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Despite new CPU options, Apple reportedly questioning future of Mac Pro - Page 2

post #41 of 649
The MacPro is expensive because Xeons are expensive. I've never understood why Apple used Xeons in their single CPU macPro configs. Yeah, yeah - it supports ECC. But the single CPU configs cut the number of RAM slots in half anyway, so ECC was pretty pointless.

It may be a less profitable section of the market, but the high end content creation space is worth money and also represents an enormously important one from a prestige (and PR) viewpoint. Irritatingly, Apple's actually positioned really well right now to really redefine that space right now by equipping all their MacPros with large quantities of uber-fast flash memory (in addition to multiple regular drives). They could also make use of their considerable engineering prowess (from the G5 days) to create a monstrous CPU/GPU farm in a box that ran reasonably quietly.

I've been waiting for the new Mac Pros for months now. My 2008 model is getting very long in the tooth. If it wasn't for the fact I've loaded it up with 20GB of RAM, I'd swap to an iMac. After Effects is a RAM hog as are many 64bit video apps. Hence - we stlll need a Mac Pro in the lineup.

Hell, if they really don't care about that market, why not license out OSX to another vendor (like Dell?)
post #42 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

Slim the case down but don't stop making it. We rely on a MacPro that has run great for over four years now.

I see where they are coming from but I like the internal drive bays. Yeah, I guess thunderbolt external drives here we come with a mini attached. It is inevitable...

Not only the fact that HD video editing demands powerful processing, but new graphics cards and PCI-based I/O cards for signal in-out is very important for pro video editors. I know the new iMacs are fast, but they will need to be way faster or be able to match the current dual quad-core and six-core processors in the Mac Pro line. Let's hear from the hardware manufacturers. Can you guys at AJA and Black Magic make Thunderbolt-compatible hardware? Way back in the mid 1990's we used Power PC Macs which had 5 PCI slots for external digital hardware. Much of that has been taken over by software, but it did make the operation faster, since the outboard gear had its own processors to take some of the load off the CPU. High Def video produces large amounts of data that must get pushed around. I don't know if a current iMac can do it.
post #43 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalOS View Post

i'm gonna have to go the hackintosh route istead so i can keep my high end hardware.

You can't depend on the Hackintosh route to continuing to work either. Every time this topic comes up I always say to myself what if? Since nearly all of my high end projects involve Adobe CS with the exception of FCP which they already bailed on, I guess I would go to Windows. Pity since I love working on a Mac but that is the only logical choice for me if they discontinue the Mac Pro.

It would be a hassle to use an iMac for some lower end projects and then switch over to high end Windows machine for heavy duty work. Makes no sense, I would just switch to Windows for work and keep my iMac and MBP for home and on the road. Although I would need to put Windows on the MBP to share the Desktop when away.

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post #44 of 649
Running a Dual 2.0 GHz PPC daily, I still think I can blow the wheels off any iMac made today for heavy graphic work.

I will believe a high-end iMac when I see it.
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #45 of 649
I bought a Mac Pro 2008 (in early 2008) so have enjoyed it for almost for 4 full years, and i still love it.
The iMacs will most possibly resemble the speed of this one for basic tasks, but doing video, audio and especially heavy 3D there is no match.

I bought it new for a low price (with a little developper discount) for around 2.250. Now i have to pay double or more for a new one that is about 2x as fast as this 2008 model. It's simply outrageous.

They should put a foot in Intel's face for getting so expensive cpu's.

Also, the future doesn't look to good for 3d artist as there are more and more cores with lower clock speeds. This is annoying since software still has problems being optimised for so many cores. Apps that use single cores for some threads, should rather benefit more with cpu's that have less cores and higher frequencies.

So for pro's there will be 2 options:

Go get a PC (also makes sure we have less problems with lacking plugins or apps as a whole) and will mean a decrease in sale for apple's pro apps (which are already becoming less pro and more consumer like final cut pro)

Buy a top of the line iMac for the work, and an aditional one for render-farm based rendering and computing. It will be cheaper than a single Mac Pro. So getting a machine capable like the high-end iMac, but without the screen will be a sollution that remains expandable.

in any case, they are SCREWING the pro's that were once the centre of the MAC existence. (i started as a graphic designer where the mac was the one real tool you had the have)
post #46 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Although the Mac maker has reportedly developed a revision to the existing Mac Pro that may or may not see the light of day, people familiar with the matter said management as far back as May of 2011 were in limbo over whether to pour any additional resources into the product line.


