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Mac Pro petition gains traction as pro users seek information - Page 5

post #161 of 203

Those Xeons are not the type that Apple would want to use in the Mac Pro.  In March Intel announced the Sandy Bridge Xeons, which are more cores and higher cache.  According to earlier Intel roadmaps, we aren't expecting to see full power Xeons based on Ivy Bridge until late 2012 or early 2013.  Intel is very out of sync between their consumer and server processors.
 

post #162 of 203

I certainly agree that the iMac has become a much more attractive platform (and I don't mean the way it looks) of late, but there are still many things for which a tower is simply a better arrangement. While the TB connectors are all fine and well, one must wait on their development and compatibility and there are performance hits involved if they are daisy chained, not to mention that, for the foreseeable future, it appears that there will be price premiums for TB external devices. Still, it is a useful technology. When TB eventually gets into fiber, a complete re-evaluation of the matter may be in order, but, for now anyway, there remains a place for towers. (The Mac Pro monicker is really misleading in many ways, but that is another matter.)

 

For example, in a tower, installation of a PCIe SSD (not PCIe/SATA) and a PCIe CF and/or SDHC card reader certainly will be desirable as image file sizes continue to grow...not to mention video files although they are probably better served by an HDMI input.

 

Don't forget the matter of RAM either. A proper tower can install more and keep it cooled better whether it is a Xeon system or not. Xeon systems, of course, can handle a lot more RAM if the logic board supports it.

 

Cheers

post #163 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

 

Exactly how are Apple workstations more out of date than HP or Dell ones?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.

Joe the Dragon covered this: "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." (Post #123).

 

It is about the system, not just the CPU. Apple was frozen in time selling dated components at today's premium prices which never sits well with people. 

 

There is increasing doubt that there will be a Sandy Bridge Xeon in a timeframe that makes much sense. If the Haswell is on time, there really is no particular reason to release a Sandy Bridge Xeon a few months (at most) before Haswell. It would simply clutter up the market. Of course it remains to be seen if Haswell will be on time, but the major delay in Sandy Bridge was the new process which will be utilized in the (new architecture) Haswell. 

 

Even if Apple does produce another Mac Pro, one has to suspect that it is only a matter of time before it goes the way of the X-Serve which may lead people to seek other solutions which will suit their needs in the long term rather than riding the ship down.

post #164 of 203

I just wish Apple would let this segment of computer users know if they should switch to PC now or wait for a new Mac Pro.

 

For me, there is no other options...  

post #165 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

I just wish Apple would let this segment of computer users know if they should switch to PC now or wait for a new Mac Pro.

 

For me, there is no other options...  

Exactly!!!

 

(Plus a whole bunch.)

post #166 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR 
For example, in a tower, installation of a PCIe SSD (not PCIe/SATA) and a PCIe CF and/or SDHC card reader certainly will be desirable as image file sizes continue to grow...not to mention video files although they are probably better served by an HDMI input.

Don't forget the matter of RAM either. A proper tower can install more and keep it cooled better whether it is a Xeon system or not. Xeon systems, of course, can handle a lot more RAM if the logic board supports it.

USB 3 is going to cover a lot of what Thunderbolt is too expensive for and is plenty for 4K films being transferred off professional camera storage or digital images. Storage is still limited to the read/write speeds, which rarely top 1GB/s.

In terms of RAM, the dual processor Mac Pro can only manage double the iMac - 64GB vs 32GB. The single CPU one is the same 32GB.

Almost all of the benefits of the Mac Pro can largely be dismissed besides raw processing power.

With USB 3 and Thunderbolt, PCI slots just aren't that much use any more. While people cling to the specs, the reality is that the speed doesn't matter. 5Gbps for USB 3 is fast enough for almost any IO you'd ever need to do (1TB in 25 minutes) again partly because storage generally isn't that fast anyway. Data has to come from something and go to something else so the source and destination has to max the link speed.

You can have multiple GPUs but who uses multiple GPUs? Single cards can support 6 displays and you can even run displays over USB 3. You can't put more than a single high-end card in there due to the power limit so at best you get a GTX 670 in there and the iMac's 7970M will get 85% of the speed. The iMac doesn't have 6 display outputs of course but it's not a typical usage scenario.

The Mac Pro only makes sense for resource intensive tasks like rendering and even at this, it's only really the final render and 3x faster on the highest end but you can buy a cheap render box for this.

There are no reasons left that necessitates the existence of the Mac Pro. Thunderbolt was the last thing they needed to make to allow them to kill it off. Whether they kill it off now or later, they will kill it off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix 
For me, there is no other options...

Which model of Mac Pro are you planning on buying?
post #167 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


USB 3 is going to cover a lot of what Thunderbolt is too expensive for and is plenty for 4K films being transferred off professional camera storage or digital images. Storage is still limited to the read/write speeds, which rarely top 1GB/s.
In terms of RAM, the dual processor Mac Pro can only manage double the iMac - 64GB vs 32GB. The single CPU one is the same 32GB.
Almost all of the benefits of the Mac Pro can largely be dismissed besides raw processing power.
With USB 3 and Thunderbolt, PCI slots just aren't that much use any more. While people cling to the specs, the reality is that the speed doesn't matter. 5Gbps for USB 3 is fast enough for almost any IO you'd ever need to do (1TB in 25 minutes) again partly because storage generally isn't that fast anyway. Data has to come from something and go to something else so the source and destination has to max the link speed.
You can have multiple GPUs but who uses multiple GPUs? Single cards can support 6 displays and you can even run displays over USB 3. You can't put more than a single high-end card in there due to the power limit so at best you get a GTX 670 in there and the iMac's 7970M will get 85% of the speed. The iMac doesn't have 6 display outputs of course but it's not a typical usage scenario.
The Mac Pro only makes sense for resource intensive tasks like rendering and even at this, it's only really the final render and 3x faster on the highest end but you can buy a cheap render box for this.
There are no reasons left that necessitates the existence of the Mac Pro. Thunderbolt was the last thing they needed to make to allow them to kill it off. Whether they kill it off now or later, they will kill it off.
Which model of Mac Pro are you planning on buying?
 

See bold, are you saying that a 7970M will only be 15% slower than a GTX670? Based on?

post #168 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by AandcMedia View Post

See bold, are you saying that a 7970M will only be 15% slower than a GTX670? Based on?

 

Actually it manages to get 86% of the benchmark number.  http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html  Yes this is for one specific software, but it has the numbers Marvin suggested.

 

More benchmarks for the 7970M are here (ugly page, but it has numbers) http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7970M.72675.0.html

post #169 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


 ...they will kill it off.
 

