 in my office.

Well I can suggest but it takes Apple to produce something.


As to buying used it often makes a lot of sense. However if you are still on a G5 it might surprise you to find out how far behind you are on the performance curve. Intel has made some rather surprising improvements over the last couple of years.

The last computer (not counting iPads) I purchased was a 2008 MBP. Due to previous bad experiences I avoid used laptops.
post #29 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

Ugh. The inevitable xMac discussion.

Yeah, it would be nice if Apple built the "xMac", essentially half a Mac Pro with 1 socket, 4 DIMM slots, 2 PCIe slots, 2 3.5" drive bays and 1 5.25" drive bay and sell it for $1000 to $2000. But Apple under Jobs will never do it. It's iMac or bust.

I would not be surprised to see any number of things come to the Mac line up. Think about it who would have even thought that Apple could be offering state of the art laptops at prices nobody could touch. Apple is a different company these days, they don't need to charge high prices to stay afloat. Further Apples customer base has grown and is more diverse than ever.

Steves a smart guy with more than a few smart people working for him. They should realize that they have an opportunity to draw even more customers in with the right hardware.
post #30 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


As to buying used it often makes a lot of sense. However if you are still on a G5 it might surprise you to find out how far behind you are on the performance curve.


I know. I already bought a used Mac Pro to replace a dull G4 PowerMac that was used for developing musical tracks. The Mac Pro is so much better. And my son develops apps on his Mac Pro. My office is the last to get one.
post #31 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I would not be surprised to see any number of things come to the Mac line up. Think about it who would have even thought that Apple could be offering state of the art laptops at prices nobody could touch. Apple is a different company these days, they don't need to charge high prices to stay afloat. Further Apples customer base has grown and is more diverse than ever.

Steves a smart guy with more than a few smart people working for him. They should realize that they have an opportunity to draw even more customers in with the right hardware.

The xMac makes sense: Apple doesn't have a consumer level desktop with REAL consumer level desktop hardware! Minis and iMacs are made of laptop hardware inside a desktop case. So, there's a gap in the offer. Today or you get a laptop/desktop "hybrid" or you get a desktop with server class hardware.
As the iPad evolves and fulfills many of mobile computation needs, many people may ditch a laptop for an iPad + desktop Mac.
I really think Apple should get the chance to introduce another desktop. As you said, costumer base has grown and is more diverse and that may justify a new desktop product.
Just my 2 cents...

About the Mac Pro, they are really just waiting for the sandy bridge Xeons to come out. I'm sure that they'll put a couple of Thunderbolt ports and SSD options. I'm curious about the case redesign everybody is speaking of and the GPUs.
post #32 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganHunter View Post

Apple doesn't have a consumer level desktop with REAL consumer level desktop hardware! Minis and iMacs are made of laptop hardware inside a desktop case.

They use desktop CPUs in the iMacs and mobile GPUs. The mobile GPUs are also among the fastest you can buy so not much advantage to buying a tower + screen separately. The time for a mid-range tower is gone.
post #33 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The time for a mid-range tower is gone.

If youre correct, then Ill just keep buying used Mac Pros in the $900 to $1200 range. More significant than my measly purchases, however, a large segment of Windows users will continue to shun Apple desktops if there is no mid-range tower. It would seem that using the same case as the workstation Mac Pro should give Apple an easy way to develop such a mainstream product.

By the way, the price range above is what I currently pay for used Mac Pros. For a new tower from Apple Id pay up to $1600, or a little more, depending on how it's equipped.
post #34 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

They should just forget about single socket machines.

I lean more towards the opposite; dual-CPU machines are a leftover from the G4/G5 days when the Motorola/IBM processors had no hope of competing with Intel's. I'm not convinced they are a necessity these days. The single hex Westmere trounces the dual quads. They should discontinue the latter and just offer a dual hex as the maxed-out option.

With SB that would presumably be single-socket hex base, single socket octo upgrade, dual octo maxed out.
post #35 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They use desktop CPUs in the iMacs and mobile GPUs. The mobile GPUs are also among the fastest you can buy so not much advantage to buying a tower + screen separately. The time for a mid-range tower is gone.

Except for being able to get the screen of your choice. And having a computer that is easier to open and replace parts. To me those are very big reasons to desire a mid range tower.
Now with pads and tablets and smart phones one could argue that the time for a non expandable all in one computer is gone.
I won't be buying an iMac. But if iMac processing power was available in a mini tower I would pay more for that choice without a monitor than what an iMac would cost me.

I read an interesting article today. It was about an on line retailer that had its website designed where everyone that was buying something had to open an account before proceeding to checkout. Basically forcing people to have something they didn't want. It turned out that a large number of shoppers left the website and bought elsewhere just because of the annoying feature of being forced to open an account. Then the on line retailer changed its website. When customers went to checkout they were asked if they wanted to open an account. Joining was optional. Sales went up $300 million.

Apple is forcing every person who wants a mid range machine to have to take an all in one. No choice. There are definitely customers that walk away instead of accepting no choice.
post #36 of 332
OWC has some interesting benchmarks done around a new SSD. The lingk: http://blog.macsales.com/11258-by-th...-2011-mac-mini

I post this because it highlights that you will need internal access to harvest the speed of future storage devices. The link is for SATA connected "drives" but even faster PCI Express cards exist. This doesn't diminish the value of TB at all, but rather highlights that you won't be getting best performance over TB for storage.

