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New Mac Pro - Page 7

post #241 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Maybe that was due to a issue with the power budget, I really don't know, but it takes the machine out of the running for many of us. And NO Ivy Bridge won't fix that.

Ivy Bridge can fix it quite easily. If they drop the power usage of the quad down to say 30W, they can get a Radeon GPU in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

For one no matter how fast the dual core chip is it is a step backwards from a quad core.

They are all hyper-threaded now so dual-cores perform very well in multi-core tasks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

So what we have in the Mini is a machine where it becomes obsolete to fast

All machines become obsolete too fast. If you bought a quad-core Mac Pro in 2009, it's already being outperformed by the quad-core Mini. That's 2 years for the Pro to drop to what you'd call 'entry-level'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

So when looking at a desktop machine what is important to me.

Everything it seems. You want lots of internal storage, fast processors, fast GPU, more RAM slots, PCI expansion slots - you basically want a cheaper Mac Pro and if they put one on sale, you'd still want an extra power supply.

You can't get it all and still have it affordable because it has to sell in volume and the things that matter to you don't matter to the vast majority of people. The 27" iMac is a better value proposition because you get a 27" IPS screen included worth $1000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm

I wouldn't expect the next dual core to equate to the current quad in performance. I think that's a bit optimistic.

Performance doubles every 2 years so about 50% every year. Right now, the quad is 30-50% faster than the dual-core so Ivy Bridge dual-cores will match the Sandy Bridge quad i7 and the Radeon 7000 series should double in performance over the current models.

Basically, I expect the Ivy Bridge version of the middle Mac Mini to match the current $2500 Mac Pro in CPU and GPU. With USB 3 and the Thunderbolt port, that should be enough for expansion. I think it's the way to go and while I expect the desire for a mid-range tower to continue on ad nauseam, one day it will stop. If it takes 5 years or even 10 years, one day in the near future, a machine will arrive on the low-end that will put an end to it.
post #242 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Ivy Bridge can fix it quite easily. If they drop the power usage of the quad down to say 30W, they can get a Radeon GPU in there.



They are all hyper-threaded now so dual-cores perform very well in multi-core tasks.



All machines become obsolete too fast. If you bought a quad-core Mac Pro in 2009, it's already being outperformed by the quad-core Mini. That's 2 years for the Pro to drop to what you'd call 'entry-level'.

If you look at any of the generic parts used in the 2009 model (say everything but the case and logic board design) none of it was high end hardware even if it was priced that way. It used the xeon version of the i7 920 which was one of their volume processors. The basic graphics card option went for around $100 on the pc side if I recall correctly. There wasn't anything special about it really. There's just nothing that is terribly amazing about the engineering or hardware of the machine.

Regarding the mini. If it got usb3 (already on PCs in that price range), a second thunderbolt port, and decent graphics (intel graphics have always sucked, remember how Apple used to prefer nvidia chipsets before intel sued them?), we could have an ok machine. I'd like to see them use desktop cpus like the imac. As mentioned the price to performance ratio is better. Basically if it had just enough to function as a desktop, I'd use it as one. Considering the lack of internal storage bays, a second thunderbolt port is kind of a big deal. This allows non throttled use of SSDs and/or storage without throttling display bandwidth. If you look at what I care about personally, it's a system without severe bottlenecks. I tend to prefer the ability for PCI expansion, and I think it would help widen the appeal, but if it had more than a single thunderbolt port it would be less of an issue for me personally.

Right now Apple's retreat is kind of awkward. The mac pro has kind of an uncertain future, and they haven't shown it much love, but some of the video editors and stuff don't really have the option of even looking at a mini if they need huge disk IO bandwidth or realtime playback. You can actually get pci expansion even on cheap PCs for this kind of thing, but then you wouldn't be able to run OSX. Some accessories of this sort have started to debut in thunderbolt versions which somewhat solves this issue (they're still extremely expensive but they could come down in time). The problem is if you're limited to one for display and data, you can saturate it too easily. 120Hz displays are becoming more common as are SSDs. With changes like that and newer panel generations coming in at higher resolutions, thunderbolt will become incredibly tight on bandwidth.

You must understand it's frustrating at times. The lower end is missing features. You get to the imac and performance picks up a little, gpu is still kind of weak and it's not exactly cheap, then go up a bit more in price and go down in performance as it's older and cheaper hardware at its core (aside from the gpu if you order the upgrade). It's not a very balanced line in general. Most of us just choose a compromise and suck it up until we need a new computer again. As for the imac screen, it's not a very good one. It's ok but not great. I wouldn't ever buy the cinema display and it has nothing to do with the price. As of right now Apple doesn't make a single computer that's truly engineered for performance under $3500 before ram, storage upgrades, etc. The rest are engineered to be compact or portable and look pretty. This year they haven't had anything where I wanted to accept the compromise. Hopefully they will next year.


Edit: by the way, the mini has never been one of their top sellers. I think if they did turn it into a slightly more complete/robust system it might go somewhere. Right now it lacks the portability of a laptop and the performance of a desktop. It also lacks an easily added display as the cinema display is too costly for such a machine. Overall it's just in an awkward spot.
post #243 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Ivy Bridge can fix it quite easily. If they drop the power usage of the quad down to say 30W, they can get a Radeon GPU in there.

Really it can't if Apples intentions are to purposefully limit the Mini's capability relative to the rest of the line up. Again it isn't a question of the value of a low end machine, Apple needs one, it is the problem of the step up being so limited. Limited to the extent that it won't have a long functional life.
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They are all hyper-threaded now so dual-cores perform very well in multi-core tasks.

Sometimes yes most of the time no.
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All machines become obsolete too fast. If you bought a quad-core Mac Pro in 2009, it's already being outperformed by the quad-core Mini. That's 2 years for the Pro to drop to what you'd call 'entry-level'.

The hardware can become outdated too fast but in Apples case they make sure of that with the Mini. In any event I think you are still missing the point, it is possible these days to buy hardware that will remain viable for much longer than would have been the case in the past. It requires that the hardware have a few features to help keep it viable for a few years.
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Everything it seems. You want lots of internal storage, fast processors, fast GPU, more RAM slots, PCI expansion slots - you basically want a cheaper Mac Pro and if they put one on sale, you'd still want an extra power supply.

Again I'm apparently not communicating well. That list represented an aggregate of features an XMac would need to have and no it is not a Mac Pro. In reality this is a mid range machine and is commonly represented by any number of PC systems as desktop PCs. One would have to have their head awfully deep in the sand not to recognize that simply implementing desktop parts gives you most of this for free. Apples job is simply to build a box.

As to the extra power supply, that has a lot to do with Apple trying to market the current hardware as servers. Not everybody needs such a capability, but if a box is to be marketed as a server it really ought to support the feature.
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You can't get it all and still have it affordable because it has to sell in volume and the things that matter to you don't matter to the vast majority of people.

That is BS. Especially in this economic climate, people are far more careful with their spending. You imply that it would be expensive but that flies in the face of what motherboards and the various chips on board cost. Seriously if Apple can't produce a desktop machine in the $1000 to $1500 range then they need to hire some new engineers. In that price range they should be able to deliver a decent box that will sell well. That box would include a processor in the 45-65 watt range, a GPU, RAM and some bays/slots for storage. This sort of machine could easily be a quarter of the size of the Mac Pro.
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The 27" iMac is a better value proposition because you get a 27" IPS screen included worth $1000.

The iMac isn't even in the running here and in fact is a terrible value.
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Performance doubles every 2 years so about 50% every year. Right now, the quad is 30-50% faster than the dual-core so Ivy Bridge dual-cores will match the Sandy Bridge quad i7 and the Radeon 7000 series should double in performance over the current models.

It would be nice if any of the above was true, but sadly it isn't. For a single app the value of a quad processor is software dependent, it is very possible for an app to use all of those cores. But a single app seldom defines computer usage these days, those cores can be effectively used when multiple apos are running.

You seem to be extremely optimistic with respect to Ivy Bridge and its performance. I really don't think it is justified. More cores is a fundamental advantage.
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Basically, I expect the Ivy Bridge version of the middle Mac Mini to match the current $2500 Mac Pro in CPU and GPU.

Well that is very optimistic. However we already know that the Ivy Bridge GPU only gets about a 30% increase in performance, to bump the discreet GPU you really need to bump the Video RAM also. In the end, even with Ivy Bridges thermals, you still are trying to stuff more into the box than is practical.

In any event an Ivy Bridge Mini, with just two to four cores won't come close to the performance of a Mac Pro. This should be obvious as the Pro has far more cores available to it.
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With USB 3 and the Thunderbolt port, that should be enough for expansion.

USB 3 and Thunderbolt combined will be a significant I/O improvement for the Mini. However that means nothing in the context of desktop machines. TB is totally unsuitable for one of the most common uses for slots in industry, that is the addition of additional communications ports. Here Ethernet is the most common port added to a machine though there are many others. Of course there are a host of other cards that need something better than TB.

Beyond that Apple currently only implements a single TB port, due to the limited bandwidth that is a serious problem.
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I think it's the way to go and while I expect the desire for a mid-range tower to continue on ad nauseam, one day it will stop.

Not likely. In fact I see demand growing. Plus you use the term mid-range tower which frankly I don't remember anybody here asking for. They could put the XMac in a pizza box for all I care though I believe there are far better form factors.
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If it takes 5 years or even 10 years, one day in the near future, a machine will arrive on the low-end that will put an end to it.

Well in ten years just about anything could happen including a nuclear war that would destroy all of our "I" devices, Macs and what have you. The problem today is solving real issues that users have. The quest for an XMac doesn't go away because Apple does have this gaping hole in their line up. It does little good to try to promote the Mini as a fill in for that hole as it will always be limited in capability.

I suspect the problem here is that when you hear about XMac or other stated desires, you immediately start thinking of a PC tower. A tower that size wise isn't much different than a Mac Pro. I really don't think that is the goal most of us have. Rather we want modern technology applied to the problem to build a platform that takes us into the future. That means dropping legacy devices and breaching new ground. You might of noticed that I often talk about secondary storage in terms of bays/slots, that is because a modern form factor needs to acknowledge that solid state storage is nothing more than another printed circuit card. As such economics should drive such storage on to low cost plug in cards.

In a nut shell the desktop is ripe for the same sort of innovation that Apple is famous for elsewhere. Frankly Apple, in tandem with Intel, is the only manufacture capable of driving such innovation right now. HP is screwed up, Dell is well Dell and there are few others that could even try.
post #244 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I say that because they need to get TB into the platform. However it could simply be a transitional machine.

This is all true but you know the so called Pros will make a big stink.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Sounds about right but this could happen earlier, again mainly to support the TB initiative.

Maybe there is something that I missed, but Ivy Bridge should make sense for most any platform. The new gate process and reduced power consumption alone should be worthwhile. I don't recall the specifics about the on board L3 cache specs of Ivy Bridge, but the trend is to increase L3 cache because it has such a worthwhile effect upon performance. With all these cores, even the faster bus speeds to the RAM are limiting, although dual channel RAM and lots of RAM appears to be working well.

There are some PCIe based SSD systems which, because of price, are presently limited to the server market for the most part, but they illustrate the need for faster systems to feed data to all those cores.

For example, the 15 inch MacBook Pro top-of-the-line model uses the 2.3 GHz CPU rather than the 2.2 GHz CPU. That is not much of a difference in clock speed for a $250 premium, but it has 8 MB L3 cache instead of 6 MB L3 cache of the 2.2 GHz unit. L3 cache can make a difference in overall performance in applications such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro or any of the various video applications.

The Mac Pro community has not been getting much love from Apple for some time and the only "server" is the Mac Mini and while useful for a lot of things, it isn't quite the same as a really big server. When the existing server units give out one has to wonder what institutional users are going to do. It might be that Sun/Oracle will be knocking on their door.
post #245 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

If you look at any of the generic parts used in the 2009 model (say everything but the case and logic board design) none of it was high end hardware even if it was priced that way. It used the xeon version of the i7 920 which was one of their volume processors. The basic graphics card option went for around $100 on the pc side if I recall correctly. There wasn't anything special about it really. There's just nothing that is terribly amazing about the engineering or hardware of the machine.

I suspect the problem with the Mac Pro is that it was or is unprofitable for Apple. Thus they turned towards the cheaper end ofIntels hardware line up and raised prices. Unfortunately this is a common mistake in industry as it results in a downward spiral in sales. The Pro effectively becomes harder to justify, due to the cost issues. Interestingly I suspect this biases sales towards the high end configurations. After all the people buying Mac Pros are now more likely to need the power of the high end configurations anyways.
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Regarding the mini. If it got usb3 (already on PCs in that price range), a second thunderbolt port, and decent graphics (intel graphics have always sucked, remember how Apple used to prefer nvidia chipsets before intel sued them?), we could have an ok machine.

