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Apple files hint at re-engineered iMac and Mac Pro models, potentially without optical drives - Page 6

post #201 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

 

A sensible post at last.

 

Optical will eventually go away of course, but it has many years of life yet. I bet BDs will still be on sale in a decade or more, and it will be the same for DVDs and CDs. Until high speed broadband is ubiquitous, online movie rental costs drop to something sane, and online movie purchasing goes DRM free, discs will persist and thrive.

As a dev, I havent used an optical drive in 5 years. I'll survive with out them now.

post #202 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

You seem to think that Apple waves a magic wand and the universe obeys.  Ummm...no.  

 

All the people using optical discs for movies or video don't care what Apple does or does not include on their hardware.  Those who have a decade or more of data archived on DVD are not going to convert their entire backup scheme because Apple changed hardware configurations.  The world doesn't work the way you seem to believe.

 

As for floppy discs, the idea that Apple "killed" them is absurd.  Their marketshare in the late 90s was miniscule.  Floppy discs were supersceded by newer media formats.  Software companies distributed their goods on CD ROMs.  Files grew too large for floppies and thus people quit using them.  These changes happen incrementally due to myriad causes, you cannot cherry pick one factor and say "that's what killed floppies".

What happens is Apple does what it needs to and youre either along for the ride or your not. If you want to use dated technology, that's fine and all but don't expect Apple to continue supporting it.

post #203 of 253

Whoa, whoa whoa.

Hey AppleInsider - can you guys post a bigger image of the mockup of this alleged new iMac?
It looks pretty rad and I'd like to see it bigger . . .

post #204 of 253
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by cinder View Post
Whoa, whoa whoa.

Hey AppleInsider - can you guys post a bigger image of the mockup of this alleged new iMac?
It looks pretty rad and I'd like to see it bigger . . .

 

Which image? I don't see one in the story.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #205 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Which image? I don't see one in the story.

This one: 700

post #206 of 253
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by pinkunicorn View Post
This one: 700

 

Oh! No idea. I tried to find it, but the bot's images don't go into a folder like everyone's used to. Maybe one of the higher-ups can post it.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #207 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinder View Post

Whoa, whoa whoa.
Hey AppleInsider - can you guys post a bigger image of the mockup of this alleged new iMac?

It looks pretty rad and I'd like to see it bigger . . .

The member iPeg posted it on the previous page. The website that has high res images is the following:

http://pascaleggert.de/iMacPro.html

On the subject of optical drives, this discussion always ends up going goes down the lines of whether Apple should be dictating what people should use.

Apple doesn't ship a USB pen, printer, scanner, backup drive etc with every computer because they realise that not everyone will need them. That is now the case with optical drives.

They aren't saying stop using optical drives, they are just saying they are no longer an essential component of a computer.

Apple would never ship an affordable Blu-Ray drive with their machines, they'd be 2-4x slot drives costing $199-299. You can buy a 3rd party 12x USB 3 or portable 6x Blu-Ray drive from Amazon for under $140. If it breaks, you get a new one; if a faster model or newer standard arrives, you upgrade; if you have more than one machine, you share it between them.

As an added bonus, Apple will take $100 off machines they remove the optical from. Just look at how much you get with the Retina MBP vs the standard one:

IPS high-res display (BTO $100 for just slightly higher res), extra 4GB RAM (BTO $100), 256GB SSD (BTO $500). They only charge $400 for these extras while removing the optical so it obviously contributes a signifcant saving.

With the iMac, I think the saving from removing the optical will go towards either shipping with SSD or dropping the 21.5" from the lineup and bringing a 27" model out at $1299.
post #208 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
With the iMac, I think the saving from removing the optical will go towards either shipping with SSD or dropping the 21.5" from the lineup and bringing a 27" model out at $1299.

 

As someone who has been using my university's 27in iMacs for the past 4 years and has been very spoiled by that, I hope it's the later. I would love a cheaper 27in monitor. They're just SO PRETTY. 

post #209 of 253
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
With the iMac, I think the saving from removing the optical will go towards either shipping with SSD or dropping the 21.5" from the lineup and bringing a 27" model out at $1299.

 

… You're getting my hopes up. Nothing good ever comes from getting my hopes up.

 

No way would they drop the 21.5", though. Not by a long shot. The 27" is too big for some people, and will always be, as long as the screen is vertical. Apple needs a smaller model. (… "Did Skil just say that Apple needs a smaller model of something?" "Did he just admit to a potential use case for a 7.85" iPad?"…) No, by the way. lol.gif

 

So that means what, the 21.5" could drop to $999?! Talk about Cook coming through on his promise to push Mac marketshare… 

 

Or maybe the prices stay the same and they both get retina displays… 

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #210 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

As a dev, I havent used an optical drive in 5 years. I'll survive with out them now.

 

I've been a dev for 20 years, and I use my optical drive at least once a week, usually to rip DVDs to stream to my Roku. I rip CDs too from time to time, and stick photos on CDs to give to relatives who don't have fast connections.

 

What I don't get, and I'm not directing this specifically at you, but at optical haters in general, why do you object having optical in a desktop? The size of a desktop is irrelevant, and I see no advantage in losing functionality which still has a utility to many people. Why damage a product for no gain? It seems ideological with some people, which is never a good thing. Products should be driven by evidence and research at all times.

post #211 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkunicorn View Post

 

As someone who has been using my university's 27in iMacs for the past 4 years and has been very spoiled by that, I hope it's the later. I would love a cheaper 27in monitor. They're just SO PRETTY. 

 

They're impressive but also rather too large for home use. I'd like to see the 24" iMac come back. That seems like the ideal size to me.

post #212 of 253
Thread Starter 
HEVC HAS BEEN FINALIZED. ALL ARGUMENTS ABOUT BANDWIDTH AND FILE SIZES ARE NOW NULL AND VOID. 

I'm busting, Jerry, I'm busting! I cannot WAIT for HandBrake and iTunes to support this!

Who thinks that iTunes will do HEVC come September?!

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #213 of 253
I suspect iTunes will do HEVC as soon as Apple has hardware support in "I" devices. This might be possible in September.

As to bandwidth I suspect Apple will use the bandwidth to increase quality where it can. Most of the video on iTunes is wanting and I'd love to see an effort put into quality. Of course Apple doesn't have the last say there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

HEVC HAS BEEN FINALIZED. ALL ARGUMENTS ABOUT BANDWIDTH AND FILE SIZES ARE NOW NULL AND VOID. 


I'm busting, Jerry, I'm busting! I cannot WAIT for HandBrake and iTunes to support this!


Who thinks that iTunes will do HEVC come September?!
post #214 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil 
So that means what, the 21.5" could drop to $999?! Talk about Cook coming through on his promise to push Mac marketshare…

More likely $1099 - there's a $200 difference between 21.5" and 27" with the same internals.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil 
Or maybe the prices stay the same and they both get retina displays… 

It might be too expensive but they would be the best desktop displays anyone had at that price.
post #215 of 253
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
It might be too expensive but they would be the best desktop displays anyone had at that price.

 

"… Glossy. Won't buy. Health hazard. Worse than cancer. {{link to petition}}…" lol.gif

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #216 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil 
"… Glossy. Won't buy. Health hazard. Worse than cancer. {{link to petition}}…" lol.gif

Yeah, people will bring that up again but if they laminate the glass, it should have the same effect as the rMBP. There's a massive reduction in glare to the point that it shouldn't be an issue any more.







http://www.anandtech.com/Show/Index/6023?cPage=2&all=False&sort=0&page=4&slug=the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review

IMO, the first image shows they've got the best of both. The old-style displays on the left were like mirrors and you can't see a thing in certain conditions. On the right, the anti-glare shows all the content ok but it's faded. In the middle image, you can see the content in vibrant colours with small amounts of distracting glare.

In normal conditions, eliminating glare should at least be a lot easier. Hopefully they will allow running the display at 1080p too using scaling to bring text sizes up a bit.
post #217 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Yeah, people will bring that up again but if they laminate the glass, it should have the same effect as the rMBP. There's a massive reduction in glare to the point that it shouldn't be an issue any more.


http://www.anandtech.com/Show/Index/6023?cPage=2&all=False&sort=0&page=4&slug=the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review
IMO, the first image shows they've got the best of both. The old-style displays on the left were like mirrors and you can't see a thing in certain conditions. On the right, the anti-glare shows all the content ok but it's faded. In the middle image, you can see the content in vibrant colours with small amounts of distracting glare.
In normal conditions, eliminating glare should at least be a lot easier. Hopefully they will allow running the display at 1080p too using scaling to bring text sizes up a bit.

