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The Waiting Game Continues: Mac Pros

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have been waiting since December for Mac Pro updates, I was desperately hoping that Apple would update more than just the processors. Mainly I am interested in Graphics Card updates and a possible complete reformat of the Mac Pro which has been keeping me from buying the "old setup" and now the new 8-core Mac Pro. What is the chance that apple will either update Graphics Cards or give the Mac Pro a total remake and make it available at NAB? I was reading some in the Current Hardware thread about the Mac Pros, but I wanted to start a thread to get more formal feedback. Thanks.
post #2 of 29
NAB is out. They won't add any new GPU until probably summer or even later is my guess.

I'm thinking the next refresh will bring Penryn procs and faster GPU but I'm not sold. Apple is unpredicatable nowadays. They could bring the new Nvidia 8800 based stuff out after Leopard ships or they could wait. It's maddening.
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post #3 of 29
Good questions...

I've been waiting to upgrade my aging G5 Dual 2.0 for many months. (Apeture is slow as a dog...)

I can afford the 8 core, but would rather sink the money into a bleeding edge computer that will hold its value/speed/usefullness well into the future. With the new 8 core, I'd still be getting last years RAM speed, graphics options, FSB speed, case design, etc.

How long will I have to wait for the NEXT MacPro?

I just spent some time on eBay and Craigslist looking at used MacPros. Maybe I'll getting something 2nd hand to tide me over till the next upgrade....
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

NAB is out. They won't add any new GPU until probably summer or even later is my guess.

I'm thinking the next refresh will bring Penryn procs and faster GPU but I'm not sold. Apple is unpredicatable nowadays. They could bring the new Nvidia 8800 based stuff out after Leopard ships or they could wait. It's maddening.

Any chance an 8800 update to future Macs would be compatible (word choice) with the current Mac Pros? Sorry if that's confusing.
post #5 of 29
What does the NVidia 8800 do that's so damn important?
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post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northgate View Post

What does the NVidia 8800 do that's so damn important?

For the price Apple is charging for their high end workstation, no one should have to tell themselves....."Well that 8800 doesn't really do that much more than this year old card"

Shame on Apple. This is after all the same company that is going to roll out a touch screen cell phone for christs sake!!
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

NAB is out. They won't add any new GPU until probably summer or even later is my guess.

I'm thinking the next refresh will bring Penryn procs and faster GPU but I'm not sold. Apple is unpredicatable nowadays. They could bring the new Nvidia 8800 based stuff out after Leopard ships or they could wait. It's maddening.

You should read this because NAB is a serious possibility. Actually It is almost confirmed GPU wise.
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post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northgate View Post

What does the NVidia 8800 do that's so damn important?

Draw 3D graphics a hell alot faster than the graphics cards they are selling.

Strange how Apple went from being the first to announce a machine with the Nvidia 6800 Ultra to being the last to announce a machine with a old video card.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddha View Post

Any chance an 8800 update to future Macs would be compatible (word choice) with the current Mac Pros? Sorry if that's confusing.

Yeah I'm sure that the 8800 will be compativle with today's Mac Pros. Here's the catch. I'm willing to bet money that the 8800 is going to be Leopard only. My reasoning is this.

1. It's support will come from Leopards OpenGL 2.x drivers.
2. It'll support HDCP and I think Leopard will be the only OS X that does.
3. Cinema Dispays will be coming with HDCP support

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northgate View Post

What does the NVidia 8800 do that's so damn important?

Northgate the 8800 is a BEAST. Plust you can get gobs of memory on them. Considering that with OpenGL 2.x and Leopard you will ALWAYS have a thread dedicated to UI rendering going to the GPU I expect the performance of Leopard with a top notch card to be outstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

You should read this because NAB is a serious possibility. Actually It is almost confirmed GPU wise.

Checking it out Onlooker. Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

Draw 3D graphics a hell alot faster than the graphics cards they are selling.

Strange how Apple went from being the first to announce a machine with the Nvidia 6800 Ultra to being the last to announce a machine with a old video card.

See above. I really doubt that Apple could have done a good job with the 8800 or 8600 on Tiger. It would have worked but it would require a lot of work and not supported the shading features of OGL 2.x that are required for the nextgen shader stuff.
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post #10 of 29
Dear Friends

Y'all are making me more conscious about graphics cards. I feel a little bit like a fish out of water.

