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Future of Mac Pro - Page 5

post #161 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

I do understand that designers feel they have to emulate the current design when brainstorming on future Apple hardware directions.
I don't see the point in emulating the old design either. That doesn't mean handle wouldn't be handy though.
Quote:
But seriously, a Cube that size and weight doesn't have any need for handles, and so Ive won't allow any.

I'm actually thinking due cast housing for the Mac Pro replacement. That is get ride of the sheetmetal all together. A die casting would offer a new look and a lot of freedom in design. Done right it could also make for a rugged if maybe heavy chassis.

I'm still thinking any chassis they come up with will need to be easily rack mountable and probably no more than 3U high, 4U at the outside. It should be fairly easy to come up with a good looking design that can be used in multiple ways according to the users needs.
post #162 of 209

Why is Apple not even mentioning any new concepts for the Mac Pro at all? They seem to shy away from this.
 

post #163 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

Why is Apple not even mentioning any new concepts for the Mac Pro at all? They seem to shy away from this.
 

 

 

Apple seems more secretive than the CIA or NAS.  Rarely do they tip their hand before announcing something, other than to say they are working on some great stuff.

 

 

For the MacPro, Tim Cook did come out and say they have something amazing for later in 2013...

 

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post #164 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Just looked at the Apple Store. It is difficult to fathom that Apple could allow sales of the current Pro for the next 6-9 months.

 

USB3 can always be added later, but not having Thunderbolt on board really does make these machines kind of disposable.

 

If Cook knew the upgrade was going to take a year or more, why didn't they just drop first-gen Thunderbolt in last fall?

 

I think buyers of the 2012-13 Mac Pros will be the first Pro buyers to actually regret their purchase.


I think I missed this post before. There is no new thunderbolt upgrade this year, and Ivy Bridge E5s are not likely to make thunderbolt any easier than it was with Sandy. The speculation on this can be attributed to overly active imagination coupled with lack of a new machine from Apple. It's unlikely that the chipset will change to accommodate usb3 as well, but every other oem managed to add it in with their sandy bridge E5 offerings. If they want to include either of these things, it will fall on Apple to do so. I can't think of any practical reason they skipped Sandy other than cancelling prior development plans. It doesn't make a lot of sense as their board design could go for Sandy + Ivy. This would push it to Ivy alone with the possibility of Sandy remnants to fill in missing E5 cpu options. It has happened before. Note how the current mac pro still has one of the original 2009 nehalem cpus in its lineup.

post #165 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM View Post


Bang on the nail, hmm ! A very concise summation of the workstation at the moment.
My concern is that I can see Apple dropping the MacPro for those very reasons - just not enough potential. But I want them to stick with it so the OS will still support the higher end configurations. If they drop the MP, what else would drop out of the OS over time ?

I couldn't find the link I was looking for. There was a better one on workstation shipments from last year. In spite of the delays from intel, they came out reasonably well. In spite of the graphic, I'm not sure if those deemed "mobile workstations" are included in the comparison. These numbers are much less meaningful to Apple than they are to Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc as they likely represent minimal growth to Apple. I don't really try to predict what they will drop from their product offerings.

post #166 of 209
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

But seriously, a Cube that size and weight doesn't have any need for handles, and so Ive won't allow any.

 

How will we pick it up? It'll just be a perfectly smooth, ungrippable surface. 


But no, you're right. No handles needed. I'm not sure that I buy it needing to be this freaking small (and if they made it that small I'd have to start looking around for other options to fit my needs), but if they did do it, I see it being exactly like a Mac Mini, except as tall as it is square. 

post #167 of 209
I think some of the mock ups posted look good and pretty much all have their merits.
Personally, I go with the wiz's rack concept. I think that offers the best way forward.
Apple could accomodate all users and third party hardware with that. Modular in a strong chassis that could be added to. Base model that can expand as you need, with a couple of higher end options. Even if they didn't go full width but went half that could still look great.

It would also clearly differentiate the product line.
That's what I would hope for.

(Always loved the look of the xServe RIP)
Edited by RobM - 1/28/13 at 9:31am
post #168 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 
But seriously, a Cube that size and weight doesn't have any need for handles, and so Ive won't allow any.

While I can see handles being useful to an extent on such an expensive machine, I'd agree that they would mostly be aesthetic design elements and Ive does try to keep things as minimal as possible. That was why I tried to mockup the seamless plastic from the G4 Cube in the aluminum style but I didn't want it to end up looking like a subwoofer, which I think it does.

I also don't like the perfectly squared-off design shown in the centre of the image of the 3 cubes side-by-side. It doesn't have much character to it, no personality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sH2Jg5soZig#t=22s

If they were doing a radical redesign, I'd expect Ive will go through a number of iterations and the best one will stand out. The use of a better cooling solution is critical to the smaller design. If their engineers can't make it viable, they have to stick with the big box just because of the heatsink size.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister 
For the MacPro, Tim Cook did come out and say they have something amazing for later in 2013...

