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Mac Pro Refesh in March - Page 3

post #81 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

<snip>

Whether Pro, iMac or Mini...I have an interest in Apple's desktop strategy and where it's going.

Lemon Bon Bon.

As do we all. :-)

The Core i7 iMac is indeed a different breed of iMac capable of performance that allows it to assume rolls no iMac could have only a few years ago. The Mini continues to find new and interesting uses.

All that said, your friend had the use of his machine for two years before the Apple answered. In productivity based applications that is a very long time.

Drive failure is an entire world unto itself. Even with high quality drives, failures can be created in shipping by poor quality packing, rough handling and high impact shipping. The quality of hard drives is generally thought to have declined in recent years which makes their selection all the more important as well as backup strategies. iMacs have had a lot of drive failures as well. Thermal issues with the recent iMacs have resulted in Apple changing temperature sensors for hard drives. To date, the requires the use of pricey, proprietary drives which is not the best situation. Jonny Ives' designs have almost always had thermal issues because of his packaging choices.

As process nodes have shrunk, the possibility of having GPUs on the same piece of silicon has become attractive from a performance perspective and feasible from a manufacturing and cost perspective. More advanced solutions will likely remain in expansion slots of one sort or another for some time though.

The area I look forward to is a move away from the constraints of the SATA interface for SSDs. I foresee on-the-motherboard PCIe based controllers just as there are presently SATA controllers on the board. This could provide very useful performance improvements in many circumstances.

Cheers
post #82 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Compare:

27" iMac, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 6970M + 2x Mini Server, 4GB RAM each, 256GB SSD each ($550x2) + 4TB Pegasus R4 ($1149) = $6946
12-core Mac Pro, 6GB RAM, 4TB hardware RAID (no SSD boot drive), Radeon 5870, 27" IPS display = $8548

If you leave the first setup without SSD boot drives, the first price is $5346 and you can use your own 128GB SSDs if you want to get somewhere in between.

Given that the Mac Pro refresh is now once every 2 years, you would benefit from being able to upgrade your slave drives every year and get a 50% performance boost per slave or just add more while keeping your main setup and RAID untouched.

I should mention that I don't feel the imac display is worth $1000. While the thunderbolt display costs that, I haven't been impressed with Apple's implementations at all. They're just coasting on panel development without adding anything interesting to it. LED was actually a downgrade for anything where color matters.

If I spend anything on displays, it'll be the new cintiq. They seem to have basically fixed the exact things that I disliked about the previous version, and I have a much easier time working precisely on screen. It was just that the previous stand lacked stability and ergonomics, and the display sucked. The cursor also lagged. That combination of issues just killed it for me. http://gizmodo.com/5839504/wacom-cin...eaven-on-earth

I'm not sure if the futurama + star trek references in that thing made me want the tablet more.


You know I'm kind of with you on the nodes to a degree assuming they can be efficiently managed and don't require any excessive licensing fees on software and that the rig can be set up within reasonable costs. It's just that I still think the mac pro can make more sense than the imac as a head to that rig. Service complaints with the imac aside, you still have better gpu and raid throughput options. It's really not a bad machine in any way. I know you said it's the speed of 3 laptops, but those laptops total up similar in price. I'd like to see a decent mac pro sub 3k again. Regarding refresh cycle, Apple doesn't do bumps mid cpu generation, and Intel hasn't released much. For displays, I'd definitely pick a non Apple display. After so many display problems, that's an area where I have absolutely zero trust for them.
post #83 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

However special hardware means special pricing. I do hope that Apple offers a more mainstream six core platform. I'd actually be surprised if the processor is Apple only, that would be highly unusual of Intel.

It is interesting that part of the delay appears to be due to a move to 22nm. That is a bit different than I was hearing. In any event the rumored performance of these chips is extremely impressive. I really don't think there will be many complaints when they come out.


Not necessarily "special", just different. A 17mm wrench does not cost a great deal more than a 15mm wrench. It is just a different tool.

More recent statements indicate that only the dual core Ivy Bridge CPUs are the ones being delayed. Apparently people are not all that interested in buying dual core processors when quad cores are available. Duh! Do you think?
post #84 of 372
Apparently Mountain Lion natively supports the Radeon 6970, 6950, and the nVidia 5xx series cards.

Now, while I am running Mountain Lion and while I do have a Mac Pro, I don't have the money to drop on one of these cards (nor a valid use thereafter to justify said purchase) to check, so you'll have to take the word of other people testing this out.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #85 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post

Not necessarily "special", just different. A 17mm wrench does not cost a great deal more than a 15mm wrench. It is just a different tool.

More recent statements indicate that only the dual core Ivy Bridge CPUs are the ones being delayed. Apparently people are not all that interested in buying dual core processors when quad cores are available. Duh! Do you think?

That analogy is all wrong. You're comparing different off the shelf instruments. Whenever you order something customized rather than what is mass produced, it tends to cost more. There is nothing about the mac pro that really requires a custom part. All macs are running on generic parts, and the mac pro has a fairly captive audience as typically once you have your workflow set up around the use of Macs, it's hard to change that. Personally I wouldn't lend any credibility to this rumor. It's completely stupid. In 2007 the mac pros used a different cpu type, but it was one that the other oems passed on due to its higher tdp. Intel was stuck with them. Apple purchased them.
post #86 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm sorry, in what universe does ANYONE who uses a workstation computer for actual work overclock? Workstation computers are supposed to be stable.

Does your lack of imagination prevent you from seeing that "Workstation" could mean a few different things to a few different demographics of users?

Is there not an abundance of 2d, 3D CG examples that literally permeate our culture on TV, independent film, major film? Do the countless people who work in this demographic who Do benefit from "all the damned speed they can get", call there computers "Workstations????? What universe do YOU live in? Where ever it is, perhaps an IMac will suit your "Workstation" needs there. So go ahead APPLE (noticed how I got it right this time>) drop the Mac Pro, beef up an IMac for users like "Tallest", sit down and shut up and let the vast PC world reign on the cutting edge of what I and many others consider real "Workstations" builds, that if built and stress tested properly are every bit as stable, overclocked or not. Do your Research!


QUOTE=This is the only real argument you have.[/QUOTE]

You keep missing the point
post #87 of 372
All I want is a 3U rack-mountable chassis that allows for single or dual CPUs (and the choice of said CPUs, i7s or Xeons), up to 8 RAM slots, 4 HDD bays & 3 PCIe slots (one double-width for GPU elbow room). Any further expansion would be via USB/FW/Thunderbolt or an expansion chassis hanging off of one of the PCIe slots.

I would go for a quad-core i7 & 16GB RAM; fill my PCIe slots with a nVidea GFX590, the Apple RAID card & a bootable 256GB FlashRAM card. Fill the HDD bays with four 4TB Seagate Barracudas. Run three drives in a RAID 5 with the fourth drive as a hot-standby. This would be an ideal component in the living room serving as a combo WoW/HTPC.

LOL… I just thought to myself that, in the guise of a HTPC, such a boxen could be monikered the TV Pro…! ;^p
Late 2009 Unibody MacBook (modified)
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Late 2009 Unibody MacBook (modified)
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post #88 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2by4 View Post

Is there not an abundance of 2d, 3D CG examples that literally permeate our culture on TV, independent film, major film?

let the vast PC world reign on the cutting edge of what I and many others consider real "Workstations" builds

For TV and film CGI, the artists don't render the content on their workstations though because even the fastest workstations are too slow. They need hundreds, often thousands of high-end PCs rendering all the time. Regardless of how much a Mac Pro jumps during an upgrade, it won't match a 1,000-strong render farm for 20 years.

For individuals who are rendering effects, there is a case for a high-end workstation tower (assuming render farm rental is not feasible) but there will be few cases where they make enough money to afford the 12-core Mac Pro to see the benefit and the benefit they will see is going to be at most a factor of 2.5x faster over an iMac and they can easily buy a couple of networked PCs to get the same performance. The iMac will reach that performance in 2-3 years anyway.

When it comes to content creation, an iMac can do everything a Mac Pro can with the right drive setup.

There are benefits to the Mac Pro - Apple clearly designed it to be a machine that can take the best parts from each manufacturer and keep them contained inside a single box - 1kW PSU, can take the fastest desktop GPU, fastest Xeon CPUs and fit all manner of PCI and SATA devices. Without the Mac Pro, Apple can't offer the best that money can buy for this form factor and price range.