I want excellent Photoshop performance and my current understanding is that I don't need to spend any money on any kind of special graphics card. I never, ever play games on my Macs.

However, I'd love it if I could see spectacular user interface performance gains in Leopard if I had a good video card. Is the ATI X1900 enough to see that kind of performance?

This eight-core 3GHz system with a 30" Cinema Display, two Hitachi 7K1000 drives, and an extra 6GB of RAM is going to cost me over US$8000. This is getting utterly ridiculous.

Sincerely,
Jaddie
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaddie View Post

However, I'd love it if I could see spectacular user interface performance gains in Leopard if I had a good video card. Is the ATI X1900 enough to see that kind of performance?

Most definitely, if you're not into gaming (primarily first person shooters) nor high end 3D design/video stuff, that's an excellent card. It shouldn't hold you back in the least!
post #12 of 29
I think people are in denial about new Mac Pros coming out at NAB. Apple just released their most expensive Mac since Steve Jobs came back to Apple in February of 1997 (just after Apple released the $4700 Power Macintosh 9600) and if there was more to announce, they would have waited two weeks instead of releasing an extra processor option on a random Wednesday.

If you are waiting to buy because of a graphics card, consider this. Apple generally offers graphics card upgrades on the Apple Store after a new graphics card is made available for the Mac. While I'm not discounting the possibility that there will be new graphics card options at NAB, I don't think I'd hold off on a new Mac purchase for it.

I don't see any reason why Apple would announce a $4000+ Mac today (at minimum specs, the eight core Mac Pro costs $3997) and only have it around for a few weeks or a couple of months before drastically changes again. I wouldn't be surprised, however, to see new Displays introduced shortly.
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran441 View Post

I don't see any reason why Apple would announce a $4000+ Mac today (at minimum specs, the eight core Mac Pro costs $3997) and only have it around for a few weeks or a couple of months before drastically changes again. I wouldn't be surprised, however, to see new Displays introduced shortly.

That's a very good point, however, Apple has been very unpredictable lately so I'm going to hold off on my purchase until NAB and see if there are any updates. Thanks for your insight.
post #14 of 29
I'm just going to post this because nobody seems to read posts anymore.

NVIDIA Ships 128-Core Graphics Cards for High-End Film Editors, Graphics Pros: Apple 'Excited'

NVIDIA just cranked up its highest-end Quadro graphics cards a notch or two, rolling out three products, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600, Quadro FX 5600, and NVIDIA Quadro Plex VCS Model IV that the company says represents the biggest leap in performance for its graphics cards yet. One giant leap indeed, because these parallel processing monsters have the rough equivalent of 128 1.35GHz processors cranking away at graphics in a whole new way.

These cards have more circuitry than ever, with three quarters of a billion transistors on board, and NVIDIA says not only can they display larger graphics faster than ever but use a concept called GP-GPU, allowing general-purpose programs to run on the GPU instead of the CPU.

Sharing some of the same technology with NVIDIA's GeForce 8 series of consumer cards released last November, these cards are aimed at high-end film effects artists and oil and gas explorers, and maybe a few absolutely fanatic gamers. More info, pics and pricing, plus a tantalizing hint from NVIDIA about Apple's interest in this technology, after the jump.

These cards have a brand-new GPU architecture on board, representing a brand new approach to graphics, where NVIDIA goes away from the pipeline model and into parallel processing.

Jeff Brown, General Manager, Professional Solutions Group at NVIDIA told us these new cards were four years in the making, and that NVIDIA spent half a billion dollars putting together this technology. He also gave us what might be a hint at what Apple has to show at NAB in April with its rumored workstations that are geared toward professional video editors and effects artists.

Said Brown, "Image processing is the fundamental algorithm set that video editing guys use, and traditionally that has been very CPU-centric, and now we're starting to see more and more image processing moving to the GPU. So folks like Adobe, Apple, Avid are excited about this concept. It gives them much, much higher levels of performance."

Expect to see those video editing giants, Adobe, Apple, and Avid, taking advantage of these graphics cards, perhaps showing systems involving the technology at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in mid-April. We'll be there to see what happens.

