Originally Posted by Mode 5 You might want to read what I wrote again in context with the discussion above. Graphics power is 'very' important to the BIM/CAD market. The software I use requires dedicated graphics, machines relying on integrated graphics are currently not 'officially' supported. If I understand hmm correctly, the iMac will be stuck at 4 cores for years to come, while Intel throws everything at the integrated graphics side of their desktop chips. I "assume" (hence the question mark in brackets) that the Intel integrated graphics inside our current iMacs are somehow turned off / redundant(?).
That is a good question, I don't think they are turned off completely as they can still be used for compute. As for being stock at four cores Apple could go Six cores today if they switched sockets and found a way to handle 130 watts of power out of the CPU. I just think they have other priorities for the desktop right now so six core probably isn't in the future. The future being next year. However they may have unannounced plans.
The desire for more cores I've been expressing, has to do with wanting to see rendering times improve alongside the rest of the machines evolution. I said the iMacs have had a nice balance of processing and graphics power at the top end, which is true for our uses.
I understand what you are asking for but let's face it this isn't the market that Apple targets for these machines. It is only technologies advancement that let's the iMac even compete in this arena. As for rendering times are you sure that is a CPU issue and not a GPU issue?
Over recent years they've become a very popular BIM workstation on the Mac. From 98 until a little over six years ago, I used Power Macs. It was a noisy, lumpy, expensive ride. When to buy, poor graphics, software support all caused us headaches through that period, for machines with a lot of bulk / internal space we never used.
Sounds like the new Mac Pros might address those issues. In any event I glad you stated the above, people don't believe me when I say most professionals don't need or want all that internal space in the old Mac Pros.
The other thing you have to watch out for is this, if Intel did come out with a six core processor for their desktop sockets it might not give you the performance you expect due to bandwidth limitations.
Naturally, everything I've been discussing pertains to my usage of Macs for architecture. I wasn't trying to engage in the academic musing on what defines the perfect computer that you frequently obsess over.
I wouldn't say it is an obsession. The problem is Apples lineup puts people like you into a tight situation where the iMac is the only reasonable choice but less than the optimal one. As you note the jump to the Mac Pro is expensive. The problem with the iMac is that it is so damn thin that there is literally no possibility of a performance machine. We should consider ourselves lucky that Intel has gotten performance way up while controlling power otherwise the iMac wouldn't be able to do half of what it can do now. My problem is this, if one dismisses the iMac due to it being an all in one, something many companies do, then you are basically screwed as a professional user of Apples products. The Mini is way to limited and the Mac Pro is grossly over priced.
I'll happily buy iMacs infinitum if Apple manages to progress them as a whole in terms of their current balance of processing and graphics power. It's an excellent form factor that I've worked just as hard as any of my previous Power Macs.
Unfortunately it isn't up to Apple to increase the iMacs performance, they only have AMDs and Intels catalogs to pick from and then have very real thermal limits on top of that. Here is the big problem, it is pretty well known that Apple pushed Intel real hard on better integrated GPUs. As such the lack of a six core low power solution is probably directly related to Apples demands. By the way I believe Apple was completely justified here because some of the latest Macs with these integrated solutions are pretty impressive.
The other bit of ugliness here is that it appears that Intel is emphasizing the desktop processor market to keep a handle on mobile. Like it or not you will not be seeing the rapid evolution of desktop processors like you have in the past. I'm not going to completely dismiss the idea of a six core processor in 2014 suitable for the iMac but it is unlikely considering what Intel has said so far.
None have required the maintenance you seem to think is their Achilles heel, the retired machines (still in the family and one of which is approaching 7 years of age) are still working fine. Honestly though, who'd give a stuff if any work computer kicked the bucket after 3 or so years?
I would. At work you would not believe how long they stretch out computer upgrades, it doesn't matter how skilled you are as an engineer, designer or whatever. I believe the majority of the machines in the facility are far more than 3 years old. At home I've tried to get a few years out of a machine and then try to use it for other things in the house.