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Developer secretly tested new Mac Pro for weeks inside Apple's 'Evil Lab'

post #1 of 176
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Prior to its unveiling at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference, the new Mac Pro was put through its paces in a top-secret lab at Apple's headquarters by a prominent third-party developer.

Mac Pro


The Foundry this week announced that MARI, its industry-standard 3D painting package 3D digital painting tool used in films "Avatar" and "The Avengers," is coming to the Mac. The developer, along with Oscar-winning animation studio Pixar, showed off MARI for OS X at WWDC this week, just 8 weeks after it began porting the software to the Mac.

MARI was shown running on the new cylindrical Mac Pro, demonstrating the work Pixar is doing with the software to complete its upcoming feature film "Monsters University.""All we could see was the monitor, and the Mac Pro was encased in a giant metal filing cabinet on wheels." - Jack Greasley of The Foundry

The Foundry shared with AppleInsider the story of how its team worked with the new Mac Pro in a room at Apple HQ known as the "Evil Lab" ahead of the desktop's unveiling. During the tests, the Mac Pro was entirely concealed in a giant steel cabinet, keeping its new design a mystery to The Foundry and Pixar.

"We were essentially doing a blind tasting of the machine," said Jack Greasley, MARI product manager at The Foundry. "All we could see was the monitor, and the Mac Pro was encased in a giant metal filing cabinet on wheels. Experiencing the machine in this way was actually really cool, because I can tell you that the speed and power of this machine really stands up. Mari running on this machine out of the box is the fastest I have ever seen it run."

Greasley spent a few weeks with the Mac Pro inside Apple's "Evil Lab" joined by Jonathan Hoffman, a texturing and shading artist from Pixar.

Mac Pro
The Foundry and Pixar gave an hourlong presentation with MARI running on the new Mac Pro at WWDC this week.


The path to their private session with the Mac Pro was set in motion two months ago, when Greasley visited Apple to talk about porting MARI to the Mac. After speaking with Apple's Developer Relations team, Greasley put together a pitch to feature MARI in Apple's WWDC keynote presentation.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller himself was wowed by Greasley's presentation, and decided the only way to do MARI on the Mac justice was to give it a special hourlong session for developers at WWDC. Schiller also name-dropped The Foundry and Pixar during the Mac Pro portion of the WWDC keynote on Monday."MARI?s high-resolution textures and 3D painting capabilities take full advantage of the incredible power and stability of the Mac." - Ron Okamoto of Apple Developer Relations

As The Foundry began porting MARI to the Mac, the developer had weekly updates with Apple to keep the company up-to-date on their progress. The Foundry was able to get a workable version of MARI working on OS X within just one week.

"The Foundry has done an incredible job bringing MARI to the Mac," said Ron Okamoto, Apple?s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "MARI?s high-resolution textures and 3D painting capabilities take full advantage of the incredible power and stability of the Mac."

From his time testing the new Mac Pro, Greasley came away impressed. In particular, he praised the fast PCI Express flash storage, dual graphics processors, and potential for expandability with six Thunderbolt 2 ports. He also said that Open GL and Open CL are well-integrated into the new Mac Pro, which provides a big boost for MARI.

What Greasley didn't see until this week was the cylindrical design of the new Mac Pro. After its unveiling, he was pleased, declaring the unique Mac a "beautiful machine."

"I can see some real innovation and thought has gone into what users want and need," he said, "and I don't think pro users should be concerned."

Developers interested in testing MARI can currently sign up for the MARI on Mac beta at The Foundry's official website.
post #2 of 176
Drool ....
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post #3 of 176
Haven't used a real desktop for years and have event gotten away from using my Macbook Pro since iPads have become ubiquitous. That said, this thing makes me drool.
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post #4 of 176

Mac Pro is "Monsterly" rockstar machine. Its the sexiest machine ever.  When Phil showed it for the first time with heavy metal rock music... I was like WOW 1eek.gif

 

Can't innovate anymore my ass. Like a boss! 1smoking.gif

post #5 of 176
Can't wait to see where pricing will be.
post #6 of 176
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Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Haven't used a real desktop for years and have event gotten away from using my Macbook Pro since iPads have become ubiquitous. That said, this thing makes me drool.
Haha, yeah. I barely use my iMac at all these days, it's just iPad iPad iPad. So all this Mac Pro business sounds nice but they might as well be speaking Greek to me.
post #7 of 176

I would LOVE to have one of these...but my iMac.......does what i need it to do.....

