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Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta supports AMD's next-gen desktop graphics

post #1 of 64
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As Apple considers scrapping its Mac Pro line of desktops, the latest beta of Mac OS X 10.7.3 includes support for AMD's "Tahiti" graphics cards. But whether Tahiti-powered Mac Pros will ever be released remains to be seen.

Beta drivers for AMD's next-generation graphics cards are contained in the newest beta of Mac OS X 10.7.3, as first reported by Netkas.org (via MacRumors). The inclusion is noteworthy for the Mac Pro lineup because it is the only product Apple sells with desktop graphics cards.

While support for Tahiti is a sign that Apple is internally testing the next-generation graphics with a potentially updated Mac Pro, it is by no means certain that the company will in fact update the Mac Pro lineup.

AppleInsider first reported in October that Apple has internally developed a revision to the Mac Pro, but it remains undecided whether the updated desktop will see the light of day. People famliar with the matter said management, as far back as this May, were in limbo over whether to put any additional resources toward the product line.

Internal discussions at Apple were said to focus on the fact that sales of the high-end Mac Pro workstations have dropped off so considerably that the desktop machines are no longer particularly profitable for the company.



AMD's next-generation graphics cards are scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of calendar 2012, around the same time that Intel's new Sandy Bridge Xeon chips will hit the market. If Apple does decide to release a new Mac Pro, those components are expected to power the refreshed hardware.

Apple last updated its Mac Pro lineup in July of 2010, adding support for up to 12 processing cores with Intel Xeon processors. Apple has updated its entire Mac lineup except for the Mac Pro in 2011.
post #2 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As Apple considers scrapping its Mac Pro line of desktops, the latest beta of Mac OS X 10.7.3 includes support for AMD's "Tahiti" graphics cards.

Intel needs Apple more than Apple needs Intel.
post #3 of 64
If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.

This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.

I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now…
post #4 of 64
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post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.

This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.

I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now

Umm... Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro because there haven't been any new CPUs to update to. And unless you really count CPU bumps as updates, the rest of the Mac lineup only gets one meaningful performance update a year. The chassis itself hasn't changed for years, and new GPUs can be released separately from the Mac Pro.

If anything, Apple is waiting so that it can add Thunderbolt support and maybe even USB 3.0 (sadly, the Intem Sandy Bridge-E doesn't include it).
post #6 of 64
I don't think it's a matter of if the Mac Pro will be killed off but rather when. I do think there is room for one more revision because the Mini is still a year or two away from becoming capable enough to serve as an adequate substitute. Right now the Mini is a decent choice for the non-professional who does the occasional video work (that's where I fit in) but isn't yet the powerhouse it needs to be in order to be a proper alternative to the Mac Pro. As well, one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for the Mini is Thunderbolt which is still not a broadly supported technology.

As such, one more Mac Pro revision does seem like the logical way to go. After this next revision, though, it's likely going to be time to pull the plug and I think Apple will.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.

Actually, it doesn't change the incentive to upgrade. You upgrade when the new ones meet your needs better than the old ones - and the difference is enough to justify the cost. Very, very few people could justify a twice-a-year upgrade, so once a year doesn't change anything.

The important thing is that Apple really hasn't changed its upgrade schedule. They never had a formal timeline. Rather, the timeline was that they released an upgrade when Intel had a chip that was sufficiently different to justify it. For the Xeon MP chips, there really isn't anything new to upgrade TO. Yes, there are chips with a slightly higher clock speed, but it's really not worth releasing a new system for a 3% increase in THEORETICAL performance. When Intel has new Xeon chips with significantly greater capabilities, Apple will undoubtedly follow.

It's different for the iMac and MacBook lines. First, Intel increases the performance of its consumer chips much more quickly than its professional chips. Second, consumers are more likely to be swayed by specs like CPU speed. A consumer will often see two computers where one is 3.1 GHz and the other is 3.2 GHz and automatically assume that the 'faster' one is better. Pros are more likely to evaluate the entire system and not focus as much on any one number.
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post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Umm... Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro because there haven't been any new CPUs to update to.

