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New Mac Pros rumored with 8-core Xeon E5 CPUs, Thunderbolt & USB 3.0

post #1 of 197
Thread Starter 
Apple's anticipated Mac Pro update will feature Intel Xeon E5 series processors with either six or eight cores, as well as native support for USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt.

The new Mac Pro desktop tower has been given a codename of K5B, according to MIC Gadget. It will also reportedly feature 1600MHz memory with 8 channels, SATA III/SAS 6-gigabyte-per-second drive connectivity, and PCI-Express 3 native support for video cards.

Intel's new Xeon E5 workstation-class chips first hit the market in early March. They are based on the Sandy Bridge micro-architecture that first found its way into the remainder of Apple's Mac lineup last year.

This year, Apple's MacBook Pros, MacBooks Airs, iMacs and Mac minis are expected to be upgraded to Intel's latest-generation Ivy Bridge processors. But the Mac Pro won't be getting Ivy Bridge processors with this update because those chips "handle voltage far worse than their 32nm Sandy Bridge brethren," according to the report.

The new SATA III/SAS native connectivity is expected to be a major boost for speedy solid-state drives, while native PCI-Express 3 support with 40 lanes per socket will enhance RAID arrays and video cards. The onboard memory controller has also reportedly been moved to the CPU itself, which will allegedly result in a "massive leap" in performance.

Mac Pro


And along with standard USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt support, memory is said to be likely to see an upgrade to 1600MHz, an improvement from the 1333MHz memory in Apple's previous-generation Mac Pros. The new desktops are also expected to have 8 physical memory lanes, allowing for 25 percent more memory.

AppleInsider on Wednesday was first to reveal part numbers for Apple's considerable Mac refresh expected to be announced at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference. Among the more than a dozen new Mac models were three Mac Pro configurations with the name K5B.

Also expected to receive updates next week are the 15-inch MacBook Pro, 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air, 21.5- and the 27-inch iMac. Refreshes to the remainder of the MacBook Pro lineup, as well as the Mac mini, are expected to come later in the year.
post #2 of 197

Seem reasonable to me. I am really waiting for this upgrade.

post #3 of 197

Would be cool to see a slight case redesign, but I likely doubt it. Either way, the current design still works. Just wish it was lighter. I remember my old G5 tower, man that was a beast to lug around.

post #4 of 197
One little nit to pick with the report. The Mac Pro won't get Ivy Bridge chips because Intel doesn't yet make Ivy Bridge Xeons. They are now Sandy Bridge. That's a step up.

The Ivy Bridge chips are for desktops, not for workstations. They don't allow for more than one socket, and have much more limited memory bandwidth. I'm also sure that they won't allow for the largest DIMM's that will come out in the next few years.
post #5 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post

Would be cool to see a slight case redesign, but I likely doubt it. Either way, the current design still works. Just wish it was lighter. I remember my old G5 tower, man that was a beast to lug around.

I'd like to see a new design as well but I do respect the oft repeated Apple exec comment that they only change something if they can make it better.

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post #6 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post

Would be cool to see a slight case redesign, but I likely doubt it. Either way, the current design still works. Just wish it was lighter. I remember my old G5 tower, man that was a beast to lug around.

I love they way my Mac Pro is built. It's a professional grade workstation. It should be solid and heavy.
post #7 of 197

"...SATA III/SAS 6-gigabyte-per-second drive connectivity..."

 

That's what I have been waiting for ..... my checkbook is open and ready ....

 

 

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post #8 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'd like to see a new design as well but I do respect the oft repeated Apple exec comment that they only change something if they can make it better.

Since this isn't a consumer machine, which requires new external "looks" every couple of years or so, it's designed for best performance. The external case has allowed for several major internal upgrades over the years. The case is designed for maximum airflow as are other workstation and server cases. I can't think of a real need for a redesign of the shell, which is what most people are think about when they talk about a "case redesign".
post #9 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

 

And along with standard USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt support, memory is said to be likely to see an upgrade to 1600mHz, an improvement from the 1333mHz memory in Apple's previous-generation Mac Pros.

