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Despite new CPU options, Apple reportedly questioning future of Mac Pro - Page 12

post #441 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchnellFowVay View Post


I agree that even if building and selling MP's is a net loss for Apple, it is important, at the very least, to maintain professional/workstation Operating System market share.

And, as much as I hesitate to EVER suggest that Apple would allow 3P hardware manufacturers again, I can see a possibility that Apple may partner with another producer of High End workstations (i.e. HP, etc.) to make the machines. They may even call it an apple and sell it on the Apple store. This would probably alleviate many of the operating losses caused by the MP.

It's extremely unlikely that Apple is losing money on the mac pro. Other things have outpaced them in recent years. Lack of consistent updates from intel hasn't helped at all. The longer refresh cycle encourages people to wait. If you've owned a machine for say 2-3 years and it's starting to feel like you need more power, you won't want to buy something that has gone unchanged for more than a year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim W View Post

A great deal of that computationally intensive processing takes place on the internal PCIe cards, such as NVidia Cuda graphics cards for Adobe, etc, etc.. Video I/O is on these cards. Where are there 16x Thunderbolt expansion options? The cruel fact is that most of that work will move to PC's. Heaven forbid! It will just be easier than Thunderbolt kludges connected to underpowered laptops and consumer level desktops. There is a halo effect from the high end creative work done on Mac Pros. I just hope Apple's new management realizes that. Not to mention that many people's livelihoods depend on them.

Even the 16x cards don't fully saturate that many lanes but if they saturate more than 8 lanes, 16 is the next step. I agree thunderbolt isn't a replacement for that kind of bandwidth. Even if intel pushed it and stepped up the bandwidth, you'd still run into an issue on wattage.
post #442 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

It's extremely unlikely that Apple is losing money on the mac pro. Other things have outpaced them in recent years. Lack of consistent updates from intel hasn't helped at all. The longer refresh cycle encourages people to wait. If you've owned a machine for say 2-3 years and it's starting to feel like you need more power, you won't want to buy something that has gone unchanged for more than a year.

A quick list of things indicating a troubled platform.
  1. When updates do come they are uninspired.
  2. The lack of TB support on the platform. Not that I find it compelling just that they used a laptop to introduce the technology.
  3. Massive price bumps for no apparent reason.
  4. The general lack of focus on new technology.
  5. There is almost to public acknowledgement of the machines existence any more. Apple just doesn't promote the machine like it has in the past.

Now given this I suspect that Apple more than breaks even on hardware costs, that is the cost to assemble the machine. However I really doubt that they make enough money from the platform to justify the engineering expense to build the next iteration. In fact each new release looks like an attempt to limit engineering costs as much as possible.
Quote:

Even the 16x cards don't fully saturate that many lanes but if they saturate more than 8 lanes, 16 is the next step. I agree thunderbolt isn't a replacement for that kind of bandwidth. Even if intel pushed it and stepped up the bandwidth, you'd still run into an issue on wattage.

There are a number of reasons why one shouldn't rely upon external expansion or maybe better said why such isn't desirable. I'm not even convinced that the current approach with PC based PCI-Express cards is all that great either. Unfortunately it is what we have as a standard right now. It wouldn't hurt Apple all that much to transition to a new technology here too. PCI-E 3 is soon to be here as is the transition to alternative storage tech, it is a really good time to focus on alternative board form factors. The right form factor could be applicable to the PRO, and the Mini. It could possibly be extended to the iMac and laptops.

Now I can see people already crying in their milk, why why why. Well it is simple, the industry needs a common format moving forward that supports PCI-E 3 and can be very low cost for the transition to solid state storage. In other words a primary motivator here is a card that effectively replaces the disk drive bay and the current PCI card slots.
post #443 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by pistolero View Post

Let's keep things under perspective. Despite all the legitimate complains from the professional users demanding the highest performance in a workstation, it is a very small market. In fact there wasn't enough money in this market to sustain SGI, SUN and all the other major workstation makers catering to this market. And the market using Apple workstations is probably even smaller since it seems its mostly graphics/video users, since lots of scientific/engineering software simply doesn't run in OSX.

Actually I think Apples market is probably bigger but the fact that it is bigger doesn't mean it is big enough. This is one of the reasons why I suggest that Apple needs to significantly expand the appeal of the Pro. It needs to be a platform that can be had in at least two different performance configurations. One should be built with a mainstream processor the other with a dual socket Xeon type mother board. They need to pull in sales from people that need the other features of the Pro besides hard thread count.
Quote:
In my area of work, all scientific simulation software that used to run exclusively on unix and required a very expensive branded workstation, was eventually ported to windows for desktop use, and linux to run in clusters for big jobs that a workstation simply cannot handle. OSX will never be supported, since it doesn't offer anything superior above linux for this purpose.

Actually I do see Apple getting some traction here. In many ways Mac OS/X is still more appealing than going the Windows route. Clusters though will likely stay with Linux.
Quote:
This situation is not new. so I doubt Apple is going to simply discontinue the MP now when they would have done so long ago when it was clear it had extremely limited commercial appeal. It seems they are content to have it available despite the low sales. In fact, HP Dell etc offerings are in the same price range, so I don't understand why people are complaining that they are a rip off.