But, technology has changed so much that power isn't the emphasis any more. It's not about making a game that renders every tiny hair on a human face, it's making a game that people want to play. It's not about making a movie with a hundred CGI sequences, it's about making a movie people want to watch, over and over. Power is cheap, servers are cheap, software is cheap, what isn't cheap is talent and the Mac Pro isn't changing that one bit.

The computer doesn't contain the high order bit, we are the high order bit.

Would an iMac ever prevent the user from doing what they want or make the experience less pleasant? In a very small minority of ever shrinking cases, maybe but is it worth it for Apple to cater to these special cases that comprise less than 5% of their user base?

For the time being, perhaps but not for very long. These special cases shrink in number year after year until one day they will be extinguished and Apple could choose to ignore those cases today with negligible consequence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil

Apparently Mountain Lion natively supports the Radeon 6970, 6950, and the nVidia 5xx series cards.

It will be interesting to see what they do for Thunderbolt support in the Mac Pro. If they ship these cards in the Pro, I suspect they will be sealed in - i.e in a slot that doesn't allow the GPU to have direct external outputs. This means upgrades can be had from Apple but no 3rd party GPU purchases with ROM flashing. Then they'd just have 4x Thunderbolt ports from the motherboard.

This design change means no slots at all for expansion so they can reduce the size and people will buy the Pro for the power. Gradually we will become accustomed to what's inside the box staying in the box and all expansion coming from the outside and over time, whatever remaining value proposition of the Pro disappears.
post #89 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


But, technology has changed so much that power isn't the emphasis any more. It's not about making a game that renders every tiny hair on a human face, it's making a game that people want to play. It's not about making a movie with a hundred CGI sequences, it's about making a movie people want to watch, over and over. Power is cheap, servers are cheap, software is cheap, what isn't cheap is talent and the Mac Pro isn't changing that one bit.

The computer doesn't contain the high order bit, we are the high order bit.

Would an iMac ever prevent the user from doing what they want or make the experience less pleasant? In a very small minority of ever shrinking cases, maybe but is it worth it for Apple to cater to these special cases that comprise less than 5% of their user base?

For the time being, perhaps but not for very long. These special cases shrink in number year after year until one day they will be extinguished and Apple could choose to ignore those cases today with negligible consequence.



It will be interesting to see what they do for Thunderbolt support in the Mac Pro. If they ship these cards in the Pro, I suspect they will be sealed in - i.e in a slot that doesn't allow the GPU to have direct external outputs. This means upgrades can be had from Apple but no 3rd party GPU purchases with ROM flashing. Then they'd just have 4x Thunderbolt ports from the motherboard.

This design change means no slots at all for expansion so they can reduce the size and people will buy the Pro for the power. Gradually we will become accustomed to what's inside the box staying in the box and all expansion coming from the outside and over time, whatever remaining value proposition of the Pro disappears.

I don't think they'd need to make thunderbolt the only option there. It could be completely split off from video in such an enclosure given that it really doesn't have the spatial constraint. It also wouldn't prevent NVidia from porting over a newer Quadro. I think those would have been much more successful Mac side had they not been plagued with issues upon release (consistently). Personally I don't care what they do as long as I can turn out work. I require 2-3 display outputs. I wouldn't try to render video sequences on my machine, but it's fine for still stuff. I can render out any matter of things for photo comps on basically any recent mac. The new ones are getting to a point where I can just render out things in the background without the wait being too insane. It's just an issue of ram and one of the more powerful computers on the market.

The gpu is more for navigation and undrendered playback as in frame scrubbing. Viewport lag is awful because if it's really bad on a heavy scene, you can pass over what you wanted to see. With earlier machines for most of these things, people got by with reduced settings. Hide objects in your scene or reduce your photoshop history, turn off thumbnails, etc. We're getting to a point where gpus can be harvested for other things too. It's just that the code isn't totally mature yet, and it still has a lot of limitations. In a few years, things may be totally different. Becoming more reliant on the gpu has been a trend since 2009 or so, so it's not an immediate gratification kind of development.

Regarding design... I completely disagree with you. I don't think Apple designs these anymore. I think they throw everything on Foxconn and just sign off on it, so it requires very little effort from them to keep the line moving. Because of this I wouldn't expect to see any major design overhauls. They've let OSX slip behind Windows on several points which really surprises me, but they're powerful features. Once again the percentage of their base that uses sophisticated features is relatively low. It happens, but I may replace my macs at some point because of it (totally undecided, waiting to see the next hardware generation). It's actually kind of annoying. Any way I spec out a mac other than a mac pro, it requires me to make too many compromises. I like having the older NEC to monitor background tasks. I then have my primary display, and I want to add in a Cintiq. Two of these require displayport connections, one can use dvi. The imac display will never be an option for me. Every time I try to look at one I want to smash it with a hammer.

Anyway I had fun writing, but you are spot on regarding the fact that most of rendering and stuff is not done on a single workstation for major stuff, although for smaller ads and a lot of web content, or shared web + print assets, it is rendered on one machine.
post #90 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

For TV and film CGI, the artists don't render the content on their workstations though because even the fastest workstations are too slow. They need hundreds, often thousands of high-end PCs rendering all the time. Regardless of how much a Mac Pro jumps during an upgrade, it won't match a 1,000-strong render farm for 20 years.

For individuals who are rendering effects, there is a case for a high-end workstation tower (assuming render farm rental is not feasible) but there will be few cases where they make enough money to afford the 12-core Mac Pro to see the benefit and the benefit they will see is going to be at most a factor of 2.5x faster over an iMac and they can easily buy a couple of networked PCs to get the same performance. The iMac will reach that performance in 2-3 years anyway.

When it comes to content creation, an iMac can do everything a Mac Pro can with the right drive setup.

There are benefits to the Mac Pro - Apple clearly designed it to be a machine that can take the best parts from each manufacturer and keep them contained inside a single box - 1kW PSU, can take the fastest desktop GPU, fastest Xeon CPUs and fit all manner of PCI and SATA devices. Without the Mac Pro, Apple can't offer the best that money can buy for this form factor and price range.

But, technology has changed so much that power isn't the emphasis any more. It's not about making a game that renders every tiny hair on a human face, it's making a game that people want to play. It's not about making a movie with a hundred CGI sequences, it's about making a movie people want to watch, over and over. Power is cheap, servers are cheap, software is cheap, what isn't cheap is talent and the Mac Pro isn't changing that one bit.

The computer doesn't contain the high order bit, we are the high order bit.

Would an iMac ever prevent the user from doing what they want or make the experience less pleasant? In a very small minority of ever shrinking cases, maybe but is it worth it for Apple to cater to these special cases that comprise less than 5% of their user base?

For the time being, perhaps but not for very long. These special cases shrink in number year after year until one day they will be extinguished and Apple could choose to ignore those cases today with negligible consequence.



It will be interesting to see what they do for Thunderbolt support in the Mac Pro. If they ship these cards in the Pro, I suspect they will be sealed in - i.e in a slot that doesn't allow the GPU to have direct external outputs. This means upgrades can be had from Apple but no 3rd party GPU purchases with ROM flashing. Then they'd just have 4x Thunderbolt ports from the motherboard.

This design change means no slots at all for expansion so they can reduce the size and people will buy the Pro for the power. Gradually we will become accustomed to what's inside the box staying in the box and all expansion coming from the outside and over time, whatever remaining value proposition of the Pro disappears.

I think you pretty much nailed the argument here. The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up. A full loaded iMac hammers the entry base Mac Pro for value. While the Pro doesn't even have Thunderbolt, less ram and a 'so-so' gpu for a 'worksation.' Add an Apple monitor to the Pro and you get yourself an Adobe Photoshop license and/or other goodies for that.

It's less about power and more about talent.

With Thunderbolt, the i7 (hyper threading etc), much better mobile gpus eg 6970m with 2 gigs of Vram, ram ceiling upto 16 gigs, thunderbolt raid systems....a built in 27 inch monitor...the mainstream desktops/pro laptops are reaching into territory formerly occupied by a tower.

Add Mac Mini nodes for extra render power as you can afford it...

I think Marv's arguments about the Pro's waning authority on traditional creative areas (Photoshop, 3D, Video or even games to take another example...) is demonstrated by Apple's positioning of the iMac in the 'mid-tower' ground of the non-existent 'X-Mac'.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #91 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

I think you pretty much nailed the argument here. The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up. A full loaded iMac hammers the entry base Mac Pro for value. While the Pro doesn't even have Thunderbolt, less ram and a 'so-so' gpu for a 'worksation.' Add an Apple monitor to the Pro and you get yourself an Adobe Photoshop license and/or other goodies for that.