If you are referring to "megahertz", please use the correct acronym MHz. A lower case "m" indicates "milli", or 1/1000

post #10 of 197

These will be the fastest Mac Pros ever.

post #11 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


I love they way my Mac Pro is built. It's a professional grade workstation. It should be solid and heavy.

Yeah, my old Mac Pros just keep working and working; 24/7/365 year after year. No problems with heat (Flash) either - unlike iMacs and MacBooks that overheat and sometimes shut themselves off when the going gets too hot (yes, I keep them clean and employ extra fans and cooling, but they still fail now and then).

 

Will definitely get new Pros when I need the power and Mountain Lion (seems older Pros won't run ML).

post #12 of 197

I can give you one really good reason for a case redesign.  To make it rack mountable in a reasonable space.  Apple no longer offers a product that can act as an MDC for Xsan out of the box that any legitimate administrator is going to put in a server room.  Getting it to something that will fit in a 2U or 3U space in a rack opens up a number of possibilities.  If they work with VMWare on the project and bring ESXi to the MacPro it could be offered as a possible replacement for the XServe and allow OS X virtualization in more environments...

post #13 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


I love they way my Mac Pro is built. It's a professional grade workstation. It should be solid and heavy.

I agree.  A workstation class machine needs to have that macho factor to it.  If you can't lift it, you don't need it.

 
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post #14 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcartesius View Post

Will definitely get new Pros when I need the power and Mountain Lion (seems older Pros won't run ML).

 

My Pro is over 4 years old and it runs ML.

 
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post #15 of 197

With the usb 3.0 Sandy Bridge doesn't natively support it. I'm guessing they are putting in a usb 3.0 controller. Now that make me wonder why apple didn't support usb 3.0 in the Macbooks earlier. I'm glad apple is finally understanding that people want these thing and make bias towards their purchase when things that are so simple not available  Either way this Mac Pro is probably going to be the last Workstation apple makes. 

 

 

It's sad that Apple has gone basically all mobile and mobile component devices. Apple really has nothing to loose other than expanding their customer base.  I'd argue this is better time than ever for Apple to offer more high end products with people ditching Dells and HP's. It also would be nice for Apple to do like Dell and have a Performance segment i.e. Alien-Ware and cater to Gamers and Professionals. I doubt they'd ever will but they sure have the money and the right infrastructure to do such amazing things.

post #16 of 197

Finally.  My old towers are getting very, very tired.  Now, where did I put that big pile of cash?

post #17 of 197

I'm a 67 year old developer.  I suspect this may be my "LAST COMPUTER!"

post #18 of 197
Quote:
The new desktops are also expected to have 8 physical memory lanes, allowing for 25 percent more memory.

 

Looks like the current MP is limited to 48 or 96 megs of usable ram.  I assume the next gen being quad channel will up that to 64 and 128?  Does that mean still just four ram slots on the base model or eight slots on all machines?  Four slots on a $2400 machine always seemed dumb to me.

post #19 of 197

The main problem with the current models is the I/O speed. SSDs really outdated SATA2 quickly. The Xeons are still pretty good.

post #20 of 197

There are so many rumours about this now that it must, surely, be true? I really hope it is. I've got a Mac Pro 1,1 that has given me over 5 years faithful service. Time for an upgrade, though, as it's starting to creak along a bit these days with what I'm asking it to do.

 

Not bothered about a case redesign. It does the job very well and still looks great. Would like SSD, though, although I hope Apple charge less than they do now for it as a build to order option. You can buy your own for less than a third of the price?! Crazy. Would be easier all round if it was just standard as part of the build.

 

Anyway, my hopes for this are now sky high and I have my credit card set to stun in readiness. Please, please, PLEASE make this true!!!

 

(By the way, I spelt "rumours" correctly for me - I'm in the UK ) 

post #21 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


I love they way my Mac Pro is built. It's a professional grade workstation. It should be solid and heavy.

