What's in the pipeline for the next MacPro revision?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Any good scuttlebutt's of what might be in the works?
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  • Reply 1 of 82
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post


    Any good scuttlebutt's of what might be in the works?



    First and foremost think about the need for Apple to leverage Snow Leopard tech. If you do that then certain things would seem likely.



    One thing should be substantial OpenCL support with possibly a dedicated GPU on the motherboard. The long shot here is a custom built vector processor from PA Semi.



    Support for lots of RAM.



    Up to 32 i86 threads.



    Modern I/O ports including Firewire 3200 and USB3. But let's no forget about Apples new focus on SD, that port should be front and center on the machine. I could even see the possibility for a high speed port like infiniband for clustering and high speed storage attachment.



    Infiniband was mentioned above but any of the modern interfaces would do. The idea is for Apple to be able to support and go after the high performance computing market. To do this they need a fast networking and storage attachment interface. Let's face it there is opportunity here, that a major manufacture like Apple could address at low cost on a mass produced platform. I have this idea that Apple has an eye on the HPC market and will take modest stabs at it.



    Front mounted USB ports!



    This is all speculation of course. The thing is I see Apple trying to widen Mac Pros user base via configurations that appeal to certain markets. HPC being the phrase that wraps in a number of different industries or research vectors. We aren't talking Cray like machines here in physical size, but certainly performance that would be very acceptable in a reasonably priced desktop or even a modest cluster of a couple of machine. Like everything else Apple makes HPC easy (at least the hardware).





    Dave
  • Reply 2 of 82
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    "Intel will announce Xeon W5590, W3580, W3550 and L5530 CPUs for servers in early August..."



    W5590 = MP version of Core i7-975 = 3.33GHz (probably at the same $1,600 price)

    W3580 = Core i7-975 = 3.33GHz, $999 (same price as the 3.20GHz)

    W3550 = Core i7-950 = 3.06GHz, $562 (same price as the 2.93GHz)

    L5530 = LV 60W nehalem Xeon probably 2.40GHz (probably at the same $530 price)



    Option 1: silent update, prices unchanged

    So, if there is no other price cuts, at least a single-quad 3.06GHz model could replaced the current single-quad 2.93GHz model.



    Option 2: silent update + prices cuts

    I think that it would be a good opportunity to cut prices on all Mac Pro models:

    $2199 single quad 2.66 (-$300)

    $2599 single quad 3.06* (-$400)

    $2999 dual-quad 2.26 (-$300)

    $4299 dual-quad 2.66 (-$400)

    $5499 dual-quad 2.93 (-$400)



    Option 3: nothing

    The next update will be mid-2010 with westmere cpus (6 and 12 cores models).
  • Reply 3 of 82
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post


    Any good scuttlebutt's of what might be in the works?



    You have been on this forum since 2002. Over the intervening seven years, there have been exactly two towers for which there was substantial scuttlebutt. One was the Mirror Double-Doors Power Mac G4. That was because some guy got enough time alone with it to photograph it and to draw a diagram of the case. The second computer to achieve substantial scuttlebutt was the Power Mac G5. A sketch of the case leaked out shortly before the computer hit the light. This sketch was completely wrong.



    IIRC, after the MDD leak, Apple's security increased substantially. I seem to recall people losing their jobs. The best that you are going to get now is a 24 hour jump on the lifting of an embargo. Faster processors? Faster communications ports? That's called "predicting the present." However, revolutionary products like the PM G5 and the iPhone will remain secret to within 24 hours of formal introduction.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    Option 1: silent update, prices unchanged

    So, if there is no other price cuts, at least a single-quad 3.06GHz model could replaced the current single-quad 2.93GHz model.



    I see this as very likely for a short term solution or a bump. I'm not however so certain that this is what the original poster was asking about. Or maybe it is me seeing the word revision meaning more than a processor bump. Short term though this is what I would expect.

    Quote:



    Option 3: nothing

    The next update will be mid-2010 with westmere cpus (6 and 12 cores models).



    while I don't think nothing will happen with the current models I suspect this is the revision the original poster was talking about. This would be hardware that might hit around the next WWDC. I'm really expecting a major overhaul for the new intel chips. But the new chips are only part of the batter to bake this new cake from. Expect more Apple IP.





    Dave
  • Reply 5 of 82
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,839member
    The biggest problem about the next Pro revision is that the I/O will be obsolete in six months.



    USB 2 ports will be replaced by USB 3, and the forthcoming SD card slot will move on to SDXC.



    Of course, you can add the new functionality in through PCI, but it probably means lower resale values.



    Can't be helped. 2009 is a transitional year.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    northgatenorthgate Posts: 4,461member
    Ahhh, yes. Remember the good old days when the PowerMac was the heart and soul of Apple's business? Good times.



    Now it seems as if all of us "power" users who make their living using Pro Apps have been relegated to Apple's "ancillary" business. Oh well. Long live the iPhone, the iMac, and iMovie ()!!!
  • Reply 7 of 82
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    The biggest problem about the next Pro revision is that the I/O will be obsolete in six months.