I happen to agree that Apple will kill it. And with its passing a number of former Mac users will find other solutions. I doubt Apple will miss them, but there are rather few applications now that are not available for other platforms which will work just fine.

 

Cheers

post #170 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post
I happen to agree that Apple will kill it. And with its passing a number of former Mac users will find other solutions. I doubt Apple will miss them…

 

Yeah, they sure won't miss the demographic that shares their core beliefs.


So Final Cut Pro will be discontinued, too. And Logic… and Aperture… No Mac OS X Server, so everyone will be forced to use Windows or another Unix flavor… No Apple Remote Desktop, since that won't work on those OS', Anything I missed?

Originally posted by Relic

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

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post #171 of 203

Can someone please help me connect my $10,000 SAS Raid array to an iMac? Or should I just throw out any gear that isn't supported by "thunderbolt"?

 

There is serious money spent on peripherals that will never work with an iMac, the power of the machine is only really a small aspect of this problem…

 

Povilas obviously hasn't invested any money into a Mac Pro studio and supporting hardware, what a spanker.

post #172 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR View Post

Joe the Dragon covered this: "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." (Post #123).

 

It is about the system, not just the CPU. Apple was frozen in time selling dated components at today's premium prices which never sits well with people. 

 

There is increasing doubt that there will be a Sandy Bridge Xeon in a timeframe that makes much sense. If the Haswell is on time, there really is no particular reason to release a Sandy Bridge Xeon a few months (at most) before Haswell. It would simply clutter up the market. Of course it remains to be seen if Haswell will be on time, but the major delay in Sandy Bridge was the new process which will be utilized in the (new architecture) Haswell. 

 

Even if Apple does produce another Mac Pro, one has to suspect that it is only a matter of time before it goes the way of the X-Serve which may lead people to seek other solutions which will suit their needs in the long term rather than riding the ship down.

Apple always pulls this kind of crap. The problem is that they continue to make their mac pro configurations increasingly less competitive. Why would Haswell be on time in this socket? Ivy Bridge E is scheduled for Q2 2013. Sandy Bridge E  has only been trickling out. What could possibly point to a Q2-Q3 release for Haswell? You'd basically need this to guarantee the ability to order a machine using it in 2013. Intel will still make their server money either way, but I wonder if they have any plans for catching up somewhere down the line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


USB 3 is going to cover a lot of what Thunderbolt is too expensive for and is plenty for 4K films being transferred off professional camera storage or digital images. Storage is still limited to the read/write speeds, which rarely top 1GB/s.
In terms of RAM, the dual processor Mac Pro can only manage double the iMac - 64GB vs 32GB. The single CPU one is the same 32GB.
Almost all of the benefits of the Mac Pro can largely be dismissed besides raw processing power.
With USB 3 and Thunderbolt, PCI slots just aren't that much use any more. While people cling to the specs, the reality is that the speed doesn't matter. 5Gbps for USB 3 is fast enough for almost any IO you'd ever need to do (1TB in 25 minutes) again partly because storage generally isn't that fast anyway. Data has to come from something and go to something else so the source and destination has to max the link speed.
You can have multiple GPUs but who uses multiple GPUs? Single cards can support 6 displays and you can even run displays over USB 3. You can't put more than a single high-end card in there due to the power limit so at best you get a GTX 670 in there and the iMac's 7970M will get 85% of the speed. The iMac doesn't have 6 display outputs of course but it's not a typical usage scenario.
The Mac Pro only makes sense for resource intensive tasks like rendering and even at this, it's only really the final render and 3x faster on the highest end but you can buy a cheap render box for this.
There are no reasons left that necessitates the existence of the Mac Pro. Thunderbolt was the last thing they needed to make to allow them to kill it off. Whether they kill it off now or later, they will kill it off.
Which model of Mac Pro are you planning on buying?

Marvin you're getting into the preachy crap again. The mac pro can actually support 128GB of ram, but you top out at 96 supported by OSX. Apple only mentions 64 so that you don't find that limitation. I think the quad is limited to 32 though. On multiple gpus, that would be more useful PC side with tesla cards and things like that. It's not that no one uses them. They just offer less benefit under OSX. Regarding graphics cards, don't compare until you've seen them live. Drivers account for quite a lot there. It annoys me somewhat that everyone feels thunderbolt will solve every problem simply because it was marketed that way initially. Right now you don't have a very clean solution to everything via thunderbolt beyond your imagination even if you drop all preceding purchases as sunken costs and start over from nothing. If anything thunderbolt may address some of the desire for a mid range box with slots. As to if Apple will keep it, thunderbolt means very little in that equation. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragit View Post

Can someone please help me connect my $10,000 SAS Raid array to an iMac? Or should I just throw out any gear that isn't supported by "thunderbolt"?

 

There is serious money spent on peripherals that will never work with an iMac, the power of the machine is only really a small aspect of this problem…

 

Povilas obviously hasn't invested any money into a Mac Pro studio and supporting hardware, what a spanker.

Something that seems to be missed is that thunderbolt only really covers those who were buying the low end of the mac pro line due to lack of a mid range tower from Apple. Even then it's not really a mature technology at this point.

post #173 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Yeah, they sure won't miss the demographic that shares their core beliefs.


So Final Cut Pro will be discontinued, too. And Logic… and Aperture… No Mac OS X Server, so everyone will be forced to use Windows or another Unix flavor… No Apple Remote Desktop, since that won't work on those OS', Anything I missed?

I am not sure how much of the "core beliefs" comment is tongue in cheek.

 

I am also not sure whether Apple have any "core beliefs" left. Sure, the company is making money hand over fist, but there is increasingly little to distinguish it from any other computer company other than margins. Sir Jonny continues to create thermally challenged products and most of the public never notices.

 

The whole situation at Apple is increasingly discouraging...and don't get me started on iOS.

post #174 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by AandcMedia 
See bold, are you saying that a 7970M will only be 15% slower than a GTX670? Based on?

There are a couple of benchmarks but it shows in real games too. Here is a 7970M playing Skyrim at Ultra 1080p:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUwNC3PTdEI

50-60fps

Here is a GTX 680 on Ultra:

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

It also gets 50-60 fps.

The GTX 680 will benchmark higher but in terms of gaming, small variations under even 50% difference are not really noticeable. 15% would mean 7970M = 50fps, GTX 680 = 57fps. Even the lower card in the new iMac (7770M or whatever), if it's as much a 50% difference, you just lower a few settings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest 
Yeah, they sure won't miss the demographic that shares their core beliefs.

So Final Cut Pro will be discontinued, too. And Logic… and Aperture… No Mac OS X Server, so everyone will be forced to use Windows or another Unix flavor… No Apple Remote Desktop, since that won't work on those OS', Anything I missed?