He just said 'something really great'. If you got a new haircut and someone said it was 'really great', it wouldn't fill you with much confidence. Maybe he's just trying to downplay it but the safest bet is still them doing almost nothing to the design at all and just dropping Ivy Bridge EP in with modern GPUs and USB 3.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
There is no new thunderbolt upgrade this year

There is the new Redwood Ridge controller but Falcon Ridge is the faster one. Apple could get it early but the peripherals would still have the older controller.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
It's unlikely that the chipset will change to accommodate usb3

It's Ivy Bridge EP, it'll have USB 3.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil 
if they made it that small I'd have to start looking around for other options to fit my needs

I take it you mean from a storage point of view? It should hold 2x 3.5" drives up to 4TB each and I'd say 2xSSD blades up to 1.5TB. There's no reason it couldn't hold the fastest desktop GPU - they are only about 200W maximum. With one half-length PCI 3 slot, it allows any kind of PCI expansion. It also allows up to a 10-core CPU. It's 1/6th the size while being more powerful and only lacking minor things vs the huge box.

It won't quite have the bravado of the big box that gets attached to the user but it would be able to do the same job. The same work getting done with less bravado seems like a good setup to me.
post #169 of 209

Personally, I don't care about the size. I'm actually fine if they use the same box, as long as the internals are up to date and it's affordable.

 

The limitations of this iMac are getting on my nerves, and the hard drive warranty issue simply made things worse.

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post #170 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



It's Ivy Bridge EP, it'll have USB 3.
 

I'd fully expect to see USB 3 on machines that ship in the current year, but where did you read that this would be chipset native? For reference EP = E5s. EN (E3) is based on the "mainstream" chip designs, so that came out last year. EX (E7) is only used in servers. They rarely change EP chipsets after one cycle. Did you read something different? I expect it will continue to use X79, and I haven't read about any replacements to this.

 

 

Quote:
He just said 'something really great'. If you got a new haircut and someone said it was 'really great', it wouldn't fill you with much confidence. Maybe he's just trying to downplay it but the safest bet is still them doing almost nothing to the design at all and just dropping Ivy Bridge EP in with modern GPUs and USB 3.

I guess it depends on how long they intend to keep something in that spot. I actually got a comment like that on a haircut a while back. I chopped off the long crazy hair, and the receptionist said it looked great. That immediately made me paranoid even though I liked it prior to the statement. It was a great haircut, but the comment still had the effect you just mentioned.

post #171 of 209
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
I take it you mean from a storage point of view? It should hold 2x 3.5" drives up to 4TB each and I'd say 2xSSD blades up to 1.5TB. There's no reason it couldn't hold the fastest desktop GPU - they are only about 200W maximum. With one half-length PCI 3 slot, it allows any kind of PCI expansion. It also allows up to a 10-core CPU. It's 1/6th the size while being more powerful and only lacking minor things vs the huge box.

 

I suppose if I move things around locally I could get my four drives cut down to two. By moving my Time Machine backup to just my AirPort, basically. But then I'll need another one somewhere…

 

And wouldn't a half-length slot limit the GPUs it could use?

post #172 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I'd fully expect to see USB 3 on machines that ship in the current year, but where did you read that this would be chipset native? I expect it will continue to use X79, and I haven't read about any replacements to this.

You're right, still USB 2 on Ivy Bridge EP chipsets so they'd have to use a separate controller:

http://technorati.com/technology/article/x79-the-last-intel-enthusiast-platform/
http://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/us/en/chipsets/server-chipsets/server-chipset-c600.html

http://wccftech.com/intels-leaked-roadmap-shows-ivy-bridgeepen-processors-12-cores-30mb-cache-130w-tdp/

Only 2x 6G SATA ports too. That doesn't sound 'really great'. I don't suppose HDDs need SATA 6G but it limits the performance of SSDs put into those bays. They can't just have USB 2, especially without Thunderbolt. It sounds like Intel really wants to get out of that market entirely but why bother making the chips so fast?

The 10-core CPU is noted as being 70W, that would fit in an iMac. It would be nice if the only cost in going up to these Xeon chips was the processor itself and you get the benefits of the desktop chipsets with Thunderbolt and USB 3.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil 
And wouldn't a half-length slot limit the GPUs it could use?

It would limit it to ones Apple supplies mostly but that's usually the case now anyway. Ideally (for them) they'd solder the GPUs in forcing people to upgrade.
post #173 of 209

A machine that converts easily from desktop to rack top should be fairly easy to accomplish.   The electronics industry does it all the time with portable instruments that can be racked mounted.   Half width would be versatile but I could see Apple going with an odd size relative to rack spacing, 12" or so would allow for a significant amount of space that can lead to a nice cube looking desktop.  I doubt they would go full width as that would go against a design parameter which I believe would be a lower cost.  

 

XServes problem was a lack of buyers and maybe expansion capability.   It was a great server only platform but couldn't really draw customers who needed a more flexible machine.   At least Apple never marketed it such that non server users took an interest.  Functionality is huge consideration for pro users.      My idea revolves around a platform that easily morphs into a machine suitable for a wide array of users.   No idea is perfect but Apple needs to reduce the resistance that the current design creates with respect to Mac Pro sales.  The more people that can say, ahh that will do the job for me and it is reasonably priced, the better.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM View Post

I think some of the mock ups posted look good and pretty much all have their merits.
Personally, I go with the wiz's rack concept. I think that offers the best way forward.
Apple could accomodate all users and third party hardware with that. Modular in a strong chassis that could be added to. Base model that can expand as you need, with a couple of higher end options. Even if they didn't go full width but went half that could still look great.