This should not be a surprise to anybody following Apple. They alienated the company which made some of the most popular software for their machines, and discontinued their own professional software. They discontinued their infrastructure products, and declared themselves to be a gadget company which is changing its focus to "portable devices".




Quote:

there appears to be an increasingly limited market for high end desktops, particularly

Particularly when there is so little high-end software that will run on it.


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Apple could choose to offer a new ... beefed up Mac mini that packs enough power to approach the performance current Mac Pro, ...


Apple began to retreat slightly on its Mac Pro sales efforts when it ceased regular shipments of the $4,999 12-core to channel partners.

Yeah. A 12 core MiniMac. Good idea, Daniel. Not.


Quote:
A year ago, the company similarly abandoned sales of the Xserve...

Apple has since recommended the Mac Pro as an alternative to the Xserve,


That too makes very little sense. I don't know why any responsible business would invest in that sort of infrastructure, especially when the manufacturer has disavowed continued interest in serving enterprise customers.
post #47 of 649
One reason why the current Mac Pro has lasted as long as it has is because the current form factor has been around in one way shape or form since 2003 at the end of the PowerMac era. Back then, three slots seemed to be a good compromise from the four slot days of the previous machines, and some of us are old enough to remember the six slot professional Mac days. Nowadays (and especially with Thunderbolt), two slots might be enough....one for a video card and the other for future expansion. Anything else can be through Thunderbolt (and that technology will only get faster in coming years). Four hard drive bays is nice to have, but the chassis was designed in the days of 80-160 gig drives and has no built in hardware RAID. 4TB drives will be available next year. Two internal drives is probably enough with an option to do solid state drives. Again, Thunderbolt makes external arrays that kick butt from a performance standpoint a very credible option for many.

Memory, bandwidth and performance is something hard to duplicate in other Macs. The 4 core i7 iMac is a nice machine for many professional departments, but Core i7 doesn't have the deep performance bandwidth of the server level Xeons in the Mac Pro. There are some applications in video and scientific disciplines that just need the horsepower. It would be nice to keep those features in a smaller Mac Pro.

The big problem is investing in the form factor changes you'd need to do in order to bring the Mac Pro into modern times. It used to be that many of us prosumer geeks bought tower Macs since it was the baddest machine out there. Nowadays that Mac is out of the reach of many of us from a budget standpoint largely because of the cost of the server Xeons Apple uses. Right now the only way to get a Mac Pro at the old price point of $2500 is to spec the older Nehalem processors (4 core) rather than the Westmeres. You probably would retire the Nehalems at this point and go with a 4 or 6 core Westmere as the base unit. But a new form factor is a big expense...Apple might just be happy continuing the existing form factor except it's tough to reduce the price on that unit without changes. If there is a chassis change, you'd want it out on the market for at least another five years considering the life spans of its predecessors.
post #48 of 649
Part of Mac Pro's problems is the lack of support behind it. Look at it this way: They lag on upgrading the hardware, they make little effort to promote the use of the Mac Pro in industries that are ripe for it, and there just is no mojo behind the product due to a lack of development. Get behind the Mac Pro line like they do the iPhone and watch sales climb. I'm not saying they'll be shipping millions of them per quarter, but, in time, traditional industries that prefer Mac options will pick up on it and sales will boost.
post #49 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Still, there's no question the Mac Pro provides power that high end prosumers and professionals can't get elsewhere on the Mac platform.

Apple doesn't really care about those kinds of markets. They are a gadget company now. Let Microsoft service the "high end" professionals.

Apple makes most of its money selling to Grandmas.
post #50 of 649
Here's a straightforward solution:

Make the Mac Mini scaleable in stacks. Use the Thunderbolt port to make it simple to build anything from a FinalCutPro station, to a server, to a super computer by simply daisy chaining Mac Minis.