All those things run fine on all their other computers. OSX Server runs on a Mini Server and uses a fraction of the power of a Mac Pro Server. FCPX uses OpenCL so will use the large compute performance of the 7970M to at least double the performance of the quad-i7.

This makes it equivalent to an 8-core or maybe even 12-core Pro without GPU OpenCL. Obviously a Mac Pro would also have GPU OpenCL but that would be Apple competing with itself. Relative to Avid on a PC Xeon workstation, FCPX on an iMac will offer far better performance per dollar.

That's where Apple makes a statement. Outperforming the competition with a larger, more expensive workstation is expected. When they can do it with something cheaper in the form factor of a display, that's impressive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragit 
Can someone please help me connect my $10,000 SAS Raid array to an iMac? Or should I just throw out any gear that isn't supported by "thunderbolt"?

You can buy a Thunderbolt to fibre-channel adaptor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
The mac pro can actually support 128GB of ram, but you top out at 96 supported by OSX. Apple only mentions 64 so that you don't find that limitation. I think the quad is limited to 32 though.

Ah yeah, there are kits with 16GB dimms. They are quite expensive at $1850 for 128GB, $1400 for 96GB but the prices will drop over time. Again though, this is only meaningful for people who need more than 32GB of RAM. How many people are we talking about here? Plus, Ivy Bridge iMacs might support 16GB dimms.
post #175 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There are a couple of benchmarks but it shows in real games too. Here is a 7970M playing Skyrim at Ultra 1080p:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUwNC3PTdEI
50-60fps
Here is a GTX 680 on Ultra:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_sEWDXXMAU
It also gets 50-60 fps.
The GTX 680 will benchmark higher but in terms of gaming, small variations under even 50% difference are not really noticeable. 15% would mean 7970M = 50fps, GTX 680 = 57fps. Even the lower card in the new iMac (7770M or whatever), if it's as much a 50% difference, you just lower a few settings.
For those of us that don't care about games the other significant issue is OpenCL support. AMD seems to do much better here, especially double precision.
Quote:
All those things run fine on all their other computers. OSX Server runs on a Mini Server and uses a fraction of the power of a Mac Pro Server. FCPX uses OpenCL so will use the large compute performance of the 7970M to at least double the performance of the quad-i7.
This makes it equivalent to an 8-core or maybe even 12-core Pro without GPU OpenCL.
Not really, OpenCL on a GPU is only valuable for the problem sets that map nicely onto today's GPUs. Even though it is called General Purpose Computing on a GPU does not actually mean that a GPU can run all threads effectively.
Quote:
Obviously a Mac Pro would also have GPU OpenCL but that would be Apple competing with itself. Relative to Avid on a PC Xeon workstation, FCPX on an iMac will offer far better performance per dollar.
That's where Apple makes a statement. Outperforming the competition with a larger, more expensive workstation is expected. When they can do it with something cheaper in the form factor of a display, that's impressive.
It is only impressive to iMac iFans. In otherwords those that deny the iMacs real limitations.
Quote:
You can buy a Thunderbolt to fibre-channel adaptor.
Why would any rational person want such a device? Seriously it just adds to desktop clutter, adds more expensive cables subject to faults and is otherwise of reduced reliability.
Quote:
Ah yeah, there are kits with 16GB dimms. They are quite expensive at $1850 for 128GB, $1400 for 96GB but the prices will drop over time. Again though, this is only meaningful for people who need more than 32GB of RAM. How many people are we talking about here? Plus, Ivy Bridge iMacs might support 16GB dimms.

RAM is an interesting thing here. You have a very wide range of users that must be accommodated. As such and Mac Pro replacement must take into account a wide range of uses. Ideally these boxes should support as much RAM as intel hardware allows. The real issue here is that Apples base configurations are so stingy with RAM almost all users need an upgrade. The Mac Pro or it's replacement, ought to start out with a base configuration of 8GB, which in reality isn't a lot of RAM these days.

In any event what I'm looking for from Apple, with the coming product releases, is that they debut machines that look forward and not backward. I really don't care if we are talking about the iMac, Mini or Pro, they need to put as much innovation into these machines as goes into the laptops.
post #176 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Which model of Mac Pro are you planning on buying?

 

I'm in the market for the fastest Mac Pro they come out with.  But it has to be on par with the competing PCs.  Fastest duel 8 core xeon processors available.  I'm looking to spend between $8-$10k.

post #177 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragit View Post

Can someone please help me connect my $10,000 SAS Raid array to an iMac? Or should I just throw out any gear that isn't supported by "thunderbolt"?

 

You mean like this?  Thank you drive thru.  http://attotech.com/products/product.php?scat=31&sku=TLSH-1068-D00

post #178 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 
Not really, OpenCL on a GPU is only valuable for the problem sets that map nicely onto today's GPUs. Even though it is called General Purpose Computing on a GPU does not actually mean that a GPU can run all threads effectively.

For the tasks that do use it effectively though like video applications, the gains should be very significant. It will become more obvious when GPUs get to share memory with the CPU, which is coming with the new GPUs.
Quote:
Why would any rational person want such a device? Seriously it just adds to desktop clutter, adds more expensive cables subject to faults and is otherwise of reduced reliability.

The guy blew $10k on a giant SAS RAID array, I doubt desktop clutter is an issue. It can go on the floor if you like, it's only an adaptor box:

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

The question is not about how elegant the solution is but rather could Apple even discontinue the Mac Pro without abandoning lots of users. The answer is yes as there are solutions for everything now over Thunderbolt.

Whether people like it or not, laptops now make up the vast majority of computer sales. People don't want towers any more and the majority will dictate how we connect high speed peripherals.
Quote:
RAM is an interesting thing here. You have a very wide range of users that must be accommodated. As such and Mac Pro replacement must take into account a wide range of uses.

It depends, the supported range of users is debatable. The Mac Pro already doesn't cover every usage scenario. I doubt it matters if they support more than 32GB in their future machines. As I say, the iMac may support 16GB DIMMs at some point allowing 64GB. When we get ReRAM, we get unlimited RAM anyway.

It's not good enough to look at this year's machines to tell what's going to happen, look at what the Mini and iMac will be in 2, 5, 10 years time and compare them with what we can already do. Somewhere in that time frame the Mac Pro becomes worthless.

It doesn't matter if it gets 100 processors, at best it will be 3x faster than the iMac and it won't be because the thermal densities of the chips due to the smaller fabs are dictating lower voltages so smaller form factors have to become the norm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix 
I'm in the market for the fastest Mac Pro they come out with. But it has to be on par with the competing PCs. Fastest duel 8 core xeon processors available. I'm looking to spend between $8-$10k.