 

I've seen the new ones. The glare is nowhere near as bad. If we're talking about anyone using a similar display for content creation or editing, it should be doable assuming some basic control over the lighting in their work area. If you've got a huge open window, it is bad no matter what on any display.

post #218 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

How does increasing performance by an order of magnitude, reducing the price, making parallel computing simple and doubling available expansion ports **** up the Mac Pro? Ah you mean because it's not exactly the same design as last year's model with a fractional improvement in performance. To me, that would be ****ing up the Mac Pro. If you want the Mac Pro to die out, fine, keep hoping for that same design and a 40% performance jump after 3 years.

 

Because your move to TB vs slots reduces the available bandwidth from 16 lanes to 4 lanes for high speed uses (GPUs, dedicated video transcoders, etc).

 

There's no reason to drop slots except that you want a smaller xMac which again, no one else gives a shit about except that it would be nice if the Mac Pro was rack mountable.

 

Everything you want can be done with the mini.  Small footprint, HPC computing modules connected via TB, etc.

post #219 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

 

Because your move to TB vs slots reduces the available bandwidth from 16 lanes to 4 lanes for high speed uses (GPUs, dedicated video transcoders, etc).

 

There's no reason to drop slots except that you want a smaller xMac which again, no one else gives a shit about except that it would be nice if the Mac Pro was rack mountable.

 

Everything you want can be done with the mini.  Small footprint, HPC computing modules connected via TB, etc.

It doesn't just reduce slots. You need enough PCI lanes for whatever will be implemented. They're located in the cpu package, so you have 40 lanes in a single package model. PCI 3 does give you more per lane, but cards are still designed for the same lane counts. x16 PCI 2 is still designed as x16 PCI 3. The others seem to follow the same basic rule. I don't think heavy use of thunderbolt would do anything pleasant to the cost either, given that each of these chips is quite expensive and apple doesn't like to give anything out when it comes to the mac pro.

post #220 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Because your move to TB vs slots reduces the available bandwidth from 16 lanes to 4 lanes for high speed uses (GPUs, dedicated video transcoders, etc).

Edit: The current Mac Pro has one x16 and two x4 (non-configurable). If the GPU internally uses 16 lanes, on a single CPU model, you get 6 x 4 lanes left, which is enough for 6 x4 speed Thunderbolt ports. The only thing you lose vs the current Mac Pro is one x16 slot but you get more available expansion ports.

Running a GPU on the outside isn't going to be common just like putting multiple GPUs in a Mac Pro isn't so we're talking about peripheral cards and adaptors like fibre channel, which will work just fine over 20Gbps TB ports.

I don't think they will leave Thunderbolt out of the Mac Pro so if they retain expansion slots, they will need a setup like the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1t7Rc9qFgI

The GPU will need software to route the framebuffer through the IGP and in the above scanerio, they are virtualizing the GPU:

http://www.lucidlogix.com/technology-virtual-graphics.html

Apple can of course do this and obviously they already allow their consumer lineup to be able to switch between dedicated and integrated but they'd need to go further with a machine where you could have multiple dedicated GPUs and need to route the display output in multiple ways.

I think a simpler route is to get rid of the slots, have an internal GPU that can be upgraded like the iMac's GPU but doesn't have external video outputs. I think it can easily be a mobile GPU. In 2013, an 8970M will be pretty fast. Even though higher-end desktop cards can exceed their compute power, if they add an Intel MIC, that's a better option for compute anyway.

With either 4 or 6 Thunderbolt ports, people will connect to RAID, cameras and displays. Mostly transcoding and audio processing will be done natively on the fast internal hardware but the TB ports will allow people to connect external cards via a PCI box if that situation arises.
post #221 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

You don't have x16 available in the current Mac Pro. You get one x16 for the GPU, one x8 and two x4. If the GPU internally uses 16 lanes, on a single CPU model, you get 6 x 4 lanes left, which is enough for 6 x4 speed Thunderbolt ports. The only thing you lose vs the current Mac Pro is an x8 slot but you get more available expansion ports.

 

You don't have to use the x16 for the GPU if you don't want to.  In any case x8 > x4 and x8 cards are common in the video world.  You also have the flexibility of configuring the Mac Pro as 3 x8 slots and one x1 slot.

 

 

Quote:
I think a simpler route is to get rid of the slots, have an internal GPU that can be upgraded like the iMac's GPU but doesn't have external video outputs. I think it can easily be a mobile GPU. In 2013, an 8970M will be pretty fast. Even though higher-end desktop cards can exceed their compute power, if they add an Intel MIC, that's a better option for compute anyway.

 

Upgrades that largely don't exist.  And instead of a driver and a firmware flash on a normal pro card GPU manufactures have to design for a much smaller footprint in a non-standard mezzanine format.  Meaning it wont happen and the number of GPU options will be even lower.

 

Again, this is nothing that cannot be done in a Mini.  Adding a mezzanine based GPU and a MIC (if that's actually worthwhile) is more than possible in a mini the size of the older Minis.  Or simply attaching a MIC compute unit via TB if you think TB actually provides sufficient bandwidth...which it doesn't to get full speed but you seem to think it will.

 

Have you coded for a MIC?  Do any tools support a MIC?  Would it not be more sane to simply slot in a MIC in the Mac Pro as opposed to **** everyone with existing cards like the Rocket or Tesla cards while the transistion occurs?  Especially since there exists Knights Ferry PCIe cards and there will be Knights Corner PCIe cards?

 

http://blogs.intel.com/technology/2012/06/intel-xeon-phi-coprocessors-accelerate-discovery-and-innovation/

 

The "simpler route" my ass.

post #222 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


You don't have x16 available in the current Mac Pro. You get one x16 for the GPU, one x8 and two x4. If the GPU internally uses 16 lanes, on a single CPU model, you get 6 x 4 lanes left, which is enough for 6 x4 speed Thunderbolt ports. The only thing you lose vs the current Mac Pro is an x8 slot but you get more available expansion ports.
Running a GPU on the outside isn't going to be common just like putting multiple GPUs in a Mac Pro isn't so we're talking about peripheral cards and adaptors like fibre channel, which will work just fine over 20Gbps TB ports.
I don't think they will leave Thunderbolt out of the Mac Pro so if they retain expansion slots, they will need a setup like the following:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1t7Rc9qFgI
The GPU will need software to route the framebuffer through the IGP and in the above scanerio, they are virtualizing the GPU:
http://www.lucidlogix.com/technology-virtual-graphics.html
Apple can of course do this and obviously they already allow their consumer lineup to be able to switch between dedicated and integrated but they'd need to go further with a machine where you could have multiple dedicated GPUs and need to route the display output in multiple ways.
I think a simpler route is to get rid of the slots, have an internal GPU that can be upgraded like the iMac's GPU but doesn't have external video outputs. I think it can easily be a mobile GPU. In 2013, an 8970M will be pretty fast. Even though higher-end desktop cards can exceed their compute power, if they add an Intel MIC, that's a better option for compute anyway.
With either 4 or 6 Thunderbolt ports, people will connect to RAID, cameras and displays. Mostly transcoding and audio processing will be done natively on the fast internal hardware but the TB ports will allow people to connect external cards via a PCI box if that situation arises.


The Xeon class they've used has no IGP. there's no room in the cpu package. You can use an embedded gpu, but once you go to LGA2011, those chips have no integrated graphics included. Some of the cheaper Xeons are based on a different socket shared with the mainstream i5s. This is how HP offers an integrated option in their Z1. Beyond a certain point they don't exist. You would have to go with embedded graphics, and you do pick up restrictions in board design due to this. Multiple gpus are a bit problematic outside of dual socket boards. The PCI lanes are on the cpus. With a single package you get 40 of them that are already tapped out in the current design given the lanes that must be dedicated to existing ports. USB3 would be there. Firewire is still likely to be there. As much as you may hate it, I will be surprised if ethernet goes anywhere.

 

Also the PCI box is a very poor idea. They've been extremely limited so far in terms of what they will support, and you spend way more for an inferior product.  Thunderbolt lacks the adoption rates and options. The chips are more expensive, yet it's one of the least used connection types. Trying to push that on a line that has become somewhat of a niche product while ruling out some of the extreme bandwidth options that were previously available such as mini SAS or cheaper (6GB eSATA) is just going to further damage such a platform, as Apple has no way of motivating third party development to the necessary levels. Notice how last year everyone was asking when more things would become available. They're available today, yet similar solutions are much more costly compared to what they were without pushing the available speeds any further. The reason most people on here wouldn't know that is because Apple was notorious for a lack of fast IO options. Right now on the consumer end it can't compete with usb3 on price. If we're getting into high bandwidth needs of must view uncompressed footage, better options existed prior to TB. The problem here is that even if such a package became better supported over time, the potential to hemorrhage off customers and defeat the line is pretty much there, especially as the other lines currently outpace it in overall growth. Windows lines still support their workstations more than Apple, but this is because they make large margins on them. In a lot of ways they're better at that kind of thing. They can get replacement parts out overnight. Workstation support is typically within the US rather than outsourced and if it's not 24/7, it at least runs for fairly long hours. Given some of these things, I don't really see Apple stealing a lot of marketshare on that end unless something is extremely desirable in terms of software. I still see quite a few mac pros around. It's just that most of them were purchased several years ago, as there hasn't been a lot of meaningful cpu growth in that area over the past several years unless you go to escalating price points. The reasoning there was split between intel and Apple, but I won't go into that. Sandy Bridge E would have been a moderate bump for some things. For others which actually take advantage of updated hardware instructions, it's huge. Unfortunately you're unlikely to use it to its full potential today.

post #223 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
In any case x8 > x4 and x8 cards are common in the video world.

