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Despite new CPU options, Apple reportedly questioning future of Mac Pro - Page 13

post #481 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnOldAplGuy View Post

The Mac Pro is the "Kwisatz Haderach" of all computers, and Apple is considering its relevance as a viable product. Come on Steve enforce your will in the after life! Make them not just continue it but make it better, faster, stronger!

Mac Daily has a poll - should the Mac Pro line be discontinued ? :

There are 9,000 votes - and the "Yes - discontinue" votes are winning 51% to 44% for keeping the line. Most of the voters probably own nothing but an iPod or an iPhone ....

Vote here:

http://macdailynews.com/
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post #482 of 649
you know I've been thinking perhaps the conventional workstation PC is really old hat now no pun to linux intended but new Arm developements are beginning to impress and having said multinode transputational computing may be the way of the future then I came accross HPs Moonshot server using quad card Arm system on a chip design and realised that would also make a really fast video render workstation very much in the fashion of tesla GPU processing.
http://youtu.be/4PIajg_Htx0
OK so the HP design is very large and IP server centric but the principal is sound.

Its could be a bit like taking 8 macMinis on cards and integrating them in one Macpro X case. the result would be a local MacOS server to satify professional use that could also be a lone workstation or indeed serve several iMacs in a studio multiclient setup at a greatly reduced low energy cost alternative to using Intel Zeons.
just thinking out loud guys...

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/02/h...l-the-boys-to/
post #483 of 649
It is sort of like the occupy wall street gang. Protest something you don't have the mental capacity to understand. The parallels are more than minor here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPhotos View Post

Mac Daily has a poll - should the Mac Pro line be discontinued ? :

There are 9,000 votes - and the "Yes - discontinue" votes are winning 51% to 44% for keeping the line. Most of the voters probably own nothing but an iPod or an iPhone ....

Vote here:

http://macdailynews.com/

There is one problem with this poll. It really doesn't ask the question of what to replace it with. In my estimation the Pro is a dead platform in its current configuration. Apple still needs a High performance machine to serve the professional markets but they need to deliver that machine at the right price point. The platform needs to attract a wider array of users to maintain viability.
post #484 of 649
Obviously this HP approach is a bit to focused on server Workloads but many of the concepts reflect future capabilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanMc View Post

you know I've been thinking perhaps the conventional workstation PC is really old hat now no pun to linux intended but new Arm developements are beginning to impress and having said multinode transputational computing may be the way of the future

Just realize that most Pro users are more focused on high performance computing rather than server duties. A massive number of ARM processors actually makes good sense for many server workloads.
Quote:
then I came accross HPs Moonshot server using quad card Arm system on a chip design and realised that would also make a really fast video render workstation very much in the fashion of tesla GPU processing.
http://youtu.be/4PIajg_Htx0
OK so the HP design is very large and IP server centric but the principal is sound.

Yes for a server it is a sound approach. For a Mac Pro it would need modification as Arm performance simply isn't good enough for the workloads a Mac Pro sees. The Mac Pro needs to be refactored, there is no doubt in my mind here. The problem is the modular approach can be expensive so Apple would have to over come that issue.
Quote:

Its could be a bit like taking 8 macMinis on cards and integrating them in one Macpro X case. the result would be a local MacOS server to satify professional use that could also be a lone workstation or indeed serve several iMacs in a studio multiclient setup at a greatly reduced low energy cost alternative to using Intel Zeons.
just thinking out loud guys...

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/02/h...l-the-boys-to/

8 cards implies a big heavy chassis that is also expensive thus one machine doesn't address the problems Apple is having on the desktop. In stead imagine a family of desktop machines that all take the same compute care. The Mini might take one card, the XMac two and the Pro eight. With one design effort and careful selection of clock rates Apple could cover most desktop needs.

The thing here isn't the specifics though it is rather the fact that Apple needs to innovate once again on the desktop. Traditional PCs may be seeing reduced demand, but that might be an indication of hardware not meeting user needs.
post #485 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Obviously this HP approach is a bit to focused on server Workloads but many of the concepts reflect future capabilities.

Just realize that most Pro users are more focused on high performance computing rather than server duties. A massive number of ARM processors actually makes good sense for many server workloads.
Yes for a server it is a sound approach. For a Mac Pro it would need modification as Arm performance simply isn't good enough for the workloads a Mac Pro sees..

In the HPvideo http://youtu.be/4PIajg_Htx0 at imin24 the presenter shows a card about 1/2hight PCIexpress size containing 4Arm processors presumably quad core or at least by A15 it will be sometime next year I've read sugested, complete with independent memory modules, thats 16cores on one card and 8core processsors arn't too far off either, at 22nm thats a cool processing stack that Zeons will have trouble matching up to in future

Quote:
The Mac Pro needs to be refactored, there is no doubt in my mind here. The problem is the modular approach can be expensive so Apple would have to over come that issue.

8 cards implies a big heavy chassis that is also expensive thus one machine doesn't address the problems Apple is having on the desktop.

In stead imagine a family of desktop machines that all take the same compute care. The Mini might take one card, the XMac two and the Pro eight. With one design effort and careful selection of clock rates Apple could cover most desktop needs.

It doesn't take such a large leap of imagination to consider a svelt MacPro concept casing to hold a 6or8way PCIe motherboard with a slim down the side 2" PSU ideal for studio rack mounting with 3 or 4 super silent thin fans. a much smaller and simpler unit than todays MacPro and you don't need to exaggerate dimensions to make it seem unreasonably large.

This could have say 3 Arm processor PCIe boards thats (48cores) as described above and a duel PCIeGPU card plus a couple of PCIeSSD cards and an interface card for specialist requirements, remember cost isn't the limiting factor on the companies flagship infact cheap might be sending the wrong message which all reflects on the whole Apple range.