The ripoff comes from the relatively high cost if you are looking for some of the expansion capability. For example I could effectively get buy with four cores and a solid OpenCL supporting video solution, something that could be had today in an iMac and probably in an Ivy Bridge Mini. However neither of those two platforms take care of other factors that are important, these are:
  1. Ram expansion.
  2. Storage expansion.
  3. Maintainability.
  4. I/O expansion.
You would have a very hard time convincing me that the Pro is any thing less than a ripoff if you are trying to answer these needs. For all of its power and usefulness the Mini falls flat on its face with all of the items above. It is especially shameful of Apple to realize that the MBPs are far more maintainable that the iMac or Mini.

The arguments supporting the Mac Pro because of the computational performance are very valid but that isn't the only reason to desire a Mac Pro. I suspect many mis this point when dismissing the Pro. For example the Pro is currently the only piece of Apple hardware that could even be considered as a storage server.
post #444 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchnellFowVay View Post

Seriously??

What I posted was relevant and representative of my personal experience. Why don't you move on to a different forum.

His request was rational in the context of this thread. To many have already posted going on and on about how well their G4 performs. The reality is if your hardware is fast enough for you or has the other capabilities you need then this forum isn't about your needs.
Quote:
Also, everyone, don't forget that just because Apple discontinues the MP, doesn't mean they are out of the workstation market for good. The MP's design, while elegant and extremely well engineered, is very dated.

Well this I agree with. The whole platform is in need of an overhaul.
Quote:
I agree that even if building and selling MP's is a net loss for Apple, it is important, at the very least, to maintain professional/workstation Operating System market share.

Trying to sell hardware at a lost has killed many a company. In Apples position though they would open themselves up to lawsuits.
Quote:
And, as much as I hesitate to EVER suggest that Apple would allow 3P hardware manufacturers again, I can see a possibility that Apple may partner with another producer of High End workstations (i.e. HP, etc.) to make the machines. They may even call it an apple and sell it on the Apple store. This would probably alleviate many of the operating losses caused by the MP.

What advantage would there be for Apple. All of this hardware is made in China, often in the same plants.
Quote:
Doing something like this for the iMac or the Mac Mini would be unthinkable, given the tight engineering specs and proprietary designs used in both. BUt the Mac Pro is pretty much just a shiny PC built with a really well designed case. There's no particular reason they couldn't license the case to HP, and HP couldn't obtain the same components through its sources and build an identical computer that would come preinstalled with OSX.

again there is no rational reason to do this. More importantly Apple needs to innovate on the desktop, you can't do that by relabeling somebody else's hardware.
Quote:
Again, I hesitate to suggest that Apple would ever again experiment with 3P hardware licenses. BUt if they were going to, the Mac Pro seems a logical place to do it.

The problem with the Mac Pro is that Apple is building a computer for the past not one that is suitable for the future. There are many technologies coming on line that will permit a radically different Mac Pro that allows the machine to focus on high performance. Apple just needs to focus on the hardware a bit to get there.
post #445 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

You have made some interesting points, especially in respect of SGI and Sun. A colleague and I however, ported a LINUX only scientific package to OS X with very little effort. The advantage? To be fair, this applies in my case if not in general but it relieved me of the need to run that awful OS, especially the great pretender Ubuntu. Honestly, to me, this was a great relief and gave me a complete processing chain under the one OS (the one to rule them all lol)! Others would disagree.

It's nice to see 8 instances of the application running in 8 cores, each one fully taxed.

All the best.

I agree that porting to OSX is not a big deal (depending on the libraries involved and licensing of any proprietary stuff used in the application ). However the market is already so small that it's not worth to offer full commercial support. Perhaps the market can grow if these companies were to target the academic market, selling a OSX version for university students in math/science/engineering ) like Mathematica and MatLab do) and this would increase demand for workstation quality hardware for the mac platform.
post #446 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Now I can see people already crying in their milk, why why why. Well it is simple, the industry needs a common format moving forward that supports PCI-E 3 and can be very low cost for the transition to solid state storage. In other words a primary motivator here is a card that effectively replaces the disk drive bay and the current PCI card slots.

Considering the push for lower wattage consumption across basically all components and the push from mobile devices upward and servers down, it's pretty reasonable to expect some updates on standards for these things. What I hope doesn't catch on or continue is Apple's trend toward junk technology where things that used to be drop-in type replacements all become one week turnaround repair items. Overall longevity on things like batteries has improved, but component reliability as a whole is all over the place. Premature display backlight failure isn't as common these days as it was a few years ago, but hard drive reliability is in many cases down (both ssds and seagate which amuses me because it has "gate" in the name). Pushing everything into breakout boxes seems like a very interim design in an industry that has been focused on consolidation.

The overall dissection of the mac pro design by a few others has shown a lack of understanding over what would influence the price and audience. If we're talking about people using it for work, it comes down to TCO and what you get for it. Some of these guys have $10,000 or more in accompanying hardware addons, software, and peripheral devices needed to make it a fully usable machine. As for thunderbolt, if you need something today, it will probably cost more via a thunderbolt item for lesser performance, and Intel really needs to help push it. They keep hitting snags on cost or development and end up backing away each time.
post #447 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

I'm using a current 12 core Mac Pro and I have render times of up to 20 minutes a frame, sometimes longer. So I don't want to wait a few years for an iMac or Mac Mini to have the power of what is needed NOW.
...
. That will not be Apple if they kill the Mac Pro. As I will switch within 3 months of that announcement.