If they use more than 20Gbps of bandwidth, then they'd run slower but I doubt they would use that much bandwidth. That's enough for multiple uncompressed 4K streams and as I say, data has to come from somewhere and go somewhere else. The channel bandwidth only matters if the source and destination are fast to enough to cope.

Give me an example of data that can be read and written at that data rate and you'd be describing a scenario that applies to almost nobody.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
You also have the flexibility of configuring the Mac Pro as 3 x8 slots and one x1 slot.

It looks like only a couple of Mac Pros had configurable slots - the latest ones have two x16 and two x4 that are fixed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Upgrades that largely don't exist.

They would be available when a new Mac pro arrived like the current setup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
And instead of a driver and a firmware flash on a normal pro card GPU manufactures have to design for a much smaller footprint in a non-standard mezzanine format.  Meaning it wont happen and the number of GPU options will be even lower.

Ok but that doesn't bother Apple and how many people are flashing GPUs anyway? Are people really prepared to blow thousands on a high-end machine and shove in a GPU with custom firmware that isn't certified for the machine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Adding a mezzanine based GPU and a MIC (if that's actually worthwhile) is more than possible in a mini the size of the older Minis.

Not with an 85W PSU and the heat would be way too much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Or simply attaching a MIC compute unit via TB if you think TB actually provides sufficient bandwidth...which it doesn't to get full speed but you seem to think it will.

The bandwidth doesn't matter because it has local storage (8GB RAM) so it would be possible to do this but the Mini target audience is not likely to be looking for an MIC. No doubt someone will get a Knights Ferry card and put in a PCI box though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Would it not be more sane to simply slot in a MIC in the Mac Pro as opposed to **** everyone with existing cards like the Rocket or Tesla cards while the transistion occurs?

I don't see how it affects people with existing cards. The Rocket can be connected externally and the MIC would outperform the Tesla card.

Since when does Apple do transitions anyway? They didn't transition people to FCPX, they yank out the rug and people get back up all by themselves. The reason is that it's the only way to get people to move. If an MIC is optional, they won't easily convince people to code for it. People generally like having a comfort zone and will do anything to hold onto what's familiar so that nobody has to expend any effort making a change for the better.

The reason it's a change for the better is because it will drive down the cost of high performance and it will make high speed peripheral expansion simple enough for anyone as well as universal so that it drives down the price there too.
post #224 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
The Xeon class they've used has no IGP. there's no room in the cpu package.

Well that settles it then, either GPUs can't connect externally or the MP won't support Thunderbolt. I honestly can't see Apple shipping a properly new MP without Thunderbolt support.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
USB3 would be there. Firewire is still likely to be there. As much as you may hate it, I will be surprised if ethernet goes anywhere.

I doubt FW800 will be on the next MP, iMac or Mini. Ethernet is useful for internal networking so I'd expect it on the desktops, I just think it doesn't make sense on the mobile products any more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
Also the PCI box is a very poor idea.

You are coming at this from the point of view that PCI expansion is a fundamental requirement for the Mac Pro audience and would require a significant portion of that audience to invest in a poor solution. I don't think internal PCI expansion is a requirement any more. It's not going to be ideal for those who do have PCI cards and don't have a convenient Thunderbolt equivalent but it really doesn't matter any more - those users don't dictate Apple's product designs just like people who worked with tape didn't dictate the design of FCPX.
post #225 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


If they use more than 20Gbps of bandwidth, then they'd run slower but I doubt they would use that much bandwidth. That's enough for multiple uncompressed 4K streams and as I say, data has to come from somewhere and go somewhere else. The channel bandwidth only matters if the source and destination are fast to enough to cope.

 

I explain this below, but your suggested 20Gb aren't all data. If you could really drive that much data to a single device over thunderbolt, it would be different. Only 2 channels can be used for normal data. I don't think the card can cannibalize the others for display bandwidth. If that was possible we might actually see 10 bit RGB support and displayport 1.2 compliance. Adobe's forums keep acquiring comments on it until they mentioned that Apple has decided not to support it (which annoys me, as it delivers nice shadow detail on Adobe RGB displays).

 

 

Quote:

 

It looks like only a couple of Mac Pros had configurable slots - the latest ones have two x16 and two x4 that are fixed.

That's what they have on paper. The reality is that at least the quad and hex core are over subscribed. If you populate all your ports, something will throttle. It's not that uncommon. They do the same thing with macbook pros and chargers. If you run them hard enough your battery life will drain over time. I don't even have a problem with this. I just wish Apple would be more open about it rather than wait for users to uncover such details. You listed 40 lanes, yet the integrated ports that ship standard all take up PCI lanes. If I recall correctly that chipset has a total of 40. With Sandy if you're looking at the dual models as in 12-16 cores, you get 80 lanes instead.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Well that settles it then, either GPUs can't connect externally or the MP won't support Thunderbolt. I honestly can't see Apple shipping a properly new MP without Thunderbolt support.

I'm not sure what you mean there. I just said the chips used in the mac pro have their silicon allocated differently. In their "mainstream" (using wiki's term for it) they do allocate space for graphics, yet the Xeon chips that Apple has used to date are different. I know HP has an igp as part of their configuration matrix in the Z1, yet it's also offered with something like i3s at the low end. I'd have to look it up again, but I think they may be using the lighter Xeons based off the mainstream line. It would make sense as they'd fit the same socket as the i3s in their starting configuration.

 

Quote:
I doubt FW800 will be on the next MP, iMac or Mini. Ethernet is useful for internal networking so I'd expect it on the desktops, I just think it doesn't make sense on the mobile products any more.


I don't see it as so much doubtful. I see it as a low priority. It's still in the thunderbolt display. It still exists in the cMBP. Remember they removed FW400 from the white macbook a few years ago without redesigning it. In this case I don't think they'll try to stamp it out so much as they are unlikely to design around FW800 as a requirement. I've got a couple random FW things around. Some are broken. The rest can also use usb. I looked for that as I'm never sure what will outlive what. Some stuff I replace quickly. Other things.... well... *stares over at 10 year old document scanner and outdated Epson wide format printer with pesky RIP dongle*. Sometimes something is expensive and it's gotten to a point where I don't use it enough to justify a costly update, yet it's used a few times a year so it remains. I have an old tape drive here too xD. I can't remember the cartridge type, but that's actually destined for e-recycling along with a few other things.

 

Quote:

You are coming at this from the point of view that PCI expansion is a fundamental requirement for the Mac Pro audience and would require a significant portion of that audience to invest in a poor solution. I don't think internal PCI expansion is a requirement any more. It's not going to be ideal for those who do have PCI cards and don't have a convenient Thunderbolt equivalent but it really doesn't matter any more - those users don't dictate Apple's product designs just like people who worked with tape didn't dictate the design of FCPX.

 


I don't think it makes sense to sell an external chassis for $500~ or so that supports only some cards at a limited wattage range. Much of this should become easier as TB bandwidth increases assuming development becomes cheaper. Otherwise it can still be an okay solution if companies take control of the entire product and release a thunderbolt version, not X product from this vendor and a generic untested housing from another. There are many cheap do it yourself storage chassis solutions out there. A couple are tolerable, but they're mostly dreadful. Making PCI expansion into something like that isn't really a great solution at all. This is why I'm saying if it really goes that way, it makes more sense the way Black Magic does it. Right now thunderbolt options are still fairly poor though. USB3 and eSATA both offer storage that is nearly as fast in real world transfer speeds for less. Mini SAS remains a better solution if you're looking for extreme performance. The figures you quoted for TB actually assigned the bandwidth allocated for the display to data, so you can't really claim 20Gb if it won't reach that. 10 can be allocated to data, and you actually get less than that even under ideal circumstances. The bandwidth was basically displayport 1.2 with slightly lower processing overhead split into data and display data channels. Note that displayport 1.2 is around 16Gb, but that's due to overhead.