I don't really see it that way. The Mini is a very OK machine if your needs are within it's limits. Unfortunately those limits are pretty tight and inflexible. So if we acknowledge that there is a hole in Apples line up, is it smart to try to fill it with something that never was designed to fill that hole. Sort of like the proverbial round peg in the square hole, or does Apple make a peg to fit.
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I'd like to see them use desktop cpus like the imac. As mentioned the price to performance ratio is better. Basically if it had just enough to function as a desktop, I'd use it as one. Considering the lack of internal storage bays, a second thunderbolt port is kind of a big deal. This allows non throttled use of SSDs and/or storage without throttling display bandwidth. If you look at what I care about personally, it's a system without severe bottlenecks. I tend to prefer the ability for PCI expansion, and I think it would help widen the appeal, but if it had more than a single thunderbolt port it would be less of an issue for me personally.

I must confess to needing to read up on TB more but can data really impact video bandwidth? There is some confusion in the documents I've seen so far but I was under the impression that TB would dedicate one channel to video data. That may be a mistake on my part because other documents seem to imply multiplexing of data with video.

One day I need to sit down and develop a firmer grasp of TB. It is just very hard for me to get excited about the interface.
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Right now Apple's retreat is kind of awkward. The mac pro has kind of an uncertain future, and they haven't shown it much love, but some of the video editors and stuff don't really have the option of even looking at a mini if they need huge disk IO bandwidth or realtime playback. You can actually get pci expansion even on cheap PCs for this kind of thing, but then you wouldn't be able to run OSX.

I'm not sure where this idea that expansion has to imply expensive came from. At the same time people promote TB even though it will always be relatively expensive. I just don't get it.
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Some accessories of this sort have started to debut in thunderbolt versions which somewhat solves this issue (they're still extremely expensive but they could come down in time). The problem is if you're limited to one for display and data, you can saturate it too easily. 120Hz displays are becoming more common as are SSDs. With changes like that and newer panel generations coming in at higher resolutions, thunderbolt will become incredibly tight on bandwidth.

A serious issue! Having just one TB port on a Mini does not significantly alleviate it's built in limitations. In the end the Mini is still a low end solution. How they will address this on the Mac Pros replacement is an open question.

Note I said Mac Pros replacement. I really believe that the next Pro will be vastly different
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You must understand it's frustrating at times. The lower end is missing features. You get to the imac and performance picks up a little, gpu is still kind of weak and it's not exactly cheap, then go up a bit more in price and go down in performance as it's older and cheaper hardware at its core (aside from the gpu if you order the upgrade).

It isn't a universal drop in performance, it does require that software can use all of those cores though.
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It's not a very balanced line in general. Most of us just choose a compromise and suck it up until we need a new computer again. As for the imac screen, it's not a very good one. It's ok but not great. I wouldn't ever buy the cinema display and it has nothing to do with the price. As of right now Apple doesn't make a single computer that's truly engineered for performance under $3500 before ram, storage upgrades, etc. The rest are engineered to be compact or portable and look pretty. This year they haven't had anything where I wanted to accept the compromise. Hopefully they will next year.

Heck I'd be happy with midrange performance. It is a rather pathetic reality but one does get a better deal out of Apples laptops if performance is one significant measure.
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Edit: by the way, the mini has never been one of their top sellers. I think if they did turn it into a slightly more complete/robust system it might go somewhere.

I'm not sure the above is true. It often sneaks onto Apples top sellers list and is very popular with the Internet sellers. Given that Apple hardly promotes the machine as they seem to be obsessed with the notebook market.
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Right now it lacks the portability of a laptop and the performance of a desktop. It also lacks an easily added display as the cinema display is too costly for such a machine. Overall it's just in an awkward spot.

Again I don't believe the Mini is all that bad, intact it has many positives going for it. It just isn't the machine to invest in as a workstation. Off the top of my head good points with respect to the Mini:
  1. Low power as in watts. This makes the Mini very usable in a number of use cases where a more conventional machine would not work.
  2. As configured it is a very good home theater PC.
  3. Compact is good where space is limited.
  4. It is a very good to excellent network connected node.
  5. It isn't an iMac with a built in display.
  6. The current revision is somewhat more serviceable. In any event it is a hands down winner over the iMac.
  7. It is well constructed and with SSD one might in a stretch call it rugged. Maybe semi rugged is a better phrase.

The problem for me and I suspect you, is that it really comes up short as a workstation. Maybe others don't agree with our desires but I don't see them as irrational, nor expensive to implement.
post #246 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

<snip>
One more thing (I used that phrase long before I heard Steve say it) even the ipad and iphone have dual core processors these days. Quad is basically the norm for desktop computing. It's not exactly a high end feature. I'm trying to think of something more to add here to make the discussion interesting, but it seems we're just at odds on a lot of these points.

So did Columbo. "Oh, just one more thing" and then he sprung the trap.
post #247 of 332
My problem is that there seems to be excessive expectations with respect to performance. For example the GPU has gone through limited public benchmarking and is not all that great of an improvement. Something like 30% to 60% in a few specific cases. Actual CPU performance increases seem to be unclear on a clock by clock basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post

Maybe there is something that I missed, but Ivy Bridge should make sense for most any platform. The new gate process and reduced power consumption alone should be worthwhile. I don't recall the specifics about the on board L3 cache specs of Ivy Bridge, but the trend is to increase L3 cache because it has such a worthwhile effect upon performance. With all these cores, even the faster bus speeds to the RAM are limiting, although dual channel RAM and lots of RAM appears to be working well.

This is correct but there is one problem. If that Ivy Bridge installation uses the on board GPU then graphics puts a lot of pressure on the cache. AMD has tried to address this in some novel ways so I'm sure Intel has at least studied it.

Note to there is a positive aspect to the GPU using the cache, it greatly enhances communications between the CPU and the integrated GPU.
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There are some PCIe based SSD systems which, because of price, are presently limited to the server market for the most part, but they illustrate the need for faster systems to feed data to all those cores.

Yes, currently expensive but realize that everybody and their brother is working on doing low cost high performance PCI - Exprees storage solutions. OCZ in fact just bought PLX most likely for their PCI - Express experience. I suspect that SSD's on old hard drive form factors are a thing of the past. Once reliable and low cost silicon can be had SATA will due a rapid death. This is actually a good thing for Apples laptops as it means more logic can be dumped reducing thermals yet again.
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For example, the 15 inch MacBook Pro top-of-the-line model uses the 2.3 GHz CPU rather than the 2.2 GHz CPU. That is not much of a difference in clock speed for a $250 premium, but it has 8 MB L3 cache instead of 6 MB L3 cache of the 2.2 GHz unit. L3 cache can make a difference in overall performance in applications such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro or any of the various video applications.

There is no doubt what so ever that more cache can help significantly with many workloads. However at some point you need to up core clock rate or add cores to get speed boosts. What will be interesting with Ivy Bridge is just what the maximum clock rates will be for various power levels. I still suspect we will see a wide spread in performance values from AIR suitable chips to laptop chips to desktop chips. Thus the need for that mid-range desktop machine.
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The Mac Pro community has not been getting much love from Apple

I'd have to say the entire desktop line is getting ignored. If you compare it to the love the laptops get you would have to wonder how they get any desktop sales at all.
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for some time and the only "server" is the Mac Mini and while useful for a lot of things, it isn't quite the same as a really big server.

The server market is slow to change so getting traction in that market with a Mini is tough. In some regards I see these sorts of ultra small machines as the wave of the future in the data center. It probably won't be the Mini that makes the big dent there though. Most likely it will be an ARM based system that is maybe 1/6 the width of a rack based server.
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When the existing server units give out one has to wonder what institutional users are going to do. It might be that Sun/Oracle will be knocking on their door.

Possibly. This is another reason that I promote the XMac as a flexible platform. It wouldn't be all that difficult to design an XMac that could be ganged up to fit into a standard rack space but yet be fully suitable for the desktop. For many users the Mini won't be accepted as a server no matter how sensible it may be to some. With a couple of key refinements an XMac could. Apple really should address the issue and I believe a flexible platform is the best avenue. In many ways a server is often nothing more than a mid-range machine with a couple of enhancements.
post #248 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

My problem is that there seems to be excessive expectations with respect to performance. For example the GPU has gone through limited public benchmarking and is not all that great of an improvement. Something like 30% to 60% in a few specific cases. Actual CPU performance increases seem to be unclear on a clock by clock basis.


This is correct but there is one problem. If that Ivy Bridge installation uses the on board GPU then graphics puts a lot of pressure on the cache. AMD has tried to address this in some novel ways so I'm sure Intel has at least studied it.

Note to there is a positive aspect to the GPU using the cache, it greatly enhances communications between the CPU and the integrated GPU.

Yes, currently expensive but realize that everybody and their brother is working on doing low cost high performance PCI - Exprees storage solutions. OCZ in fact just bought PLX most likely for their PCI - Express experience. I suspect that SSD's on old hard drive form factors are a thing of the past. Once reliable and low cost silicon can be had SATA will due a rapid death. This is actually a good thing for Apples laptops as it means more logic can be dumped reducing thermals yet again.

There is no doubt what so ever that more cache can help significantly with many workloads. However at some point you need to up core clock rate or add cores to get speed boosts. What will be interesting with Ivy Bridge is just what the maximum clock rates will be for various power levels. I still suspect we will see a wide spread in performance values from AIR suitable chips to laptop chips to desktop chips. Thus the need for that mid-range desktop machine.

I'd have to say the entire desktop line is getting ignored. If you compare it to the love the laptops get you would have to wonder how they get any desktop sales at all.

The server market is slow to change so getting traction in that market with a Mini is tough. In some regards I see these sorts of ultra small machines as the wave of the future in the data center. It probably won't be the Mini that makes the big dent there though. Most likely it will be an ARM based system that is maybe 1/6 the width of a rack based server.


Possibly. This is another reason that I promote the XMac as a flexible platform. It wouldn't be all that difficult to design an XMac that could be ganged up to fit into a standard rack space but yet be fully suitable for the desktop. For many users the Mini won't be accepted as a server no matter how sensible it may be to some. With a couple of key refinements an XMac could. Apple really should address the issue and I believe a flexible platform is the best avenue. In many ways a server is often nothing more than a mid-range machine with a couple of enhancements.

The laptop market has been an increasingly larger segment of all PC sales, not just Apple's, and so I understand devoting a lot of resources to it...personally I wish all of the manufacturers would make matte/non-glare screens available on all models..., but there is still a substantial market for desktops. Apple abandoned the XServe because it represented such a small portion of their Mac sales (note that Mac sales are only something in the neighborhood of 25% of Apple revenue), but it got the proverbial foot in the door at major edu sites and at least some businesses (usually smaller ones).

The one thing Apple has resisted for far too many years in my view is some sort of association with SUN, now SUN/Oracle, to provide integrated solutions for business, education and so on. Larry Ellison even described SUN/Oracle as Apple for business recently. Its just too bad that Apple didn't buy them and make it the Mac Business Unit.

There were many good ideas in the XServe. Some of them were ridiculously simple, but practical, such as the flashing light on the unit with the drive problem so that the system admin knew which one in the bank of XServes to go to.

Graphics are very important in some scientific applications. I am aware of Mac Pros being used for medical research visualizing drug and cell interactions at the molecular level which takes some "grunt" to accomplish in a useful time frame. Those people are doing important work with some OS X apps and some UNIX apps. Sooner than later they will have to look for other solutions if Apple does not devote the resources to keep current with these things.

Cheers
post #249 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post

The laptop market has been an increasingly larger segment of all PC sales, not just Apple's, and so I understand devoting a lot of resources to it...personally I wish all of the manufacturers would make matte/non-glare screens available on all models..., but there is still a substantial market for desktops. Apple abandoned the XServe because it represented such a small portion of their Mac sales (note that Mac sales are only something in the neighborhood of 25% of Apple revenue), but it got the proverbial foot in the door at major edu sites and at least some businesses (usually smaller ones).

My problem is this, if Apple doesn't do something about Mac Pros soon they will go the way of the XServe. On top of that Apple has a lot of desktop sales they could steal from the PC industry. I realize the laptop market is strong but the desktop market is not dead and shouldn't be ignored.
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The one thing Apple has resisted for far too many years in my view is some sort of association with SUN, now SUN/Oracle, to provide integrated solutions for business, education and so on. Larry Ellison even described SUN/Oracle as Apple for business recently. Its just too bad that Apple didn't buy them and make it the Mac Business Unit.

Apple buying Sun? I think that would have been ugly.
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There were many good ideas in the XServe. Some of them were ridiculously simple, but practical, such as the flashing light on the unit with the drive problem so that the system admin knew which one in the bank of XServes to go to.

They where good servers but also very expensive for what you got. Apple screwed themselves just as they have with the Mac Pro. Most people don't mind paying a little extra for their Macs but bolt at highway robbery. In a data center this is even more important as no one cares about the manufacture it is all about cost.