I am not a pro user so it would never be put through its paces.....

I wonder what the pricing is going to be.....

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post #8 of 176

oh how i wish i could just have all the time i want to try everything in that lab!!!

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post #9 of 176
They finally posted this in the WWDC app. Drool is right.
post #10 of 176

It really depends on what you do.  For consuming content, an iPad is the tool.  For 'light' office work an iPad or laptop or iMac is the tool.  For hard core image and video editing on a commercial or prosumer level, a MacPro is the tool.

post #11 of 176
Bit of late, this article. Jeff already posted many information on this. Check out the 50 minute video through the WWDC app.
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post #12 of 176

This killer machine is going to be a big success for Apple. Mac Pros are obviously not going to sell in the tens of millions as if they were iPhones, but the Mac Pro is still a very important product line for Apple. It's amazing that some people were really that dense and out of touch as to think that Apple would discontinue this product line.

 

How do I know that this will do well? Just go and visit a whole bunch of forums and read the countless comments that are being made. As with all of Apple's innovative products, this machine is very polarizing. The anti-Apple brigade is out in full force for this one. 

 

When you have most of the same crowd of knuckle draggers that didn't understand and who mocked the iPhone and the same crowd of clowns that declared the iPad to be a huge flop, slamming this new Mac Pro, that is a sure fire sign of guaranteed success. These people are terrified, because they know that Apple's influence extends far beyond just Apple's borders.


Edited by Apple ][ - 6/14/13 at 7:12am
post #13 of 176
My guess is the price will be in the $2.5K-$3.5K range. Give or take $0.5K.
post #14 of 176

This is the only Apple machine that truly deserves the 'pro' moniker. Pros may use any of the other machines and devices in a professional context, but this is the only machine that will be exclusively used for heavy duty professional lifting and rarely seen in people's homes. There'll be some geeks who'll need to get one just to stop their drooling, and there will be some crazed gamers out there. Can't wait to test one of these out - at the Apple store.

post #15 of 176
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Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

When you have most of the same crowd of knuckle draggers that didn't understand and who mocked the iPhone and the same crowd of clowns that declared the iPad to be a huge flop, slamming this new Mac Pro, that is a sure fire sign of guaranteed success. These people are terrified, because they know that Apple's influence extends far beyond just Apple's borders.

But they were right about a bondi blue see through computer without a floppy drive was just a laughable gimmicky toy, weren't they?

 

Weren't they???

post #16 of 176
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Originally Posted by EdRed View Post

My guess is the price will be in the $2.5K-$3.5K range. Give or take $0.5K.

I'm guessing a bit more, but we'll all know by the end of the year.

 

Just take a look at the cost of some of the individual components that the machine uses, and that'll give you an idea.

 

The price is not that important. We're talking about pro users here, not the crowd who thinks that $329 is too much for an iPad Mini.

post #17 of 176
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... "I can see some real innovation and thought has gone into what users want and need," he said, "and I don't think pro users should be concerned."

 

So despite all the criticism and whining, once a real pro gets his hands on it, he is more than pleased.  Figures. 

post #18 of 176
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Originally Posted by paxman View Post

But they were right about a bondi blue see through computer without a floppy drive was just a laughable gimmicky toy, weren't they?

 

Weren't they???

 

When those came out there was an actual line-up at my campus computer store of people waiting to get their hands on them.  That was the very first time I heard of or saw anyone actually line up for a computer of any kind, let alone an Apple computer.  

post #19 of 176
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Originally Posted by paxman View Post

But they were right about a bondi blue see through computer without a floppy drive was just a laughable gimmicky toy, weren't they?

 

Weren't they???

 

Have the anti-Apple tards ever been right about anything?lol.gif

 

You're right, I remember there being quite some controversy about the iMac when it was released. What? No floppy drive?