 

Anyway the important thing here is that they design a computer which actually has a market going forward. This means that if it's based on thunderbolt, thunderbolt solutions need to be at least marginally competitive with existing standards. I don't see them being that great prior to 2015 or so. When bandwidth hits a point where they can easily support anything even with the inefficient restrictions it places on the use of bandwidth, which you ignored, and we see cables that won't go out of date on an annual basis due to bumped standards, it could see some decent adoption rates. Right now it's a very clunky solution that just looks pretty on paper. I'm not sure what intel will do. They haven't shown any plans to include it in chipsets. Even next year the ivy options the Mac Pro could use don't have it scheduled to be integrated with the chipset. The lighter ivy xeons based off the consumer line might include a displayport connection by default, but that's just building overlap with the imac in terms of computing power.

post #226 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


If they use more than 20Gbps of bandwidth, then they'd run slower but I doubt they would use that much bandwidth.

 

And 640K is plenty of memory.  20 Gbps TB wont be out until 2014 with Falcon Ridge...past the 2013 Mac Pro revamp.  So 10 Gpbs max.

 

 

Quote:
They would be available when a new Mac pro arrived like the current setup.
Ok but that doesn't bother Apple and how many people are flashing GPUs anyway? Are people really prepared to blow thousands on a high-end machine and shove in a GPU with custom firmware that isn't certified for the machine?

 

 

I'm not talking about users flashing a card but GPU manufacturers supporting a Mac Pro version that doesn't require creating a completely new form factor.

 

So they wont be there when a new Mac pro comes out except for the very few that Apple pays for.

 

 

Quote:
Not with an 85W PSU and the heat would be way too much.
 

 

Who says that the mini compute server has to stay with only a 85W PSU?  There is zero need to start with the Mac Pro and cripple it vs starting with the Mini and beefing it up.

 

 

Quote:
The bandwidth doesn't matter because it has local storage (8GB RAM) so it would be possible to do this but the Mini target audience is not likely to be looking for an MIC. No doubt someone will get a Knights Ferry card and put in a PCI box though.

 

http://energy.gov/articles/high-school-students-build-their-own-supercomputer-almost

 

If bandwidth doesn't matter then a TB based MIC or Tesla module can be used with the Mini, iMac or MBP.  No need for building it into the Mac Pro since not every Mac Pro user needs it.  The target audience for MICs is tiny.

 

 

Quote:
I don't see how it affects people with existing cards. The Rocket can be connected externally and the MIC would outperform the Tesla card.

 

 

It affects people with existing cards because the Mac Pro ceases to exist as an upgrade option.  If they have to move to an external enclosure they might as well just use a MBA.

 

And Intel has not released performance benchmarks vs the Tesla so there is no way for you to assert that it can outperform the Tesla.  In fact the probability is that the K20 (1.3-1.5 DP TFLOP estimated) crushes Phi for things that can be translated into CUDA.  The key selling point for Knights Ferry/Phi is that there exists a large body of scientific code that will never get ported to GPGPU code due to cost.  THESE can more economically be ported to MIC code than to CUDA/OpenCL code...at least if your problem is embarrassingly parallel and you can actually get the 512-bit wide SMID cranking.  

 

Sure porting code to simply run will be more or less a recompile.  Making the code performant is a whole different ballgame.

 

Quote:
The reason is that it's the only way to get people to move. If an MIC is optional, they won't easily convince people to code for it. People generally like having a comfort zone and will do anything to hold onto what's familiar so that nobody has to expend any effort making a change for the better.

 

The MIC is completely optional because it wont be on the iMac, MBP, MBA or Mini...only your crippled Mac Pro that no one is likely to buy because there will be no apps to take advantage of the MIC and there are no slots for expansion.  If TB is the only expansion option then you can just use the high end iMac.

 

 

Quote:
The reason it's a change for the better is because it will drive down the cost of high performance and it will make high speed peripheral expansion simple enough for anyone as well as universal so that it drives down the price there too.

 

Except it doesn't drive down the cost for "high performance" because there will be zero volume.

 

In the 2013 timeframe the Xeon Phi still largely lives on a PCIe card.  Intel doesn't have any near term plans to stick it on the QPI interconnect with access to system memory so pray tell what advantage will Apple gain by grafting it into every Mac Pro and vastly inflating the price for little to no gain?  The Phi wont be any cheaper than a Kepler so it's like adding $2500 (and a huge hit to the TDP) to the base cost of every Mac Pro.

 

MIC will drive down pricing of HPC when Intel bakes a number of MIC cores into the Xeon die or makes an economical 20-30 core version that lives on the QPI removing the need for 8GB of DDR5 RAM.

post #227 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I'm not sure what you mean there. I just said the chips used in the mac pro have their silicon allocated differently.

In order for Thunderbolt to exist on the next Mac Pro, Apple has to route a displayport signal through it. They can only do this by having a motherboard GPU linked to it. The framebuffer then gets copied from a dedicated GPU into the IGP and pushed out the TB port. Without an IGP or fixed GPU, Apple can't take display data from a dedicated GPU and push it out over Thunderbolt. This leads to 3 possible outcomes:

- the Mac Pro won't use Thunderbolt and can't use the Thunderbolt display
- the Mac Pro will have Thunderbolt but won't have PCI slots
- the Mac Pro will be discontinued
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
It's still in the thunderbolt display.

That hasn't been updated though. I think we'll start seeing an extra Thunderbolt port replace FW800 on updated models.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
And 640K is plenty of memory.

Ok, now replace 640K with 32GB and claim that the statement is just as ridiculous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
20 Gbps TB wont be out until 2014 with Falcon Ridge...past the 2013 Mac Pro revamp. So 10 Gpbs max.

Yeah they'd have to get an early implementation of the controller from Intel for late 2013.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
It affects people with existing cards because the Mac Pro ceases to exist as an upgrade option. If they have to move to an external enclosure they might as well just use a MBA.

If you assume that the only value in a Mac Pro is the expansion slots then sure you can switch to a MBA.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
The Phi wont be any cheaper than a Kepler so it's like adding $2500 (and a huge hit to the TDP) to the base cost of every Mac Pro.

If it's going to cost that much, it's not worth it. The costs listed here suggested it would be much less:

http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-09-22/dell_to_build_10-petaflop_supercomputer_for_science.html

"$2.5 million will go toward 8 petaflops worth of MIC coprocessors"

We'll see in a couple of months what the price is per unit. Apple wouldn't be using the PCI card though and it would be a variant of the next version (Knights Landing) and if they integrated it, they'd be placing large orders.

If we are to assume the next Mac Pro is what you guys are clearly driving at i.e:

Ivy Bridge Xeon
no Thunderbolt support
PCIe 3 expansion slots
no MIC, just a GPU like the Radeon 8970 (2013)
same price points

is that really what you want to see after a 3 year wait?
post #228 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If we are to assume the next Mac Pro is what you guys are clearly driving at i.e:
Ivy Bridge Xeon
no Thunderbolt support
PCIe 3 expansion slots
no MIC, just a GPU like the Radeon 8970 (2013)
same price points
is that really what you want to see after a 3 year wait?

 

Regarding Thunderbolt there are several options:

 

1) IGP on the motherboard

2) external DP connection from a GPU to the chassis

3) internal DP connection from a GPU to the motherboard

4) data only TB

 

If the next Mac Pro has Ivy Bridge Xeons, USB3, 4 PCIe 3 slots, updated GPUs and TB (in some form) in a package that is rack mount friendly at the same price points then I think most Pro users would be very happy.  

 

Folks that want a MIC can simply slot one in.  

 

The only viable reason to add a Mac Pro Lite to the line up is to provide a lower cost model to replace the current base model.  And that's ADD not replace the whole line up.

 

Amusingly you could use the 45W 2.5 Ghz quad Xeon E3-1265L v2 in the Mini server and provide TB since it has a IGP in it (the Intel HD 2500) and actually do it in September 2012.  With 2 slots for ECC ram and it would be the smallest workstation available.

 

Add this to the lineup for $1499 and folks would buy it in a heartbeat.  So MY wish list wouldn't be cripple the Mac Pro but to upgrade the Mini Server to this:

 

2.5Ghz Quad Xeon E3-1265L w/Intel 2500HD

2 slots for ECC RAM (4GB standard)

2 slots for SSD sticks  (128GB SSD stick standard)

1x USB 3

3x USB 2

2x TB

1x 10GBase-T

1x HDMI

SDXC card slot

Audio In/Out

1x HDMI

 

Fills the low end server and workstation niche.  

