or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › New Mac Pro
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

New Mac Pro - Page 5

post #161 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And don't even think about suggesting they shut up and buy a PC. Because even though it's exactly what they claim to want, they don't want it.

No. We want OSX on an Apple computer that meets our needs. That is not a PC.
post #162 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

No. We want OSX on an Apple computer that meets our needs. That is not a PC.

And I respect your desire for a computer you can plug any crap you want into and have it work. But that isn't Apple's plan, nor ecosystem.

And it never will be. So people need to cool it.

Now when we get a smaller, Thunderbolt Mac Pro with one double-wide PCIe slot, two HDD trays, and no ODDs into which you can plug any accessory, THERE'S your dream.
post #163 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And I respect your desire for a computer you can plug any crap you want into and have it work. But that isn't Apple's plan, nor ecosystem.

And it never will be. So people need to cool it.

I'm impressed with your detailed knowledge of Apple's business plans.
post #164 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

I'm impressed with your detailed knowledge of Apple's business plans.

As zeph just said, if your desires had any place in Apple's plan, they would have done something long ago.

They did, in fact, with the G4 line. There's probably a reason they don't anymore.
post #165 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

It's kind of amusing to see the pundits here claim Apple is missing out on a great opportunity by not making an xMac when the company just sold 4.63 million computers and 12 million iPads. Laptops account for the vast majority of their computer sales, too.

Pointing out that "Laptops account for the vast majority of their computer sales," suggests that Apple is weaker in the desktop market. Yet if they are making so much money, they don't need to sell the most popular type of desktop computer. A couple niche markets is probably good enough, tiny computers and all-in-ones.
post #166 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

This is the only Apple product I would be crazy enough to camp outside an Apple store to buy.

The queue would probably be small enough that you wouldn't have to camp out. Every manufacturer sees around a 70/30 split between laptops and desktops now and it's not swinging the other way any time soon.

Apple has already made an affordable, expandable headless Mac. For $1000, you can get a quad i7 Mini that matches the entry Mac Pro, you can get 8GB RAM for it for $50. You can get a 128GB SSD boot drive for $225 that will run rings round a RAID0 HDD setup and stick a 1TB drive in on top.

If you need more storage, get a Thunderbolt RAID or GoFlex (up to 3TB) or wait until the next update for USB 3. The only area lacking is the GPU. It will take a few years for Intel's IGP to reach current high-end performance but it will soon reach a performance bar that satisfies most people. Sandy Bridge is pretty much there but Ivy Bridge definitely will be as it has OpenCL support.

The middle Mini should jump to the new Radeon 7000 series 28nm GPUs next year (due Q1). NVidia expects to more than double performance every year and I'd expect AMD can too. This will put the GPU in the middle Mini in the region of the 5770 in the current Mac Pro.

If people are happy buying used Mac Pros, buying a Mini will shortly be an equivalent option except one that draws a fraction of the power, takes up 1/25th of the space and costs under $1000 and can be resold every year for the latest model very easily.
post #167 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The queue would probably be small enough that you wouldn't have to camp out. Every manufacturer sees around a 70/30 split between laptops and desktops now and it's not swinging the other way any time soon.

First off when has anybody camped out for an Apple desktop computer launch. I can't remember that much excitement recently over a desktop and even the laptops are sold at a reasonable pace.

The problem with that split, which I don't believe is actually 70/30, is that Apple is getting very little of that 30% market if any. There is huge potential in that 30% of the PC market, even if Apple only managed to get 10% of that it would still outstrip current Mac sales. Not that I'd expect Apple to get a massive slice of the desktop market right away, rather if they sell a couple of million they would be greatly increasing share holder value. A couple of million should be easy in a properly configured XMac, remember the market is a share of something they don't have a part of at all now.
Quote:
Apple has already made an affordable, expandable headless Mac. For $1000, you can get a quad i7 Mini that matches the entry Mac Pro, you can get 8GB RAM for it for $50. You can get a 128GB SSD boot drive for $225 that will run rings round a RAID0 HDD setup and stick a 1TB drive in on top.

You know I really like what Apple did to the current Mini, it is a very well equipped computer. It is however a significantly limited computer simply because Apple can't seem to wrap its head around peoples wants and desires as it pertains to GPU's. It is also useless from the standpoint of expansion potential.
Quote:
If you need more storage, get a Thunderbolt RAID or GoFlex (up to 3TB) or wait until the next update for USB 3. The only area lacking is the GPU. It will take a few years for Intel's IGP to reach current high-end performance but it will soon reach a performance bar that satisfies most people. Sandy Bridge is pretty much there but Ivy Bridge definitely will be as it has OpenCL support.

I'm as happy as anybody when it comes to the continuous improvements in integrated GPU's. However that doesn't dismiss the idea that external GPU chips still offer a significant advantage and will for sometime. The trend is clear though, in a few years and external GPU might actually be a step backwards.

However the need for an XMac, an expandable computer has little to do with the GPU. While it would be nice to support a GPU in a slot the need for expansion goes beyond that.
Quote:
The middle Mini should jump to the new Radeon 7000 series 28nm GPUs next year (due Q1). NVidia expects to more than double performance every year and I'd expect AMD can too. This will put the GPU in the middle Mini in the region of the 5770 in the current Mac Pro.

Yep and you are still stuck with a Mini that has only two drive bays and no slots. By the way we are no where near as lucky when it comes to secondary storage growth.
Quote:
If people are happy buying used Mac Pros, buying a Mini will shortly be an equivalent option except one that draws a fraction of the power, takes up 1/25th of the space and costs under $1000 and can be resold every year for the latest model very easily.

And would still be nowhere near what a reasonably priced XMac would be. An XMac would allow for a bit more CPU wattage, thus performance with an even more powerful GPU at any one time. I fully agree that the Mini will get more powerful into the future, the problem is it will significantly lag what is possible at any given time. Note too, I don't see an XMac as Apples most powerful PC, rather I like to think of it as a mid range machine.

You see this discussion isn't about what might be possible in the future; it is about being able to buy reasonable performance, for the state of the art, at any one point in time. I can be pretty certain the computers of the future will be better, history is clear here. The problem is what is available at anyone time when a person goes out to buy an Apple desktop. To put it plainly the line up sucks as their is a big whole between the low end and the high end.
post #168 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And I respect your desire for a computer you can plug any crap you want into and have it work. But that isn't Apple's plan, nor ecosystem.

Your characterization that people plug crap into their desktops really reveals a tremendous ignorance on your part. People use slots on PC's to solve real problems. Apple can ignore the need but I see it as Apple giving up a great deal of potential in the way of sales.
Quote:
And it never will be. So people need to cool it.

Your attitude sucks, we are the consumers as such we have the right to ask for anything reasonable. Just as Apple has the right to say no.
Quote:
Now when we get a smaller, Thunderbolt Mac Pro with one double-wide PCIe slot, two HDD trays, and no ODDs into which you can plug any accessory, THERE'S your dream.

Actually two HDD bays won't do it either unless Apple takes a different approach to SSD storage. Ideally I'd like to see a Mac with several slots where some of those slots might be dedicated to solid state storage. The HDD form factor for storage should have died some time ago with the advent of solid state. it is actually sad that Apple hasn't been more aggressive setting standards here.

Oh by the way the dream isn't to replace the Mac Pro, rather it is to deliver a economical but expandable Mac. I'm not sure why people have so much trouble grasping what is needed and wanted here.
post #169 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

Pointing out that "Laptops account for the vast majority of their computer sales," suggests that Apple is weaker in the desktop market.

No. It suggests that the desktop market has been saturated and consumers are moving to mobile devices en masse, be it laptops, netbooks, tablets or handhelds. This is a market trend and not specific to Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

Yet if they are making so much money, they don't need to sell the most popular type of desktop computer. A couple niche markets is probably good enough, tiny computers and all-in-ones.