Now consider the exact same footprint but Half hight chassis using the same motherboard PCIexpress design for a MacX semiPro workstation at more reasonable cost.
It doesn't have to be complicated any further, there are 2.5" and 3.5" HD PCIe hybrid cards aswell for the cash strained, and I'd imagine it would sporn many more card designs.
These workstations could be totom poled with TB through connections for the more extreme uses like calculating the latest Gnome or rendering the latest "Avater" movie,

Quote:
The thing here isn't the specifics though it is rather the fact that Apple needs to innovate once again on the desktop. Traditional PCs may be seeing reduced demand, but that might be an indication of hardware not meeting user needs

I imagine eventually PCIe 4 will double the system speed again in due course but professionals will need this flexibility whether it be Mac or PC for quite some time to come.
And such flexibility would give Apple a platform to employ multiple architecture strategies into the future.
Simple is often the best way you know. http://forums.appleinsider.com/image...s/1smoking.gif
post #486 of 649
AllanMc; where are you from? I ask because your posts are hard to follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanMc View Post

In the HPvideo http://youtu.be/4PIajg_Htx0 at imin24 the presenter shows a card about 1/2hight PCIexpress size containing 4Arm processors presumably quad core or at least by A15 it will be sometime next year I've read sugested, complete with independent memory modules, thats 16cores on one card and 8core processsors arn't too far off either, at 22nm thats a cool processing stack that Zeons will have trouble matching up to in future

Remember we are talking ARM cores here which often have a hard time keeping up with Intel hardware. Lots of cores work well in servers because you generate lots of threads and each processor can handle a single thread. desktop apps often rely more on single core performance.
Quote:
It doesn't take such a large leap of imagination to consider a svelt MacPro concept casing to hold a 6or8way PCIe motherboard with a slim down the side 2" PSU ideal for studio rack mounting with 3 or 4 super silent thin fans. a much smaller and simpler unit than todays MacPro and you don't need to exaggerate dimensions to make it seem unreasonably large.

I'm all for smaller hardware. That being said I still think Apple needs a broader array of hardware.
Quote:
This could have say 3 Arm processor PCIe boards thats (48cores) as described above and a duel PCIeGPU card plus a couple of PCIeSSD cards and an interface card for specialist requirements, remember cost isn't the limiting factor on the companies flagship infact cheap might be sending the wrong message which all reflects on the whole Apple range.

NO - expensive for no reason sends the wrong message as does forcing people to buy configurations they don't want. In fact Apple has been sending the wrong message for years now. Basically that message is this if you need slots (RAM or PCI) or drive bays, please bend over.
Quote:
Now consider the exact same footprint but Half hight chassis using the same motherboard PCIexpress design for a MacX semiPro workstation at more reasonable cost.
It doesn't have to be complicated any further, there are 2.5" and 3.5" HD PCIe hybrid cards aswell for the cash strained, and I'd imagine it would sporn many more card designs.
These workstations could be totom poled with TB through connections for the more extreme uses like calculating the latest Gnome or rendering the latest "Avater" movie,



I imagine eventually PCIe 4 will double the system speed again in due course but professionals will need this flexibility whether it be Mac or PC for quite some time to come.
And such flexibility would give Apple a platform to employ multiple architecture strategies into the future.
Simple is often the best way you know. http://forums.appleinsider.com/image...s/1smoking.gif

Simple is all most always the best way. But what you describe isn't simple.
post #487 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanl View Post

You mean almost like the 27" iMac?


Yes, but with a matte screen, or your own screen. I have a mini server in the office, if it's running something in the background I like being able to turn off the monitor and walk away, no worries about something moving my mouse and turning it back on. I like that fact it's matte too.

I thought about a Pro for expandability, but was worried about the noise level, are they quite noisy (compared to virtually silent mini?) I have never heard one running.
post #488 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaramanga89 View Post

I thought about a Pro for expandability, but was worried about the noise level

The loudest part of a Mac Pro is the hard drive. It's not like the PowerMac G5, I'll tell you.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

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post #489 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

The loudest part of a Mac Pro is the hard drive. It's not like the PowerMac G5, I'll tell you.

I think the time is over for consumer towers but imagine a Mac Pro without any HDDs, but instead just a row of the SSD cards used in the MBAs. That would be both impressive in speed and price.
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post #490 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

…just a row of the SSD cards used in the MBAs…



Using a nonsensically quick mental calculation, I can see Apple being able to fit 16 of those in a single row where the current hard drives are.

And assuming each is the 120GB SATA III stick from OWC, that's $4,479.84 for JUST those drives.

It's just shy of 2TB, but imagine RAIDing sixteen of those…

Heck, with their size, you could have TWO rows of 16 and do a RAID 0+1. That's like… 14 gigaBYTES per second read/write.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

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post #491 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

AllanMc; where are you from? I ask because your posts are hard to follow.

The Uk, ie where Jonathon Ives and ARM come from, I was using StrongArm and RiscOS multitasking windows with multiple processors before Apple was weaned off of its 86 based games machines.
and we are talking about future MacPro hardware that will need to be current for the foreseeable future so one has to employ ones imagination to have a little inventive licence in ideas, yes!

Quote:
Remember we are talking ARM cores here which often have a hard time keeping up with Intel hardware. Lots of cores work well in servers because you generate lots of threads and each processor can handle a single thread. desktop apps often rely more on single core performance.

True... at the moment, but ARM A15 is not far around the corner and ProApps are using multiple threads now and will increase in the working future,

Quote:
I'm all for smaller hardware. That being said I still think Apple needs a broader array of hardware.

