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Future of Mac Pro - Page 2

post #41 of 209
Well
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

Quote:
Do realize that very shortly we will have chips with 12 cores and accelerators with +50 intel compatible cores. Intel is also working on other members of the Phi family with built in super computing networking and other features. Frankly we have all sorts of new technologies on the hip origin that could go into the New Mac Pro, some of these technologies could dramatically alter how the Mac Pro is seen as a pro computer. It might not be the image you have burnt into our mind but that would not make it less of a pro machine. The whole point I'm trying to make in this thread is that Apple can't build a machine for past user needs and expect it to sell or for that matter to even get people to note it. They need to build a machine that is built for the future.





Good post from Mr. Wizard here. 1wink.gif


Lemon Bon Bon.

Accept for the glaring auto correct failures. Sometimes I'm so tired I can't even see these failures. But really I have no idea where "hip origin" even came from.
post #42 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

Personally, I think Apple will keep on going with the slim thing.
I would hope that they don't become obsessed with thinnest across the product line. I don't mind it as a feature in the laptops and iMacs but desktops should be designed for functionality.
Quote:
You have 'capable' boxes.  iPads.  iPhones.  Very powerful for their size.  You have the new iMac (the most powerful iMac yet...in an even thinner enclosure...)  You have the i7 Mac Mini which, if it had the 680 MX in it...would fly off the shelves, no doubt in my mind about that.  (Blame Apple's artificial 'upsell' model for the lack of discrete gpu...which says it all.)
I continue to be amazed by my iPad 3, sure it isn't my MBP but damn it is far more handy and useful than I ever thought it would be.

When it comes to the desktop machines I find Apple artificial upswell model to be extremely frustrating. Why they can't set the Mini free is beyond me.
Quote:
...then you have the Mac Pro.  It's a big box.   An out of date big box.  People no longer need computers the size of a big room to do certain tasks.  That's why smaller beasts do the jobs that can be done easier with lighter 'mammal' computers.  eg the iPad can do 9/10 things most casual users do with their mamputer. :P
It is true that iPad continues to impress every day, however we must admit that Mac Pro users are in a different category. The need for high performance computing isn't going away anytime soon.
Quote:
Now.  The pro is wayyyyyy out of date.  Over due for a facelift and a comprehensive redesign.  The Wizard has been calling for a smaller but 'upgradable' beast.  Does a Pro still need to be that big to include a couple of drives and dual processors and a decent gpu?
I really don't think so. In fact the evidence is pretty clear.
Quote:
The current Mac Mini can 'context' an entry Mac Pro depending on which 'silly' benchmark you use.  That's Apple's fault for not upgrading the Pro?  Or is it because desktops vs laptop cpu development is flattening out.  The exponential development of laptop and in particular the iPad's power is nothing short of jaw dropping.  The recent 'iToys' humble the last generation of PPC Mac kit.  It seems the mammals are chasing down the dinosaurs.
Speaking of big animals, elephants are still useful beasts of burden. Like wise there is always a need for a computer to do heavy lifting. However the technology trends are pretty clear a massive box is no longer needed.
Quote:
So what does a Mac Pro have to include?  The same case?  Room for 2?  3?  4?  Hard drives?  2 internals?  And an external port to hook up to an array?  Gpus?  1 top of range?  Or room for SLI?  Given Apple's (and even Intel's...) recent focus on performance for watt, what does a re-imagined Pro look like given that most of the 10% (let's be generous) of really demanding tasks...for those demanding users.
Dropping support for all of those extra spindles will go a very long way to shrinking the case. For those that need the capacity Apple would be smart to offer an optional matching array or at least contract such through a third party.
Quote:
I'm plumping for software to catch up to hardware.  I'd offer a broader range of Pro.  To increase volume?  A consumer quad core with 680MX with SSD.  For the pro?  A 8 core cube with GPU that can fit into that enclosure.  A couple of SSDs HDs.  Want more power?  Buy another and cluster.  X-Grid.  About time Apple used software to redefine power and to drive sales of their 'Pro.'  For the 'Prosumer' and 'Pro.'  It would perhaps be just a little bigger than x2 Mini's one on top of the other.
Well I suspect it will be significantly bigger than a 2X Mini. However I think modular is the way of the future. In that context a Mini could be part of that cluster. While I think it is a bit late to expect Apple to rationalize the desktop line up with a better selection of models, I'm convinced that we will see a radically different Mac Pro to try to stimulate sales.
Quote:
 Access via a similar mechanism to the Cube or a screw top biscuit lid aka like the Mini.  Maybe with some go faster air vents on their somewhere.  I want it to be as stunning as the original Cube...but have the understated brilliance of the iPhone. 1wink.gif  (Give me a slate Pro...)

Want more power?  Stick an array on it.  Want more power?  External GPUs are around the corner.  Want more displays?  Use your Thunderbolt ports.  etc.  It's not like Towers have ever been all in ones.  You have bits sticking in them and out of them.  Or want more power?  Just buy another 'Cube' and pass a render over to the 'grid.'
Grid is the way to go.
Quote:
It's got to the stage where the iMac has all the power 'I' need.  (I couldn't have said that when the Bondi iMac was around.  I didn't think I'd ever see a top of the range iMac kicking around an entry Mac Pro.  Yet here we are.)
Err no iMac has all the power many need it is a poor solution for many desktop users though.
Quote:
Price a prosumer 'Pro' at £1100 (by the time you add Apple's 27 inch display, you're already at £1900!)  Quad core.  Decent GPU.  No display.  Entry 'Pro' six core at £1395 SSD/Fusion as standard.  (Yes Apple...nickle and dimers that you are...)  8 core at £1795.  With top end gpu included.  Dual Model?  Starting at 2k upward.

That's my solution.  What's yours?

Lemon Bon Bon.

Intel is under some rather extreme pressure to lower power usage in its processors. There have been rumors that Apple has put pressure on Intel to make "laptop" class processors mainstream, that is price them at more reasonable rates. Beyond that Intel's Xeon line is under pressure to also lower power usage. Not to mention ARM is having a significant impact on various Intel markets, so taken together we won't be needing a huge case in the future for processor cooling. At least not in a base model or better yet a cube (XMac) type machine.

We as users are already seeing some of the benefits of these Lower power processors in the iMac and Mini. Interestingly Intel is already talking about power improvements to this series of processors. These power savings extended to the Xeon line will result in more compact hardware.
post #43 of 209

I don't know.  You can say "Benchmark whatever"  but a Benchmark of ~30,000-40,000, like some Hackintosh are reporting, is pretty impressive compared to ~10,000,  I mean you are talking Code/Video rips that take 10 minutes or 60 minutes take, 2.5 minutes to 15 minutes respectively.  It's like the old school DVD burning days; A DVD used to take an hour to burn, now you can burn in 5 minutes?!  4x the RAW speed is a TRUE 4x's and that counts.

 

If it takes a BIG case so you can have 2 huge heat sinks, for those two processors, a huge power supply for the 4 drives, and a flexible huge video card, I am all in!!!

 

The reason why a Mac Pro is so large is because it has the Latest and Greatest at the Moment Frozen in the Box.  Then of course as the years go by the CPU's that are/get smaller and the video cards (chips) get's micro-ed and able to throw in on board, with no heat sink practically, require less power etc.  MacBooks are always around 3-4 years behind the Mac Pro in speed.  A MacMini is basically a MacBook Pro in a box.  So you have to consider what you want.

 

Do you want Latest and Greatest, in a Box that will be outdated in 2 years, by a Mac Mini? if not wait 2-3 years and then by your Mac Mini.  By that time tho Apple may release another Mac Pro 2016 or something... so go figure...

 

Laters...

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post #44 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezwits View Post

I don't know.  You can say "Benchmark whatever"  but a Benchmark of ~30,000-40,000, like some Hackintosh are reporting, is pretty impressive compared to ~10,000,  I mean you are talking Code/Video rips that take 10 minutes or 60 minutes take, 2.5 minutes to 15 minutes respectively.  It's like the old school DVD burning days; A DVD used to take an hour to burn, now you can burn in 5 minutes?!  4x the RAW speed is a TRUE 4x's and that counts.