In any event those server related features are cheap to implement and could easily be added to a desktop Mac.
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Graphics are very important in some scientific applications. I am aware of Mac Pros being used for medical research visualizing drug and cell interactions at the molecular level which takes some "grunt" to accomplish in a useful time frame. Those people are doing important work with some OS X apps and some UNIX apps. Sooner than later they will have to look for other solutions if Apple does not devote the resources to keep current with these things.

Cheers

Well those people buying such hardware are generally better in formed than the mainstream. The thing is if you max out a Mac Pro it really isn't that bad of a machine. After all how many desktops are built to implement multi core dual socket Xeon's? The hardware to upgrade the Pro will come soon. So I don't see it as being neglected in the context of the high end customer. However Apple does have to make that upgrade compelling.
post #250 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post


The Mac Pro community has not been getting much love from Apple for some time and the only "server" is the Mac Mini and while useful for a lot of things, it isn't quite the same as a really big server. When the existing server units give out one has to wonder what institutional users are going to do. It might be that Sun/Oracle will be knocking on their door.

Yeah and since it's Apple they don't truly acknowledge their direction for the line due to their culture of secrecy. Even when new processors come out, it's not a guarantee of updates anytime soon. Recall how long it took just to get the weak westmere refresh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I suspect the problem with the Mac Pro is that it was or is unprofitable for Apple. Thus they turned towards the cheaper end ofIntels hardware line up and raised prices. Unfortunately this is a common mistake in industry as it results in a downward spiral in sales. The Pro effectively becomes harder to justify, due to the cost issues. Interestingly I suspect this biases sales towards the high end configurations. After all the people buying Mac Pros are now more likely to need the power of the high end configurations anyways.

The higher end configurations are still priced high relative to similar configurations PC side and not necessarily much better (really Apple's engineering time seems to go into other lines). It's just that at that point the difference generally isn't completely excessive. At that level the machine will be expensive no matter where you buy it. My issue was that the configurations are terribly awkward. In 2009 when they went to four slots for ram in the single socket machine, 4GB dimms were still quite costly. This meant unless you were willing to spend significantly more these machines were limited to 8GB of ram, which is okay for many people but not everyone. That's just one example, but in 2010 the configurations became even more awkward. They don't balance clock speed to core count very well in several cases. For the cost of the starting eight core the processor choice could have been a better one in both 2009 and 2010, as they resulted in an overall slower machine when you weren't stressing all available cores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post

So did Columbo. "Oh, just one more thing" and then he sprung the trap.

Columbo quote = automatically awesome
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Yes, currently expensive but realize that everybody and their brother is working on doing low cost high performance PCI - Exprees storage solutions. OCZ in fact just bought PLX most likely for their PCI - Express experience. I suspect that SSD's on old hard drive form factors are a thing of the past. Once reliable and low cost silicon can be had SATA will due a rapid death. This is actually a good thing for Apples laptops as it means more logic can be dumped reducing thermals yet again.

Your posts are fun to read. You were the first that even brought up PCIe SSD storage. I'm wondering what the preferred form will be for storage enclosures and external drives. You mentioned the cost. Wouldn't those allow for a simpler manufacturing process? I realize card prices are all over the place depending on type and other factors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Possibly. This is another reason that I promote the XMac as a flexible platform. It wouldn't be all that difficult to design an XMac that could be ganged up to fit into a standard rack space but yet be fully suitable for the desktop. For many users the Mini won't be accepted as a server no matter how sensible it may be to some. With a couple of key refinements an XMac could. Apple really should address the issue and I believe a flexible platform is the best avenue. In many ways a server is often nothing more than a mid-range machine with a couple of enhancements.

There was that rumor about Apple developing a rackmountable mac pro, but the only available "photo" just looked like something photoshopped. Remember back in June or so? If they're trying to get in the server market it could make sense. I've been saying for a while that they need to do something with it to prevent its following the Xserve's fate. If they can come up with a good strategy for a new machine, they obviously have the funds to develop it. I'd really like them to develop a successor to that line that's actually functional in the sense that it remains up to date and is priced in a way that isn't completely insane (I've made points on this before). No one wants a 2009 design in late 2011 for the same price. It shouldn't surprise Apple either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post


The one thing Apple has resisted for far too many years in my view is some sort of association with SUN, now SUN/Oracle, to provide integrated solutions for business, education and so on. Larry Ellison even described SUN/Oracle as Apple for business recently. Its just too bad that Apple didn't buy them and make it the Mac Business Unit.
Cheers

Hahahaha ahhhh that would have been so bad. They don't have an exceptional reputation in managing independent product lines after acquisition when it comes to things designed for commercial usage. Look at what they did to Shake after they purchased that. I've noticed everyone has a different idea of what Apple should buy with their massive cash pile, but many of the suggestions don't seem synergetic with Apple the way they are today.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

My problem is this, if Apple doesn't do something about Mac Pros soon they will go the way of the XServe. On top of that Apple has a lot of desktop sales they could steal from the PC industry. I realize the laptop market is strong but the desktop market is not dead and shouldn't be ignored.



Well those people buying such hardware are generally better in formed than the mainstream. The thing is if you max out a Mac Pro it really isn't that bad of a machine. After all how many desktops are built to implement multi core dual socket Xeon's? The hardware to upgrade the Pro will come soon. So I don't see it as being neglected in the context of the high end customer. However Apple does have to make that upgrade compelling.

There are a few workstation manufacturers like that. I agree with you on the parallel to the Xserve. I've been saying that for some time. Letting it sit really doesn't inspire confidence. You've probably noticed but a lot of people still own either the original mac pro or the 2008 configuration. There's not a lot of compelling reason to update from the 2008 model unless your needs demand one of the top machines which is kind of weird three years later. The 2006 one also aged decently for how old it is. Sure it's slower than the new ones by a wide margin, but I would suggest that it probably held out better than these newer ones will over the next five years.
post #251 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I'd like to see them use desktop cpus like the imac. As mentioned the price to performance ratio is better. Basically if it had just enough to function as a desktop

The Mini functions just fine as a desktop. The quad i7 performs close to a current quad Mac Pro. If the Mini can't function as a desktop then logically neither can the entry Mac Pro nor anything in between. Desktop parts do give better price/performance but not all that much to cross the line from usable to unusable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

a second thunderbolt port is kind of a big deal. This allows non throttled use of SSDs and/or storage without throttling display bandwidth

Thunderbolt uses two channels at 10Gbps each, one for PCI data (storage etc), the other for display and the bandwidth isn't shared. Intel specifically demoed a RAID system connected with a high-resolution display on the end of the chain to highlight this.

You can run a Pegasus RAID drive and a display from the one Thunderbolt port and stick another display on the HDMI port.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

Really it can't if Apples intentions are to purposefully limit the Mini's capability relative to the rest of the line up.

There's nothing they can do to stop the Mini getting great performance from Ivy Bridge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

Apples job is simply to build a box.

Right but a box that has a desktop motherboard and PCI slots along with a PSU big enough to handle the load. It needs to have enough room for large internal storage too. This is pretty close to the volume of the Mac Pro. So what do they make the enclosure from? Not plastic so it will be another aluminium monster that is heavy and expensive.

How do they make this machine cheaper? The Xeon they use in the entry model is around $300, which is how much the i7 would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

This sort of machine could easily be a quarter of the size of the Mac Pro.

Not with PCI slots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

In any event an Ivy Bridge Mini, with just two to four cores won't come close to the performance of a Mac Pro. This should be obvious as the Pro has far more cores available to it.

The cheapest 6-core Mac Pro is $3700 and I don't see any 6-core i7s that can possibly go in a mid-range machine. They are 130W and nearly $600 and I don't remember them making a Sandy Bridge version. So we are stuck with quad-core for now and the quad-core Mini certainly does come close to the quad-core Mac Pro performance. The Ivy Bridge dual-cores will come close to the current-gen Mac Pro (though obviously the new Xeon in November will change this).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

Here Ethernet is the most common port added to a machine though there are many others.

No reason you can't get a USB 3 adaptor for this and way easier to install.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

you use the term mid-range tower which frankly I don't remember anybody here asking for. They could put the XMac in a pizza box

That would be like an iMac design but you can already see how cramped it is in there with no PCI slots and one HDD. If you want all the parts you mention, it has to be a mid-range tower. If you want a pizza box, you have to do without.
post #252 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Mini functions just fine as a desktop. The quad i7 performs close to a current quad Mac Pro. If the Mini can't function as a desktop then logically neither can the entry Mac Pro nor anything in between. Desktop parts do give better price/performance but not all that much to cross the line from usable to unusable.



I will try to think of a test for this. As I've stated my opinion on the mac pro was that it was a downgrade of the 2008 machine from the processor aspect. The 2010 one had a decent gpu option though. Now when you do run longer tasks on it, that mac pro really isn't very fast, and it's a horrendous value. The gpu if you take the cto is about the only nice thing in it. The hard drive bays aren't even well designed in terms of cooling unless they fixed that on the 2010 one. The 2009 it was still really uneven.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Thunderbolt uses two channels at 10Gbps each, one for PCI data (storage etc), the other for display and the bandwidth isn't shared. Intel specifically demoed a RAID system connected with a high-resolution display on the end of the chain to highlight this.

If you have the link I'd love to see it. I've looked this stuff up and they seemed to be on shared total bandwidth but using separate protocols. I couldn't find anything from intel indicating that they were separated in bandwidth. It seems pretty high considering the peak bandwidth of displayport 1.2 is roughly 18Gb/s total. I'd like to know what kind of specs they were getting for throughput + what the display resolution was, and if this setup supports ddc based calibration as many people who would purchase such a display need that. On mine it goes through a shielded usb cable but not many operate that way.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There's nothing they can do to stop the Mini getting great performance from Ivy Bridge.

I don't have a lot of trust in intel (or Apple these days for that matter), so I'm waiting to see here. It's not a matter of being dismissive, but rather I think they're hyping it. I also remember how long Apple retained the Core2s in one of their laptops to avoid intel chipsets. I don't think that'll happen again, but it would be easy for them to go the mac pro route on this. Raise the price again (they've adjusted mini price points before) and downgrade their relative choices of processor grades for the machine. Mac pro used to start with mid range dual socket versions. Now they have the cheapest budget model. This is Apple. They've done this kind of thing before because they figure that people will grumble and buy it anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Right but a box that has a desktop motherboard and PCI slots along with a PSU big enough to handle the load. It needs to have enough room for large internal storage too. This is pretty close to the volume of the Mac Pro. So what do they make the enclosure from? Not plastic so it will be another aluminium monster that is heavy and expensive.

How do they make this machine cheaper? The Xeon they use in the entry model is around $300, which is how much the i7 would be.

I'd like to comment on this. The mac pro is one of the larger towers of its type. This design was originally to accommodate the G5 processors with their massive heatsinks and the accompanying logic board design. In 2011 it looks like a dinosaur. Regarding aluminum it's not that expensive of a material. They aren't using a terribly high grade here so it doesn't contribute as much to the cost as you anticipate. In fact much of the cost of aluminum is often from processing it. The macbook airs and pros use a cnc process which should in theory be more labor intensive than the mac pro case. Beyond that they've provided machines using this form factor at $1500 and $2000 during the G5 era into the first generation of the mac pro. Right now the top macbook pro processor available to the 15" in a macbook pro is $568 retail. That machine is still cheaper than a mac pro with the inclusion of the thunderbolt chip. The 27" imac has the cost of a 27" ips panel (not the most expensive one of all but none of the 27" ones are dirt cheap) and uses a processor around $300.

That mac pro you mentioned is artificially inflated. Doing anything to turn it into a better volume machine including a redesigned form factor and up to date setup would encourage volume and potentially a much better deal on the machine. Remember what Apple charged for the original macbook air? It was grossly overpriced relative to its capability, and ended up with dismal sales. Also what do you really gain from single socket Xeons anyway? Going with normal desktop i7s that are updated more frequently would be better for a single socket machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Not with PCI slots.

It's already been suggested that there are newer more compact methods of implementation for this stuff. It's just a matter of what Apple wants to use. Really a highly portable machine with 1-2 high bandwidth slots could sell exceptionally well to photography and cinematography markets. These are industries that often lug mac pros along for location work (I'm serious, if anyone questions it I'll bring up links to companies, pictures of capture carts, etc). Some use laptops for lighter jobs but they suck. A lighter form factor here would be amazing for these kinds of guys. Rackmountable configurations could be good if there are any Xserves still in use. I realize it wouldn't be the most efficient 2U kind of setup, but it could add more market potential to such a machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The cheapest 6-core Mac Pro is $3700 and I don't see any 6-core i7s that can possibly go in a mid-range machine. They are 130W and nearly $600 and I don't remember them making a Sandy Bridge version. So we are stuck with quad-core for now and the quad-core Mini certainly does come close to the quad-core Mac Pro performance. The Ivy Bridge dual-cores will come close to the current-gen Mac Pro (though obviously the new Xeon in November will change this).