Cost to develop is the problem, if one design concept can be flexible enough to encompass all Pro requirements then apple would have something to move forward with, at the moment Optical drives and Hard-drives are an outgoing technology, SATA is a slow interface for such outgoing drives but PCIe3 is a fast flexible architecture and also directly connects fast TB connectivity. why invent more when a suitable already supported structure already exists.

Quote:
NO - expensive for no reason sends the wrong message as does forcing people to buy configurations they don't want. In fact Apple has been sending the wrong message for years now. Basically that message is this if you need slots (RAM or PCI) or drive bays, please bend over.

Its my turn not to understand your meaning here? PCs are ultimately flexible, you can build whatever you want, only the MacPro offers pro's the same relative flexibility on the MacOS platform, otherwise there's no competition and all Processionals will emigrate to the platform that provides what they need, and that is flexibility to spend whatever they want to spend on their high end business machine.

Quote:
Simple is all most always the best way. But what you describe isn't simple

You can't get more simpler than a Case - PSU and a motherboard, and 3rd party PCI cards , the up and coming Window8 accommodates up to 160 cores compatible parallel processing, MacOS does multiple cores too and there is a good amount of highend workstation class software that uses them too.

The question is really - Do Apple want to competitively support a provisional market or not?
post #492 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanMc View Post

The Uk, ie where Steve Ives and ARM come from, I was using StrongArm and RiscOS multitasking windows with multiple processors before Apple was weaned off of its 86 based games machines.
and we are talking about future MacPro hardware that will need to be current for the foreseeable future so one has to employ ones imagination to have a little inventive licence in ideas, yes!

Replacing the Mac Pro with ARM smartphone class chips is the most nonsensical thing I have read in this thread.
post #493 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

Replacing the Mac Pro with ARM smartphone class chips is the most nonsensical thing I have read in this thread.

True, but there is a very real future for certain server farms using ARM processors. There is just too many avenues in which ARM can save money for an equivalent setup for certain usage types.
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post #494 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

Replacing the Mac Pro with ARM smartphone class chips is the most nonsensical thing I have read in this thread.

What if they design a chipset that can have eight processors on a board?

And my emoticon for the above question is "/2" to show that I'm only half joking about that. With the insanely lower power draws of ARM chips, would something like that truly be impractical in the future?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

Reply
post #495 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

What if they design a chipset that can have eight processors on a board?

And my emoticon for the above question is "/2" to show that I'm only half joking about that. With the insanely lower power draws of ARM chips, would something like that truly be impractical in the future?

Intel processors are greater than an order of magnitude more powerful, are we going to have 100 core Mac Pros?

There are diminishing returns for adding more cores in most desktop activities.

ARM processors use so much less power, because they are much less powerful.

There is no magic ARM pixie dust.
post #496 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

Intel processors are greater than an order of magnitude more powerful, are we going to have 100 core Mac Pros?

Well, since Intel currently has no plans for quantum computers and will reach the minimum physical size of transistor gateways sometime near the end of this decade, I'd say we'll have do something different.

I do see your point, though.

Intel's biggest fear is ARM in laptops and low-end desktops, though. Will Intel eventually be relegated to become the next IBM? Making only super-high-end chips and customized stuff?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

Reply
post #497 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, since Intel currently has no plans for quantum computers and will reach the minimum physical size of transistor gateways sometime near the end of this decade, I'd say we'll have do something different.

I do see your point, though.

Intel's biggest fear is ARM in laptops and low-end desktops, though. Will Intel eventually be relegated to become the next IBM? Making only super-high-end chips and customized stuff?

The thing is though, IBM (at least via their stock price) seems to be doing fairly well. The future will be very interesting.
post #498 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanMc View Post

The Uk, ie where Steve Ives and ARM come from, I was using StrongArm and RiscOS multitasking windows with multiple processors before Apple was weaned off of its 86 based games machines.
and we are talking about future MacPro hardware that will need to be current for the foreseeable future so one has to employ ones imagination to have a little inventive licence in ideas, yes!

You lost a bit of credibility there as Apple didn't even have a gaming play until the ARM hardware arrived.
Quote:

True... at the moment, but ARM A15 is not far around the corner and ProApps are using multiple threads now and will increase in the working future,

I'm not convinced A15 will be all that attractive.
Quote:

Cost to develop is the problem, if one design concept can be flexible enough to encompass all Pro requirements then apple would have something to move forward with, at the moment Optical drives and Hard-drives are an outgoing technology, SATA is a slow interface for such outgoing drives but PCIe3 is a fast flexible architecture and also directly connects fast TB connectivity. why invent more when a suitable already supported structure already exists.

The Mac Pro is a single platform that trys to appeal to everybody and has as a result been a failure. I don't think Apple has a chance in hell with a one size fits all machine. Modules usable in different machines is another discussion though.
Quote:

Its my turn not to understand your meaning here? PCs are ultimately flexible, you can build whatever you want, only the MacPro offers pro's the same relative flexibility on the MacOS platform, otherwise there's no competition and all Processionals will emigrate to the platform that provides what they need, and that is flexibility to spend whatever they want to spend on their high end business machine.

You are wrong there, corporations don't give people free reign over what they can spend for computing hardware. When you have Apple hardware that is often three times the cost of PC hardware capable of doing the job you don't have a chance to even suggest Apple hardware.

The problem is Apple doesn't have the right box, expandable box, at the right price point.
Quote:

You can't get more simpler than a Case - PSU and a motherboard, and 3rd party PCI cards , the up and coming Window8 accommodates up to 160 cores compatible parallel processing, MacOS does multiple cores too and there is a good amount of highend workstation class software that uses them too.