It's less about power and more about talent.

With Thunderbolt, the i7 (hyper threading etc), much better mobile gpus eg 6970m with 2 gigs of Vram, ram ceiling upto 16 gigs, thunderbolt raid systems....a built in 27 inch monitor...the mainstream desktops/pro laptops are reaching into territory formerly occupied by a tower.

Add Mac Mini nodes for extra render power as you can afford it...

I think Marv's arguments about the Pro's waning authority on traditional creative areas (Photoshop, 3D, Video or even games to take another example...) is demonstrated by Apple's positioning of the iMac in the 'mid-tower' ground of the non-existent 'X-Mac'.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You guys do miss certain points. The imac is a bad point of progression. Better ones are available even if not manufactured by Apple. The ram thing is also a bad way to look at it. What sounds high today? What sounded high a decade ago? Who could use a gig of ram? Who could use a MB of ram? Laptops would be a more suitable point of progression for most people. If you really need everything, the imac isn't such a great solution. If you're compromising, you probably own a laptop + desktop already, why own two devices that are now closer together than before? One just doesn't provide a lot over the other. The mini has a few advantages, but I think it's a bit constrained.

As for upgrading stuff, it's not necessarily about progressive upgrades. Some people do them, but the ability to do so is roughly on par with PC workstation towers. What sucks is the amount of parts that have to go into the shop at once to achieve a repair.

You guys should consider logical steps in technology as opposed to whatever flavor of kool-aid Apple is serving that year. They make sure your entire workflow is set up for Macs. Your drives are formatted in a format friendly to them. Everything is set up around the use of a Mac, so it's not very easy to migrate away from that company. I agree it's working for Apple, but I think you guys grossly overstate how hard it is for them to maintain such a line. The only place I could understand remote concern would be retail space in the Apple store. I wonder if smaller Apple stores outside of major markets still stock them.
post #92 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You guys do miss certain points. The imac is a bad point of progression. Better ones are available even if not manufactured by Apple. The ram thing is also a bad way to look at it. What sounds high today? What sounded high a decade ago? Who could use a gig of ram?

In today's modern computers the only things worth upgrading are storage related. RAM upgrades often justify their costs and are not a huge Mac problem. What is a problem is the updating of secondary storage, that is hard drives or SSDs. This is where all Mac fall flat on their face with the exception being the Pro. The problem with the Pro of course is that it is way to expensive to buy to just get flexible storage.
Quote:
Who could use a MB of ram? Laptops would be a more suitable point of progression for most people. If you really need everything, the imac isn't such a great solution. If you're compromising, you probably own a laptop + desktop already, why own two devices that are now closer together than before? One just doesn't provide a lot over the other. The mini has a few advantages, but I think it's a bit constrained.

For many users I can see laptops being replaced by tablets and desktops. I'm seriously considering this and frankly just need a better desktop solution from Apple. Apple obviously needs to do more here with iOS and the Mac hardware solutions but it might only be a year or two before this sort of solution becomes compelling.

The Mini in my opinion is an excellent little computer, it is not however an ideal hub machine. That is mostly due to its internal storage provisions.
Quote:
As for upgrading stuff, it's not necessarily about progressive upgrades. Some people do them, but the ability to do so is roughly on par with PC workstation towers. What sucks is the amount of parts that have to go into the shop at once to achieve a repair.

My desire for an XMac really has nothing to do with upgrading in the traditional sense of processor or motherboard upgrades. I really don't see adding a hard disk or an I/O card in that sense upgrading. It is more of a case of configuration.
Quote:
You guys should consider logical steps in technology as opposed to whatever flavor of kool-aid Apple is serving that year. They make sure your entire workflow is set up for Macs. Your drives are formatted in a format friendly to them. Everything is set up around the use of a Mac, so it's not very easy to migrate away from that company. I agree it's working for Apple, but I think you guys grossly overstate how hard it is for them to maintain such a line. The only place I could understand remote concern would be retail space in the Apple store. I wonder if smaller Apple stores outside of major markets still stock them.

Things are working out well for Apple, but maybe not so much for their customers. Right now if I want to do anything different I'm compelled to go the Linux route. Nothing wrong with Linux of course but if you like the Mac environment very frustrating. Actually the divid between Linux and the Mac is pretty thin, it isn't hard to migrate away or maintain two paths. It is just that Apple offers enough to really desire that everything be Apple powered.

As to retail, well the stores are crowded now. Apple will have to expand many of them especially if some of the rumored products come to be.
post #93 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The problem with the Pro of course is that it is way to expensive to buy to just get flexible storage.

This is one of the reasons why I believe few Mac Pro customers are buying them to get flexible storage. I believe the overwhelming majority of Mac Pro customers are buying them for CPU/GPU performance and the ability to address more RAM than an iMac or Mac Mini can address. A believe a Mac with the expansion of the Mac Mini (plus one more Thunderbolt port) and the performance of an updated Mac Pro could be priced attractively and sell well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The Mini in my opinion is an excellent little computer, it is not however an ideal hub machine. That is mostly due to its internal storage provisions.

Anyone serious about storage will buy an external RAID device and connect it either as a NAS device or using Thunderbolt. The real limitations of the Mac Mini are CPU/GPU performance and addressable RAM. Obviously, any Mac with dramatically more CPU/GPU performance than the Mini would require a larger case.
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Mac user since August 1983.
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post #94 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I don't think they'd need to make thunderbolt the only option there. It could be completely split off from video in such an enclosure given that it really doesn't have the spatial constraint.

It could be but then it wouldn't be compatible with Intel's spec nor would it be compatible with Apple's Thunderbolt Cinema displays.

If Apple went with Thunderbolt ports on the GPU, it means a custom GPU and Intel has already said that PCI cards won't be made with Thunderbolt connections.

So, if Apple wants to add spec-compatible Thunderbolt connections to the Mac Pro, they have no choice but to prevent direct external connections from a PCI GPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Any way I spec out a mac other than a mac pro, it requires me to make too many compromises. I like having the older NEC to monitor background tasks. I then have my primary display, and I want to add in a Cintiq. Two of these require displayport connections, one can use dvi. The imac display will never be an option for me.

You get a Mini-DP to dual HDMI adaptor so I imagine you'd be able to hook up 2 DVI displays (one display + one Cintiq) to a single Thunderbolt port:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005FSHHH...SIN=B005FSHHHG

If you only used 3 displays with a Pro, the built-in iMac display would take the place of either the primary or secondary display. You can also connect secondary (non-GPU accelerated) displays over USB:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnycEPymZF8

The Mac Pro does allow more display connections than the iMac but Apple did a one-to-one between machine and display for their wall:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2IMHuZXfl0

An iMac would allow 7 monitor connections with splitters + internal = 8 monitors with 5 supporting GPU acceleration. In fact many more if you use a ViDock-type device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon

The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up.

This is an important point. We cycle through these discussions every now and again and every time the theoretical minimum requirements for professional work get artificially pushed just out of reach of the iMac. By now, the iMac has become almost everything we asked for 3 or 4 years ago and the Mac Pro has been getting stale.

The Mac Pro has a 300W power limit on the PCI slots so you can't put multiple high-end GPUs in there for SLI/X-Fire like you can with a PC tower and you can't use the latest GPUs until Apple gets the new drivers out. You have to take out the optical unit if you want to attach an SSD and have the 4 drives in RAID 01.

PCI slots open up risk of internal damage to a very expensive machine that isn't covered by warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm

The ram thing is also a bad way to look at it. What sounds high today? What sounded high a decade ago?

I'd say 32GB (which the iMac can take) is a decent amount of RAM. Even if you run ZBrush, Maya, AE and Photoshop together, 32GB should be plenty for what you are doing and I can't imagine any tasks that exceed this. Certainly nothing that needs over 32GB of contiguous space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm

What sucks is the amount of parts that have to go into the shop at once to achieve a repair.

Yeah, if your display fails, having to send back your computer isn't good but if they allowed you to remove storage, you could always pull the drive, plug it into another machine via enclosure e.g cheap backup Mini and keep working as normal. This covers you for failures beyond the display too.
post #95 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Intel has already said that PCI cards won't be made with Thunderbolt connections.

If that's true, I suspect that Intel may have plans to end-of-life PCI -- at least PCI as we know it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'd say 32GB (which the iMac can take) is a decent amount of RAM. Even if you run ZBrush, Maya, AE and Photoshop together, 32GB should be plenty for what you are doing and I can't imagine any tasks that exceed this. Certainly nothing that needs over 32GB of contiguous space.