It's quite a difference from the mac mini with a 45W processor, but the quad core mini isn't the same thing. Like I said it's not even close to the imac processor which is around 90W. By your logic on Ivy Bridge if power consumption drops enough, something similar to what is in the imac today might start to look appropriate for the mini. I'm not so optimistic on it personally.

I think we need to get away from the idea that Apple built a performance machine in that 2010 baseline mac pro. For lighter computing it feels fast enough, but anything does these days if you've used computers for more than a decade. You have some really good choices at 65-95W and a couple okay ones at 45W. If Ivy Bridge surprises me and intel does actually come through, we may see see some great choices in smaller thermal envelopes. Regarding power, the mini still has slower hardware than what is available on the macbook pros and imacs. The imac is by no means a high end machine. The starting mac pro is also not a high end machine. Apple can't declare that they are simply by pricing them high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


That would be like an iMac design but you can already see how cramped it is in there with no PCI slots and one HDD. If you want all the parts you mention, it has to be a mid-range tower. If you want a pizza box, you have to do without.

Configurations like this have been fit into mini towers for years. Some of them really do suck, but not all are that way. In terms of heat Apple has quite a bit of experience trimming things down. Let's talk about thunderbolt for a minute here. It has a pretty limited ability to supply power. Currently it still lacks the throughput of solutions like SAS cards. I'd really like to see that change to the point of where it could start to edge out legacy ports. Even then PCI is still there. There are still some ways it could be implemented in the future. As mentioned SSD storage cards at some point in the future could provide a better means of internal storage. Presently a move like going for 2.5" bays could cut a minor amount of space.

If Apple is planning to completely ditch optical drives, that would cut further room needed. That's one I've always been a bit hesitant on because I still use it for a few things even though I abhor optical media. Downloads just aren't truly instantaneous and a lot of offices still have crappy methods for intra office file sharing of large documents. So anyway I'd like to see them either roll the low end of the mac pro line into a more cost effective line that can at least perform in line with the imac, or bring up the performance on the low end of the mac pro to a truly suitable level for its price point.
post #253 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

If you have the link I'd love to see it. I've looked this stuff up and they seemed to be on shared total bandwidth but using separate protocols. I couldn't find anything from intel indicating that they were separated in bandwidth.

The director of Thunderbolt engineering says 40Gbps per port (20 up, 20 down):

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817...id=mxopWpE3s3y

Demoes like this one show 13Gbps:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk69p...eature=related

but it's 6-7Gbps up and down - thing is, display data will only go downstream. A real-world test would have to be pushing multiple uncompressed streams out while also writing to a RAID drive. I haven't seen a stress-test yet so it may not live up to its theoretical maximums but you'd need an SSD RAID drive and about 8x 1080p streams running at once to check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I don't have a lot of trust in intel (or Apple these days for that matter), so I'm waiting to see here. It's not a matter of being dismissive, but rather I think they're hyping it.

They pretty much always demonstrate 100% speed increase every 2 years so this year shouldn't be any different. The only thing that may be exaggerated is how much power they save. I'm not expecting half but even 25% saving is significant enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

a highly portable machine with 1-2 high bandwidth slots could sell exceptionally well to photography and cinematography markets. These are industries that often lug mac pros along for location work

Previously, there hasn't been a mobile technology as fast as Thunderbolt and laptops didn't have 4-core, 8-thread CPUs. I suspect the more that people become aware of the setups available, the less you'll see the Mac Pros being hauled around. The tower doesn't need to change, people do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

By your logic on Ivy Bridge if power consumption drops enough, something similar to what is in the imac today might start to look appropriate for the mini. I'm not so optimistic on it personally.

They will still use the mobile versions of the chips but they will perform the same as the iMac chips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The imac is by no means a high end machine. The starting mac pro is also not a high end machine. Apple can't declare that they are simply by pricing them high.

There isn't a Sandy Bridge i7 desktop chip higher than what's in the iMac AFAIK and the 6970M GPU is very powerful. I'd personally call the iMacs high-end consumer-level machines.

No, they won't match the 6, 8 or 12-core Mac Pro but in terms of price, they can't really do much better.
post #254 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Mini functions just fine as a desktop.

For some users yes it functions as a desktop. For the majority of Apple users it doesn't. That should be pretty clear as this conversation wouldn't be happening otherwise. Further Mini sales would be exploding considering Apples recent market successes.
Quote:
The quad i7 performs close to a current quad Mac Pro. If the Mini can't function as a desktop then logically neither can the entry Mac Pro nor anything in between. Desktop parts do give better price/performance but not all that much to cross the line from usable to unusable.

Every single response here you keep falling back onto the processors speed as a key argument. First the quad doesn't even come close to Mac Pro performance, more importantly you are stuck with the built in GPU. All of this is running on a laptop like memory bus.

Taken as a whole though the Mini comes up short capability wise. A computer is made up of parts, or provisioned for parts beyond the CPU.
Quote:


Thunderbolt uses two channels at 10Gbps each, one for PCI data (storage etc), the other for display and the bandwidth isn't shared. Intel specifically demoed a RAID system connected with a high-resolution display on the end of the chain to highlight this.

You can run a Pegasus RAID drive and a display from the one Thunderbolt port and stick another display on the HDMI port.

That HDMI port does make the Mini very useful for certain applications. However the point about the TB port is still valid.
Quote:


There's nothing they can do to stop the Mini getting great performance from Ivy Bridge.

BS they have crippled the Mini with every other release they can do it again with the Ivy Bridge (IB) machine. In fact I pretty much expect that they will debut the IB Mini in such a way that the iMac is a far better machine performance wise. It would be shocking to find a Mini effectively running as fast as it's contemporary iMac, with the same number of cores.
Quote:


Right but a box that has a desktop motherboard and PCI slots along with a PSU big enough to handle the load. It needs to have enough room for large internal storage too. This is pretty close to the volume of the Mac Pro. So what do they make the enclosure from? Not plastic so it will be another aluminium monster that is heavy and expensive.

Have you even looked at a modern computer lately? There is no reason for a desktop mid range machine to be as large as an iMac these days. There is no need for the large bays, no need even for the 3.5" bays.

Remember we are going into 2012 all of the old requirements of the past decades are pretty much legacy items. Motherboards are comparatively small these days, there is no need for bays to support optical drives, solid state storage for the most part comes in laptop drive format or some sort of printed circuit card. There is no reason to suggest a massive box.
Quote:
How do they make this machine cheaper? The Xeon they use in the entry model is around $300, which is how much the i7 would be.

All I know or need to know is that similar hardware is available and at reasonable prices. No I don't expect Apple to hit those low prices, but it clearly indicates that my price range is viable. Apple can come close though by doing what they always do, that is distill the machine down to a minimum required to deliver the required functionality.
Quote:
Not with PCI slots.

What is it with PCI slots that is a problem. Engineers can put three of them into a 1U server box these days. it isn't a big deal.
Quote:


The cheapest 6-core Mac Pro is $3700 and I don't see any 6-core i7s that can possibly go in a mid-range machine. They are 130W and nearly $600 and I don't remember them making a Sandy Bridge version. So we are stuck with quad-core for now and the quad-core Mini certainly does come close to the quad-core Mac Pro performance. The Ivy Bridge dual-cores will come close to the current-gen Mac Pro (though obviously the new Xeon in November will change this).

I really don't know why you are so intent on selling dual core IB chips. It is a step backwards especially if your software is heavily threaded or you are in the habit of running lots of threads. You have convinced yourself that the performance is there but we have nothing to support that. Further history has shown that multiple cores are more important than single core performance.
Quote:
No reason you can't get a USB 3 adaptor for this and way easier to install.

I've stopped laughing now. The response above obviously indicates that you don't get it.
Quote:
That would be like an iMac design but you can already see how cramped it is in there with no PCI slots and one HDD. If you want all the parts you mention, it has to be a mid-range tower. If you want a pizza box, you have to do without.

You are so damn convinced that this machine can only go into a mid range tower that you can't see the other possibilities. They could build the machine into a round ball for all I care. The reason for that statement, about the pizza box, is to get people to think outside the box so to speak. XMac is not the type of machine that is heavily constrained by yesterday's technology. Think of it as a machine deserving the engineering time of an Apple laptop focusing on desktop needs.
post #255 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I will try to think of a test for this. As I've stated my opinion on the mac pro was that it was a downgrade of the 2008 machine from the processor aspect. The 2010 one had a decent gpu option though. Now when you do run longer tasks on it, that mac pro really isn't very fast, and it's a horrendous value. The gpu if you take the cto is about the only nice thing in it. The hard drive bays aren't even well designed in terms of cooling unless they fixed that on the 2010 one. The 2009 it was still really uneven.

These days a Mac Pro is really of value only when you can employ all of the possible cores or exploit it's bandwidth capabilities. Unfortunately for many users not all software can do that these days, thus an iMac can look really good if an all in one is viable.

Quote:

If you have the link I'd love to see it. I've looked this stuff up and they seemed to be on shared total bandwidth but using separate protocols. I couldn't find anything from intel indicating that they were separated in bandwidth. It seems pretty high considering the peak bandwidth of displayport 1.2 is roughly 18Gb/s total. I'd like to know what kind of specs they were getting for throughput + what the display resolution was, and if this setup supports ddc based calibration as many people who would purchase such a display need that. On mine it goes through a shielded usb cable but not many operate that way.

You get two channels supporting 10GB/S each way. What I'm not clear on is the transmission of the Display Port signal and data on the same channel. It does look like bandwidth is shared in some Intel graphics I've seen while others imply Display Port being switched onto a channel.

More reading is in order but it does look like multiplexing of data is going on to some extent.

Quote:

I don't have a lot of trust in intel (or Apple these days for that matter), so I'm waiting to see here. It's not a matter of being dismissive, but rather I think they're hyping it. I also remember how long Apple retained the Core2s in one of their laptops to avoid intel chipsets. I don't think that'll happen again, but it would be easy for them to go the mac pro route on this. Raise the price again (they've adjusted mini price points before) and downgrade their relative choices of processor grades for the machine. Mac pro used to start with mid range dual socket versions. Now they have the cheapest budget model. This is Apple. They've done this kind of thing before because they figure that people will grumble and buy it anyway.

I fully believe Ivy Bridge will be better. The problem I have is that Apple will cripple the processor in the Mini just like they have with every other Mini release. Well that and I have no confidence in dual core technology, if the Mini goes IB it really needs a quad core as a minimal implementation.
Quote:


I'd like to comment on this. The mac pro is one of the larger towers of its type. This design was originally to accommodate the G5 processors with their massive heatsinks and the accompanying logic board design. In 2011 it looks like a dinosaur. Regarding aluminum it's not that expensive of a material. They aren't using a terribly high grade here so it doesn't contribute as much to the cost as you anticipate. In fact much of the cost of aluminum is often from processing it. The macbook airs and pros use a cnc process which should in theory be more labor intensive than the mac pro case. Beyond that they've provided machines using this form factor at $1500 and $2000 during the G5 era into the first generation of the mac pro. Right now the top macbook pro processor available to the 15" in a macbook pro is $568 retail. That machine is still cheaper than a mac pro with the inclusion of the thunderbolt chip. The 27" imac has the cost of a 27" ips panel (not the most expensive one of all but none of the 27" ones are dirt cheap) and uses a processor around $300.

A Dinosaur it is!!!! It is way to big to implement a mid range computer in. It has it's place but it isn't a place many people go to these days.
Quote:
That mac pro you mentioned is artificially inflated. Doing anything to turn it into a better volume machine including a redesigned form factor and up to date setup would encourage volume and potentially a much better deal on the machine. Remember what Apple charged for the original macbook air? It was grossly overpriced relative to its capability, and ended up with dismal sales. Also what do you really gain from single socket Xeons anyway? Going with normal desktop i7s that are updated more frequently would be better for a single socket machine.



It's already been suggested that there are newer more compact methods of implementation for this stuff. It's just a matter of what Apple wants to use.

Whatever they use needs to be an industry accepted standard.
Quote:
Really a highly portable machine with 1-2 high bandwidth slots could sell exceptionally well to photography and cinematography markets. These are industries that often lug mac pros along for location work (I'm serious, if anyone questions it I'll bring up links to companies, pictures of capture carts, etc).

I'm glad I'm not in that business!

However we do use PCs on carts. Sometimes it is just easier to have everything on a cart that passes as a mobile workstation. It is a place for cables, connectors, cameras, I/O boxes and the like.
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Some use laptops for lighter jobs but they suck. A lighter form factor here would be amazing for these kinds of guys. Rackmountable configurations could be good if there are any Xserves still in use. I realize it wouldn't be the most efficient 2U kind of setup, but it could add more market potential to such a machine.

One day, if it ever takes off, TB supporting Macs may allow for that compact system. It is just that that day is a ways off from what I can see. In the end though I don't think your carts will go away. The computer might be smaller but the cart solves other issues. At work we often use the same sorts of carts to support laptops.
Quote:
It's quite a difference from the mac mini with a 45W processor, but the quad core mini isn't the same thing. Like I said it's not even close to the imac processor which is around 90W. By your logic on Ivy Bridge if power consumption drops enough, something similar to what is in the imac today might start to look appropriate for the mini. I'm not so optimistic on it personally.