The problem is that is what the Mini is. The Mini is a fine machine as long as your needs are simple.
Quote:
The question is really - Do Apple want to competitively support a provisional market or not?

Professional? Yes I want them to support professional markets but there is a whole array of professional markets that don't need nor can the justify the expense of a Mac Pro. Because the Pros market is so small Apple risks loosing the Pro market anyways due to the lack of sales. In a nut shell they have to offer a better platform to move forward. Technology can do a lot to make that better platform, but Apple seems to be unwilling to spend the time and effort on the desktop.
post #499 of 649
You guys are doing an awful lot of mental gymnastics to avoid having an actual workstation class machine. I'd hate to see what you'd come up with if asked to design a bulldozer
post #500 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

ARM processors use so much less power, because they are much less powerful.

There is no magic ARM pixie dust.

Are you assigning a 1:1 linear relationship between X86 and ARM?
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post #501 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think the time is over for consumer towers

Apple seems to think so but I haven't replaced my PowerMac G4 with a mini or iMac. Frankly I do not need the horsepower of the Mac Pro but I like having a desktop that has a case that is easy to open, has enough room for a couple of hard drives and an optical drive.

Apple doesn't know if a bigger mini or XMac or some other consumer tower would sell because it hasn't even tried.

My Mac is so old that any new computer I purchase will mean I will have to upgrade lots of software so staying Mac or switching to Windows are equal options for me. Using Macs for 18 years I want to stay Mac but the hole in Apples line up makes that an iffy proposition.

My wife and I bought three new vehicles from one automaker over the years. But this last time we switched to a different brand. The automaker changed styling and product so much that we simply couldn't see buying that brand again. It didn't offer what we wanted anymore.
post #502 of 649
I honestly believe Apple needs a workstation class machine, but I also believe the current Pro doesn't sell enough to justify its existence. To help the Pro along what I'd like to see is a midrange expandable machine. A machine sold in a price range that is at least one what competitive with PC hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

You guys are doing an awful lot of mental gymnastics to avoid having an actual workstation class machine. I'd hate to see what you'd come up with if asked to design a bulldozer

A little thinking out of the box goes a long ways even when designing bulldozers. Cat demonstrated this a few years ago with their redesigned dozers.

In regards to Apple I just want them to attack the desktop like they have the laptop market. That is lead with really innovative technologies that put their desktop line up on top. They managed to do so with the laptops, impressively so, so they have the talent. The question is do they have the will. We will see at the next rev.
post #503 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

Apple seems to think so but I haven't replaced my PowerMac G4 with a mini or iMac. Frankly I do not need the horsepower of the Mac Pro but I like having a desktop that has a case that is easy to open, has enough room for a couple of hard drives and an optical drive.

Yes, a bit of expand ability is very important. However the massive case and price of the Pro is a no no. What I don't understand is why so many Mac owners are against such platforms. I especially don't understand the terrible suggestion by external devices for all of your needs.
Quote:
Apple doesn't know if a bigger mini or XMac or some other consumer tower would sell because it hasn't even tried.

Exactly! Many years have passed since the current line up was set in stone, the reasons for the lineup are more than gone.
Quote:
My Mac is so old that any new computer I purchase will mean I will have to upgrade lots of software so staying Mac or switching to Windows are equal options for me. Using Macs for 18 years I want to stay Mac but the hole in Apples line up makes that an iffy proposition.

Actually I don't buy this point, at least not the one of economics.
Quote:
My wife and I bought three new vehicles from one automaker over the years. But this last time we switched to a different brand. The automaker changed styling and product so much that we simply couldn't see buying that brand again. It didn't offer what we wanted anymore.
post #504 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I honestly believe Apple needs a workstation class machine, but I also believe the current Pro doesn't sell enough to justify its existence. To help the Pro along what I'd like to see is a midrange expandable machine. A machine sold in a price range that is at least one what competitive with PC hardware.

How would a midrange machien help sell high end Mac Pros? Unless the midrange is the new Pro.

The xMac is essentially one of the most discussed/wanted Macs on boards and I do think Apple should give us something closer to that.

My solution would be to move the Pro to a cheaper case. The current one is a work of art, but adds several hundred dollars to the price.

They should then extend the range of CPU offerings, starting with a single normal desktop i7 with normal, non ECC RAM.

That should get the entry level price of the Pro down to ~$1500.

You can still have optional dual Xeon Motherboards with ECC memory for those that want that (if any really do).

The Pro shouldn't be killed, it should be made more affordable, it isn't like modern Apple doesn't know how to do that.
post #505 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Actually I don't buy this point, at least not the one of economics.

None of the software I have on this G4 is going to run on an Intel Mac. So whether I stay Mac or go Windows I will have to replace old slow feature lacking software with new software.

I haven't priced any software so I don't know which platform will be cheaper. I know the hardware will cost more staying Mac and I'm willing to pay that extra. I just want the hardware to be in a case that fits my needs and wants.
post #506 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

How would a midrange machien help sell high end Mac Pros? Unless the midrange is the new Pro.

The xMac is essentially one of the most discussed/wanted Macs on boards and I do think Apple should give us something closer to that.

My solution would be to move the Pro to a cheaper case. The current one is a work of art, but adds several hundred dollars to the price.

They should then extend the range of CPU offerings, starting with a single normal desktop i7 with normal, non ECC RAM.

That should get the entry level price of the Pro down to ~$1500.

You can still have optional dual Xeon Motherboards with ECC memory for those that want that (if any really do).

The Pro shouldn't be killed, it should be made more affordable, it isn't like modern Apple doesn't know how to do that.