This would enable Apple to continue to serve the Pro market all the while only having to continue to build a Mac Mini which is enough for most people. Power users could add another Mac Mini or several to meet the needs they would find in the Mac Pro.

The required change is in OSX enabling the stacking, no need for Apple to design, build and maintain a separate hardware line. To address the only remaining shortcoming: expansion slots. These could be added in the chain as external components. Either Apple could build and sell an expansion stack shaped like the Mac Mini with Thunderbolt I/O or leave it to third party manufacturers to build their expansion chips into these shapes.

The Mac Pro will be missed, but its place is in the history books.
post #51 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Exactly! It is like Apple doesn't understand what most people need or want in a desktop.

Actually they do understand what MOST people want. Because most people want a machine that is easy to set up, isn't a mess of cables etc. 95-98% of the world doesn't need 12 cores, or to be able to hot or cold swap hard drives etc.

Apple is in the business of making money and lots of it. So their focus is on the 95, not the 5
post #52 of 649
If you really want to save the Mac Pro, put your money where your mouth is: buy a Mac Pro today!

Alas, like the iPod Classic, its days are probably numbered. The reason it's not an easy one to let go of is that it still has advantages for professional use, and the pro market sustained Apple during the dark years. Still, it is progress if Apple doesn't need the pro market like it once did. For me, the main reason the Mac Pro existed (going all the way back to the days of the dual G5 PowerMacs) is that it used to be the only way to get two processors in a Mac. Now, thanks the ubiquitous dual- and quad-core CPUs, there's less of an advantage for the Mac Pro.

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post #53 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Exactly! It is like Apple doesn't understand what most people need or want in a desktop.

Most people don't need desktops at all. The iPad is more than adequate for what most people do with computers.


Quote:
They could but they are tied to their old marketing beliefs. The current desktop lineup is of their own making and frankly it is like they don't have the maturity to let go.

What old marketing beliefs are you talking about. No computer OEM is making much money from desktops these days.
post #54 of 649
If they are migrating from 3 to 2 and eventually to 1 laptop range it doesn't make sense to have a 3 desktop range when desktops account for an ever decreasing proprtion of sales.

They could merge the Mac Mini and Mac Pro into one hybrid screen less desktop which would also sell as a server, addressing three markets in one product. Add a decent range of options and a realistic price and you have a decent market proposition. The small business and/or enterprise market will always need a power based solution. If you seed that to Windows you risk losing the laptop sales to.

The only other realistic option would be an iMac and iMac Pro. We all know how Steve loved the all-in-one design. With the increasing popularity of cloud based software/solutions will we need all that power in a few years time anyway?
post #55 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by gprovida View Post

I suspect a lot of Pro users find the top end iMac to be pretty darn good.

I suspect that a lot MORE pro users find Windows machines to be better. Apple doesn't care about high end anything or professional anybody.
post #56 of 649
If they stop in fact they say they say goodbye to the professional user that needs all the expansibility and power.
I am a longtime Mac pro ( powermac) user going back to the G4.

The current casco was made for the G5 - its IBM-processors produced so much heat that they needed to make this big machine with all the fans in it to cool it without making too much noise.
So I guess it is time to make a new casco- smaller and lighter.
If they stop making it it will be the first time i have to stop using an Apple. I need its speed, space and flexibility.
post #57 of 649
No you won't.

Along with the hardware, the software has been optimized to use the CPU and GPU more efficiently than was ever done on PPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post

Running a Dual 2.0 GHz PPC daily, I still think I can blow the wheels off any iMac made today for heavy graphic work.

I will believe a high-end iMac when I see it.
post #58 of 649
I agree with this decision (if it turns out to be true). The Mac Pro has 2 things the iMac doesn't: PCIe bus and many cores.

Thunderbolt gives the iMac an equivalently fast expansion bus. And multi-core work, people are discovering, is better done on the GPU anyway.

One argument in the other direction though, is that iOS takes care of many consumers, enabling them to make the Mac, if anything, more Pro.