I agree that 32GB is decent (more than decent). However, there are dynamic modeling applications which need more than 32GB of RAM. There are probably other applications which need more than 32GB of RAM.
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post #96 of 372
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon
The Mac Pro has been 'all but' sealed box for sometime. No upgrading the cpu board, no 3rd party gpu market. 2 years between updates. The iMac pretty much catches it up.
This is an important point. We cycle through these discussions every now and again and every time the theoretical minimum requirements for professional work get artificially pushed just out of reach of the iMac. By now, the iMac has become almost everything we asked for 3 or 4 years ago and the Mac Pro has been getting stale.

I think that is the killer point.

It's the same cyclical arguement.

LOL. I recall when Lightwave was asking for 256 megs of ram and that was recommended...then it became the minimum.

It used to be that you couldn't do Photoshop work with 128 megs of ram. Then 256 was idea...then it was 512 megs...

I don't know how we got to a point where 2 gigs of Ram isn't enough. Or 4gigs! 300 dpi/600dpi with plenty of layers and 4 gigs of Ram I demo'd Photoshop on this Core 2 Duo iMac on a then Windows partition. Worked like butter. Even with lots of layers. The days of going to make coffee on filters is over for me.

Don't get me started on 32 gigs! Even 8 gigs would seem alot to me now. But it's relative.

Not a coincidence that these software 'recommendations' collude with natural advances in hardware.

However. The areas where a Mac Pro can claim to sole province in a creative sense are over.

3D, Photoshop, Video used to need those old Blue and white G3 towers. That territory has long since been outclassed by the current iMac. No coincidence that alot or publishing firms have iMacs on their desks now.

I guess if Apple aren't offering what you want you go elsewhere.

I remember the days when an iMac used to huff and puff a bit on Photoshop and had a really tiny screen. But like the gum drop colours of yesterday, a distant memory. Today's top end iMac with Thunderbolt HD/Raid is a a machine that is very respectable at 3D, Photoshop and can take on video work. More 3D rendering? Just add a few Mini render boxes?

As for Dynamic Modelling Applications. I guess the Mac Pro has to have 'a' reason for it's existence... And if someone wants to pay almost 3 times the price for 2.5 x the performance...that's up to them. But for serious stuff I thought people would just use render farms...whether that be games companies, universities or movie companies.

For that mainstream 'tower' market Apple are selling laptops over 4-1 over their desktops. And the most popular one is the iMac. It and the Macbook Pros offer all the power most people use. Photos, videos, image manipulations, 3D.

I remember when my Athlon could barely run Softimage XSI. That was in 2000. Now, my iMac can run Lightwave 3D heaps better. *Shrugs. Times change.

Keep up the debate. I'm enjoying it...while waiting for the new iMac and Mac Pro. (Which I hope both get juicy updates.)

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #97 of 372
As for Apple monitors. I never liked Matte. I wanted glossy before I'd buy one. I have it on my iMac. I hated the Matte screens. It looked cheap.

But I felt that LCD/LED screens were a step back over CRT in terms of colour.

Now I've got used to the retina scorching quality of LED I don't even remember CRT...or the back breaking need to hump my 21 inch D2 monitor (trinitron it was...and bloody heavy...) Beautiful for graphics work at the time...on a 200mhz 604e (...I think...) Computer Warehouse 'Manhattan' clone with 160 megs of ram. Running Photoshop 4 (the best version in my view...heh, heh, heh...) The gpu had 8 megs of ram on it. 2D only.

The current iMac in my mits makes me smile at those days.

Apple and the Mac have come along way. I just see the iOS as 'mini macs', the evolutionary or revolutionary next step. I was torn between the Mac Pro and the iMac.

But after the price hikes of the Mac Pro G5 from the entry £995 tower to the £1495, to the £1895 to £1995 to £2095...I have to laugh at how it got there. The pricing is clearly artificial to gauge customers. We get it. Mini 'low', iMac 'medium' and Mac Pro 'high'. As they do on Ram and SDD pricing.

Apple aren't santa claus.

So I plumped for the value in the iMac. It's in no way a 'limited' machine. I even took it apart and put in a faster 7200 rpm HD. Works even faster.

Part of me still longs for the Mac Pro. But they'd have to lop at least £500 off the entry price to get back to me even thinking about it...and maybe offer a bundle price with that monitor of theirs. Unlikely, I know. But PC tower buyers just laugh at the Pro.

So it looks like I'll wait until we see what happens over the next two years. This is still a decent machine.

One last snippet. There's a comic artist that works for DC. His wrote his book on using computers for comic art with photoshop almost 3 years ago. His Mac tower was a Core 2 Duo set up. His laptop was just as powerful. Yet his creativity and his innovate thoughts on streamlining comic production an almost assembly line approach allowed him to work faster than other artists doing it the manual or old fashioned way.

That kind of ties in with Marv's thoughts on machines having no limit on creativity. It's about the artist in the above example. I find the iMac the perfect artist's machine. Manga Studio Pro. Runs just fine. Photoshop. Just fine. Scrivener. Just fine. General computing just fine. 3D. More than capable. Multimedia. Just fine. And it's a 2-3 year old machine now.

I wouldn't say no to a fully loaded current top of the line iMac with it's dream like 2 gigs of VRAM option...and the punchy i7 with hyper threading.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #98 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Personally, what I'd like to see them do is abandon dual CPU models, get rid of the 5.25" bay, remove all internal PCI slots, put in a high-end Radeon 7000M or NVidia Kepler mobile GPU, cut the PSU, cut the chassis size way down, put on 4 x Thunderbolt ports and keep internal drive expansion slots.

I stopped reading the second you said "get rid of" , I think you completely misunderstand what the Mac Pro is used for.

The Mac Pro is the end-user configurable workstation or server option that the MacMini does not fit in.

- Xeon DP/UP processors
- ECC RAM
- Multiple GPU's
- Multiple drives in RAID arrays
- PCIe slots for specific DSP cards (Music, live HD video switching, etc)

Instead of having 60 different throw-away configurations, you have just base configurations, which saves Apple engineering costs. There is no "regular desktop model" because that is the MacMini/iMac. That's the model for people who never upgrade a thing.

Apple could do something like this...
Mac Pro and MacMini Pro

The Mac Pro has familiar configurations with the full complement of expansion ports.

The MacMiniPro instead is designed for clustering (more like your suggestion) which allow the mini's to either be daisy chained using two TB ports, Two GigE Ethernet ports or ring/hub configurations. These also have ECC memory. Each would have an external 16 link PCIe 3.0 cable port (Thunderbolt is only 4 link) That port also solves drive expandability issue by leaving both the TB ports and the external PCIe free to connect to external drive arrays.

But I think short of silly situations (Think about the military's use of PS3's in a cluster) there is little demand for this except maybe from Macmini Colo. It could conceivably give an Apple answer to blade systems. It's also messy which is why I don't see Apple doing it, and Apple "OS X" servers aren't any more useful than FreeBSD or Linux systems if they're only going to be used as web servers.
post #99 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

In today's modern computers the only things worth upgrading are storage related. RAM upgrades often justify their costs and are not a huge Mac problem. What is a problem is the updating of secondary storage, that is hard drives or SSDs. This is where all Mac fall flat on their face with the exception being the Pro. The problem with the Pro of course is that it is way to expensive to buy to just get flexible storage.

The Mini in my opinion is an excellent little computer, it is not however an ideal hub machine. That is mostly due to its internal storage provisions.

My desire for an XMac really has nothing to do with upgrading in the traditional sense of processor or motherboard upgrades. I really don't see adding a hard disk or an I/O card in that sense upgrading. It is more of a case of configuration.

Things are working out well for Apple, but maybe not so much for their customers.

How come you get it but Apple doesn't?
post #100 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

If that's true, I suspect that Intel may have plans to end-of-life PCI -- at least PCI as we know it.

I expect they will get rid of the PCI slots from their motherboards eventually (3rd party motherboards will likely keep them), the PCI standard itself will remain given that Thunderbolt just joins PCI and displayport together. This slot removal helps Intel stifle GPU competition and boost Thunderbolt support (which hurts AMD). They are supposedly bringing in optical parts this year:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...-next-year.ars

While the speeds likely won't be much faster with current ports, it means further distances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

there are dynamic modeling applications which need more than 32GB of RAM.