We've been over this. These things in no way guarantee the price points you're suggesting. Equivalent i7s have been at the same price points first off. imac 3.4 = $300 cpu and the 3.1 (i5) = $200 cpu. The ram really doesn't add much. ECC ram added a significant amount to the price years ago. That isn't the case today. It's the same with xeons. They cost about the same as their i7 equivalents. The case might add a bit to the price, but in no way is it more expensive than a 27" ips panel.

This gets the mac pro down to $1500 in your mind because you want it there. For Apple it would need to be something they can push in volume, or it wouldn't get down that far. I'm not sure if you recall this but the original mac pro had $2200 and $2500 dual socket options with expensive ram. Your BOM argument really doesn't mean anything. The only thing that would change the pricing here is Apple taking it out of niche product status. Right now they don't push it, so it has a high markup to justify its existence.

I'm really tired of so many people suggesting that a couple minor changes would equate to a 40% price drop when half the points made involve components that are within 10% of the previous cost.
post #507 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I'm really tired of so many people suggesting that a couple minor changes would equate to a 40% price drop when half the points made involve components that are within 10% of the previous cost.

A huge part of the volume problem is the high cost. If you have a much lower price, you will sell much higher volumes.

I am suggesting cost reductions across the board, CPU/MB/Memory/Case, etc...

It would be ludicrous to suggest Apple can't build/sell an entry level tower for $1500 and still make a hefty margin when PC companies do this at $800.

The situation today is that the Pro is so expensive that even the high end niche is giving up on it and even OSX tower fans are building Hackintoshes because Apple has nothing for them.

Raising prices with shrinking volume is a death spiral. Either it gets cost reduced and re-targeted to a more mainstream price or it will fade away.
post #508 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

A huge part of the volume problem is the high cost. If you have a much lower price, you will sell much higher volumes.

I am suggesting cost reductions across the board, CPU/MB/Memory/Case, etc...

It would be ludicrous to suggest Apple can't build/sell an entry level tower for $1500 and still make a hefty margin when PC companies do this at $800.

The situation today is that the Pro is so expensive that even the high end niche is giving up on it and even OSX tower fans are building Hackintoshes because Apple has nothing for them.

Raising prices with shrinking volume is a death spiral. Either it gets cost reduced and re-targeted to a more mainstream price or it will fade away.

It is a death spiral. If you add up a bill of materials of the closest possible components at "retail pricing" needed to make a mac pro equivalent while providing similar features, it comes out to $1100-1400 to build a complete machine down to the last screw (the error margin is for miscellaneous parts and padding for logic board + case costs). Now I don't have a way of estimating things like design costs, but those tend to be mostly fixed.

I think they're just trying to phase it out over time and trying to push users toward their other options. They ask way too much for a single socket unconfigured machine with a sub par warranty (every other workstation starts at 3 years).

By the way, that case is no more than a $300 line. It's a lot aluminum but it doesn't have that many ports, and it's nothing like having to construct a machined case. If you look at the top imac cpus they cost $200 and $300. The top two cpus in the macbook pro line go for $378 and $568. These machines all cost less than the starting mac pro which contains a $300 cpu. All of these come with gpus that are also equivalent in cost or more expensive than the HD 5770. They even have more ram (which costs roughly the same as mac pro ram if you look at upgrade prices from both apple and third parties).

It's not just that they raised pricing on the mac pros over the past few years. They raised prices and cut manufacturing costs already. I just don't think they have the desire to build the kind of machine you mentioned. I think if your needs are somewhat specialized, hardware options will simply suck over the next few years.
post #509 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

How would a midrange machien help sell high end Mac Pros? Unless the midrange is the new Pro.

Imagine a machine that had at the low end a quad core configuration and a dual processor 12 core machine at the high end. Build the hardware on common components when ever possible and strive for volume at the low end.

As an example let say we have for the low end a Sandy Bridge based machine using the built in GPU, This machine would come in a largish box for what is offered up but would have access to the drive bays and maybe two PCI slots.

AT the high end we have a more powerful machine running Xeons of some sort and also driving a decent GPU on the motherboard. The machine would come with at least 6 PCI-Express slots and extended memory capacity. However the machine would still occupy the same box or a box compatible with its smaller brother.

Now here is the catch there isn't a lot of commonality between the Main stream SB and Xeon at least not today. But I don't want to see Apple release another PC of any type based on yesterdays technology. What I want them to do is to take the innovation mind set used in the laptops to redefine desktop hard ware. The first start there would be to define a common storage module board for these machines, something like the blade cards in the AIR's but yet sized for the desktop. In the same way they could innovate with power supplies on the desktop. Size the supply to run the low end model alone but make the supply suitable for N+1 installation in the high end machine. There is much that could be done to the desktop hardware to create a family of devices.
Quote:
The xMac is essentially one of the most discussed/wanted Macs on boards and I do think Apple should give us something closer to that.

Obviously I do because I'm constantly posting about it. The problem is pretty clear, if you have modest expandability/performance needs the Mac Pro is massively overpriced but yet your only alternative.
Quote:
My solution would be to move the Pro to a cheaper case. The current one is a work of art, but adds several hundred dollars to the price.

It can't be cheap but on the other hand I don't think it is an issue of price. Rather the unit is a big waste of space.
Quote:
They should then extend the range of CPU offerings, starting with a single normal desktop i7 with normal, non ECC RAM.

I don't see it as being that simple. In order to be cheaper the low end machine has to give up something.
Quote:
That should get the entry level price of the Pro down to ~$1500.

Even lower would be better.
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You can still have optional dual Xeon Motherboards with ECC memory for those that want that (if any really do).