 

I went out and instantly bought one, and apparently so did everybody else almost.

post #20 of 176
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Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I'm guessing a bit more, but we'll all know by the end of the year.

 

Just take a look at the cost of some of the individual components that the machine uses, and that'll give you an idea.

 

The price is not that important. We're talking about pro users here, not the crowd who thinks that $329 is too much for an iPad Mini.

 

Right and many pro users will probably not settle for the prebuilt configurations. Plus they might have to buy the 4K monitor(s) and other expensive peripherals. But I still think that $2.5K-$3.5K will be the price range of the "basic" prebuilt configurations that I'm also guessing will be 3.
post #21 of 176
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Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Haven't used a real desktop for years and have event gotten away from using my Macbook Pro since iPads have become ubiquitous. That said, this thing makes me drool.

Think about this with dual 4K Cinema Display side by side and you will have a triple drools.

post #22 of 176
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Originally Posted by EdRed View Post

 

Right and many pro users will probably not settle for the prebuilt configurations. Plus they might have to buy the 4K monitor(s) and other expensive peripherals.But I still think that $2.5K-$3.5K will be the price range of the "basic" prebuilt configurations that I'm also guessing will be 3.

Naw, $6k - $8k in any useful configuration.

post #23 of 176

This new Mac Pro is just so Sci-Fi. Wonder if they will do it in another color too, silver / aluminum? Not that I will get 1, I'm only a consumer to light office user.

 

Pro users in other posts have commented about it not being expandable internally, but at 1/8th the size of the old tower designs does that matter in this day & age? It's not like it's meant to be a mobile computer like an iPad or MacBook, it's designed as a desktop / work station. I imagine this new Mac Pro can be expanded externally far & beyond the capabilities of the old Mac Pro. As for future internal upgradability, graphics etc, wait & see, it's still a work in progress & not out just yet.

 

As for looking like a bin, see previous posts, I think it looks more like those eggs in the Alien films myself.

post #24 of 176
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As The Foundry began porting MARI to the Mac, the developer had weekly updates with Apple to keep the company up-to-date on their progress. The Foundry was able to get a workable version of MARI working on OS X within just one week.

To me, this is the most interesting thing about this article. Some of us have been around long enough to remember the early days of personal computing where portions of apps were written in assembly and even simple apps required a great deal of machine-specific (and OS-specific) code. It's impressive to me that the market has developed to the point where code is not just portable - but portable in a form that it works WELL after a recompile to a different platform. This particular code is apparently quite efficient on OS X which suggests massive improvements not only in code portability but in compilers over the past couple of decades.
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post #25 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdRed View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I'm guessing a bit more, but we'll all know by the end of the year.

 

Just take a look at the cost of some of the individual components that the machine uses, and that'll give you an idea.

 

The price is not that important. We're talking about pro users here, not the crowd who thinks that $329 is too much for an iPad Mini.

 

Right and many pro users will probably not settle for the prebuilt configurations. Plus they might have to buy the 4K monitor(s) and other expensive peripherals. But I still think that $2.5K-$3.5K will be the price range of the "basic" prebuilt configurations that I'm also guessing will be 3.

 

I'm sure from the base model to the maxed out model will be in line with pricing for the current model. One cpu (6-core) unit will be $2500, dual cpu (12-core) + whatever else they throw in will be $3800. If they are able to reduce the base prices before options, all the better, but as a layperson I don't see how they could.

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post #26 of 176
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Originally Posted by paxman View Post

This is the only Apple machine that truly deserves the 'pro' moniker. Pros may use any of the other machines and devices in a professional context, but this is the only machine that will be exclusively used for heavy duty professional lifting and rarely seen in people's homes. There'll be some geeks who'll need to get one just to stop their drooling, and there will be some crazed gamers out there. Can't wait to test one of these out - at the Apple store.

Agree - except for the gamers. The people who are after maximum gaming performance are generally not buying Macs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I'm guessing a bit more, but we'll all know by the end of the year.

Just take a look at the cost of some of the individual components that the machine uses, and that'll give you an idea.

The price is not that important. We're talking about pro users here, not the crowd who thinks that $329 is too much for an iPad Mini.

