Originally Posted by Marvin
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie
But the Cube failed as well, selling a mere 125.000 IIRC.
That's what I was getting at, some things deserve a second chance. People wanted the Cube when it came out but it was hard to justify the price next to the larger workstation and the cooling method it used along with cracks in the plastic case just didn't sit well. They'd design it properly this time.
The cube was an interesting even desirable machine but Apple really screwed up with pricing. Badly! In fact the Cube was so poorly priced that it turned me off with respect to Apple for a very long time. I eventually replaced my Mac Plus with a series of Linux machines because of it. The proverbial straw that broke the camels back so to speak as I just could never see a price justification for that machine nor for many that came between the Plus and the Cube.
The Cube want a bad idea though. Something similar today probably would work well unless it was big enough to house the capability of the Mac Pro. Notably the Mini is a far better "Cube" that the Cube ever was. So a modern day Cube would need to be able to house both high performance CPUs and GPUs. That at the very least means a bigger box.
The price will put people off just like the Mac Pro but it would be unique. Right now the Mac Pro is like all the other machines out there but bigger, heavier and expensive. It has better cooling but if that power and more could fit into something you could pick up with one hand, it's more impressive.
Price does kill the Mac Pro even though many don't want to admit it. The problem is that the Mac Pro is really only attractive to people that configure it in rather high performance configurations, which means they are by definition less sensitive to pricing. At the low end, for people looking for really good midrange performance and maybe a decent GPU the machine is a joke and way over priced. Thus the terrible sales.
I don't see the downsides of the smaller design. It can take a 10/12-core chip for a lower price. It can hold a good amount of RAM. Storage might be a bit tight but even with 2 drives + SSD, it can handle ~8TB of storage. It can hold a very fast GPU. All that's missing is PCI expansion but there are external options and it's probably going to have a minimal effect.
I really don't see the problem either. For the most part, that is for the majority of users the Mac Pro is one big box of dead air. The only thing to argue with is the need for a PCI-Express slot. Such a shrunken machine needs at least a couple of slots as external connections would never be fast enough nor have the reliability some users want. As for bulk storage it simply doesn't belong inside a CPU box anymore, there are now multiple ways to interface such hardware and still maintain the performance required.
If more people buy the Pro for the slots than the cores, then sticking with the slots and ignoring TB is the way to go but I think the Mac Pro's area of emphasis needs to stop being expansion and start being performance per dollar.
The two aren't mutually exclusive! You can have slots in a small box and t the same time target performance per dollar. The problem is that certain segments of industry will always need some sort of applications accelerator that can only really be leveraged in a high performance slot.
The Mini is about being small and entry level, the iMac is simple and has a great display bundled, the Mac Pro needs to be a powerhouse for creative tasks. A quad-core 2009 CPU and 5770 for $2499 is terrible value and a drop-in upgrade would leave it that way.
Terrible isn't the word for it. It is down right highway robbery. We need to look deeper though and to try to determine where those high prices come from and what can be done to reduce them. I still see the first order of business should be to rip everything out of the box that can't be justified for making a high performance module. Thus anything SATA related must go, that is almost a third of the box and motherboard right there.
Originally Posted by hmm
Apple may not have a starter option within Ivy Bridge E.
It would all be Ivy Bridge, none of this selling old CPUs on the low-end. It's about performance-per-dollar. They would design it and price it in a way that they could use the latest architecture in the whole lineup. The latest 6-cores would be around $500-600. They can absord the extra $300 just from the margins but also from the redesign (no optical, smaller PSU etc).
Apple does have configuration issues that make the low end machines very in appealing.
As to Ivy Bridge, I just don't see it in a new 2013 Mac Pro. Frankly it really isn't worth waiting for, at least it doesn't justify pissing off your loyal customer base for. Instead I see something from the Xeon Phi line up going into the machine. Not so much the accelerator chips already released/announced but rather a Main CPU Phi that has been rumored about. In other words a chipset that allows Apple to implement a dramatically different Mac Pro and something they might see as justifying good margins.
To put it another way, they need something that makes people say wow. Something that changes the mindset as to the Mac Pros value. Frankly if they rolled out yet another Ivy Bridge based Pro machine, in the same mold as the current Pros, I don't see a lot of NEW users rushing to embrace the new machine. New being the key word as to remain viable the new Pro needs to suck in many more new users.
Originally Posted by hmm
the possibility of a late Sandy Bridge E still exists
If that's the case, why not release it now; what are they waiting for? Furthermore, why do it a few months after what they did at WWDC? It doesn't add up. It seems like they couldn't decide on which direction to take it next. They've probably been going over the same discussions we have about how they actually get TB support in there and if they need to bother with it.
The same logic more or less applies to an Ivy Bridge based machine. Or it will when a stable of Ivy based Xeons is out. Things like TB and other technologies are really pushing us to dramatically different Mac Pro architectures. The thing is what is taking so long? Hard question to answer but nothing available Ivy Bridge wise really seems to justify the long delay in a new architecture.
It has to be something that stopped them redesigning around Sandy Bridge. They purposely avoided it. It's not as if they had a change of heart because of WWDC, the Mac Pro release coincided with it. For whatever reason, Sandy Bridge just didn't work for them. They might need a better TB controller like Redwood Ridge or Falcon Ridge or if they are going with single CPUs, they need chips that scale to 10/12-cores, which only Ivy Bridge offers.
To this I agree, but I really can't see anything compelling in Ivy Bridge Xeons either. Think about it, Apple risked many customers by releasing that "bump" machine a few months ago. Does Ivy Bridge justify that? Nope! At least I can't see anything so compelling in Ivy Bridge that I'd risk my customer base waiting for it. This is why I expect something different, who knows Apple could be partnering with Intel on a Xeon Phi specific for Apples needs. All I do know is that they must have something compelling up their sleeves to justify all the foot dragging and non updates we have gotten.
I think the big reveal will happen at WWDC 2013. That's the audience for it.
I was thinking February. I suppose another half year doesn't mean much if you haven't done a real update in four years but the customer base is getting itchy. In any event you would think that we would be hearing leaks or rumors rather soon. .