I'm absolutely certain that people do need the Xeons along with the ECC memory. The problem is that isn't me. What I want is a place to install multiple storage modules and maybe a couple of PCI-Express cards. This isn't capability that should surprise anybody, even with todays terabyte drives you still run out of room.
Quote:
The Pro shouldn't be killed, it should be made more affordable, it isn't like modern Apple doesn't know how to do that.

No! The Pro has a market to be served and Apple really shouldn't abandon that market. What they don't have is a midrange desktop. That is something slotted above the Mini performance wise that is also expandable and serviceable. This really isn't rocket science, the could go down to the local pizza shop and get inspiration for an XMac housing.
post #510 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

It is a death spiral. If you add up a bill of materials of the closest possible components at "retail pricing" needed to make a mac pro equivalent while providing similar features, it comes out to $1100-1400 to build a complete machine down to the last screw (the error margin is for miscellaneous parts and padding for logic board + case costs). Now I don't have a way of estimating things like design costs, but those tend to be mostly fixed.

But I am not suggesting using the current BoM. I did suggest across the board cost reductions.

If PC makers can do something like this: HP Pavilion HPE h8xt series

$899
i7 2600
10 GB RAM
1GB DDR3 Radeon HD 6570
1 TB HD
Blu Ray Combo drive
Wireless Lan
Flash Card reader
Windows 7 64 Premium

I don't expect Apple to match this pricing, but why can't they offer similar for $1500 with a nice fat margin. Especially since there will be no Blu Ray, less memory.

Are you going to suggest HP (and Dell and everyone else) is selling at a loss? Or that Apple can't leverage economies of scale? Or manage a supply chain.

Bear in mind that Apple is a master of supply chain these days, and CPUs/GPUs/RAM/HDs can all share components with iMacs.
post #511 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No! The Pro has a market to be served and Apple really shouldn't abandon that market. What they don't have is a midrange desktop. That is something slotted above the Mini performance wise that is also expandable and serviceable. This really isn't rocket science, the could go down to the local pizza shop and get inspiration for an XMac housing.

IMO, nothing would kill the Pro faster than an xMax with PCIx slots.

An i7 is just as powerful as a Xeon. The amount of pro buyers that actually need a Xeon is like a niche of a niche, most would happily buy an xMac instead. What can you do with a Pro that you can't do with an xMac with PCIx slots? PCIx slots are really one of the key unique features of the hyper expensive Pro.
post #512 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

IMO, nothing would kill the Pro faster than an xMax with PCIx slots.

PCIx is dead, you know.

Quote:
An i7 is just as powerful as a Xeon.

Minus the ECC RAM, which is important for some. The big difference is that ECC RAM can't be used with the i7s at all, is all. And so the people who need that will gladly buy Mac Pros because it's a limitation of the i7 chip family.

Quote:
What can you do with a Pro that you can't do with an xMac with PCIx slots? PCIx slots are really one of the key unique features of the hyper expensive Pro.

It depends on your definition of xMac. If you're thinking a smaller, cube-like Mac Pro with two processor sockets, eight RAM slots, two internal hard drives, and a bunch of Thunderbolt out, that may (I'm only pausing because I'm still struggling with the point of such a device) work out well for most.

But if you're dropping RAM slots and processor sockets (say, leaning toward single socket over dual instead of vice versa), it becomes less viable.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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

 

Reply
post #513 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


I'm absolutely certain that people do need the Xeons along with the ECC memory. The problem is that isn't me. What I want is a place to install multiple storage modules and maybe a couple of PCI-Express cards. This isn't capability that should surprise anybody, even with todays terabyte drives you still run out of room.


No! The Pro has a market to be served and Apple really shouldn't abandon that market. What they don't have is a midrange desktop. That is something slotted above the Mini performance wise that is also expandable and serviceable. This really isn't rocket science, the could go down to the local pizza shop and get inspiration for an XMac housing.

ECC memory is popular for a limited market segment which has a much higher population on the PC end (cad users for example). It doesn't really impact the cost of a machine by much. The cost of the ram is a negligible difference. It might add a few dollars to the cost of the logic board. As I've said the imac was designed for people that are migrating to laptops. I wish that would go away instead. If they managed that and got the cost of the thunderbolt display down just a bit, a macbook air or pro + thunderbolt display could make a compelling setup for that market segment within a couple years. I say this because as the cpu power grows closer together, the imac is just going to feel like a larger display with not much else to truly set it apart. A mid range desktop could be a great solution here especially for people who notice how noisy an external drive enclosure can be. The Promise enclosure looks like it's tightly packed with cheap fans, which would explain the noise complaints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

But I am not suggesting using the current BoM. I did suggest across the board cost reductions.

If PC makers can do something like this: HP Pavilion HPE h8xt series

$899
i7 2600
10 GB RAM
1GB DDR3 Radeon HD 6570
1 TB HD
Blu Ray Combo drive
Wireless Lan
Flash Card reader
Windows 7 64 Premium

I don't expect Apple to match this pricing, but why can't they offer similar for $1500 with a nice fat margin. Especially since there will be no Blu Ray, less memory.

Are you going to suggest HP (and Dell and everyone else) is selling at a loss? Or that Apple can't leverage economies of scale? Or manage a supply chain.

Bear in mind that Apple is a master of supply chain these days, and CPUs/GPUs/RAM/HDs can all share components with iMacs.

On that machine, doing that in an imac, matching the ram via 3rd party upgrade, ignoring blue-ray and I don't know what the warranty is on that HP (if it's a year or longer) you'd be looking at around $2300 in an imac. The imac display is nothing special, so yeah I'd rather have the Apple version of the HP (even at $1500) than the imac. Even if they did do this, I imagine they'd price it higher. This configuration would probably end up at $1800 or so. It might be something like $1500-1600 with the lower i5, and $1800 with the i7. This is Apple. Don't put it past them.


