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Mac Pro petition gains traction as pro users seek information - Page 4

post #121 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakime View Post

I just want to comment on another typical usage of the Mac Pro besides video production, 3D production or CAD oriented workflow. I am talking about science and engineering.

 

For for those who believe that there is no need of a Mac Pro, I should give them an example of a real workflow:

 

- I work on geophysics, dealing with high performance computing involving the simulation of complex problems. 

 

- Method used: finite element

 

- Language: C, Objective C , OpenCL and Fortran, 

 

- Platform:

     - Several Mac Pros with dual Xeons, 12 cores total.

     - Memory on board: 64 GB of memory

     - Storage on board: 4 TB

 

- Workflow: The simulations are run with a custom finite element code written in Fortran (a next generation code base written in Objective C/C is currently under development). The parallelization of the code is done with OpenMPI (as it allows to dispatch work on all machines on the network) so EVERY SINGLE core is being used. The simulation itself eat up above 50 GB of RAM. Yes, only one simulation!!!

 

- The post processing of the data are done with a custom code written in C and OpenCL which takes advantage of the Radeon HD 5870 to speed up the calculation. So by definition we need to have access to better and more powerful GPUs than what is available on iMacs and are only available on a Mac Pro.

 

- One simulation generates hundred of gigabytes of data. As a result terabytes of data are produced by successive simulations, data which are stored in large disks connected via firewire 800 to the Mac Pros for backing up the data if the results are acceptable.

 

Here you have it, this is my workflow. And as we keep studying bigger and more complex problems, we need again and again more powerful Mac Pros with higher processing power and better technology. This allows us to do things that would only be possible with much more expensive hardware, typically a supercomputer of a small size.

 

Anyone still saying that no one needs a Mac Pro?

You know your needs far better than I, but it seems to me that you are using the wrong tool for the job, you would be better served with a small cluster of servers with a NAS on a segragated private LAN.

 

It sounds like you need real serious gear, and should invest in a nice rack of server equipment to build a BSD or Darwin cluster. You could use things like 10 gig e, higher end GPU options, better CPUs, 64GB or more of ram per box, not just per cluster, 10 gb ethernet, failover power supplies and so on. AMacpro cluster sounds like a sort of cobbled together solution to begin with.

 

With that as a backend you could probably do fine with iMacs as the front end for the researchers.

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post #122 of 203

The problem with building a machine such as you suggest, even if the problems you mention are overcome with new TB motherboards is that, when Apple drops the Mac Pro, the code supporting the Mac Pro platform will be dropped rather quickly and become dated in any event.

 

Apple has a habit of treating users like mushrooms, you know...keep them in the dark and shovel stuff on the periodically.

 

I was at a presentation of a major software vendor which supports both the Apple and PC platform. Afterwards I spoke with the presenter about the Mac Pro situation and he simply said that if you are concerned about performance you are already on a PC...the Mac Pro is 18 months old/out of date already.

 

That pretty much sums it up.

 

If you want to stick with OS X, it looks like you need to learn to be happy with an iMac (or a hack based on it rather than the Mac Pro). Otherwise it is time to bid Apple farewell and move along with business. That is what it is all about in the end and the differences in much software for the Mac is little different from that of the PC these days.

 

Let's face it, even if Apple does release a new Mac Pro, just how much are you willing to bet that it will be kept up to date any better than the last release? I believe the past is prologue to the future in this instance.

 

There are some apps that I will really miss if I have to change platforms, but the major ones are all available on the PC. Apple just doesn't appear to care any more.

post #123 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Also, can someone explain to me who exactly needs a Mac Pro, apart from those extreme niche cases like studios who do professional 3D rendering, etc? What exactly can't a high end iMac do these days? Short of Avatar, it can even handle HD video editing, 3D rendering, etc. 

 

 

I need a mac pro, and it's not because I need to show it off to people.  

 

I am a freelance editor and I make money with my Mac Pro.  Money I couldn't make with an iMac because of the specs of the iMac, and the fact that my hardware would not 'work' with the iMac because I run 4 eSata drives, and a great graphics card (among other equipment I won't bother to mention).  

 

Edit:  Also, my Avid Media Composer software supports/qualifies Mac Pro 8 and 12 cores (4 core MacPros are not 'avid qualified') although some may work, works best with 2 x 4 core processors.  I am sure there is an iMac that is Avid qualified, but not 'as advisable'. 

post #124 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by robogobo View Post

Keep your pants on everyone. New processors are just out and Apple will be updating the Mac Pro as soon as all the components are ready and tested.
If you need one now, just go out and get one. The 2010 model has everything you need.

Of course, f you need it now to buy it now.  Yes, the 2010 model is a wonderful machine, but almost two years old and the same price it was 2 years ago.  Of course Apple has no sales on their products until the new one comes out.  It's a poor decision to buy 2 year old technology at 'brand new' prices unless you really need it. 

 

I think that's why people are frustrated.  They want / need a new machine and have no choices that make business sense.

post #125 of 203
-

Edited by GMHut - 5/25/12 at 3:10pm
post #126 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Also, can someone explain to me who exactly needs a Mac Pro, apart from those extreme niche cases like studios who do professional 3D rendering, etc? What exactly can't a high end iMac do these days? Short of Avatar, it can even handle HD video editing, 3D rendering, etc.

While YOU may not do 3D work, companies ranging from architectural, real estate walkthroughs, every size of ad agencies, multimedia companies, illustrators, and yes, game developers for iPhone and iPad (the list goes on) use 3D graphics. Ever heard of Unity 3D? It's one of the most popular tools for creating games for mobile devices, you know, all those iPhones and iPads that Apple sales execs really care about, the games that in part make so many people want those mobile devices in the first place. Unity was originally a Mac only product. 3D in general is a big part of design curricula now days for graphic design students. Your dismissive labeling of anyone involved in 3D or a need for big raw computing power, as being part of a small "niche" indicates your knowledge of all the various needs mac users have, only extends to the end of your own nose.