Not sure what your point is, but if you mean the MacPro, I'd imagine Apple's accounting department already called for discontinuation of the MacPro eons ago. But there is a huuuuge markup on it, and it serves as Apple's halo machine. As long as enough people shell out $2500 for a 2.8 quad or $3700 for a hex there is no reason to EOL it.

But I don't think they'll make it cheaper. If the sales drop, it is over.
post #170 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

Apple is making money hand over fist. Fine. But the fact remains that this Mac user of 18 years isn't buying anything new from Apple because what I want isn't being made. So Apple in its infinite wisdom is successful but it is also very close to losing a long time buyer and user of Apple computers.

Can I make Apple build what I want? No. But I think they should be wondering what would happen if more of the long term repeat buyers of Apple products start feeling the same way I do.

This is a common complaint from longterm Mac users. I'm sure Apple knows, but under Steve Jobs the company has always been forward thinking. They drop the old for the new without regard for who (or what) may be left behind.

The xMac exists. It is the MacPro. But it's just $1000 more than the xMac enthusiasts are willing to part with.
Could or should the MacPro be cheaper? Hell yeah. The markup on the single-CPU models is insane. They could sell the $2899 model for $1999 and still make a very tidy profit.

But they don't. So be it.
post #171 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The queue would probably be small enough that you wouldn't have to camp out. Every manufacturer sees around a 70/30 split between laptops and desktops now and it's not swinging the other way any time soon.

Apple has already made an affordable, expandable headless Mac. For $1000, you can get a quad i7 Mini that matches the entry Mac Pro, you can get 8GB RAM for it for $50. You can get a 128GB SSD boot drive for $225 that will run rings round a RAID0 HDD setup and stick a 1TB drive in on top.

If you need more storage, get a Thunderbolt RAID or GoFlex (up to 3TB) or wait until the next update for USB 3. The only area lacking is the GPU. It will take a few years for Intel's IGP to reach current high-end performance but it will soon reach a performance bar that satisfies most people. Sandy Bridge is pretty much there but Ivy Bridge definitely will be as it has OpenCL support.

The middle Mini should jump to the new Radeon 7000 series 28nm GPUs next year (due Q1). NVidia expects to more than double performance every year and I'd expect AMD can too. This will put the GPU in the middle Mini in the region of the 5770 in the current Mac Pro.

If people are happy buying used Mac Pros, buying a Mini will shortly be an equivalent option except one that draws a fraction of the power, takes up 1/25th of the space and costs under $1000 and can be resold every year for the latest model very easily.


If they built up/out a bit more from this, I might buy one. The top model is marketed as the mini server right now. It's using a weaker quad core processor than is available on the macbook pros. If it's benchmarking well against the mac pro, that's because Apple has allowed it to sit way too long. Considering price drops they could have easily bumped the cpu and graphics card just to keep the machine up to date. Right now it's absolutely asinine what the six core costs. They charge $1200 to upgrade a $2500 machine to a $600 processor. It could have easily been bumped at least six months ago (there are a couple other processor options that retail around $300 as well that could have been used).

Ok now back to the mini, is it running cooler these days? They used to get way too hot. One thunderbolt port isn't enough. Higher bandwidth devices including newer displays hitting the market can pretty much saturate it as a single device. Newer panel generations keep going up in resolution and displayport 1.1 is still ahead of thunderbolt in bandwidth. The point being daisy chaining is only practical for low bandwidth peripherals. It doesn't come with a keyboard or mouse so tack those onto the price whenever they require replacement. It's using laptop parts so of course the power draw is lower but they stick it into the smallest package possible rather than allowing the parts to run cool. Take a look at the Apple site. There are plenty of complaints of devices dying due to long term heat issues. Apple always pushes it as close as possible in this regard. The imac is at closer in overall hardware quality. You think it's because mac pros are expensive to build? Those cases aren't difficult to produce at all. Setting up the macbook pros with machined unibody designs was a far greater engineering feat.

If they expanded the mini they could have something comparable to a headless imac. If it had at least a couple thunderbolt ports I'd probably buy one. As a final correction, if you buy your ram upgrade from Apple it's $200. If it goes the direction of the air soon diy will no longer be an option. If you're running applications where 8GB is still a bottleneck (I've got applications that suggest 6-8GB as minimum recommended) then upgrading that thing to 16 GB becomes a $900 investment. The mini is quite limited really. It's engineered to be small.
post #172 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The problem with that split, which I don't believe is actually 70/30, is that Apple is getting very little of that 30% market if any. There is huge potential in that 30% of the PC market, even if Apple only managed to get 10% of that it would still outstrip current Mac sales.



Huge potential? Is that why HP is stepping out of the PC market? The desktop market is saturated and shrinking. Fact. Even notebook sales are stalling. Apple is one of very few manufacturers that has seen its computer sales increase over the last year. Just about all other vendors have reported declining sales.

SJ wasn't BS'ing when he announced the post-PC era. It is happening.

BTW, Apple has a larger slice of $1000+ computer market than any other brand. So I don't buy that "untapped market potential".
post #173 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Your characterization that people plug crap into their desktops really reveals a tremendous ignorance on your part. People use slots on PC's to solve real problems. Apple can ignore the need but I see it as Apple giving up a great deal of potential in the way of sales.

No, no! Sorry, I used 'crap' in an 'anything' sense, not as a 'worthless junk' sense. Again, sorry about that.

Quote:
Oh by the way the dream isn't to replace the Mac Pro, rather it is to deliver a economical but expandable Mac. I'm not sure why people have so much trouble grasping what is needed and wanted here.

Because that's not Apple's bag and they apparently have a reason for that. Probably fits into their whole "it just works"/"beautiful, compatible ecosystem" schtick.
post #174 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post


I bet that if the xMac was a viable business proposal, Apple would already have one out. Fact is, they know the market better than most and their track record/sales figures prove it.
Face it, they know better.

What you and others are saying is that Apple knows best. However, Apple is not the only company doing market research to find out what customers want. All PC makers do this, and make what customers desire most. So why is it that I've never seen a Windows all-in-one or mini PC? If these are for sale, almost nobody is buying them. We should be seeing lots of them in the Window world if that is what customers really wanted most.

So, let's get down to the real reason there is no xMac. It would hurt the sales of iMacs and Mac Minis a great deal, and it is these two desktop Macs that help Apple to be unique.
post #175 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

What you and others are saying is that Apple knows best. However, Apple is not the only company doing market research to find out what customers want. All PC makers do this, and make what customers desire most. So why is it that I've never seen a Windows all-in-one or mini PC? If these are for sale, almost nobody is buying them. We should be seeing lots of them in the Window world if that is what customers really wanted most.

So, let's get down to the real reason there is no xMac. It would hurt the sales of iMacs and Mac Minis a great deal, and it is these two desktop Macs that help Apple to be unique.

I know Gateway tried it. Dell also tried it. Neither was very successful. I'd mind the imac and mac mini less if they lacked some of their current flaws. In the past IO capacity was a major drawback for me. By next year the 27" imac might be ok in that regard for my purposes (remember it used to be just firewire and usb2). The graphics are still mobile graphics, but that has always been a weak point for Apple. The biggest thing I'd still worry about would be the heat issues. Ever seen an imac screen from someone who pushes the machine hard? They get those magenta discolorations. Anyway every Apple laptop I've ever owned has still had heat problems when running near or at max capacity in an air conditioned room on a flat surface no matter what I do (I disable anything too cpu intensive and animations and stuff are turned off as much as possible). The point being if the imac was truly suitable for heavy use, I'd probably own one. The mac pro in its current state is just a neglected machine.
post #176 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

What you and others are saying is that Apple knows best. However, Apple is not the only company doing market research to find out what customers want. All PC makers do this, and make what customers desire most. So why is it that I've never seen a Windows all-in-one or mini PC? If these are for sale, almost nobody is buying them. We should be seeing lots of them in the Window world if that is what customers really wanted most.