If they drop it, your rig will still render at the same speed for the next 18 months. That's the point.
post #448 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Considering the push for lower wattage consumption across basically all components and the push from mobile devices upward and servers down, it's pretty reasonable to expect some updates on standards for these things. What I hope doesn't catch on or continue is Apple's trend toward junk technology where things that used to be drop-in type replacements all become one week turnaround repair items. Overall longevity on things like batteries has improved, but component reliability as a whole is all over the place. Premature display backlight failure isn't as common these days as it was a few years ago, but hard drive reliability is in many cases down (both ssds and seagate which amuses me because it has "gate" in the name). Pushing everything into breakout boxes seems like a very interim design in an industry that has been focused on consolidation.

I can't say I blame you as your concern is justified. The problem is as things get smaller and more highly integrated the ability to effectively repair a device goes down. If the GPU in a Sandy Bridge chip goes north you loose the CPU.

I foresee a day when things like iPad and iPhone are one solid block of material with everything inside a mystery.
Quote:
The overall dissection of the mac pro design by a few others has shown a lack of understanding over what would influence the price and audience. If we're talking about people using it for work, it comes down to TCO and what you get for it. Some of these guys have $10,000 or more in accompanying hardware addons,

yes I realize that. My point is there isn't enough of those sorts of people to keep the Mac Pro profitable. This is the number one reason why I believe Apple has to find a way to appeal to more users with the next Pro. The idea is to pick up additional sales from users that don't need the flat out performance but rather need a chassis to serve other needs.
Quote:
software, and peripheral devices needed to make it a fully usable machine. As for thunderbolt, if you need something today, it will probably cost more via a thunderbolt item for lesser performance, and Intel really needs to help push it. They keep hitting snags on cost or development and end up backing away each time.

TB will fail if Intel can't open it up to competing hardware. The only way to get costs down is via micro controllers with build in TB ports. Many peripherals these days run on single chip processors, you can't even do that today with TB. Intel could give the TB chips away and still fail to grab the traction they need in the market place. Right at the moment I don't see TB being cost effective anytime soon. Worst yet we have yet to see an example of any device with more than one TB port, even if TB could replace internal slots right now there are no examples of machines with enough TB ports to replace internal slots.
post #449 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I foresee a day when things like iPad and iPhone are one solid block of material with everything inside a mystery.

yes I realize that. My point is there isn't enough of those sorts of people to keep the Mac Pro profitable. This is the number one reason why I believe Apple has to find a way to appeal to more users with the next Pro. The idea is to pick up additional sales from users that don't need the flat out performance but rather need a chassis to serve other needs.


TB will fail if Intel can't open it up to competing hardware. The only way to get costs down is via micro controllers with build in TB ports. Many peripherals these days run on single chip processors, you can't even do that today with TB. Intel could give the TB chips away and still fail to grab the traction they need in the market place. Right at the moment I don't see TB being cost effective anytime soon. Worst yet we have yet to see an example of any device with more than one TB port, even if TB could replace internal slots right now there are no examples of machines with enough TB ports to replace internal slots.

27" imac has two thunderbolt ports. I don't know if they share bandwidth. The next generation chips are supposed to have more channels and lowered cost, but unlike usb3 thunderbolt isn't going to be part of the chipset.

I think Apple is reaching a point with this stuff where even if they started work on a successor to that line today, it would be too late. They missed a few features that really hurt their chances of going after windows users early on with the mac pro. I felt at the time to really keep that line going they needed to leverage into windows territory by converting people from Dell and HP workstations to Apple even if they were still running Windows. They had a really strong price point but just lacked a few features. If they got more workstation users using macs regardless of what OS was run, the machine would potentially be in a better spot today.
post #450 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hapalibashi View Post

If they drop it, your rig will still render at the same speed for the next 18 months. That's the point.

Yes, that is absolutely true! But in 18 months, I better not still be using this 12 core machine, I better be using a 16 or 24 or ??? what ever the next faster revision is.

That's why PRO is attached to the name Mac... Professionals require updates..
post #451 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hapalibashi View Post

If they drop it, your rig will still render at the same speed for the next 18 months. That's the point.

But is he going to be rendering the same size files in 18 months? Hell, if I was still working with MiniDV video, I could still be using my old G5 tower.
post #452 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

But is he going to be rendering the same size files in 18 months? Hell, if I was still working with MiniDV video, I could still be using my old G5 tower.

I don't see why not. The last stop for video quality is Super Hi-Vision, so once we start shooting in that, rendering speeds will only get faster.

Now for CGI scenes, that's always going to need faster crap.

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post #453 of 649
I'll second the 'beefed up mac mini' thoughts here, how about another cube shaped computer with the same footprint,
post #454 of 649
Seriously I'm not obsessed with the form factor of the device, I'm more concerned about getting the right features at the right price.

Now that doesn't mean there aren't preferred dimensions or form factors. Ideally the device would be more of a rectangle that sits well on a shelf or desk. A ball would really sit well at all. This rectangle should be compatible with standard Rack mount heights and a fraction of a standard width. The idea being to be able to sit two or three of them side by side in a rack. So we are talking something around 5 or 8 or so inches in width, 3U in height and maybe 12 inches deep.

The limitation on depth is there to allow thIs XMac to sit on a book shelf without fear of it falling off. The whole idea with these dimensions is one machine that can be easily deployed in a number of different situations. Hell add a few clips to make bolting it to a wall easy.

Most importantly they should put in the effort to make it easy to service. The most pathetic thing about Apple right now is that their laptops are easier to work on that things like the Mini or iMac. Desktop machines by their nature should be very easy to access, update or repair.