Meanwhile, these graphics cards aren't cheap, where the Quadro FX 4600 will retail for $1995, and the Quadro FX 5600 will run $2999. NVIDIA didn't say what its highest-end Quadro Plex VCS model IV will cost. – Charlie White

Press Release:

NEW NVIDIA QUADRO® ARCHITECTURE DELIVERS GREATEST GENERATIONAL LEAP IN COMPANY HISTORY
New Quadro Solutions Launch with Advanced Features Including: Unified Architecture, Shader Model 4.0, and GPU Computing for Visualization

SANTA CLARA, CA--MARCH 5, 2007--NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today unveiled a new line of professional graphics solutions: NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600, Quadro FX 5600, and NVIDIA Quadro Plex VCS Model IV. Armed with the largest increase in GPU power and functionality to date, these solutions are designed to help solve the world's most complex professional graphics challenges.

Tackling the extreme visualization challenges of the automotive styling and design, oil and gas exploration, medical imaging, visual simulation and training, scientific research, and advanced visual effects industries, these new Quadro solutions offer:

Next-Generation Vertex and Pixel Programmability--Shader Model 4.0 enables a higher level of performance and ultra-realistic effects for OpenGL and DirectX 10 professional applications

Largest Frame Buffers--Up to 1.5 GB frame buffers deliver throughput needed for interactive visualization and real-time processing of large textures and frames, enabling the superior quality and resolution for full-scene antialiasing (FSAA)

New Unified Architecture--Industry-first unified architecture capable of dynamically allocating compute, geometry, shading and pixel processing power for optimized GPU performance

GPU Computing for Visualization--Featuring NVIDIA CUDA technology, developers are, for the first time, able to tap into Quadro's high-performance computing power to solve complex, visualization problems

"Today's cutting-edge gaming and film experiences are built around tremendous 3D imagery. Designing this content requires high quality real-time feedback regardless of complexity," said Bill Roberts, director of product management at Softimage Co. "NVIDIA's support of shader Model 4.0 combined with the real-time shader architecture of SOFTIMAGE|XSI allows game developers to quickly create advanced visual effects for the Microsoft Vista OS by providing the most accurate visual feedback. Also the massively scalable visual compute power provided by CUDA is what fuels modern software architectures like SOFTIMAGE|XSI and Face Robot, built on our unique Gigapolygon core, which are inherently designed to take advantage of parallel computing power."

Additional features in the new Quadro solutions include faster 3D texturing and massive 8Kx8K texture processing for better performance when zooming and panning of high-resolution images; NVIDIA® SLI™ technology for improved graphics performance; dual dual-link display connectivity; and NVIDIA® PureVideo™ technology for outstanding picture clarity, smooth video playback, and accurate color and precise image scaling for SD and HD content. NVIDIA GSync and HD SDI options are also offered.

"We bundle NVIDIA Quadro solutions with our kernel technology to accelerate simulations in the electromagnetic and energy markets," says Ryan Schneider, CTO for Acceleware Corp. "The CUDA SDK exposes an exciting new compute model that will help Acceleware to continue to make our products faster each year. This will also help our customers, including major cell phone and medical device designers, get their products to market faster, better and stronger."

NVIDIA Quadro solutions are widely available through leading OEMs such as HP, Dell, IBM, and Sun; leading workstation system integrators; and NVIDIA channel partners PNY Technologies (US and EMEA), Leadtek (APAC) and Elsa (Japan). For more information about the full lineup of NVIDIA professional solutions, please visit www.nvidia.com/quadro. The Quadro FX 4600 has a MSRP of $1995 and the Quadro FX 5600 has an MSRP of $2999.

NVIDIA Corporation
NVIDIA Corporation is the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies. The Company creates innovative, industry-changing products for computing, consumer electronics, and mobile devices. NVIDIA is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA and has offices throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. For more information, visit www.nvidia.com.
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post #15 of 29
onlooker, we saw the Mac Pro 'speed bump' today, even if it was only the addition of the top end 8 core Mac Pro. Like I said in my post, it's not out of the question that Apple will add graphics card options to the Mac Pros but if they had something like this to pull out of their hat, why did they decide to launch the 8 core Mac Pro today? Why not wait until NAB and really make a big splash with these new graphics cards?

It's also possible that NVIDIA will be able to work with Apple and show these $2000-$3000 graphics cards in the new Mac Pros at NAB but that the cards won't be available in large quantities for a few months, explaining why Apple decided to do their 'speed bump' today since they don't want to wait 2-3 months to add them. But I think if anything was going to be immediately available at NAB, they would have waited until then for the 'speed bump'.
post #16 of 29
Thank you Onlooker.