So, let's get down to the real reason there is no xMac. It would hurt the sales of iMacs and Mac Minis a great deal, and it is these two desktop Macs that help Apple to be unique.

Here's a different explanation. If you look at the minis and all-in-ones offered by other manufacturers, it's all a bunch of cheap crap; for the most part anyway. They do not offer Apple's unique design and optimized integration of hardware and software. That is why it works for Apple and not for vendors who just slap a bunch of components together and try to cash in on the latest trends.

And yes, Apple knows better than most. As I said before, SJ announced the post-PC era and it's already happening. HP is pulling out of the PC market. The desktop market is saturated and shrinking. Why on Earth should Apple invest in that precious xMac?

Market research has repeatedly demonstrated that 90+% of the domestic computers are never opened or upgraded. The vast majority just buys a new machine when the old one gets tardy or crappy. Gaming enthusiasts or IT professionals get inside their machines, but that is an insignificant portion of the market.

I think the desktop may stick around in enterprise longer, they make sense for large companies with in-house IT staff. Other than that, it will be server farms and mobile devices. As an audio professional I can't see me ditching the workstation for the foreseeable future, but I'd be happy to work on the iPadPro when it has the necessary horsepower and once the devs redesign/optimize their apps for multi-touch.

The world is changing. Change along with it or be a sourpuss.
post #177 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

As an audio professional I can't see me ditching the workstation for the foreseeable future, but I'd be happy to work on the iPadPro when it has the necessary horsepower and once the devs redesign/optimize their apps for multi-touch.

The world is changing. Change along with it or be a sourpuss.

That brings up something interesting. I'm wondering how some of these devices will evolve. The ipad is great but even if it had the power, it wouldn't necessarily be ideal for work that spans a significant number of hours just from an ergonomic standpoint. Today there are people who plug peripherals into their laptops when they are at their desks, but I'm wondering how it will be integrated a decade or more from today. I did mention that building out the mini could make it a more compelling option without drastically increasing its cost. Right now it still has too many compromises.
post #178 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because that's not Apple's bag and they apparently have a reason for that. Probably fits into their whole "it just works"/"beautiful, compatible ecosystem" schtick.

And that is the exact reason people like me do not want to buy a mini and have a bunch of external devices plugged into it. We want internal expansion to keep that good looking Mac looking good instead of being surrounded with non matching external devices.

Now I will hear a repeat of "buy a Mac Pro then". I don't need that much horsepower. It is also anything but mid size and $2499 is an awful steep price in order to get expansion.

Thus the repeated desire for a mid range mid size desktop Mac that does not have a built in monitor.
post #179 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

And that is the exact reason people like me do not want to buy a mini and have a bunch of external devices plugged into it. We want internal expansion to keep that good looking Mac looking good instead of being surrounded with non matching external devices.

Now I will hear a repeat of "buy a Mac Pro then". I don't need that much horsepower. It is also anything but mid size and $2499 is an awful steep price in order to get expansion.

Thus the repeated desire for a mid range mid size desktop Mac that does not have a built in monitor.

$2499 is a lot for what you're getting. I know Marvin used the example of the mini pulling ahead today. When the 2009 model came out, many people posted how their "hackintoshes" built for a fraction of the cost ran better than the mac pro. It's been a slow withdrawal Faster thunderbolt + a minimum of two ports on a given machine would probably be enough to do it for me. My storage needs are too great for four bays already anyway.
post #180 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post



Huge potential? Is that why HP is stepping out of the PC market?

I think we all know HP was/is leaving the market for other reasons. In any event you mis the point if you look at all of the desktops that all off the combined PC makers sell the number is still massive, Apple could take a percentage of that and increase sales year on year for some time.
Quote:
The desktop market is saturated and shrinking. Fact.

Nope the Windows PC market is saturated, fact is people are leaving Windows for another platform.
Quote:
Even notebook sales are stalling.

Yes sales are tough for everybody but Apple right now. Part of that is the economy but even more is the result of a desire for an alternative to Windows. Notebook/laptop sales will pick up as the economy improves but I expect Apple and alternative OSes to get an even greater percentage of sales in the future. I see it as a sign that the industry has matured and the hammer lock that Windows had is being lifted.
Quote:
Apple is one of very few manufacturers that has seen its computer sales increase over the last year. Just about all other vendors have reported declining sales.

Exactly! Now what does that tell you? In my mind it indicates that people are abandoning Windows more than anything.
Quote:
SJ wasn't BS'ing when he announced the post-PC era. It is happening.

Sure it is happening but that does not mean that PC sales end. Not at all, in some cases post PC devices will drive sales of desktop equipment as the hub for these devices.

If you look at history here there have been all sorts of eras when it comes to consumer products. The muscle car era did not end car sales for example. The VCR era didn't end movie sales as another example. The silver film era didn't end with people no longer taking pictures.
Quote:
BTW, Apple has a larger slice of $1000+ computer market than any other brand. So I don't buy that "untapped market potential".

Well yeah for laptops that would be the case. Now ask yourself this, how much of the desktop market do they own?
post #181 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

Here's a different explanation. If you look at the minis and all-in-ones offered by other manufacturers, it's all a bunch of cheap crap; for the most part anyway. They do not offer Apple's unique design and optimized integration of hardware and software. That is why it works for Apple and not for vendors who just slap a bunch of components together and try to cash in on the latest trends.

There is some evidence that Apples approach doesn't work all that well either. Rumors of marginal Mini sales continue to surface and iMac sales seem to be the result of people not having a choice.

Think about it a bit, most of Apples laptops are a better deal than the Mini.
Quote:
And yes, Apple knows better than most. As I said before, SJ announced the post-PC era and it's already happening. HP is pulling out of the PC market. The desktop market is saturated and shrinking. Why on Earth should Apple invest in that precious xMac?

Continued sales growth? The desktop market isn't saturated at all, people have been moving to Macs. The Windows market is what is dying. By offering a decent desktop Mac Apple lowers the barrier to moving to the Mac Platform.
Quote:
Market research has repeatedly demonstrated that 90+% of the domestic computers are never opened or upgraded. The vast majority just buys a new machine when the old one gets tardy or crappy. Gaming enthusiasts or IT professionals get inside their machines, but that is an insignificant portion of the market.

That is garbage. Talk to anybody running a PC repair business and you will find that those not comfortable inside the case simply bring the computer into the shop. For most people a PC of any type is a major investment, as such they tend to want to keep it viable for as long as possible.
Quote:
I think the desktop may stick around in enterprise longer, they make sense for large companies with in-house IT staff. Other than that, it will be server farms and mobile devices.

As an owner of a couple of mobile devices and a Mac I think you are engaging in wishful thinking. Most mobile devices would have to be radically different to completely eliminate the need for a Mac.
Quote:
As an audio professional I can't see me ditching the workstation for the foreseeable future, but I'd be happy to work on the iPadPro when it has the necessary horsepower and once the devs redesign/optimize their apps for multi-touch.

No matter how far into the future you go such an iPad Pro would still have to work with some sort of bulk storage device. Besides the desire for a better video solution one of the things that drives the desire for an XMac is the need for more bulk storage. For most today that means HDDs but it could just as well mean some sort of solid state solution in the future.

And no external storage boxes, especially over Thunderbolt, are not a solution.
Quote:
The world is changing. Change along with it or be a sourpuss.

Exactly, which is why there is an even more pressing need for Apple to come out with an XMac.
post #182 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

There is some evidence that Apples approach doesn't work all that well either. Rumors of marginal Mini sales continue to surface and iMac sales seem to be the result of people not having a choice.