 

 

Benchmarking is nothing more than drag racing cache loads. It is really misleading at times without further testing based on use cases, although if you were building your own, it's easy to just go with a 3770k if you aren't using an LGA2011 socket type. Once you leave the mainstream parts in favor of Xeons, optimization becomes more significant.

 

 

Quote:

If it takes a BIG case so you can have 2 huge heat sinks, for those two processors, a huge power supply for the 4 drives, and a flexible huge video card, I am all in!!!

 

The reason why a Mac Pro is so large is because it has the Latest and Greatest at the Moment Frozen in the Box.  Then of course as the years go by the CPU's that are/get smaller and the video cards (chips) get's micro-ed and able to throw in on board, with no heat sink practically, require less power etc.  MacBooks are always around 3-4 years behind the Mac Pro in speed.  A MacMini is basically a MacBook Pro in a box.  So you have to consider what you want.

 

Do you want Latest and Greatest, in a Box that will be outdated in 2 years, by a Mac Mini? if not wait 2-3 years and then by your Mac Mini.  By that time tho Apple may release another Mac Pro 2016 or something... so go figure...

 

Laters...

 

Actually video cards have been a bit mixed. We have seen some decent cards focused on lower power consumption, yet the top cards frequently break the 200W barrier. The sub $100 card market is the part that's mostly dead. Integrated graphics will continue to eat it.

post #45 of 209
Thread Starter 

If I were running Apple, I would do a number of things.  I would work to get ARM chips faster and see if you can get to x86 speeds.  I would also be pushing Intel to bring their wattage needs down for the x86 yet still keep up the speed.  No need to only pick one solution and hope it works.  Keep an eye on both and use what works.

 

The big surprise will be the Xeon Phi family.  Again, Apple should look at all three solutions and use what works.  However, a fourth solution is an Apple custom chip built like Xeon Phi but using ARM cores.  If Intel is doing it why not Apple?  If you are going to jump to a whole new architecture, why not one you can control?  Would it work?  I don't know.  However, I'd at least do R&D to try and get it to work.  So Apple should be looking at all four possible solutions.  I'd be shocked it this isn't exactly what Apple is doing.

 

As for modular expansion, the 50+ cores of the Xeon Phi may be great but they cannot just scale to 100, 150, 200 as you Xgrid modular units together.  The inter-chip communication is not going to be as good as the intra-chip communication.  You may be able to do Xgrid between computers but there will be a big communication latency issue compared to the 50+ cores on a single chip.  I do not know these latency numbers but I am fairly confident the inter vs. intra communication latency would be a big difference.

 

That is why I do not see Apple's new MacPro to be primarily modular.  If somebody can overcome this Xgrid latency issues then of course I see a modular design as the way to go.  However, I hear all these people propose a modular design and nobody dealing with the latency communication problem.

 

So I still see the new MacPro as pretty much a Xeon Phi type solution, maybe even built around ARMs not x86.  I have no problems with the current case if they could just squeeze it a hair to make it rack mountable easily.  Give it a good graphics card, multiple drive bays that can be SSD, HDD, or the new hybrid drive.  Keep it quiet and cool.  I don't think it needs expansion bays.  GIve it lighting, thunderbolt, and a few other IO options for expansion if you need it.  If you want to cut the drive bays out, then at least give multiple thunderbolt ports and PCI lanes for fast data.

 

The one factor it must have is blazing speed - a leap or two forward in processing power.  And software to go with it.  Give me Final Cut X, Motion X, Logic X, and Aperture X all built to take advantage of the 50+ coprocessors.  That is what I expect to see.  That is where Apple can blow past the competition.  In the year or two (or three) it take the competition to catch up, Apple will have overtaken the whole market.

 

As a bonus, I would love to see Apple also buy out Pixelmator and have it brought up to Photoshop quality and have it ready for the 50+ coprocessors.  I would love to see iWeb brought back but with an updated pro version also.  Apple needs to have all the main Content Creation software in house and ready to go with the new MacPro. I just think Adobe moves too slow compared to what Apple can do and needs.

 

The other wild card I could see is a screen that is also multi touch.  I am sure Apple is and has been doing a lot of testing with this.  If it can work, then I say do it.  If not, then forget about it.  Maybe there is even a way to give us both and let us choose how we will use it.

 

I see many other opportunities for Apple to expand and leverage their hardware and software.  Just as Avid has digital audio consoles, I'd love to see Apple do the same - or at least partner with somebody like Apogee to do this.  This is what Apple's competitors are doing and I really think Apple needs to expand into these areas. Some current consoles or music equipment run Windows underneath or even Linux.  Apple needs to do a version of their OS that can run embedded - call it eOS.  Let third parties go to town with this power.  Apple needs to grab this potential market too.

 

I also think there are big things Apple can improve with the operating system.  Bring back Open Doc.  We finally have enough RAM and processor power to make it work.  Apple has the core libraries and the application code to make it happen.  Integrate the Aperture browser into the Finder.  Same with iMovie video browser and iTunes audio browser into Finder.  When you look at a datatype, have the OS in the background load in the editor for that datatype.  If you want to edit, the application is already to go.  If you decide not to edit, the editor gets deleted.  Have the whole new Finder be document driven not application driven.

 

Actually I don't want to see them bring all this into the Finder as much as the Finder goes away and each application become a custom browser for each datatype.  Just like the current Finder, these data-specific browsers always run in the background ready for whenever you need them.  No more crappy Media Browse within another app.  You need a photo, you get the full blown photo browser.  You need an audio file, you have iTunes.  Add browsers that would be metadata centric not file location centric.  Spotlight for everything.  Keywords a plenty.

 

Apple has the tools.  They have the hardware, the OS, the software.  I think it is time to bring the MacPro into the next century.


Edited by visionary - 12/11/12 at 10:36pm
post #46 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionary View Post

If I were running Apple...

 

I also think there are big things Apple can improve with the operating system.  Bring back Open Doc.  We finally have enough RAM and processor power to make it work.  Apple has the core libraries and the application code to make it happen...

 

OpenDoc would be revolutionary if they designed it from the ground up and made a complete OS around modular code like that, for the 2010s+  I tried getting mine to work over and over in the 90s with System 7 Pro. :P

 

Laters...

Adobe Systems - "Preventing the Case-Sensitive revolution everyday..."
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Adobe Systems - "Preventing the Case-Sensitive revolution everyday..."
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post #47 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionary View Post

If I were running Apple, I would do a number of things.  I would work to get ARM chips faster and see if you can get to x86 speeds.  I would also be pushing Intel to bring their wattage needs down for the x86 yet still keep up the speed.  No need to only pick one solution and hope it works.  Keep an eye on both and use what works.

The big surprise will be the Xeon Phi family.  Again, Apple should look at all three solutions and use what works.  However, a fourth solution is an Apple custom chip built like Xeon Phi but using ARM cores.  If Intel is doing it why not Apple?  If you are going to jump to a whole new architecture, why not one you can control?  Would it work?  I don't know.  However, I'd at least do R&D to try and get it to work.  So Apple should be looking at all four possible solutions.  I'd be shocked it this isn't exactly what Apple is doing.

As for modular expansion, the 50+ cores of the Xeon Phi may be great but they cannot just scale to 100, 150, 200 as you Xgrid modular units together.  The inter-chip communication is not going to be as good as the intra-chip communication.  You may be able to do Xgrid between computers but there will be a big communication latency issue compared to the 50+ cores on a single chip.  I do not know these latency numbers but I am fairly confident the inter vs. intra communication latency would be a big difference.

That is why I do not see Apple's new MacPro to be primarily modular.  If somebody can overcome this Xgrid latency issues then of course I see a modular design as the way to go.  However, I hear all these people propose a modular design and nobody dealing with the latency communication problem.

So I still see the new MacPro as pretty much a Xeon Phi type solution, maybe even built around ARMs not x86.