Yeah, fluid sims and smoke sims do take up a lot but the following examples are quite high resolution and use less than 12GB RAM:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrJHn9sBAZQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RolbMDrDF60
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFxzk0tuaW4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TawnuP5xPo4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfVImNxiJLY

The second video apparently generated 400GB of simulation data. For an individual artist, those examples probably represent the limit of what they'd need to render, like if you render TV commercials with fluid sims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa

The Mac Pro is the end-user configurable workstation or server option that the MacMini does not fit in.

- Xeon DP/UP processors
- ECC RAM
- Multiple GPU's
- Multiple drives in RAID arrays
- PCIe slots for specific DSP cards (Music, live HD video switching, etc)

The audio and video manufacturers have Thunderbolt connections for their products:

http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/symphony-io.php
http://www.blackmagic-design.com/pro...ultrastudio3d/

They need to learn to put two Thunderbolt ports on things but that only really affects laptops. ECC RAM is not really that big of a deal besides server use and as Mac Mini Colo shows, you can easily run servers without it. The Mac Pro has a 300W PCI limit so while you can put in multiple GPUs, there's little reason to as they won't be very high-end cards. External RAID works well and you can share the same RAID with multiple computers without migrating data - software RAID is a waste of time so you are dropping $700 on Apple's RAID card anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa

That's the model for people who never upgrade a thing.

That assumes people who have Mac Pros are currently upgrading them. I highly doubt that's the case. Sure, people who bought Mac Pros in 2008 don't want to drop $1500 on an upgrade so they buy a $450 GPU upgrade but these are people who pay for computers once every 6 years and will likely do 1 upgrade.

This is more about paying the least amount of money they can to get the form factor they prefer than getting the best that money can buy.

You may say that's a perfectly valid way of working but today's 12-core Mac Pro will be outclassed by the high-end iMac in 3 years. Using an external RAID and buying AppleCare, you can stay permanently inside your warranty by upgrading your iMac every 3 years.
post #101 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Yeah, if your display fails, having to send back your computer isn't good but if they allowed you to remove storage, you could always pull the drive, plug it into another machine via enclosure e.g cheap backup Mini and keep working as normal. This covers you for failures beyond the display too.

That wouldn't be too bad. The reality here is that I won't buy an imac. If a mini or macbook pro covered everything I wanted at some point, I'd use one of those. It still has the unremovable display thing going sadly, but it doesn't take up a lot of desk space, so I'd still have the big displays up and running. The thing about imacs is that they kill a lot of the things I see as advantages in a desktop system. With the mini it's still a little lacking on external storage options. Many raids use internal pci cards. Yes there is thunderbolt, but it hasn't been tested as being that amazing when shared with a display. If we see a point where this creates a fairly robus solution, I may go for that. I probably won't invest in another expensive enclosure until it starts to look practical to go for an ssd based one. At the very least i'd want one that is 2.5" ssd friendly. Hard drive enclosures are not something I like to update every couple years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I expect they will get rid of the PCI slots from their motherboards eventually (3rd party motherboards will likely keep them), the PCI standard itself will remain given that Thunderbolt just joins PCI and displayport together. This slot removal helps Intel stifle GPU competition and boost Thunderbolt support (which hurts AMD). They are supposedly bringing in optical parts this year:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...-next-year.ars

While the speeds likely won't be much faster with current ports, it means further distances.



Yeah, fluid sims and smoke sims do take up a lot but the following examples are quite high resolution and use less than 12GB RAM:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrJHn9sBAZQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RolbMDrDF60
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFxzk0tuaW4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TawnuP5xPo4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfVImNxiJLY

The second video apparently generated 400GB of simulation data. For an individual artist, those examples probably represent the limit of what they'd need to render, like if you render TV commercials with fluid sims.

I'm with you on much of this. With ram I look at price too. Total machine cost matters. If you're wondering why I like absurd amounts of ram, you're skipping over it somewhat. Some programs can hold things like construction history in ram or use it in place of scratch disks or the system pagefile. Obviously 400GB won't fit in ram, but where allowed, I use ram in place of swap space. This means much larger values can be addressed. It grants a little increase in smoothness, and as long as you're not buying the highest densities, it's pretty cheap. If you're talking about something like one of the dual socket pros, 32GB is cheap because you're not having to use the highest density sticks. As you said it's also nice not having to quit out applications. We were running on 32 bit limits not that long ago. People still accomplished work (more than I am by typing this reply hehe). People built up working habits and compromises around those limits. Given how much can be allocated to ram these days, ram hunger will probably increase further like a stampede of rampaging zombies (can't find a good gif file, although without Steve Jobs as the lead zombie it wouldn't be as funny) unless they're heavily influenced by the uprise of devices like the Air and Ipad.

Again I'd point you to how ram used to be measured in kilobytes.
post #102 of 372
Quote:
RUSH: I did. I started e-mailing then. I started e-mailing with that computer. I dont remember what the program was. Was some whatever was built into the IIc and quickly then went to the Macintosh after a year. But no, Ive had every top-of-the-line Mac desktop that there is. Every time they came out with a new revision, I got one. (interruption) No, I think theyre gonna have one more rev of the Mac Pro in the third quarter of this year and then its probably done. One more rev, and I cant wait cause its the only thing theyve got that doesnt have Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is this wicked fast data transfer. Its about twice as fast as FireWire 800.

Macdailynews related story/link.

Last few lines were interesting...

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #103 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

How come you get it but Apple doesn't?

Honestly I don't think Apple gets it, or maybe more specifically doesn't care! Let's face it they concentrate on laptops with updates and novel design whereas the desktop line has been stagnant for years. It is no surprise that most of their Mac growth comes from Laptops, as few an justify any of the desktop machines.

So yeah I get it. Apple seemingly doesn't care.
post #104 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

Macdailynews related story/link.

Last few lines were interesting...

Lemon Bon Bon.

Twice as fast as firewire 800. That isn't exactly the limit on speed. It looks fast because it's new, but firewire 800 has been out for at least a decade or so right? I can't remember what model started it, but it's been a long damn time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Honestly I don't think Apple gets it, or maybe more specifically doesn't care! Let's face it they concentrate on laptops with updates and novel design whereas the desktop line has been stagnant for years. It is no surprise that most of their Mac growth comes from Laptops, as few an justify any of the desktop machines.

So yeah I get it. Apple seemingly doesn't care.

Like I said, you guys should consider that they've potentially spun off development just like manufacturing on this one. They focus a lot on trends and I see computer furniture becoming a less common purchase.
post #105 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa View Post

I stopped reading the second you said "get rid of" , I think you completely misunderstand what the Mac Pro is used for.

Maybe he does or maybe not. I think the motivation to get rid of it is more to do with sales. It really doesn't matter what it issued for, if sales are constantly shrinking there is a business case for dis continuing the Mac Pro.
Quote:
The Mac Pro is the end-user configurable workstation or server option that the MacMini does not fit in.

- Xeon DP/UP processors
- ECC RAM
- Multiple GPU's
- Multiple drives in RAID arrays
- PCIe slots for specific DSP cards (Music, live HD video switching, etc)

I don't dismiss any of the above, it is just that they are issues that don't matter. If Apple can't strengthen sales the Pro will die.
Quote:
Instead of having 60 different throw-away configurations, you have just base configurations, which saves Apple engineering costs. There is no "regular desktop model" because that is the MacMini/iMac. That's the model for people who never upgrade a thing.

Neither the Mini nor the iMac are desktops in the sense of this discussion. Rather they are special purpose computers. Apple really doesn't have a desktop, because as you note the Pro is targetted at and priced for a different market.
Quote:
Apple could do something like this...
Mac Pro and MacMini Pro

The Mac Pro has familiar configurations with the full complement of expansion ports.

The MacMiniPro instead is designed for clustering (more like your suggestion) which allow the mini's to either be daisy chained using two TB ports, Two GigE Ethernet ports or ring/hub configurations. These also have ECC memory. Each would have an external 16 link PCIe 3.0 cable port (Thunderbolt is only 4 link) That port also solves drive expandability issue by leaving both the TB ports and the external PCIe free to connect to external drive arrays.

Such a configuration would be a no go.
Quote:
But I think short of silly situations (Think about the military's use of PS3's in a cluster) there is little demand for this except maybe from Macmini Colo.

You are mixing technologies here. A cluster, at least in the sense of scientific computing is a significantly different implementation than an installation of stand alone servers.
Quote:
It could conceivably give an Apple answer to blade systems. It's also messy which is why I don't see Apple doing it, and Apple "OS X" servers aren't any more useful than FreeBSD or Linux systems if they're only going to be used as web servers.

Which is why nobody was buying Apple server hardware.