 

Can someone explain how it make since for Apple to focus so heavily on mobile devices, then leave professionals who development the content that make those devices so desirable in the position of having to switch to someone else's platform to develop them? 

post #127 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe The Dragon View Post

but HP and others did lower prices and bumped up video cards / ram size over the same time frame

 

This is true, but it is also nothing new. The Mac Pro has always had less RAM than comparable PC base configurations, and Apple's prices for additional RAM have always been outlandish. Most Mac Pro users buy their RAM elsewhere. Apple doesn't want to be in the RAM business. The Mac Pro's graphics cards have always lagged behind the cutting edge as well.

 

Not sure what your point is -- if it's that this shows that the Mac Pro is dead, then no. All it shows is that Apple doesn't think new graphics cards are a good enough reason for a minor refresh. I'd agree with you there -- I've never quite understood why they don't do that -- but it is nothing new. If your point is that it shows Apple doesn't care about its Mac Pro customers, that was always so under Jobs. But he cared enough to approve a brilliant enclosure design that, to my eye, still looks great NINE YEARS after it was introduced as the PowerMac G5.


Edited by TenThousandThings - 5/25/12 at 3:23pm
post #128 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post

I was at a presentation of a major software vendor which supports both the Apple and PC platform. Afterwards I spoke with the presenter about the Mac Pro situation and he simply said that if you are concerned about performance you are already on a PC...the Mac Pro is 18 months old/out of date already.

 

Exactly how are Apple workstations more out of date than HP or Dell ones? The Xeons have only been updated just recently, and HP and Dell only updated their workstations in April. Before then they were using the same generation of processor as the current Mac Pro.

 

So give Apple a few months at least to release their new models too, and we can compare apples with apples.

post #129 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings View Post
The Mac Pro's graphics cards have always lagged behind the cutting edge as well.

 

They were surprisingly new when they were last updated, however. 

 

Quote:
All it shows is that Apple doesn't think new graphics cards are a good enough reason for a minor refresh.

 

Exactly. Apple hasn't done a refresh without a processor update on any of their machines since Steve came back.

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post #130 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by fartheststar View Post

I need a mac pro, and it's not because I need to show it off to people.  

I am a freelance editor and I make money with my Mac Pro.  Money I couldn't make with an iMac because of the specs of the iMac, and the fact that my hardware would not 'work' with the iMac because I run 4 eSata drives, and a great graphics card (among other equipment I won't bother to mention).  

Edit:  Also, my Avid Media Composer software supports/qualifies Mac Pro 8 and 12 cores (4 core MacPros are not 'avid qualified') although some may work, works best with 2 x 4 core processors.  I am sure there is an iMac that is Avid qualified, but not 'as advisable'. 

You can simply ignore the people who say that no one needs a Mac Pro. Obviously, they don't know what they're talking about.

But as the iMac becomes more powerful - and with the advent of external Thunderbolt storage solutions, the number is shrinking rapidly. Unless you're maxing out either your CPU or GPU on a regular basis, the iMac will work just fine.

Again, I don't see Apple dropping the Mac Pro, but I do see the time between upgrades continuing to grow. And that's really not that big an issue - it was only a month or two ago that Intel finally released a Xeon processor that was significantly faster than the one in the current Mac Pro. And video cards can be replaced.
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post #131 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac 
I doubt Apple will EOL the Mac Pro. Too many negatives and repercussions with too few benefits to ending their most powerful machine. I bet a lot of Apple employees use and depend on a Mac Pro as well. 

Rob at barefeats did some tests to show us what the next Mac Pro should look like in some benchmarks. Here is just one sample from his tests.

If Apple used that 8-core chip, the top-end model would be $880 more than it is now. It's more likely they'd go for the E5-2665, which is 2.4GHz vs 3.1GHz.

This model scores 21 Cinebench vs 15 so a speedup of 40%. The above score would be about 85% faster. This is almost entirely down to clock speed as it is 30% higher (1.4 x 1.3 = 82%).

In the above set of scores, the new Mac Pro would more likely sit at 32 seconds and cost $6200 without a display. The Ivy Bridge iMac would sit at 90 seconds and cost $2200 with a 27" display.

It's a worthwhile performance jump if you have the money and more cost-effective than cloud rendering but not the options under $3500. It would be nice if they could redesign them and cut them in price by $500 then just scrap the quads. Start at 6-core at $2500, 8-core at $3000.

Only a price cut in addition to the bump/redesign would make 40% improvement after 2 years worthwhile.

The Mac Pro options are a bit odd. I don't know if they did this recently but the BTO options in the middle one are the same as the 12-core one now - you'd think they'd just have two selections: 1 processor or 2 processor and then pick the options. Currently they have 6 processors total and 3 aren't worth having as they aren't significantly faster than the iMac.
post #132 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings View Post
If your point is that it shows Apple doesn't care about its Mac Pro customers, that was always so under Jobs. But he cared enough to approve a brilliant enclosure design that, to my eye, still looks great NINE YEARS after it was introduced as the PowerMac G5.

 

Apologies for quoting myself, but it occurs to me that nine years for the cheese grater design has to be a record, and by a decent margin. Is there any other computer design that has lasted as long? Certainly not among Apple machines. Previous record has to be the original 1984 Macintosh -- that design continued through the Mac Plus (discontinued 1990) -- six years.

post #133 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

I doubt Apple will EOL the Mac Pro. Too many negatives and repercussions with too few benefits to ending their most powerful machine. I bet a lot of Apple employees use and depend on a Mac Pro as well. 

 

Rob at barefeats did some tests to show us what the next Mac Pro should look like in some benchmarks. Here is just one sample from his tests. 

 

Take a look.

http://barefeats.com/sandy01.html

 

san01_ae5.png

 

Rendering may be a lot faster but I don't want to work in Windows. I recently built a very similar machine running CentOS 6 for a massive server project. In my opinion if it doesn't run OS X then it is at least 50% slower in the development stage assuming your are talking about day to day usage as a workstation. I've known the ProMax guys for 20 years and they are very reputable but they have never had any allegence to Apple and never will.  Regardless of how fast the render speed is, Windows is just clunky to work with so for me it is not as efficient as Mac OS X in overall performance in a real world situation, even with the faster processors.

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post #134 of 203
To say that an iMac or MacBook pro can be used to edit a movie or a TV show is true, but a bit uninformed.