It would also clearly differentiate the product line.
That's what I would hope for.

(Always loved the look of the xServe RIP)
post #174 of 209

I wouldn't dismiss the idea that Intel and Apple are working on a solution to the new Mac Pro chipset problem.  Intel has become awfully secretive of late, this could reflect an influence from Apple to keep future technologies out of the public eye.   So an IB chipset with USB 3 support could be possible.    What I do know is impossible, or certainly ill advised, is Apple releasing a new Mac Pro without USB3.  

 

The lack of SATA ports isn't a huge issue if Apple goes to a SSD in a PCI-Express interfaced card.    Of course there are a limited number of PCI ports for any given chip sets but Apple can reallocate PCI lanes and reduce lane usage via an upgrade to PCI Express.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


You're right, still USB 2 on Ivy Bridge EP chipsets so they'd have to use a separate controller:

http://technorati.com/technology/article/x79-the-last-intel-enthusiast-platform/
http://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/us/en/chipsets/server-chipsets/server-chipset-c600.html

http://wccftech.com/intels-leaked-roadmap-shows-ivy-bridgeepen-processors-12-cores-30mb-cache-130w-tdp/

Only 2x 6G SATA ports too. That doesn't sound 'really great'. I don't suppose HDDs need SATA 6G but it limits the performance of SSDs put into those bays. They can't just have USB 2, especially without Thunderbolt. It sounds like Intel really wants to get out of that market entirely but why bother making the chips so fast?

The 10-core CPU is noted as being 70W, that would fit in an iMac. It would be nice if the only cost in going up to these Xeon chips was the processor itself and you get the benefits of the desktop chipsets with Thunderbolt and USB 3.
It would limit it to ones Apple supplies mostly but that's usually the case now anyway. Ideally (for them) they'd solder the GPUs in forcing people to upgrade.

It is pretty amazing to think about ten cores at 70 watts.    However the GPU issue is still a mystery in as we don't know how Apple will deal with the TB hardware.    A soldered in GPU may simply be one solution to the technical problem TB creates.    Custom GPU cards are another solution as is simply giving up on the video support on the TB interfaces.  

 

In any event I suspect Apple and Intel are in bed together so to speak with this new Mac Pro design.   It just seems odd that Intel has become so quiet lately with respect to some of their initiatives.  They have for example become very quiet with respect to chips for super computing.  

post #175 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


 It sounds like Intel really wants to get out of that market entirely but why bother making the chips so fast?
 

I disagree here. These chips are shared between servers and workstations. In both cases intel tends to be very conservative in favor of stability. Note how many things pushed them back already. They have high margins and limited competition in this segment. As I mentioned the chipsets tend to be one for every two cycles. This allows for some amount of stability and controls costs for motherboard manufacturers who must overcome fixed development costs in a lower volume segment. Other workstation vendors all shipped usb3 with sandy bridge ep workstations, so it's not impossible. The further up you go, the more conservative intel remains. If you look at the EX lines, they only seem to show on die shrink years. The last one was Westmere. There is no Sandy Bridge EX. Of course those only appear in servers. I think you're reading into this on the false assumption that these only appear in workstation use.

 

I forgot to add, it might fit in an imac in terms of tdp, yet they still won't use the same board. They didn't use Ivy Bridge E3s either. We'll see what actually happens, but I don't expect Apple to design extra logic boards just to accommodate a slightly wider range of cpu offerings in the imac. I could be wrong as they've turned less conservative on hardware choices lately.


Edited by hmm - 1/29/13 at 12:30am
post #176 of 209

While it is true that Intel is more conservative with the workstation chipsets that doesn't mean that they need to be stuck with USB 3 until the next major rev.    USB 3 would be valuable even in the workstation market and could be implemented without much external change to the chipset.  It might be out of character but I think market demand is strong enough that Intel could rev a chipset early.   

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I disagree here. These chips are shared between servers and workstations. In both cases intel tends to be very conservative in favor of stability. Note how many things pushed them back already. They have high margins and limited competition in this segment. As I mentioned the chipsets tend to be one for every two cycles. This allows for some amount of stability and controls costs for motherboard manufacturers who must overcome fixed development costs in a lower volume segment. Other workstation vendors all shipped usb3 with sandy bridge ep workstations, so it's not impossible. The further up you go, the more conservative intel remains. If you look at the EX lines, they only seem to show on die shrink years. The last one was Westmere. There is no Sandy Bridge EX. Of course those only appear in servers. I think you're reading into this on the false assumption that these only appear in workstation use.

 

I forgot to add, it might fit in an imac in terms of tdp, yet they still won't use the same board. They didn't use Ivy Bridge E3s either. We'll see what actually happens, but I don't expect Apple to design extra logic boards just to accommodate a slightly wider range of cpu offerings in the imac. I could be wrong as they've turned less conservative on hardware choices lately.

