Remember we are talking a mid range machine here.
Originally Posted by mjteix
Originally Posted by wizard69 I see I need to describe an ideal desktop Mac again.
- a desktop class processor with at least four cores, in the range of 59 to 75 watt Ivy Bridge chips
- one using integrated graphics and another with a midrange GPU on the mother board
- at least two slots for regular PCI Express cards
- 3 slots for laptop class drives though 5 might be a better choice short term
- at least two TB ports but preferably 4
- as good or a bit better than the iMac
It's your opinion, for someone else it might be different.
In any case, your "vision" has a few flaws, and in fact, those have been the same for lots of "designs" that have been described in these forums: too much of everything on architectures that don't support them all.
Non sense this is very doable with mainstream Intel hardware.
You say: 4C minimum, 75W max and desktop class. the fact is, most desktop cpus are limited to 4C with Ivy Bridge and possibly Haswell too.
Which makes the design very probable no. I mean really if most of Intels hardware already comes with 4 cores then the minimal design is easy to achieve. If Intel doesn't want to supply more cores I'm sure AMD will in the future.
So if you want desktop and 75W max, it's 4C max, not minimum. I don't understand the 59-75W range, is 77W too much for you? because you're limiting your computer even more, to 65W S series Core i5-i7.
Don't get bent out of shape over a suggested operating range. As it is thermals on processor chips are highly variable as it is. The idea is to set out a range of possupible values.
All 4C max. Could be as good as an iMac, but certainly not easily better in terms of performance.
as long as the design doesn't grottoes the processor under heavy load it will do well.
You want the possibility of a dedicated gpu (x16 PCIe lanes), and a couple of PCIe slots (if you want to use them for fast SSD storage or any other specialty card, that means at least x8 slots, for any decent gpu you'd want x16 slots), and 4 T-Bolt ports (that means 2x4 PCIe lanes): so a total of at least 40 PCIe lanes needed...
You have gone wild here with your numbers. First Ivy Bridge chips support 1x16 or 2x8 PCI Express generation 3 on chip, eight of these lanes would be fine for any graphics card suitable for this class of machine. Actually 8 lanes of gen 3 should be about as fast as gen 2 with 16 lanes. Ideally the on board controller would allow the other 8 lanes to be used for other purposes, in this case they could either feed a high speed storage device or a Thunderbolt controller. Most of Intels PCH come with 8 lanes of gen 2 PCI express for the rest of the I/O.
No consumer/cheap desktop cpu/system can offer that many lanes: only the Core i7-3800/3900 series and the Xeon E5-1600/2600 offer that many lanes per cpu. I don't even think that Haswell will offer more lanes than Ivy Bridge for consumer cpus.
I don't know what Intel has planned but I cold easily see future chipsets having more PCI Express lanes in favor of SATA and other legacy hardware. Right now the limitation is DMI, so I can even see more of these lanes implemented right on the processor chip.
You'll have to choose between all the features you want and the cost. And all the cpus that offer enough PCIe lanes for your project don't have integrated graphics. So that may mean 2 different architectures for your project.
Well only if you insist on the need for all of those lanes which aren't needed. However you highlight a big problem with the current Pro, that is that it is built around one architecture which boxes the platform in. Maybe Apple should reconsider that strategy. Honestly not everybody needs or wants a Xeon type chip in their desktop platform. Apple still suffers from an incredible gulf between the Mini and the Pro. I'd like to see this box fit right in the middle but if they can also build out a high end "Pro" box with a Xeon it might not be a bad idea.
Your "reasonable midrange performance" cpus (whatever that means) just cannot accomodate all the features you want.
Now if you add all the parts that are indeed needed to built a computer capable of what you want, you need a high-end cpu (desktop or Xeon) at $294 and up, a dedicated gpu capable of 4 displayport outputs for the 4 T-Bolt ports that also need 2 high-end T-Bolt controllers, a few slots, a few HDD bays, cooling, power supply for all that, etc.
This isn't a problem using modern chipsets. We are talking three slots most likely here, a high speed slot for SSD, and two 4 lane PCI Express slots. Most descrete GPU chips these days support multiple monitors without issue, but that does not mean that all four TB ports must support monitors at the same time. As to HDDs power is one of the reasons I specified laptop drives.
Honestly I don't think you are looking at modern components here.
That's starting to look like an updated Mac Pro with a few twists on the enclosure/bays/slots. But still a Mac Pro in terms of pricing.
Please look at the pricing of modern motherboards from the mainstream manufactures. Except for Thunderbolt and the integrated on GPU there is nothing unusual here. In fact it is more or less a minimal board compared to some of the everything and the kitchen sink motherboards out there.
If half of what you say here was true most of the motherboards on the market right now couldn't exist. More so PCI Express 3 is a very capable upgrade and gives designers significant options.