Granted, editing the actual takes together in a timeline of most file types is considered light lifting for most computers today. It is because of that fact that expectation of quality has been going up for TV and film watchers (sound and video quality, I'm not touching story ;-) ).

Because its now possible to digitally color correct everything and do awesome composited titles and 3-D animation and digital cleanup, even digital make up - these are becoming par for the course. You need multiple programs, fast computers and cards and hardware and fiber channel connecting them all to get the expected quality out by the deadline. You need craftspeople who have specialized skills and sizable hourly rates, you need engineers so everything can talk to everything else. Also, forcing graphics pros to use Apple's included monitors is a recipe for trouble.

To say go to Windows or Linux isn't so easy, it negates software purchases, reliability, and flexibility since Macs can run OSX and anything else. You can't scale up with an iMac, not enough anyway. As great as Thunderbolt is, it's still has bandwidth limitations if you start stacking external devices that aren't even widely available yet, and Fing expensive. You need greater than quad core processing to deal with the large and highly compressed video files that keep changing.

Mac pro and pro users push computing forward. It helps Apple's image. It may be expensive, but I'll bet the very efficient and wonderful graphics programming you see in OSX and iOS was born out of efficiencies mandated by pleasing the Pro users. A rising tide lifts all boats, and historically the Mac Pro has been the pinnacle of computing available to the general public. To throw that away for the imac is irresponsible, and will eventually bite Apple on the ass.
post #135 of 203
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post #136 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac 
Why do you need a Xeon if you are only using the one CPU option? The Xeon line is way more expensive with little advantage to the Core i7 when you are only choosing the 1 CPU option. Apple could price a Mac Pro with a Core i7 as the low end option

This is a conclusion arrived at often but it's not the Xeons that keep the prices high on the entry models. The entry Xeon chip is $294:

http://ark.intel.com/products/41313/Intel-Xeon-Processor-W3530-(8M-Cache-2_80-GHz-4_80-GTs-Intel-QPI)

The Core i7-3960X is $1000:

http://ark.intel.com/products/63696/Intel-Core-i7-3960X-Processor-Extreme-Edition-(15M-Cache-3_30-GHz)

Apple would sell this 6-core i7 for at least $3200.

When products sell in such low volume, the margins jump high. They went up at least $300 since the Mac Pro was introduced.

$2499 - $294 CPU - $260 LGA 1366 motherboard - $115 Radeon 5770 GPU - $150 1KW PSU - $200 enclosure - 3GB RAM $50 - 1TB HDD $100 - Superdrive $100 - Magic Mouse/Keyboard $118

That's still $1112 in the clear i.e 80% profit margins.

If you take the component cost + 25% profit, you get $1387 x 1.25 = $1734

Similar spec machines cost around this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883108492
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883147724

Yeah, there's the OS and R&D etc on top of the components as with the other models so the margins will be somewhere between 25-80% but likely nearer 80%. They padded them by $300 at one point so they used to be under 60% margins.

Low volume = high margin. The catch-22 is that the volume will be low when the margins are high.

They'd have to make it mass-market again - the tower models used to be mass-market. But, they don't want the mass-market to have towers because they can't bundle a display. The Mini is an exception due to its tiny form factor and low price. A large, heavy, expensive box without a display should only be for buyers who want to make that compromise and that is not the majority.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliots11 
Mac pro and pro users push computing forward. It helps Apple's image.

Mac Pro fans like to believe this but it's so far from the truth. Most of Apple's customers won't even know what a Mac Pro is because they position them in the Apple Stores so thet you walk past every other model before you get to the 1 Mac Pro right at the back corner.

Over the years, I'm sure problems that were found in high-resource or esoteric scenarios have contributed in a small way to the evolution of Apple's products but not to the extent that they are owed a form factor for life, especially given that finding problems with things rather than solutions (which is Apple's job) doesn't give much qualification for reward.

The extent to which customers define Apple's product roadmap is financial. People have to actually buy the products instead of complaning about them. Mac Pro buyers do a lot of complaining and hold onto machines for 6 years proclaiming how great that situation is then get annoyed at the lack of an update for 2 years.

Hands up all the whiners who are buyers. Even if Apple does update the Pro at WWDC, how many people here are actually going to put down over $3,500 on one? That group of people is minute and not influential to Apple.

What's the worst case scenario, 50K go for an iMac, 50K switch to a PC and the other 200 million customers just keep on truckin'. Oh right, the influential Mac Pro owners will drive Apple's entire customer base to the competition just to show them who's in charge. (if the image links worked properly, the rolleyes emoticon would go here)
post #137 of 203

I think what people fail to realize is that the PRO market as a whole is no longer feasible to support. Nor do I think the amount of people needing those tools are going to increase. A buddy of mine used to run an expensive sound recording studio, which closed once the average person could make a mix tape. The Creative Professionals most impacted by this are the independent ones that did wedding videos or professional photography. Companies that do movies like Avatar will just buy Oracle Server Farms, or EMC/etc. But they will also shrink since people will find Youtube videos more entertaining then hollywood, and since it's much cheaper to crowd source content and make money off ads then spending billions on a blockbuster.

 

In twenty years, video professional studios that still exist will not use Apple, they will have very custom built shops setup by consultants. And everyone else will be happy to upload their forested moon onto youtube.

post #138 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa View Post

That is fundamentally misunderstanding the problem.

 

1. Mac Pro's have PCIe kit that can't be put into a iMac. TB is only 4 lanes. Devices like http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/decklinkhdextreme use 4 lanes by themselves.

2. Video cards are always 16 lane devices, these can't be put on TB. Any external Video card is going to have a 75% performance penalty if it's on TB and have to compete with the other TB devices for bandwidth.