I'm not arguing with you based on what they could do but more on what I would expect from Apple given the trend in their behavior. You're correct on the imacs. They could share parts. Personally I wish the all in one thing would go away. It's less functional and if you need extra drives, it can produce more noise and desk clutter.

Dell, HP, etc. don't sell at a loss. I never suggested they did so. You can buy a Dell single socket workstation equivalent to the starter mac pro for $1500 or so. You can buy one with an equivalent gpu in a workstation version (firepro 4800 vs. Radeon 5770) and a 6 core cpu (w3670 instead of the w3680 in the mac pro) for $2000 (with a 3 year warranty). The cost to manufacture a case doesn't span anywhere near that difference.

If Apple does go the route you're suggesting, I will buy one . I'm right on the edge personally. An imac lacks the stability and serviceability. A mini just isn't a very good solution for me and even if I spent a lot trying to make it into the machine I want, the price would be practically back to mac pro territory.
post #514 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post


I'm not arguing with you based on what they could do but more on what I would expect from Apple given the trend in their behavior. You're correct on the imacs. They could share parts. Personally I wish the all in one thing would go away. It's less functional and if you need extra drives, it can produce more noise and desk clutter.

I am just wondering why this is the case. In nearly every other segment today, Apple is price competitive. PC makers are whining to Intel because they can't compete with Apple on building ultrabooks. Decent iPad competitors cost just as much.

I do think the case is the most expensive value add in the Pro. I haven't seen anything close on a PC anywhere. It is a work of art compared to PC cases. I wouldn't be surprised if it added $500 to the BoM. It is unique. If there is any hope of less expensive Pro, you need a much cheaper case.

What do you think will happen with the Pro? I really don't know, but I guess it is a bit of wishful thinking on my part expecting that the will make it more affordable. It just seems is too high ($2500 entry) to generate reasonable sales now.

I still see them making a more affordable Pro, more likely than building an xMac, which might kill off the pro.

Scenarios could be:

1) Kill Pro after current verison with no replacement - Pro is dead.
2) A new $2500 revamped Pro - longer lingering death for Pro.
3) Radically lower entry Pro: $1500 - Could ramp Volume of Pro in big way
4) Add xMac to lineup under $1500 - leads to death of Pro, but we would have xMac

In a sense 3 and 4 are kind of close, but 3 makes more sense to me. I just don't see a Pro surviving as a separate model in a world with a xMac which will even further reduce already low Pro sales.
post #515 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post


I'm not arguing with you based on what they could do but more on what I would expect from Apple given the trend in their behavior. You're correct on the imacs. They could share parts. Personally I wish the all in one thing would go away. It's less functional and if you need extra drives, it can produce more noise and desk clutter.

I am just wondering why this is the case. In nearly every other segment today, Apple is price competitive. PC makers are whining to Intel because they can't compete with Apple on building ultrabooks. Decent iPad competitors cost just as much.

I do think the case is the most expensive value add in the Pro. I haven't seen anything close on a PC anywhere. It is a work of art compared to PC cases. I wouldn't be surprised if it added $500 to the BoM. It is unique. If there is any hope of less expensive Pro, you need a much cheaper case.

Heck I would be happy with the components of the 2.7Ghz 21" iMac (which is $1500) in a minitower with no screen. They could do that.

What do you think will happen with the Pro? I really don't know, but I guess it is a bit of wishful thinking on my part expecting that the will make it more affordable. It just seems is too high ($2500 entry) to generate reasonable sales now.

I still see them making a more affordable Pro, more likely than building an xMac, which might kill off the pro.

Scenarios could be:

1) Kill Pro after current verison with no replacement - Pro is dead.
2) A new $2500 revamped Pro - longer lingering death for Pro.
3) Radically lower entry Pro: $1500 - Could ramp Volume of Pro in big way
4) Add xMac to lineup under $1500 - leads to death of Pro, but we would have xMac

In a sense 3 and 4 are kind of close, but 3 makes more sense to me. I just don't see a Pro surviving as a separate model in a world with a xMac which will even further reduce already low Pro sales.
post #516 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

IMO, nothing would kill the Pro faster than an xMax with PCIx slots.

Not really as the people really needing the Pro often aren't concerned with those slots. It all depends upon the users interest. Besides who is to say the XMac would have full size slots or for that matter 16X slots.
Quote:
An i7 is just as powerful as a Xeon.

No it isn't. People focus on single thread performanceas a metric that Mac Pro users probably don't even care about. The Pro is all about throwing lots of cores at a problem. Problems frankly aren't suitable for what I imagine an XMac to be. I7 isn't really suitable performance wise for many workstation needs.
Quote:
The amount of pro buyers that actually need a Xeon is like a niche of a niche, most would happily buy an xMac instead.

Some pros are already moving to iMacs when In the past they would have went the Pro route. This is no surprise at all and frankly highlights the need for an XMac.
Quote:
What can you do with a Pro that you can't do with an xMac with PCIx slots?

I hope you aren't serious with that question.
Quote:
PCIx slots are really one of the key unique features of the hyper expensive Pro.

Absolutely in error here. Frankly people that just need PCI slots just buy PC hardware.
post #517 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

I am just wondering why this is the case. In nearly every other segment today, Apple is price competitive. PC makers are whining to Intel because they can't compete with Apple on building ultrabooks. Decent iPad competitors cost just as much.

I do think the case is the most expensive value add in the Pro. I haven't seen anything close on a PC anywhere. It is a work of art compared to PC cases. I wouldn't be surprised if it added $500 to the BoM. It is unique. If there is any hope of less expensive Pro, you need a much cheaper case.