In some ways I would like them to recommit to the pro-ness of the Mac. For example I was disappointed in Lion to find not all system daemons had man pages.
post #59 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanl View Post

You mean almost like the 27" iMac?

Another person who doesn't understand the pro market.

This article comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who can stop fellating their iDevice long enough to see the writing on the wall.
post #60 of 649
I've had my Mac Pro (dual quad core Xeon) for 3.5 years and it's still a top-notch machine which stacks up well against the latest iMacs. It would be very hard to duplicate that longevity with a Mac Mini or iMac.

Here's the appeal of the Mac Pro for me:

- Top of the line components which will be good for around 3-5 years. Even though the initial cost is high, you save on the fact that you don't need to get a new one for at least 3 years (in my experience).
- Easy to throw any old SATA hard drive into it for more drive space. No need to go out and order another new external hard drive which supports eSATA/Firewire/Thunderbolt (external connectors change all the time).
- Eight memory slots. Meaning, you don't have replace all of the memory in your machine to add more RAM (again, much cheaper).
- I get to pick what monitor(s) to use with it (or if I even need a monitor -- e.g. server setup).

Note that for my job (and most "pro" jobs), the graphics card doesn't matter.
 
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post #61 of 649
IMO Apple will be a totally different company in 5 years or so. Apple is gradually moving to be an all consumer oriented electronics company. iOS is their future, wether we like it or not, and the only Pro the company will deal with is Prosumer. I see them keeping a beefed up desktop iMac for business, creatives, and developers. All others will need to look elsewhere. The high-end Pro markets just siphons off bottom line profit. I wouldn't count on the Mac Mini or its server sibling to survive the transition either. Ipads or Macbook Air's will replace the Mini.
post #62 of 649
First xraid, xserve, now mac pro. In few years the whole mac line is history, there's simply too much money in ios devices.
post #63 of 649
Quote:
lack future proofing for gaming and don't have the performance of a mac pro either

I have a 2008 8 core Mac used mainly for photography. I have used the expansion capability of the Mac pro a good bit. It has 4 Hrd drives and I have replaced the graphics card once (due to hardware failure). I will say that the future proofing is questionable. The graphics card I put in there Gtx 285 would be laughed at by any pc gamer. and the price I paid would have been sufficient to repair any damage to a notebook or iMac. I guess i am just saying there isn't really much of a market for upgrades for the Mac Pro and there probably never will be. Honestly my 2011 15" Mac book pro outperforms The Mac pro for any app (essentially all games past, present, future) that don't efficiently use all 8 cores. The two apps that I have encountered that make the Mac pro viable if just are aperture and video encoding/compression.
post #64 of 649
Yes there are a certain number of people in this category. The question is - is that group large enough and lucrative enough to make it financially feasible for Apple to continue to support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reuzedoder View Post

If they stop making it it will be the first time i have to stop using an Apple. I need its speed, space and flexibility.
post #65 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsol View Post

The MacPro is expensive because Xeons are expensive. I've never understood why Apple used Xeons in their single CPU macPro configs. Yeah, yeah - it supports ECC. But the single CPU configs cut the number of RAM slots in half anyway, so ECC was pretty pointless.

If you're running a server and are serious about your data, ECC is sufficient reason of the Xeons. The single CPU config often had faster chips which worked better for computationally expensive tasks such as database queries which do not naturally scale across threads.

That stated, many of the non-Xeon Sandy Bridge chips do actually support ECC. I think that Apple has disabled this feature in the iMacs to promote Mac Pro sales.
post #66 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by nothingness View Post

In any case, they are SCREWING the pro's that were once the centre of the MAC existence. (i started as a graphic designer where the mac was the one real tool you had the have)

Yeah it is like divorcing your first wife who worked two jobs to help put you through grad school. Now that you have your high paying career, you pay her back by lusting after some young sexy woman at the office.

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post #67 of 649
While I understand Apple's desire to eliminate the product, I hope they do go with a convertible rackmount solution to fill the gap. Not everybody can use the iMac or MacMini for a desktop, and a lot of people don't want to use a laptop for different reasons.