As to compute clusters, what is messy is your configurations of the MiniPros (XMacs). Such a platform needs internal expansion/configuarability to be practicle in such an application. In that sense you need a slot for the connection fabric of your choice. Interestingly here would be Thunderbolts potential in such applications. It is still not clear that a hub or router could be configured for the creation of low cost compute clusters.
post #106 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Twice as fast as firewire 800. That isn't exactly the limit on speed. It looks fast because it's new, but firewire 800 has been out for at least a decade or so right? I can't remember what model started it, but it's been a long damn time.




Like I said, you guys should consider that they've potentially spun off development just like manufacturing on this one. They focus a lot on trends and I see computer furniture becoming a less common purchase.

Your point or lack of one above perplexes me as I'm not sure what you are trying to say. The fact is there has been no real development with respect to the desktop line up for years now. Hell I'd be happy if they spun off development to somebody that would bring new ideas and concepts to the desktop hardware. As to trends Apple starts them! The new isnt an excuse to ignore the old ough, desktops won't go away anytime soon. I still see them becoming a homes digital hub to support those ultra new portable iOS devices.
post #107 of 372
I looked on the Mac Pro thread at Macrumors discussing the future of Mac Pro's thread. Some really good arguments.

I think you're right Dave. Apple doesn't 'care.' If we cross our fingers we may just get another Mac Pro update. (Which will last for another 3 years-ish.) By then maybe the iMac will be ready with 8 core 16 hyper threaded cores to succeed the throne? And Thunderbolt will augment whatever's missing.

Mac Mini and iMac as 'specialised' machines? I don't see that at all. They're the perfect consumer/prosumer desktops for the mainstream. Perhaps the laptops are the new desktop and with portability. 'Specialised.' Isn't the Mac Pro? Even more so? Isn't that it's problem? it's so specialised and marginalised by that because the iMac has more than sufficient power for probably 99% of creators. The iMac is gradually eating it's lunch. Heck, the laptop is eating the iMac's lunch. Just as SGi had their specialised workstations eaten by cheaper Wintel boxes, so the Mac Pro is having it's market erroded by ever more capable consumer/prosumer machines which are democratising power into the mainstream. Ironic that the Mac is eating the Wintel PC market in growth. (Fussy Wintel machines typified by the 'classic' tower, a mass of wires and the clumsy windows. iMacs and Apple laptops just outclass the competition. Now it's PC makers that can't compete with Apple on price eg Macbook Air.) Just look at Final Cut Pro. Powerful prosumer software and powerful prosumer machines. Apple's moving where the mainstream is. They have been since they removed 'computer' from their name.

The Mac Pro sold about 100k units about 5-7 years ago...back when Apple still did break downs of each model sales wise.

I wonder how many it sells now? If it's less than that...40-60k in sales...that's not much more than the Cube when it got 'put on ice.'

It's entry model is £1250 overpriced compared to 'most' towers. To get a very below average machine that is stale as old bread. Apple. Have they ever done towers right? The G3 blue and whites were ok. But the G4 and G5 heading up the food chain was an artificial. Not surprisingly, many creators find £2045 to get an entry tower off putting. Compounded by a World Economy in the toilet? How many people want to pay £3000+ just to get a monitor and an old 'has been' tower spec with laughably old parts...vs a fully loaded iMac for a grand less in price.

Barefeats has benches of the 3.4 i7 iMac all over the 6 core Mac Pro in Photoshop, Aftereffects...etc. Traditional areas of supremacy. But no longer. At least not for the entry to mid level Pro. And there's the rub. Just add a Thunderbolt external/Raid/HDs for the knockout blow. The top end iMac power is only going to move downwards..!

Sure. People who like towers are never going to like the iMac. But it's clear that the power in the iMac and the Macbook Pro have converted many creators and consumers over from the quintessential 'Windows' and 'Tower' = PC.

Not being 'tower' is exactly how Apple differentiated the Mac from PC. Iconically different in terms of the iMac. (But wasn't it always so? Apple II, original Mac, the iMac, the Macbook Air. That's alot of history right there. All landmark products for Apple. The iPad too. There's nothing historically 'tower-ish about Apple, is there?) Thin vs Fat in Laptops. Leaving old tech' behind. Old approaches behind. How many consecutive quarters has the Mac smashed the PC in growth?

Well, what they sell in their stores are iMacs and Minis. People are buying them. Buying wayyyy more laptops though. That's the way it is. It's working for Apple. With record Mac sales. But not record Pro sales? The drive of the Mac growth is laptops...under the shiny halo of iOS devices and the 'Class of their Own' Apple Stores.

So maybe they do get it? Other's may be in 'denial' about it. But the days of Apple tower sales of 250k-500k a quarter are over. The last time I checked it had just over 100k in sales. That was a lifetime ago...and prices have gone up since then, especially on the entry to mid range. If they made the mini Tower Dave wants and priced it from £795 to £1495 and split the margins between it and the Apple display...then, sure, it might have a chance to stave off the inevitable. If you could grid those 'mini cube towers' together...you could add extra cpu/storage in a modular way over time. But are Apple showing any signs they'll do that? Any?! (Nobody wants a mini-tower/Cube more than me. But they didn't get it right the last time. They can't help themselves with pricing. However, the pricing of Air suggests hope. The pricing of iPad suggests hope. But the form factor of the 'tower' doesn't. Why haven't they changed the form factor of the Mac Pro into a mini-tower before now? Is it worth the investment? Is it Apple? Is it distinct enough? *looks.

Back when Apple 'only' offered beige towers with the odd pizza box they were never outstandingly popular despite good machines like the 604e chip. They barely sold 1 million a quarter. It wasn't until the iMac came to Apple's rescue that things began to change.

Apple's business is now a portable business. Tower buyers may not like that. But Apple are smashing HP ((who have huge volume of PCs but comparatively slender margins and poor diversification or Eco system compared to Apple)), Dell, ((Same problem with Dell...who are now stewing in their own gravy after the race to the bottom which they helped in...)) (..etc and the usual suspects...), M$ and Google in terms of profitability because Apple knows where the puck is headed. And that may mean the tower gets left behind. It's still a substantial market...but it got overtaken good and proper by laptops. Netbooks looked like the new kid on the block until the iPad kicked it's arse out the ring. The rate of miniaturisation of power is outstripping traditional computing markets. Who wants to pull their hair out surfing on a windows tower when you can sit on the sofa with an iPad? No competition. Like wise, by the time Apple gets its sh*t together with the ATV, the 'home hub server' will be an iMac or a Mini (a mere hair breadth away with i7s about to consolidate on the line and the Integrated '4000' imminent) or laptop or an iPad. It won't be a clunky tower (the 'under the desk desktop...')

If it isn't profitable...(how many will buy the Pro at that price?) Apple aren't going to make it. It's not the consumer/prosumer flagship anymore. The iMac is it. But even that is eclipsed by the Tsunami...the sea shift towards portability...and ultra portability.

Apple gets it.

Not sure their competition does...

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #108 of 372
http://macdailynews.com/2012/02/25/n...and-full-year/

'That, Mr. Anderson...is the sound of...inevitability.'

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #109 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

I looked on the Mac Pro thread at Macrumors discussing the future of Mac Pro's thread. Some really good arguments.

I think you're right Dave. Apple doesn't 'care.' If we cross our fingers we may just get another Mac Pro update. (Which will last for another 3 years-ish.) By then maybe the iMac will be ready with 8 core 16 hyper threaded cores to succeed the throne? And Thunderbolt will augment whatever's missing.

You keep falling back on iMac benchmarks which is really asinine in a discussion about the Mac Pro. It is pretty much a given that single processor desktop chips will out perform the cores in Xeon chips. It has been that way for years, the only difference is that Apple is now equipping the iMac with much higher performance chips than in the past. The problem with your perspective is that almost nobody buys a Pro based on single core performance.
Quote:
Mac Mini and iMac as 'specialised' machines? I don't see that at all. They're the perfect consumer/prosumer desktops for the mainstream.

They aren't bad machines but their is nothing perfect about them. The problem is that if you try to implement them in business they are only implementable in limited cases thus special purpose machines.

Like it or not, at work the iT department standardizes around one Dell chassis. This allows them to have a cheap platform for the desktop, and a configurable platform for the plant. They see it as being economical, though at times I disagree. In any event Apple has no play at all for organizations with this mindset. Apple simply doesn't have an economical all purpose chassis that can take on a large number of roles in an organization.
Quote:
Perhaps the laptops are the new desktop and with portability. 'Specialised.' Isn't the Mac Pro?

