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SuperMac speculation

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm a bit old for this wishful thinking lark but it occurs to me that there could be room at the top of the tree for a $6-7K 'SuperMac'. I don't think there is any point in Apple trying to compete with your traditional server 'heavy metal' and that market may be dying anyway (did you know that at an IBM mainframe can host 1500 Linux virtual servers?) but I believe there is room in the 'creative' (3D, Film, Video, Recording Studio etc.) market place for a media server/render machine (like SGi traditionally made). the reason I am thinking this is because it is precisely the sort of machine I would buy in a shot for my own humble studio

Speculative specs. as follows (I'm no expert so be gentle)

Squared-off Quicksilver enclosure for desktop or rack mounting.

4 x 1.6GHz G5's (OSX 10 can handle four can't it?)
4 x 5 inch internal drive mounts + ATA 133
2 x AGP slots (for dual ADC displays)
4 x PCI slots
4 x memory slots (for 2Gig DDRAM)

2 x independent Firewire 800 busses (for Raid arrays up to uncompressed HiDef - 150Mb/s)

2 x USB2 busses (sockets front and back)
4 x 1000 Ethernet connectors

Slot load Superdrive.

This could be made now (or very shortly), waddya think?

Vince.
post #2 of 14
you can alway dream
post #3 of 14
just to get every bit of speed I could out of it I would put 4 x 72GB SCSI 160 drives (Ultra3) in it and either RAID them or Stripe them so it writes data to all 4 drives at the same time for Max throughput...

but that would probably bump the price of your system up to around 10-11 grand
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post #4 of 14
[quote]Originally posted by powerdoc:
<strong>you can alway dream </strong><hr></blockquote>

I like that
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Mac Pro 2.66, 5GB RAM, 250+120 HD, 23" Cinema Display
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post #5 of 14
[quote]Originally posted by powerdoc:
<strong>you can alway dream </strong><hr></blockquote>

And that's the closest to reality that this machine would be.
post #6 of 14
Apple is capable of building very high end systems if they want to, why don't they. I dont think your machine would make production at the moment, but taking a dual 800 and making it a quad 800 would be relatively easy for Apple to do. Then they just need to add $1500-2000 to the price and hey presto.

Surely there is a market for machines like this amongst Apple's pro users?
post #7 of 14
Apple produces low-to-mid range systems for reasonable prices (plus a goodly extra bit tacked on - this is Apple, a premium computer company, remember), allowing customers to buy the highest spec machines and then SELECTIVELY UPGRADE them.
You can get a high-speed CPU and motherboard and Apple software, then fit it out with high-speed drives and memory yourself.

Apple does not cater to the server enrvironment. Or rather, it does, but its servers are not really worth mentioning.

The SuperMac you mentioned is a little ambitious. Only 1 macintosh-style computer with 4 processors was ever produced, and Apple quickly killed the clones.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. Well that's all nice and negative but I think you be missing the point. The spec of the top-of-the-range by the end of 2002 is likely to be:
2 x 1.6 G5's
2 x ATA 133 (striped in OSX remember)
1 x firewire 800 bus
2 x USB2
1 x AGP
1 x Ethernet 1000
HyperTransport inteconncects blah blah

What I'm asking for is an increase in processors, firewire busses, AGP busses, and ethernet switches to make the machine a perfect 'workgroup' server. This fits into the way many creative houses work. I also think that Apple never has any problem selling its very top end kit, and OSX is its entreƩ into a whole new level of market.

We shall see.

Vince
post #9 of 14
What I'd like to see, instead of Apple getting into big iron (OK, non-small iron ) is robust clustering support built into OS X Server. Apple could lure some old DEC systems engineers if necessary (why DEC? Because VMS has had unrivaled clustering support for almost two decades now).

Benefits: Apple could use a simpler variant of the motherboard they use for everything else, instead of designing an all-new motherboard for servers. They could introduce single- and dual-processor servers at reasonable prices - allowing a low cost of entry - and you could buy as many as you needed, cluster them, and be on your merry way. If you wanted more power, you could simply plug in another server or two. You could have servers on standby in case one failed.

There could be two lines:

iServers: slimline models with a 7460, two RAM slots, internal IDE with a modest HDD (and an option for a larger one), USB, FireWire and Ethernet. Apple could offer third-party FireWire backup, SAN and RAID solutions.

Pro Servers: larger models with one or two 8500s; four RAM slots; internal IDE with a decent-sized HDD (and options for larger ones); USB; FireWire; dual ethernet; and 4 PCI slots which could be factory-equipped with additional ethernet, FireWire, or Ultra SCSI. Apple could offer third-party FW and SCSI storage and backup solutions.

Dual redundant power supplies are a given. ECC RAM would be nice in the Pro model, but I don't know if Apple would get that fancy.

Make 'em all rack mountable and you have a killer solution for small business, workgroups, schools, render farms, and scientific applications that's affordable and scalable.

There's no way anything like this happens before OS X reaches 12 o'clock and OS 9 exists only as a compatibility layer. Even then, I'd want OS X Server to ship without Classic just to get rid of its hooks into the kernel, for stability reasons.

Alas, I don't expect Apple to do anything like this. Time will tell.

[ 11-22-2001: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
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post #10 of 14
AGP isn't a bus; it's a port. You can only have one; because what it was originally designed for was that if graphics cards ran out of local memory they could use system RAM for textures. The advent of graphics cards with 32MB or greater of very very very fast RAM (faster than main memory) has rendered this moot.

Accelerated Graphics Port, just like the acronym is written.
post #11 of 14
Furthermore, only 2GB of RAM does not a highend workstation make. Try at least 4GB and preferably higher.
post #12 of 14
Apple's vision never lent itself to rack mounting or high end servers.
The Network Server 700 was quite stunning however Apple has no appeal to what is essentially the behemoth world of servers.

It wouldn't come with ATA, it would come with Dual Channel USCSI3 for 320 MB/s
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post #13 of 14
Originally posted by vinney57:
[quote]
4 x 1.6GHz G5's (OSX 10 can handle four can't it?)
4 x 5 inch internal drive mounts + ATA 133
2 x AGP slots (for dual ADC displays)<hr></blockquote>

Impossible. The G5 will show up as singe-CPU machines first and then later as twin or fourway because in the beginning the yields will be so bad they will want to stick any G5 they can get into a seperate machine.

Besides the G5 will be very expensive and draw a lot of power.

And dual-APG is technically impossible or challenging.
post #14 of 14
If Apple wants to be into "Big Iron" they should just buy SGI, or should have when the stock was below $.50.
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