Intel is turning into a huge problem. They need to start behaving. Or else Apple needs to open a big can of whoop ass on their bottom line.


post #9 of 64
i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.
If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.


*As a percentage of sales.
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post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.
If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.


*As a percentage of sales.

Yes, but it's still a significant market. And Apple used to have a very high (and profitable) share of the graphics production market. It would be a shame to see that go.
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post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.
If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.


*As a percentage of sales.

The MacPro sales are down because the thing is too friggn expensive. A few years ago, many users were begging for a more affordable mid-tower, but thanks to the iArrogance, that never happened.

So for that market it's either the iMac or the Mini, both of which are no replacement to a mid-tower.
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post #12 of 64
In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.

Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.

The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?
post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.
If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.


*As a percentage of sales.

For some work, it's simply not reasonable to do the work on a mobile device. If productivity matters and mobility means absolutely nothing, it is quite simply not an option to opt for a mobile solution.

Apple cannot abandon that segment of customer even if the bulk of sales are taken up by increasingly more capable mobile devices.

Already, Mac Pro sales are not a significant business for Apple in terms of raw numbers but I don't think Apple would be comfortable with eliminating the Mac platform as an option for serious computational work.
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.

Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.

The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?

I agree with this post 100%.
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post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.

Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.

The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?


There's not enough profit to be made in the niche markets. A small company, like Apple used to be, needs that scant profit.

A behemoth company like Apple is now can't be bothered.

Apple is firmly into the portable gadget market now. The iPod caught their interest, they got hooked on the iPhone, and now the iPad has cemented the new strategy. It was announced long ago by Steve.

It is no surprise that the low-profit crap will be weeded out.

And BTW, when Grandma buys an iPad, she doesn't care about the professional high end workstation market. It ain't got nothing to do with consumer gadgets.
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

There's not enough profit to be made in the niche markets. A small company, like Apple used to be, needs that scant profit.

A behemoth company like Apple is now can't be bothered.

Apple is firmly into the portable gadget market now. The iPod caught their interest, they got hooked on the iPhone, and now the iPad has cemented the new strategy. It was announced long ago by Steve.

It is no surprise that the low-profit crap will be weeded out.

And BTW, when Grandma buys an iPad, she doesn't care about the professional high end workstation market. It ain't got nothing to do with consumer gadgets.

The Mac Pro is not low profit. Margins are very attractive and sales are reasonable. It's a small percentage of total revenues, but it's still profitable.

Now, admittedly, I wouldn't be surprised to see R&D slow down for that product line. We may never see a case redesign. They may simply restrict themselves to updating the CPUs when available and then milking it.
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post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

In spite of not selling well, Apple needs to maintain the MacPro line. Every manufacturer has top-of-the-line products that sell to niche markets (usually because they're so expensive) that represent the state of the art and serve a marketing purpose because the market perception is that all the products carry the quality of the top-of-the-line products.

Camera makers do this all the time. Nikon and Canon don't sell all that much of their high-end $8000 bodies except to pros who can rationalize the expense, but they help sell the rest of the line to the masses.

The average home or office worker won't buy this machine, but I believe it still has appeal to advanced programmers, scientists and those who still need to use any type of stock or custom interface cards rather than USB or FireWire external boxes. Apple already made one mistake thinking they could dumb down Final Cut Pro and they got big pushback from the pro community. Do they really want to give up the high-end computer market to the clone makers? Do they really want to see future advertising that says, "I'm a high end user and there's no Mac that works for me so I use HP" or "...I use Toshiba"?

I agree. Apple is definitely a completely different company than the days of the G4/G5 towers which were bought by both pros and the consumer fan base. I think the thing to remember is that Apple will always have a "Pro" line. Will it always be the Mac Pro? Perhaps not. Have they found ways to innovate and evolve across other product lines? Yes. Personally I think the Mac Pro will evolve but I do not work at Apple so I have no idea of what it will look like.
post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As Apple considers scrapping its Mac Pro line of desktops...