This is exactly the problem the iMac currently is the only Mac that has the volume that could even remotely justify alternative motherboards.     Conversely this is one of the reasons that I see that justifies a complete redesign of the Mac Pro, maybe even incorporating the Mac Pro and Mini concepts into the same chassis.  They need to get the volume up on the Pro chassis.   With sufficient sales of the general machine the lower volume "Pro" motherboard is less of an issues. 

 

Now I'd be the first to admit that nobody would like this.   The Mini users like their tiny foot point machine and the Pro users like the idea of their big format machines.  Both users will eventually have to realize that Apple needs to do something to assure desktops in the future.    The idea of a chassis with a low performance low power option, as seen in the Mini along with a high performance board option seems to be the only rational approach to dwindling sales.   

post #177 of 209

You are correct they are more secretive than the CIA. Who really knows when this Mac Pro will come out?They are a weird company.
 

post #178 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I disagree here. These chips are shared between servers and workstations. In both cases intel tends to be very conservative in favor of stability. Note how many things pushed them back already. They have high margins and limited competition in this segment.

The volumes here are low too though:

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23347812#.UQfDmGjdzi0

Worldwide server shipments in 2011 were just over 8 million. That's around 2 million per quarter. That makes server and workstation volume worldwide just 3 million units per quarter. That's 12 million servers and workstations vs 340 million desktop/laptops - 3.5%. Intel would be much better off trying to get these fast chips into more mainstream form factors and lower price points.

A lot of the server chips aren't priced any higher than desktop ones so their margins can't be higher in all cases.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm 
I forgot to add, it might fit in an imac in terms of tdp, yet they still won't use the same board. They didn't use Ivy Bridge E3s either. We'll see what actually happens, but I don't expect Apple to design extra logic boards just to accommodate a slightly wider range of cpu offerings in the imac. I could be wrong as they've turned less conservative on hardware choices lately.

They have to design the boards as it is though. The leaked model ID MP60 suggests they'll retain the headless form factor for now but Intel has no reason to show much interest in this segment:

http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2012/9/11/intel-desktop-roadmap-i7-3970k-coming-in-q42c-i7-4900-in-q3-2013.aspx

"Furthermore, we've been told that the company is currently planning to change its media policy on the sampling side, as Intel would like to change the perception of the company from a component provider into a solutions provider. Naturally, this leaves the high-end desktop/workstation in a bit of a tight fit, as the roadmap will show."

Intel doesn't like allowing their rival companies to profit from their work:

http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/11/02/intel.oak.trail.required.to.carry.pcie.by.ftc/

That says Intel was required by the FTC to support PCIe until at least 2016 but they obviously tried to avoid it in the Atom machines at one point. Obviously motherboard manufacturers can put in their own PCIe support but imagine when Intel goes the solutions route instead of the component route and just ships the board with the CPU stuck to it.

This is where Thunderbolt comes in because that also blocks AMD for high-end peripherals.

That's the way all the companies will go too all the way up to servers and workstations. An SoC means you have to use their tech and soldered components means you can't just plug in a new upgrade and not buy another chip from Intel. Intel doesn't want you to keep a Mac Pro for 6 years and give money to NVidia to prolong its usefulness:

http://www.zdnet.com/intel-preparing-to-put-an-end-to-user-replaceable-cpus-7000008024/

"It's a move that could make PC OEMs happy too. Soldering a component to a motherboard is cheaper than soldering a socket and then fitting that processor into the socket. The difference might only be pennies, but spread over millions of PCs, those pennies add up.

As far as the PC OEMs are concerned, killing off the PC upgrade market would be a good thing because it would push people to buy new PCs rather than upgrade their existing hardware. The PC industry is currently stagnant, partly because consumers and enterprise are making existing hardware last longer."
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 
Both users will eventually have to realize that Apple needs to do something to assure desktops in the future.

I don't think it's a good idea to have the same chassis for both Mini and Pro. The Mini is designed as a low power desktop and server. The Mac Pro is designed as a high-end machine. When you try to pull them together, you obviously try to create the mid-range tower again but they won't do that.
post #179 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

While it is true that Intel is more conservative with the workstation chipsets that doesn't mean that they need to be stuck with USB 3 until the next major rev.    USB 3 would be valuable even in the workstation market and could be implemented without much external change to the chipset.  It might be out of character but I think market demand is strong enough that Intel could rev a chipset early.   

This is exactly the problem the iMac currently is the only Mac that has the volume that could even remotely justify alternative motherboards.     Conversely this is one of the reasons that I see that justifies a complete redesign of the Mac Pro, maybe even incorporating the Mac Pro and Mini concepts into the same chassis.  They need to get the volume up on the Pro chassis.   With sufficient sales of the general machine the lower volume "Pro" motherboard is less of an issues. 

 

Now I'd be the first to admit that nobody would like this.   The Mini users like their tiny foot point machine and the Pro users like the idea of their big format machines.  Both users will eventually have to realize that Apple needs to do something to assure desktops in the future.    The idea of a chassis with a low performance low power option, as seen in the Mini along with a high performance board option seems to be the only rational approach to dwindling sales.   