 

For the light workstation users you do 10GbE to SAN, 1 TB dedicated to external GPU, 1 TB for external processing cards (rocket, tesla, xeon phi, etc).  If no SAN then USB3 or TB to local RAID.

post #229 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


In order for Thunderbolt to exist on the next Mac Pro, Apple has to route a displayport signal through it. They can only do this by having a motherboard GPU linked to it. The framebuffer then gets copied from a dedicated GPU into the IGP and pushed out the TB port. Without an IGP or fixed GPU, Apple can't take display data from a dedicated GPU and push it out over Thunderbolt. This leads to 3 possible outcomes:
- the Mac Pro won't use Thunderbolt and can't use the Thunderbolt display
- the Mac Pro will have Thunderbolt but won't have PCI slots
- the Mac Pro will be discontinued
 

I don't feel the thunderbolt display is a great match there, but some people would obviously buy it. Its design is more that of a docking station. For photography/videography (popular uses for the mac pro) I'd still regard it as a bit cold and defunct in some colors. It scores rather poorly on typical validations. If they did something similar to the treatment of the rMBP, it might be a better match in terms of color gamut for such fields. If it must go through integrated, that one still has an igp that isn't listed or used for anything else. I'm not kidding when I say it's an issue to place it on the current mac pro due to the socket type used. I don't think X79 can use embedded gpus anyway, even if that would work. They definitely don't include one, so unless you want to use the same cpus as those that are in the imac, you can't do this. Beyond that if you push the imac to a 6 core machine as you suggested in another post, assuming you wanted to do it next year, you'd lose the ability to run thunderbolt over an igp.

 

Quote:
That hasn't been updated though. I think we'll start seeing an extra Thunderbolt port replace FW800 on updated models.

 

They put it on a new product in 2010 ish that's really a docking station. Like I said, I see it as more not a design priority that it must be included than a crusade against it at this point. It is probably the lowest priority port on the list.
 

 

Quote:
Ok, now replace 640K with 32GB and claim that the statement is just as ridiculous.

 

Something that is interesting there is that many of us were bottlenecked on ram for years and forced to use scratch disk systems or heavy virtual memory for many applications. It hasn't moved forward much, yet it's possible to use real ram instead of virtualized ram.
 

 

Quote:
Yeah they'd have to get an early implementation of the controller from Intel for late 2013.

 

I really don't see this happening. I agree they could push the mac pro as far as late 2013, although I'm not completely sure whether it will survive that long. The other concern would be if it can be made to work with the X79 chipset while still lacking an igp. It's just a really bad mismatch at the moment unless intel certifies a data only thunderbolt. The IO problems that exist on the others macs aren't really an issue for the mac pro anyway at this moment, so it's not so much fixing a problem. The only motivation would be a desire to unify how things are handled across the lineup.

 

Quote:
If you assume that the only value in a Mac Pro is the expansion slots then sure you can switch to a MBA.

 

It's obvious the macbook aiir and updated macbook pro design are bigger design priorities for Apple, but this still makes little sense. The mac pro does solve certain problems that would be present on the notebook. There are certain areas where they're just a bad match. As an example, Apple likes to keep their power chargers light for portability reasons. If you run the computer to its limits on cpu, even with a moderate gpu + display load, it will have to pull from the battery. There are plenty of other examples. The Air still doesn't support OpenCL, and it definitely lacks a CUDA option. The Mac Pro could use better CUDA options too. While more things are going toward OpenCL, some still exist on CUDA simply because NVidia started first in this regard. Something that occasionally seems to be missed with a workstation class machine is that they're designed to be able accommodate a range of solutions and maintain a high level of up-time beyond the obvious implied requirement of greater processing power. That design isn't so much the question. The only question would be if Apple will choose to address that. If they don't, anyone who would have bought one will buy something else from Apple, or they'll move on. The other computers in the line have grown to a point where they can definitely satisfy some of these requirements, yet they aren't a perfect match as they're designed from a different perspective. Given Apple's size, the desire to chase further growth dictates that they need to consider large markets. This isn't to say that the other oems don't do well selling workstations. It's just that they likely satisfy many corporate accounts at both a respectable volume and high markup with these machines.

post #230 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Regarding Thunderbolt there are several options:

1) IGP on the motherboard
2) external DP connection from a GPU to the chassis
3) internal DP connection from a GPU to the motherboard
4) data only TB

1. They'd have to use an NVidia or AMD IGP assuming they are certified for use with that setup and ship a second dedicated GPU.
2. Apple would never do an external connection
3. Apple might do an internal connection but it means that without the cable, the Thunderbolt ports are not Thunderbolt ports, same with option 2. Plus it needs support on the GPU.
4. Can't happen as they won't be allowed to call them Thunderbolt ports

The only viable option I see for TB assuming PCI slots remain is if Ivy Bridge Xeons will have IGPs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
If the next Mac Pro has Ivy Bridge Xeons, USB3, 4 PCIe 3 slots, updated GPUs and TB (in some form) in a package that is rack mount friendly at the same price points then I think most Pro users would be very happy.

Even given that IB is only 15% faster than SB? SB was 40% at most over the last model so after 3 years, they jump 1.4 * 1.15 = 61%.

Given that they aren't putting resources into an IGP, an IB Xeon could probably jump further but the biggest problem I have with this outcome is that it would mean there was no reason for avoiding Sandy Bridge Xeons. The refresh that just happened is pretty clear evidence that this isn't going to be a straight upgrade or they would have made one already.

Why delay a proper refresh by another 1.5 years when people were already desperate for an update if it was just going to be minor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Mac Pro Lite / cripple the Mac Pro

The entry model would have a 6-core Xeon, a fast GPU, up to 64GB RAM, possibly a co-processor and at least 4 TB ports. The co-processor would make up for the lack of a 2nd CPU. While it might seem crippled to people who buy dual-CPU models and fill up the PCI slots with cards, to most Mac pro buyers, it will offer better value for money. The few who will be disgruntled will find a way to make it work and I think they'd still be very happy with it.
post #231 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


1. They'd have to use an NVidia or AMD IGP assuming they are certified for use with that setup and ship a second dedicated GPU.
2. Apple would never do an external connection
3. Apple might do an internal connection but it means that without the cable, the Thunderbolt ports are not Thunderbolt ports, same with option 2. Plus it needs support on the GPU.
4. Can't happen as they won't be allowed to call them Thunderbolt ports
 

 

I still see thunderbolt at the moment as more nice to have than absolutely necessary. Intel doesn't really have a current strategy for integration into Xeon boards for this year or next year. Note that Ivy isn't coming until probably the second half, and they're still using the X79 chipset. it's likely that workstation boards will remain roughly the same just like they did with nehalem ---> westmere for stability + cost reasons pushing such a change in design to at least the Haswell version. I kind of doubt that will see a displayport connection on the chipset or igp. Eventually such a thing could be possible if they're making it more of a co-processor in the longer term, but unless it's a higher priority for intel, it may come after a later die shrink. The problem I see is that you're trying to create a problem set for it, mainly uniformity across the line. Assuming some kind of breakout box functionality is the issue, such a thing could be adapted to also fit a more mac pro friendly port type. I don't see external PCI chassis designs becoming viable as shells in which to stick off the shelf boards. That is just backwards design to compensate for lack of a better option from Apple. I've mentioned before that it makes more sense for it to be sold as a complete unit rather than two separate purchases. It alleviates concerns over whether a card will fit and whether the maximum power consumption falls within the stated power levels of the chassis. Typically on the supply side they're labeled by the peak wattage that can be supplied to underlying hardware, yet the tdp numbers of many of these cards don't necessarily indicate peak power consumption. The risk of a bad match due to overlap and an overall untested solution just makes this a very poor choice. In the typical tower scenario, it's possible to allocate quite a lot of fan power/ventilation back there compared to the restricted space of some of the products you've previously mentioned.

 

 

Quote:
The only viable option I see for TB assuming PCI slots remain is if Ivy Bridge Xeons will have IGPs.
Even given that IB is only 15% faster than SB? SB was 40% at most over the last model so after 3 years, they jump 1.4 * 1.15 = 61%.
Given that they aren't putting resources into an IGP, an IB Xeon could probably jump further but the biggest problem I have with this outcome is that it would mean there was no reason for avoiding Sandy Bridge Xeons. The refresh that just happened is pretty clear evidence that this isn't going to be a straight upgrade or they would have made one already.
Why delay a proper refresh by another 1.5 years when people were already desperate for an update if it was just going to be minor?
The entry model would have a 6-core Xeon, a fast GPU, up to 64GB RAM, possibly a co-processor and at least 4 TB ports. The co-processor would make up for the lack of a 2nd CPU. While it might seem crippled to people who buy dual-CPU models and fill up the PCI slots with cards, to most Mac pro buyers, it will offer better value for money. The few who will be disgruntled will find a way to make it work and I think they'd still be very happy with it.