Yeah... that's the only reason I've considered an imac at any point. All in ones have a ton of issues. They really aren't built for heavy heavy use to the degree of a tower with superior airflow. The display quality is just ok. I'm guessing if I had to, I could get used to it but it's sort of a higher end consumer grade display. It's not really meant for those concerned with color and detail. Regarding the mac pro people who buy them often use them for a very long time. It's not so easy to do this when the hardware sits so long. The logic board is the same one used in 2009. The processor in the baseline model is a slight bump from that because intel discontinued the other and replaced the w3520 with the w3530. If I bought one of these today, I would be concerned about how long it will retain current support. Apple has been really inconsistent in this regard, so I don't think anything past the next OS is a real guarantee.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Think about it a bit, most of Apples laptops are a better deal than the Mini.

In my limited testing many of the laptops offer better performance too. The mini is still invested into laptop parts so the cost to performance ratio is poor relative to desktop equivalents. The mini server brings you up to $1000 starting without keyboard or mouse (and back to integrated graphics). At that point the 21.5" imac at $1200 would be a better purchase overall. You lose the virtual core function of the i7 design but you're moving up to desktop processors and away from integrated graphics that share system memory.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

And no external storage boxes, especially over Thunderbolt, are not a solution.

You know I don't disagree with you here, but I'll end up with external storage regardless of how many bays they put in it. I simply said before that for my purposes if it at least had multiple thunderbolt ports of a later generation/higher bandwidth, I'd probably grudgingly go that route rather than continue to wait and see.
post #183 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Yeah... that's the only reason I've considered an imac at any point. All in ones have a ton of issues. They really aren't built for heavy heavy use to the degree of a tower with superior airflow. The display quality is just ok. I'm guessing if I had to, I could get used to it but it's sort of a higher end consumer grade display. It's not really meant for those concerned with color and detail. Regarding the mac pro people who buy them often use them for a very long time. It's not so easy to do this when the hardware sits so long. The logic board is the same one used in 2009. The processor in the baseline model is a slight bump from that because intel discontinued the other and replaced the w3520 with the w3530. If I bought one of these today, I would be concerned about how long it will retain current support. Apple has been really inconsistent in this regard, so I don't think anything past the next OS is a real guarantee.

Sadly I agree. For my needs an iMac wouldn't be to bad if one could easily deal with the storage limitations. If you go the Thunderbolt route though you end up pouring out a pretty good chunk of change for that solution. If I had a choice I'd go with a PCI Express card supporting 10G Ethernet or Fiber Channel, but of course Apple does not have an economical solution for that.
Quote:

In my limited testing many of the laptops offer better performance too. The mini is still invested into laptop parts so the cost to performance ratio is poor relative to desktop equivalents. The mini server brings you up to $1000 starting without keyboard or mouse (and back to integrated graphics). At that point the 21.5" imac at $1200 would be a better purchase overall. You lose the virtual core function of the i7 design but you're moving up to desktop processors and away from integrated graphics that share system memory.

The problem with the Mini is that it is purposely limited. Even with Laptop chips they could go for more performance, instead they cheap out and provide midrange laptop performance. The cynic in me says they do that to entice people to buy laptops.

I'm not knocking the Mini as much as saying it is less than optimal for somebodies primary computer.
Quote:

You know I don't disagree with you here, but I'll end up with external storage regardless of how many bays they put in it. I simply said before that for my purposes if it at least had multiple thunderbolt ports of a later generation/higher bandwidth, I'd probably grudgingly go that route rather than continue to wait and see.

Well some do have that problem. Fortunately I do not, at least not at the moment need that much external storage. These day though adding 4TB of storage to a desktop should be easy.
post #184 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Sadly I agree. For my needs an iMac wouldn't be to bad if one could easily deal with the storage limitations. If you go the Thunderbolt route though you end up pouring out a pretty good chunk of change for that solution. If I had a choice I'd go with a PCI Express card supporting 10G Ethernet or Fiber Channel, but of course Apple does not have an economical solution for that.

Is 10G or fiber channel really that cost effective in any form? Feel free to correct me here but I've never personally seen cheap cards for those standards. I imagine by next year we'll start to see more cost effective thunderbolt solutions and possibly the ability to retrofit backplanes to existing esata solutions on the dumb box end. Intel was very very very slow in releasing an SDK or any other materials to aid development of thunderbolt accessories, and PCs aren't really seeing those ports until next year. Give it a little time and it may become very usable. It's just that I'd like to see a minimum of two ports on a given machine. Daisy chaining is a really bad option for high bandwidth items like drive enclosures populated by SSDs and displays because either could consume a very large portion of its bandwidth in either direction. Displayport 1.2 actually supports 17.28 Gb/s of video bandwidth with thunderbolt supporting 10 in each direction. My point being that we really need more than a single port on any given machine if they are to be used for both external displays and storage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The problem with the Mini is that it is purposely limited. Even with Laptop chips they could go for more performance, instead they cheap out and provide midrange laptop performance. The cynic in me says they do that to entice people to buy laptops.

I'm not knocking the Mini as much as saying it is less than optimal for somebodies primary computer.

I agree with you there, and they do really go pretty tight on it especially with the lack of a keyboard and mouse. Should you desire the Apple versions, that's around $100 extra for the two items assuming you don't go wireless. I sometimes feel like they reverse engineer these things to hit a certain price point while retaining margins.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well some do have that problem. Fortunately I do not, at least not at the moment need that much external storage. These day though adding 4TB of storage to a desktop should be easy.

It is. 4TB is nothing though I've had single jobs generate 20GB worth of data. It also requires one or more backups.
post #185 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Is 10G or fiber channel really that cost effective in any form? Feel free to correct me here but I've never personally seen cheap cards for those standards.

Cheap - no but they are well accepted standards. That means a storage server using the standards would be viable for some time. Interestingly I just saw a bit on a new PCI Express 3.0 card that implements several of these protocols in one card.
Quote:
I imagine by next year we'll start to see more cost effective thunderbolt solutions and possibly the ability to retrofit backplanes to existing esata solutions on the dumb box end. Intel was very very very slow in releasing an SDK or any other materials to aid development of thunderbolt accessories, and PCs aren't really seeing those ports until next year.

Slow! Turtles move faster than Intel here.

By the way unless Intel releases the standard publicly I not to sure how well it will go over in the long run. The using community has been burnt to many times in the past by proprietary standards, so unless Intel and Apple open this up I can't see mass acceptance.
Quote:
Give it a little time and it may become very usable. It's just that I'd like to see a minimum of two ports on a given machine. Daisy chaining is a really bad option for high bandwidth items like drive enclosures populated by SSDs and displays because either could consume a very large portion of its bandwidth in either direction. Displayport 1.2 actually supports 17.28 Gb/s of video bandwidth with thunderbolt supporting 10 in each direction. My point being that we really need more than a single port on any given machine if they are to be used for both external displays and storage.

Very true about port congestion! People still don't grasp the concept that this is a serial link. One good point though is that we have lines going in each direction. In the end though without additional ports I can see many a professional user getting a little perturbed with port.
Quote:
I agree with you there, and they do really go pretty tight on it especially with the lack of a keyboard and mouse. Should you desire the Apple versions, that's around $100 extra for the two items assuming you don't go wireless. I sometimes feel like they reverse engineer these things to hit a certain price point while retaining margins.

I don't think it is price point as much as it is resisting the temptation to exceed the performance levels of their laptops at anyone time. It is very much a conscious effort on their part. Let's face it, the Mini is a desktop machine there is no battery nor cooling limitation to speak of. Further the unit including the discreet GPU is just pathetic considering the extra cost and marginal GPU implementation.
Quote:

It is. 4TB is nothing though I've had single jobs generate 20GB worth of data. It also requires one or more backups.