Well that's not going to happen so you may as well buy a PC. Apple doesn't use the fastest Xeons, they always top out around $1400 per chip.
post #179 of 203

I too would like to see an update to the Mac Pro line sometime soon. Unfortunately an iMac just won't cut it for my work either...
I am exited about the possibilities of Thunderbolt, for mobile work in the field, or in addition to the expansion options of a Mac Pro. But Thunderbolt in its current revision seems to be just not there yet (from what I understand)?
The biggest limitation for me right now being GPUs, they seem to be completely unsupported by Mac OS X, hopefully something Apple would like to fix in the future, but one of the deal breakers.

post #180 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


The guy blew $10k on a giant SAS RAID array, I doubt desktop clutter is an issue. It can go on the floor if you like, it's only an adaptor box:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geNSLqRjoGw
The question is not about how elegant the solution is but rather could Apple even discontinue the Mac Pro without abandoning lots of users. The answer is yes as there are solutions for everything now over Thunderbolt.
Whether people like it or not, laptops now make up the vast majority of computer sales. People don't want towers any more and the majority will dictate how we connect high speed peripherals.
.

Arrr.. Marvin. I think you just like gadgets, not that there's anything wrong with that. If they do cancel  the mac pro, it'll be several years before we see the real impact. If people own them for work, upgrades are often dictated by when the new thing can do something that wasn't feasible on the old one. The idea that 10% more computing power results in a 10% gain in efficiency is just an old myth.

post #181 of 203

No they don't not when you need pcie slots to run advance accelerators cards or dsp's cards systems.
 

post #182 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The idea that 10% more computing power results in a 10% gain in efficiency is just an old myth.

The misconception is that there is a set 1:1 ratio between performance and productivity. While the average user will not gain any additional benefit from a much faster machine there are certainly plenty of scenarios where a faster machine could increase productivity well beyond the percentage of performance gain over their previous system. I hope that all that are wanting a new Mac Pro would fall into this camp.

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post #183 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel Chayer View Post

No they don't not when you need pcie slots to run advance accelerators cards or dsp's cards systems.
 


Except there are external solutions for that.  Next.

post #184 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


The misconception is that there is a set 1:1 ratio between performance and productivity. While the average user will not gain any additional benefit from a much faster machine there are certainly plenty of scenarios where a faster machine could increase productivity well beyond the percentage of performance gain over their previous system. I hope that all that are wanting a new Mac Pro would fall into this camp.

I think it's a little divided. Overall it's also normal not to wish to buy on what seems like the end of a cycle missing out on potentially updated features including optimizations for gpu computation and an extended support life. Something I've tried to explain when the complaint comes up that mac pro users don't necessarily upgrade all the time is that the upgrade needs to address newer problems or improve efficiency, not just look faster on paper. Either computing needs have grown via larger files or software updates, or the prior machine had performance compromises that can be alleviated by the new one. I think you're 100% aware what I mean here :P (I miss working emoticons). Also I agree with your point. If it makes the difference between choking slightly and nice smooth performance, that can be a great improvement in efficiency.

 

I've become a little snappy on the topic, because it gets annoying reading cases for a mac pro cancellation that are full of factual problems. Imac should get a 6 core. Good luck with that given that Sandy Bridge E is 130W and Ivy Bridge E is next year. Thunderbolt could make a supercomputer out of mac minis. Yes... a port type with no switch system that is limited to 7 devices chained by a serial PCI bridge connection. No one should need more than an imac. 16GB of ram is overkill. 

 

I should photoshop a fake degree in "armchair engineering" just to post as a response to some of these concepts (hehe). 

post #185 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post


Except there are external solutions for that.  Next.

 

 

At what cost, most of those will cost as much as a mac pro (if we're talking of magma chassis with enough pcie slots).  Thunderbolt is still not as fast as pcie 2 imagine now.. pcie 3 mobos are coming out on the market. You want to pass video and mass audio.. we're not talking of a stereo track here, but we in the audio fields work with hundreds of tracks at the same time at either 44.1, 48, 88.1 96 and some of us even at 192khz sampling and 32 bit depth and you want to tell us that something that isn't as powerful than the current pcie 2 will benefit us? come on, stop kidding yourself.
 

It's all good and dandy to have 10Gbps (gigabits per second) each way, but even a pcie 2 16x can easily out perform this (500MBytes seacond each way = roughly 1 GigaBytes per lane) vs thunderbolts which is Gigabits only equals to 1280MegaBytes so only 1.25 GigaBytes each ways total. Pcie 2 is roughly 16 times more powerful, and you want to tell me that thunderbolt will be able to handle what can be thrown at it in the professional video and audio industry? Why settle for less? Sure thunderbolt can have a good usage in the consumers world, but in the professional world, it won't hold up.


Edited by Emmanuel Chayer - 5/31/12 at 11:42pm
post #186 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


The question is not about how elegant the solution is but rather could Apple even discontinue the Mac Pro without abandoning lots of users. The answer is yes as there are solutions for everything now over Thunderbolt.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel Chayer View Post

No they don't not when you need pcie slots to run advance accelerators cards or dsp's cards systems.
 


Except there are external solutions for that.  Next.

Except there aren't.

 

That shows how much you both are deconnected. Maybe you should take a walk in the real world from time to time.

The fact that Thunderbolt-to-PCIe enclosures exist doesn't mean there are working solutions for everything.

 

The first step would be to visit the Magma/Thunderbolt page, for the very last info on drivers (for those who don't know, Magma is THE reference in xxxxx-to-PCIe enclosures):

Quote:

Mac: MacOS drivers must be modified to work with Thunderbolt to PCIe Expansion. Driver writers can access the Thunderbolt Device Driver Programming Guide online at Mac OS X Developer Library. Use this list to determine if your PCIe card has a modified driver that supports Thunderbolt features, like Hot-swap and sleep support.

So in reality, there are a dozen drivers working on Mac OS, and another dozen "in development". Not one graphics card driver is listed. If you call that solutions for everything, you're self-deluded.

 

On the other hand:

Quote:

Windows: While most Windows drivers have worked out-of-the-box, be sure to follow the driver guidelines from Intel for optimum performance under Windows.

That hurts even more, since very few PC manufacturers are behind Thunderbolt, but they are very well prepared. In reality, a PC with Thunderbolt is a better alternative to computers with slots than any Mac. And Apple had one year exclusivity. What a shame.

 

The fact is: implementing Thunderbolt is not that simple, another proof of that is the multiple firmware/software updates Apple released for all Macs with Thunderbolt last year, and the slow pace at which Thunderbolt devices have been made available on Mac (since PCs with Thunderbolt are not really available yet). Things taken for granted by some people on this forum, like X-grid over Thunderbolt, are yet to be evaluated, let alone in development.