I keep seeing people saying Apple should use or at least consider ARM for the new Mac/ Mac Pro. While I could see that as a possibility in the future, assuming ARM improves enough, it just wouldn't work now. Even the idea of an ARM version on Xeon Phi wouldn't work because the software is all written for x86. If you did go with ARM, then other than Apple and whatever launch partners you had, you would be stuck waiting for others to write ARM versions of their products. Whereas now, you can run the software on you current computer, even if it isn't optimized for that computer, ie rMBP.
post #48 of 209

Yeah,

 

Most people in the ProSumer area, are not even concerned with a Chip Transition, that would kill their (mine) dream.  Because that would mean Virtualization for 3 years again and then Native.  Most of us want native now, not another transition.  Most people hammering for a new Mac Pro don't want that and Apple knows that...

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post #49 of 209

I'd bet dimes to a dollar that the Mac Pro is replaced by something like an iMac Pro that features something akin to Xeon processors and accommodates big video/audio processing cards via Thunderbolt.

 

I just can't see Apple introducing a new form factor for such a niche market.

post #50 of 209
Originally Posted by filmjr View Post
I'd bet dimes to a dollar that the Mac Pro is replaced by something like an iMac Pro that features something akin to Xeon processors and accommodates big video/audio processing cards via Thunderbolt.

 

I just can't see Apple introducing a new form factor for such a niche market.

 

Sounds exactly like what you just proposed, though.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #51 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmjr View Post

I'd bet dimes to a dollar that the Mac Pro is replaced by something like an iMac Pro that features something akin to Xeon processors and accommodates big video/audio processing cards via Thunderbolt.

 

I just can't see Apple introducing a new form factor for such a niche market.


That in itself would require a complete redesign on the imac including a different logic board to accommodate the different cpus. First you'd be limited to quad cores anyway. There's no way they're going to cram Xeon EPs in there. You'd be looking at Xeon ENs, which are comparable to what the imac already carries. They have a few more PCI lanes available and support for ECC ram. I doubt Apple cares that much about ECC ram. It was never used prior to the mac pro, and they don't really use workstation cards by default. The only workstation card option must be ordered separately.  With graphics cards running them over thunderbolt is a kludge. Seeing a gpu similar to the current imac with the 675MX would be more likely. There's still a performance penalty trying to run something lane constrained and external, which diminishes the effectiveness compared to a high end mobile card. Even HP didn't go this route. They use mobile workstation gpus. The better ones are quite expensive. When people see the gains relative to their cost and most likely firmware that is hit or miss on hot plugging, it will kill much of the interest. People think they want it as they don't imagine limitations on selection or price. They picture it as a lossless process. Anyway you'd end up with totally different internals, possibly different externals, and you'd cut off the highest margin items in the mac pro line. The 12 core machines likely generate a lot of the profit while the cheaper ones absorb development costs. If you're building for that one base model, you're left with a less flexible $3000+ machine, at which point most people will just opt for the normal imac. I'm amazed that so many people cannot comprehend this.

post #52 of 209

They used to sell a £995 G5 low end tower in the UK.  The ram, hd and gpu were stingy and crepe.  But, point proven, they 'CAN' sell a tower that cheap.  By the time you add an Apple monitor...£1,899...that still isn't cheap.

 

It's the first time in a long, long time here in the UK that Apple don't have an iMac under 1k.

 

My cousin bought a SSD 240 gig model last night.  500/500 read/write approx' with Sandforce etc.  Some Ocz thing.  Got it for £115.  And we're talking PC World here.  Not the cheapest compared to online retailers.

 

...and?  We still have a Mac Pro without SSD as standard?  The iMac should come with something this cheap as standard.  They upped the price by £100, dropped the '£65' DVD player (£25 for one in PC World...) and want you to pay £200 extra for Fusion drive comprised of £50-ish TB HD and a £60-ish 128 SSD judging by PC World prices...

 

Not to mention the ass reaming on ram prices.  Or the stupifying price of the 700 gig SSD price which could almost buy you another iMac..!

 

Apple probably don't care.  They're raking it in with iOS and co.  And I think they're about fairly priced in the iOS market.  But the Mac stuff is entering bizarro land.

 

Let's hope their hubris doesn't catch up with them.

 

Nickle and diming?

 

Nackers and diming.

 

Given a world depression since 2008 (Apple jacked the entry iMac from £695 to 995 and now it's £1095?  The Mac Tower has been as low as 995 now it's £2000+ for a heap of out of date tech'.)  The mini isn't as cheap as it used to be.  And some of the 'up sell' options on the machines are blatant greed.  Why can't you have a nice gpu on the top end mini?  Why do you have to spend near £2k just to get a decent gpu?

 

...it would be nice for Apple to try 'affordability'.  

 

Though when it comes to 'Pro' 2013 (in the 'fall?') I doubt we'll see it.  If anything, we'll see a price hike.

 

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 #53 of 209

"flexible"

 

...and Apple?

 

Still, I'll have my 'sexy thin' iMac to look forward to in the new year.  But I paid through the nose and down the other nostril for it.  :P

 

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 #54 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post


That in itself would require a complete redesign on the imac including a different logic board to accommodate the different cpus. First you'd be limited to quad cores anyway. There's no way they're going to cram Xeon EPs in there. You'd be looking at Xeon ENs, which are comparable to what the imac already carries. They have a few more PCI lanes available and support for ECC ram. I doubt Apple cares that much about ECC ram. It was never used prior to the mac pro, and they don't really use workstation cards by default. The only workstation card option must be ordered separately.  With graphics cards running them over thunderbolt is a kludge. Seeing a gpu similar to the current imac with the 675MX would be more likely. There's still a performance penalty trying to run something lane constrained and external, which diminishes the effectiveness compared to a high end mobile card. Even HP didn't go this route. They use mobile workstation gpus. The better ones are quite expensive. When people see the gains relative to their cost and most likely firmware that is hit or miss on hot plugging, it will kill much of the interest. People think they want it as they don't imagine limitations on selection or price. They picture it as a lossless process. Anyway you'd end up with totally different internals, possibly different externals, and you'd cut off the highest margin items in the mac pro line. The 12 core machines likely generate a lot of the profit while the cheaper ones absorb development costs. If you're building for that one base model, you're left with a less flexible $3000+ machine, at which point most people will just opt for the normal imac. I'm amazed that so many people cannot comprehend this.

 

All of what you said makes sense to me. I was lazy in my proposed specs (Xeon, TB, etc). What I really mean is that it seems more likely to me that Apple will slant an iMac toward the 'professional' end of the spectrum rather than maintain or re-introduce true Mac Pros in the traditional/upgradable/tower sense. I just wonder if such a raise-every-creative-ship approach to professional horsepower will fly in the pro market.

 

Full disclosure: I used Macs for ten years then built a homebrew PPro CS4 Windows box to cheaply and quickly edit HD videos for my career as a freelance marketeer. When it came time to replace that Windows box, Apple introduced FCPX, which totally confused me; iMacs were fine for HD video but still bogged down with heavy tasks in AFX, Magic Bullet, etc; and Mac Pros were overpriced fossils. So I built another Windows workstation about two years ago.

 

Now, due to a conspiracy of cash flow, crazy advances in CPU/GPU/SSD (I was unlucky enough to build my last machine right before Sandy Bridge, Kepler and affordable solid state hard drives) it's time to buy another machine.

 

I really would like to get 5 working years (not just usable years) out of my next workstation investment, something I managed to do easily when I was rocking my old blue G3 tower and my titanium Powerbook G4, but something I've been unable to do with my Wintel boxes in spite of the staggering selection of upgrade parts. More simply, I miss Macs and want another one.

 

So: I love the new 27" iMacs, love Nvidia's new mobile GPUs, love the Retina Macbook Pros and love the direction Apple's taken with FCPX, Motion and Compressor.

 

My purchasing issue, however, is two-fold:

 

First, I can't decide if I really need more than a full-tilt 27" iMac or Retina MBPro to handle my editing, compositing and animation work, or if I myself have become a dinosaur, mistakenly believing that I need a "real professional workstation" and not a consumer machine on PEDs.