They all ship with usb3. I said it's not part of the chipset. I didn't say shipping workstations don't include it. For now it's on the oems to include it. I don't expect multiple board designs in the 27" imac. I was extremely surprised they incorporated further custom display work, as it's potentially very expensive. I expected them to at least take a year of experience doing it with the retina macbook pros prior to moving up to doing so on a 27" display.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


The volumes here are low too though:

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23347812#.UQfDmGjdzi0

Worldwide server shipments in 2011 were just over 8 million. That's around 2 million per quarter. That makes server and workstation volume worldwide just 3 million units per quarter. That's 12 million servers and workstations vs 340 million desktop/laptops - 3.5%. Intel would be much better off trying to get these fast chips into more mainstream form factors and lower price points.

A lot of the server chips aren't priced any higher than desktop ones so their margins can't be higher in all cases.
They have to design the boards as it is though. The leaked model ID MP60 suggests they'll retain the headless form factor for now but Intel has no reason to show much interest in this segment:
 

 

I thought it was higher than that, but I didn't know where to find the statistic. Going back to what I said, I merely disagreed with the idea that they're trying to pull out of this market. When I mentioned different boards, it was an issue of Haswell compared to Ivy Bridge EP. I don't think they're going to offer options that cross between those two realms. They'll just figure that a number of their users will break down and eventually buy something. If it breaks too many points of compatibility, they'll wait longer, but they will still buy something unless they're already hitting bootcamp way too often.

 

 

Quote:
http://www.zdnet.com/intel-preparing-to-put-an-end-to-user-replaceable-cpus-7000008024/

"It's a move that could make PC OEMs happy too. Soldering a component to a motherboard is cheaper than soldering a socket and then fitting that processor into the socket. The difference might only be pennies, but spread over millions of PCs, those pennies add up.

 

This may not make them that happy if it pushes more support costs downstream and forces them to retain more stock to support the configurations offered as they can no longer swap out a cpu if an order changes. We shall see if it ends up being a true cost savings. I disagree that the upgrade market hits them. The upgrade crowd is more likely to just build their own machine. Most of the time to get a meaningful upgrade, they needed to change the board out anyway as cpu costs rarely plummet on a given generation.

post #180 of 209

The question may not be whether they can put USB3 onboard, but which version of USB3 will be onboard.

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post #181 of 209

I had a hard time reading that, either it is marketing BS reacting with my literal mind or my blood sugar is out of whack.   In any event it kinda looks like USB 3 is at the end of its life.    It is far to early to be turning out yet another USB standard.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

The question may not be whether they can put USB3 onboard, but which version of USB3 will be onboard.

post #182 of 209

It's confusing because instead of calling it "USB 3.1", they are calling it "USB 3.0 SuperSpeed".  In any event, 10 Gbps USB will render Thunderbolt irrelevant in the consumer space.  I'd rather see the new Mac Pros offer USB SS than TB, if it comes down to a question of either or.

post #183 of 209
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post
In any event, 10 Gbps USB will render Thunderbolt irrelevant in the consumer space.

 

Nope.

post #184 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Nope.

 

Perhaps you can illuminate us as to why a consumer would choose TB over USB 3.0 SS?  No external drive can saturate either bus, but TB costs significantly more and offers far fewer devices to choose from.

 

Most PC users who need to use a PCIe card will just buy a cheap tower.  That leaves Mac users to support TB.  It's going to wither on the vine.

post #185 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

It's confusing because instead of calling it "USB 3.1", they are calling it "USB 3.0 SuperSpeed".  In any event, 10 Gbps USB will render Thunderbolt irrelevant in the consumer space.  I'd rather see the new Mac Pros offer USB SS than TB, if it comes down to a question of either or.

There is no reason for it to be either or unless it comes to lazy engineering. With USB 3, they need to test third party chipsets either way. Without that what would they use in the next revision of the thunderbolt display?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Nope.


Thunderbolt does seem to have some adoption problems if intel views it as a mass market port. If they view it as something more like eSATA or even SAS, that's different. Increasing the speed or changing specs won't help that. I'm not confident that we'll see a lot of external PCIe devices outside of the specialty segments where these things are truly required. Note the Black Magic breakout boxes. I like things like that as they represent a complete certified solution. Any airflow and power requirements can be assessed by the engineers that design the card, and you get something that is actually certified to thunderbolt requirements. Unfortunately I don't think frequent changes will help manufacturer adoption rates.

post #186 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg 
Most PC users who need to use a PCIe card will just buy a cheap tower.

Most PC users are buying laptops so Thunderbolt is the only option for PCIe devices. It doesn't matter if it will be a popular standard, laptops are popular and Thunderbolt is the current successor to ExpressCard so it will be used where it works best and it will scale beyond 10Gbps.

By all means continue to caress your PCI slots while they and your second-hand 2009 tower are still relevant though.
post #187 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Most PC users are buying laptops so Thunderbolt is the only option for PCIe devices. It doesn't matter if it will be a popular standard, laptops are popular and Thunderbolt is the current successor to ExpressCard so it will be used where it works best and it will scale beyond 10Gbps.