In the end I'd be happy with just about anything at the right price point and capability level.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceti331 View Post

I'll second the 'beefed up mac mini' thoughts here, how about another cube shaped computer with the same footprint,
post #455 of 649
I would have bought another one long ago. Sure they are slow compared to iMacs. But, that's only because the iMacs have been kept up to date.

I need an easily expandable desktop computer for our photography/video business. Maybe they can do it on a smaller footprint. I really don't care. The size doesn't bug me. And I love the ease of access to its internals.

Apple's stalling in updating the Mac Pro is making decreasing sales a self-fufilling prophecy.
post #456 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob_for_life View Post

I would have bought another one long ago. Sure they are slow compared to iMacs. But, that's only because the iMacs have been kept up to date.

Most likely in a single threaded app but the Pro can be much faster with heavily threaded apps. Not to mention winning hands down multitasking.
Quote:
I need an easily expandable desktop computer for our photography/video business. Maybe they can do it on a smaller footprint. I really don't care. The size doesn't bug me. And I love the ease of access to its internals.

Apple's stalling in updating the Mac Pro is making decreasing sales a self-fufilling prophecy.

Yep. However realize that it does appear in this case that Intel is screwing up. Either way the lack of an update hurts. However the self fulfilling prophecy is a reality, the Pro just doesn't meet customer needs.
post #457 of 649
Over 450 replies. Yikes! Was there an argument about the xMac?
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post #458 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

It's extremely unlikely that Apple is losing money on the mac pro. Other things have outpaced them in recent years. Lack of consistent updates from intel hasn't helped at all. The longer refresh cycle encourages people to wait. If you've owned a machine for say 2-3 years and it's starting to feel like you need more power, you won't want to buy something that has gone unchanged for more than a year.




Even the 16x cards don't fully saturate that many lanes but if they saturate more than 8 lanes, 16 is the next step. I agree thunderbolt isn't a replacement for that kind of bandwidth. Even if intel pushed it and stepped up the bandwidth, you'd still run into an issue on wattage.

you do realize the potential throughput for a thunderbolt lane running over opitcal wiring is 100Gps? This is according to Intel. Granted, Apple's current implementation uses Thunderbolt over copper wiring but as the tech advances it may be highly unlikely you'll need internal expansion cards, even for GPU's.
post #459 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru_canuk View Post

you do realize the potential throughput for a thunderbolt lane running over opitcal wiring is 100Gps? This is according to Intel. Granted, Apple's current implementation uses Thunderbolt over copper wiring but as the tech advances it may be highly unlikely you'll need internal expansion cards, even for GPU's.

Intel said it could reach 100 gigabits per second in a decade from now. I mention this just for clarification as too many people get messed up with gigabits versus gigabytes. Many other things will change within ten years as well, and this is assuming they don't run into problems. It's not an instant bandwidth change just by using fibre cables, and Intel has warned us they will be expensive. They've mentioned things like it's a matter of how much bandwidth people are willing to pay for.


Dadi Perlmutter of Intel's Architecture Group said copper wires are working much better than expected, and that fiber was expensive. 'It's going to be way out,' Perlmutter said. 'At the end of the day it's all about how much speed people need versus how much they would be willing to pay.'"


There are articles like that all over the internet about this. It will not be instant and it will cost real money. They are not going to integrate it into the chipsets next year. It will not automatically make it into every PC. Even in its current form it's an excellent step up from something like usb, but it's not a magical solution to all of your problems. The solution of may work well enough as a catch all two to three years from now doesn't really help if you need a computer before then.
post #460 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Yep. However realize that it does appear in this case that Intel is screwing up. Either way the lack of an update hurts. However the self fulfilling prophecy is a reality, the Pro just doesn't meet customer needs.

While Intel is not behind in their Xeon server class processor line, they are still making faster chips. A single chip mac pro running a quad core I7 at 3.4Ghz would be a decent upgrade from the current entry level tower, and be more affordable. Apple's obsession with streamlining is actually hurting them in this instance.
post #461 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

While Intel is not behind in their Xeon server class processor line, they are still making faster chips. A single chip mac pro running a quad core I7 at 3.4Ghz would be a decent upgrade from the current entry level tower, and be more affordable. Apple's obsession with streamlining is actually hurting them in this instance.

Precisely.

I know that ECC is the rationaleand as Intel's own website says, "The Intel® Core i7 desktop processors and desktop boards typically do not support ECC memory"but your point about a single chip core i7 makes sense as an entry-level offering.
post #462 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post

Precisely.

I know that ECC is the rationale—and as Intel's own website says, "The Intel® Core™ i7 desktop processors and desktop boards typically do not support ECC memory"—but your point about a single chip core i7 makes sense as an entry-level offering.

The computer you described above could be the X mac.
Maybe Apple should sell that in its present vendor channels, drop the entry level Mac Pro and sell higher powered Mac Pros on a build to order basis. How would Apple re-sellers react to this?
post #463 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

While Intel is not behind in their Xeon server class processor line, they are still making faster chips. A single chip mac pro running a quad core I7 at 3.4Ghz would be a decent upgrade from the current entry level tower, and be more affordable. Apple's obsession with streamlining is actually hurting them in this instance.

That cpu actually costs the same amount as the one in the starting mac pro. Neither has seen a price drop. They both hover around $300 retail. 3GB of the ECC ram currently in the mac pro costs the same or less than the ram currently in the imac (even newer ECC ram contributes a few dollars at most to the cost). They use a pretty basic logic board so the cost isn't there.