Yeah the more that I think about it the more that I would agree. After all today that is just four low profile laptop drives. For me though it would be nice to have that in a base machine. This brings up another Mini issue, what is with the puny disk offerings? I can understand the entry level models but what about the options, it isn't like 1TB disks are unheard of in California or even 750GB models.

Oh about backups those should very much be on an external system. Internally though I want room for all my data and code. That isn't asking a lot and frankly easy these days for me to cover with laptop drives. That is if I had an XMac with a few drive bays.
post #186 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Cheap - no but they are well accepted standards. That means a storage server using the standards would be viable for some time. Interestingly I just saw a bit on a new PCI Express 3.0 card that implements several of these protocols in one card.

Slow! Turtles move faster than Intel here.

By the way unless Intel releases the standard publicly I not to sure how well it will go over in the long run. The using community has been burnt to many times in the past by proprietary standards, so unless Intel and Apple open this up I can't see mass acceptance.

I thought they were going to do so at some point. That could have been a misinterpretation or wishful thinking on my part. Anyway yeah they're way too slow about it. They need people to feel like they're really behind it and provide a good environment for third party development. Just placing it on chipsets doesn't replace the need for a quality SDK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Very true about port congestion! People still don't grasp the concept that this is a serial link. One good point though is that we have lines going in each direction. In the end though without additional ports I can see many a professional user getting a little perturbed with port.

Yep....and they were very misleading about this. Apple and intel have pressed the idea that you can just hook up whatever you want to via a single thunderbolt port, and this really isn't the case.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I don't think it is price point as much as it is resisting the temptation to exceed the performance levels of their laptops at anyone time. It is very much a conscious effort on their part. Let's face it, the Mini is a desktop machine there is no battery nor cooling limitation to speak of. Further the unit including the discreet GPU is just pathetic considering the extra cost and marginal GPU implementation.

You might be right. I thought the minis got quite hot though? Perhaps this has changed more than I realized. I just don't consider the quad/mini server option a truly viable alternative to other things in the surrounding price points as anything other than a light duty server. Quad core machines have basically become the norm at this point so the dual core version isn't a true consideration for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Yeah the more that I think about it the more that I would agree. After all today that is just four low profile laptop drives. For me though it would be nice to have that in a base machine. This brings up another Mini issue, what is with the puny disk offerings? I can understand the entry level models but what about the options, it isn't like 1TB disks are unheard of in California or even 750GB models.

Oh about backups those should very much be on an external system. Internally though I want room for all my data and code. That isn't asking a lot and frankly easy these days for me to cover with laptop drives. That is if I had an XMac with a few drive bays.

If SSDs continue to drop in price per GB, I could see a compact machine with 2-4 2.5" bays to cut heat in a somewhat confined enclosure. They've offered this option on the mac pro, but it is still an extremely expensive route. It may take a few years but we'll see a further drop in the popularity of 2.5" HDDs. I agree regarding backups. I also believe it's important to maintain actual offline backups of critical data. eSATA type enclosures aren't that bad a solution. You just have to be very careful what you buy. You want one with powerful cooling, which often means having to blow out dust every few months. If you're on a budget you want to completely avoid raid solutions. Cheap raids suck, and many people don't understand how they work at all. I've spent a fair amount of time explaining to others why they have to back up their raid solutions and that parity striping will not save them in the event of data corruption, controller failure, or a power surge of any kind (including the power supply on the unit failing).
post #187 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I thought they were going to do so at some point. That could have been a misinterpretation or wishful thinking on my part. Anyway yeah they're way too slow about it. They need people to feel like they're really behind it and provide a good environment for third party development. Just placing it on chipsets doesn't replace the need for a quality SDK.

They need to do something here to make TB a public standard. Right now it is too obscure to be considered a major player. As far as Intel goes you almost get the impression that the release was too early.

The problem with widespread implementation has already caused the USB people to consider developing an alternative. To this end I don't see TB being acceptable to the industry as a whole until you can get independent chipsets to implement the interface. More importantly the port needs to be implemented on micro controllers if reasonable prices are to be had. Further embedded people won't be willing to buy Intel hardware.
Quote:
Yep....and they were very misleading about this. Apple and intel have pressed the idea that you can just hook up whatever you want to via a single thunderbolt port, and this really isn't the case.

Sadly they will learn. However many users will do fine with the TB port as it's performance will depend upon the work load.
Quote:

You might be right. I thought the minis got quite hot though? Perhaps this has changed more than I realized.

I don't have a new one to test, however the last case redesign was a major one. It appears that one goal was much better cooling. That being said if cooling was an issue I don't think we would be seeing racks of these used as servers.

Now a server might not be as heavily loaded as you might in your usage. Given the right work load you can heat up just about any computer.
Quote:
I just don't consider the quad/mini server option a truly viable alternative to other things in the surrounding price points as anything other than a light duty server. Quad core machines have basically become the norm at this point so the dual core version isn't a true consideration for me.

I can understand the disappointment about the dual cores but that just goes to support my point, Apple castrated the machines to make their laptops look good. It is positively storage that they put a quad core in one model and then called it a server.
Quote:

If SSDs continue to drop in price per GB, I could see a compact machine with 2-4 2.5" bays to cut heat in a somewhat confined enclosure. They've offered this option on the mac pro, but it is still an extremely expensive route.

Apple needs to make use of one of the emerging PCI - Express standards for solid state storage cards. The goal should be to use commodity parts that leverage the fast interface of PCI-E. The use of cards should lead to smaller hardware and easier cooling.
Quote:
It may take a few years but we'll see a further drop in the popularity of 2.5" HDDs. I agree regarding backups. I also believe it's important to maintain actual offline backups of critical data. eSATA type enclosures aren't that bad a solution. You just have to be very careful what you buy. You want one with powerful cooling, which often means having to blow out dust every few months.

A good and cheap solution. If nothing else data should be backed up here.
Quote:
If you're on a budget you want to completely avoid raid solutions. Cheap raids suck, and many people don't understand how they work at all.

In the past I implemented RAIDs on some of my Linux machines. Software based Linux RAIDs can be a good low cost option but you are right you need to understand them. In my case implementing them was easy. Luck was on my side as I never had to rebuild a volume. In any event I didn't do the RAIDs back then for data security.

For a long while there I outgrew my hardware before failure.
Quote:
I've spent a fair amount of time explaining to others why they have to back up their raid solutions and that parity striping will not save them in the event of data corruption, controller failure, or a power surge of any kind (including the power supply on the unit failing).

Yep even data center RAIDs with all of their fancy protections go down. Sometimes for a very long time. Even a minor failure takes forever to rebuild.

Even backups of RAIDs can get corrupted though so back ups of critical data really requires multiple approaches that don't depend upon other systems. Sometimes a CD, disk or tape in a safe deposit box makes a lot of sense. However even that is a pain with a reasonably large RAID.

Back ups are very important but I'm not sure if people get it. In some of the forums I visit new college students will ask about what computer they should buy. For the most part that is easy, buy a Mac unless your program has specific requirements. I always stress the need to consider a backup program so that they don't suffer due to some sort of failure. What interests me is how many listen to the advice.
post #188 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

They need to do something here to make TB a public standard. Right now it is too obscure to be considered a major player. As far as Intel goes you almost get the impression that the release was too early.

The problem with widespread implementation has already caused the USB people to consider developing an alternative. To this end I don't see TB being acceptable to the industry as a whole until you can get independent chipsets to implement the interface. More importantly the port needs to be implemented on micro controllers if reasonable prices are to be had. Further embedded people won't be willing to buy Intel hardware.