By all means continue to caress your PCI slots while they and your second-hand 2009 tower are still relevant though.


I don't see a reinvigoration of PCI. I see it as mostly things tacked onto the board. Much of what used to require cards is just attached to the logic board via IO hub at this point. The idea of breaking everything out into its own little box is just as out of focus as PCIe with mass market units. The edge PCI has is that it's often cheaper and more available, but development is very low on Macs at this point. Unless you need something like a capture card, you won't find much that is stable on OSX these days.

post #188 of 209
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post
Perhaps you can illuminate us as to why a consumer would choose TB over USB 3.0 SS?  No external drive can saturate either bus, but TB costs significantly more and offers far fewer devices to choose from.

 

Daisy-chaining, displays, the fact that Thunderbolt is 10Gb/s both ways simultaneously, the endless adaptability and backward compatibility of Thunderbolt to other port types compared to USB…

post #189 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

 

Perhaps you can illuminate us as to why a consumer would choose TB over USB 3.0 SS?  No external drive can saturate either bus, but TB costs significantly more and offers far fewer devices to choose from.

 

Most PC users who need to use a PCIe card will just buy a cheap tower.  That leaves Mac users to support TB.  It's going to wither on the vine.

There is no reason why a solid state storage drive couldn't saturate USB3 or even TB for that matter.  There is a popular misconception that these ports are some how invincible and won't ever be overwhelmed by some applications.  The facts are rather the opposite each of these ports represents bandwidth limited serial ports over which data must flow, neither of them is actually a high capacity port when compared to a sixteen lane PCI Express 3 slot.  TB has the advantage of bidirectional data transfer which can be a big win at times and doesn't suffer from protocol issues like USB does.  

 

In summation each TB port gives one several advantages over USB 3.    This leads to a preference for TB in high performance applications.    Frankly this isn't much different than in the days of USB 1 or USB 2, these ports where always the low performance, low cost solutions to external connectivity.  

post #190 of 209

PCI Express slots will be around for a very long time.   There isn't a better solution on the horizon.   

 

Now that doesn't mean Apple will support PCI Express in the future.  However if they drop PCI Express completely it will be seen as a sign that Apples hardware is no longer professional use capable.   The reality is there is nothing other than PCI Express for the less than mainstream computer expansion or I/O needs. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Most PC users are buying laptops so Thunderbolt is the only option for PCIe devices. It doesn't matter if it will be a popular standard, laptops are popular and Thunderbolt is the current successor to ExpressCard so it will be used where it works best and it will scale beyond 10Gbps.

By all means continue to caress your PCI slots while they and your second-hand 2009 tower are still relevant though.
post #191 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 
The reality is there is nothing other than PCI Express for the less than mainstream computer expansion or I/O needs.

Thunderbolt is PCIe + displayport. It's not Thunderbolt vs PCIe but internal PCIe vs external. Even the group that controls the PCI spec proposed an external cable solution:

http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4217190/PCI-Express-takes-on-Thunderbolt

"The group is expected to deliver a standard system makers can implement in products before June 2013. The big issue here is proprietary versus industry standard, It's not clear third parties will have access to Thunderbolt on the same basis they get access to PCI Express."

"Apple is fine with the extra cost of the router chips, but we don’t need [the multiprotocol support] and a couple extra chips don't make business sense for us"

The only thing unique about Thunderbolt is that it uses one of the channels for display output. If they were both data, you'd get 20Gbps bi-directional or 40Gbps in 2014.

The problem with the PCI standard is there's so many competing companies. Apple and Intel are members of the group. Sometimes it's best to break away from the crowd and get the job done.

If they go the route of a PCI cable, they won't get display output and it would still need new drivers for plug and play. If Intel relinquishes control of the spec, quality control might suffer too.

If the PCI group come up with a slimmer port design and it works well, that's fine but it's going to have even worse adoption problems than TB.

But it doesn't really matter. As long as boxes like the Magma have decent support:

http://www.magma.com/thunderbolt-compatibility

and there are enough TB peripherals, all that's missing is the GPU support but Apple's machines use decent GPUs anyway and it's possible to run external GPUs and other cards over Thunderbolt with the right drivers:





The 20Gbps upgrade should get rid of bottlenecks and it just needs some driver support from the vendors.
post #192 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


If the PCI group come up with a slimmer port design and it works well, that's fine but it's going to have even worse adoption problems than TB.

You don't know what they wish to implement. I'm not even sure of Intel's strategy for thunderbolt. Do they see it as something aimed at mass market adoption? Intel never suggested it would be cheap or any kind of replacement for usb. If the PCI group was trying to come up with something that would assign an open standard that could be applied across traditional offerings and mobile devices without a high cost per unit, they could really have something. You shouldn't be hung up on thunderbolt. Beyond that much of the time I read various numbers thrown out as to future specs, yet it remains to be seen what is offered in terms of PCI lanes from top to bottom. Right now you can get 80 lanes on an E5 workstation compared to 16 on LGA1155. I don't remember how many on notebooks. It's something like 12 or 16. Thunderbolt must pull from those for both display and data in addition to other ports.