I could go on and on but it starts high because it probably wasn't selling in the volume Apple wanted, so they raised the price to increase their per unit margin rather than killing that model. I hate having to repeat this, but i7s wouldn't do much for it. Also remember Apple hates competing products within their line.
post #464 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

. . . Also remember Apple hates competing products within their line.

Could you explain your comment? I see the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro all competing within the laptop computer line. Why should the desktop line be any different? Shortage of desirable desktop models may be what is hurting sales in that product line.
post #465 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

Could you explain your comment? I see the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro all competing within the laptop computer line. Why should the desktop line be any different? Shortage of desirable desktop models may be what is hurting sales in that product line.

I see your point and don't think another desktop Mac would be an issue (though likely not profitable to be of interest to Apple) the Mac notebook line really doesn't compete with other. Each has category has their own very distinct niche. You get 3 sizes of the Pro line, and 2 sizes of the Ultraportable line. The only crossover is the 13" but we're still talking two distinct categories based on computing needs. I'd think the 27" iMac and Mac Pro with 27" Apple display compete more between customer's hemming and hawing over which setup to buy.

PS: To my surprise Apple has essentially cut out the MacBook line. I wonder if they will continue the 13" (or maybe 13" and 15") MBPs as plain ol' MacBooks for those still hung up on the clunky, slow, and power-hungry optical disc drive (ODD) once they release the redesign of the MBP to lose the ODD while still maintaining it's power and capacity of the Pro line.
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post #466 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Intel said it could reach 100 gigabits per second in a decade from now. I mention this just for clarification as too many people get messed up with gigabits versus gigabytes. Many other things will change within ten years as well, and this is assuming they don't run into problems. It's not an instant bandwidth change just by using fibre cables, and Intel has warned us they will be expensive. They've mentioned things like it's a matter of how much bandwidth people are willing to pay for.


Dadi Perlmutter of Intel's Architecture Group said copper wires are working much better than expected, and that fiber was expensive. 'It's going to be way out,' Perlmutter said. 'At the end of the day it's all about how much speed people need versus how much they would be willing to pay.'"


There are articles like that all over the internet about this. It will not be instant and it will cost real money. They are not going to integrate it into the chipsets next year. It will not automatically make it into every PC. Even in its current form it's an excellent step up from something like usb, but it's not a magical solution to all of your problems. The solution of may work well enough as a catch all two to three years from now doesn't really help if you need a computer before then.

I agree it's not a magical solution but it's a decent step up from PCI Express, USB, & Firewire. Also, Apple's philosophy these days is about revolves around "skating to where the puck will be, not to where the puck is."
post #467 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru_canuk View Post

I agree it's not a magical solution but it's a decent step up from PCI Express, USB, & Firewire. Also, Apple's philosophy these days is about revolves around "skating to where the puck will be, not to where the puck is."

I'm familiar with the history of their decisions including recent ones.. It does hurt sales during interim product generations when replacement solutions aren't yet in place, which means if they were going the thunderbolt only route on these machines, they'd still have to float them in their current for while thunderbolt catches up. As of today it's an expensive niche product, and we have yet to see what intel will do with it next year. To me it means I could get some amazing storage speed on a laptop . Beyond that nothing happening next year is going to make it cheap enough to implement as a connection for mice, keyboards, etc. I've read everything intel has released on the spec because I was hoping they would push it.

The other thing I mentioned was that pci doesn't have to be used as we know it today. The standard could still be used for integrating smaller components into the motherboard going forward. This has already been done in the macbook air. It's unlikely we'll see a huge revision to the mac pro anytime soon. We'll see how long they continue to float it. I imagine the other oems are angry with Intel as well, seeing as the lack of updates prevents them from updating machines.
post #468 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru_canuk View Post

I agree it's not a magical solution but it's a decent step up from PCI Express, USB, & Firewire. Also, Apple's philosophy these days is about revolves around "skating to where the puck will be, not to where the puck is."

Unfortunately, all of us are where the puck is today.
post #469 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

Shortage of desirable desktop models may be what is hurting sales in that product line.

That is the reason that I haven't replaced my old Mac. The mini was made less desirable for me when Apple did away with the optical drive. I do not like glossy screens nor do I really want an all in one. But the Mac Pro is overkill for me.

So here I sit, a Mac user for over 18 years and Apple isn't selling me anything new because nothing Apple makes fits the bill. And since I am unable to get the one thing I need I have also held back on purchasing other Apple products like iPods and iPhones. Why encourage Apple with those kinds of sales when Apple isn't meeting my need?

If Apple had only made the new mini taller to hold more internally.
post #470 of 649
I own an audio post studio and can confirm that there are many customers who use the mac because of its compatibility for pci-e cards such as the new Avid Pro Tools hdx cards, lynx audio cards and a few plugin dsp card manufacturers plus the expand ability on memory and full size cpu's, not to mention creative video production with the high end graphics cards. We use the mac os because it has been the most reliable and we use the mac pro because is very flexible and expandable. It would be a huge mistake to take this machine away from the community and tell everyone they have to use thunderbolt. While thuderbolt may be a great new technology other manufacturers should be considered in this decision.

I for one don't want to be forced into having to build a hackintosh and deal with a potentially unstable system because I need a system that supports my hardware and god forbid PC manufacturers should end up benefiting from this by virtue of customer having NO OTHER CHOICE but to use a windows based system because they can get a system that supports their hardware.

I'd be happy if Pro Tools ran on Linux, I wouldn't be having this dilemma.
post #471 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

That is the reason that I haven't replaced my old Mac. . .

