Originally Posted by d-range
Just put lots of RAM and an SSD in RAM iMac and it will fly as a developer workstation, to the point you will have a very hard time noticing any difference with a 12 core Mac Pro. I did it a few weeks ago with my 2010 quad core i7 iMac, and I can only say the machine feels like something completely different for devlopment work. Compilation, debugging, starting the iOS simulator, it's all near instantaneous.
Hardly surprising if you think about it, since almost all typical development tasks are decidedly I/O bound, so if you have a decent CPU (which all the current iMacs have), lots of RAM and a fast SSD (I used a Samsung 830), there is very little to gain by throwing more hardware and money at it by buying a Mac Pro. We've long passed the point that development work requires extreme high-end hardware.
Bang on the money.
I think that's probably the argument Apple is looking at in assessing the Mac Pro's future.
It's sales last time Apple did break out hovered above 100k. And that was around the time of the Grator Industrial re-design. If it's 50k a quarter with the current archaic specs I'd be surprised. I think the Cube was canned with sales of about that or less.
The tower concept hasn't been mainstream at Apple since the iMac blossomed after it's Bondi introductory impact and subsequent fruity flavoured explosion. The iMac smashed the Power Mac's sales. Surprise? Not really. It was an affordable, powerful Mac in the £595-£1295-ish price range initially.
I wouldn't mind Apple dropping the Pro's starting price to £995 for the entry and have 3 more models at 250£ intervals topping out with a dual model at £2k. They've done it before historically. But is the tower concept going to go mainstream after they've spent so much time eliminating it as a differentiator for the Xen-chic Apple design ethos vs PCs? The last time a tower was mainstream was 1997? The G3 Blue and White was lovely. It sat where the iMac does now. Todays iMac blows away the G3 blue and white, the G4, the G5 and the early Intel tower machines. Heck, it even roughs up a 12 core on certain tasks if you hook up a thunderbolt Pegasus and plop in an internal SSD and pack the iMac with 16 gigs of ram.
It doesn't take much advancing of the iMac's capabities to prick whatever air is left in the Pro's balloon.
Computers are getting smaller. Big boxes are so yesteryear. It's dinosaur land. (...and that's coming from me who waited ten years for the 'ideal' tower Mac and then bought an iMac in a sale and all my fears were dispelled.)
The iMac has eaten the lunch of the mainstream tower market. In most aspects it offers most of what a mini tower can give you plus a nice screen. It even got a decent top end gpu last time around with as much vram as you see ram in a Macbook Air. Not bad, Apple, eh? And ati/amd are pushing power and efficiency in their gpus if not always absolute power and they make a very nice fit for iMacs. That's alot of sales for AMD per quarter if they can keep Apple sweet in the power/efficiency game. And that power looks even better with the 7000 series. These iMacs are worlds away from the old Bondi/fruit gum iMacs. Alot has changed since the iMac's introduction. It's AIO, but it's way more powerful.
I'd like to see a 'Big Mac' Mini. Double whopper. If you stacked two Minis one on top of the other...you'd have 8 cores. Using Thunderbolt as the bridge to use one of the chips as co-processor? Room for two HDs etc. (Ivy bridge will run super cool.) People are using them as servers. The discrete gpu option will be 'ok'. And there's the chance that MSI will get an external thunderbolt option gpu up and running inside 6 months. How long before Apple say F*** it with intel and go A6? Ax whatever in teh next several years? Maybe AMD will come back into the fray and offer great SoCs? Wafer thin desktops/laptops with iPad style SoCs? Not this year, no...but Apple's ambition in the iPad showed what they can do when they control their destiny. And I bought an iPad over a Macbook. (To be fair, I don't like laptops.)
Price? Not a lot compared to the shocking value of the entry Pro. It's not hard to see where this is going.
Smaller. More power. Thinner. Apple's desktop designs are heading in the iPad direction. Look at the white iMac's introduction alongside a side on iPod. Tells you alot about what Apple thinks about desktops. They even used laptop parts in the iMac for years even though they had desktop options they didn't compromise their philosophy. Slimmer. Power efficient. Good bang for buck without requiring a chernobyl reactor in your wardrobe or inducing heat to fry an egg.
We can only hang our hats of hope on Wizard's refactor hypothesis. If we get one more Mac Pro? It will be the last hurrah.
How many years until iMacs have 6 and 8 cores? AMD have consumer 8 core processors now, don't they?
Lemon Bon Bon.