 

Next, despite one love letter from the CEO, I still can't get a bead on Apple's pro strategy. Will they continue to engineer professional capability into consumer-friendly products, or will they offer discreet professional solution(s) to a very vocal and enthusiastic minority of their customers?

 

I'm sitting on an empty no-interest credit card, trying to decide if I should buy now and stop reading about future macs, or if there is anything approaching a consensus on the next Apple offering that would make my life as a creative freelancer simpler and easier.

post #55 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmjr View Post

 

All of what you said makes sense to me. I was lazy in my proposed specs (Xeon, TB, etc). What I really mean is that it seems more likely to me that Apple will slant an iMac toward the 'professional' end of the spectrum rather than maintain or re-introduce true Mac Pros in the traditional/upgradable/tower sense. I just wonder if such a raise-every-creative-ship approach to professional horsepower will fly in the pro market.

 

Full disclosure: I used Macs for ten years then built a homebrew PPro CS4 Windows box to cheaply and quickly edit HD videos for my career as a freelance marketeer. When it came time to replace that Windows box, Apple introduced FCPX, which totally confused me; iMacs were fine for HD video but still bogged down with heavy tasks in AFX, Magic Bullet, etc; and Mac Pros were overpriced fossils. So I built another Windows workstation about two years ago.

 

Now, due to a conspiracy of cash flow, crazy advances in CPU/GPU/SSD (I was unlucky enough to build my last machine right before Sandy Bridge, Kepler and affordable solid state hard drives) it's time to buy another machine.

 

What is the problem with your current windows workstation? It sounds like it was nehalem or westmere era hardware. That should still be a capable machine. Some of the graphics cards from that era are still sold retail. The Quadro 4000 was around $1200 then. It's more like $700 now, but it's still sold as a workstation card. It's difficult to know what to suggest. I seriously don't think you'd be happy with the longevity of a notebook gpu. The top imac would be the best idea there. The displays have never been at the level of what you can purchase from some of the top display brands (Eizo, NEC, Quato, HP Dreamcolor) but they're probably okay. They lack some of the uniformity and LUT features of some of these others, but display technology has tapered off somewhat at the desktop level.

 

Quote:

I really would like to get 5 working years (not just usable years) out of my next workstation investment, something I managed to do easily when I was rocking my old blue G3 tower and my titanium Powerbook G4, but something I've been unable to do with my Wintel boxes in spite of the staggering selection of upgrade parts. More simply, I miss Macs and want another one.

 

So: I love the new 27" iMacs, love Nvidia's new mobile GPUs, love the Retina Macbook Pros and love the direction Apple's taken with FCPX, Motion and Compressor.

 

It depends on how fast your workload grows. Imacs are a bit more flexible for longevity than the notebooks. They can take more ram, and the available gpus are significantly better. What Wintel boxes have you used for this and how have your needs grown? It's not a guarantee with anything. People were complaining a while ago how a FCPX update required OpenCL when it wasn't supported on the 2008 mac pro graphics card options. Now to be fair the options available that year were terrible, but that was a 3 year old machine at the time that cost around $3k without a display when new.

 

Quote:
First, I can't decide if I really need more than a full-tilt 27" iMac or Retina MBPro to handle my editing, compositing and animation work, or if I myself have become a dinosaur, mistakenly believing that I need a "real professional workstation" and not a consumer machine on PEDs.


A lot of people in their 20s working for a larger shop might have something like the rMBP at home. It is capable for some stuff. It has too little graphics memory if you're doing something like CUDA rendering. Textures can eat that ram. Windows side you can buy a mobile workstation with 2GB of DDR5 on a mobile Quadro. One of the biggest reasons I'd recommend against one is that under heavy loads, you can drain the battery while plugged into the wall. The chargers they ship with do not deliver enough power, and they lack after market options. I'm fairly certain Apple uses a patented power connector, and they don't offer anything with higher output directly. I have an ancient mac pro and a much newer macbook pro. My complaints would be that when it runs hot, I get weird backlight bleed, it runs too hot in general, and it cannot sustain higher levels of power draw. I wouldn't want to try animating on one of these. A heavy maya scene would probably choke it even in wireframe, and any frame scrubbing would make it sound like a jet engine.

 

Quote:
Next, despite one love letter from the CEO, I still can't get a bead on Apple's pro strategy. Will they continue to engineer professional capability into consumer-friendly products, or will they offer discreet professional solution(s) to a very vocal and enthusiastic minority of their customers?W

Well the things that drive these markets haven't really received the highest prioritization at Apple, and some things I'd like to see are never implemented. 10 bit displayport is a big one for me. I'm not sure what Apple will do at the moment. I wouldn't put a lot of confidence in Apple here. They tend to remain very focused on mass market devices. I think they figure if it's good enough and the person wants to use a Mac, they'll do so. I think we'll see more of that, which doesn't make a 5 year purchase cycle look very realistic. If the minis were good enough, I'd suggest one of them and a more frequent replacement cycle. Unfortunately they have way too many limitations.

post #56 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post
 
....

 

Wow, thanks so much for taking the time to respond in detail.

 

My current CPU is a Core i7-960 (Nehalem, I think?). I have 24GB of RAM  and a Quadro 2000. It was literally the best I could afford to build at the time, and yes, it's still a decently capable box.

 

My work has changed in big ways since then: instead of pretty straightforward doc interviews with fairly modest color correction, titles, etc., I've been selling a lot more motion graphics, animations/3d/pseudo3d type stuff. Rendering isn't so much an issue, but (like you said) texture-heavy previews of things like multi-layered AFX comps and even a couple of layers of, say, filmlook effects in PPro cause some hiccups.

 

But really, the above performance concerns are nagging at worst and not prohibitive...provided I set aside my technolust.

 

An equally problematic change in my work (not necessarily my workload) is that I've moved from mostly working from home to mostly working in a fairly small, fairly posh, open-floor, all-Mac agency. This has led me to MUCH better work (like the animation and compositing projects mentioned above), and also allowed me to get in on client/brand/project discussions at the outset, instead of simply taking orders to produce commercial-with-this-info-for-this-many-seconds.

 

Now, it may seem frivolous to say so, but the six whirring fans that keep my homebrew workstation cool sound REALLY obnoxious in an office of five silent iMacs and three Macbooks. Also, all the software in the office is necessarily Mac, and we almost always use Keynote when pitching to clients, and...

 

Point is, while I can't honestly say that I must have a Mac to complete work, I can say with fair confidence that a Mac could make my current agency-based life easier, and I can say with absolute confidence that I do not like Windows and would be happy to work on a Mac again. And, perhaps most importantly, I have the money to do so right now, and I can write it off my taxes.

 

Obviously I can't give up my current level of capability when I switch back to Mac, and ideally I'd like to take a big step up. Having more capability AND remaining portable would be the best possible scenario, but the soldered limitations of the rMBP give me pause: if I order it, and it's frustratingly slow, I'm stuck with it.

 

As of this writing, I'm leaning hard toward the big iMac. It's a chunk of money, but with no definitive info on a new Pro desktop from Apple, a built-to-the-gills iMac seems my best bet at getting the kind of working life I want out of a computer. Maybe when the rMBP ups its RAM and graphics cards options, I'll look at one of those as a corollary machine.

 

Again, thanks for the advice and commentary!

post #57 of 209
Don't buy a Mac Pro now!!!! Seriously unless you absolutely can't get your work done it isn't the machine to be buying for longevity. First the CPUs and GPUs are extremely dated right now. That issue should be enough to put anyone off a Mac Pro purchase but the truly damning issue is that Apple more or less declared the end of life for this design. That is effectively what they said when admitting that a redesigned MacPro was coming in 2013.

Now nobody really knows what that 2013 Mac Pro replacement will look like, I'm betting on a radical redesign but that is just a wild ass guess. This mystery machine could be a much smaller machine or a more radical enclosure so it is hard to determine exactly what it will be supporting internally. Apple could also maintain a similar box size and radically update the internals. The only thing we can be certain of is that it is getting a redesign and thus should be a more modern machine. The other thing we can be absolutely sure of is that the current machine is woefully outdated.