 

There is absolutely nothing to indicate this, and beyond that the chipsets and reference X79 board designs lack an on board displayport connection. You probably think I'm trolling you, but I'm just looking at what is actually manufactured and the trends in behavior. On the Xeon end once you're out of those that share parts with the mainstream desktop line, they tend to push board designs for at least 2 years. There's very little chance of seeing an IGP there in the near future. Eventually die shrinks may get to a point where Intel decides to chase something other than ever increasing core counts. Right now the space simply isn't allocated to an IGP in these designs, and I find it difficult to believe they'll add this on something using the same chipset, especially given the potential for such an addition to introduce bugs and push the release back even further. Note what happened with Sandy Bridge and Sandy Bridge E. It is possible Apple has a workaround if thunderbolt is an absolute priority, but I don't see this as something that could be populated in a logical manner with existing thunderbolt options. Regarding 4TB ports, you would be able to get that if slots were completely removed, yet peripherals are still lacking. A co-processor isn't really the same. You won't pick up PCI lanes from that, so you are working with a budget of 40 lanes. This must cover all usb, thunderbolt ports, graphics, ethernet options, etc. I still don't think they'd go with that many though. Apple is always stingy on ports. I always end up with pesky dongles and things to account for, so it may affect me more than some users.

post #232 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


1. They'd have to use an NVidia or AMD IGP assuming they are certified for use with that setup and ship a second dedicated GPU.
2. Apple would never do an external connection
3. Apple might do an internal connection but it means that without the cable, the Thunderbolt ports are not Thunderbolt ports, same with option 2. Plus it needs support on the GPU.
4. Can't happen as they won't be allowed to call them Thunderbolt ports

 

 

The trade off between 2 and 3 is the ability to support any GPU vs ones designed for internal DP passthough to TB.

 

4 is simply option 2 or 3 without the wire connected and could still be called Thunderbolt in as much as 2 is allowed with the option of not making the connection:

 

"Asus is demonstrating at Computex 2012 the first add-in card to extend its motherboards with Thunderbolt support. Available in July for about $200, the ThunderboltEX PCIe card is connected to a graphics card or onboard graphics via DisplayPort. The loop-through enables users to combine Thunderbolt with a powerful graphics card. According to Asus, the Thunderbolt card also functions without the DP port connection; however, in this case, it will only be able to support regular data transfers to other Thunderbolt devices, but will not support a Thunderbolt display"

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/asus-thunderbolt-Z77-H77-pcie,15925.html

 

If there's no displayport data then there's no displayport data.  Pro users that use their own GPUs will figure this out pretty easily.

 

As far as Apple never doing an external connection I could counter with Apple would never do a rats nest of 6 TB either.

 

Quote:
The only viable option I see for TB assuming PCI slots remain is if Ivy Bridge Xeons will have IGPs.

 

 

Some of the E3 IB Xeons do but I don't believe that any of the E5s have them.  Possible though.

 

But it's not the only viable option.  Internal DP passthrough would be just fine for GPUs that support it and if not then you simply don't get video over TB just like on the ASUS card.

 

Quote:
The refresh that just happened is pretty clear evidence that this isn't going to be a straight upgrade or they would have made one already.
Why delay a proper refresh by another 1.5 years when people were already desperate for an update if it was just going to be minor?

 

 

Doesn't mean they are going to remove all the slots on the MP in 2013.

 

Quote:
The entry model would have a 6-core Xeon, a fast GPU, up to 64GB RAM, possibly a co-processor and at least 4 TB ports. The co-processor would make up for the lack of a 2nd CPU. While it might seem crippled to people who buy dual-CPU models and fill up the PCI slots with cards, to most Mac pro buyers, it will offer better value for money. The few who will be disgruntled will find a way to make it work and I think they'd still be very happy with it.

 

The "co-processor" is a ~$2500 item in LATE 2012 designed for the price insensitive HPC market.  Yields on a 50+ core chip isn't going to stellar and numbers produced will be quite small.  So by 2013 when the Mac Pro comes out the price will STILL be high meaning your "entry level" Mac Pro isn't $2,499 anymore but $4,499 with no slots and needs a $500 to $1000 expansion chassis to use any existing PCIe cards at greatly reduced speeds (since the x4 lane is shared among all the cards in the chassis).

 

Nothing you propose to remove actually costs all that much money.  What you propose to add is expensive as hell.

 

So you are proposing only replacing the somewhat affordable entry level model with your super expensive but gimped Mac Pro?  Fewer people would be pissed I guess.

 

Far better to add a $1499 mini with a quad core Xeon and ECC ram.

post #233 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

 


 

 

 

Some of the E3 IB Xeons do but I don't believe that any of the E5s have them.  Possible though.

 

But it's not the only viable option.  Internal DP passthrough would be just fine for GPUs that support it and if not then you simply don't get video over TB just like on the ASUS card.

 

This sort of goes back to what I mentioned. The Xeons based on mainstream cpus which are single package only, limited in PCI lanes, and similar to what you see over the 21-27" imac lineup do have IGPs and built in displayport connections.

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e3-benchmark-review,3258.html

 

Apple has never used these in the past. They are seen on some lighter/inexpensive workstations. I don't see where anyone got the idea that the price of a mac pro is due to lots of aluminum + PCI slots. Pricing is really driven by high markup on the mac pros. They used the daughter board + backplane configuration as it saves the cost of a dual package chipset for the single models. A few silly people on here suggested that it still has to use a dual board, which isn't really true due to that design. I doubt the volume is even as dismal as many would suggest aside from long un-updated periods. Much of the time when the notebooks / desktop sales graphs come out for reference, people fail to note that the desktops still move units, but they are merely outpaced on growth. In terms of getting a mac pro out, you need probably one person to work on hardware. Many board designs aren't produced by huge teams. You need one or two people allocated to drivers/firmware issues.

 

Look at any other workstation on the market. Reference board designs see very few annual changes. The chipset will not change, and Intel will not want to risk hiccups. There's really nothing special coming with Ivy. At the top end it migrates to 20 core machines. Below that it's really quite uninteresting. Chipset is the same. Dell, HP, etc. will most likely take the same board and add new cpus with updated firmware/bios tweaks as necessary. It's possible that Apple just changed their minds on whether or not to drop it. The sales volume is most likely still available. The issue is more likely to be one that other options have outpaced it on growth. In terms of development resources, if they can't find a couple guys to work on it, that is an Apple problem in terms of recruiting engineers.

post #234 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

This sort of goes back to what I mentioned. The Xeons based on mainstream cpus which are single package only, limited in PCI lanes, and similar to what you see over the 21-27" imac lineup do have IGPs and built in displayport connections.

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e3-benchmark-review,3258.html

 

 

I'm not suggesting an E3 in anything but a Mini.

 

IBM has some E3 based Xeon "budget workstations" in the $400 range.

post #235 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
4 is simply option 2 or 3 without the wire connected and could still be called Thunderbolt in as much as 2 is allowed with the option of not making the connection:

Asus is demonstrating at Computex 2012 the first add-in card to extend its motherboards with Thunderbolt support.

If there's no displayport data then there's no displayport data.  Pro users that use their own GPUs will figure this out pretty easily.

Internal DP passthrough would be just fine for GPUs that support it and if not then you simply don't get video over TB just like on the ASUS card.

http://www.tonymacx86.com/86-asus-thunderbolt-add-card-asrock-s-thunderbolt-motherboard-doesn-t-pass-certification.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
As far as Apple never doing an external connection I could counter with Apple would never do a rats nest of 6 TB either.

That's like saying they would never do a rats nest of USB, FW, ethernet and Mini-DP ports. It's only a rats nest if you actually connect things up to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht 
Yields on a 50+ core chip isn't going to stellar and numbers produced will be quite small.  So by 2013 when the Mac Pro comes out the price will STILL be high

I don't know where the $2500 price is coming from as they haven't even hinted at pricing yet but you can't tell that the 2013 implementation would be just as expensive. Plus, Apple wouldn't be using the card. The problem with shipping an optional PCI card is that it doesn't drive down the price.

I'd expect Apple to use an implementation that works directly with OS X and GCD and possibly even uses system memory instead of external memory. It doesn't have to be 50-cores either. A 25-core Knights Landing chip would be plenty fast to boost software performance.
post #236 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I don't know where the $2500 price is coming from as they haven't even hinted at pricing yet but you can't tell that the 2013 implementation would be just as expensive. Plus, Apple wouldn't be using the card. The problem with shipping an optional PCI card is that it doesn't drive down the price.
I'd expect Apple to use an implementation that works directly with OS X and GCD and possibly even uses system memory instead of external memory. It doesn't have to be 50-cores either. A 25-core Knights Landing chip would be plenty fast to boost software performance.

 

While it doesn't fully align with the quote here, I still have to ask, what makes you feel thunderbolt is so great? I mean you've stated before that your opinion is if existing solutions are removed things will be forced forward. My opinion would be if this is really is a niche market, it's unlikely that many of these companies would allocate the necessary development costs to completely reworking something. I still see thunderbolt as half baked. Yes it will change in a couple years. We'll need new cables. The peripherals will require new chips. Looking at it today, it solves a very specific problem with portable form factors and carries a limited number of peripherals. The only reason I feel at least 2 are required to be useful at all is that non thunderbolt devices break the chain. If you're running one as mini displayport or using a configuration that saturates a connection, it's limiting if only one port is available. I noted that a graphic regarding ivy bridge has been circulating again.