 

No matter what you think, performance is still an issue. Even if a Thunderbolt controller is connected to the cpu via 4 PCIe 2.0 lanes, the two 10Gb/s channels cannot be aggregated so, in reality, Thunderbolt offers something like two x2 PCIe 2.0 slots. That means that the cards that may work in a Thunderbolt-to-PCIe enclosure would communicate at x2 speed max. no matter if they are x4, x8 or x16 capable. It may be a compromise YOU can make, but many would not. The other thing is that optical Thunderbolt is not faster, it just allows longer cables. Intel plans to speedbump Thunderbolt in 2014/2015, it should also fully support DP 1.2 by then (another weakness of the current version).

 

Then there will still be the cost of things, at $1,000 for a good Thunderbolt-to-PCIe enclosure (Magma ExpressBox 3T), it may make many stop and think.

 

Keeping the MP or not in the line-up is not a question of elegance, number of users that would be pissed off or contribution to the bottom line, it's about image. Does Apple still want to be that company that brings so much to many high-end markets (high education, science and technology, creative, video and music industries,...) or not? 

 

With the consumer desktop Core i7 topping at QC 3.5GHz and $332, and the Xeon E5-1600 starting at QC 3.6GHz and $294, a MP with that cpu and a few improvements would be much more attractive than the previous Nehalem models (compared to the high-end iMac). IMO, Apple blew it with the Nehalem MP models from the start, too expensive, not enough improvements, no updates even if faster cpus/gpus were available last year (at least for certain models). If they are not happy with the state of the MP, it's entirely their fault, but they can easily and quickly change that with Sandy Bridge Xeon models.

 

Next.

post #187 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel Chayer 
It's all good and dandy to have 10Gbps (gigabits per second) each way, but even a pcie 2 16x can easily out perform this. Pcie 2 is roughly 16 times more powerful, and you want to tell me that thunderbolt will be able to handle what can be thrown at it in the professional video and audio industry? Why settle for less? Sure thunderbolt can have a good usage in the consumers world, but in the professional world, it won't hold up.

You mean using audio cards that need a single PCI lane (2.5Gbps) like this one that works in the Thunderbolt box:

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_hdspe_aes.php

or this x1 $5000+ DSP card:

http://www.uaudio.com/uad-plug-ins/pcie/uad-2-quad-omni-6.html

People just assume that because the slots are there and are a certain speed that someone must be using that speed. Data IO isn't high bandwidth as it depends on the source and destination read/write. Real-time graphics is high bandwidth but you can get away with a single high-end card in an x16 slot and many display outputs and they still work ok in x4 slots.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix 
The fact that Thunderbolt-to-PCIe enclosures exist doesn't mean there are working solutions for everything.

There are compatible solutions for eveything you need to use PCI for. The driver issue probably has something to do with the fact that Thunderbolt is supposed to be plug and play. Windows doesn't have plug and play support yet - you have to have Thunderbolt peripherals plugged in at boot time.

Plug and play is a big advantage of Thunderbolt over PCIe slots. Musicians can take a laptop somewhere and plug it in without rebooting. Unplug and they have everything there to edit on the go.

Some peripherals are expensive. The Sonnet PCI box is cheaper despite the cheap one only having 1 PCI slot but people aren't questioning the $4000 price tag on a capture card. The ideal is not that you'd use an external PCI slot, the ideal is that manufacturers put a Thunderbolt port on their products, the PCI box is a backup.

It will be hard for some to accept but the potential Thunderbolt market size is much bigger than the workstation market. It won't happen overnight but now that some PC manufacturers are getting on board, it will get things moving a bit faster. Manufacturers can make nice products instead of raw boards.

The tech is only about 15 months old. This always happens with new developments. People who want to stick to the old ways try and put it down. It's not just that it's inadequate, people just don't want to face the prospect of towers going away so attempt to pick out essential items that mean it can never happen. PCI slots were developed to give people fast enough expansion on the widest selling machines - demand + volume = profit. Desktop towers are no longer the widest selling machines by a long way and the people who need PCI cards much less than that. The demand + volume is now in the mobile sector and that is the domain of Thunderbolt, that is something people are going to have to come to terms with.

300
post #188 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel Chayer View Post

It's all good and dandy to have 10Gbps (gigabits per second) each way, but even a pcie 2 16x can easily out perform this (500MBytes seacond each way = roughly 1 GigaBytes per lane) vs thunderbolts which is Gigabits only equals to 1280MegaBytes so only 1.25 GigaBytes each ways total. Pcie 2 is roughly 16 times more powerful, and you want to tell me that thunderbolt will be able to handle what can be thrown at it in the professional video and audio industry? Why settle for less? Sure thunderbolt can have a good usage in the consumers world, but in the professional world, it won't hold up.

You lost me. Are you under the impression that notebooks — the most commonly selling machine and by a large margin — have PCIe slots in them, or are you suggesting that by including Thunderbolt that PCIe in desktop PCs will have to be removed? You also seem to be suggesting that professionals don't use notebooks... ever!

From what I can see there are no downsides to this technology existing. It's like you that a USB flash drive sucks because a internal 3.5" HDD could hold a lot more data and is much cheaper per GB. Surely you see there are reasons why a USB flash drive would have a very real utility.

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post #189 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There are compatible solutions for eveything you need to use PCI for. The driver issue probably has something to do with the fact that Thunderbolt is supposed to be plug and play. Windows doesn't have plug and play support yet - you have to have Thunderbolt peripherals plugged in at boot time.
 

But there isn't any solution for external GPUs yet it seems? The Magma guys themselves have previously said that the problem is at the OS level regarding Macs and Thunderbolt, and they don't see Apple fixing it in the too near future...
So, no option for CUDA GPUs, or any additional GPU for that matter.

Also for me, it seems that RAID controllers will be an issue. I know that the Magma guys are working to get a compatible driver for the ATTO R680 working, which will be great.
But whenever I've had to run controllers from a 4X slot, the decrease in speed / performance has been quite noticeable.
From what I've read, running a RAID controller over Thunderbolt will be similar?

Not trying to be the complaining minority, I'm definitely excited about new innovations. But I am concerned about how my work gets done  ^_^;

post #190 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akabane-local 
But there isn't any solution for external GPUs yet it seems? The Magma guys themselves have previously said that the problem is at the OS level regarding Macs and Thunderbolt, and they don't see Apple fixing it in the too near future...

So, no option for CUDA GPUs, or any additional GPU for that matter.

The Mac needs specific drivers as well as EFI GPUs. If you plug a 7970 into a Mac Pro, you can't use it on the Mac side either:

http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=45671&sid=678afd2fbd8e65a9d073d2ff554feee4&start=30

nVidia and AMD could offer Thunderbolt solutions if they wanted to (knowing their history with Intel, they probably won't though) or maybe someone can hack the drivers of currently supported cards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akabane-local 
Also for me, it seems that RAID controllers will be an issue. I know that the Magma guys are working to get a compatible driver for the ATTO R680 working, which will be great.