I don't see it. The base Pro has been in the $2500 range for quite a while. You were given a range of $2500 to $3500 - and think that it's going to be more than that. Keep in mind that this machine will be less expensive to produce than the current one in some areas (lower power supply cost, no optical drive, much smaller, less expensive case). I would expect it to start in the same $2500-3500 range.
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post #27 of 176
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Agree - except for the gamers. The people who are after maximum gaming performance are generally not buying Macs.
I don't see it. The base Pro has been in the $2500 range for quite a while. You were given a range of $2500 to $3500 - and think that it's going to be more than that. Keep in mind that this machine will be less expensive to produce than the current one in some areas (lower power supply cost, no optical drive, much smaller, less expensive case). I would expect it to start in the same $2500-3500 range.

But assembled in the US. So that negates any savings in your examples.

Amazing machine from the look/sound of it. I have no need for it but it makes me drool.
post #28 of 176
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Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post

 

I'm sure from the base model to the maxed out model will be in line with pricing for the current model. One cpu (6-core) unit will be $2500, dual cpu (12-core) + whatever else they throw in will be $3800. If they are able to reduce the base prices before options, all the better, but as a layperson I don't see how they could.

 

Unless I'm mistaken, I'm pretty sure that I read that there won't be any dual CPU version.

 

The 12 core is single CPU.

post #29 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdRed View Post

My guess is the price will be in the $2.5K-$3.5K range. Give or take $0.5K.

 

Interesting, I was thinking the same thing.  These might be slightly cheaper than the existing models, mostly due to the savings in packaging.  The current cases although beautiful, must cost a fortune to make.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

 

Have the anti-Apple tards ever been right about anything?lol.gif

 

You're right, I remember there being quite some controversy about the iMac when it was released. What? No floppy drive?

 

I went out and instantly bought one, and apparently so did everybody else almost.

 

You have to wonder if it wasn't for the original iMac how many more years the PC industry was going to force 3.5" drives on us?  I was mostly a PC user when these were introduced and even then I thought this was the smart move for Apple because floppies were just about useless even then.

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post #30 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I don't see it. The base Pro has been in the $2500 range for quite a while. You were given a range of $2500 to $3500 - and think that it's going to be more than that. Keep in mind that this machine will be less expensive to produce than the current one in some areas (lower power supply cost, no optical drive, much smaller, less expensive case). I would expect it to start in the same $2500-3500 range.

 

I hope that you're right, but what about the dual video cards? I don't think that Apple has announced exactly which AMD model they will be using, but those pro cards are not exactly cheap.

post #31 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post

 

I'm sure from the base model to the maxed out model will be in line with pricing for the current model. One cpu (6-core) unit will be $2500, dual cpu (12-core) + whatever else they throw in will be $3800. If they are able to reduce the base prices before options, all the better, but as a layperson I don't see how they could.

When you consider the current Mac Pro can be optioned up to well over $11,000, it'll be interesting to see what pricing will be for the new one...

post #32 of 176
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Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
Unless I'm mistaken, I'm pretty sure that I read that there won't be any dual CPU version.

 

The 12 core is single CPU.

AMD or Intel?

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post #33 of 176
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

AMD or Intel?

Graphics are AMD. CPU is Intel, of course. 

post #34 of 176
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Originally Posted by paxman View Post

This is the only Apple machine that truly deserves the 'pro' moniker.
You would need a very narrow definition of the word "pro" for that to be true.
Quote:
Pros may use any of the other machines and devices in a professional context, but this is the only machine that will be exclusively used for heavy duty professional lifting and rarely seen in people's homes.
I really doubt this one too. If the price ends up in the right ball park I could see one in my house.
Quote:
There'll be some geeks who'll need to get one just to stop their drooling, and there will be some crazed gamers out there. Can't wait to test one of these out - at the Apple store.

This could very well become "THE" machine for a number of uses. I'd love to see a few in the Apple store myself but have this feeling that it will be hidden away just like previous Mac Pros.
post #35 of 176
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Originally Posted by razorpit View Post

You have to wonder if it wasn't for the original iMac how many more years the PC industry was going to force 3.5" drives on us?  I was mostly a PC user when these were introduced and even then I thought this was the smart move for Apple because floppies were just about useless even then.