 

Quote:

But it doesn't really matter. As long as boxes like the Magma have decent support:

http://www.magma.com/thunderbolt-compatibility

and there are enough TB peripherals, all that's missing is the GPU support but Apple's machines use decent GPUs anyway and it's possible to run external GPUs and other cards over Thunderbolt with the right drivers:

GPU support is extremely unlikely, and I would recommend against suggesting that Magma solution to anyone. IPCI cards for the most part will not conform to thunderbolt's certification specs. Sonnet actually maintains a list of what has suitable drivers for their solution. That is the minimum level of support you would want. I don't see eGPUs becoming popular. You have the mini which is a budget machine, so the number of users who might go that route would be potentially limited. You have the imacs where it's unlikely to make sense over existing options unless some of the higher end desktop cards are certified. Workstation cards are more likely due to their margins, but they still aren't that likely.

 

Quote:
The 20Gbps upgrade should get rid of bottlenecks and it just needs some driver support from the vendors.

That isn't as big of a help as you think. You need a consistent standard if you want to see a lot of third parties start to develop for thunderbolt. If they're making spec changes two years in a row, this may just inhibit adoption. Manufacturers tend to hate fragmentation. With usb it's cheap to build and provides backwards compatibility with earlier versions of the standard.

post #193 of 209

As a media professional I need expansion and connectivity. No matter the amount of of native processing I'm going to need PCI slots (5-10) for external co-processing cards by various manufacturers. I'll be needing multiple Thunderbolt, Firewire, USB 2&3, and even SCSI (LTO archiving) and an obscene amount of RAM (64 Gig). The system needs to be a nexus for connectivity.

The system will be used for:

1) Audio (Both Music Recording and Film)

2) Video (Editing, FX and Colour correction for Indie Film and Video)

3) 3D (FX and 3D Printing)

4) Web and Print collateral

 

I'd be very happy with an updated design like the old IIx with it's multiple slots (NuBus in those days) An example from those day would be my ProTools system from '93

IIx with:

1 x ProTools I/O card

2 x ProTools Farm card (DSP)

3 x Sample Cell card (Sampler on a card)

1 x Video output card. 

post #194 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottglasel View Post

As a media professional I need expansion and connectivity. No matter the amount of of native processing I'm going to need PCI slots (5-10) for external co-processing cards by various manufacturers. I'll be needing multiple Thunderbolt, Firewire, USB 2&3, and even SCSI (LTO archiving) and an obscene amount of RAM (64 Gig). The system needs to be a nexus for connectivity.

Apple has never really offered that many PCI slots. You'd either end up with multiple machines, a different brand, or a different solution somewhere in there. I'm not questioning your requirements, just whether you'd be able to fulfill them that way with a Mac Pro.

post #195 of 209

The big fear I have in no PCI slots at all.  The reality is you don't need a lot of slots to configure a machine for a specific usage.   Apples problem is more of one of making those slots affordable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Apple has never really offered that many PCI slots. You'd either end up with multiple machines, a different brand, or a different solution somewhere in there. I'm not questioning your requirements, just whether you'd be able to fulfill them that way with a Mac Pro.

post #196 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The big fear I have in no PCI slots at all.  The reality is you don't need a lot of slots to configure a machine for a specific usage.   Apples problem is more of one of making those slots affordable.


It varies, but yeah it's possible to populate all available slots if you need specific editing hardware. One of the things I've noticed in the past couple years is that the only stable PCI cards left on OSX as of Mountain Lion are basically those with either higher margins or supported as part of a hardware + software solution. Some of those developers have put out thunderbolt and usb3 versions. Black Magic comes to mind. Sonnet has a list of cards with thunderbolt compliant drivers. It is possible that if you need more connections than that will support or multiple high bandwidth ports, you will soon have to look at Windows.

post #197 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The big fear I have in no PCI slots at all.

 

The advantage to USB3 moving to 10gbps is that between having faster USB3 and a Thunderbolt breakout box, 95% of users will be fine.

 

I really do think that at least one Pro option will lack any slots at all.

 

Apple has been waiting years to do something like this, and now they have the chance. They will take it.

The evil that we fight is but the shadow of the evil that we do.
Reply
The evil that we fight is but the shadow of the evil that we do.
Reply
post #198 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

 

 

The advantage to USB3 moving to 10gbps is that between having faster USB3 and a Thunderbolt breakout box, 95% of users will be fine.

 

I really do think that at least one Pro option will lack any slots at all.

 

Apple has been waiting years to do something like this, and now they have the chance. They will take it.


I expect one of these ports to end up in a form that can be used in notebooks, phones, and tablets. That is really what is needed when it comes to something appropriate for consumer devices going forward. Regardless of what the port can handle, they still have to feed it PCI lanes, so these things still rely on sufficient IO chip bandwidth.

post #199 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I think dual processor is just too expensive. The entry point is around $4000 now.

I want it to get back to this sort of thing with a single CPU:



I'm not thrilled with the aesthetics there but that's the general idea. It could have a side access panel again but it creates more superflous design and I like that this doesn't need additional parts to lift it up. The insides can be lifted out from the base so it's more seamless. The space at the bottom is for carrying it and for air flow. When it's flipped upside down, it would just have a 180 twist handle and you pull the insides out. This means you can't open it while it's on.