No evidence of that...as apple is RUMORED to be considering scrapping Mac Pro. Entirely possible that they're not even considering it.
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.

This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.

I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now

I agree. There would also be a space for a mid sized tower as well.

Sadly they have been screwing up the true desktop line for years. imac's?? cmon they are really just mobile chipsets.

Time for the big boy on the block to get a proper upgrade/update. Lets get a new Mac Pro. :-)
post #20 of 64
All I want in an upgraded Mac Pro Is the ability to add in multiple graphics cards and just one avaialble SSD. Thunderbolt and USb3 can handle the rest.

Thunderbolt allows the creation of a Mac Pro that is little more than a Graphics Card slot, USB Port, Firewire Port, , Ethernet, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and Thunderbolt port.

Essentially a Mac Mini with enough room for a graphics Card. All I/O could be handle through Thunderbolt.

A $1500 - $2500 Mac Mini Squared depending on Processor. A Mini Cube if you will. Cube Ocho (8 Core).

People who need it, would buy it. Otherwise they'll just continue to make Hackintoshes.
I'm sure the Hackintosh community is just waiting to get their hands on a Thunderbolt enabled Motherboard to put OSX on.
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post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Yes, but it's still a significant market. And Apple used to have a very high (and profitable) share of the graphics production market. It would be a shame to see that go.

Apple seems to have lost some focus when it comes to the graphics production market. They don't have any antiglare display for the desktop market. Neither standalone, nor as part of an iMac. There are lots of people who are complaining about this. I don't understand this at all.

When the first unibody MacBook Pro's were introduced, they only had the glossy (glassy) display. I remember people asking Steve, Tim, and Phil, after the product introduction, if they planned to offer MacBook Pro's with an antiglare display. The answer was no. After a few months, they did.

I believe that if they offered iMacs with antiglare display as an option, the sales would increase by a significant percent.
post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

I agree. There would also be a space for a mid sized tower as well.

Sadly they have been screwing up the true desktop line for years. imac's?? cmon they are really just mobile chipsets.

Time for the big boy on the block to get a proper upgrade/update. Lets get a new Mac Pro. :-)

The only thing mobile about the iMac these days is the video card. This has been the case for several years now. Desktop processor, mobile graphics card. I do hope we see an updated MAc Pro (or a new desktop line that replaces it) and that we see a more reasonable entry price for the line. I also souldn't mind a 22" Thunderbolt Display. I don't really need a giant 27", $1000 display, but I could probably con my wife into letting me buy the smaller display to use w/a new laptop I plan to buy in the spring.
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcloki View Post

All I want in an upgraded Mac Pro Is the ability to add in multiple graphics cards and just one avaialble SSD. Thunderbolt and USb3 can handle the rest.

Then go out and buy a Mac Pro now. You can install multiple graphics cards in a Mac Pro. And you can easily install an SSD in one of the drive bays. Looks like your wishes have been fulfilled.

[QUOTE=mcloki;2001234]All I want in an upgraded Mac Pro Is the ability to add in multiple graphics Thunderbolt allows the creation of a Mac Pro that is little more than a Graphics Card slot, USB Port, Firewire Port, , Ethernet, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and Thunderbolt port.

Essentially a Mac Mini with enough room for a graphics Card. All I/O could be handle through Thunderbolt.

A $1500 - $2500 Mac Mini Squared depending on Processor. A Mini Cube if you will. Cube Ocho (8 Core)./QUOTE]

Sorry, but a Mac Mini is no better able to handle multiple graphics cards than a Mac Pro. In fact, since the Mac Pro will allow you to install multiple high end cards if you wish, the Mac Mini doesn't come close -even if they added room for a graphics card. Plus, the Mini isn't close to A pro in terms of reliability and expandability.