Exactly, the Mac Pro is a specialized computer with very limited appeal. An appeal that is even more constrained by the high price. Thus my statement that Apple really doesn't have a desktop play.
Quote:
Even more so? Isn't that it's problem? it's so specialised and marginalised by that because the iMac has more than sufficient power for probably 99% of creators. The iMac is gradually eating it's lunch.

If that was the case the iMac would be showing really strong growth. It isn't so I'm not convinced that it is the machine for creators. in fact I'm pretty much convinced that it isn't as it appears that most iMac sales are not going to professionals of any sort. If anything I really see Apple loosing sales to creators or professional users with its desktop line up.
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Heck, the laptop is eating the iMac's lunch. Just as SGi had their specialised workstations eaten by cheaper Wintel boxes, so the Mac Pro is having it's market erroded by ever more capable consumer/prosumer machines which are democratising power into the mainstream. Ironic that the Mac is eating the Wintel PC market in growth. (Fussy Wintel machines typified by the 'classic' tower, a mass of wires and the clumsy windows. iMacs and Apple laptops just outclass the competition. Now it's PC makers that can't compete with Apple on price eg Macbook Air.)

Ironic, I don't think so as it is more or less expected of an industry that spent all of its engineering resources on lowering costs and standardized functionality. Even then the big issue on the PC front is Windows not the hardware. In a sense Apple is beating up on the PC world with the same hardware that is available to the PC world. So again it is an issue of engineering orientation and poor software as demonstrated by Windows.
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Just look at Final Cut Pro. Powerful prosumer software and powerful prosumer machines. Apple's moving where the mainstream is. They have been since they removed 'computer' from their name.

Well we could pull this thread off track significantly by discussing Final Cut Pro. However I don't see it as a "Prosumer" play at all. Rather it is a start on a thoroughly modern professional environment for video editing.

It is rather indicative of the PC mind set of many video professionals in that they can't see beyond the past. Final Cut Pro is a lot like the first AIR, which was a great concept that came up short in a number of ways. Given reasonable time the AIR has turned into an impressive little machine. Likewise Final Cut is a platform that will grow and morph into something that really has no competition.
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The Mac Pro sold about 100k units about 5-7 years ago...back when Apple still did break downs of each model sales wise.
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They could be very well be at one tenth that now. I have a very hard time believeing that the Pro is selling well at all these days.
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I wonder how many it sells now? If it's less than that...40-60k in sales...that's not much more than the Cube when it got 'put on ice.'

Exactly!!! This is why I shake my head when people say the Pro will not be killed. One of the best choices Apple has is to roll the Pro and Mini into a box that covers a wide range of capability. The goal being to leverage as many common parts as possible into a platform that will generate sales based upon current Mini and Pro users but also new users not currently interested in these platforms. XMac is the term used to describe these machines, but the key here is a family of devices that serve the needs of many different users.
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It's entry model is £1250 overpriced compared to 'most' towers. To get a very below average machine that is stale as old bread. Apple. Have they ever done towers right? The G3 blue and whites were ok. But the G4 and G5 heading up the food chain was an artificial. Not surprisingly, many creators find £2045 to get an entry tower off putting. Compounded by a World Economy in the toilet? How many people want to pay £3000+ just to get a monitor and an old 'has been' tower spec with laughably old parts...vs a fully loaded iMac for the same price.

To be honest here I really don't think you get the Pro and the limited markets it serves. The price means nothing to the people that really need the platform for its capabilities. It is not unlike the server world where 1U servers make up the bulk of the business yet 5U servers still have a market. The Mac Pro is a lot like the 5U server world where if you need it you buy it. The problem in Apples case is the limited number of compelling reasons to buy a Mac Pro.
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Barefeats has benches of the 3.4 i7 iMac all over the 6 core Mac Pro in Photoshop, Aftereffects...etc. Traditional areas of supremacy. But no longer.

Yeah yeah yeah, you keep bringing up benchmarks favorable to the iMac which means absolutely nothing! There are plenty of other benches where the Pro will trounce the iMac.
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At least not for the entry to mid level Pro. And there's the rub. Just add a Thunderbolt external/Raid/HDs for the knockout blow. The top end iMac power is only going to move downwards..!

As iMac power increases so does the Mac Pros. The knock out blow simply isn't there as they aren't even playing in the same ring.
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Sure. People who like towers are never going to like the iMac. But it's clear that the power in the iMac and the Macbook Pro have converted many creators and consumers over from the quintessential 'Windows' and 'Tower' = PC.

Windows no more equals tower PC than Mac OS equals laptop. I still maintain that Apples success with laptops has a lot to do with the fact that no body wants to buy their desktop hardware because for the most part the offerings are pathetic. It has been multiple years now since Apple has put in anything significant engineering wise in the desktop arena. I'd be willing to guess that each laptop rev gets more engineering time than all of the desktops put together.

This can be seen in the hardware for the various be desktops apple sells. The engineering is serviceable but hardly inspiring.
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Not being 'tower' is exactly how Apple differentiated the Mac from PC. Iconically different in terms of the iMac. Thin vs Fat in Laptops. Leaving old tech' behind. Old approaches behind. How many consecutive quarters has the Mac smashed the PC in growth?

Where is the vast majority of that growth coming from? It is the laptop line up with desktop sales marginal at best.

As to differentiation that is a function of Mac OS more than anything. When it comes right down to it Apples laptops are not all that different than the laptops in the PC world. you can argue all you want about design but that really has nothing to do with it, it is all about software.
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Well, what they sell in their stores are iMacs and Minis. People are buying them. Buying wayyyy more laptops though. That's the way it is. It's working for Apple. With record Mac sales. But not record Pro sales? The drive of the Mac growth is laptops...under the shiny halo of iOS devices and the 'Class of their Own' Apple Stores.

This is the problem laptop sales are booming while desktop sales in many cases are shrinking. However you fail to ask why. I answer that simply, the desktop lineup for the most part is pathetic. There has been zero innovation on the desktop in over six years now.
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So maybe they do get it? Other's may be in 'denial' about it. But the days of Apple tower sales of 250k-500k a quarter are over. The last time I checked it had just over 100k in sales.

Sadly I don't think the Pro sales are even close to 100k anymore.
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That was a lifetime ago...and prices have gone up since then, especially on the entry to mid range. If they made the mini Tower Dave wants and priced it from £795 to £1495 and split the margins between it and the Apple display...then, sure, it might have a chance to stave off the inevitable. If you could grid those 'mini cube towers' together...you could add extra cpu/storage in a modular way over time. But are Apple showing any signs they'll do that?

Interestingly they did have a patent granted a year or two ago for a new computer chassis. Sadly it looked like they did nothing but to shrink the box. So no I don't see any signs of rethink as far as the desktop lineup goes.

By the way when talking about the XMac I dont see it as a tower from the past, rather I see it as a platform for the future. As such I would expect plenty of innovation like is seen in the laptops.
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Any?! (Nobody wants a mini-tower/Cube more than me. But they didn't get it right the last time. They can't help themselves with pricing. However, the pricing of Air suggests hope. The pricing of iPad suggests hope. But the form factor of the 'tower' doesn't. Why haven't they changed the form factor of the Mac Pro into a mini-tower before now? Is it worth the investment? Is it Apple? Is it distinct enough? *looks.

Well the tower for the Pro is easy to understand, why get into mechanical design if your sales are too thin to pay off that design.
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Back when Apple 'only' offered beige towers with the odd pizza box they were never outstandingly popular despite good machines like the 604e chip. They barely sold 1 million a quarter. It wasn't until the iMac came to Apple's rescue that things began to change.

Well it is pretty easy to understand the sales issues with those old Macs, the price was often too high. I was one of the original Mac Plus owners back in the day, it was very hard to justify that purchase back then. I used that machine until it was unbearably slow and then switched to PC hardware mostly running Linux. The problem was pretty clear the hardware costs where unacceptable to stay with a Mac, not to mention that the operating system was getting long in the tooth back then.

Now Apple has a highly mixed line up. Some of the laptops can be seen as bargains, the iMac isn't too bad either. But the Mini and Pro are far different machines and basically over priced. It isn't as bad as in the post Mac Plus days but you still have a lack of choice on the desktop.
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Apple's business is now a portable business. Tower buyers may not like that. But Apple are smashing HP ((who have huge volume of PCs but comparatively slender margins and poor diversification or Eco system compared to Apple)), Dell, ((Same problem with Dell...who are now stewing in their own gravy after the race to the bottom which they helped in...)) (..etc and the usual suspects...), M$ and Google in terms of profitability because Apple knows where the puck is headed. And that may mean the tower gets left behind.