It is the current machines outdated nature and your desire to get a good life span out of the machine that most indicates that you should stay away for now. The other concern with value is harder to determine in a business context, the machines are expensive when looked at from the standpoint of a consumer but a professional might make up the difference in weeks if they know how to leverage Mac OS. In other words for business the real value in a Pro computer isn't in the hardware cost but rather the software it is capable of running and sustaining a business on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmjr View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

That in itself would require a complete redesign on the imac including a different logic board to accommodate the different cpus. First you'd be limited to quad cores anyway. There's no way they're going to cram Xeon EPs in there. You'd be looking at Xeon ENs, which are comparable to what the imac already carries. They have a few more PCI lanes available and support for ECC ram. I doubt Apple cares that much about ECC ram. It was never used prior to the mac pro, and they don't really use workstation cards by default. The only workstation card option must be ordered separately.  With graphics cards running them over thunderbolt is a kludge. Seeing a gpu similar to the current imac with the 675MX would be more likely. There's still a performance penalty trying to run something lane constrained and external, which diminishes the effectiveness compared to a high end mobile card. Even HP didn't go this route. They use mobile workstation gpus. The better ones are quite expensive. When people see the gains relative to their cost and most likely firmware that is hit or miss on hot plugging, it will kill much of the interest. People think they want it as they don't imagine limitations on selection or price. They picture it as a lossless process. Anyway you'd end up with totally different internals, possibly different externals, and you'd cut off the highest margin items in the mac pro line. The 12 core machines likely generate a lot of the profit while the cheaper ones absorb development costs. If you're building for that one base model, you're left with a less flexible $3000+ machine, at which point most people will just opt for the normal imac. I'm amazed that so many people cannot comprehend this.

All of what you said makes sense to me. I was lazy in my proposed specs (Xeon, TB, etc). What I really mean is that it seems more likely to me that Apple will slant an iMac toward the 'professional' end of the spectrum rather than maintain or re-introduce true Mac Pros in the traditional/upgradable/tower sense. I just wonder if such a raise-every-creative-ship approach to professional horsepower will fly in the pro market.
The iMac can't possibly become the Pro computer the Mac Pro is. If Apple tries to go that route the professional crowd will give up on them.
Quote:
Full disclosure: I used Macs for ten years then built a homebrew PPro CS4 Windows box to cheaply and quickly edit HD videos for my career as a freelance marketeer. When it came time to replace that Windows box, Apple introduced FCPX, which totally confused me; iMacs were fine for HD video but still bogged down with heavy tasks in AFX, Magic Bullet, etc; and Mac Pros were overpriced fossils. So I built another Windows workstation about two years ago.
Overpriced fossils? Really this year the platform went from being a bad value to being the worst value offered in the market place, a total joke really. If you are worried about fossils the Mac Pro has never been as close to the bone yard.
Quote:
Now, due to a conspiracy of cash flow, crazy advances in CPU/GPU/SSD (I was unlucky enough to build my last machine right before Sandy Bridge, Kepler and affordable solid state hard drives) it's time to buy another machine.
That is a different issue. Sometimes you have to make your move even when doing so is less than optimal.
Quote:
I really would like to get 5 working years (not just usable years) out of my next workstation investment, something I managed to do easily when I was rocking my old blue G3 tower and my titanium Powerbook G4, but something I've been unable to do with my Wintel boxes in spite of the staggering selection of upgrade parts. More simply, I miss Macs and want another one.
It is that 5 years of usable life that I have a problem with, if it wasn't for that parameter I would say leverage your cash flow advantage and do the best you can with the current Mac Pro. Look at it this way, the current GPU, in the Mac Pro, will be almost 9 years old in five years. Further AMD's and NVidias architectures have changed radically over the last year. Both are far more useful as OpenCL accelerators for example, with their latest GPU releases.
Quote:
So: I love the new 27" iMacs, love Nvidia's new mobile GPUs, love the Retina Macbook Pros and love the direction Apple's taken with FCPX, Motion and Compressor.

My purchasing issue, however, is two-fold:

First, I can't decide if I really need more than a full-tilt 27" iMac or Retina MBPro to handle my editing, compositing and animation work, or if I myself have become a dinosaur, mistakenly believing that I need a "real professional workstation" and not a consumer machine on PEDs.
IMac can do far more than it ever has, there is no denying that. However it isn't a high performance machine by any measure. Value wise it is light years ahead of the current iMac. It is really too bad you don't use software that is supported on a small cluster of Mac Minis. That way an iMac would become a cluster controller of sorts.
Quote:
Next, despite one love letter from the CEO, I still can't get a bead on Apple's pro strategy. Will they continue to engineer professional capability into consumer-friendly products, or will they offer discreet professional solution(s) to a very vocal and enthusiastic minority of their customers?
Apple has zero professional features in its consumer electronics. It isn't a question of being vocal it is the real issue that some professional solutions require cores or slots or whatever and Apple has not provided such capability in its consumer goods.
Quote:
I'm sitting on an empty no-interest credit card, trying to decide if I should buy now and stop reading about future macs, or if there is anything approaching a consensus on the next Apple offering that would make my life as a creative freelancer simpler and easier.
Unfortunately nobody here can really honestly help. I'm expecting a more radical redesign of the Mac Pro than most here, but that is only because I know what is possible. One only has to look at Apples laptops to learn what they are capable of engineering wise. Will they put that much effort into the Mac Pro? It is a good question I just think that the Mac Pros replacement has to be an architecture that can support some interesting technology that isn't to far away at all. Things like 3D RAM chips, new solid state secondary store technologies, faster external buses, clustering and the like. The current Mac Pro is less than optimal for some of these things to be implemented efficiently. Beyond that you have the GPU/TB issue that Apple needs to deal with on the Mac Pro and things like Intels various Xeon Phi initiatives. In a nut shell the current Mac Pro architecture is very dated.
Edited by wizard69 - 12/21/12 at 9:28am
post #58 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmjr View Post

Quote:
....

Wow, thanks so much for taking the time to respond in detail.

My current CPU is a Core i7-960 (Nehalem, I think?). I have 24GB of RAM  and a Quadro 2000. It was literally the best I could afford to build at the time, and yes, it's still a decently capable box.
I'd wait based on what you have to work with right now, stepping up to the current Mac Pro would be a small step indeed.
Quote:
My work has changed in big ways since then: instead of pretty straightforward doc interviews with fairly modest color correction, titles, etc., I've been selling a lot more motion graphics, animations/3d/pseudo3d type stuff. Rendering isn't so much an issue, but (like you said) texture-heavy previews of things like multi-layered AFX comps and even a couple of layers of, say, filmlook effects in PPro cause some hiccups.
That pretty much seals it as I don't see the current Mac Pro as being a big step up in performance over what you have now.
Quote:
But really, the above performance concerns are nagging at worst and not prohibitive...provided I set aside my technolust.
Your techno lust might get worst if the 2013 Mac Pro is radically different.
Quote:
An equally problematic change in my work (not necessarily my workload) is that I've moved from mostly working from home to mostly working in a fairly small, fairly posh, open-floor, all-Mac agency. This has led me to MUCH better work (like the animation and compositing projects mentioned above), and also allowed me to get in on client/brand/project discussions at the outset, instead of simply taking orders to produce commercial-with-this-info-for-this-many-seconds.
It would seem to me that your current hardware go you to this point.
Quote:
Now, it may seem frivolous to say so, but the six whirring fans that keep my homebrew workstation cool sound REALLY obnoxious in an office of five silent iMacs and three Macbooks. Also, all the software in the office is necessarily Mac, and we almost always use Keynote when pitching to clients, and...
There is nothing wrong with having two computers on your desk. Just use the workstation when the heavy lifting is needed, use an AIR or something for office automation apps.
Quote:
Point is, while I can't honestly say that I must have a Mac to complete work, I can say with fair confidence that a Mac could make my current agency-based life easier, and I can say with absolute confidence that I do not like Windows and would be happy to work on a Mac again. And, perhaps most importantly, I have the money to do so right now, and I can write it off my taxes.
This is all well and good but you won't be seeing huge performance increases from the base Mac Pro. I'm not even sure a tricked out Mac Pro would be worth it at this point as that would be very software and user dependent.
Quote:
Obviously I can't give up my current level of capability when I switch back to Mac, and ideally I'd like to take a big step up. Having more capability AND remaining portable would be the best possible scenario, but the soldered limitations of the rMBP give me pause: if I order it, and it's frustratingly slow, I'm stuck with it.
You really aren't in a business where a laptop is a viable solution in my mind. It doesn't matter if the RAM is soldered or not, you simply don't have the performance flexibility you need.
Quote:
As of this writing, I'm leaning hard toward the big iMac. It's a chunk of money, but with no definitive info on a new Pro desktop from Apple, a built-to-the-gills iMac seems my best bet at getting the kind of working life I want out of a computer. Maybe when the rMBP ups its RAM and graphics cards options, I'll look at one of those as a corollary machine.
I'm not to sure an iMac is a smart move either. There are to many ifs here. Will you have access to enough storage for example. Other considerations would be the possibility of thermal throttling and a less than optimal GPU. Can you access enough RAM to make the upgrade worthwhile. There are lots of questions to be answered when using an iMac in a professional setting, generally I see it as a bad idea if you expect to get that 5 year life span.
Quote:
Again, thanks for the advice and commentary!