And that doesn't even get into the fact that the Mini is completely incapable of cooling anything more powerful than its current mobile chips.

It looks to me like you're not in the Pro market, after all. If you were, you wouldn't be suggesting an updated Mini as being more suited to your needs than an existing Pro. An i5 instead of dual Xeon? And you really expect anyone to take you seriously?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcloki View Post

People who need it, would buy it. Otherwise they'll just continue to make Hackintoshes.
I'm sure the Hackintosh community is just waiting to get their hands on a Thunderbolt enabled Motherboard to put OSX on.

I'm sure that's true, but fortunately, most of the world is not inclined to steal. That is a clear violation of the license agreement for OS X.

(Yes, I know all about the whiners who claim that they don't feel that they should have to honor the license agreement and Apple's intellectual property, but fortunately most people see it different. Except Samsung).
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post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

The only thing mobile about the iMac these days is the video card. This has been the case for several years now. Desktop processor, mobile graphics card. I do hope we see an updated MAc Pro (or a new desktop line that replaces it) and that we see a more reasonable entry price for the line. I also souldn't mind a 22" Thunderbolt Display. I don't really need a giant 27", $1000 display, but I could probably con my wife into letting me buy the smaller display to use w/a new laptop I plan to buy in the spring.

If you're talking about Apple's Thunderbolt Display, I would advise against it. For the price, you can do much better with third party displays. For all the Mac computers I've bought over time, I've never once purchased a separate Apple display - and don't regret that decision for a moment.
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post #25 of 64
You're all wrong! This new graphics card is for the xMac!
Just kidding but... I wish it was true!
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

I do think there is room for one more revision because the Mini is still a year or two away from becoming capable enough to serve as an adequate substitute. Right now the Mini is a decent choice for the non-professional who does the occasional video work (that's where I fit in) but isn't yet the powerhouse it needs to be in order to be a proper alternative to the Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro is a workstation-class machine... with up to 12 cores of processor power. It's a machine FOR professionals. Some people actually need that much power.

The Mini will never be a substitute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.
If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.

*As a percentage of sales.

The Mac Pro doesn't fall into the desktop category. Like I said, it's a workstation-class machine.

You're right... Apple makes more money on iPhones than they do on the Mac Pro.

But Apple doesn't lose money on the Mac Pro... even if Mac Pro sales are a fraction of Apple's other consumer electronics.

HP and Dell will still continue to sell workstations... and they too are a fraction of their regular laptop and desktop sales.

I think it only makes sense to cut non-profitable products. The Mac Pro still makes Apple money... and there are still people wanting new Mac Pros.

Leo Laporte's TWiT Studios could certainly benefit from new Mac Pros... and they are a rather tiny online video production company. (but they still make millions of dollars)

What about the huge video production houses out there?

The Mac Pro still has a profitable customer base... even if it's smaller than the general public who buy iPhones and iPads.
post #27 of 64
I'm guessing that the high-end BTO iMacs have separated the prosumer from the pros and Apple has determined that there just aren't that many pros in this niche left using their platform to justify the cost. IMO when Apple last upgraded their Final Cut X software, they were showing their calculated intentions to drop the Mac Pro and focus on one desktop line, the iMac, with the Mac Mini as a server.
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

i hate to say this, but I can understand why they are reluctant to keep the Pro alive.
If you look at desktop sales at Apple and the industry as a whole they are flat or declining in favor of mobile devices.* If these sales trends continue then at some point it will not be worth the engineering costs for Apple to refresh the Pro.


*As a percentage of sales.

I'd think this is part of the broader trend of people choosing laptops over traditional desktops. It's also happening in the Windows PC world. Part of the reason I think is the availability of fast multi-core mobile processors and decent mobile GPUs available from chipmakers. If you look at the trends over the last 20 years, you'll see that PCs and Macs now have the power of traditional workstations (Sun, SGI, HP, DEC, NeXT) and then some, and that power is now available in mobile form. While desktop machines with big power supplies and lots of storage and memory will still stay ahead of laptops in performance and capacity, it's quickly getting to the point where high end laptops can easily go toe-to-toe with desktops of just two years ago, and that seems to be good enough for many people.