    USB 2 ports will be replaced by USB 3, and the forthcoming SD card slot will move on to SDXC.



    Of course, you can add the new functionality in through PCI, but it probably means lower resale values.



    Can't be helped. 2009 is a transitional year.



    Exactly.



    USB 2 and FW800 ain't cutting it anymore.



    I'd love to see the nextgen revisions to both as well as a fast move to 6Gbps SATA bus. Unless I really needed to upgrade I'd personally hold out for more significant refreshes.
  • Reply 8 of 82
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    The biggest problem about the next Pro revision is that the I/O will be obsolete in six months.



    That is why I consider any new updates in the next few months as nothing more than speed bumps. To partake in the next round of hardware updates Mac Pro buyers need to hold off a bit.

    Quote:



    USB 2 ports will be replaced by USB 3, and the forthcoming SD card slot will move on to SDXC.



    I actually think USB 3 is a huge long shot, this due to no hardware yet implementing it 100%. Worst is the issue with lowcost USB 3 hardware to implement all those disk drives and other toys, I haven't seen much of anything that is cost effective.

    Quote:



    Of course, you can add the new functionality in through PCI, but it probably means lower resale values.



    I'm still hoping that Apple shifts some of the high speed I/O to PCI express from the legacy interfaces such as SATA.

    Quote:



    Can't be helped. 2009 is a transitional year.



    Well every year is a transition in some form. The most interesting issue to me is USB 3. I'm just not sure it is ready for prime time hardware wise. It is the interface I'd be least likely to wait for. For Firewire 3200 I'm not convinced that Apple is even going to go that route.





    Dave
  • Reply 9 of 82
    usb 3.0 needs new cables and ports. Firewire 1600 , 3200 just needs a new contol chip.
  • Reply 10 of 82
    Next update will probably just be processors and graphics. From 3.2 to 3.33 at the high end. AMD and Nvidia both have new graphics cards coming by the end of the year, no telling what their specs will be.
  • Reply 11 of 82
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    Next update will probably just be processors and graphics. From 3.2 to 3.33 at the high end. AMD and Nvidia both have new graphics cards coming by the end of the year, no telling what their specs will be.



    The current Mac Pro tops at 2.93GHz, both in single or dual configurations.

    We would be lucky if Apple silently replaces the single 2.93 by the new W3550 3.06 model, but for the dual configuration, there is no equivalent.



    New video cards will be nice. A price cut would be nice too.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,839member
    If the rumours are true, Apple is planning to hold an August event.



    Usually, August events (usually the first week of August) focus mainly on the Mac.



    In 2006 we got the new Mac Pro and Xserve.

    In 2007, we got the Aluminum iMac (along with iLife '08)



    I don't believe there was a Mac intro in August 2008 (doesn't somebody have a website with Apple intro dates?)



    If there's a Mac Pro update, it's probably going to be processor and jumps in RAM and HD capacity.

    Maybe Murch will get SATA 6Gbps. FW 3200 is a wild card, but would be a bonus for pros.

    Too early for USB3. Same form factor but Apple will throw the colour black in somewhere.



    If there's an iMac refresh instead, the only major problem with the 24" machine is access.

    The 24" iMac is increasingly being pitched to pros, but its lack of access is a deal breaker.



    If Jobs doesn't want to use screws, there is no good reason Apple couldn't put the LCD screen on a hinge, and allow it to swing out to facilitate upgrades. That would be a huge iMac selling point for Pros.



    Aside from that, the machines specs will probably just see light bumps, given that they were revved in March.



    Both machines will likely get SD card slots. It would be nice if the internal mechanisms were upgradable, given that the new standard (SDXC) is coming in six months.
  • Reply 13 of 82
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    I think Apple will drop a second quad-core CPU into the entry level machine, without changing the price.



    This is what they did they did with:



    ? Power Mac G4 400MHz > Power Mac G4 400MHz DP

    ? Power Mac G5 1.8GHz > Power Mac G5 1.8GHz DP

    ? Mac Pro 4x 2.66GHz > Mac Pro 8x 2.8GHz



    The Mac Pro went from two dual-cores to two quad-cores, but it had the same result ? offering twice the potential performance at the same price (or lower) and establishing a baseline where all the machines had the same number of cores.



    The current quad-core Mac Pro is very much the Yikes! to the current 8-cores Sawtooth. In practice, this will mean dropping the CPUs into the new 8-core system board, and discontinuing the crippled single socket entry level system board.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    I think Apple will drop a second quad-core CPU into the entry level machine, without changing the price.



    This is what they did they did with:



    ? Power Mac G4 400MHz > Power Mac G4 400MHz DP

    ? Power Mac G5 1.8GHz > Power Mac G5 1.8GHz DP

    ? Mac Pro 4x 2.66GHz > Mac Pro 8x 2.8GHz



    The Mac Pro went from two dual-cores to two quad-cores, but it had the same result ? offering twice the potential performance at the same price (or lower) and establishing a baseline where all the machines had the same number of cores.