Hey you know what they say about free advice. Unfortunately for you I just see it as a bad time to be buying a replacement for that workstation of yours. If you have money to burn, buy a cheap laptop to handle your non creative work for the short term. If Apple doesn't come out with a decent machine next year you may need to implement another Windows workstation. I really hate to say that but Apples pro offerings suck royally right now.

As for the noise, ear plugs can do wonders.
post #59 of 209

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


I'd wait based on what you have to work with right now, stepping up to the current Mac Pro would be a small step indeed.

Actually the base mac pro could be slightly regressive. You'd have to at least go hex core, and with the use of Premiere + AE, CUDA would be sorely missed unless he allocates funds for another card. Some of the Fermi cards work out of the box, but you'd have to potentially hack support into AE. The Quadro 4000 is officially supported, but then it's $700 for a card from 2010. I expect those programs will eventually move to OpenCL, but this not the case yet.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by filmjr View Post


As of this writing, I'm leaning hard toward the big iMac. It's a chunk of money, but with no definitive info on a new Pro desktop from Apple, a built-to-the-gills iMac seems my best bet at getting the kind of working life I want out of a computer. Maybe when the rMBP ups its RAM and graphics cards options, I'll look at one of those as a corollary machine.

 

Again, thanks for the advice and commentary!

You know the battery consumption on the MBPs is what worries me. I haven't specifically tested the rMBP, but the others can drain the battery even while it's plugged in. I also haven't tested if it's still possible to force the computer into sleep that way. It may have been resolved. I think a desktop is still ideal if you want to push the machine. The GPU is also significantly better.

Quote:
My work has changed in big ways since then: instead of pretty straightforward doc interviews with fairly modest color correction, titles, etc., I've been selling a lot more motion graphics, animations/3d/pseudo3d type stuff. Rendering isn't so much an issue, but (like you said) texture-heavy previews of things like multi-layered AFX comps and even a couple of layers of, say, filmlook effects in PPro cause some hiccups.

You may be stuck with whatever card comes with this machine for a while. In spite of all the noise regarding eGPUs, I wouldn't expect them until a later thunderbolt revision, and they'd have to significantly rework drivers to meet Intel's specs for certification. The one really unfortunate thing is that so far Kepler isn't that great in terms of floating point CUDA performance compared to Fermi. I'm not sure how the 680MX will compare. I know I wouldn't want to opt for a 1GB card. In spite of caveats, Barefeats thought the new gpus were pretty decent.

 

Quote:

 

 

My work has changed in big ways since then: instead of pretty straightforward doc interviews with fairly modest color correction, titles, etc., I've been selling a lot more motion graphics, animations/3d/pseudo3d type stuff. Rendering isn't so much an issue, but (like you said) texture-heavy previews of things like multi-layered AFX comps and even a couple of layers of, say, filmlook effects in PPro cause some hiccups.

You mentioned Magic Bullet, AE, and Premiere. I figured with the new features Adobe has implemented, you'll use them eventually. The 3d camera was a nice addition.

 

Quote:
Point is, while I can't honestly say that I must have a Mac to complete work, I can say with fair confidence that a Mac could make my current agency-based life easier, and I can say with absolute confidence that I do not like Windows and would be happy to work on a Mac again. And, perhaps most importantly, I have the money to do so right now, and I can write it off my taxes.

That is completely reasonable. I wish the desktop lineup was a bit more flexible though. It's one of those things where if your needs align perfectly with Apple's paradigm, it works great. Once you stray a bit outside of that, it's annoying.

 

Quote:

 

But really, the above performance concerns are nagging at worst and not prohibitive...provided I set aside my technolust.

Can any of us really set aside our technolust?

 

 

Quote:

Now, it may seem frivolous to say so, but the six whirring fans that keep my homebrew workstation cool sound REALLY obnoxious in an office of five silent iMacs and three Macbooks. Also, all the software in the office is necessarily Mac, and we almost always use Keynote when pitching to clients, and...

 

Point is, while I can't honestly say that I must have a Mac to complete work, I can say with fair confidence that a Mac could make my current agency-based life easier, and I can say with absolute confidence that I do not like Windows and would be happy to work on a Mac again. And, perhaps most importantly, I have the money to do so right now, and I can write it off my taxes.

I can understand this. If the agency work pays well, it shouldn't be too big of an issue. I have no idea how large your market is. Even software like the programs you mentioned isn't cheap. I wouldn't necessarily count on 5 years, but 3 is quite realistic for such a rig. The top imac uses one of the top ivy bridge i7 options. Beyond that you move into Sandy Bridge EP and LGA2011 socket types. I will say that there are displays I like better than the imac. Macrumors has a thread where a couple people mentioned image persistence on the newest imac, which is weird. I've never seen that on a new display. I haven't even seen it on the 2011s. Considering that you do some amount of color grading work with Magic Bullet/AE, something like an NEC would be better, even if it's not broadcast quality. The imac may be good enough. It's just not my first choice. They lack things like 3D display LUTs and specialized panel blocking to aid uniformity. These things do help, but in the end a lot of people seem to get away with the use of imacs. Be aware that the hard drives may be somewhat difficult to replace if they die. Ifixit should have teardowns. Also you're probably  already considering the 27", but I should mention the 21.5" is completely impractical for you, as you'd be forced to pay Apple's ram upgrade prices, pushing it up to the same price point as the 27". I'd say pick a good brand like Crucial, and test it upon installation.


Edited by hmm - 12/21/12 at 12:42pm
post #60 of 209

Thanks again for all the responses, folks.

 

Just to bring my personal discussion back in line with the original thread topic:

 

It is WICKEDLY frustrating that Apple is so opaque about it's plans. If, for instance, I knew there would be a substantial pro desktop offering by WWDC, I could decide whether to purchase now or later...or both.

 

I'm going to start a new thread with regards to the pro capabilities of the big iMac and then continue to furrow my brow.

In the meantime, my six-fan howling beast of a PC will do the heavy lifting on any near-future HD/VFX projects.

post #61 of 209

Confirmed:  Mac Pro to be a modular design.

 

I just got confirmation from my buddy in San Fran, the upcoming Mac Pro will be a modular design.  The base module will have no SATA, only PCIe blade SSD storage (four slots on the prototype he used).  It retains PCIe expansion slots, and yes, a 7970 was installed.  He was cagey about the CPUs but said just look at Intel's roadmap for 3rd quarter 2013.  That would make them E7 Xeons, with possibly up to 12 cores each.  Apple will undoubtedly gimp it with 8-10 cores/cpu.    

 

He says the base module was disguised in a plastic case, but that it's considerably thinner than the current Mac Pro, lol.  Shorter too.  Most impressively, even quieter.