Edit: The desktop may go the way of the workstation, becoming increasingly niche.

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post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

If you're talking about Apple's Thunderbolt Display, I would advise against it. For the price, you can do much better with third party displays. For all the Mac computers I've bought over time, I've never once purchased a separate Apple display - and don't regret that decision for a moment.

So what other monitors can I get a TB port, 3 USB, 1 Firewire and 1 Ethernet in the back of the monitor, as well as the plug to power my laptop coming out of the back? This would be a simple matter of using the body they use for the iMac and including the outputs. Just remove the computer from an iMac basically. I like the simplified connectivity the TB Display offers and while I can find monitors out there that would let me leave a keyboard and mouse plugged into them fulltime, they don't have the other benefits of the Apple display.

It should be noted, I'm not talking about buying this for any pro purposes, I just want a larger display for my laptop when I'm using iut at the desk in my home, which I probably would do a good chunk of the time.
post #30 of 64
Mac Pro's are awesome machines. I have an 2007 8core 3ghz and it still blows me away at how it runs winders and winders games. I would like to see the Mac Pro line stay at Apple. The new lineup of graphics sounds sweet. Maybe they will have a model that can max ram out at 128GB. That would be sweet.
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post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Intel is turning into a huge problem. They need to start behaving. Or else Apple needs to open a big can of whoop ass on their bottom line.



Intel's been making all kinds of progress in processor technology, it's just that Apple painted themselves into a corner by insisting on Xeon chips in the mac pro. The $300 I7 3.4 quad core chip runs rings around the current Xeon line. Why not explore those options?

It's not like they have anywhere else to go. AMD is always a generation behind, and everything else is either irrelevant (Motorola) or a toy (ARM).
post #32 of 64
We have a small fleet of Mac Pros used for video, web and high end graphics work. Yes it's a relatively expensive platform, but we want the internal HD bays, the choice of graphics cards and the heavy duty construction. I especially like the very effective cooling system.

We use them in production for several years and then push them down to clerical/admin use. Within reason the Mac Pro's (admittedly high) cost isn't a big issue, and there's no way a much cheaper iMac or Mac mini would be a reasonable substitute. Sure, I wouldn't mind seeing a somewhat more compact size with similar quality of construction and options, and if it cost a bit less then fine, but otherwise we'll keep right on buying them in the present form factor. Apple really does need to upgrade the SATA performance from 3 to 6 Gbps though.

BTW, most people seem to think that the Mac Pro design hasn't changed since the G5, but they're quite wrong. In addition to the second optical drive bay (pretty unnecessary IMO) there have been a number of internal layout redesigns. Even the drive sleds, which appear identical, aren't interchangeable even between early and late Mac Pros.
post #33 of 64
The Mac Pro serves an essential high-end niche market. Whether or not that particular box is hugely profitable is irrelevant - it's the small base it serves which is important.

It's crucial that Apple offer hardware that supports bleeding edge development environments for any number of industries. It's such development that drives the demand for everything else. Try making "Avatar" on a Mini. Try developing a serious application on one. It doesn't matter if the high-end, serious number crunching market is a small one: it's what feeds all the rest.

Apple got away with betraying is server product customer base: having never seriously invested in it there was little to lose. That's not the case with the market for the Pro. Whether or not it's a traditional tower box doesn't matter any more than the monickers attached to the processors inside. It only matters that it be a great product. Apple will impoverish its entire ecosystem if it stops providing high-end hardware. If they don't continue to attract developers, they won't be able to seduce the masses no matter how much money they spend placing MacBooks in exploding helicopters movie.
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If Apple updated these machines more often, then they would sell better. They used to do it twice a year as new cpu's and gpu's came out. As they moved that schedule to once a year, and now to, what?; There is less incentive to upgrade.