But... It won't happen. The most we will get is two small hot-swappable 2.5" boot drives and two thunderbolt ports on different busses. The market is just too small, and shrinking. Part of me is content with it, and the other part is sad that it will likely force me to switch back to Windows.

My needs aren't that onerous either. Just need fault tolerance, fast processor, and a lot of RAM. A second gigabit port would be nice, but the rest could be done with Thunderbolt.
post #68 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by TripleCore View Post

It's unfortunate since I love working on the Mac.

Never love anything that will not love you back.

Apple will throw you under the bus if you don't provide them with enough profits. It is not a two-way relationship.

They want profits. That is the one and only thing the Corporation cares about. Your love is irrelevant to Apple, unless it results in oversized profits.
post #69 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

They need something more powerful than the Mac Mini but screen-less unlike the iMac. However, the Mac Pro is and has been a boat anchor. I mean seriously, that thing is unwieldy. No need for a huge hunk of aluminum like that in this day & age. I cringe whenever I have to deploy or service one.

Why can't they utilize their expertise in ventilation and produce a fast thin octo-core unit that can stand upright if needed, and be turned on its side for rack mounting to replace the XServe? This rumor has been going around for a while and made so much sense that I am shocked to learn it might now not be happening.

Exactly!
The main reason anyone wants a Mac Pro is for some combination of processing/graphics power. Some folks want the drives housed in there too, but mainly they want the data speed, but Thunderbolt makes this unnecessary.

It is now possible modularize and customize all of this giving users an economic break while providing the flexibility to pay for the performance features they want/need with no performance loss. . . . except for the processors, that is.
Apple needs to devise a somewhat modular system. Possibly could be just two form factor families; one a compact unit (say like a fat Mac Mini) that can support multiple, multicore processors, and a second larger form, say like a short minitower that would accommodate some pro graphics cards. Ideally the second form could also accommodate one or two of the first units (or rather their guts) in an elegant way. Viola! Customizable, expandable, upgradeable, semi-hot swappable, screen-less Macs from a super gusty Mini to a Robust Pro to a X Serve, all using compatible modules from the same system.
post #70 of 649
I've got an idear! Make OS X scale through a tech like XGrid.

While I've not personally used this tech, the concept is simple. Rather than one powerful machine with lots of RAM, Disk space, and processor power; offload those processing cycles to machines near in the cluster. Turn 'em off (or let 'em sleep) when they're not needed, and fire 'em back up when they are!

Now, obviously, there's a few things here that are missing...
  1. Someone needs to create a rack mount fo the Mac mini that makes sense. Networking, power, thunderbolt all built in.
  2. XGrid, from what I understand, requires the software to be XGrid aware. Can we find an OS implementation that will eliminate this need?
  3. Nodes (Mac minis) need to be easily added and removed from the cluster with little-to-no configuration. Maybe make the rack have an auto-launching USB-drive that will automatically run when the Mac mini is connected that'll autoconfigure it?

It's a crazy idea. And I'm sure most of y'all laugh at me for saying this. But we really don't need workstations any more, especially when we have network computing. If only we could access those resources. That should solve most of your 3D rendering/video rendering/photoshop rendering needs.

The only thing that I'm missing... is the gaming experience. Same thing for processing power... and RAM. And coupled with a nice external Thunderbolt graphics card, I think we have our answer.

Mac minis!
post #71 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleaknik View Post

And I'm sure most of y'all laugh at me for saying this.

I'm laughing at you for using "'em" three times in one sentence.
post #72 of 649
Oh great, more BS rumors for the BS "Apple doesn't care about Pros anymore" crowd.

Seriously, I'm guessing either this rumor is just acknowledging a drop in sales, or Apple is working on a slightly different form factor that will replace the Mac Pro.
post #73 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by markb View Post

Honestly my 2011 15" Mac book pro outperforms The Mac pro for any app (essentially all games past, present, future) that don't efficiently use all 8 cores. The two apps that I have encountered that make the Mac pro viable if just are aperture and video encoding/compression.