I don't think people realize the difference between OpenGL 1.4 and OpenGL 2.1. I guess from my neophyte knowledge I would say the higher level shader language support in OGL 2.x allows for Apple to tap into the GPU for more functionality for effects and processing with the GPU.

Thus it's a bit surprising they announced now new GPU options then then again it's not because Apple cannot deliver you features that Leopard/OpenGL 2.x offers in Tiger.

In Leopard your GPU will be working "constantly" on it's own thread for UI alone. Then you will have multiple threads from applications for processing data to and from the GPU.

If Leopard doen't have the fastest adoption rate in the history of Macintosh OS I'll be surprised. Even without a bunch of whizzbang stuff you're going to see immediate improvements in the OS from a UI and graphics perspective.

I'm not waiting too long for Leopard. I need a 2GB RAM upgrade and more storage and then I'm ready to hop in.
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post #17 of 29
I need to update to a machine that will run Aperture FAST. I was going to jump on the 8 Core, but I wonder if I'd be better off picking up a used Mac Pro, like a 2.66 Dual Core with an ATI X1900 (and maybe saving my money for an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600, IF that will help Aperture performance...) ? From everything I've read about Aperture the real bottlneck is the GPU (and to a lesser extent the drive speed, but I've got that covered with SATA RAID).

A used Mac Pro that already had it's "driven off the lot" depreciation wouldnt hurt so much when Apple finally (in the next X number of months) releases the 2nd generation Mac Pro.

Where would you all put your money?
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlondon View Post

I need to update to a machine that will run Aperture FAST. I was going to jump on the 8 Core, but I wonder if I'd be better off picking up a used Mac Pro, like a 2.66 Dual Core and saving my money for an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600 ? From everything I've read about Aperture the real bottlneck is the GPU (and to a lesser extent the drive speed, but I've got that covered with SATA RAID).

A used Mac Pro that already had it's "driven off the lot" depreciation wouldnt hurt so much when Apple finally (in the next X number of months) releases the 2nd generation Mac Pro.

Where would you all put your money?

Good choice. Used Mac Pro with gobs of RAM and a good GPU. Aperture 1.5 is faster but it still is fairly resource heavy. I'm sure it'll be updated to 2.0 probably by September. I'm thinking the Photokina 2007 show if it's in Sept. Leopard will help all Apple applications but in particular Aperture as RAW support is going to be right in Core Image.
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post #19 of 29
With the build-to-order store adding new configuration options is a pretty straightforward thing for Apple to do. Items that are going to be part of standard configurations are a bigger deal because they have to worry about store inventory. That super-high-end video card, however, is not going to be a standard configuration for quite some time.

As for whether this uber-card is going to be necessary to run the UI and Photoshop at full speed... no, not even close. Don't let all these whiners complaining about the nVidia 7300 fool you -- it is a powerful card. Or get the ATI/AMD X1950 which is even better. Sure its not as fast as the top-of-the-line models, but it'll smoke any card from 2 years ago and those cards will run the UI and Photoshop just fine (rockin' good, actually). The really high end performance is primarily noticeable to people doing heavy real-time 3D rendering loads, or massive CoreImage video processing on HDTV video streams (or GPGPU stuff, but that's pretty rare as of yet).

This whole issue is rather like the 2 vs. 4 vs. 8 core thing. Some people will notice, most won't.



The complaints about the MacPro RAM standard are funny as well. The MacPros are designed to maximize bandwidth, and that costs latency. If Apple chose a standard with lower latency they would get less bandwidth. Given the 4 or 8 MB of L2 cache in these processors though, trading latency for bandwidth is a good call especially considering the expected uses for these machines are primarily bandwidth limited.
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post #20 of 29
Quadros are great; I love paying more for the same performance as a GeForce.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmf View Post

Quadros are great; I love paying more for the same performance as a GeForce.


I understand that the upcoming NVIDIA cards are specifically well suited to 3D/Motion. But I also figured that Aperture would also gain a huge benefit from these scientific-level beasts.

Or is it that Aperture just maxes out a certain point and just doesnt benifit at all from the Quadros?

Please enlighten me !
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran441 View Post

onlooker, we saw the Mac Pro 'speed bump' today, even if it was only the addition of the top end 8 core Mac Pro. Like I said in my post, it's not out of the question that Apple will add graphics card options to the Mac Pros but if they had something like this to pull out of their hat, why did they decide to launch the 8 core Mac Pro today? Why not wait until NAB and really make a big splash with these new graphics cards?