 

 

 

A problem that I see with the mac pro is that performance growth has been relatively flat around its base configuration with the cost of entry still remaining somewhat high. When it remains flat that long, it's harder for other advantages to prop it up. If Ivy doesn't make it into LGA2011 workstations prior to September/October of next year, which I think is likely, it seems unlikely that the next mac pro would use this. I think if they keep it going you're just going to see a late Sandy Bridge E rollout. I'm not  sure why something exciting is always expected. Sometimes delays are just delays.

post #237 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
what makes you feel thunderbolt is so great? I mean you've stated before that your opinion is if existing solutions are removed things will be forced forward. My opinion would be if this is really is a niche market, it's unlikely that many of these companies would allocate the necessary development costs to completely reworking something.

I really don't like redundancy. When I see a numbers row and a numpad on my keyboard, I don't like it. For years I've looked at the myriad of different ports and protocols and wished that one day there would be a more unified I/O setup that covered display data. Using magnets too, although that might not be feasible - the description is here:

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/86068/wireless-power-charging-technology-may-unplug-apples-iphone#post_1238133

It's all data so you really just need a single multi-protocol connection. Thunderbolt achieves that. That's what makes it better than all the other I/O standards besides the speed and latency.

As for PCI slots, I've never liked those because they dictate the size of the peripheral. If you need a FW800 port, you get a card that takes up an entire slot. With Thunderbolt, it's just a tiny plug.

PCI isn't plug and play either. You have to shut down your machine, open it up and install a peripheral. They used to do TV tuners this way. Once they realised how much of a pain it was to install, saw the dwindling desktop user base and got USB 2, they switched to USB.

It was a similar thing with A/V and Firewire. Video cameras could have shipped with PCI boards but it wouldn't have been a good solution. I can see Thunderbolt becoming the new standard on A/V equipment (low latency live capture over 100m optical for example) along with USB 3:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/16/blackmagic-cinema-camera-packs-feature-film-2-5k-quality-touc/

PCI slots have the speed advantage for now but it will take longer to evolve internal motherboard slots than an external port. A port change doesn't have to mean obsolete equipment but a change from PCIX to PCIe means an obsolete card. Then you have half-length slots, double-wide slots, different power limits and driver support. You still have driver support to contend with but on the Mac side, your potential audience is multiplied by 20 and you can test/develop the driver on a $600 computer.

We go through transitions over time. People didn't like IDE/PATA when it came on the scene because it wasn't as fast as SCSI but you didn't have to assign drive IDs and deal with conflicts. By the time SATA arrived in 2003, nobody had been talking about it for years.

The same has happened with optical drives being removed. The odd few jump up and shout 'hey, I was using that, you can't get rid of it' and looks around to realise he's in the small minority and can get an external drive. The entire Mac Pro audience is a tiny minority now and the people using the PCI slots for custom cards a fraction of them and people using cards other than I/O cards and cards that have TB equivalents a further fraction of them.

By the time you narrow it down to who this really affects, you will be down to an audience of less than 4 figures and there will be solutions for them in a couple of years so they can ride it out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
If Ivy doesn't make it into LGA2011 workstations prior to September/October of next year, which I think is likely, it seems unlikely that the next mac pro would use this. I think if they keep it going you're just going to see a late Sandy Bridge E rollout.

Tim Cook said Late 2013 for 'something great' so the wait will be more than a year from now. Sandy Bridge could be shipped any time so there would be no reason to say late 2013.

I was thinking about this some more and if they did use a custom co-processsor, they could probably do an iMac Pro without a GPU. They could actually use the co-processor as an IGP in the MP too for TB but its only remaining advantage over the iMac is being headless.

They could make an iMac with a Xeon chip (8-core/16-thread 77W IB for example), 4TB ports and have the co-processor run the graphics. It might not be as fast as a standard GPU but it would very fast. The current iteration can do real-time ray-tracing using 4 servers and hit 90FPS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVZDH15TRro

They don't say how many cards they use but it's suitable for graphics and fully programmable. They can update to the newer OpenGL versions without waiting on a GPU manufacturer offering support. They can support features that are exclusive to Quadro and FirePro cards. I'd prefer a Super-Cube as the headless form factor allows more usage scenarios but I think an iMac Pro would be fine too.
post #238 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I really don't like redundancy. When I see a numbers row and a numpad on my keyboard, I don't like it. For years I've looked at the myriad of different ports and protocols and wished that one day there would be a more unified I/O setup that covered display data. Using magnets too, although that might not be feasible - the description is here:
http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/86068/wireless-power-charging-technology-may-unplug-apples-iphone#post_1238133

This reminds me of how I wish all scripting APIs were python based, It's cleaner than having a dozen junk languages that came from the 1990s. Unfortunately they still have a place due to non-redundant functions. I'm not against a unified IO setup. I just do not see it happening if it costs many times what we pay for the current solution and has many hangups. It's not terribly efficient in data delivery meaning that you need much more raw bandwidth than you will use. Another option would be if all channels could be used for display bandwidth so as to be able to support current displayport protocols. I'm not saying it has to be as cheap or abundant as usb. It's just right now the implementation remains with the board manufacturers and intel has not provided a reference design for the higher end Xeon systems. At this time they aren't really pushing it as a unified solution. I've actually wondered if Apple would research wireless charging. At some point people may view consumer grade computer systems with wires as archaic. Unfortunately wireless standards for such things remain terribly inefficient. Wireless standards for usb and displayport were developed years ago. Neither has gained any real market adoption.

 

This is still one of the most detailed responses you've ever written to one of my posts :D. Thank you for that.

 

 

 

Quote:
PCI slots have the speed advantage for now but it will take longer to evolve internal motherboard slots than an external port. A port change doesn't have to mean obsolete equipment but a change from PCIX to PCIe means an obsolete card. Then you have half-length slots, double-wide slots, different power limits and driver support. You still have driver support to contend with but on the Mac side, your potential audience is multiplied by 20 and you can test/develop the driver on a $600 computer.
We go through transitions over time. People didn't like IDE/PATA when it came on the scene because it wasn't as fast as SCSI but you didn't have to assign drive IDs and deal with conflicts. By the time SATA arrived in 2003, nobody had been talking about it for years.
The same has happened with optical drives being removed. The odd few jump up and shout 'hey, I was using that, you can't get rid of it' and looks around to realise he's in the small minority and can get an external drive. The entire Mac Pro audience is a tiny minority now and the people using the PCI slots for custom cards a fraction of them and people using cards other than I/O cards and cards that have TB equivalents a further fraction of them.


I think getting anything close to what you'd like to see would require more backing from intel as well. If you recall last year many companies were complaining about the lack of an SDK for much of the year. I'm unsure how development was conducted on some of the early products, but it was noted. PCI-X is something Apple dropped really early even though the reference board designs all supported 1x PCI-X. Dell and some of the others maintained them for backward compliance. It was more of an Apple thing. I don't remember the initial SCSI implementations very well. Wasn't IDE /PATA implemented to cut costs including those around development? I see thunderbolt as something Intel would really need to push. Right now you can get a better ratio of cost : performance from mini sas on the high end (back to SCSI :D) or cheaper products via usb3. A big thing would just be including it in more machines and ensuring backward compatibility with future plug generations like we have with usb. Something I truly abhor is e-waste, so I like things that can remain useful to someone as long as possible, even if it's not the original owner. Some people complain when their macbook pros are worth much less than they were last year due to the rMBP. I don't see how it matters. They're still very useful. If they're only a year old, someone else will gladly use them. People just need to get over the way they view macs as investments.

 

 

Quote:
By the time you narrow it down to who this really affects, you will be down to an audience of less than 4 figures and there will be solutions for them in a couple of years so they can ride it out.
Tim Cook said Late 2013 for 'something great' so the wait will be more than a year from now. Sandy Bridge could be shipped any time so there would be no reason to say late 2013.
I was thinking about this some more and if they did use a custom co-processsor, they could probably do an iMac Pro without a GPU. They could actually use the co-processor as an IGP in the MP too for TB but its only remaining advantage over the iMac is being headless.
They could make an iMac with a Xeon chip (8-core/16-thread 77W IB for example), 4TB ports and have the co-processor run the graphics. It might not be as fast as a standard GPU but it would very fast. The current iteration can do real-time ray-tracing using 4 servers and hit 90FPS:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVZDH15TRro
They don't say how many cards they use but it's suitable for graphics and fully programmable. They can update to the newer OpenGL versions without waiting on a GPU manufacturer offering support. They can support features that are exclusive to Quadro and FirePro cards. I'd prefer a Super-Cube as the headless form factor allows more usage scenarios but I think an iMac Pro would be fine too.