Those two sentences illustrate the definition of the word "Pro" in Mac Pro: someone who uses a computer to create saleable content/services for their job or business. Notice how the apps which fit in that category (Aperture, video encoding tools, Final Cut, Logic, Xcode, etc) take full advantage of the Mac Pro hardware...
 
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post #74 of 649
The nerd herd rarely gets what it demands from Apple yet the company continues to flourish. I hope they keep the Mac Pro line going even though I went iMac years ago and have never regretted it. But if it's not contributing to the bottom line then...
post #75 of 649
I don't think machines like this are relevant anymore. People want compact, portable, low impact, powerful (enough) and less expensive. Tower cases are for the 90's, for the past.

This is also not Apple's business anymore. Apple has a good sense of cutting technologies when they are no longer relevant, I hope they can make that decision here.
post #76 of 649
The macpro is way too expensive, too heavy, too big, and 8 years old. It's time to rethink the workstation paradigm and reinvent Mac pro's into a more nimble but powerful footprint that is headless. Jonathan Ive should make this a priority and get the ball rolling on this. I refuse to dump 3-5k in a powerful workstation. Those days are long gone, after all, mobility and size is very important to a lot of people right now.
post #77 of 649
Why would Apple do this seeing how Dell and HP are rolling in money supporting enterprise and "Pro" users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

This should not be a surprise to anybody following Apple. They alienated the company which made some of the most popular software for their machines, and discontinued their own professional software. They discontinued their infrastructure products, and declared themselves to be a gadget company which is changing its focus to "portable devices".
post #78 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

You can't depend on the Hackintosh route to continuing to work either.

Why not?

Even if the Mac Pro disappears, Apple will continue to make iMacs, and most hackintoshes uses the same CPU's that iMacs use.
post #79 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Can you help satisfy my own curiosity? Did you expand your own Mac Pro? If so, in what way? Did you add additional video cards? More disk drives? I'm curious as to how many people might have bought a Pro - just in case, but no case as arisen for the need to expand.

I'll jump in on this. I bought a MacPro1,1 over 4 years ago to replace my failed G4 MDD 2x1.42. I have since filled the HD bays (System, System Clone, Media, Time Machine), upgraded the RAM twice, added an eSATA card, upgraded the video card, and added video IO (Intensity Pro).

Though my situation is a bit different than most, since I will often work on freelance motion design & video post from home. Honestly, I can't see much use for a MacPro beyond the film & video post market. Most graphic designers & photographers I know have moved on to iMacs or MacBook Pros.

What would be unfortunate for Apple if they discontinue the Mac Pros is that almost all the software I use at this point (After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Cinema4D, and several plugins) is platform agnostic. Shops that need the power and are due for an upgrade will switch to Windows systems. This could then lead to a reverse Apple halo effect where people (like me) who have been invested in Macs for so long can realize that Windows & PC workstations are in fact a usable alternative and resemble little of the WindowsXP experience they probably migrated from. Then when it's time to upgrade at home, they might more seriously consider a Windows box. Then what about that iPhone? Then they start talking to their family & friends about how much better Windows has gotten (Keep in mind, that was all hypothetical.)

While iOS has been a huge boon to Apple, they seem to have forgotten that there were a good number of people who migrated to Macs based on recommendations from pros (family & friends) who were working with them, the "cool" factor of seeing high-profile films & other jobs completed with them, or a combination of the two. However, in a post PC world, perhaps the Mac overall will be less & less relevant to Apple. Time will tell and few outside of Cupertino know the answers.
post #80 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

I don't think machines like this are relevant anymore. People want compact, portable, low impact, powerful (enough) and less expensive. Tower cases are for the 90's, for the past.

This is also not Apple's business anymore. Apple has a good sense of cutting technologies when they are no longer relevant, I hope they can make that decision here.

I have to agree, these huge heavy tower cases are a thing of the past, we need server chips in a smaller footprint that can do comparable processing by reducing the sheer size. I'm sure people will be adopting external thunderbolt drives instead of internal sata's like they used to.

Apple should seriously get working on this and give us another option that is more powerful than its iMac line. Time is against them on this issue, workstations have remained stagnant, and it's up to Apple to reinvent this broken thing.
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