3. SSD devices require 4 lanes: http://www.fusionio.com/platforms/iodrive2/ if not 16 http://www.fusionio.com/platforms/iodrive-octal/

 

Speaking of fundamental misunderstanding, please stop speaking.  1 lane of pcie 2.0 (500MB or 4Gb) is not the same as one lane of Thunderbolt (10Gb or 1.25Gb).  Also external videocards would not be at a 75% penalty.  Try 10-20% as shown here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5458/the-radeon-hd-7970-reprise-pcie-bandwidth-overclocking-and-msaa   Again w/SSD, the IODrive2 would be perfectly fine on TB as that maxes at 12Gb, when TB has 20 to use each way.  The Octal would saturate it yes.  The Decklink you linked above uses a 10Gb/second bandwidth as its absolute fastest, which is half of TB.  http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/decklinkhdextreme/techspecs/  It mentions its card runs on PCIe 4x, but they must mean PCIe 2.0 4x, b/c a 1.0 4x would only provide 8Gb of bandwidth.

 

Please actually know what you are talking about before you put yourself forth as an expert.  You just end up looking bad.  Plus optical cabling was just introduced for Thunderbolt in April http://www.macworld.com/article/1166542/optical_cables_for_thunderbolt_ports_shipped_by_sumitomo.html  We have yet to be provided with numbers on the new cabling speeds, but the existing ports are completely compatible  The speed increase comes from the cable itself.  TB is expected to reach speeds of 100Gb/second or 12.5GB/second by the end of the decade.

post #139 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

You know your needs far better than I, but it seems to me that you are using the wrong tool for the job, you would be better served with a small cluster of servers with a NAS on a segragated private LAN.

 

It sounds like you need real serious gear, and should invest in a nice rack of server equipment to build a BSD or Darwin cluster. You could use things like 10 gig e, higher end GPU options, better CPUs, 64GB or more of ram per box, not just per cluster, 10 gb ethernet, failover power supplies and so on. AMacpro cluster sounds like a sort of cobbled together solution to begin with.

 

With that as a backend you could probably do fine with iMacs as the front end for the researchers.

Thank you for adding this.

post #140 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

 

Speaking of fundamental misunderstanding, please stop speaking.  1 lane of pcie 2.0 (500MB or 4Gb) is not the same as one lane of Thunderbolt (10Gb or 1.25Gb).  Also external videocards would not be at a 75% penalty.  Try 10-20% as shown here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5458/the-radeon-hd-7970-reprise-pcie-bandwidth-overclocking-and-msaa   Again w/SSD, the IODrive2 would be perfectly fine on TB as that maxes at 12Gb, when TB has 20 to use each way.  The Octal would saturate it yes.  The Decklink you linked above uses a 10Gb/second bandwidth as its absolute fastest, which is half of TB.  http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/decklinkhdextreme/techspecs/  It mentions its card runs on PCIe 4x, but they must mean PCIe 2.0 4x, b/c a 1.0 4x would only provide 8Gb of bandwidth.

 

Please actually know what you are talking about before you put yourself forth as an expert.  You just end up looking bad.  Plus optical cabling was just introduced for Thunderbolt in April http://www.macworld.com/article/1166542/optical_cables_for_thunderbolt_ports_shipped_by_sumitomo.html  We have yet to be provided with numbers on the new cabling speeds, but the existing ports are completely compatible  The speed increase comes from the cable itself.  TB is expected to reach speeds of 100Gb/second or 12.5GB/second by the end of the decade.

Thank you for explaining this.

post #141 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

This is a conclusion arrived at often but it's not the Xeons that keep the prices high on the entry models. The entry Xeon chip is $294:
http://ark.intel.com/products/41313/Intel-Xeon-Processor-W3530-(8M-Cache-2_80-GHz-4_80-GTs-Intel-QPI)
The Core i7-3960X is $1000:
http://ark.intel.com/products/63696/Intel-Core-i7-3960X-Processor-Extreme-Edition-(15M-Cache-3_30-GHz)
Apple would sell this 6-core i7 for at least $3200.
When products sell in such low volume, the margins jump high. They went up at least $300 since the Mac Pro was introduced.
$2499 - $294 CPU - $260 LGA 1366 motherboard - $115 Radeon 5770 GPU - $150 1KW PSU - $200 enclosure - 3GB RAM $50 - 1TB HDD $100 - Superdrive $100 - Magic Mouse/Keyboard $118
That's still $1112 in the clear i.e 80% profit margins.
If you take the component cost + 25% profit, you get $1387 x 1.25 = $1734
Similar spec machines cost around this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883108492
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883147724

Those are not similar machines. The Mac Pro is dual processor capable - which adds immensely to the cost. The Mac Pro also has ECC RAM and extremely high quality components.

You're comparing a consumer-grade machine to a true professional machine.
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post #142 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Those are not similar machines. The Mac Pro is dual processor capable - which adds immensely to the cost. The Mac Pro also has ECC RAM and extremely high quality components.
You're comparing a consumer-grade machine to a true professional machine.

 

 The models linked were workstations with ECC ram. Keep in mind that ECC ram isn't immensely expensive as it was a decade ago. It adds very little to the cost, especially with a standard configuration of 3x1GB. It does require a slightly more complex logic board, and Apple uses a thick aluminum case that probably costs something to build. Here's your next mistake. The single package mac pro is not dual processor capable. On the quad and hex core models, they use the W series parts and a different daughter board. The dual processor capable models are the 8 and 12 core models. They made that split on board designs and cpu parts in 2009. Prior to that a dual processor mac pro started at $2300 for 1,1 and $2800 for 3,1. 

 

Last thing is that these aren't bad designs. They're entry level workstations much like the mac pro. You can't load the mac pro up with tesla cards or any really exotic parts given power limitations even with an extra power connector. You should also take note that those are priced to include 3 year warranties, which is pretty much the norm for any other workstation on the market. The warranty service tends to be pretty good on workstations too. Anyway there are many reasons I started with Macs. I've kept going with them due to overall familiarity. I have things the way I like them, but the single package mac pro could be a much better machine than it is today in terms of driver performance and features, and entry level hardware given the starting price. Since you mentioned true professional machines, those ones come with workstation gpus standard. This doesn't benefit everyone, but there are some very useful features at a driver level that aren't available in the gaming cards even though it's primarily a driver thing. 

 

This isn't picking on Apple at all. I think you're just biased on this one, and you may not have been aware of those changes in the mac pro line (if I recall from other posts you use a 17" Core 2 duo macbook pro, which is also a very nice machine).