 

That's a good question. The current computer landscape would no doubt look very different, if not for Apple.

 

The funny thing is that when Apple ditched floppies, they were one of the first to adopt the optical drive in it's place. And now certain people are whining that Apple is ditching the optical drive. These people are no different than the people who were whining about the floppy being dropped more than a decade ago.

 

When man first discovered the wheel, I'm sure that there were probably a few whiners back then also who were happy with the status quo and terrified of change and progress.

post #36 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post

Graphics are AMD. CPU is Intel, of course. 

What makes you so sure? AMD has already released a 12 core Opteron, Intel has 8 cores right now AFAIK

 

On second thought I suppose it has to be Intel to have Thunderbolt.

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post #37 of 176

"Can't innovate anymore my ass. Like a boss! 1smoking.gif"

 

I wish he wouldn't have said that. He is not far off from Balmer. Really the bragging is a bit juvenile, very PC like and unlike the poetry of the mac. I did not at all enjoy the product presentations despite the products being jaw droppingly beautiful. Phil just blew it. Shame. Ive really need to stand up and present the products himself. We need someone with genuine passion.

post #38 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveN View Post

It really depends on what you do.  For consuming content, an iPad is the tool.  For 'light' office work an iPad or laptop or iMac is the tool.  For hard core image and video editing on a commercial or prosumer level, a MacPro is the tool.

I don't agree on the prosumer video editing -- that's what I consider myself to be doing.


I have a Loaded iMac 27" 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7... and it always worked quite well...


Then I installed OSX Mavericks, and it's like a totally new machine.

It is fast and fluid -- and FCPX hasn't even been upgraded yet to take advantage of the new features of Mavericks.

It runs a lot cooler because of "AppNap" and the new power management.

You have to experience pan/zoom in 3D Flyover with a map filling the entire 27" display -- nothing compares!



I already have a couple of Pegasus 12s on Thunderbolt. Likely, I will buy a new iMac when next upgraded...

But, I want to see the Mac Pro pricing and what's available from Apple in Retina or 4K displays (maybe the next iMac?). It's rather a PITA to scale down video from the Retina iPad to display on a non-retina desktop display,
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post #39 of 176
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Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

This killer machine is going to be a big success for Apple. Mac Pros are obviously not going to sell in the tens of millions as if they were iPhones, but the Mac Pro is still a very important product line for Apple. It's amazing that some people were really that dense and out of touch as to think that Apple would discontinue this product line.

 

How do I know that this will do well? Just go and visit a whole bunch of forums and read the countless comments that are being made. As with all of Apple's innovative products, this machine is very polarizing. The anti-Apple brigade is out in full force for this one. 

 

When you have most of the same crowd of knuckle draggers that didn't understand and who mocked the iPhone and the same crowd of clowns that declared the iPad to be a huge flop, slamming this new Mac Pro, that is a sure fire sign of guaranteed success. These people are terrified, because they know that Apple's influence extends far beyond just Apple's borders.

I haven't read such a sane and savvy post in a very looooooong time! Totally agree.

 

Not having any industry connections, a long time ago I imagined what the next Pro might be, and I came up with pretty much the same idea of a "modular" machine with its main components in a small package and relying on Tunderbolt to connect it with optional expansion chassis. Sure enough, my idea was a good one.

 

I'm now thinking that pricing may very will also "surprise and delight", as it would seem that the machine is both relatively easy to manufacture, and that Apple would want to be able to market it to a broader prosumer market, possibly satisfying the past requests for a "mini tower" machine.

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post #40 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

To me, this is the most interesting thing about this article. Some of us have been around long enough to remember the early days of personal computing where portions of apps were written in assembly and even simple apps required a great deal of machine-specific (and OS-specific) code. It's impressive to me that the market has developed to the point where code is not just portable - but portable in a form that it works WELL after a recompile to a different platform. This particular code is apparently quite efficient on OS X which suggests massive improvements not only in code portability but in compilers over the past couple of decades.

The tools have improved drastically as has the techniques known to improve code portability.

I was very please to see the positive comments about OpenGL and OpenCL. This Mac is a machine that will be purchased just to run OpenCL accelerated apps.
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