 

The second module stacks on the base module, and houses up to 8 HDDs.  It connects to the base module and is listed in System Information as being on the PCIe bus.  Thunderbolt?  The connector is different from the current implementation, so maybe it's a new revision with more lanes?  Speeds are far in excess of x4 lanes. 

 

It appears Apple are hedging against HDDs with this design.  The base computer is a long term design, while the HDD module can be phased out once NAND prices make four 1-2 TB SSDs possible at a sane price.  

 

Most intriguing is the possibility of Apple pricing at least one Mac Pro model at sub-$2000 prices.  With no ODD or HDD, and thus a small PSU and case, Apple should be able to hit a fairly low price point on a single socket version.  Will their rectal-cranial syndrome interfere with what is a no-brainer decision?  


Edited by Junkyard Dawg - 1/7/13 at 8:06am
post #62 of 209

Junkyard...if that is the future, there'll be drooling Pro heads turning their heads.  Sounds very exciting.  I'll take the info' on face value.  I always do.  And thanks for it.

 

A new Mac Pro HAS to come.  It HAS to change shape now.  It's a dinosaur.  It's price is outrageous.  It's design O.T.T.  

 

A cheaper base model would make a lot of sense.  Times have moved on.

 

Nobody is buying shed loads of towers at 2k for a crappy quad core.  Get with the program, Apple.

 

A modular SSD base, slimmer unit would be a kick ass Pro 'tower' (Mini tower?) with a kick ass gpu.  

 

The modular unit dies as platter drives die?

 

Makes sense.

 

Get any more info?  Pass it on.  

 

I'm listening.

 

...is this like the previous 'Cluster' system Cube/Blade/Galaxy thing?

 

Just asking.

 

And yes, if Apple price the new Pro with their anal pricing structure?  They want reaming.

 

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 #63 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. 
...is this like the previous 'Cluster' system Cube/Blade/Galaxy thing?

Yes, in that it's also completely made up.
post #64 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post


Most intriguing is the possibility of Apple pricing at least one Mac Pro model at sub-$2000 prices.  With no ODD or HDD, and thus a small PSU and case, Apple should be able to hit a fairly low price point on a single socket version.  Will their rectal-cranial syndrome interfere with what is a no-brainer decision?  

This is more junk. They could hit it with what they have today if that was their desire. If you look at the current design choices, they are about keeping costs down. They recycled the external case many times over, used the backplane + daughterboard design to re-use as many parts as possible without paying for a dual package chipset on the single models, and used budget parts for cpu and gpu at the $2500 mark. The mental gymnastics as to how they could cut price show very little in the way of insight. You don't see a new machine there today, so it leaves you with a blank canvas to project your ideas, even if they aren't very logical.

post #65 of 209

Just passing along what my buddy told me.  I had to garble it a bit so he can't be indentified, otherwise, it's what he's been using at his studio.  

 

3rd quarter 2013 is a long time though.  Apple could easily kill the Mac Pro before then, especially if their computer sales keep tanking.  I don't trust them to keep producing Macs more than 10 years or so.

post #66 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

Just passing along what my buddy told me. 


I get that you don't wish to implicate him even if it is just a rumor. I wouldn't call that confirmed, and the E7 Xeons portion is just absolute nonsense. Apple has never used an EX variant. I can't think of any workstation vendor who would use them. They aren't designed for anything outside of server use. The only part that is correct is that EX type sockets are only refreshed once every tick tock cycle. They release EX with a die shrink, so currently it's still using Westmere.

post #67 of 209

It's the E5 v2 Xeon that's due for volume production in the 3rd quarter, I'm sure that's what he meant.  

 

He's a video guy, he doesn't really know hardware tech any more than necessary to get his work done.  

post #68 of 209
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post
…it's what he's been using at his studio.  

 

Yeah, I'm sure Apple lent out an industry-redefining product to a third party¡

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #69 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

It's the E5 v2 Xeon that's due for volume production in the 3rd quarter, I'm sure that's what he meant.  

 

He's a video guy, he doesn't really know hardware tech any more than necessary to get his work done.  

 

I know plenty of them. None of them are going to use something built with engineering samples to complete their work. Beyond that it's not like a next generation Mac Pro exists in the wild. The only reason I didn't assume this to be trolling is that you aren't known for troll posts.

post #70 of 209

Ever hear of a test mule?  You think Apple just tests a totally new hardware design at Apple HQ for a few months, then says "That's good enough!" and puts it into production?

post #71 of 209
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post
Ever hear of a test mule?

 

Yeah, they're called 'a select few Apple employees'.


You think Apple just tests a totally new hardware design at Apple HQ for a few months, then says "That's good enough!" and puts it into production?

 

Yes. Otherwise we would have known everything about every hardware release they've ever done up until now.

 

And yet this one of yours is the only one we've ever heard being used in this manner. At least, the only one that isn't directly from a website that lies about absolutely everything they've ever done, without pity or remorse, for the sole purpose of, well, lying (and nothing else). 

 

So please don't forgive us for being skeptical; it's just, well, you hate most, if not all, of what Apple does right now, so making something up off the top of your head to suit your needs (real, imagined, or otherwise) makes a little more sense than the classic "heard it from a guy who told me what he has except he changed some of it so that when I told you he wouldn't be known". Never mind that Apple would know exactly who had what in the first place, since even if they gave unreleased, industry-reinventing hardware to third-parties (they don't), they would give DIFFERENT hardware to different places so that they could know exactly where any one leak came from.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #72 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionary View Post

 

You can ask one Olympian to lift 500 pounds or you can ask 10 normal people to help lift 50 pounds. Which is reality based? Both are. Is one solution better than the other? It depends. For many applications, many hands make light work. An ARM processor may be like the normal people and the latest x86 like the Olympic weight-lifter, but do I really care what is inside the machine if they can both accomplish the same work? No I don't.

 

One Olympic weight lifter cannot scale above its roughly 500 pound limit. But average people are cheap to come by. 100 average people can lift way more than one Olympic athlete. If each average person can lift 50 pounds, than 100 people can lift 5,000 pounds - way more than the weight lifter. Sometimes quantity has a quality all its own.

 

There is no question audio, video, and photo work are massively parallel problems. Are these not the main source of taxing the CPUs? Then you would be better served by a parallel solution not a serial solution. Therefore ARM chips are not a stupid solution.

 

Of course, one could come back and say what about having 10 Olympic weight lifters, not just one? This too is a valid solution, and in fact, the one we currently have. Which is better? I really do not care which solution I have if the work outcome is the same. Therefore, it all comes down to cost. How much does cost to hire 10 Olympic weight lifters verses how much does it cost to hire 100 average people? Realistically, how much do x86 chips cost verses a boatload of equivalent ARM chips? If they are the same cost than I really do not see why Apple should do anything different. But if one solution is much cheaper, then that is what Apple should do.

 

Actually, cost is not the only factor. Heat is another big deal. I am not a CPU guru so I do not know the answers to these questions. Maybe somebody else here does. I am sure Apple has this data. The fact that Apple seems to be dragging their feet on the Pro side indicates to me that a significant shift is coming soon.

 

This theory fits the data better than proposing Apple just drop all its pro level machines and software. What is pro level today becomes the consumer machine of tomorrow. That is why Apple needs to stay in the Pro market and why they will. Therefore I see the Xeon Phi or a massively parallel ARM new MacPro being the way forward in the near future.

 

Apple isn't going to migrate to a new architecture again, not with Intel at the top of their game.  And if Apple were to decide to migrate, the Mac Pro would be the LAST model they would migrate.  

 

Beyond that, Apple obviously doesn't care about pushing computer tech limits with the Mac Pro.  They aren't even interested in taking what Intel can give them at this point.

post #73 of 209

I would say, in the past 5 years even when Steve was around, Apple HAS changed, from your classic Apple.  Now that there is Tim Cook now too, Anything is possible, seriously...