If they did in fact make it easier/cheaper to implement, it could work out well. It remains significantly cheaper than some of the other high data bandwidth solutions. It's just that right now I think a single port which is also tied to display output is an issue. Display resolution will continue to increase significantly. Medical grade panels have achieved some pretty insane numbers in the past few years. Laptop resolution has shot way up. Right now the desktop panels are a bit stuck, but this will change. Look at how many people like the crisp look of the retina display and the number of magazines migrating to digital content delivery.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



I can understand the disappointment about the dual cores but that just goes to support my point, Apple castrated the machines to make their laptops look good. It is positively storage that they put a quad core in one model and then called it a server.

They put a quad core processor and weaker graphics in it which was also the only i7 variant in the line. It makes sense as a low power server really. The i7 variants have hyper threading enabled which would help such a machine process more simultaneous requests. If they built out/up a bit from the mini design, they could have a decent desktop machine. Marvin referenced something similar but I didn't like the example he picked (I felt the example of a machine that uses a very low wattage power source might not work out well if too many things are plugged into the machine).


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Apple needs to make use of one of the emerging PCI - Express standards for solid state storage cards. The goal should be to use commodity parts that leverage the fast interface of PCI-E. The use of cards should lead to smaller hardware and easier cooling.

That's a great idea. PCI-E is still a solid interface. I don't think everyone realizes that it doesn't have to be implemented entirely at the back of the computer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Back ups are very important but I'm not sure if people get it. In some of the forums I visit new college students will ask about what computer they should buy. For the most part that is easy, buy a Mac unless your program has specific requirements. I always stress the need to consider a backup program so that they don't suffer due to some sort of failure. What interests me is how many listen to the advice.

I agree with you here. Some things require me to boot into Windows and emulation doesn't deliver the required performance. When in Windows I tend to stay off the internet, and turn off anything that annoys me. This includes a bunch of cursor animations (if you use a graphics tablet the ripple effect every time you click on something is just way too annoying if you work as fast as I do) and Aero. Run like this it runs fine.
post #189 of 332
@Wizard69:

I don't feel like quoting your lengthy posts and go over every single point, but to recap:

You say Apple is missing out on a huge opportunity by not offering the xMac.

Fact: all computer sales are down and declining. Only Apple's sales grow. You seem to think that their sales grow in spite of their "incomplete" or restricted line-up. I reckon it is more logical to assume that their sales improve precisely because they don't offer the same muck that everybody else has been churning out forever.

And PC's aren't an investment anymore, not for the middle-class anyway. They have become a commodity. People have them repaired about as frequent as they have their shoes resoled.

If you want to know what is going to happen to the desktop, you only need to look at how 20-year olds use them. If it is not for gaming or some other specific activity, they don't have one and they don't want one. They have a laptop or netbook but they spent most of their time on their smartphones.
post #190 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

@Wizard69:

Bleh no love




Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

Fact: all computer sales are down and declining. Only Apple's sales grow. You seem to think that their sales grow in spite of their "incomplete" or restricted line-up. I reckon it is more logical to assume that their sales improve precisely because they don't offer the same muck that everybody else has been churning out forever.

The desktop form factor is still better for a lot of professionals. The guys that own machines like a mac pro, also own macbook pros and typically iphones. Having a solid option for users that need power and bandwidth does benefit Apple. Right now they haven't been paying much attention to the mac pro. I'd like to see them build a followup that they can be enthusiastic about today, because there will still be a market for it. They need something for those that work with multiple 1900x1200 professional grade displays (displays that cost more than an imac) and a multitude of hard drives. Apple has been all about ecosystems and this would fit in as an integral part if they just decide how to proceed. Otherwise it will get to the point where they try to kill off the mac pro and end up with another pr fiasco. Remember how they brought back firewire on one of their laptops some time ago and the recent FCP X thing? Having stuff like this helps those who need it maintain an all Apple setup.

Sadly I've been having to use bootcamp lately. I customized the living hell out of windows so that it wouldn't irritate me, and I still hate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

If you want to know what is going to happen to the desktop, you only need to look at how 20-year olds use them. If it is not for gaming or some other specific activity, they don't have one and they don't want one. They have a laptop or netbook but they spent most of their time on their smartphones.

You're thinking too old. You should look at how teenagers use their phones and computers. Apple has always been very good at being a cool brand given the early associations with its popularity amongst graphic designers, photographers, and other creative professions, speaking of which many of those guys still own mac pros just because it allows for a stable computer with a large amount of ram. If they moved away from this design and built upward from the mac mini instead, I would totally buy it. If we could get one that used desktop processors because the high end laptop variant would be too expensive, at an average gpu, better ram capacity, and 2-3 second generation TB ports, we might have an extremely popular machine for all of these guys that want xmacs. You could keep it small enough to hold its appeal to the mini crowd but give it enough power to act like a true desktop. I'm not talking only about cpu, but about the machine as a whole.
post #191 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Bleh no love



Sorry if you felt left out, man. I use a MacPro but only for audio. I am amazed at how the iPhone has usurped so many of what was previously desktop duties.

For work nothing but a MacPro will do (or a similarly spec'd Windows workstation) and that's only because there is no xMac. If there was one, I would be dead in the middle of its target market. A 2600-i7 with a few hdd bays and pci slots would be sufficient for me, but alas.

Yet I understand Apple's strategy and I think they have proven to be right about this. Too bad for me, now I have to pay $1000 more for a MacPro or go with Windows. But for most people, an iMac suffices, even as the hub of their digital life. Outside of work, my iMac does all I need it to do. Shucks, a MacMini would probably suffice (albeit with an external superdrive).

I think I'm right about the kids, though. I see it all around me, especially girls. They use a netbook/laptop and a smartphone. And they don't like clunky boxes. For them the desktop is utterly irrelevant. There will always be a market for workstations/desktops but I do believe SJ is right in that the vast majority no longer needs them.

Now, in the absence of the xMac, I say that dropping the price of an entry-level MacPro to $1999 would constitute an acceptable compromise.
post #192 of 332
Hi guys,

Good discussion, but to return to the main question, are any of you willing to venture some advice?

I'm currently running a Mac Pro 1,1 (2006) that is rapidly nearing the end of life, and I will need to replace it withing the next few months.

If I had to buy one today, my choice would be the 6-core Westmere with the Radeon 5870- I work in photography and graphic design, so more cores would be unused.

To be frank, after looking at Bare Feats, the high-end iMac appears to rival the Pro in performance, and I'd be tempted, but I'm not going to abandon my investment in displays.

So the question I have is: assuming that a new Mac Pro will be introduced within the next six months or so, how much of an improvement would it be over the current models?

These rumors about the next chips from Intel, integrated graphics, and so on are interesting, but how much of a difference will they mean for someone like me? In other words, if we're talking about cutting times in half, I can definitely wait- but if it's going to be a marginal improvement, I wonder if it might be better to get a 6-core and upgrade the graphics card in a couple of years?
post #193 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post


I think I'm right about the kids, though. I see it all around me, especially girls. They use a netbook/laptop and a smartphone. And they don't like clunky boxes. For them the desktop is utterly irrelevant. There will always be a market for workstations/desktops but I do believe SJ is right in that the vast majority no longer needs them.

Now, in the absence of the xMac, I say that dropping the price of an entry-level MacPro to $1999 would constitute an acceptable compromise.