What do you think will happen with the Pro? I really don't know, but I guess it is a bit of wishful thinking on my part expecting that the will make it more affordable. It just seems is too high ($2500 entry) to generate reasonable sales now.

I still see them making a more affordable Pro, more likely than building an xMac, which might kill off the pro.

Scenarios could be:

1) Kill Pro after current verison with no replacement - Pro is dead.
2) A new $2500 revamped Pro - longer lingering death for Pro.
3) Radically lower entry Pro: $1500 - Could ramp Volume of Pro in big way
4) Add xMac to lineup under $1500 - leads to death of Pro, but we would have xMac

In a sense 3 and 4 are kind of close, but 3 makes more sense to me. I just don't see a Pro surviving as a separate model in a world with a xMac which will even further reduce already low Pro sales.

Ultrabooks are kind of a push. If the Asus is reasonably well made, it compared well on specs to the macbook air closest to its price. I haven't seen one up close nor do I have a use for one, so I don't know how well it's made. Aren't they one of the few laptop manufacturers that does their own manufacturing and assembly?

Anyway in desktops you could spend less with any of the others, including quality ones. Workstations PCs tend to cost less and the norm is a three year warranty. Normal laptops Apple tends to be more expensive even if you factor in the cost of using machined cases. I also don't bother comparing to anything that is poorly made.

Part of it is that it seems like the other oems have reduced pricing over the past couple years due to the uneasy economic climate. Apple has not. I don't think they need to, but I do think at their pricing things like a three year warranty and higher resolution displays should simply be standard features rather than upgrades when these are supposed to be premium machines. They focus on ecosystem, OS simplicity, and interesting aesthetics. It's their thing.

On the mac pros, I think they may try to kill them, but it's entirely possible it could backfire. The desktop market is in kind of a slump at the moment, and Apple has a rather poor share of the workstation market. It could go either way, but a $1000 price drop on cost of entry would be a complete 180 for Apple from their current direction for the line. You call it a death spiral but my observations were based on their actions. If they choose not to change, it'll mean a slow death or the Apple thing of pulling the old solution when a followup is year or more away.
post #518 of 649
A cheaper Mac Pro isn't the answer to the xMac question for many of us. It isn't just mid range power and performance we are after. It is also mid size that we are after.

Yes, we all have different ideas of what an xMac would be. We don't agree in some key areas. That doesn't mean Apple shouldn't make one.

Let's pretend the mini, iMac and Mac Pro did not exist. We would all have different ideas on what those computers should be. And yet Apple builds them and they sell.

The iMac has enough power for me. Just put it in an easy to open case with enough room for 2 hard drives and an optical drive. And let me get the monitor I want. I'd pay $1500 for that and Apple would be making a hefty profit since it wouldn't be buying a screen for it.

Others need more. That's fine. A mid range, mid sized Mac even if it wasn't exactly how I would build it would still be closer to what I want than the mini and the iMac.

And here is a dirty little secret for Apple. Since I can't get the Mac I want and because I am unwilling to settle for the mini or iMac guess what? I'm also not spending any money on iPods, iPhones or iPads either. No sense supporting Apple with those items that really wouldn't mean much to me when after 18 years of using Macs I can't get the one thing that does mean something to me.

And before any says it. Yes Apple will sell a record number of Macs. And the iPods, iPhones and iPads are wildly successful. That's great. I'm happy for Apple. I would just be happier if Apple would try to keep this long time customer as a customer too.
post #519 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Absolutely in error here. Frankly people that just need PCI slots just buy PC hardware.

In all the reading I have done on this, the only people I have seen step up and say they still use/buy/need a Mac Pro, were Audio Engineering folks using PCI capture cards.

I think they would be equally as happy with an xMac with PCI slots and so would most Mac Pro users.

If there were an xMac it would kill the Pro by driving it into a much smaller niche than the already small one it occupies today.
post #520 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

And here is a dirty little secret for Apple. Since I can't get the Mac I want and because I am unwilling to settle for the mini or iMac guess what? I'm also not spending any money on iPods, iPhones or iPads either. No sense supporting Apple with those items that really wouldn't mean much to me when after 18 years of using Macs I can't get the one thing that does mean something to me.

And before any says it. Yes Apple will sell a record number of Macs. And the iPods, iPhones and iPads are wildly successful. That's great. I'm happy for Apple. I would just be happier if Apple would try to keep this long time customer as a customer too.

I do agree Apple is leaving sales on the table by not having a more robust lineup of destktops other than AiOs. I hate AiOs and will never buy one. Everytime I consider a new PC, I give brief thought to getting a Mac (I run a Windows Mid Tower), but the computer I want from them simply isn't in the lineup. I also want something between the Mini and the Pro. I think Apple has a wider skew towards laptops than the rest of the industry partly because of it's anemic desktop choices.

The problem with xMac is that it is different to everyone who wants one. Mini-Towers with multiple PCI slots, Pizza boxes, cubes etc... I think an xMac would have to be very limited to not kill the Pro, which I think it would be folly to abandon.

I hate the non upgradeable cramped mini with laptop components. It is practically a laptop without a screen, batteries or KB.

My minimum entry point for xMac would be Desktop CPU, 1 PCI slot for a graphics card, easily upgradeable RAM and at least room for dual 3.5" HDs (I would also like Blu Ray but not likely). If limited to just the one PCI for graphics (and obviously only 1 desktop CPU) it likely wouldn't eat to many Pro sales. Build it like that and take some steps to make the Entry level Pro more affordable as well and they could have a reasonable destkop lineup.
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