 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


This is a conclusion arrived at often but it's not the Xeons that keep the prices high on the entry models. The entry Xeon chip is $294:
http://ark.intel.com/products/41313/Intel-Xeon-Processor-W3530-(8M-Cache-2_80-GHz-4_80-GTs-Intel-QPI)
The Core i7-3960X is $1000:
http://ark.intel.com/products/63696/Intel-Core-i7-3960X-Processor-Extreme-Edition-(15M-Cache-3_30-GHz)
Apple would sell this 6-core i7 for at least $3200.
When products sell in such low volume, the margins jump high. They went up at least $300 since the Mac Pro was introduced.
$2499 - $294 CPU - $260 LGA 1366 motherboard - $115 Radeon 5770 GPU - $150 1KW PSU - $200 enclosure - 3GB RAM $50 - 1TB HDD $100 - Superdrive $100 - Magic Mouse/Keyboard $118
That's still $1112 in the clear i.e 80% profit margins.
If you take the component cost + 25% profit, you get $1387 x 1.25 = $1734
 

Some of those numbers were a little different at the time they were released. I recall the 5770 cost more than that in 2010, even for a Windows version. Mac graphics cards have always been expensive given the need for custom drivers + smaller market. It's a slightly awkward setup overall. I agree that a 6 core at $2500 would be great. The entry 6 core cpu this generation started much lower, but I think it's more likely that Apple will stick to a quad in the base model. Personally I don't think it's worth it at the low end of that line. You should really be pushing 6 core and up to make the best use of it. Unfortunately OSX doesn't always scale well. The 5870 is a gpu, but it's a good example. Its performance is truly underwhelming relative to what it could be in OSX. Apple's OpenGL support has also been a bit bleh since Snow Leopard. At this point I'm really interested in how Mountain Lion will look in both OpenGL and OpenCL performance and support (as in developers can implement features without rewriting excessive amounts of code so that new features actually make it into software). Overall my needs haven't been growing that quickly lately, so it won't matter too much what I buy next as long as I have enough ports and options for storage connectivity. I won't touch the thunderbolt enclosure as I already own storage boxes, and I buy drives in batches, so if one dies, I replace it with another of the same brand/firmware even though I don't have them in a RAID.  They're always WD caviar black drives simply because they spin up quickly, they don't hang, and their support is good. Also speaking of RAID, I wish people would ask their questions before they buy something. I'm really tired of telling others that a RAID is not a backup, and that they shouldn't buy off brand drives.


Edited by hmm - 5/26/12 at 7:06am
post #143 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
The extent to which customers define Apple's product roadmap is financial. People have to actually buy the products instead of complaning about them. Mac Pro buyers do a lot of complaining and hold onto machines for 6 years proclaiming how great that situation is then get annoyed at the lack of an update for 2 years. Hands up all the whiners who are buyers. Even if Apple does update the Pro at WWDC, how many people here are actually going to put down over $3,500 on one? That group of people is minute and not influential to Apple.

 

The idea that the entertainment and advertising industries are some kind of minor niche market in decline that can and should be ignored is just laughable on its face. Not to mention potential growth areas for OS X like the hard sciences and medicine -- here the success of iOS devices is likely to drive growth back into the rest of the OS X ecosystem, including a new and improved Mac Pro. An Apple television would only add to the phenomenon.

 

Your vision of an iMac solution for half of the current Mac Pro base reminds me of a tag used in a sports blog that I read, "i come up with an incredibly complicated solution to something that may not be a problem" -- there isn't a problem here -- the current solution, the Mac Pro, is elegant, flexible, and works beautifully. I have a display on my desk and a box under it. How does an iMac with a different box under my desk improve upon that?

 

Oh, and your comment about how few of the "whiners" are actually going to buy ignores the fact that a fair segment of the existing Mac Pro base (stock 1,1 and 2,1 machines, like mine) is going to be left behind by Mountain Lion -- I think that is partly what is driving the persistent interest in this topic. A lot of people who have had their Mac Pros for five and six years will be making the move. Some will probably go to iMac or the MacBook Pro + Thunderbolt Display, but many will move to the new and improved Mac Pro.


Edited by TenThousandThings - 5/26/12 at 8:30am
post #144 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Instead of an avenue, If you look at Mac OS X as a super smooth perfectly engineered Autobahn but on which you are only allowed to drive hybrid electric economy cars, it is very disappointing to those who have grown accustomed and prefer to drive v12 sports cars. To no longer be able to use a Mac Pro, choose your own monitor, video cards, pack it full of RAM and hard drives with 12 cores of cpus, is just an insult to Mac purists.

 

Thank you for completely taking the use of the word avenue in the wrong direction.  My point was that Thunderbolt has enough bandwidth to be able to let you have multiple external solutions.  Want dual Pegasus 6 drive externals and a couple of monitors?  You have 2 TB slots and that will be enough bandwidth.  There's no way you could have shoved 12 drives into a Mac Pro.  I have a Mercury Elite AL Pro Qx2 and it lets me have 4 drives together and I can use FW800 or eSata.  I have it setup w/FW800 for now, but once a TB to eSATA adapter is released, I'll probably switch it to that. 

 

Really tho, I do think the Mac Pro will be discontinued, but it will be in the same way the PowerMac was killed and replaced by the Mac Pro.  I think Apple will release a new machine that has top end parts and internal expansion, but not as much as currently.  They will have somewhere between 2 and 4 TB ports tho and we'll see what happens with price.  The problem with the idea of using a top end non-Xeon for the single processor is that means having different mobo designs between the Mac Pros and it's price point would be in the same range as the iMac.  Apple tries to have more price separation for their products usually.

post #145 of 203

I put an article on this onto my website.  We did 2 articles calling attention to the lack of updated Mac Pro's (or similar tier) in early March.

 

Love to see what people think and sign the petition.

 

http://www.peaceloveapplepie.com/mac-pro-petition/

post #146 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

 

 

Really tho, I do think the Mac Pro will be discontinued, but it will be in the same way the PowerMac was killed and replaced by the Mac Pro.  I think Apple will release a new machine that has top end parts and internal expansion, but not as much as currently.  They will have somewhere between 2 and 4 TB ports tho and we'll see what happens with price.  The problem with the idea of using a top end non-Xeon for the single processor is that means having different mobo designs between the Mac Pros and it's price point would be in the same range as the iMac.  Apple tries to have more price separation for their products usually.