But whenever I've had to run controllers from a 4X slot, the decrease in speed / performance has been quite noticeable.

From what I've read, running a RAID controller over Thunderbolt will be similar?

Not trying to be the complaining minority, I'm definitely excited about new innovations. But I am concerned about how my work gets done  ^_^;

Would you really use a Thunderbolt RAID controller externally in that case? You'd surely connect Thunderbolt to something like fibre-channel and connect it to a server or storage that had internal hardware RAID. This is server tech and is not primarily Apple's domain any more.
post #191 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There are compatible solutions for eveything you need to use PCI for.

You're full of it, Marvin. Now that "solutions for everything" doesn't work, you're adding "compatible" to your shit.

 

And you're using examples you know nothing about. The UAD-2 Quad only costs $1500, the $5000 price tag is for the bundle of plug-ins included.

 

And again, it's not because a couple of audio cards and one DSP card work in a Thunderbolt environment that the pro audio market is covered. 

 

At least you're adding also some "probably" in your sentences, but at the same time you go on a psycheledic journey about plug-and play which has nothing to do with the subject: plug-and-play or not, today, there aren't solutions for eveything over Thunderbolt. There are not a lot of Thunderbolt devices, and the Thunderbolt-to-PCIe enclosures are far from offering a working solution for existing PCIe cards. 

 

 

Quote:
Unplug and they have everything there to edit on the go.

You can't really make good edits on the go. Unplug and you've lost your (high-end) audio converter (relying solely on the Mac's poor quality audio chip), and you've lost your DSP plug-ins, bypassing lots of the processing you've been using (and bought the cards for) and you're listening to the tracks mostly dry. You can't make good edits if you're not listening to the real content, to the tracks the way you recorded them.

 

Quote:
Real-time graphics is high bandwidth but you can get away with a single high-end card in an x16 slot and many display outputs and they still work ok in x4 slots.

That's true, but it would be nice if Thunderbolt offered x4 speeds. It doesn't.

 

Quote:
It won't happen overnight

Now, see, you can be serious at times. So instead of saying that there are solutions for eveything today, you could have said: someday there will be solutions for eveything with Thunderbolt. We may have believed you.

 

 

Quote:
People who want to stick to the old ways try and put it down. 

You really don't know me. I've been a huge fan of Thunderbolt since the early days, and I've been proactive in the domain for devices like the thunderbolt version of Universal Audio's Apollo Interface/DSP combo box. That's the kind of improvement that Thunderbolt can offer in the midrange, smaller suites. That doesn't beat a Mac Pro with the number of I/O's and/or DSP cards you need, all working at full speed, but it's a good, compact and (relatively) inexpensive solution.

 

But I'm not a huge fan of your speculations, that's for sure.

 

Quote:
The demand + volume is now in the mobile sector and that is the domain of Thunderbolt,

Wow. Even Intel didn't know that! The domain of Thunderbolt is the mobile sector! You're confusing consumer (and even adding the prosumer) market with the professional market. Nobody in is right mind will use a laptop and a bunch of external boxes in a recording studio (or any professional setting) when a Mac Pro offers a more powerful, elegant, reliable solution. Not everything makes sense/needs to be mobile/portable. Would your first choice for a data server be a laptop?

 

In any case, my impression was that demand + volume was in the smartphone and tablet sector.

 

Quote:
Desktop towers are no longer the widest selling machines by a long way 

Really? What does that have to do with the subject? Even if you're right about the desktop towers, that doesn't make the Thunderbolt-to-PCIe enclosures better, have more/reliable drivers for PCIe cards or offer solutions for everything in a Mac environment.

 

 

Quote:
maybe someone can hack the drivers of currently supported cards

So that's your solution: hacking the drivers... how professional.

 

127807469111430x433.jpg

post #192 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Mac needs specific drivers as well as EFI GPUs. If you plug a 7970 into a Mac Pro, you can't use it on the Mac side either:
http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=45671&sid=678afd2fbd8e65a9d073d2ff554feee4&start=30
nVidia and AMD could offer Thunderbolt solutions if they wanted to (knowing their history with Intel, they probably won't though) or maybe someone can hack the drivers of currently supported cards.

 

No this isn't about EFI or driver issues, apparently if you try to use any GPU, 100% supported by Apple, in a Thunderbolt to PCIe enclosure it will not work.
The Magma guys themselves stated on their website a couple of months ago that problem is at the OS level and no amount of driver hacking etc. will make the system recognise the card.
Maybe Apple will fix this, but no signs so far...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Would you really use a Thunderbolt RAID controller externally in that case? You'd surely connect Thunderbolt to something like fibre-channel and connect it to a server or storage that had internal hardware RAID. This is server tech and is not primarily Apple's domain any more.


I guess that answers my question, no you wouldn't use a RAID controller in one of those Thunderbolt cases...
But I'm not referring to shared storage, but fast RAID storage for one workstation with a dedicated controller, again there doesn't seem to be a solution available?


I'm not trying to find faults in Thunderbolt solutions out there to be some kind of die hard 'pro' user clinging to what some may see as old technology.
I'm trying to imagine what would happen if the Mac Pro was EOL'd tomorrow and the iMac was the only Apple alternative for my work, so far it doesn't look too good...

post #193 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


The Mac needs specific drivers as well as EFI GPUs. If you plug a 7970 into a Mac Pro, you can't use it on the Mac side either:
http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=45671&sid=678afd2fbd8e65a9d073d2ff554feee4&start=30
nVidia and AMD could offer Thunderbolt solutions if they wanted to (knowing their history with Intel, they probably won't though) or maybe someone can hack the drivers of currently supported cards.
 

 

I've never been a fan of hacked drivers. I kind of wonder if there's really a market for them. Will they sell on Windows? If not you're unlikely to see it go anywhere on OSX where we've always lived with limited card options. It's just that previously fewer things were  gpu reliant. Overall turning a laptop more and more into a crippled device when it isn't docked makes little sense to me. At some point it becomes more practical to own an Air + beefier machine if the enclosure + card cost too much. Another thing is that thunderbolt is slower than a x16 connection. We're migrating toward PCIe 3.0 at this point with 16 lanes allocated to a gpu. This doesn't mean they will be fully saturated. It's just that if it could benefit past 8, 16 is the next step. Considering the moderate choke factor and that I have yet to see an external chassis higher than 150W, you're not going to see anything incredible in terms of price to performance ratio. Even the chassis is expendable. If thunderbolt speeds increase, you will require a new chassis. The transition toward quasi fiber cables this year is more about alleviating length restrictions than overall speed.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Would you really use a Thunderbolt RAID controller externally in that case? You'd surely connect Thunderbolt to something like fibre-channel and connect it to a server or storage that had internal hardware RAID. This is server tech and is not primarily Apple's domain any more.
 