I'm convinced that power levels will drop enough to significantly upgrade the Mini. It really isn't a point to be argued as that is what the industry has done for years. The problem is Apple as they seem to purposely under power the Mini to the point that it doesn't even keep up with their own laptops.

Even if intel comes up a bit short with IB and the rumored and not so rumored massive power reductions we will still see an improvement. The other problem Intel has is with the GPU, they may have to start allocating a lot more transistors to that half of the chip. This will likely be driven by ant success AMD has with Bulldozer based Fusion chips.
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I think we need to get away from the idea that Apple built a performance machine in that 2010 baseline mac pro. For lighter computing it feels fast enough, but anything does these days if you've used computers for more than a decade. You have some really good choices at 65-95W and a couple okay ones at 45W. If Ivy Bridge surprises me and intel does actually come through, we may see see some great choices in smaller thermal envelopes. Regarding power, the mini still has slower hardware than what is available on the macbook pros and imacs. The imac is by no means a high end machine. The starting mac pro is also not a high end machine. Apple can't declare that they are simply by pricing them high.

It is a performance machine just not in the way you or I want.
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Configurations like this have been fit into mini towers for years. Some of them really do suck, but not all are that way. In terms of heat Apple has quite a bit of experience trimming things down. Let's talk about thunderbolt for a minute here. It has a pretty limited ability to supply power. Currently it still lacks the throughput of solutions like SAS cards. I'd really like to see that change to the point of where it could start to edge out legacy ports. Even then PCI is still there. There are still some ways it could be implemented in the future. As mentioned SSD storage cards at some point in the future could provide a better means of internal storage. Presently a move like going for 2.5" bays could cut a minor amount of space.

It is all about cooling. More importantly a tighter enclosure can put any cooling capability it has to better use. Far less of your air flow gets used to move dead air. moving away from legacy devices and concepts further enhances cooling.

If cooling was a critical issue for Apple they could build upon the concepts used for Compact PCI and other card based systems. There is no reason to maintain old PC approaches to the age old issue of thermal design.
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If Apple is planning to completely ditch optical drives, that would cut further room needed. That's one I've always been a bit hesitant on because I still use it for a few things even though I abhor optical media. Downloads just aren't truly instantaneous and a lot of offices still have crappy methods for intra office file sharing of large documents. So anyway I'd like to see them either roll the low end of the mac pro line into a more cost effective line that can at least perform in line with the imac, or bring up the performance on the low end of the mac pro to a truly suitable level for its price point.

No matter what they make, an XMac or new Mac Pro they need to build for the future not the past. Building for the future permits innovation.
post #256 of 332
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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The director of Thunderbolt engineering says 40Gbps per port (20 up, 20 down):

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817...id=mxopWpE3s3y

Demoes like this one show 13Gbps:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk69p...eature=related

but it's 6-7Gbps up and down - thing is, display data will only go downstream. A real-world test would have to be pushing multiple uncompressed streams out while also writing to a RAID drive. I haven't seen a stress-test yet so it may not live up to its theoretical maximums but you'd need an SSD RAID drive and about 8x 1080p streams running at once to check.

I'd like you to first consider that the guy in that video has the most awesome job title ever created.

Everything I read previously suggested it was shared bandwidth. That would make it considerably more awesome. I do understand that the display is downstream only. We have a couple things that have been emerging over the past couple years. Display panels have been increasing slowly in resolution per inch and 10 bit out is starting to see software and gpu support. Regarding SSDs the newest ones are extremely fast. That's probably encouraged the emergence of them in the PCIe form factor as just a couple can quickly saturate a SATA channel. The SATA standard overall has been around for quite some time. I wouldn't be surprised to see it replaced by the next thing if prices fall on solid state technology. The SATA/HDD form factor was really never ideal for mobile technology although it's been fine in practice. The 8x 1080p streams comment is a case of where you are too trusting of manufacturers . 120Hz panels do consume more bandwidth. 10 bit out which will see increasing adoption rates is more of a bandwidth hog than 8. You can't really go solely on what they tell you there, but yeah it should be fine.


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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They pretty much always demonstrate 100% speed increase every 2 years so this year shouldn't be any different. The only thing that may be exaggerated is how much power they save. I'm not expecting half but even 25% saving is significant enough.

It hasn't always seemed this way, and at times the release cycles seem a bit weird. Westmere focused more on ultra high end chips and now we haven't seen a replacement in the Xeon line for well over a year (counting from the time of intel's release, not Apple's). Just going by benchmarks never helped me. There are just too many factors that require more in depth testing.

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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Previously, there hasn't been a mobile technology as fast as Thunderbolt and laptops didn't have 4-core, 8-thread CPUs. I suspect the more that people become aware of the setups available, the less you'll see the Mac Pros being hauled around. The tower doesn't need to change, people do.

It'll be interesting to see. There are some definite plateaus to this stuff when it comes to justifying upgrades. When tasks are able to run over a lunch break instead of overnight (say they would have taken 3 hours instead of 1) or overnight rather than over the weekend, or even when something decreases the amount of dedicated server hardware required, it can make a difference. For things involving responsiveness it's just a matter of whether you feel like you're having to stop and wait for the system, or required to taper down settings to avoid this.

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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They will still use the mobile versions of the chips but they will perform the same as the iMac chips.

They haven't so far. They come closer in some tests than others, such as on lighter tasks, but they're still behind both the imacs and laptops Regardless I'd figure out some kind of test to run on the best one available. I've read up on every test I can find. I've run some very basic testing on each in the Apple store. I expect that with more ram the difference would only increase.

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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There isn't a Sandy Bridge i7 desktop chip higher than what's in the iMac AFAIK and the 6970M GPU is very powerful. I'd personally call the iMacs high-end consumer-level machines.

No, they won't match the 6, 8 or 12-core Mac Pro but in terms of price, they can't really do much better.

The 12 core is a totally different beast from the others. For the price points Apple sets, the starting machine in that line should have used something like a w3670. Sure it's more expensive than what it is in it currently, but it would have maintained a clear demarcation in performance when you move up to a mac pro and it's well within reason for a machine of this price range. Right now it's like you take a moderate dip in performance then have to pay more just to get back to where you were, and nothing about the machine warrants it. Big heavy aluminum cases don't account for the vast majority of that price. nor do the internals.

The 6970M (even the 2GB version) is still significantly slower than the 5870 in all possible uses from gaming to rendering (After Effects, maya, etc). Anyway the 6970M is basically a compromise for the enclosure style of the imac, but it's better than what many of the older imacs received.

May I ask what suggested the current cpu power of the mini as being close to the i7 2600 (can't recall if they use the k version) in the cto imac? Everything I've found suggests outside of lighter computing that doesn't actually saturate the bus, the unit in the imac is pretty far ahead.
post #257 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The director of Thunderbolt engineering says 40Gbps per port (20 up, 20 down):

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817...id=mxopWpE3s3y

Demoes like this one show 13Gbps:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk69p...eature=related

but it's 6-7Gbps up and down - thing is, display data will only go downstream. A real-world test would have to be pushing multiple uncompressed streams out while also writing to a RAID drive. I haven't seen a stress-test yet so it may not live up to its theoretical maximums but you'd need an SSD RAID drive and about 8x 1080p streams running at once to check.

I really need to find the Intel documents because my understanding is that the data is multiplexed onto the channels. This would make sense due to the requirement that the monitor is the last item on the chain.
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They pretty much always demonstrate 100% speed increase every 2 years so this year shouldn't be any different. The only thing that may be exaggerated is how much power they save. I'm not expecting half but even 25% saving is significant enough.

Baloney. At best Intel has been indicating around 20 to 25% speed ups over the last couple of years. Speed ups not always realized in real life. I don't ever recall Intel saying their chips are 50% faster from one model year to the next. Not overall at least though some obscure functions might be. Some years you are lucky to get 10% speed increase in general performance.
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Previously, there hasn't been a mobile technology as fast as Thunderbolt and laptops didn't have 4-core, 8-thread CPUs. I suspect the more that people become aware of the setups available, the less you'll see the Mac Pros being hauled around. The tower doesn't need to change, people do.

TB is all well and good but right now the world is stuck with PCI cards. On top of that TB adoption in the PC world is spotty at best so many of those cards will stay PCI for a very long time. Beyond that if the laptop needs a disk array for storage you might as well haul around a Mac Pro.
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They will still use the mobile versions of the chips but they will perform the same as the iMac chips.

History does not support your position. I really don't see how you can keep saying things like this.
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There isn't a Sandy Bridge i7 desktop chip higher than what's in the iMac AFAIK and the 6970M GPU is very powerful. I'd personally call the iMacs high-end consumer-level machines.

No, they won't match the 6, 8 or 12-core Mac Pro but in terms of price, they can't really do much better.

I don't think anybody here dismisses the idea that the iMac is a good value. For many it is an excellent platform. A limited platform it is though as you again focus on CPU performance as the only metric by which to judge a machines value.
post #258 of 332
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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I really need to find the Intel documents because my understanding is that the data is multiplexed onto the channels. This would make sense due to the requirement that the monitor is the last item on the chain.

I looked for data on this. I couldn't find anything conclusive.


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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Baloney. At best Intel has been indicating around 20 to 25% speed ups over the last couple of years. Speed ups not always realized in real life. I don't ever recall Intel saying their chips are 50% faster from one model year to the next. Not overall at least though some obscure functions might be. Some years you are lucky to get 10% speed increase in general performance.

If you're comparing comparable chips from one year to the next, I haven't seen any truly amazing speed gains from one year to the next in a while. As mentioned the mac pro if you concentrate on roughly the same price point has been in stasis for a long time. I'm not going to compare what you got for $2800 (less from some of the online retailer) in 2008 to what the 2011 12 core monster at $5000. Aside from the gpu, performance at the sub 3k range hasn't budged in these machines since 2008. Slow sales shouldn't be a surprise at that point.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

TB is all well and good but right now the world is stuck with PCI cards. On top of that TB adoption in the PC world is spotty at best so many of those cards will stay PCI for a very long time. Beyond that if the laptop needs a disk array for storage you might as well haul around a Mac Pro.

I've seen some things being built into new form factors. As long as it's a well developed solution it could work. I'd still like to see the performance levels of a stress tested thunderbolt connection.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

History does not support your position. I really don't see how you can keep saying things like this.

Westmere was only a moderate gain over the original Nehalem in similar configurations. It was also a die shrink year. Lowered power consumption could allow for a beefier chip within the same thermal spec in the mini, but that doesn't seem to be suggested here. I've been quoting cpu specs because they're something easy to identify and can represent one of the significant cost factors in construction and a significant factor in performance assuming they aren't bottlenecked by something else.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I don't think anybody here dismisses the idea that the iMac is a good value. For many it is an excellent platform. A limited platform it is though as you again focus on CPU performance as the only metric by which to judge a machines value.

They have a good cpu, an ok gpu, four slots for ram, and now thunderbolt which should be more useful by next year (too little stuff made for it currently). I dislike having to buy the display as one unit. It can make sense but it's a very expensive forced purchase. I do think that for a lot of people it's still a better choice than the mac pro, and it works out pretty well for someone who would have otherwise purchased an external Apple display. I've never been a fan of Apple displays. They have a nice aesthetic but they've always lacked quality control. I'm still waiting to hear what is so great about glossy. If you hate the sparkle seen on some ips displays it's an LG thing. They use an obnoxiously strong anti reflective coating although it tends to help against color bias from weak reflections. On a consumer display a weaker AR coating can be applied which won't have the sparkle issue but also will not show reflections unless they're taking a lot of direct lighting from a lower angle.
post #259 of 332
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post #260 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

It would be shocking to find a Mini effectively running as fast as it's contemporary iMac, with the same number of cores.

I meant the next Ivy Bridge quad Mini would match the current high-end iMac, I worded that a bit ambiguously earlier.

Here are the Cinebench benchmarks for the Mini, iMac and Mac Pro:

http://www.barefeats.com/mini11_01.html
http://www.barefeats.com/imac11b.html
http://barefeats.com/wst10.html

They show 30-60% faster for the top iMac vs the top Mini, which Ivy Bridge will make up next year. The entry Mac Pro is only 5-20% faster. My point is that if people can use these machines as desktops, the Mini is perfectly capable of the same tasks.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No I don't expect Apple to hit those low prices, but it clearly indicates that my price range is viable.

Other manufacturers ship desktop towers in much larger volumes.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

What is it with PCI slots that is a problem. Engineers can put three of them into a 1U server box these days. it isn't a big deal.

You wouldn't put GPUs in a server box though and people would try to in a desktop and it won't handle the heat in a 1U space or the power usage.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I really don't know why you are so intent on selling dual core IB chips. It is a step backwards especially if your software is heavily threaded or you are in the habit of running lots of threads.