They already use two mobo designs to keep costs down on the model with a single cpu package. The cpu is is actually slightly cheaper in the mac pro than the imac, so they're okay with artificially inflating hardware no matter what. I doubt you'd see 4 TB ports. I don't know that the chipset even supports two TB chips. You'd reserve a x16 slot for the graphics card. At that point you're left with 24 lanes. TB could probably be  run over 2 on PCIe 3.0, but it might be configured as 4 lanes anyway. No speed increases were scheduled prior to 2015. Even then it's supposed to only be a moderate bump. Anyway Apple did this to themselves, and making it into the equivalent of a $1000 PC running OSX just to get the price down to $2300 isn't really a good solution. Workstations are always higher margin machines. It's just that at this point the low end of it is cut down to the point where the cost of entry doesn't appeal to as many people unless they require specific features. It's a model you'd buy today for features rather than power.

post #147 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

The Mac Pro is for companies doing film post production, animation, hi def audio production, hi end 3D etc. it's for the top part of the professional line. I'm currently on my way to working with more and more professional animation, and I'm getting ready to purchase a new computer that can handle as much as possible.
And as they're saying: the iMac is not the answer. Uncompromised power is.

 

And even then it isn't required. Many high end companies like post production and animation use render farms for their processing. Farms that more often than not run on Linux based software. Which means you can have even an iMac for your workstation. and in many cases that's what the companies do. 

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post #148 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post

It's clear Apple needs an entry-level tower. 

 

It's clear no they don't NEED such a thing but that you wish they had it. Not the same thing. Most people don't care about making custom boxes, even most companies don't. So they are happy with the iMac, the Mac Mini etc. 

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post #149 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakime View Post

"With Apple's Mac Pro line growing long in the tooth after not having received an update for almost two years"

 

This is basically the same amount of time that we have not seen any update from HP and Dell for their workstations.

 

 

But they aren't Apple so who cares

 

 

"The Cupertino, Calif., company upset a number of professional video editors last year with the release of Final Cut Pro X. Power users complained that the new release more closely resembled iMovie, Apple's entry-level video editing software, than previous versions of Final Cut Pro. AppleInsider exclusively reported in May 2010 that Apple was planning to make Final Cut more of a "prosumer" product, but the company promised at the time that its pro customers would "love" it."

 

 

I am sorry but your report was basically wrong. 

 

I won't go so far as to say they are wrong but it is questionably sourced. The comment is based on an old article that was sourced via less than 300 reviews on the app store and perhaps 20 blog reviews. Who knows how many people were fine with that early release but never said anything .

 

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post #150 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

become very aloof and alienate their core user base 

 

Trouble for you and yours is that Pro users aren't Apple's core user base. Hell prosumers aren't really either. it's straight up CONSUMERS, that is who Apple designs for, that is whose needs control their decisions. The Pro users are just butt hurt that they aren't that core base anymore. Which is why they are whining about how they are going to say FU to Apple and go back to Windows, make Hackintoshes etc. But given that they aren't Apple's core user base all their whining, threats and demands for information that Apple has never given out before isn't going to make a difference to Apple. 

 

Sorry if that hurts your feelings but it's the reality of the situation

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post #151 of 203
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Originally Posted by MacMichiel View Post


Windows ? Over my dead body ! Never ever will that happen.
I don't agree with you at all. If there won't be an update Apple should end this rediculous endless wait and pull the Mac Pro from the Apple Store.

 

why. the current Mac Pro is a perfectly fine machine for many people. Why should Apple deny those folks just because you think the specs suck. 

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post #152 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Not to pick on you particularly, but a lot of people are making statements like this, and further that Apple is "all about the money," or that it doesn't make money for them etc. 

 

First, Apple is definitely not "all about the money" they are one of the very few businesses that has realised that focussing only on profit is actually the wrong thing to do.  Apple is "all about the product."

 

 

Don't delude yourself. Apple is about profit as much as every other company. They do it by making very beautiful products but in the end they are about making money. That they probably have reems of paperwork from many of those same companies buying Mac Minis, iMacs etc would back up the notion that no they don't need to continue the MacPro to serve that small part of their buyers. Instead they can continue to focus on their core user base of consumers and secondary base of prosumers keeping their software etc open to the use of add ons, plug ins etc for those that feel they need a bit more kick. 

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post #153 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by not1lost View Post

10 hours ago 4000 Now.....

We want a mac pro 5-25-12 9.16 AM.JPG

Notice it also says 2,593 talking about this~ The buzz is certainly buzzing!

 

That's a gain of 330.8 an hour or 5.5 a minuet approx.

 

This could go viral! I hope it does....

 

doesn't matter. Apple doesn't design or release because of peoples demands anymore than they do by what the competition is doing. 

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post #154 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Tens of thousands directly, hundreds of thousands to millions indirectly.

 

You have names to back that up. Names of millions of people that MUST have a Mac Pro to do their work, especially the kind of multitasking scenario given

 

I bet you don't. Anymore than AI has the names and opinions of every single person that downloaded FCPX to say that the software is a failure and hated by everyone, etc. 

 

Compared to, as I mentioned, Apple who has actual orders, sales and returns. 

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post #155 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe The Dragon View Post


but HP and others did lower prices and bumped up video cards / ram size over the same time frame.

 

Apple same price same ram and same video cards for same 2 years.

 

You can use non Apple supplied video cards in that Pro. Same with RAM and hard drives. So that's a bit moot. 

 

Hell if you are really gutsy you could probably upgrade the logic board even

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post #156 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post
You have names to back that up. Names of millions of people that MUST have a Mac Pro to do their work, especially the kind of multitasking scenario given.

 

Oh, heavens no, which is why I highballed at tens of thousands for workplace Mac Pro users. I'm referencing the ripple effect from no longer having something on the high end. I realize I may still be highballing with that second number, but there are things the iMac will never do that people need done. And with no solution present, eventually the dominoes start to tip. 