I threw my back out recently lugging it around.  It is NOT light.

post #22 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by go4d1 View Post

I'm a 67 year old developer.  I suspect this may be my "LAST COMPUTER!"

If you're in the US, you may have to keep working as it appears they want to raise the retirement age. Soon you won't get to retire until you die.

 

Can't wait for the new MacPro! I'd love to see the benchmarks for it before I order, but I imagine there could be a backlog of orders if I do. The ole MacPro 1,1 is still chugging along, but it's showing its age.

post #23 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post
If you're in the US, you may have to keep working as it appears they want to raise the retirement age. Soon you won't get to retire until you die.

 

Don't bring political stuff into a thread not in PO, please.

 

Who here thinks that the Thunderbolt ports will only be serving graphics from an Intel 4000 built onto the logic board and the ports on the Radeon 78xx cards will just be Mini DisplayPort?

post #24 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmxing85 View Post

With the usb 3.0 Sandy Bridge doesn't natively support it. I'm guessing they are putting in a usb 3.0 controller. Now that make me wonder why apple didn't support usb 3.0 in the Macbooks earlier. I'm glad apple is finally understanding that people want these thing and make bias towards their purchase when things that are so simple not available  Either way this Mac Pro is probably going to be the last Workstation apple makes. 

 

 

It's sad that Apple has gone basically all mobile and mobile component devices. Apple really has nothing to loose other than expanding their customer base.  I'd argue this is better time than ever for Apple to offer more high end products with people ditching Dells and HP's. It also would be nice for Apple to do like Dell and have a Performance segment i.e. Alien-Ware and cater to Gamers and Professionals. I doubt they'd ever will but they sure have the money and the right infrastructure to do such amazing things.

 

USB 3.0 up until Ivy Bridge required a separate controller which raised the price of any computer it was implemented in.  Since Apple had already made a commitment to including Thunderbolt (which probably wasn't cheap to implement), I suspect that USB 3.0 took a back seat to that feature need.  I'm also sure that Apple wanted Thunderbolt to get a decent headstart without having to compete with USB 3.0.  In some ways it mirrors Apple's moves back in the last 90's.  Although Apple was one of the earliest adopters of USB 1.x in the original iMac, USB 2.0 was not adopted until after a year it had shown up in PCs.  Instead, Firewire 400 (which Apple had developed all the way back in the early 90s) made it's debut in B&W Powermac towers, aluminum Powerbooks and eventually the iMac.

post #25 of 197

Sounds a LOT better than my first workstation:

http://lowendmac.com/ii/macintosh-iicx.html

 

Should probably upgrade.

post #26 of 197

I still think they would do well to make a mini-pro model. Sure, laptops have increased in power, but I think a scaled down version of the Pro would be good. It would be in a smaller case, have iMac power but with greater flexibility/upgradeability. I think just 2 HD slots, allowing one SSD. If they could hit an $1100 starting price point - or even $999, they would do real well. 

post #27 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Who here thinks that the Thunderbolt ports will only be serving graphics from an Intel 4000 built onto the logic board and the ports on the Radeon 78xx cards will just be Mini DisplayPort?

Good question. The Radeon (assuming that's what it will be due to the better compute) is plugged in to the PCIe bus, so in theory it should be able to pass those signals through, creating a full Thunderbolt port. But it would need a custom card and who knows if Apple is willing to go that far?

post #28 of 197

Have people seen this?

http://ark.intel.com/products/64590/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-2650-(20M-Cache-2_00-GHz-8_00-GTs-Intel-QPI)

 

8 cores on one chip! With this they could make a true 16-core Mac Pro.

post #29 of 197

1. XSan is kinda dead.. 

2. Mac Mini's with Thunderbolt work fine as XSan MDC's

3. XSan is kinda dead.. 

post #30 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post

If you are referring to "megahertz", please use the correct acronym MHz. A lower case "m" indicates "milli", or 1/1000

MHz is an abbreviation, not an acronym.
post #31 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Who here thinks that the Thunderbolt ports will only be serving graphics from an Intel 4000 built onto the logic board and the ports on the Radeon 78xx cards will just be Mini DisplayPort?