It depends on the goals there. ATTO is a reasonable solution for something like an ROC compatible with a mac pro. It's definitely a better solution than the piece of garbage Apple turned into an option. If they aren't going to do something well, or support it, they should leave such things to third parties rather than offer a cto product that is that bad.

post #194 of 203
"Quad-core mobile Sandy Bridge, 2.5" SSDs and Thunderbolt together have allowed me to use a notebook as my primary work machine. I get all of the portability benefits of a notebook, but with almost none of the performance sacrifices. The only thing I'm really missing is good, external discrete GPU solution but that's a problem being worked on either via Thunderbolt link aggregation or the second revision of the Thunderbolt spec.

[...]

453

There's an impressive amount of engineering that has to go into bringing Thunderbolt support to a motherboard."

• http://www.anandtech.com/show/5884/thunderbolt-on-windows-part-2-intels-dz77rek75-asus-p8z77v-premium

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post #195 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


You mean using audio cards that need a single PCI lane (2.5Gbps) like this one that works in the Thunderbolt box:
http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_hdspe_aes.php
or this x1 $5000+ DSP card:
http://www.uaudio.com/uad-plug-ins/pcie/uad-2-quad-omni-6.html
People just assume that because the slots are there and are a certain speed that someone must be using that speed. Data IO isn't high bandwidth as it depends on the source and destination read/write. Real-time graphics is high bandwidth but you can get away with a single high-end card in an x16 slot and many display outputs and they still work ok in x4 slots.
There are compatible solutions for eveything you need to use PCI for. The driver issue probably has something to do with the fact that Thunderbolt is supposed to be plug and play. Windows doesn't have plug and play support yet - you have to have Thunderbolt peripherals plugged in at boot time.
Plug and play is a big advantage of Thunderbolt over PCIe slots. Musicians can take a laptop somewhere and plug it in without rebooting. Unplug and they have everything there to edit on the go.
Some peripherals are expensive. The Sonnet PCI box is cheaper despite the cheap one only having 1 PCI slot but people aren't questioning the $4000 price tag on a capture card. The ideal is not that you'd use an external PCI slot, the ideal is that manufacturers put a Thunderbolt port on their products, the PCI box is a backup.
It will be hard for some to accept but the potential Thunderbolt market size is much bigger than the workstation market. It won't happen overnight but now that some PC manufacturers are getting on board, it will get things moving a bit faster. Manufacturers can make nice products instead of raw boards.
The tech is only about 15 months old. This always happens with new developments. People who want to stick to the old ways try and put it down. It's not just that it's inadequate, people just don't want to face the prospect of towers going away so attempt to pick out essential items that mean it can never happen. PCI slots were developed to give people fast enough expansion on the widest selling machines - demand + volume = profit. Desktop towers are no longer the widest selling machines by a long way and the people who need PCI cards much less than that. The demand + volume is now in the mobile sector and that is the domain of Thunderbolt, that is something people are going to have to come to terms with.
300

 

 

Marvin. I'd suggest you work as a professional audio engineer for over 15 years like I have, before you start commenting on it. Believe it or not I actually started my career when we were still using analogue tapes, so I've seen the changes and felt the changes. I'm not talking of home studios or project studios here, I've seen projects (movies) that had over 700 tracks of audio alone, not including the music tracks. Those were spread over 4 systems using satellites options (2x HD 6 rigs, and 2x native rigs for a total of 14 pci cards). There's isn't a damn way that your supposed thunderbolt can do it all will be able to accommodate the needs. It's fine for small home studios for musicians and all, but you're forgetting the actual professional studios and post production houses.


Edited by Emmanuel Chayer - 6/3/12 at 2:47pm
post #196 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix 
it's not because a couple of audio cards and one DSP card work in a Thunderbolt environment that the pro audio market is covered. 

There's more than one DSP card in the list but you could say the same about devices that are Windows-exclusive. If the Mac Pro only has a 5770 and a 5870, does that mean it's not suitable for high-end graphics work?

There are Thunderbolt solutions targeting everything you use PCI for. While not all the cards have Thunderbolt counterparts, there are solutions for everything with the exception of GPUs on the Mac side but the iMac GPU is fast anyway so that's still a solution.

You try to make the case that Apple couldn't discontinue the Pro because there wouldn't be workable solutions for every scenario but there clearly are solutions that will be available in the timeframe that such a discontinuation would affect.
Quote:
Wow. Even Intel didn't know that! The domain of Thunderbolt is the mobile sector! You're confusing consumer (and even adding the prosumer) market with the professional market. Nobody in is right mind will use a laptop and a bunch of external boxes in a recording studio (or any professional setting) when a Mac Pro offers a more powerful, elegant, reliable solution. Not everything makes sense/needs to be mobile/portable. Would your first choice for a data server be a laptop?

In any case, my impression was that demand + volume was in the smartphone and tablet sector.

I think you're keeping the professional market unreasonably restricted to what you want the term 'professional' to represent. But hey, don't let these consumers at NAB tell you different:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw_jBQB6FD0

Notice the optical Thunderbolt cable in there too, connected to a Macbook Pro.
Quote:
So that's your solution: hacking the drivers... how professional.

Not necessarily hacking the driver binaries but a way to get them to load. The drivers work without modification on Windows, why should it be any different on the Mac side? It must be to do with how the drivers are being loaded.
Quote:
I've been a huge fan of Thunderbolt since the early days

You say you are behind Thunderbolt but then add 'if only it was better'. If you are truly behind something then you don't try to knock it down at every turn. Your stance is clear, you want the tower and PCI slots and anything else is not for 'professionals'. I think those things will go away soon and professionals will be defined by their work not the size of their box.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akabane-local 
No this isn't about EFI or driver issues, apparently if you try to use any GPU, 100% supported by Apple, in a Thunderbolt to PCIe enclosure it will not work.

The Mac GPU drivers won't work because they don't know how to work over Thunderbolt. Apple develops those but AMD/NVidia could write their own if they wanted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akabane-local 
I guess that answers my question, no you wouldn't use a RAID controller in one of those Thunderbolt cases...
But I'm not referring to shared storage, but fast RAID storage for one workstation with a dedicated controller, again there doesn't seem to be a solution available?