 

Not a completely accurate metaphor, to be sure. I suppose ice breaking off the coast of an Antarctic glacier is a better one, though still with its flaws. The glacier itself won't ever go away entirely, but it can be reduced by a significant portion. 

 

Having said that, I don't think they'd get rid of it, and I certainly hope they don't. I'd actually love a redesigned solution as proposed by… whoever that was. The one guy on here who claimed to have met a guy that had seen the new "Apple Galaxy" system of Thunderbolt-connected distributed cube computers. That'd be something inspiring, you know?

 

Have a Mac Mini? Need more power for something? Buy a second one and plug 'er in. Upgraded your Mini to a new model and don't know what to do with the old one? Keep it around, plug it in, and have a little more processing oomph. Of course I mention the Mini because it's the easiest to envision a wider variety of uses in this scenario, as its form factor really lends to stacking, but a smaller, sleeker Mac Pro replacement/upgrade would be where the system truly shines.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #157 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
it won't matter too much what I buy next as long as I have enough ports and options for storage connectivity

USB 3 on the new machines will help a lot. Getting one of those brushed metal Samsung 830 SSDs with just the raw SATA connector to USB 3 would be great for fast storage. They can be used as scratch disks for active projects.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
The idea that the entertainment and advertising industries are some kind of minor niche market in decline that can and should be ignored is just laughable on its face.

It's not that they are minor nor in decline but clearly they aren't buying Mac Pros. You can't take an entire industry, stamp it with the professional label and declare that it requires a Mac Pro. The 2D design industry would find far more value in a 27" iMac than a Mac Pro because they don't do CPU intensive tasks.

A huge number of high-value jobs can be done in real-time now on basic core hardware with peripherals:

http://goo.gl/wz5GC

For the CPU intensive tasks like compositing and rendering, Mac Pros are great machines but, as I said before, that's only the higher-end models. This is only suitable if jobs can pay enough to cover the $3,500-6,000+ outlay on the hardware and it's not the case that jobs can't be done with the slower machines, you would just get e.g 1 minute per frame vs 20 seconds per frame.

Workflows these days are such that a lot of things are done in real-time though and you just need the raw processing right at the end so it's not that your entire workflow drops to 1/3rd of the speed using an iMac, only your final step, which is a fraction of the workflow.

I do think that it would be premature to kill the Mac Pro at this point but it was premature to kill the Macbook before SSDs dropped in price and I think now is the time they have to decide to commit to it for a long term or not.

There is a chance they can get away with using new CPUs/GPUs without even mentioning it (that would be quite funny actually) but I think the direction they are going points to a redesign of the enclosure. They won't do a redesign unless they are commiting to it long term and I don't think the Mac Pro has a long term ahead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
Not to mention potential growth areas for OS X like the hard sciences and medicine -- here the success of iOS devices is likely to drive growth back into the rest of the OS X ecosystem, including a new and improved Mac Pro. An Apple television would only add to the phenomenon.

It's a bit of a stretch to think that because someone owns an iPhone, they are going to consider spending upwards of $2500 on a 40lb workstation. It's good advertising for the brand but there's been no evidence that the current 250 million or more sales of iOS devices has impacted the Mac Pro line at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
Your vision of an iMac solution for half of the current Mac Pro base reminds me of a tag used in a sports blog that I read, "i come up with an incredibly complicated solution to something that may not be a problem" -- there isn't a problem here -- the current solution, the Mac Pro, is elegant, flexible, and works beautifully.

The problem is people aren't buying them and people are managing to use iMacs just fine:

http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/in-action/
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
Oh, and your comment about how few of the "whiners" are actually going to buy ignores the fact that a fair segment of the existing Mac Pro base (stock 1,1 and 2,1 machines, like mine) is going to be left behind by Mountain Lion

Exactly, only upgarding when forced to due to software incompatibility. That's your typical Mac Pro crowd.
post #158 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


USB 3 on the new machines will help a lot. Getting one of those brushed metal Samsung 830 SSDs with just the raw SATA connector to USB 3 would be great for fast storage. They can be used as scratch disks for active projects.
 

 

I try not to rely too heavily on scratch disks these days. You must remember we were limited to 3-4 GB ram ceilings for many years. The capability to go higher was there long before the benefit really became noteworthy. These days I will max it when I buy the machine, or get as much as I can without the price going through the roof. Like 8GB dimms in the lower mac pros would have been pointless a couple years ago under most circumstances, just because they'd inflate your costs so much that you'd be better off going with a dual model and 8x4GB dimms rather than 4x8. It's getting to a point where much of this can be handled in ram, and it allows me to enable caching in many areas where it wouldn't have been practical in the past.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



There is a chance they can get away with using new CPUs/GPUs without even mentioning it (that would be quite funny actually) but I think the direction they are going points to a redesign of the enclosure. They won't do a redesign unless they are commiting to it long term and I don't think the Mac Pro has a long term ahead.
It's a bit of a stretch to think that because someone owns an iPhone, they are going to consider spending upwards of $2500 on a 40lb workstation. It's good advertising for the brand but there's been no evidence that the current 250 million or more sales of iOS devices has impacted the Mac Pro line at all.
The problem is people aren't buying them and people are managing to use iMacs just fine:
http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/in-action/
Exactly, only upgarding when forced to due to software incompatibility. That's your typical Mac Pro crowd.
 