This is exactly what happened to their server line. At first, it was very popular, but Apple's refusal to make blades, and two and three slot models caused its popularity to slide into discontinuance.

I have the 2009 model, and would consider a 2011 model if it has Ivy Bridge chips and Express 3. But now

All of the oems are having the issue of lack of new cpus. With Apple they used to be fairly comparable to the rest in terms of cost for a given workstation. They're now significantly more especially when you have to add applecare to extend the warranty to three years which is the norm for any other workstation type computer (Dell, HP, Boxx, Lenovo, etc.). The ones that approach Mac Pro pricing with similar hardware are typically in that price range due to very specific features. The base model mac pro is really terribly weak, and the six core is simply overpriced for what you actually get. It's all been stated already.

Some of the other oems have bumped other things here and there, such as updating upgrade pricing on various components including cpu configurations.

Also that they're considering killing it has never been verified. It's speculation that may or may not happen, but I highly doubt all of these silly apple sites have any kind of inside knowledge there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

The MacPro sales are down because the thing is too friggn expensive. A few years ago, many users were begging for a more affordable mid-tower, but thanks to the iArrogance, that never happened.

So for that market it's either the iMac or the Mini, both of which are no replacement to a mid-tower.

It really comes down to what you pay vs. what you get for it. The imac kind of of sucks but the price tag of a reasonably configured mac pro makes it look attractive by comparison. There are too many things that could either brick the machine or require hauling it in for service, and the displays don't age well. Take a look at a heavily used imac after a couple years old and you'll see what I mean. It's more just making the best of what Apple gives you, but the forced purchase of a 27" display annoys me if it's not even up to par for my primary display.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

I'm guessing that the high-end BTO iMacs have separated the prosumer from the pros and Apple has determined that there just aren't that many pros in this niche left using their platform to justify the cost. IMO when Apple last upgraded their Final Cut X software, they were showing their calculated intentions to drop the Mac Pro and focus on one desktop line, the iMac, with the Mac Mini as a server.

The imacs have too many issues if you're really in need of a performance machine, or you need a quality display (note that $300 24" screens are not quality displays no matter what panel they use). The fact that you can't even replace as much as a hard drive pisses me off. It's just that the mac pro starts with such an awful configuration unless you spend a significant amount on upgrades, that it makes the imac look good by comparison.

Really the six core should be somewhere along the lines of $2500-2800 and the quads should just go away. That way you've got a high minimum sale, but the line starts with something truly worthy of its price. Before anyone goes on about how that's a much more expensive cpu, look up what one costs for the mini . If you're spending that much, it should have both expandability and a speed advantage over the lesser models.
post #35 of 64
There's far more to the business dynamic than having the Mac Pro "pay for itself", much less worrying that they're "not AS profitable as iPhone"...

There is plenty that can be done to the platform aside from new CPUs. For starters, the limitation to a handful of graphics cards is loathesome and blocks one of the natural groups of power-users, namely gamers and the developers who cater to them.
post #36 of 64
I've said it before. If the Mac Pro is discontinued, I will be forced to switch everything to PC. It won't stop at my tower, it'll be my laptop and smaller systems too.

As a motion graphics designer/animator, I have to stay competitive, the only way to do that is to keep upgrading to the faster/more powerful machines. It's that simple.

My competition isn't going stick with apple if they discontinue the pro either. We all need the faster machines to make the stuff everyone sees on TV and in movies.

Apple doesn't have a software advantage in my industry. The 3D software I use and compositing software are available on PC as well. Don't even have to buy new versions of the packages.

Just waiting for confirmation from Apple if they're dropping it or supporting it for years to come.
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

No evidence of that...as apple is RUMORED to be considering scrapping Mac Pro. Entirely possible that they're not even considering it.

No Apple display to work with the Mac Pro's is pretty big evidence.
Pro's need to look at what they are doing and their data - not themselves.

