I think we rather agree here more than disagree.
Originally Posted by hmm
If they plan on continuing the line, it would be perfectly logical to keep up with the most current hardware, especially when Xeon E/EP chipsets have 2-3 year lifecycles. They could have added PCIe 3, usb3, and possibly thunderbolt. Third party pci usb3 cards haven't been terribly stable, so I don't think they're a good option. Both Sandy Bridge E and Ivy Bridge E lack native usb3 support, yet every other oem shipped Sandy Bridge E with at least 2 usb3 ports, so it's not an excuse. Drivers for AMD 7000 gpus had appeared in some of the nightly OSX builds at times but later disappeared. If they had driver development, the work to validate those on the older hardware would have been at least a nice gesture. As it is now the only newer options are third party cards, and the drivers are still somewhat immature. I still think this ignores that even when you ignore the "Crazy Eddies" of the computer world (Dell) offerings, you still find a lot of workstations that start with similar hardware builds and workstation gpus of similar class in the $1500-1900 range. These are also not sold at the razor thin margins of $400 budget PCs. I think there's a tendency to focus on manufacturing costs due to an assumption of a reasonable pricing model. Interestingly toward the dual level, they're closer in terms of percentage to the PC equivalents.
It often seems like Apples Mac Pro is a good deal when a major rev comes out and you consider something other than the entry level machine. After years of zero updates the Mac Pro is simply a very poor value. Apple really should have cut a $1000 off the price with the last rev. Now they look a bit pathetic, sort of like the guy on Craigslist trying to sell his motorcycle for more than he paid for it new.
It does address a rather conservative market, although it hasn't shrunk as much as people would like to suggest. The workstation market had problems in 2008-2011. When Sandy Bridge E hit late, sales went up due to pent up demand. Some of the writeups don't always hit critical details, like average selling price to give some idea of the distribution between single and dual types. It's not just the lack of interest in the mac pro that irks me. The idevices have dwarfed other sales, and as such Apple hasn't paid as much attention to technologies that could be leveraged by such markets regardless of the name applied to the hardware package. It's more an issue of getting the most out of the hardware possible and not mistaking under-performance for "runs with greater stability".
I wouldn't be so bothered by the lack of attention but Apple has tons of money all over the place. They could easily engineer bleeding edge Minis and Mac Pros. Sure the market for desktops is tough, but if you can offer the best on the market customers will gravitate towards you. In fact in a tough market you really need a product that stands heads and shoulders above the rest.
There is still a little bit of that. It's somewhat common with animation studios, as some of the smaller vendors do software specific testing looking for bugs with whatever combination of software + gpu drawing. Boxx did the overclocked single package machine thing due to certain applications being very poorly threaded on specific processes, although their marketing does cherry pick things at times. There are still industries that make great use of Linux for its features.
What is sad here is that Mac OS is a solid UNIX operating system that could easily grab much more of this advanced usage than it does. It is rather pathetic that Linux now has more and at times far better drivers for GPUs than Apple has. The fact of the matter is this, the engineering staff and the expense to support it wouldn't even be noticed in the quarterly reports. The uptick in sales might be noticed though.
Companies like NVidia, AMD, and Intel do eventually pull support on older hardware. GPU driver development is a big issue, as is whatever OpenGL version is supported. Selling an aging package could create problems for late purchasers in this sense as bug fixes become less common. It has also happened with some of the third party after market gpus. The Quadro 4800 had very poor support in spite of its price.
In this industry it just makes little sense to be paying a premium price for hardware that is as old as the stuff in the Mac Pro. As you point out support is not on going, eventually you are out of luck.
Well it does really limit certain solutions when it comes to bandwidth. There are many more lanes available on the Xeon versions.
Yes I know this but not every need for a workstation implies a need for a dual socket machine. The way I see it a well designed motherboard for a desktop class processor can be designed to be much cheaper than the approach seen in the Mac Pro even if the chips are in the same price range. One should be able to manage relatively good performance relative to the iMac
There isn't much stratification. LGA1155 grants 16 total lanes. LGA2011 jumps to 40 or 80. They would be more relevant in a server settings where traffic shaping is available at the hypervisor level, but it definitely affords some breathing room on bandwidth, especially when you consider that any additional ports added subtract from those available lanes. I think people have seriously gotten carried away with their thunderbolt kool-aid though.
Yes they have. When I started to see people glowing over the thought of external GPUs I really had to wonder if technological idiocy has set in. The whole idea of external GPUs is so far removed from the direction the industry is going as to be a joke.
It's not likely that Apple will commission or subsidize development on more external peripherals in order to grow the market. It's mostly higher cost peripherals that have gone to usb3/thunderbolt combos where the margins are high enough to minimize risk. The upcoming changes don't help either, as it's easier for the peripheral device oems to hit a stable target.
I suspect Apple got what it wanted out of TB, they will leave the rest of the industry to fend for themselves.
Intel has maintained options in similar price territory for many years. 2009 Apple used a W3520. That cost around $300, much like the i7 3770
used in the top imac. That imac also probably uses a more expensive gpu and has to budget for a 27" display implementation. I don't attribute the price difference to slabs of aluminum with a hydroformed appearance.
It is the design of the motherboard in the Mac Pro that makes it expensive, but that is only relative to what it would cost to build a compact motherboard built around a desktop chip.
I'm highly skeptical that they are that costly to build.
Ripoff comes to mind when talking about Mac Pro pricing.
The entry Xeon model uses a $300 cpu. The gpu is one that is only $250 retail
in the Apple Store. It has remained at that price since 2010. The ram isn't a huge cost factor. Some people always whine about the price of ECC ram no matter how many links I post to the same specs in ECC vs non-ECC. It was significantly more expensive 10 years ago. It wasn't in 2009 when the 4,1 was introduced nor is it today. I suspect the use of the single models helps subsidize development costs of the 12 core models, but I really haven't been able to turn up reasoning that would suggest the base model starts that high due to construction costs relative to Apple's typical margins. Past a certain point it's just comes down to pricing and product strategy rather than what is required to profit on a per unit basis.
I agree and frankly the pricing and product strategy is a complete failure. They simply don't have the desktop machine most users need or want to buy. The market could be very well served by a $1200+ class Mac Pro like computer that gives them the options they want or needs.
My argument or the X could never replace Y one?
The original argument not yours.
I was thinking of things like Smoke suites a few years ago and graphics workstations from Barco/Quantel in the 1990s. I was saying that specialized solutions were largely displaced by X86 desktops and workstations in reply to the comment that it was incredible how these things have not adjusted for inflation. He was comparing to when the personal computing market was in its infancy.
It was an excuse until 2012. The lack of any real work done on the line negated that.
All I got to say is that the Mac Pros replacement better be impressive, because honestly Apple has dug such a deep hole I don't see them climbing out of it any time soon. The Mac Pro and Apples handling of the customers that use the machine, has just been so hostile to the customer base that I suspect most are gone for good. Even the Mini needs a little respect to keep its dwindling customer base.