I think it only makes sense that the Thunderbolt port will transfer data to and from the logic board. Graphics cards always have their own ports, don't they?

post #32 of 197

It would be nice if they could add an extra four drive bays.

 

It would be fraking awesome if they created a new device with four to eight hard drive bays with Thunderbolt and RAID.

post #33 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmx View Post

I still think they would do well to make a mini-pro model. Sure, laptops have increased in power, but I think a scaled down version of the Pro would be good. It would be in a smaller case, have iMac power but with greater flexibility/upgradeability. I think just 2 HD slots, allowing one SSD. If they could hit an $1100 starting price point - or even $999, they would do real well. 


You can order a Mac mini with a 750 GB HDD + 256 GB SSD.

post #34 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
I think it only makes sense that the Thunderbolt port will transfer data to and from the logic board. Graphics cards always have their own ports, don't they?

 

Yes, but that's only part of the point. Thunderbolt ports cannot be considered part of the spec without the ability to push graphics as well as data. Therefore the ports have to be connected to SOME sort of GPU, and that's either going to be a chip integrated on the logic board or the Thunderbolt ports will be on the GPU in a PCIe slot (but that's not allowed, as far as I know).


OR, the third option, whatever GPU you order from Apple is built into the computer and non-upgradable. That gives users the power of that card usable through their logic board Thunderbolt ports.

post #35 of 197
Intel's new Xeon E5 workstation-class chips first hit the market in early March.

I would not really say that they "hit the market" but rather they were announced. No manufacturer is selling the Xeon E5 in volume yet and that isn't expected till July.
post #36 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomahawk View Post

I can give you one really good reason for a case redesign.  To make it rack mountable in a reasonable space.  Apple no longer offers a product that can act as an MDC for Xsan out of the box that any legitimate administrator is going to put in a server room.  Getting it to something that will fit in a 2U or 3U space in a rack opens up a number of possibilities.  If they work with VMWare on the project and bring ESXi to the MacPro it could be offered as a possible replacement for the XServe and allow OS X virtualization in more environments...


For practical purposes, Apple went down that road and found too few people wanted an xserve to justify keeping it in the lineup.  IIRC, Jobs said so himself.

post #37 of 197
Could Appleinsider sink any lower quality wise. I quote: "handle voltage far worse than their 32nm Sandy Bridge brethren," this non sense should be obvious to anybody with a clue. The issue is that there are no new Ivy Bridge Xeon and that it took Intel forever to debug the current Sandy Bridge E series. This is reality not something pulled out of a behind somewhere. The fact is there may never be a Ivy Bridge Xeon since the CPUs offer so little over Sandy Bridge.

Apple insider should be embarrassed to support such obviously wrong information. The rest of the article may or may not be reflective of the coming new Mac Pros but who is going to pay much attention when there are such glaring mistakes.
post #38 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post


For practical purposes, Apple went down that road and found too few people wanted an xserve to justify keeping it in the lineup.  IIRC, Jobs said so himself.

Not an Xserve replacement but making a workstation rack mountable does have its benefits.

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post #39 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

Soon you won't get to retire until you die.

Not really. Early retirement is becoming more common.

 

When you get to 50+ you might find yourself forced / urged to retire / layoff, company downsize etc.

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post #40 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The case is designed for maximum airflow as are other workstation and server cases. I can't think of a real need for a redesign of the shell, which is what most people are think about when they talk about a "case redesign".

I agree with you on the airflow, which seems optimized for the present component layout. However, one big case improvement would be to move the drive bays to the front for easier access (and possibly include hot-swap capability), although that would require reworking the airflow.

 

And although it would be an aesthetic challenge, creating something that could optionally be rack-mounted (as suggested earlier) would make the overall package more flexible for those who benefit from such functionality.

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