 

EOL

Adobe Systems - "Preventing the Case-Sensitive revolution everyday..."
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Adobe Systems - "Preventing the Case-Sensitive revolution everyday..."
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post #74 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

Confirmed:  Mac Pro to be a modular design.
Lets say a strong rumor!
Quote:
I just got confirmation from my buddy in San Fran, the upcoming Mac Pro will be a modular design.  The base module will have no SATA, only PCIe blade SSD storage (four slots on the prototype he used).  It retains PCIe expansion slots, and yes, a 7970 was installed.  He was cagey about the CPUs but said just look at Intel's roadmap for 3rd quarter 2013.  That would make them E7 Xeons, with possibly up to 12 cores each.  Apple will undoubtedly gimp it with 8-10 cores/cpu.    
Well this sort of mirrors what I've been suggesting. To build a Pro suitable for the next few years Apple needs to overhaul the architecture massively.

As for the CPUs, Intel is working on many options that could end up in a new Mac Pro. However a 12 core model would be a nice high end model and Intel does have the intention to introduce such a chip.
Quote:
He says the base module was disguised in a plastic case, but that it's considerably thinner than the current Mac Pro, lol.  Shorter too.  Most impressively, even quieter.
Sounds like previous Apple practice.
Quote:
The second module stacks on the base module, and houses up to 8 HDDs.  It connects to the base module and is listed in System Information as being on the PCIe bus.  Thunderbolt?  The connector is different from the current implementation, so maybe it's a new revision with more lanes?  Speeds are far in excess of x4 lanes. 
Faster maybe. The problem with the current TB connector is that it isn't exactly a high reliability connection for a workstation. As far as speeds I'm not sure how an array of hard disks can be that much faster than the current TB connector.
Quote:
It appears Apple are hedging against HDDs with this design.  The base computer is a long term design, while the HDD module can be phased out once NAND prices make four 1-2 TB SSDs possible at a sane price.  
That would make sense. Though mass storage needs continual to grow at a very fast rate so I don't see hard drive arrays going away anytime soon.
Quote:
Most intriguing is the possibility of Apple pricing at least one Mac Pro model at sub-$2000 prices.  With no ODD or HDD, and thus a small PSU and case, Apple should be able to hit a fairly low price point on a single socket version.  Will their rectal-cranial syndrome interfere with what is a no-brainer decision?  
A base model in that price range would be ideal. It would have to be suitably powerful, but they should be able to cut costs significantly with a new architecture. There is nothing more important than getting the base model back to a reasonable price point.
post #75 of 209
Why would they stop? Apple has done so many times in the past with Macs.

I'm not saying this rumor has any truth to it just that Apple has sent out test chassis in the past.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yeah, I'm sure Apple lent out an industry-redefining product to a third party¡
post #76 of 209
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
Why would they stop? Apple has done so many times in the past with Macs.

I'm not saying this rumor has any truth to it just that Apple has sent out test chassis in the past.

 

Wait, really? When? For what?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #77 of 209

What are the chances we'll see an announcement of the new Mac Pro at NAB, like they did with FCPX in 2010?

 

Surely the largest remaining target audience of a true pro machine are filmmakers, videographers, compositers and animators.

post #78 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmjr View Post

What are the chances we'll see an announcement of the new Mac Pro at NAB, like they did with FCPX in 2010?

Ivy Bridge EP doesn't come out until at least June / July:

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/23076/we_shouldn_t_see_ivy_bridge_e_processors_until_mid_2013/index.html

They've had early exclusives from Intel before:

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2009/10/16/rumour-32nm-xeon-a-timed-apple-exclusive/1

and obviously Thunderbolt but if they don't have an exclusive, it's more likely to be June than April and even then the shipping date is likely to be further out.

They could be at NAB to dispel some of the remaining negativity around FCPX - it would be good if they had a keynote about real-world cases where it's being used and the workflows as well as the features they added. That would give people assurance that it's capable of handling heavy duty workloads. A new 64-bit QT X Pro with feature parity to QT 7 Pro wouldn't go amiss either (that includes the UI not covering the frame when you hover over it).
post #79 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionary 
Where it really shines is content creation - Audio, Video, Photo. I am sure there are a few other things too, but the point is that these apps can all benefit from massively parallel processing. Even the current Mac Pros are not nearly powerful enough for what we wish to do.

There's a good article about the use of cloud computing here, which is another factor to think about:

http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/zync

"There is a small client-based application and plugins that allow the jobs to be run directly from NUKE and Maya. Its also a web based management so it doesn't matter if the studio is PC, Linux or Mac-based.

When launched straight from Autodesk Maya, ZYNC Render system allows the user to launch as many instances as they require, then drop them when they don’t need them, using Amazon EC2. It’s up to the user how many machines they want and how fast they want the job done.

With this arrangement, we’re seeing that people will be able to render more. They’ll be able to pick off hundreds, if not thousands of nodes if they need it, and then only pay for rendering as a utility without having this upfront cost of having to buy this whole farm.

Todd talks about a situation he heard about where a director needed a change and was coming in, in two hours. The outfit needed the power of 500 nodes. With ZYNC, the solution was possible with the flick of a switch.

There are also up to five nodes in NUKE 7 that are GPU-accelerated and over time, we’ll see more and more existing products move from CPU to GPU power and we’ll be able to provide that on the Cloud.

ZYNC has a list of individuals who have created amazing work with really heavy lifting graphics, working from home as a freelancer. Alex Brubaker, does work for ESPN on their opener graphics, can start off with a 15-node render job without any of the worry of getting render hardware of his own."

http://vimeo.com/48624504

Cloud rendering isn't always ideal. You'd need a fast network to be able to upload multiple GBs of source content so for the likes of compositing where you might have 100GB of footage, that's better done locally. This will ultimately be done in real-time though. For CGI and other compute work, the source files can be a lot smaller but a fast network will still help. It would be difficult at any point in time for an individual to buy 15 top of the line render nodes outright and impossible to be able to scale it up to 500 or more instantly.

If the main part of the work is done real-time, it can be done on almost any machine and one MP on its own wouldn't be enough in the high-end cases so cloud rendering makes it less important to have one. For the cases where it's not feasible to upload a lot of data, having a powerful local machine has its benefits but all the quad-i7 machines are powerful machines.

The video above shows that it's been used on hundreds of commercials and 7 feature films and delivered all of the ~400 visual effects shots for the movie Flight.



There are few higher-end usage scenarios than the visual effects shots for a major movie production.
post #80 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


There's a good article about the use of cloud computing here, which is another factor to think about:

http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/zync

"There is a small client-based application and plugins that allow the jobs to be run directly from NUKE and Maya. Its also a web based management so it doesn't matter if the studio is PC, Linux or Mac-based.

When launched straight from Autodesk Maya, ZYNC Render system allows the user to launch as many instances as they require, then drop them when they don’t need them, using Amazon EC2. It’s up to the user how many machines they want and how fast they want the job done.

With this arrangement, we’re seeing that people will be able to render more. They’ll be able to pick off hundreds, if not thousands of nodes if they need it, and then only pay for rendering as a utility without having this upfront cost of having to buy this whole farm.

Todd talks about a situation he heard about where a director needed a change and was coming in, in two hours. The outfit needed the power of 500 nodes. With ZYNC, the solution was possible with the flick of a switch.

There are also up to five nodes in NUKE 7 that are GPU-accelerated and over time, we’ll see more and more existing products move from CPU to GPU power and we’ll be able to provide that on the Cloud.

ZYNC has a list of individuals who have created amazing work with really heavy lifting graphics, working from home as a freelancer. Alex Brubaker, does work for ESPN on their opener graphics, can start off with a 15-node render job without any of the worry of getting render hardware of his own."

http://vimeo.com/48624504
 

I like how they used vray. That is an amazing piece of software. I don't think cloud computing will completely remove the need for optimization to control costs and cpu time requirements. You still pay for the time there. It provides smaller shops with some amount of scalability, which is very cool. It doesn't actually displace the need for workstation hardware anywhere things must be addressed in real time, especially in terms of gpu hardware. GPUs get stressed quite a bit. It's still common to see low rez proxies used to set up a scene or animate even with the use of powerful gpus.

 

My point was it provides a solution where routine use isn't enough to justify a step up in hardware purchases. It still costs money, and there are some things that it won't replace, but it provides a huge resource for 1-10 man shops.

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