I think you're right there too. The mac pro used to start at $1999 with mid level hardware choices rather than the cheapest in the xeon line. I've gone over that before though. If they did something cool with it, sales potential still exists, just not in the volume of the macbook air and iphones. I almost think a lot of it has to do with brand image, like they don't want the brand to feel too corporate/commercial (note "feel"). They want it to maintain a coolness factor, and really no other brand has ever pulled that off with computers. If I had a nice, reasonably cost effective solution for an up to date workstation that runs OSX (and not a hackintosh) I would take it. Consider that mac pros are used in video capture and still photography quite a lot for their ability to shuffle through and process data. They're even taken on location. If Apple made them a bit lighter without killing the ability for easy expansion entirely, they might see a nice boost in sales from the professional market. As I've said it could even be accomplished by building upward from the mini rather than reverse engineering the mac pro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

These rumors about the next chips from Intel, integrated graphics, and so on are interesting, but how much of a difference will they mean for someone like me? In other words, if we're talking about cutting times in half, I can definitely wait- but if it's going to be a marginal improvement, I wonder if it might be better to get a 6-core and upgrade the graphics card in a couple of years?

While a lot of things are becoming more gpu dependent, much of what I am guessing you rely on is still very cpu dependent (photoshop, illustrator, maybe InDesign and Capture One, Acrobat, etc), and no I don't think the 6 core is a good investment at this point. If it keeps going the way it's going, I may just buy the next imac and plug my eizo cg243w (my point was I'm invested into expensive displays too) into one of the thunderbolt ports. There's nothing stopping you from using a professional grade display there. It should support at least one extra just fine. Regarding graphics, there's no telling what the backward compatibility on future cards from Apple will be. The gpu in the imac is just ok. It's kind of a high end mobile card. The 5870 which is still a $200 upgrade came out on the PC side just over 2 years ago. IT is no longer new and shiny. Really you wouldn't be taking a big loss on graphics going with the imac, and a couple years from now it would be a PCI-E 3.0 card that may or may not work with that 6 core machine.

Something to note here.... the 6 core is a $1200 upgrade to go from a $300 processor to a $600 processor. Really I'd suggest waiting for the next major bump and jumping on whatever gets the best boost at that time. Really i'm trying to tell you I think that build is a waste of $4000.

Now if you post either in the thread or via pm what kind of problems your current computer is having, I will see if I can offer any help. There are ways to diagnose spinning wheel issues and stuff like that. Even kernel panics can sometimes be something as minor as a stick of bad ram (and replacing one in that model was cheap last time I looked).
post #194 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

While a lot of things are becoming more gpu dependent, much of what I am guessing you rely on is still very cpu dependent (photoshop, illustrator, maybe InDesign and Capture One, Acrobat, etc), and no I don't think the 6 core is a good investment at this point.

You are correct- it's all photography and print design stuff- no longer considered 'high-end', but still requiring a bit more than consumer-level machines offer. I agree with your evaluation of the 6-core, but remember, I'm running dual 2.66 Ghz Xeons: while the 6-core seems awfully steep to me, it is also a very big upgrade. I'm just trying to figure out whether I should hang on for a few more months for something even better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

If it keeps going the way it's going, I may just buy the next imac and plug my eizo cg243w (my point was I'm invested into expensive displays too) into one of the thunderbolt ports. There's nothing stopping you from using a professional grade display there. It should support at least one extra just fine.

Yes, the iMac seems to be the more prudent choice, but I get ill when I consider that either my Eizo or my NEC would have to gather dust- having the option to install an extra card might end up being a deal-breaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Now if you post either in the thread or via pm what kind of problems your current computer is having, I will see if I can offer any help. There are ways to diagnose spinning wheel issues and stuff like that. Even kernel panics can sometimes be something as minor as a stick of bad ram (and replacing one in that model was cheap last time I looked).

Thanks for the offer, but nothing that serious is happening. It's just getting old, and things are wearing out, so I'm trying to figure out which would be better: buying replacement parts (which are becoming scarce), getting a new machine, or hanging on until whatever's next comes out.
post #195 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

You are correct- it's all photography and print design stuff- no longer considered 'high-end', but still requiring a bit more than consumer-level machines offer. I agree with your evaluation of the 6-core, but remember, I'm running dual 2.66 Ghz Xeons: while the 6-core seems awfully steep to me, it is also a very big upgrade. I'm just trying to figure out whether I should hang on for a few more months for something even better.


Yes, the iMac seems to be the more prudent choice, but I get ill when I consider that either my Eizo or my NEC would have to gather dust- having the option to install an extra card might end up being a deal-breaker.


Thanks for the offer, but nothing that serious is happening. It's just getting old, and things are wearing out, so I'm trying to figure out which would be better: buying replacement parts (which are becoming scarce), getting a new machine, or hanging on until whatever's next comes out.

Ahh what NEC are you using? The older ones shifted shifted pretty fast and their calibration software had so many bugs. That and colorcomp was mostly useless compared to Eizo's method of uniformity correction. That's why I switched. I'm not sure what your needs are like but I only end up needing a display of that quality as my primary display so having an imac screen as the secondary wouldn't bother me as much.

Really the mac pro has the same chipset it received in 2009 and it's hardly economical for a machine that will look extremely dated the second an updated model is available. You've held onto the same one for 5 years, so it tells me that you don't change computers very often. It makes it hard for me to suggest spending $4000+ before tax on a configured machine that already looks dated in many aspects (graphics card, logic board, no usb3, no thunderbolt, processor released over a year and a half ago) While I don't feel the mac pros take priority for Apple, there are new processors appropriate to such a machine being debuted in November. It doesn't mean we'll see anything right away, but an updated baseline model may exceed the performance of that 6 core machine at a lower price point. The machine is plenty fast. I just don't think it's a great investment right now if this is going to be the machine you use for the next 5 years or so.


I'm not sure what is wearing out specifically. If it's an issue of a dated hard drive, keep in mind that you could opt to update such a part and pass it on to the new machine later (the only exception being a 3.5" drive in an imac, I almost forgot Apple switched to a proprietary one there). Apple's upgrade prices on such items are often not very competitive.

Last thing just wondering what do you use for storage currently? Internal? eSATA? SAS?
post #196 of 332
As such don't risk your business on anything in this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

Hi guys,

Good discussion, but to return to the main question, are any of you willing to venture some advice?

I'm currently running a Mac Pro 1,1 (2006) that is rapidly nearing the end of life, and I will need to replace it withing the next few months.

Try to hold out for the next round of bumps or new machines. It is best to buy Apple hardware relatively close to the release date.
Quote:
If I had to buy one today, my choice would be the 6-core Westmere with the Radeon 5870- I work in photography and graphic design, so more cores would be unused.

I realize every bodies work habits are different but don't assume that more cores won't be useful in the future. At this point I consider four cores to be the minimal for just about anybody, professional users should consider more depending upon their needs.
Quote:

To be frank, after looking at Bare Feats, the high-end iMac appears to rival the Pro in performance, and I'd be tempted, but I'm not going to abandon my investment in displays.

You don't automatically loose that investment. You will be taking a bit of a step backward in GPU performance potential which "could" be a problem.
Quote:
So the question I have is: assuming that a new Mac Pro will be introduced within the next six months or so, how much of an improvement would it be over the current models?

That is a really good question and is pretty much what this discussion is about. Well in a sense. The real killer here is the length of time Intel has taken to deliver Xeons based upon Sandy Bridge. Given that they do a proper job the performance increase could be significant. Why? Well if you remove the GPU you then have a different thermal configuration, this could allow Intel to bump base frequency significantly over the iMac. Supposedly suitable chips have been announced, (I'm not following Intel lately) in any event something to consider.
Quote:
These rumors about the next chips from Intel, integrated graphics, and so on are interesting, but how much of a difference will they mean for someone like me? In other words, if we're talking about cutting times in half, I can definitely wait- but if it's going to be a marginal improvement, I wonder if it might be better to get a 6-core and upgrade the graphics card in a couple of years?