They work like 4-core chips. The dual-core 2.7GHz Mini performs around the same as the quad 2.5GHz iMac.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I've stopped laughing now. The response above obviously indicates that you don't get it.

I don't see why you want to have PCI slots in a machine for ethernet and other comms ports when you can plug a tiny adaptor inline and get the same functionality. You can have a USB modem for fax, TV tuner, audio capture device, ethernet using USB but you'd rather have 4 giant PCI slots making the whole machine 30% bigger. In that respect, your'e right, I don't get it. I don't get why you want something in a PCI form-factor instead of something the size of your thumb.

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Originally Posted by hmm

The 6970M (even the 2GB version) is still significantly slower than the 5870

The 5870 is under 50% faster. You both seem to consider something 50% faster to be significantly faster. I would say that 100% faster is significant. If you are playing a video game, 50% is the difference between running at 20FPS and 30FPS. All you have to do on the lower one is reduce anti-aliasing or resolution.

You also both keep mentioning the capabilities of the highest-end parts but we're talking about a mid-range machine. Yes, they can take the BTO quad i7 from the 2nd iMac and put it in a small enclosure along with 4 RAM slots and 2-4 HDD bays but they can't get a double-wide PCI slot in it supporting a 200W 5870 GPU too.

This stuff as you said will plateau like all computer hardware. Just look at games consoles. Now that they've hit a certain performance level, nobody cares about the upgrades any more, it's all about software.

I agree that there are more powerful designs now but Apple doesn't build new products knowing they have no future. They build products that start out low and have growth.

For years, I wanted the same kind of mid-range machine described in this thread and I've seen the underpowered hardware come and go but for me, the Ivy Bridge Mini brings it to an end. If the middle one breaks 9k in Geekbench and bundles a Radeon 7000 series GPU and has USB 3, I just don't see the reasons for building a bigger machine.

If people want good price/performance, they need to get an over-clocked PC dedicated to rendering and/or gaming. If they want a stylish, stable, powerful, everyday machine, get a Mini.
post #261 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If people want good price/performance, they need to get an over-clocked PC dedicated to rendering and/or gaming.

Word.
post #262 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


The 5870 is under 50% faster. You both seem to consider something 50% faster to be significantly faster. I would say that 100% faster is significant. If you are playing a video game, 50% is the difference between running at 20FPS and 30FPS. All you have to do on the lower one is reduce anti-aliasing or resolution.

On graphics here you previous suggested that the imac graphics were probably faster due to being a newer design. They're not and the aftereffects test on that same site showed a nice advantage in favor of the mac pro graphics.

AMD has had some amazing cards out recently at a 75W max tdp. If we do see a significant power consumption drop with ivy bridge/haswell, we could see some excellent options at the 45-65W range start to appear. The mac pro will eventually need a successor of some kind and I don't see a reason they couldn't leverage upward from the mini considering it fits more with their current design sense but has overall been met with mediocre sales. I hate that it's solely designed as a low end platform with the imac occupying the mid range.
post #263 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

On graphics here you previous suggested that the imac graphics were probably faster due to being a newer design. They're not and the aftereffects test on that same site showed a nice advantage in favor of the mac pro graphics.

AMD has had some amazing cards out recently at a 75W max tdp

That is still a considerable amount of power but then again AMD has made great strides in what those cards can do. I could see AMD becoming the only viable discreet GPU maker in a couple of years.
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. If we do see a significant power consumption drop with ivy bridge/haswell, we could see some excellent options at the 45-65W range start to appear.

That is exactly what I'm hoping for, something that is relatively low power yet a step above what they put in the Mini. Well if they could manage a 45 to 60 watt processor in the Mini that might work too. I just think such a processor deserves a little more external support to make it worthwhile.
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The mac pro will eventually need a successor of some kind and I don't see a reason they couldn't leverage upward from the mini considering it fits more with their current design sense but has overall been met with mediocre sales.

Are you talking Mini here when discussing sales? I ask because I'm not convinced the Mini does that bad sales wise. It certainly does better than the Mac Pro.
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I hate that it's solely designed as a low end platform with the imac occupying the mid range.

Yeah that really sucks. Plus I think the two models plus server version is a bit on the stupid side. I would have preferred that the four core model had it's own discreet GPU, preferably a significant step above the model in the middle. I'm not sure what Apples goal is with the current Mini marketing but I do wait for the Ivy Bridge rev as I'm hoping it closes the performance gap.

In the end though the Mini is limited significantly by it's case size. Not even Ivy Bridge can overcome that for all users.
post #264 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That is still a considerable amount of power but then again AMD has made great strides in what those cards can do. I could see AMD becoming the only viable discreet GPU maker in a couple of years.

I know it is. The 5870 that's optional for the mac pro seems to have a tdp of 188W going by its generic retail version. The one I mentioned is obviously a workstation card so different firmware at least, but it is newer and gives an example of a solid card by AMD under the 100W mark. The gpu currently used in the imac which is designated as part of their mobile line is that high. For a performance desktop gpu it's a truly significant step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That is exactly what I'm hoping for, something that is relatively low power yet a step above what they put in the Mini. Well if they could manage a 45 to 60 watt processor in the Mini that might work too. I just think such a processor deserves a little more external support to make it worthwhile.

Marvin mentioned 45W before. It sounded like he meant that was the total power budget for the machine. It seems like the quad i7 chip is 45W. The one in the mid range is 35W. I can't find a power budget for that gpu but it's probably quite low. They could have skimped on vram to keep to keep the power draw down. I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect they're running pretty tight on cooling. I'd have to stress test one. The appeal to the machine is simply an inexpensive OSX box in relative terms. It's still limited enough that I doubt my next machine will be a mini, but I intend to do some testing. Supposedly next year we'll see a 35W quad i7 chip. Even then I'm unsure that 10W would allow for significantly better gpu power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Are you talking Mini here when discussing sales? I ask because I'm not convinced the Mini does that bad sales wise. It certainly does better than the Mac Pro.

I've read about shipping volumes before in various articles. It never seems that insane for Apple. The only thing that even slightly interests me about it I guess is that it's a non imac. The value of the imac is heavily leveraged by the inclusion of a display, particularly the 27" model. For me it's actually more cumbersome. I own better displays than the one used there, so it simply hogs a lot of desk real estate. It doesn't matter how thin they make it, as the footprint of a display in terms of depth hasn't been a real factor since crts. If they cut thickness by a quarter of an inch, you don't gain anything from it in terms of usable space.

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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Yeah that really sucks. Plus I think the two models plus server version is a bit on the stupid side. I would have preferred that the four core model had it's own discreet GPU, preferably a significant step above the model in the middle. I'm not sure what Apples goal is with the current Mini marketing but I do wait for the Ivy Bridge rev as I'm hoping it closes the performance gap.

In the end though the Mini is limited significantly by it's case size. Not even Ivy Bridge can overcome that for all users.

Yeah It does have an interesting design, but the "server" moniker is weird even if they set it up slightly like a server (higher disk bandwidth, limited graphics, more cores). I've been hoping they'd work up from the mini rather than down from the mac pro for some time. In the end it's just gimmicky marketing on those "server" units. Since I need a new machine in 2012 I'll be testing out options. I'll be watching the prices on 8GB dimms too. Right now 8GB is basically the minimum for me in Windows or OSX. Not everything runs on 2-4. If 8GB dimms are still really expensive, it kills the potential for savings on a mini right there.
post #265 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I know it is. The 5870 that's optional for the mac pro seems to have a tdp of 188W going by its generic retail version. The one I mentioned is obviously a workstation card so different firmware at least, but it is newer and gives an example of a solid card by AMD under the 100W mark. The gpu currently used in the imac which is designated as part of their mobile line is that high. For a performance desktop gpu it's a truly significant step.

The future does look bright for GPU computing. Though I have this fear that any performance gains we get will soon be eaten by high resolution displays.
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Marvin mentioned 45W before.

if he was talking about the processor he may be about right or slightly high. I just check the spec and the Mini power supply is rated 85 watts max AC power in. Subtract out efficiency losts, and power budgeting for the USB, FireWire and Thunderbolt ports and you don't have a lot left. They could have as little as 55 watts budgetted for the motherboard, that includes processor, RAM and support electronics. I say 55 but it could be as high as 65 watts. So depending upon how Apple allocated power they really are tight when the faster hardware is purchased.
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It sounded like he meant that was the total power budget for the machine. It seems like the quad i7 chip is 45W. The one in the mid range is 35W. I can't find a power budget for that gpu but it's probably quite low.

I'd guess the GPU is between 10 & 16 watts. Interestingly Intel doesn't spec max power so their processors can exceed stamped power levels briefly. The lack of a quad core model with GPU kinda tells me that there isn't enough power available to drive a GPU in that model.
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They could have skimped on vram to keep to keep the power draw down. I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect they're running pretty tight on cooling.

Looks like it is an electrical limitation too. I haven't actually had time with the new technology Mini so I can't comment on its cooling practically. However it does look like they made great strides from a distance.
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I'd have to stress test one. The appeal to the machine is simply an inexpensive OSX box in relative terms. It's still limited enough that I doubt my next machine will be a mini, but I intend to do some testing. Supposedly next year we'll see a 35W quad i7 chip. Even then I'm unsure that 10W would allow for significantly better gpu power.

I like the Mini a lot but I'm not about to buy a machine these days with only two cores. I can see performance issues on my old MBP due to the lack of cores and RAM so I'm sticking to my guns here.

As to discreet GPUs who knows, there are a few things Apple could do to allocate more power. For example they could drop the FireWire port, drop a USB port to reallocate the power elsewhere. Also Ivy Bridge supposedly has at least some of the TB functionality built in, that again would save some power. They could also go SSD only internally and save some power.

Disk drives still use a lot of power so a solid state solution might be a significant gain. In the end though it comes down to adding up the available power and allocating what is left over to the GPU. Maybe they can get to 25 watts on the GPU. That would be nice.
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I've read about shipping volumes before in various articles. It never seems that insane for Apple. The only thing that even slightly interests me about it I guess is that it's a non imac.

Insane probably not however I don't think it is anywhere near as bad as the Pro. As I've said I frequently see the Mini on Apples top sellers list. I have to agree that the non iMac reality is an appeal here even if I would prefer something a bit better. The proverbial XMac if you will.
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The value of the imac is heavily leveraged by the inclusion of a display, particularly the 27" model. For me it's actually more cumbersome. I own better displays than the one used there, so it simply hogs a lot of desk real estate. It doesn't matter how thin they make it, as the footprint of a display in terms of depth hasn't been a real factor since crts. If they cut thickness by a quarter of an inch, you don't gain anything from it in terms of usable space.

The display doesn't bother me it is what is behind the display that is a problem. That is the difficulty in getting to and servicing the different components in the machine. Even if you pay somebody else to work on the machine it still adds cost and time to a repair.
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Yeah It does have an interesting design, but the "server" moniker is weird even if they set it up slightly like a server (higher disk bandwidth, limited graphics, more cores). I've been hoping they'd work up from the mini rather than down from the mac pro for some time.

when I think XMac I think a grown up Mini more than a shrunken Mac Pro. A shrunken Mac Pro would result in a machine designed to support yesterday's technologies. I'd rather see a XMac built to support tomorrows technologies.

In a way Mini is a platform for the technology of tomorrow. The problem is that makes for an expensive solution that is always a little less than desired. Mostly this is due to the small box, you can only get so much into the box at anyone time.
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In the end it's just gimmicky marketing on those "server" units. Since I need a new machine in 2012 I'll be testing out options. I'll be watching the prices on 8GB dimms too. Right now 8GB is basically the minimum for me in Windows or OSX. Not everything runs on 2-4. If 8GB dimms are still really expensive, it kills the potential for savings on a mini right there.

This issue with RAM is significant. It is one of the reasons I would like to see a chip set with a triple channel RAN controller. Three sockets would allow the use of 4 GB DIMMs but get you past the 8 GB limit economically. Or the 4GB limit with 2GB DIMMs. Right now I have no need for a 16GB machine, a 6GB machine though would remain useful for a long time. With the cost of 8GB DIMMs though you really can't consider the Mini to be an economical solution if you have high memory requirements. I guess the other option would be a dual channel system with to banks for a capacity of four DIMMs. That isn't likely to happen in the Mini though.

I believe that Ivy Bridge will give Apple the opportunity to dramatically improve the Mini. The problem is will they do that or go for a minimal system as they have in the past.
post #266 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The value of the imac is heavily leveraged by the inclusion of a display, particularly the 27" model. For me it's actually more cumbersome. I own better displays than the one used there, so it simply hogs a lot of desk real estate. It doesn't matter how thin they make it, as the footprint of a display in terms of depth hasn't been a real factor since crts. If they cut thickness by a quarter of an inch, you don't gain anything from it in terms of usable space.