Consider bypassing Apple to get an affordable tower. I now have my xMac, so to speak. I just bought an older Mac Pro with 2 dual core, 2.66 GHz Xeons, 8 GB of RAM, an nVidia 8800gt video card, Airport Extreme and Bluetooth installed, plus keyboard and mouse, all in beautiful condition. I found it on Craigslist for $850. If Apple won't build a lower cost tower, I'll buy one in the used market.
post #472 of 649
Just because they can microsize everything doesn't mean they should...
The iMac Air and even the MacBookPro all use Mobile processors and GPUs in a heat distribution casing that is a severely restricted hence end user cloud client machines, whilst this can accommodate perhaps the vast majority of both small business and many creative users requirements it leaves a particular hole in high end Pro market that cannot be accommodated by this range offering hence if Apple are to continue to innovate into the future then they will have to come up with a new Flagship high end Mac to further MacOS development, if they don't and scrap the MacPro without replacement then this could be the turning point that will eventually mark the downfall of Apple as Windows 8 and Ivybridge come on-line in 2012 and even Arm Cortex-A15 and it quad-core varient spreads its wings to accommodate competing commercial devices of which in the 3D arena apple already lags well behind.

At the same time it seems to me that current world financial hiccups have held up Intel development which will finally start to mature early next year with the imminent release of Ivybridge processors and new cooler running boards, more faster RAM, PCIexpress 3, OCZ triple-level-cell Nand cheaper SSD, and even dare I say it GPU processing.
infact the only truncation that strangles the architecture seems to be SATA hard drives.
considering the high end market place is made up of people who still traditionally rely on and readily afford the direct PCIe card means of expansion which cannot be remotely matched using compounding restriction TB periferals however much some misguided folk may wish for In this level of machine just shows a lack of technical understanding,TB is a simple PCI interlink extension not a replacement for internal PCI architecture.

In order to best accommodate a design for the next five years or more of this pro highend market Apple seems to have only one real direction to go in that which is dictated by the user market who would pay the way of such a machine, that is make an 6/8 way PCIe based chassis ditching all SATA mechanical legacy drives, One could even use half hight PCIe card designs with a single 6 & 8 core IvyBridge i7EXTREEM using the new intel liquid cooling system making for an extreemly sleek cool 16/19" "X" rack workstation,

this concept would minimise case and development cost with a thin PSU down one side, very fast 8 and 16 lane PCIe slots for multiple GPUs or even processor on a on PCIe card where future multi node transputing cards could be entertained, and as many SSD or hybrids cards in raid as you need, totem poled server pool racking, where a single computer would become the perfect MacproX workstation with MacOS and the integrated server really would cream the processional and high end business PROmarkets aswell as enthusiast level beyond iMacs.

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, and I'm sure apple would find a higher end app shop aswell to make it all a profitable flagship enterprise.

But Steve Jobs only left Apple a 4 yr roadplan it seems and whether that includes the MacPro or not remains to be seen, maybe Apple will be more satisfied by becoming a future television service provider and apps store, and the AppleMac Professional pipedream has already ended.
post #473 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy View Post

Consider bypassing Apple to get an affordable tower. I now have my xMac, so to speak. I just bought an older Mac Pro with 2 dual core, 2.66 GHz Xeons, 8 GB of RAM, an nVidia 8800gt video card, Airport Extreme and Bluetooth installed, plus keyboard and mouse, all in beautiful condition. I found it on Craigslist for $850. If Apple won't build a lower cost tower, I'll buy one in the used market.

Five year old hardware doesn't seem like a true solution to the problem. The problem with the current designs is that they're very mass market designs. They turn out products designed to appeal to as many people as possible. I'd switch to windows before buying a computer from 2006. I'd end up having to make too many upgrades anyway.
post #474 of 649
This is just a Rumor, I wouldn't expect to anything to happen on the Mac Pro updates until the E5 SB Xeons ship and that isn't until 2012.
post #475 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanMc View Post

Just because they can microsize everything doesn't mean they should...

And you see this in all kinds of products. Even my teenage daughters complain that things like the iPod Nano are too small. It is harder to use if everything is scrunched close together.
post #476 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

And you see this in all kinds of products. Even my teenage daughters complain that things like the iPod Nano are too small. It is harder to use if everything is scrunched close together.

Even the candybar Nano's Controls got scrunched to the point of being less than ideal.

Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #477 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

And you see this in all kinds of products. Even my teenage daughters complain that things like the iPod Nano are too small. It is harder to use if everything is scrunched close together.


Yeah, I wasn't advocating their continued miniaturization. I just meant that the smaller ones tend to be more convenient for jogging or working out. It's less of an issue with the ipod touch but running with one that contained a mechanical hard drive with moving parts would have made me concerned about device damage.
post #478 of 649
I have been an AppleInsider reader for many years.

I really love reading everyone's comments - content to let others speak what's on my mind and heart as well. This topic has forced me to open up an account and finally start speaking up.

I have been an avid Apple user/support since 1994. Prior to that I used macs in high school and college but never really understood or fell in love with them as I did once I graduated college and found my true calling as a graphic designer/communicator.

Since then I have purchased 10s if not hundreds of macs for various companies, institutions I have worked for, and have evangelized the platform to friends, family and co-workers.

Ok, so enough of my background.

Here's the deal:

1) Mac Pros are overpriced. I purchased my first G4 tower in 2001 for $1400. Now they are double this price. yes they are more powerful but now are priced even out of my price range as a grown man with house, kids, cars and a mortgage.