What is notable is that these are notebook sized storage modules. This is why I wouldn't be disappointed at all to see an XMac with 4 or more high speed SATA bays (notebook sized). Shrinking the size of the iMac would be easy using such drives without a corresponding drop in performance. This doesn't even address the thought of PCI Express SSD in a Mac.

In any event we are in a transition here where Apple is leading a charge to flash storage. Once the transition becomes mainstream the speed of SSDs will become a requirement.
post #37 of 332
The ideal solution puts all your cores on one chip as you get the best communications between cores. There are always exceptions to the rule though. It depends entirely on what one does with the machine.

Even if Apple did go single socket there is still a need for a Pro motherboard as opposed to a mainstream. Mainly I'm thinking here the support for ECC RAM and other Pro features.



Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

I lean more towards the opposite; dual-CPU machines are a leftover from the G4/G5 days when the Motorola/IBM processors had no hope of competing with Intel's. I'm not convinced they are a necessity these days. The single hex Westmere trounces the dual quads. They should discontinue the latter and just offer a dual hex as the maxed-out option.

With SB that would presumably be single-socket hex base, single socket octo upgrade, dual octo maxed out.
post #38 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They use desktop CPUs in the iMacs and mobile GPUs. The mobile GPUs are also among the fastest you can buy so not much advantage to buying a tower + screen separately. The time for a mid-range tower is gone.

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. I think a tower would sell a lot for several reasons:

1 - The option to buy the monitor people wanted and/or had budget to (I would still buy a cinema display but many people wouldn't);
2 - Add at least one more hard disk or two;
3 - Upgrade the graphics card (however, using a desktop graphics card would make it last up to date a little longer than a mobile one);
4 - Upgrade RAM the easy way.

It's clear that this would open the door for 3rd party hardware options (graphics cards, monitors, etc...) for Mac users which Apple doesn't like but still I think that such tower would be a nice bet on a new Mac product.

Towers are still king of the desktop even on enterprise environments: they are cheaper than laptops and they don't have to replace screens just because new computers arrived. Each time you buy an iMac you have to spend the price of a computer + screen and for many people that's not just acceptable and the Mac Pro prices are far less acceptable!
The xMac would be nice for several types of users: regular users, some gamers and even some pro users that don't need the power of a Mac Pro or just want a matte screen option that Apple doesn't provide for desktops these days.
post #39 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

More significant than my measly purchases, however, a large segment of Windows users will continue to shun Apple desktops if there is no mid-range tower.

The entire computing industry is showing 70% laptop, 30% desktop marketshare with the trend moving towards portables. In the best case, there are 80 million PC tower buyers per year across all manufacturers. The largest selling manufacturer is HP with a 17% global share. Apple has 4.5% globally. A lot of PC towers are used in server farms where Apple has almost zero presence.

Given that Apple doesn't compete on the low-end ($300 laptops etc), they are actually doing pretty well and there is no large segment of Windows users put off by a lack of a mid-tower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

It would seem that using the same case as the workstation Mac Pro should give Apple an easy way to develop such a mainstream product.

Yeah, the amount of times I've heard mainstream buyers asking for a 41lb solid aluminium workstation at an affordable price.

Simple fact is, they don't hit the high volume, low price market and a mid-range tower won't do that either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac

Except for being able to get the screen of your choice. And having a computer that is easier to open and replace parts. To me those are very big reasons to desire a mid range tower.

Access to storage would be nice but you can get an external screen very cheaply. I don't think it's ideal but it's an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac

Apple is forcing every person who wants a mid range machine to have to take an all in one. No choice. There are definitely customers that walk away instead of accepting no choice.

Probably not enough to be concerned about though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganHunter

1 - The option to buy the monitor people wanted and/or had budget to (I would still buy a cinema display but many people wouldn't);
2 - Add at least one more hard disk or two;
3 - Upgrade the graphics card (however, using a desktop graphics card would make it last up to date a little longer than a mobile one);
4 - Upgrade RAM the easy way.

It's clear that this would open the door for 3rd party hardware options (graphics cards, monitors, etc...) for Mac users which Apple doesn't like but still I think that such tower would be a nice bet on a new Mac product.

Towers are still king of the desktop even on enterprise environments

You can buy an i7 quad Mini that performs around the same as the entry Mac Pro, you can get a Firewire 800 RAID system and a Thunderbolt external GPU and plug it into any screen you want.

No point in selling a tower when an attractive, modular machine like the Mini works far better.

As time goes on, the performance requirements people need from a mid-range tower will reach the Mini. Next year, it's quad-cores all round and 28nm AMD GPUs and USB 3. Imagine doubling the performance of the current middle Mac Mini. Put in an SSD boot drive and plug in a USB 3 RAID system.

A mid-tower won't improve on this setup in a significant enough way to be worth making.
post #40 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

No point in selling a tower when an attractive, modular machine like the Mini works far better.

Please show me the modular pieces. Nothing is modular. Nothing matches. Not in size, shape, form, color, or materials. Look up the definition of modular then get back with us.

I'm still amazed at the number of people who praise the look, feel and design of Apple products but then turn around and don't understand why some of us want to have internal capacity so that the Apple product we bought doesn't get surrounded by stuff that doesn't match.

Here's a car for all of you.
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