    The current quad-core Mac Pro is very much the Yikes! to the current 8-cores Sawtooth. In practice, this will mean dropping the CPUs into the new 8-core system board, and discontinuing the crippled single socket entry level system board.



    Ah ah, that would be great, but a fantasy:



    1- Since the Intel switch, the Mac Pro has been updated yearly, it is unlikely that SUCH an update would happen after just 6 moths.



    2- With every update since (probably) the Power Mac G5, the prices of the bottom models have increased, steadily, the last gen PM G5 started at $1999, the 1st Mac Pro at $2199, then $2299, and now $2499...



    3- To go from single cpu to dual cpu with Xeon chips is much more complicated and costly than you think/describe. To be able to use 2 xeon cpus they have to be of the 5500 series, that include 2 QPI links (one to the chipset and one to the other cpu). Xeons of the 3500 series (those included in the single cpu Mac Pro) have only one QPI link to talk to the chipset, they cannot be used on a dual-cpu configuration. Also, the prices of those cpus is completly different the 2.66GHz of the 3500 series costs $284, while the 2.66GHz of the 5500 series costs $958. So offering the low-end model with dual 2.66GHz cpus would be like a $1600 price cut, and in fact, a $2200 price cut versus the current dual 2.66GHz model ($4699 down to $2499).



    I was hoping for a $300/400 price cut this fall, but I would never thought that someone would suggest a $2000 price cut, that soon.



    FWIW, I believe that next year the move will be to 6-core cpus on a 32nm process, that means that, for the same price we would get 6 cores cpus instead of 4 cores ones at similar speeds:

    - 4C/8T -? 6C/12T

    - 8C/16T -? 12C/24T

    That would be a nice enough update.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    ensign pulverensign pulver Posts: 1,193member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post


    scuttlebutt's



    scuttlebutt's what?
  • Reply 16 of 82
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    I think Apple will drop a second quad-core CPU into the entry level machine, without changing the price.



    This is what they did they did with:



    • Power Mac G4 400MHz > Power Mac G4 400MHz DP

    • Power Mac G5 1.8GHz > Power Mac G5 1.8GHz DP

    • Mac Pro 4x 2.66GHz > Mac Pro 8x 2.8GHz



    The Mac Pro went from two dual-cores to two quad-cores, but it had the same result – offering twice the potential performance at the same price (or lower) and establishing a baseline where all the machines had the same number of cores.



    The current quad-core Mac Pro is very much the Yikes! to the current 8-cores Sawtooth. In practice, this will mean dropping the CPUs into the new 8-core system board, and discontinuing the crippled single socket entry level system board.



    Excellent point, with one minor error.



    The Yikes motherboard was 350mhz, not the 400.

    Sawtooth motherboards began at 400mhz, and then went to the Dual configs.



    I know this because I own and still use a Sawtooth 400mhz (upgraded to an almost unrecognizable point now.)

    Beautiful machine in its day.



    The only other problem with your analysis is that Apple is trying to find ways to trim the sticker prices on Macs, and keeping the entry level Pro at US$2500. is a problem in this economy.



    Maybe they go dualie and keep the a cut-down single chip machine at $2000. or something.
  • Reply 17 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    Excellent point, with one minor error.



    The Yikes motherboard was 350mhz, not the 400.

    Sawtooth motherboards began at 400mhz, and then went to the Dual configs.



    I know this because I own and still use a Sawtooth 400mhz (upgraded to an almost unrecognizable point now.)

    Beautiful machine in its day.



    The only other problem with your analysis is that Apple is trying to find ways to trim the sticker prices on Macs, and keeping the entry level Pro at US$2500. is a problem in this economy.



    Maybe they go dualie and keep the a cut-down single chip machine at $2000. or something.



    should be $1000 - $1200 as you can get desktop core i7 systems with 4-6gb ram and much better base video cards at that price.
  • Reply 18 of 82
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    should be $1000 - $1200 as you can get desktop core i7 systems with 4-6gb ram and much better base video cards at that price.



    Look, if I ran Apple, I'd kill the Mini and start the Pro line at $1500. But it's not going to happen.



    Apple, for some reason, hates the mid-range idea. Probably because it would kill the iMac and leave them looking like just another PC tower supplier.



    For all the "we're care for the environment" nonsense Apple spews, they want you to replace your system (including monitor) every three years. The iMac is the easiest way of achieving that.



    So the mid-range isn't coming. Period.

    If Apple introduces a tower at $1900-$2000, you buy it and thank the Lord that you've lived to see it.
  • Reply 19 of 82
    ensign pulverensign pulver Posts: 1,193member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    Apple, for some reason, hates the mid-range idea. Probably because it would kill the iMac and leave them looking like just another PC tower supplier..



    If by probably you mean exactly, then yes.
  • Reply 20 of 82
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,152member
    I'd like to see Apple offer the Core i7 quad core chips in the Mac Pro. So what if they are not Xeons? At least this will get the price down. Didn't Apple used to offer a Power Mac G4 for $1,599? They intro'd the Power Mac G5, and it was $1,999 to start. Now the Mac Pro is $2,499? Geez....
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