It's also possible that NVIDIA will be able to work with Apple and show these $2000-$3000 graphics cards in the new Mac Pros at NAB but that the cards won't be available in large quantities for a few months, explaining why Apple decided to do their 'speed bump' today since they don't want to wait 2-3 months to add them. But I think if anything was going to be immediately available at NAB, they would have waited until then for the 'speed bump'.

Because if you bump it now there is no need for a huge Mac Pro introduction. Apple can showcase the machine with the card @ NAB, but the introduction... leave that to Nvidia. Focus on the real attractions at the NAB show, which is going to be the software, and it's performance running on their machines.
If they waited, and did it all at once they would have had to cut a lot of time and take focus off the software, and that would have been too much to announce, and a lot of things would have undoubtedly been neglected. This merely eases the introduction, and gives them time for a better keynote.
I think it's possible they had multiple keynotes laid out for how they were going to do things at NAB, and this way seemed the best fit. I'm down with that.
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post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

Because if you bump it now there is no need for a huge Mac Pro introduction. Apple can showcase the machine with the card @ NAB, but the introduction... leave that to Nvidia. Focus on the real attractions at the NAB show, which is going to be the software, and it's performance running on their machines.
If they waited, and did it all at once they would have had to cut a lot of time and take focus off the software, and that would have been too much to announce, and a lot of things would have undoubtedly been neglected. This merely eases the introduction, and gives them time for a better keynote.
I think it's possible they had multiple keynotes laid out for how they were going to do things at NAB, and this way seemed the best fit. I'm down with that.

Sounds very well thought out, I'm pretty optimistic at this point that this is the case.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmf View Post

Quadros are great; I love paying more for the same performance as a GeForce.

Let me know when that new Geforce gets 128 cores will you... You are so clueless it isnt even funny.
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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmf View Post

Quadros are great; I love paying more for the same performance as a GeForce.

Roflcopter.

Grow a brain before posting.
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post #26 of 29
Dear hmurchison

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I'm thinking the Photokina 2007 show if it's in Sept.

Photokina takes place only every two years. The next one will be in 2008.

I don't know what the next big photography tradeshow will be this year. Maybe it's PhotoPlus Expo, which will take place in New York in October. And speaking of rumors for that, I'll bet that Canon introduces the 1Ds Mark III and a successor to the 5D before or at that time.

I enjoy reading your posts.

Sincerely,
Jaddie
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaddie View Post

Dear hmurchison



Photokina takes place only every two years. The next one will be in 2008.

I don't know what the next big photography tradeshow will be this year. Maybe it's PhotoPlus Expo, which will take place in New York in October. And speaking of rumors for that, I'll bet that Canon introduces the 1Ds Mark III and a successor to the 5D before or at that time.

I enjoy reading your posts.

Sincerely,
Jaddie

Phew...I was seriously perturbed by the fact that I couldn't narrow down a 2007 date. I found a bunch of 2006 stuff (naturally) and 2008. Thanks for bringing me peace on this Jaddie. I guess Apple will just announce Aperture 2.0 when it's ready. Cool I'll look forward to PhotoPlus. I need a good DSLR first so many choice but I'm leaning towards Canon. So I'll be hopping in with Aperture 2.0.

Thanks for the compliment the feeling is mutual.
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post #28 of 29
I am not a pro graphic designer but would like to buy a Mac pro and this is what I am thinking:
Dual 2.66GHz, 2GB Ram, Standard Video Card. What I will do: using Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED Film Scanner I need to scan a lot of b/w films, use Apple - Aperture or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or similar photo management software, add Adobe Photoshop Elements, maybe, maybe later upgrade video card to run Photoshop and Apple - Final Cut Express HD.

I do understand "more of everything is always better" approach but what will you pros suggest as better configuration to run above?

Now I am waiting to see if the prices will go down significantly for Quad-core Processing line (2 x 2.66GHz Intel Xeon 5100 series processors) beyond current 200 dollars discount soon, let say in a month or so? Will 8-core intro have any implication in the pricing of 4-core?


I do apologize if any other topic is already addressing the price issue, will appreciate any add info.
post #29 of 29
For Aperture bare bare min ATI X1900. I hear between the NVIDIA 7300GT and ATI X1900 in Aperture is night and day difference performance wise. The faster the video card the faster Aperture will run. Wait until you put the X2800/R600 with 1GB video memory in your Quad 2.66GHZ. Aperture will fly!
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