The Pegasus RAID is a solution - you manage the hardware controller from the utility:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4489/promise-pegasus-r6-mac-thunderbolt-review/4

When you say fast storage, you can put 2x Samsung 830s in a Mini and it will be faster than most hardware RAID drives:

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

Sure if you need 12TB of fast storage, you go for the Pegasus but it won't be much faster as platter drives are inherently slow and you're not going to put 8 platter drives in RAID0.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel Chayer 
I've seen projects (movies) that had over 700 tracks of audio alone not including the music tracks. Those were spread over 4 systems using satellites options (2x HD 6 rigs, and 2x native rigs for a total of 16 pci cards). There's isn't a damn way that your supposed thunderbolt can do it all will be able to accommodate the needs. It's fine for small home studios for musicians and all, but you're forgetting the actual professional studios and post production houses.

If you're hooking up multiple machines, you can hook up multiple Thunderbolt options too like iMacs, Minis or Macbook Pros:

http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=323050

iMacs have two Thunderbolt ports so two HDX each with say 100 tracks per box so 4 iMacs hooked up over ethernet. More maybe or less if you aren't bandwidth-limited and put 3 cards per Magma box? I don't see how it's an impossible usage scenario.

My preferred solution for the Pro is not discontinuation but a smaller box with 6x Thunderbolt ports (obviously one used for the display, possibly chained) and you would be able to connect loads of dedicated hardware to a single machine, in a standard Pro, you get 3 slots free. Although they are higher bandwidth, if you need the cards for processing, you get more with the TB ports.
post #197 of 203

Marvin, you're obviously very bright and resourceful, but some real world professional experience would do you wonders.  

post #198 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

Marvin, you're obviously very bright and resourceful

I stopped reading after this. : D

Seriously though, what do you all want to see from Apple in an update? Out of the following:

- dual Xeon options
- 8 RAM slots
- 4 PCIe 3 slots
- USB 3
- FW800
- dual-ethernet
- 5.25" drive bay
- 4 HDD bays
- Thunderbolt ports (how many?)
- desktop 7970 or GTX 680 GPU
- same chassis/new chassis?

The way I see it is the 5.25" bay wastes a lot of space and it costs money to put in there.

The dual-processors obviously offer the best performance so barring some other way of connecting machines up, it would make sense to offer the DP models and that gives the 8 RAM slots.

I'm not sure if Sandy Bridge Mac Pros will support USB 3 but I imagine they could somehow and it's certainly in their best interests to support it.

3rd party manufacturers seem to be putting Thunderbolt on desktop motherboards alongside PCI slots but it's not clear how they are connecting up to GPUs. A poster on the following forum says Apple does it the following way:

"For anyone who cares, Apple routes video signal from the dedicated card then through the port by copying the entirely processed video signal from the dedicated GPU's framebuffer into the integrated framebuffer, which dispatches the signal through the thunderbolt IC and out to the port. Early models of Macs with hybrid graphics used muxer chips that physically switched the port's wirings from one GPU to the other."

http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=277&t=61290&start=10

This suggests there's some driver-level manipulation to get video out through the Thunderbolt port. While it would allow GPUs to have outwardly facing ports, it means that if you used another card where the drivers don't have this functionality, it would break display output on your Thunderbolt ports. Also, it's not obvious how the system knows which GPU to use for which Thunderbolt port in a multi-GPU system.

The simpler option is the iMac design where only Thunderbolt ports go on the outside. I personally think this is the best way to go in which case, PCI slots are gone for anything but the single GPU. Some will then say that makes the Pro worthless but I think the switch has to come eventually. You can see how small the Boxx RenderPro is without PCI slots and it takes a dual Xeon. The equivalent Mac Pro would be a bit bigger with drives and GPU but not by much.

There's been a leaked photo of some MBP specs (I think dual-core Ivy Bridge arrived today) so we may see the store go down tomorrow. Worst case, it will be WWDC but they've done hardware releases before WWDC in the past.
post #199 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



The simpler option is the iMac design where only Thunderbolt ports go on the outside. I personally think this is the best way to go in which case, PCI slots are gone for anything but the single GPU. Some will then say that makes the Pro worthless but I think the switch has to come eventually. You can see how small the Boxx RenderPro is without PCI slots and it takes a dual Xeon. The equivalent Mac Pro would be a bit bigger with drives and GPU but not by much.
There's been a leaked photo of some MBP specs (I think dual-core Ivy Bridge arrived today) so we may see the store go down tomorrow. Worst case, it will be WWDC but they've done hardware releases before WWDC in the past.

 

I like reading your posts too, even if we disagree on quite a lot. I think you would need much more from thunderbolt to ditch PCI on that machine. External PCI solutions aren't so great presently, and thunderbolt chips take up a significant amount of logic board space, yet you can only get a maximum of two ports from one chip assuming the regular ones are used. Those Boxx units lack graphics cards too, and I don't see integrated graphics being a viable option for a mac pro successor without real OpenCL/OpenGL performance. In the case of the imac, they have a lot of surface area, and they actually use a fairly expensive gpu relative to its performance. Workstation pricing has gone a little crazy at comparable levels of configuration over the past few year, and I find that a little annoying. The nice thing with the big towers is that you can pretty much always make something work. Even if you need many many ports, displays, storage, dongle keys, etc. you can make it work. With many of Apple's solutions, it can be much more difficult. Ideally I'd like to just make it a laptop upgrade year if Sandy Bridge E mac pros aren't too impressive in performance gains, but I don't know if that will work out.

 

By the way, one of those shipping slips from the supposed leak would be easy to fake. You could create one, print it, and photograph it with a camera phone in a few minutes. This would be an easy way to make something convincing in appearance. It's also not difficult to make convincing specs. I don't think that photo really means much either way.

post #200 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

The real question is just how many people like that are there? How many sales would Apple lose if they killed off the Mac Pro? Apple knows how many Mac Pros it sells each year and any decision is going to be based on this, not on comments on the Internet.

Apple also knows how much money the Mac Pro makes them... and as long as it's not losing money... I don't see why they would kill the Mac Pro. They still have customers.

If Apple does kill the Mac Pro... all those customers will run into the arms of HP or Dell.

Yeah... that's right... there are other companies who still make workstation-class machines.

HP makes the Z-series workstations... Dell makes the Precision and Optiplex workstations... and other companies like Boxx do too.

If it comes down to money... I bet the Mac Pro still turns a profit... albeit not as big a percentage as the iPhone and iPad. But that shouldn't matter. A profitable product is a profitable product... no matter the volume.

I bet Dell doesn't sell nearly as many Precision workstations as they do Inspiron laptops... yet they still offer those high-end machines. What's their secret?

Besides... wouldn't Apple's own software engineers prefer using a 12-core Mac Pro? Or are they gonna be happy moving from a 12-core workstation down to a quad-core iMac?
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