A couple years isn't that bad to ride out, but you're drifting away from facts again with the concept of a 77W 8 core IB chip. None exist. The 8-10 core chips are supposedly quite hot, just like Sandy. 77W is the cap on the desktop chips, but the the mini-server chips go a bit higher. Ivy Bridge EP with 10 cores at the high end will be much hotter. There are estimates of tdp as high as 150+ W. The downside i've mentioned before about building such a thing into an imac is that you end up with a totally different design anyway. The boards are totally different, and none of the reference board designs are likely to be appropriate for such a machine. This means they would have quite a lot of work just to produce such an item. I'm not sure what the issue with OpenGL versions is here. Cards on the market do offer support for newer OpenGL versions than you have under Mountain Lion.

 

I have no idea how costly those co-processor cards will be. Given that they seem to be intel's response to tesla computing, they wouldn't have to be that cheap to find a market. That video made me laugh. The comments are even funnier. Note that it's not the notebook doing the rendering work there, but I really do like that they raytraced wolfenstein. That is just so silly. It required a server with 4 knights ferry cards to feed the laptop. They're not housed within it. I just really like the concept of raytraced wolfenstein.

post #239 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
It's not terribly efficient in data delivery meaning that you need much more raw bandwidth than you will use.

I'm thinking eventually there won't be an issue of bandwidth allocation. Think of a single optical channel that operates at 1Tbit/s. It gets split into 5 ports and these ports would be tiny dots around the size of an earphone jack. There can be a magnetic ring round them that can be used to hold it in place and provide power like magsafe. The plug ends would be circular with no wrong way to connect them. Bandwidth is shared across all ports and 1Tbit/s for all of them is a lot. The circular design would make the magnetic connection stronger to avoid accidental disconnects and the wires could be pretty thin, especially ones that didn't require power. This can even replace headphone jacks so you get optical audio quality and no broken jacks. It would have a simple in-line converter for 3.5mm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
Right now you can get a better ratio of cost : performance from mini sas on the high end (back to SCSI) or cheaper products via usb3.

I don't think a unified solution is possible with electrical connections but optical is just a light signal so a multi-protocol optical connection would automatically be universal because it just needs a basic connector. For now, the closest we will get to unification is Thunderbolt + USB 3, which I think is fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
A couple years isn't that bad to ride out, but you're drifting away from facts again with the concept of a 77W 8 core IB chip. None exist. The 8-10 core chips are supposedly quite hot, just like Sandy. 77W is the cap on the desktop chips, but the the mini-server chips go a bit higher.

They don't have to use the higher powered chips though. Apple already makes the decision they don't want to offer the faster CPUs. They could even stick with a 6-core. The co-processor would make up the performance lost from having more full Xeon cores.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
The downside i've mentioned before about building such a thing into an imac is that you end up with a totally different design anyway. The boards are totally different, and none of the reference board designs are likely to be appropriate for such a machine.

HP managed to put a Xeon in their AIO Z1 so it's possible. It might be a pretty expensive machine though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I have no idea how costly those co-processor cards will be. Given that they seem to be intel's response to tesla computing, they wouldn't have to be that cheap to find a market.

The PCI boards might be expensive but they are being sold to a very small group of people and they are standalone products with their own memory and packaging and run Linux OS. Apple would get the chips from Intel and put them on the motherboard and have them use system memory as well as run OS X processes directly. Although the MP audience is small, it'll still be 100k units per quarter, which is probably among the higher orders for these kind of chips.

If you think of a single supercomputer installation, they'd order a few thousand PCI cards. The amount of those kind of installations worldwide is very small. NVidia Tesla launched 2007. This article here says only 150,000 units total have been shipped:

http://vr-zone.com/articles/how-the-geforce-gtx-690-is-a-prime-example-of-nvidia-reshaped-/15786.html#ixzz1uOIhM4xQ

Even the world's 2nd fastest supercomputer only has 7,168 Tesla GPUs. Compare total Tesla units over 3 years to Apple shipping 150,000 machines with a co-processor in 3 months and they can easily get the prices down. In an iMac, it's even better because that's Apple's best selling desktop.
post #240 of 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I'm thinking eventually there won't be an issue of bandwidth allocation. Think of a single optical channel that operates at 1Tbit/s. It gets split into 5 ports and these ports would be tiny dots around the size of an earphone jack. There can be a magnetic ring round them that can be used to hold it in place and provide power like magsafe. The plug ends would be circular with no wrong way to connect them. Bandwidth is shared across all ports and 1Tbit/s for all of them is a lot. The circular design would make the magnetic connection stronger to avoid accidental disconnects and the wires could be pretty thin, especially ones that didn't require power. This can even replace headphone jacks so you get optical audio quality and no broken jacks. It would have a simple in-line converter for 3.5mm.
I don't think a unified solution is possible with electrical connections but optical is just a light signal so a multi-protocol optical connection would automatically be universal because it just needs a basic connector. For now, the closest we will get to unification is Thunderbolt + USB 3, which I think is fine.
 

I don't think thunderbolt will displace the use of fibre channel HBAs and mini-SAS at the moment. There are a lot of existing things using mini-SAS with greater bandwidth, and it's a very small connector. I agree a universal one would be great. I just don't see it as something that will be out soon, especially as the current one has to provide more bandwidth to make up for inefficiencies in delivery. It'll be interesting to see what it's like when they make a true optical version, but costs might be an issue for now. The cost of cabling is also important if you want to reach a really broad market. Intel seemed concerned about this as they did mention it would come down to how much bandwidth people were willing to pay for. I still see it as thunderbolt kool-aid for now. Intel likes to propagate far out numbers, and I don't really trust them.

 

 

Quote:

 

They don't have to use the higher powered chips though. Apple already makes the decision they don't want to offer the faster CPUs. They could even stick with a 6-core. The co-processor would make up the performance lost from having more full Xeon cores.
HP managed to put a Xeon in their AIO Z1 so it's possible. It might be a pretty expensive machine though.

I think you may not have looked at HP's hardware specifications. HP has a big workstation market. This was somewhat aimed at the lighter end of it. They're defined by features and serviceability in an AIO rather than raw power. The most powerful cpu is an E3-1280. It's one of the lighter Sandy Bridge cpus rather than Sandy Bridge E. Sandy Bridge E may have been too hot. Note that when you opt for one of the Xeons, integrated graphics stops being a configuration option. I think their entry configuration is pretty bleh for what it costs. It appears to be beautifully engineered, yet starting with an i3 and Intel HD2000 graphics is really sub par for its price. Configured to the minimum specs I'd personally want pushes it to around $4k. Some of their upgrade steps are oddly structured. A Quadro 1000m is around $400 for a very cheap card. The 3000m is only a couple hundred more. The 4000m  is about $600 on top of that, and that's where you're really into the performance of a lower workstation card. It still wouldn't perform at the level of a desktop Quadro which retails for around $700-800.  Anything below the 3000m is pretty bad for the market HP seems to want (I'm assuming CAD design market). That Xeon isn't like the ones in the Mac Pro. It's based on desktop parts. You get 20 PCI lanes total. The Ivy version also tops out at 4 cores. Haswell is unlikely to up the cores. It's an architectural change rather than a die shrink, and processors of that class tend to chase ghz more than cores. In the case of high end Sandy E, the 8 core units are still clocked lower. It's just that the change in architecture allowed them to be clocked at a rate that wouldn't appear laughably low. Anyway I was just trying to offer some perspective on that. I don't think a 6 core will be possible next year in that socket type for the Z1 or the imac.

 

Quote:
The PCI boards might be expensive but they are being sold to a very small group of people and they are standalone products with their own memory and packaging and run Linux OS. Apple would get the chips from Intel and put them on the motherboard and have them use system memory as well as run OS X processes directly. Although the MP audience is small, it'll still be 100k units per quarter, which is probably among the higher orders for these kind of chips.
If you think of a single supercomputer installation, they'd order a few thousand PCI cards. The amount of those kind of installations worldwide is very small. NVidia Tesla launched 2007. This article here says only 150,000 units total have been shipped:
http://vr-zone.com/articles/how-the-geforce-gtx-690-is-a-prime-example-of-nvidia-reshaped-/15786.html#ixzz1uOIhM4xQ
Even the world's 2nd fastest supercomputer only has 7,168 Tesla GPUs. Compare total Tesla units over 3 years to Apple shipping 150,000 machines with a co-processor in 3 months and they can easily get the prices down. In an iMac, it's even better because that's Apple's best selling desktop.

NVidia may not ship that many of them, but the margins are most likely quite high. It was interesting R&D on their part. They leveraged in on cost and power consumption. It's not to say that tesla cards are cheap. It's just that for NVidia's market, the comparison was what that kind of power would cost if powered by x86 cores from intel. That was a cool article overall. I've always liked NVidia's way of thinking. I like AMD too. Both are smaller companies relative to their competition, and they come out with some very cool ideas. While I could see such a thing bringing prices down assuming enough capacity exists to turn out this many, I don't think Apple would be the one to make such a bold move in the workstation market. I'm still wondering where you saw a late 2013 quote. The only ones I can turn up are quite ambiguous and merely point to 2013 without even truly confirming a mac pro.

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