2) Software from Adobe, Apple and other require lots of horsepower - more horsepower than a mobile chip in a desktop form factor can provide. Don't tell me that a mac mini can do it. We purchased 10 mac minis a few months ago. We fitted two of them with i7 processors and 8 GB of ram. As a graphic designer, I tried one and we gave one to our web developer for use building websites in Joomla, doing graphics in Adobe CS 5.5 - a true multi-tasker. After less than a month, he gave it back and we went a different solution. it was too slow for him. I compared the performance of that mac mini and my first generation Mac Pro with a Quad-Core Xeon with 10 GB (macpro1,1). That 1st gen Mac Pro still blows the doors off the mac mini. I'm sticking with my Mac Pro and gave the mac mini to an administrative assistant in the office.

3) Thunderbolt is great. I love it and it was because of this, the user-expandable ram option, and dual-monitor support - we went with the mac mini for general office work - and some graphics work. But for heavy-duty use, forget it. It is overpriced compared to alternatives. In order to get it to work I would have to pull out the stop and put in an SSD drive which would drive the cost to over $1200 for the privilege of a small form factor. Great. I purchased a used third generation 8-core Mac Pro for $1400 with more speed than two mac minis.

3) iMacs - as others have written - please don't get me started. I tried those too. We have 3. Great for general purpose work and graphic design workers - but the G5 imacs and even some of the Intel ones had lots of heat-related issues. And instead of being able to replace a single part failure you have to turn in the whole thing - good luck with that. You have to have another one sitting in a corner somewhere to pull out and start using it - if you can get the drive contents moved over. You loose the whole thing! hard drive, video card, monitor - the whole thing! We do have a 27" iMac and have been pretty happy with it. Again, thunderbolt is a great option on this machine. However, as has been stated, an only glossy option is not appropriate for everyone.

It's just tough. With the Mac Pro we had 4 proverbial bowls of porage to choose from. With the removal of this option, now we have 3 bowls for us to choose from - but they are all either too hot, too cold, not enough. Whatever we choose doesn't quite fit our needs, which requires us to compromise our needs and use cases. I love Apple - most of the time, but this is getting ridiculous.

We need a single workstation class machine - I don't care what anybody says. And if they choose to remove this option, people will go elsewhere. They are forcing people's hands. Maybe that is the purpose and intent - to finally move from a computer company to a consumer electronics company.

If/when that day comes, it will indeed be a very sad day for all of the supporters who have helped Apple get to the point where they are now. They did the work and all success and praise goes to Steve and the other management team members that have brought Apple to where they are today. But - they were only able to do so because they had customers willing to believe in them, who stood by and argued and supported Apple when so many had written them off. The old proverb "pride comes before the fall" is still alive and well. Microsoft had the same attitude. I went to a small I.T. tradeshow in Long Beach today. They were relegated to a small space showing off their upcoming tablet offerings. Very sad for a once large company. If Apple takes its customers for granted this could happen to them - or any company as well. Apple, if you're reading this, provide us with an alternative - something between a mac mini and mac pro. Thanks.
post #479 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by emilt View Post

I have been an AppleInsider reader for many years.

I really love reading everyone's comments - content to let others speak what's on my mind and heart as well. This topic has forced me to open up an account and finally start speaking up.

What took you so long?

Seriously though welcome aboard. As you can see this thread impacts a lot of people in different ways.
Quote:
I have been an avid Apple user/support since 1994. Prior to that I used macs in high school and college but never really understood or fell in love with them as I did once I graduated college and found my true calling as a graphic designer/communicator.

Since then I have purchased 10s if not hundreds of macs for various companies, institutions I have worked for, and have evangelized the platform to friends, family and co-workers.

It is always good to spend somebody else's money😃
Quote:
Ok, so enough of my background.

Here's the deal:

1) Mac Pros are overpriced. I purchased my first G4 tower in 2001 for $1400. Now they are double this price. yes they are more powerful but now are priced even out of my price range as a grown man with house, kids, cars and a mortgage.

Well the baseline hardware is very overpriced. It gets a little more debatable at the higher end.
Quote:
2) Software from Adobe, Apple and other require lots of horsepower - more horsepower than a mobile chip in a desktop form factor can provide. Don't tell me that a mac mini can do it. We purchased 10 mac minis a few months ago. We fitted two of them with i7 processors and 8 GB of ram. As a graphic designer, I tried one and we gave one to our web developer for use building websites in Joomla, doing graphics in Adobe CS 5.5 - a true multi-tasker. After less than a month, he gave it back and we went a different solution. it was too slow for him. I compared the performance of that mac mini and my first generation Mac Pro with a Quad-Core Xeon with 10 GB (macpro1,1). That 1st gen Mac Pro still blows the doors off the mac mini. I'm sticking with my Mac Pro and gave the mac mini to an administrative assistant in the office.

This is what a lot of people don't understand, Mac Pros exist to drive complex software quickly. It is all about time and money. But there is another element that frankly I fit into. That is Mac Pros are Apple only expandable choice. It is unacceptable that one has to spend $2500 to get a Mac with bays and slots.
Quote:
3) Thunderbolt is great. I love it and it was because of this, the user-expandable ram option, and dual-monitor support - we went with the mac mini for general office work - and some graphics work. But for heavy-duty use, forget it. It is overpriced compared to alternatives. In order to get it to work I would have to pull out the stop and put in an SSD drive which would drive the cost to over $1200 for the privilege of a small form factor. Great. I purchased a used third generation 8-core Mac Pro for $1400 with more speed than two mac minis.