I agree with you completely; we're in the same boat. Although I think we must give Apple due credit-the iMac display is far superior to anything else you can get in such a configuration-I use two displays that together represent a considerable investment, and I'm not about to put one in storage. So yes, the inclusion of the display keeps me from considering an iMac, which otherwise fits most of my needs quite well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

As to discreet GPUs who knows, there are a few things Apple could do to allocate more power. For example they could drop the FireWire port, drop a USB port to reallocate the power elsewhere. Also Ivy Bridge supposedly has at least some of the TB functionality built in, that again would save some power. They could also go SSD only internally and save some power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

when I think XMac I think a grown up Mini more than a shrunken Mac Pro. A shrunken Mac Pro would result in a machine designed to support yesterday's technologies. I'd rather see a XMac built to support tomorrows technologies.

This reminds me of another concern that's been nagging me: in the past, Apple has not been shy about abandoning technology that it considers out of date. Since we've been discussing new chipsets, I/O, and forms, I wonder if one reason we haven't seen a Mac Pro update is because, as some have suggested in this thread, plans are in the works for something radically new?

I think this would be a concern for many Pro users, as we have a lot invested in 'older' technologies, such as storage, and certainly don't want to replace it all. In other words, would a new design limit memory slots, forcing some of us to buy 8GB (or more) dimms? Would the new chipsets still support Boot Camp? Would we be able to install our internal raid? I'm all for something that's more powerful, but I don't want (and can't afford) to replace everything else in order to get it.
post #267 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

I agree with you completely; we're in the same boat. Although I think we must give Apple due credit-the iMac display is far superior to anything else you can get in such a configuration-I use two displays that together represent a considerable investment, and I'm not about to put one in storage. So yes, the inclusion of the display keeps me from considering an iMac, which otherwise fits most of my needs quite well.

Yeah same here, but I have specific concerns about imacs. One is with the top available cpus if you're running that thing hard for a long period of time as in processing 1-2000 raw files (I recall you're a photographer) or rendering stills or video at higher resolutions, they get quite hot. I've also seen some screens that really did not age well. Sometimes it's terrible, but I have yet to see that on the newest ones. Have you ever seen that blotchy magenta cast that starts around the edges on some? It could have been heat or it could have been a panel flaw but I've seen it a number of times. Overall regarding displays yes it's competitive for computers of similar form factor. It's still a lot to spend just to get said form factor.


[QUOTE=Joe Blue;1965946
This reminds me of another concern that's been nagging me: in the past, Apple has not been shy about abandoning technology that it considers out of date. Since we've been discussing new chipsets, I/O, and forms, I wonder if one reason we haven't seen a Mac Pro update is because, as some have suggested in this thread, plans are in the works for something radically new?

I think this would be a concern for many Pro users, as we have a lot invested in 'older' technologies, such as storage, and certainly don't want to replace it all. In other words, would a new design limit memory slots, forcing some of us to buy 8GB (or more) dimms? Would the new chipsets still support Boot Camp? Would we be able to install our internal raid? I'm all for something that's more powerful, but I don't want (and can't afford) to replace everything else in order to get it.[/QUOTE]

Ummm I can address this to a degree. First boot camp doesn't have to go anywhere. Macs use the same hardware as windows outside of the tablet/phone market. The design of the mac pro is kind of archaic/dated. It doesn't make amazing use of the space. It doesn't have cooling which vastly exceeds that of other systems. It is quiet which is nice. Four memory slots + internal sata bays is pretty much the norm for any midrange configuration these days. The mac pro is really light on features for its size and price point. It's just an overall lackluster solution. If you look at the history of component pricing in the line, we should have a hexacore baseline in that line.
post #268 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

I agree with you completely; we're in the same boat. Although I think we must give Apple due credit-the iMac display is far superior to anything else you can get in such a configuration-I use two displays that together represent a considerable investment, and I'm not about to put one in storage. So yes, the inclusion of the display keeps me from considering an iMac, which otherwise fits most of my needs quite well.




This reminds me of another concern that's been nagging me: in the past, Apple has not been shy about abandoning technology that it considers out of date. Since we've been discussing new chipsets, I/O, and forms, I wonder if one reason we haven't seen a Mac Pro update is because, as some have suggested in this thread, plans are in the works for something radically new?

I don't have details and the source is weak but the rumor is that Intel or somebody found a bug in the Sandy Bridge E series chips that where due out this quarter. So it could be 2012 before we see a new Mac Pro. Note that this is an issue even if the platform is radically new.
Quote:
I think this would be a concern for many Pro users, as we have a lot invested in 'older' technologies, such as storage, and certainly don't want to replace it all. In other words, would a new design limit memory slots, forcing some of us to buy 8GB (or more) dimms?

These really aren't valid concerns. I know you really don't want to hear that but Apple can't design a modern machine for yesterdays technology. Earlier today I was reading about Intel/Micron creating a new partnership with I believe Samsung to help standardize a very high speed memory solution. DIMMs could quickly become a thing of the past when it comes to memory solutions.

In any event the point is the market isn't well served by Apple stressing backwards compatibility on important parts like RAM. Sure it is nice when possible, but would you really want to put 33MHz memory in a Mac Pro? One day current memory technology will die, just like the old SIMMs of the past.

On another note it looks like Intel will transition its SSD solutions to PCI-Express soon. Even SATA will die soon.
Quote:
Would the new chipsets still support Boot Camp? Would we be able to install our internal raid? I'm all for something that's more powerful, but I don't want (and can't afford) to replace everything else in order to get it.

Boot camp most likely. Internal RAIDs who knows.

Note that I don't believe at this time that Apple will come out with a Mac Pro that is totally unusable for professionals. My concern has always been for those of us more middle of the road in needs. However that being said it would be foolish to think the Mac Pro will always have the same enclosure with the same internal components capability.

For you the unfortunate reality is that you will have to wait to see what will be released. They could recycle the same old housing or they could go to something more flexible. I'm still thinking that the best path for Apple would be a smaller enclosure that fits on a standard rack well or looks good on the desktop. This would solve the hand wringing about an Apple server and the low sales of the Mac Pro. That is assuming they control the costs properly.
post #269 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

On graphics here you previous suggested that the imac graphics were probably faster due to being a newer design. They're not and the aftereffects test on that same site showed a nice advantage in favor of the mac pro graphics.

The 6000-series is a newer design than the 5000-series but the desktop models have more and/or higher clocked processing units. After Effect isn't a GPU app like Motion, it primarily uses the CPU for rendering. The following benchmark is comparing a 6-core Xeon vs 4-core i7:

http://www.barefeats.com/imac11d.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I hate that it's solely designed as a low end platform with the imac occupying the mid range.

It's been designed to be small and power efficient. Those aren't synonymous with low-end. The 15" MBP is a high-end laptop but thin and power efficient and can easily replace a desktop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm

Marvin mentioned 45W before. It sounded like he meant that was the total power budget for the machine.

Just the CPU + GPU. The base Mini is a 35W CPU/GPU, the middle one is 35W CPU + 10-15W GPU and the quad i7 is a 45W CPU/GPU. The Thunderbolt port can supply 10W of power and other parts will consume some power too.

If Intel pulls the CPUs down in power draw by 25% while still getting a 30-50% increase, you will be able to get an i7 server model that comes close to the current top iMac within a 30W budget and still leaves room for a 28nm AMD 7000 series GPU, which should double performance over this year's 6000-series equivalent to match the 5770 and 6970M.

I don't expect them to put a GPU in the server model but the middle model will still be a very capable machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

I can see performance issues on my old MBP due to the lack of cores and RAM so I'm sticking to my guns here.

Is your old MBP hyper-threaded? Handbrake flies along on even the i5 dual-cores with 4 threads. It gets 200-400FPS at times encoding H.264.
post #270 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The 6000-series is a newer design than the 5000-series but the desktop models have more and/or higher clocked processing units. After Effect isn't a GPU app like Motion, it primarily uses the CPU for rendering. The following benchmark is comparing a 6-core Xeon vs 4-core i7:

http://www.barefeats.com/imac11d.html

There's another one that has a gpu test in there. i'll find it later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It's been designed to be small and power efficient. Those aren't synonymous with low-end. The 15" MBP is a high-end laptop but thin and power efficient and can easily replace a desktop.

Bleh see for some purposes I do agree. It depends how much power you need. As I've mentioned I don't like the current flow to Apple's line as a whole. The mini has come a long way, but remember it started out as a definitively low end solution with the G4 setup. The imac is okay but it's not really my thing entirely. What I dislike is how horrid of a value the mac pro remains. I'd really like to see them generate kind of a power desktop line but something which could serve more markets than the current setup. The imac is heavily leveraged by being an all in one. Consider that minus thunderbolt a comparable configuration to the i7 imac on the windows oem end can be purchased for just under $1000. The mini really isn't far off the mark, but it could be better than it is while maintaining Apple's margins without a massive increase in price. Consider that the imac comes with a display starting just $200 higher than the server unit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If Intel pulls the CPUs down in power draw by 25% while still getting a 30-50% increase, you will be able to get an i7 server model that comes close to the current top iMac within a 30W budget and still leaves room for a 28nm AMD 7000 series GPU, which should double performance over this year's 6000-series equivalent to match the 5770 and 6970M.

I don't expect them to put a GPU in the server model but the middle model will still be a very capable machine.

It's still weird how it jumps to "server". It's more of a marketing gimmick than anything because I guess enough people were using them that way as a light duty server. I haven't seen those models. To me it's still behind. The 5770 and 6970M aren't truly that amazing. It's just that something new can match older higher end tech at a lower wattage now. I think you or the manufacturer may be slightly optimistic here but yeah AMD has done some amazing stuff at lower wattage in the past year or so.
post #271 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

These really aren't valid concerns. I know you really don't want to hear that but Apple can't design a modern machine for yesterdays technology.

"Not valid concerns" is a very poor word choice. Perhaps you meant that they were not germane to your vision of a 'modern' machine: that would be true, but then that's not exactly what we're discussing here.

To the contrary, as far as actually producing and selling a new model, I think it's safe to say that these concerns are very valid: and I think that like myself, many other Mac Pro users have a great deal invested in 'yesterday's technology,' and we're not going to leave it behind simply because it's a couple of years old. I can afford to spend $4K on a machine that will last me several years; I can't afford $9K for a completely new setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Note that I don't believe at this time that Apple will come out with a Mac Pro that is totally unusable for professionals. My concern has always been for those of us more middle of the road in needs.

Of course they will try to come out with something that professionals can use. And as I stated above, that means "something that will allow us to use all of those expensive accessories we've bought."

Now, logic suggests that we will see iMacs with the newest stuff before Mac Pros, for two reasons: first, iMac sales depend on a number of considerations, but a very important one is the image that it is stylish and new. Second, iMac users tend to have less stuff lying around- no extra GPU cards or storage, no extra monitors, and thus are not going to be so concerned about backwards compatibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

However that being said it would be foolish to think the Mac Pro will always have the same enclosure with the same internal components capability.

Nobody said "always." On the other hand, it would be foolish of Apple to introduce something that wouldn't let us use most of what we have, even if it is 'yesterday's' technology.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The imac is heavily leveraged by being an all in one. Consider that minus thunderbolt a comparable configuration to the i7 imac on the windows oem end can be purchased for just under $1000. The mini really isn't far off the mark, but it could be better than it is while maintaining Apple's margins without a massive increase in price. Consider that the imac comes with a display starting just $200 higher than the server unit.

Is Apple still using IPS displays on the iMac? Up until very recently, that would have been cutting into their margin a good deal, and if we take that alone into consideration, I don't think there has ever been a comparable configuration on the Windows side.

I know that Apple likes the good stuff, but I've always wondered why use IPS for the iMac, since it seems like overkill. Sure, I know of print houses that use them, but never for jobs that require that sort of accuracy.
post #272 of 332
Hi guys I'm pleased to see some advancement in the great macpro debate going on here your almost up to approving the next generation of machine as I intimated to over six months ago and still think is the best next thing, that is an eight way PCIe based chassis ditching all legacy drives, it could even use half hight PCIe card designs too, like any new thing... (ie: FCP) it needs some teething time to integrate into the mainstream but Apple are no strangers to introducing next generation leaps are they!

I would like to also see i7 based processors with the new intel liquid cooling system built on PCIe cards too but that may be stretching the precept a bit at the moment.
the only reason one would need more than a single multiCPU in the future would be for render farms or servers and that job would benefit from multiple racked machines all through connected via opticle TB plenty fast enough for tv studio employ and massively interfacability through dedicated PCIe cards. perhaps 3 USB3 sockets too for general periferals.

this concept would minimise case requirement and development cost with a thin PSU down one side, no SATA optical or HD drives just very fast 8 and 16 lane PCIe slots for upto twin GPUs and as many SSDs ect cards in raid as you need the skys really is the limit with totem poled racking, and a single unit would become the perfect MacproX.
and MacOS with integrated server really would cream the processional and high end market.