That's your typical computer crowd these days. Laptop users sometimes replace frequently, but it's more frequently due to concerns over device failure than computing needs. I'd suggest the mac pro crowd is more the type to upgrade when their needs increase, and they can realize real gains from the upgrade. The current problem is to some degree an issue of segmentation. Look at the 1,1. It granted a very competitive quad core workstation for its time. In 2008 they went to 8 cores, but many software programs were still lagging greatly in core scaling. This included some of Apple's own applications like FCP. This is a problem. You need to be able to benefit from the upgrade. In 2009 they split up the line in a very bad way. Toward the sub $3k region, they've been almost running in place since 2008 on performance as core scaling and 64 bit applications have improved the performance of that model since its release. Geekbench and other testing comes out pretty close. To see a massive improvement from that point on, it's basically the 6 core if you need the highest possible clock speed or the 12 core to make such an upgrade worth it. There hasn't really been a way since 2008 to buy into higher performance around the same price point unless it's a case of heavy ram requirements. At that point the upgrade makes sense, but it's mostly to avoid the cost of FB dimms. As I mentioned, Snow Leopard on, you have a lot of applications that saw minimal benefit past 4GB of ram that can now use as much as you throw at them. In many cases computing times fall off a cliff once it can just cache everything to ram and finding contiguous chunks is no longer an issue. 

post #159 of 203

Marvin, Many of the points you make are reasonable, although I'm not really sure where your data on Mac Pro sales comes from. I just think you're drawing the wrong conclusions. There is a place for a Mac Pro in the product line. Most of the problems that exist (apart from the current economic depression) can be addressed in a redesign of the Mac Pro. Plus, Cook is an operations guy. I'd look for innovations in how the Mac Pro is built and how it is "fulfilled," and not the simple bean-counter solution of killing it because it's not selling as well as other products.

 

My point about the iOS halo effect is that there are increasing numbers of specialized scientific and medical-industry apps for the iPad, and as the iOS continues to be best and most secure platform for this kind of thing we will see more adoption of the OS X platform. The same is true in the entertainment industry.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Exactly, only upgarding when forced to due to software incompatibility. That's your typical Mac Pro crowd.

 

This is just ass-backwards. If iMacs are so powerful and capable, why wouldn't people hang onto them until they are forced to upgrade? How is the iMac any different? Certainly not price. Your main point is that the high-end iMac = the low-end Mac Pro, correct? The total cost isn't that much different. How could it be? As you and your ilk are so fond of pointing out, Apple isn't in the business of giving customers something for nothing:

 

Let's say $2300 for the iMac with the high-end i7 and 2GB of video memory. We'll forget about additional RAM, since nobody buys that from Apple. Add $1200 for a 4TB Thunderbolt RAID system (including cable). So that's about $3500 for what I need.

 

Now let's just, for the sake of argument, say the Sandy Bridge Xeons came out last year when they were supposed to and Apple did a minor refresh to the Mac Pro line (without Thunderbolt). I think it's safe to say whatever single processor was chosen for the low-end Mac Pro (which is basically just a server that Apple also sells as a workstation), it is comparable to the 3.4 GHz i7 -- most likely either the E5-1620 ($294) or the E5-1650 ($583). Let's also assume an upgrade in graphics, but maybe we still need to add $100 for 2GB of video memory. So that's $2600 plus $400 in hard drives to get to the same 5TB storage capacity. That leaves me $500 for a nice Samsung display, but since I'm not a child and I've got a job, I'll splurge and spend $1000 for the Apple display. Apple makes a profit not just on the computer, but also on the display. Same as it ever was.

 

The point is that it's great that the iMac and the MacBook Pro lines are now far more easily extensible than ever before. But those solutions aren't really any cheaper than the Mac Pro ever was, and there is a place in the world for a computer from Apple that doesn't come with a display built-in, preferably in a beautiful new, sleek, rack-mountable Jonathan Ive design.

 

 

post #160 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I try not to rely too heavily on scratch disks these days. You must remember we were limited to 3-4 GB ram ceilings for many years.

I mean in terms of video editing to store the source footage rather than a VM location - source drives are called scratch drives as they are used for render files. It could stream high bitrate source clips from the SSD due to the fast read speeds e.g 4K ProRes to a MBA at 60MB/s per stream. Not much footage (70 mins or so) at that quality on 256GB of course but you get the idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I'd suggest the mac pro crowd is more the type to upgrade when their needs increase, and they can realize real gains from the upgrade.

A certain segment of them sure but there's quite a lot of the following happens:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1306098

Trying to upgrade or fix a 6 year old machine instead of buying a new model. The initial investment is high so upgrades to new models aren't cost-effective. It's also not that easy to migrate an internal RAID from one machine to another.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
I'd look for innovations in how the Mac Pro is built and how it is "fulfilled," and not the simple bean-counter solution of killing it because it's not selling as well as other products.

I would too, I think it would be a bad move to leave it as is but where's the motivation? All the graphs show downward movement for desktops. Even if they made a stunning new small form factor Pro with the latest hardware, how much growth is there?

We always hear stories (I invented many of my own years ago) about how, if Apple just made a few better decisions with the Pro, it would change everything but they are really limited in what they can do with it and the sales are going to keep lowering over time.

There's only so long this will last. Even HP wanted to get out of the desktop business and they are one of the biggest desktop manufacturers. It's not just iMacs doing this in Apple's lineup but laptops. A Macbook Pro outperforms an entry-level MP now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
If iMacs are so powerful and capable, why wouldn't people hang onto them until they are forced to upgrade?

Because they run out of warranty and Apple often adds things to the iMac that are compelling upgrades like Thunderbolt, better displays, better backlight, SSD etc plus it is partly due to price. There is a fairly affordable upgrade path from a 3 year old iMac to a new one and a regular update cycle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenThousandThings 
But those solutions aren't really any cheaper than the Mac Pro ever was, and there is a place in the world for a computer from Apple that doesn't come with a display built-in, preferably in a beautiful new, sleek, rack-mountable Jonathan Ive design.

The example you gave about the hard drives doesn't include hardware RAID. A Pegasus R4 has hardware RAID and to add this to a Mac Pro costs $700. You also get 4TB RAID Thunderbolt cheaper ($600):

http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10573

and a little less for USB 3 ($500):

http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10310

If Sandy Bridge Xeons came out last year, they would match the top-end Sandy Bridge i7 but that didn't happen so now the Sandy Bridge Xeon would go up against the Ivy Bridge i7 and fall short.

Most things they do in an update are going to be really underwhelming. The top end chips that fit in the price bracket of the current 12-core are only 40% faster than the last models. If they put the following chip in a small form factor single CPU model for $2499, that would be good and reasonably faster than an iMac:

http://ark.intel.com/products/64601/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-1650-(10M-Cache-3_20-GHz-0_0-GTs-Intel-QPI)

and maybe this one at $3499:

http://ark.intel.com/products/64597/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-2665-(20M-Cache-2_40-GHz-8_00-GTs-Intel-QPI)
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