Well that is the question. I suspect a significant improvement over the current machine. Not that I've been wrong here before.
post #197 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Ahh what NEC are you using? The older ones shifted shifted pretty fast and their calibration software had so many bugs. That and colorcomp was mostly useless compared to Eizo's method of uniformity correction. That's why I switched. I'm not sure what your needs are like but I only end up needing a display of that quality as my primary display so having an imac screen as the secondary wouldn't bother me as much.

I've been using the NEC PA30 as my layout display (or, I did until my Radeon XT1900 died) and the Eizo (same as yours) for detail work. Neither have given me a spot of trouble, I'd swear by both of them. Unfortunately, he Eizo has to make do with the old GForce 7300 that came standard on that model. As you can imagine, the gpu would be the first priority regardless of what I bought.

I've heard that the 5770 can be used in this machine with some workaround- and it's only $250 or so- that might be another option to tide me over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

While I don't feel the mac pros take priority for Apple, there are new processors appropriate to such a machine being debuted in November. It doesn't mean we'll see anything right away, but an updated baseline model may exceed the performance of that 6 core machine at a lower price point.

Yes, this is what I'm trying to determine- I'd be disappointed if they simply added more cores, since that seemed to be the direction for a while, and wouldn't help me much at all. I haven't heard much about the new processors, other than they're due in November, and really I just want to know what sort of boost they will give over the current model. If it's substantial, and will show up in the next three or four months, I can make do until then; if it's not, I'll need to try something else (like the iMac), and budget for something else in a year or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The machine is plenty fast. I just don't think it's a great investment right now if this is going to be the machine you use for the next 5 years or so.

That's what's holding me back- besides the possibilities of new processors, I'd like to see how other technologies like Thunderbolt pan out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Last thing just wondering what do you use for storage currently? Internal? eSATA? SAS?

I've recently replaced most of my HDs with an eye towards a new machine. Internally, I have a 250 Gb WD for my system, and 1Tb raid-0 stripe (two 500 GB Hitachis) for data (all SATA). Those are backed up by external firewire drives. Whenever I do get a new machine, I plan on swapping the system to an SSD.
post #198 of 332
Thanks for the reply, Wizard69.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I realize every bodies work habits are different but don't assume that more cores won't be useful in the future. At this point I consider four cores to be the minimal for just about anybody, professional users should consider more depending upon their needs.

My personal benchmark is Photoshop, which according to what I've read, actually performs better on 6-8 cores than on 12. Apparently it is Adobe's problem to fix- and I haven't heard anything to indicate that it will be happening. So, if there's a big difference in price, I'll settle for the midrange.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The real killer here is the length of time Intel has taken to deliver Xeons based upon Sandy Bridge. Given that they do a proper job the performance increase could be significant. Supposedly suitable chips have been announced, (I'm not following Intel lately) in any event something to consider.

Exactly: when is the big question, immediately followed by how suitable? Personally, I want to believe the talk that it will be sooner rather than later, but know better than to put any stock in that.
post #199 of 332
Edit: This is what I found googling the new processors.

Xeon E5-1620\t4\t8\t3.6 GHz\t10 MB\t130 Watt\t$294
Xeon E5-1650\t6\t12\t3.2 GHz\t12 MB\t130 Watt\t$583
Xeon E5-1660\t6\t12\t3.3 GHz\t15 MB\t130 Watt\t$1080

It means the base model has 4 physical cores and 8 virtual. You're looking at a significantly higher clock speed and a newer architecture, so it should be a nice boost to performance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

I've been using the NEC PA30 as my layout display (or, I did until my Radeon XT1900 died) and the Eizo (same as yours) for detail work. Neither have given me a spot of trouble, I'd swear by both of them. Unfortunately, he Eizo has to make do with the old GForce 7300 that came standard on that model. As you can imagine, the gpu would be the first priority regardless of what I bought.

That sucks that your card died . Yeah you know I've heard that NEC improved considerably with the PA series. I might give them another try one day, but I like my Eizo. My older NEC is set up next to it for non critical tasks and as a secondary display. I don't map the tablet to it though. Freehand drawing requires something close to a 1:1 mapping ratio and I do a lot of detail work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

I've heard that the 5770 can be used in this machine with some workaround- and it's only $250 or so- that might be another option to tide me over.

That's not a terrible option. It's still a bit expensive for an older computer, but it's not terrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

Yes, this is what I'm trying to determine- I'd be disappointed if they simply added more cores, since that seemed to be the direction for a while, and wouldn't help me much at all. I haven't heard much about the new processors, other than they're due in November, and really I just want to know what sort of boost they will give over the current model. If it's substantial, and will show up in the next three or four months, I can make do until then; if it's not, I'll need to try something else (like the iMac), and budget for something else in a year or two.


That's what's holding me back- besides the possibilities of new processors, I'd like to see how other technologies like Thunderbolt pan out.

How thunderbolt will be implemented here is undetermined. It's possible they won't all be routed through integrated graphics. This seems like more of a workaround for mobile devices with constrained space, and Intel has announced plans for thunderbolt on the PC side as well and they have confirmed that the way we see it on the current Apple machines isn't the only possible style of implementation. Thunderbolt is known to support PCIe protocols but I don't know the exact details of it will be included, only that they've stated it will be included in chipsets coming in 2012. Apple may wait for this and usb3 to be available at the chipset level before releasing an updated mac pro.

Regarding processors they do seem to have retained a quad core configuration. I'd have to find the SKU's but you must remember the current 6 core machine uses an older architecture. It's still on Westmere (die shrink of Nehalem) rather than the Sandy Bridge generation. Overall there are a lot of newer IO standards right on the horizon so it is somewhat of an awkward time to buy. PCIe 3.0 is not yet implemented, and we're waiting on thunderbolt (on the mac pros) and usb3. The potential for a huge step up from the current lineup is there. It's just a matter of what Apple does in the end.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

I've recently replaced most of my HDs with an eye towards a new machine. Internally, I have a 250 Gb WD for my system, and 1Tb raid-0 stripe (two 500 GB Hitachis) for data (all SATA). Those are backed up by external firewire drives. Whenever I do get a new machine, I plan on swapping the system to an SSD.

If hard drive speed and SSDs are a concern of yours, the mac pro does not seem to have 6Gb/s SATA implemented yet. This feeds into what I was saying before. An updated machine "could" make the older ones feel very dated very fast just because of where we're at in terms of newer IO standards. USB2 has been the norm for quite a few years. SATA2 has lasted for a few years. PCIe 2.0 has been in mac pros since 2008? There are a lot of things they could implement, and this machine is still largely comprised of a 2009 layout internally. That's why I'm saying it's kind of a bad time to buy if you're on a lengthy repurchasing cycle.
post #200 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

If hard drive speed and SSDs are a concern of yours, the mac pro does not seem to have 6Gb/s SATA implemented yet. This feeds into what I was saying before. An updated machine "could" make the older ones feel very dated very fast just because of where we're at in terms of newer IO standards. USB2 has been the norm for quite a few years. SATA2 has lasted for a few years. PCIe 2.0 has been in mac pros since 2008? There are a lot of things they could implement, and this machine is still largely comprised of a 2009 layout internally. That's why I'm saying it's kind of a bad time to buy if you're on a lengthy repurchasing cycle.

I was waiting for the new MacPro but it didn't come and I had to pull the trigger. That's why I got a pre-owned '09 quad. Basically the same and with the firmware tweak you can drop in a hex and 1333 memory. Saved myself $1000 that way. I actually consider it to be my own personal xMac!

I thought about getting a new one but I felt like I was gonna pay $1000 more for a 140 Mhz cpu speedbump, a nicer gpu (that I don't need) and 360GB of extra hdd space. Combined with the prospect of a replacement coming this year, it just felt like a raw deal.

Now I'm happy with my '09 and will hold out for IvyBridge. If Apple hasn't EOL'd the MacPro by then.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › New Mac Pro