This modular system would give PCIe designers a platform for developing new cards like the RED Rocket 4K dedicated video processor I'm sure all pro's can imagine their ideal machine simply buy plug and play PCIe the apple way, and I'm sure apple would find a higher end app shop aswell to make it profitable.
I could even be impressed enough to come back.

Hmmm! OK enough dreaming back to work...
post #273 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

"Not valid concerns" is a very poor word choice. Perhaps you meant that they were not germane to your vision of a 'modern' machine: that would be true, but then that's not exactly what we're discussing here.

It really isn't my vision, rather it is an idea of what is possible based on where the electronics is going. So let's not call it my vision, I'm just recognizing that the Mac Pro is a very old approach to computing.

As to the validity of your concerns, really they aren't any more valid than the people who complained about IDE going away, CRT monitors being replaced with LCDs, dot matrix printers being replaced by Lasers or ink jets. By the same token if you think that it is reasonable for Apple to design computers to support your old hardware then yeah your concerns aren't valid. That is the way to stagnation in the market.

I'm trying not to be rude here but if Apple was hamstrung the way you want them to be, do you really think we would have Mac Book AIRs today or even Intel based ones? I can't predict what technology is ready to move into mass production, Apple has the inside track there, what I'm saying is that they can't be concerned with your needs to support legacy hardware when it comes time to transition to new technology.
Quote:
To the contrary, as far as actually producing and selling a new model, I think it's safe to say that these concerns are very valid: and I think that like myself, many other Mac Pro users have a great deal invested in 'yesterday's technology,' and we're not going to leave it behind simply because it's a couple of years old. I can afford to spend $4K on a machine that will last me several years; I can't afford $9K for a completely new setup.

Affordability isn't Apples problem. It certainly is a problem for me thus the drive for an XMac. In your case though how long would you expect Apple to keep the Mac Pros design static? I ask because you need to realize that there will always be guys with two year old machines that will take it personally when the Mac Pro transitions to new technology.

Look at my situation my MBP was new in 2008, since then Apple has implemented several advancements that leave my machine behind. Is it rational for me to demand backwards compatibility? Of course not, especially when some of those improvements are very compelling.
Quote:

Of course they will try to come out with something that professionals can use. And as I stated above, that means "something that will allow us to use all of those expensive accessories we've bought."

I have no idea what the new Mac will look like. All I'm really saying is that it is about time for Apple to transition that platform to newer technologies. The timing is rather good. As to your expensive accessories - to bad. Again I'm not trying to be cruel here just reflecting on the fact that Apple can't make everybody happy while at the same time build a machine to support newer technologies.
Quote:
Now, logic suggests that we will see iMacs with the newest stuff before Mac Pros, for two reasons: first, iMac sales depend on a number of considerations, but a very important one is the image that it is stylish and new. Second, iMac users tend to have less stuff lying around- no extra GPU cards or storage, no extra monitors, and thus are not going to be so concerned about backwards compatibility.

What seems to escape you is that the Mac Pro is a very old design. As such they have to look forward to a modern design, backward compatibility is only a consideration if it does not hold up the march forward.

The other big issue here is your characterization of iMac owners. These guys often have a much hardware lying around as the Mac Pro guys. In one release Thunderbird outdated much of that hardware.
Quote:

Nobody said "always." On the other hand, it would be foolish of Apple to introduce something that wouldn't let us use most of what we have, even if it is 'yesterday's' technology.

Again I don't think Apple is all that concerned. As far as they are concerned you can run your current machine until it is completely out dated. Do you really think we would have the AIRs today if Apple was focused on keeping Mac Book users happy?
Quote:
Is Apple still using IPS displays on the iMac? Up until very recently, that would have been cutting into their margin a good deal, and if we take that alone into consideration, I don't think there has ever been a comparable configuration on the Windows side.

I know that Apple likes the good stuff, but I've always wondered why use IPS for the iMac, since it seems like overkill. Sure, I know of print houses that use them, but never for jobs that require that sort of accuracy.

The iMacs can be a very useful machine for a number of professional uses. It is very much a work station of mid range performance and suitable for general use. If you work in an environment that supports a network server or two the internal storage limitations are not a problem. It is the one man show or smaller corporations where the iMac becomes a problem. Mainly that is an issue of upgradeability and serviceability.

I don't think it is Apples goal to turn the iMac into a graphics professionals work station. It is pretty simple really, that would turn the machine into an expensive niche platform not a mass market computer. Outside your field though the iMac is a very attractive machine. I always have to smile when graphics specialist dismiss the iMac (it happens a lot) because they are going on about a machine never designed for their needs. It makes about as much sense as complaint that the iPhones screen isn't good enough for their work.

In any event back to the Mac Pro. If they do overhaul the machine I do expect them to keep the pros in mind. In a forward looking manner though. One biggie is the FPU which I expect will be built into the motherboard. Why? Thunderbolt is why. I have this suspicion that the GPU will have to be on the motherboard to really work well with TB. Part of that has to do with the need to support multiple TB ports (multiple monitors & professional I/O). I'm 100% certain this will cause complaints, but what should Apple do, punt on new technology?
post #274 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The 6000-series is a newer design than the 5000-series but the desktop models have more and/or higher clocked processing units. After Effect isn't a GPU app like Motion, it primarily uses the CPU for rendering. The following benchmark is comparing a 6-core Xeon vs 4-core i7:

http://www.barefeats.com/imac11d.html

So? I mean really some body found a benchmark where the current iMac beats a Mac Pro, that should surprise no body as the Mac Pro is an old machine relatively. The Mac Pros advantage comes from people that can exploit the current hardware to their advantage.
Quote:


It's been designed to be small and power efficient. Those aren't synonymous with low-end. The 15" MBP is a high-end laptop but thin and power efficient and can easily replace a desktop.

I will disagree here, Apple goes out of its way to make sure the Mini is the slowest machine they make. It always bench marks slower than the iMacs and laptops it is selling against at anyone time.
Quote:
Just the CPU + GPU. The base Mini is a 35W CPU/GPU, the middle one is 35W CPU + 10-15W GPU and the quad i7 is a 45W CPU/GPU. The Thunderbolt port can supply 10W of power and other parts will consume some power too.

There is no doubt that the power budget is tight. Mind you that isn't a bad thing for people where the Mini is more than enough. It is a frustration for people looking for a bit more.
Quote:
If Intel pulls the CPUs down in power draw by 25% while still getting a 30-50% increase, you will be able to get an i7 server model that comes close to the current top iMac within a 30W budget and still leaves room for a 28nm AMD 7000 series GPU, which should double performance over this year's 6000-series equivalent to match the 5770 and 6970M.

Great if they can deliver! As technology marches forward the Mini becomes more compelling, but it really has a ways to go.
Quote:
I don't expect them to put a GPU in the server model but the middle model will still be a very capable machine.

Calling that machine a server seems to be a cop out. I looks more like they said oops we used up our power budget so let's call this a server.
Quote:
Is your old MBP hyper-threaded? Handbrake flies along on even the i5 dual-cores with 4 threads. It gets 200-400FPS at times encoding H.264.

Handbrake isn't too bad on the machine. It is what happens if you try to run XCode and Safari at the same time or even Safari with flash running. Now click to flash use to help Safari but the reality is modern software is highly threaded and I'm not afraid to run many processes on the machine. The trick is to find the right balance of processors, RAM and other hardware.

The old Mac is not hyper threaded but to be honest I'd go with more real cores anyway over hyper threading. Hyper threading is always tested in a way that makes it look good. That is pretty much expected, but it isn't always groovy in hyper threading land. Even Sun has cut back on threads supported in their new Sparc processors.
post #275 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Really a highly portable machine with 1-2 high bandwidth slots could sell exceptionally well to photography and cinematography markets.

Those markets don't need highly portable desktop machines. All the pro photographers and video editors I know do most of their work either at the same desk (with powerful hardware that's never moved) or with their less-powerful laptops (to which they'll offload their work to desktop machines and RAIDs). The only examples I can think of where Mac Pro performance would be needed on-set would be in only a few circumstances ... a tiny, tiny percentage of hardware sales, and a market (high-end fashion shots, TV commercials) where there's already a transportation budget built into projects, so a smaller unit wouldn't be a significant cost-saving anyway.
post #276 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrier Wave View Post

Those markets don't need highly portable desktop machines. All the pro photographers and video editors I know do most of their work either at the same desk (with powerful hardware that's never moved) or with their less-powerful laptops (to which they'll offload their work to desktop machines and RAIDs). The only examples I can think of where Mac Pro performance would be needed on-set would be in only a few circumstances ... a tiny, tiny percentage of hardware sales, and a market (high-end fashion shots, TV commercials) where there's already a transportation budget built into projects, so a smaller unit wouldn't be a significant cost-saving anyway.

I agree-I bring my laptop for two things: portable storage and previews. Personally, I have a strong hunch that I will be using an iPad for this within a few years. In any case, everything gets offloaded to my desktop for processing.

All of the photographers I know, and the few video people I know, do the same thing.
post #277 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrier Wave View Post

Those markets don't need highly portable desktop machines. All the pro photographers and video editors I know do most of their work either at the same desk (with powerful hardware that's never moved) or with their less-powerful laptops (to which they'll offload their work to desktop machines and RAIDs). The only examples I can think of where Mac Pro performance would be needed on-set would be in only a few circumstances ... a tiny, tiny percentage of hardware sales, and a market (high-end fashion shots, TV commercials) where there's already a transportation budget built into projects, so a smaller unit wouldn't be a significant cost-saving anyway.

It's less common than it used to be a few years ago. Overall though Apple has been trending toward smaller hardware solutions. I'd have less against the mac pro line if it was built really efficiently. It's not. The internal storage solutions are mediocre. It's never had a "good" workstation gpu card option. Whenever they do offer one it's buggy. Basically the appeal to the higher end of the mac pro line is power. Toward the mid to lower portion the only reason to buy one is if you don't have a suitable workaround for features covered by pci slots. It's incredibly awkward forcing a $2500 minimum sale just to match equivalent features in ram, sata options, and PCI slots with a $900 PC. If I don't end up looking at a dual socket model, it's entirely possible my next purchase may be an imac instead in spite of it not being a perfect match for my needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

I agree-I bring my laptop for two things: portable storage and previews. Personally, I have a strong hunch that I will be using an iPad for this within a few years. In any case, everything gets offloaded to my desktop for processing.

All of the photographers I know, and the few video people I know, do the same thing.

I'm not sure if you recall earlier digital backs well. It required a large amount of hardware to support them. The hardware has progressed quite far but it's still nice having a high quality display and fast storage present if you're shooting at the highest resolutions or have an accompanying video solution present (such as a RED camera). I know quite a few photographers as well.
post #278 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I'm not sure if you recall earlier digital backs well. It required a large amount of hardware to support them. The hardware has progressed quite far but it's still nice having a high quality display and fast storage present if you're shooting at the highest resolutions or have an accompanying video solution present (such as a RED camera). I know quite a few photographers as well.

Of course- my point was that I use my laptop in the manner described, and that I can imagine an iPad fulfilling those functions in a few years. Speculation, of course, but it seems to be the direction we're headed.
post #279 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Blue View Post

Of course- my point was that I use my laptop in the manner described, and that I can imagine an iPad fulfilling those functions in a few years. Speculation, of course, but it seems to be the direction we're headed.

What's interesting is that a lot of apps aimed at people like art directors have been hitting the market. At the moment they're more for browsing photos and choosing things but editing may become more common at some point. Wacom has had their cintiq line for years. I've tried it, but I didn't like it in its current form for a number of reasons. They seem to be popular in animation, but not so much other things. I don't feel it's just the price that turns people away. The ergonomics and display quality aren't quit there in a number of ways. If they had really excellent displays I would have probably looked into ergonomic arms, but finding one that is sturdy enough would be a problem.
post #280 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

What's interesting is that a lot of apps aimed at people like art directors have been hitting the market. At the moment they're more for browsing photos and choosing things but editing may become more common at some point. Wacom has had their cintiq line for years. I've tried it, but I didn't like it in its current form for a number of reasons. They seem to be popular in animation, but not so much other things. I don't feel it's just the price that turns people away. The ergonomics and display quality aren't quit there in a number of ways. If they had really excellent displays I would have probably looked into ergonomic arms, but finding one that is sturdy enough would be a problem.

Yes, I've noticed that, too, and now Adobe seems to be getting into the game, with what appears to be presentation-oriented apps- slide shows and palette displays that you would show to a client. I don't care for the Cintiq, either, and for many of the same reasons I don't think I'll adopt the iPad for editing any time soon.

On the other hand, I can see myself switching to the iPad for storage and review while on the site: not yet, but soon- I'd like a little more speed and a couple more I/O options first.

Regarding ergonomic arms, good luck with that! I think this is the biggest hurdle that tablets will have to overcome before they are used for anything other than minor edits. It's just like the touchscreen PCs that some manufacturers are failing to sell: your arms simply get tired too quickly for sustained use.
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