The current Mac Pro doesn't have hot swappable drives but they could do this from the back similar to Lacie drives if they wanted. I'd rather see dual Fusion drives though and hot swapping isn't so good with that.

When I see ads like this, I like that better than where the Pro is now:



It just feels more modern and now it doesn't have to sacrifice any functionality. The ports would be on the back and it would have a proper cooling system. I'd rather see quad 20Gbps TB ports with special connectivity but a single PCIe 3 expansion slot will offer more bandwidth and more hardware support.

The bundled GPU would be a midrange card and you'd have the option to go to the highest-end card.

It would start with 6-core Ivy Bridge EP, 8GB RAM, 1GB 8770 for $2499 (£2049)
It would go up to 10-core, 16GB RAM, 2GB 8970 for $3999 (£3299)

If there is a 12-core, it would go up to that but 10-core IB should be a bit faster than the 12-core from 2010.

 

That's sex talk, Marv'.  You know how I feel about the Cube...

 

I don't agree with your pricing.  Far too pricey to get 'mini tower' units moving.  I think we take the monitor off the iMac.  Drop the price £800 from the top end iMac (ie minus the studio display...) and you're left with a consumer tower £1200 with 680Mx gnu and an i7.  My top end iMac with 680 Mx and fusion minus display?  £1200-1400 for a Cube.  For an entry 4 core and 6 core next single cpu model up.  10 core?  2k and over.  

 

Time to add value proposition to consumer and prosumer and pro workstation cube to get unit sales going.

 

Part of me still feels the iMac has eaten the concepts lunch to a degree.  The other feels it's still valid IF they can make it more of a value proposition.

 

2k and up?  No.  Too pricey and out of time.  Too rigid.  2k for a cube?  That's worse value than the original Cube.  Original Cube pricing or lower with i7 consumer processors.  One quad.  One six core.  Rational £1200-1400 pricing.  More than fair when you think you don't get the studio monitor.  Add it and you're looking at 2k.  Pricier than an iMac.

 

10 core and higher?  2k and higher.

 

We'll see what Apple do with the Mac Pro.  They've made the iMac pricier over time.  

 

But the 'Pro' pricing needs a brain check.

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #200 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. 
2k and up?  No.  Too pricey and out of time.  Too rigid.  2k for a cube?  That's worse value than the original Cube.  Original Cube pricing or lower with i7 consumer processors.  One quad.  One six core.  Rational £1200-1400 pricing.  More than fair when you think you don't get the studio monitor.  Add it and you're looking at 2k.  Pricier than an iMac.

10 core and higher?  2k and higher.

From the buyer's point of view you're right, that lower price point would be much better with the i7 and 680MX. But Apple knows what would happen. People just end up getting a 27" Dell:

http://www.amazon.com/Dell-927M9-IPS-LED-27-Inch-LED-lit-Monitor/dp/B009H0XQPA

so they just lose the margin on the display. Selling both together means you have to take Apple's display in that price range. I'd like to see them be a bit cheaper with the Cinema Displays now. You can see from the following list, a lot of companies use very similar panels even between NEC and Eizo:

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/search.php?query=ips&select=panel

Their $999 display would be better off at $699 or $799 and they can make up some lost margin in increased volume. A more comparable Dell would be the following as the above is 1080p:

http://www.amazon.com/Dell-U2713HM-IPS-LED-CVN85-27-Inch-LED-lit/dp/B009H0XQQY

but we know Dell's margins on things are far too low so maybe the same goes for the displays.

If we assume they have 40% gross margins on the iMac, that means the $2200 model costs $1320. The $999 Cinema Display would be $599 but we know that includes the chassis and parts so the panel itself would only be a part of that. I'd say $400 is a fair estimate for the panel cost.

That would mean costs for the mid-range headless i7 machine would be $920 and to make the same margin, sold at $1533 or rounded to $1599. That's what they used to sell the G4 towers at.

The big problem there for Apple is that undercuts the entry 27". While they'd be making the same margins, it probably won't make many more sales than the equivalent iMac so Apple is losing the extra amount from the sale of the panel.

The best they could do is sell it at $1799 like the original Cube because that way there is the choice between a more powerful machine for $1799 or a slower iMac with a 27" display for $1799 and they make an even higher margin on the headless model.

I'd imagine the Mac Pro parts won't be too far off that $920 price but maybe add another $300 for the motherboard and PSU. That would make the gross margin 50%. If it was 40% like the other models, it would be closer to $2099. The cheapest they went was $2199 (~45%) so really they might have only increased their gross margin 5% putting the entry level at $2499.

I think it's a good idea for them to use the Xeon as it gives them the option to go to 12-core chips with the same motherboard. If they go with a $2499 6-core, they could maybe have an entry quad-core at the old $2199 price. It does seem like poor value next to the $2199 iMac but you'd be getting the option for more RAM, possibly a half-length PCIe 3 expansion slot or two, a replaceable GPU and easy access to storage.
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