If Apple kills the Mac Pro (production computers), there will eventually be a negative cascading effect on sales of their gadget market. To what effect, nobody knows.
Large developers will leave, professionals will have no choice but to leave. Production houses will leave, the education, scientific & health community will leave. And while Apple has a good lead at the moment, competition is catching up and they will develop their own ecosystems - that include desktop solutions.
Once that happens, Apple will be just another Sony trying to hawk overpriced gadgets to dumb consumers. Selling games and entertainment. They may even buy Nintendo.

If that's their goal, so be it. They will probably be successful at it for a while - until their stacks of litigation monies run out and the lure of their stores diminishes.

Remember an important issue that hasn't seen much scrutiny - Tim Cook is not going to inspire, innovate, or intrigue. He's there to manage the remaining dreams and vision of Steve Jobs (2-3 more years). At which point they will be in dire need of leadership.

Industry (pro's) can be 'too big to fail' because of the importance of their infrastructure. This is Microsoft's only strong suit at the moment.
Apple on the other hand, peddling and hawking gadgets to consumers in a highly competitive market - has no safety net to shore up a strong foundation.

It's a lot of pressure they would be putting on their brand if they do kill it off with no other solution.

\
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryanh View Post

The Mac Pro serves an essential high-end niche market. Whether or not that particular box is hugely profitable is irrelevant - it's the small base it serves which is important.

It's crucial that Apple offer hardware that supports bleeding edge development environments for any number of industries. It's such development that drives the demand for everything else. Try making "Avatar" on a Mini. Try developing a serious application on one. It doesn't matter if the high-end, serious number crunching market is a small one: it's what feeds all the rest.

Apple got away with betraying is server product customer base: having never seriously invested in it there was little to lose. That's not the case with the market for the Pro. Whether or not it's a traditional tower box doesn't matter any more than the monickers attached to the processors inside. It only matters that it be a great product. Apple will impoverish its entire ecosystem if it stops providing high-end hardware. If they don't continue to attract developers, they won't be able to seduce the masses no matter how much money they spend placing MacBooks in exploding helicopters movie.

Exactly. Great post.
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

I've said it before. If the Mac Pro is discontinued, I will be forced to switch everything to PC. It won't stop at my tower, it'll be my laptop and smaller systems too.

As a motion graphics designer/animator, I have to stay competitive, the only way to do that is to keep upgrading to the faster/more powerful machines. It's that simple.

My competition isn't going stick with apple if they discontinue the pro either. We all need the faster machines to make the stuff everyone sees on TV and in movies.

Apple doesn't have a software advantage in my industry. The 3D software I use and compositing software are available on PC as well. Don't even have to buy new versions of the packages.

Just waiting for confirmation from Apple if they're dropping it or supporting it for years to come.

THIS^^
Exact same boat here. Unfortunately some of the software I use would need to be repurchased which would be a drag. That being said, I have considered switching to PC in recent years anyway due to the greater selection of graphics cards and because I enjoy gaming. As you know GPU power can have a tremendous impact on motion graphics and 3d work.

What I believe Apple would be underestimating here is the effect such a move would have on their ecosystem. I control all of the technology purchasing decisions in the house and we have multiple iPhones, iPads, lap tops and desktops from Apple. if I switch its only a matter of time until i switch everything in the same way that people who switch to iPhones eventually switch to macs.
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

As well, one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for the Mini is Thunderbolt which is still not a broadly supported technology.

At its current speed, a single Thunderbolt connector does not match the total combined throughput of all the slots and interfaces available in the Mac Pro. Running a Promise Pegasus RAID system and two 27 inch displays all connected to Thunderbolt resulted in noticeable slowdown, according to AnandTech.com. Also, the same people who praise the iMac for its all-in-one simplicity are contradicting themselves when they tell Mac Mini users to chain together a bunch of external Thunderbolt devices, cables, and AC bricks.
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