Apples laptops perform better than the Mini
Quote:
3) iMacs - as others have written - please don't get me started. I tried those too. We have 3. Great for general purpose work and graphic design workers - but the G5 imacs and even some of the Intel ones had lots of heat-related issues. And instead of being able to replace a single part failure you have to turn in the whole thing - good luck with that. You have to have another one sitting in a corner somewhere to pull out and start using it - if you can get the drive contents moved over. You loose the whole thing! hard drive, video card, monitor - the whole thing! We do have a 27" iMac and have been pretty happy with it. Again, thunderbolt is a great option on this machine. However, as has been stated, an only glossy option is not appropriate for everyone.

Might as well get a MBP! The new MBPs are actually easier to service and frankly highlights where all of Apples design efforts go.
Quote:
It's just tough. With the Mac Pro we had 4 proverbial bowls of porage to choose from. With the removal of this option, now we have 3 bowls for us to choose from - but they are all either too hot, too cold, not enough. Whatever we choose doesn't quite fit our needs, which requires us to compromise our needs and use cases. I love Apple - most of the time, but this is getting ridiculous.

The only machine I have any respect for in Apples line up is the Mini. That only as a low power node, it certainly isn't what I'm looking for.
Quote:
We need a single workstation class machine - I don't care what anybody says. And if they choose to remove this option, people will go elsewhere. They are forcing people's hands. Maybe that is the purpose and intent - to finally move from a computer company to a consumer electronics company.

Well no they need a platform that can be sold in an array of configurations. This to cover low end computer needs and high end workstation needs.
Quote:
If/when that day comes, it will indeed be a very sad day for all of the supporters who have helped Apple get to the point where they are now. They did the work and all success and praise goes to Steve and the other management team members that have brought Apple to where they are today. But - they were only able to do so because they had customers willing to believe in them, who stood by and argued and supported Apple when so many had written them off. The old proverb "pride comes before the fall" is still alive and well. Microsoft had the same attitude. I went to a small I.T. tradeshow in Long Beach today. They were relegated to a small space showing off their upcoming tablet offerings. Very sad for a once large company. If Apple takes its customers for granted this could happen to them - or any company as well. Apple, if you're reading this, provide us with an alternative - something between a mac mini and mac pro. Thanks.

The big question is this: does Apple even want this part of the market.
post #480 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well the baseline hardware is very overpriced. It gets a little more debatable at the higher end.

This is what a lot of people don't understand, Mac Pros exist to drive complex software quickly. It is all about time and money. But there is another element that frankly I fit into. That is Mac Pros are Apple only expandable choice. It is unacceptable that one has to spend $2500 to get a Mac with bays and slots.

Yeah I keep reading comments saying that ditching these things would bring the price down, and yet it really wouldn't. Features like multiple bays and higher ram capacity have trickled down to a lot of lower cost PCs over time. Even the mini has two bays, so it makes little sense to go backward on capacity unless you're consolidating the line into fewer form factors and even then it's not really ideal. All articles on the net have suggested minimal gains in thunderbolt speed next year. The main thing seems to be they're adding more channels. This means it's still not a replacement to any high end cards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Apples laptops perform better than the Mini

Might as well get a MBP! The new MBPs are actually easier to service and frankly highlights where all of Apples design efforts go.

The only machine I have any respect for in Apples line up is the Mini. That only as a low power node, it certainly isn't what I'm looking for.

Well no they need a platform that can be sold in an array of configurations. This to cover low end computer needs and high end workstation needs.

The big question is this: does Apple even want this part of the market.


Something like this will happen eventually whether Apple or another company does it. Right now all of the specialty hardware kind of makes it tough. Graphics cards, sata drives, etc. fill up a fair amount of space and still run on large amounts of power. When top end workstations no longer require things like a 1000W psu, discreet form factors will become a lot easier. This kind of consolidation has happened before. Things like graphics workstations basically went away in the 1990s. We will see this happen but what I worry about with Apple is the potential for continued mac pro updates or an interim design.

Regarding the price, even the 12 core machines from Apple are a little over what most of their competition charges. It's just a lot closer. Other brands offer standard three year warranties on things like displays and workstation hardware, so that offsets it just a bit more. The other thing about mac pros vs. others is that they are extremely weak on features. It's common for workstations to natively support SAS rather than requiring an additional controller. The mac pro has no e-sata and fewer usb and firewire ports (not that I really like firewire) than PC equivalents, sometimes fewer slots for ram, and it hasn't proven any more reliable than PC equivalents using similar hardware.

Like I've said before, the only thing the mac pro has going for it is that it's the only workstation class machine that legally runs OSX. I still wish they'd build the mini up a bit given how many people like it, as if it could be configured to be reasonably powerful, it could offer much better longevity than the imac assuming reasonably powerful options. The problem with the current imac/mini lineup is that you're practically buying a stationary laptop. For the people using these solutions, how long will it really be before they only own a laptop and hook it up to a larger display while at their desks? The other problem with systems involving so many consolidated components is repair, especially with Apple's weak baseline warranty duration. This would be less of an issue if components never failed, but electronics are all about cheap manufacturing, which doesn't lead to reliability.

It's also hilarious how the people who want to see everything pushed out of the box via thunderbolt seem to support all in one configurations or mention the (noisy) Promise raid enclosure.
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