That may well be the case but that doesn't mean the need for an XMac (which may or may not be a tower) goes away. In fact if the market is indeed heading away from the desktop then it only makes more sense to rationalize the desktop lineup for that future.
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It's still a substantial market...but it got overtaken good and proper by laptops. Netbooks looked like the new kid on the block until the iPad kicked it's arse out the ring. The rate of miniaturisation of power is outstripping traditional computing markets. Who wants to pull their hair out surfing on a windows tower when you can sit on the sofa with an iPad? No competition.

An interesting point as I sit at my desk with iPad in hand. It is notable that even though I'm 3G connected this iPad is a better net access machine than most of the computers I've ever owned. However that does not make it a Mac OS device replacement.
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Like wise, by the time Apple gets its sh*t together with the ATV, the 'home hub server' will be an iMac or a Mini (a mere hair breadth away with i7s about to consolidate on the line and the Integrated '4000' imminent) or laptop or an iPad. It won't be a clunky tower (the 'under the desk desktop...')

I don't see the need for a home hub ever going away. The problem is Apple doesn't have a really good hub machine. It simply doesn't have a machine with easy access to disk drive bays which are critical for a hub device as storage and back up are a critical part of a hubs functionality.
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If it isn't profitable...(how many will buy the Pro at that price?) Apple aren't going to make it. It's not the consumer/prosumer flagship anymore. The iMac is it. But even that is eclipsed by the Tsunami...the sea shift towards portability...and ultra portability.

The interesting thing here is that I'm not sure my next Mac will be a laptop. Why? Well because of those ultra portable iOS devices. If iOS and the associated hardware evolves in the right direction I might not need a laptop and the associated compromises that come with a laptop in the future.

This I can see a shift back to desktops and the enhanced functionality they have.
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Apple gets it.

Not sure their competition does...

Lemon Bon Bon.

I'm not sure Apple gets it. I see iOS devices driving a change in the computing landscape that maybe even Apple doesn't fully grasp. For example my iPhone 3G was nice but the move to iPhone 4 was very enlightening. It is a far better platform for mobile needs than the old 3G, a rather surprising improvement for two years. I have some time before I purchase my next Mac or iPhone but I can see the possibility of iPhone and iPad eliminating my Mac needs. It really depends upon enhanced functionality in both the hardware and software.

So if iOS does get to the point where I really don't need the laptop why would I buy one in the future? Especially when I can implement a desktop without the limitations of a laptop. That is a larger screen and significant storage space.

I'm really interested in seeing what happens in two years after iPad3 and the next iPhone are released. Will Apple continue the strong laptop sales? Will desktops suddenly strengthen? You see I'm certain Apple has a vision but the user community tends to go its own way to some extent. I can see the day when no body looks at laptops first for their portable needs. Apple is so darn close with the iPad now it almost hurts.
post #110 of 372
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Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

http://macdailynews.com/2012/02/25/n...and-full-year/

'That, Mr. Anderson...is the sound of...inevitability.'

Lemon Bon Bon.

I can see the day when iPad has a sgnificant impact on Laptop sales for even Apple. The fact that Apple has taken such a lead with a machine with the hardware limitations of iPad is pretty impressive. If they solve some of the speed and memory limitations I can only see those numbers increasing. I expect iPad 3 to solve many of those issues with a faster processor, more RAM and Flash storage.

However I think the difference here is that you see such devices as a replacement for desktops. I actually see them as a replacement for laptops. IPads could drive a resurgence in desktop hardware. Note I said desktop, not tower.
post #111 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Your point or lack of one above perplexes me as I'm not sure what you are trying to say. The fact is there has been no real development with respect to the desktop line up for years now. Hell I'd be happy if they spun off development to somebody that would bring new ideas and concepts to the desktop hardware. As to trends Apple starts them! The new isnt an excuse to ignore the old ough, desktops won't go away anytime soon. I still see them becoming a homes digital hub to support those ultra new portable iOS devices.

I was suggesting that we may be unlikely to see any truly impressive advancements in design if they've outsourced it and limited development to fitting the new hardware generation. We may see some kind of a hub like you stated. What I suggested was that they may have spun year to year design updates off to their manufacturer who also took over on logic boards as of 2009. I'm just not sure they care much about this market segment, or if they will try to cater to it with a truly evolved device in their lineup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I can see the day when iPad has a sgnificant impact on Laptop sales for even Apple. The fact that Apple has taken such a lead with a machine with the hardware limitations of iPad is pretty impressive. If they solve some of the speed and memory limitations I can only see those numbers increasing. I expect iPad 3 to solve many of those issues with a faster processor, more RAM and Flash storage.

However I think the difference here is that you see such devices as a replacement for desktops. I actually see them as a replacement for laptops. IPads could drive a resurgence in desktop hardware. Note I said desktop, not tower.

Apple has insane volume on these things and the higher end devices at a decent price point. Regarding desktop resurgence, it depends how the other devices function as standalone devices. Look at people in their 20s. Most of them do not purchase dedicated computer furniture any longer. A home server isn't an unreasonable concept. I just don't see a large resurgence coming up where people sit down at computers again outside of work. I mean there are still plenty of people that do this, but I don't think as many new ones are being added to the market.
post #112 of 372
I was in an Apple store today. I was amazed just how just how dominant the iPad and Air are.

One solitary Pro. ...and a reasonable group or so of iMacs.

But all the hot and happening portable stuff at the front.

I asked the sales girl, "Why don't Apple make a Mini Pro?"

"That's what the Mini is for."

"But what if I want more than a Mini?"

"Then you need to pay £2000 for the Pro if you need that expandability."

Hey, isn't it almost March already? *looks at thread title.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #113 of 372
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Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

<snip>

Hey, isn't it almost March already? *looks at thread title.

Lemon Bon Bon.

Tick, tick, tick.

We'll see soon.

I am not surprised that the Air & such is at the front of the store. It is more of an impulse purchase than a Mac Pro for one thing and for another, many of the Mac Pro sales are BTO through the home office.

Cheers
post #114 of 372
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

If that's true, I suspect that Intel may have plans to end-of-life PCI -- at least PCI as we know it.
.

and get hit with a other anit trust law suit by AMD and nvidia by locking out there video cards?
post #115 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe The Dragon View Post

and get hit with a other anit trust law suit by AMD and nvidia by locking out there video cards?

There is nothing in US or EU anti-trust law which can reasonably be construed as requiring Intel to support PCI forever.
Mac user since August 1983.
Reply
Mac user since August 1983.
Reply
post #116 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

There is nothing in US or EU anti-trust law which can reasonably be construed as requiring Intel to support PCI forever.

but locking in Intel GPU / a intel only bus is anti-trust
post #117 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe The Dragon View Post

but locking in Intel GPU / a intel only bus is anti-trust

How? Next you'll be saying that AMD, Intel, and ARM should be forced to share all of their brand-specific processor enhancements with each other.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #118 of 372
Here's Why - 3 problems but 3 solutions!

Problem

1) Mac Pro is a PC with server architecture (Intel Processor)
2) OSX software is the main differentiator from PC's (no proprietary Mac CPU since G5)
3) Apple is losing money hand over fist on the Mac Pro because mobile computing is the growth segment.

Solution

1) Sell Mac OSX like Microsoft sells Windows (Mac OSX Workstation and Server -currently sub $30- re-market at 15-20% above Microsoft.
2) Sell a Mac Version of every worthy GPU for current and legacy Intel Mac Pro
3) Sell Mac Pro Case (compete for custom PC market share) and market custom accessories.

I may have simplified the resolution, but it simply requires a simple solution.
post #119 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by theAPPLEcloud.com View Post

Solution

1) Sell Mac OSX like Microsoft sells Windows (available for any PC architecture)
2) Support any GPU on any legacy Mac Pro
3) Reconfigure Mac Pro Case to support any motherboard and market custom accessories.

1. Abject nonsense.
2. They would if ATI and nVidia would write drivers for them.
3. Even more nonsensical than licensing OS X.

You don't seem to understand Apple.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #120 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

1. Abject nonsense.
2. They would if ATI and nVidia would write drivers for them.
3. Even more nonsensical than licensing OS X.

You don't seem to understand Apple.

I wonder is it economically possible for Apple to license OS X to one vendor which would produce Mac Pro level machines in the "better" and "best" category?
The "good" Mac Pro could be replaced by the X-Mac.
BTW, please interpret "economically possible" as profitable for Apple and affordable to those customers who presently desire those machines.
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