New Mac Pro

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  • Reply 21 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shrike View Post


    They do this currently with the 4-core 2.8 GHz Nehalem single socket Mac Pro. $2500. It's not a good deal, especially when for $3500, you can get 2 Westmere CPUs (8-cores total) and double the RAM.



    Exactly my point, Apple needs a single socket expandable machine in the $1200 to $1500 range. $2500 dollars as you note is terrible for a single socket mspachine.



    The implication here is a low end motherboard for mainstream computing. This means a board with run of the mill desktop parts. This would allow for a reasonably priced machine that can be implemented by those needing expansion capability.

    Quote:

    If someone is buying it, their needs have to be pretty unique. It's an outrageous deal in the bad sense if you are buying it just for the expansion.



    Exactly my point, Apple doesn't have a machine that serves the needs of people with expansion requirements. At least not at reasonable prices. Thus they get zero play in those markets where expansion is important.

    Quote:

    How could this work when Apple doesn't sell a Mac Pro for less than $2500? And 2 low end 4-core Westmere CPUs will cheaper than an 8-core Sandy Bridge Xeon. The biggest question in my mind is that 8 cores is probably too much power for Apple to put in there low end Mac Pro.



    Frankly they need to make something work or the Mac Pro will go the way of the XServe! As to the number of cores put into the low end machine that is open to discussion but we can't look to the past here. You can already get a chip from AMD with four cores and a GPU, with the GPU taking up most of the chips space. Another node drop and six to eight cores would be easy. Remember this is a low end machine not the high end Mac Pro performance beast. It is also notable that Intel balances the hardware on their chips differently so maybe we would be stuck with six cores on an Intel machine.



    The point is hardware costs wise this is doable in the 12-15 hundred dollars range.

    Quote:

    It appears Apple is happy with selling Mac Pros for $2500+ and offering consumers an iMac or a Mac mini.



    Yeah I know, Apple is totally happy with the idea of having an unsalable machine in the Pro. What I find perplexing here is the attitude that Apple can just leave the Pro as it is, a large high priced performance machine. It is that very attitude though that is resulting in diminishing Mac Pro sales. Apple needs a product that sells significantly in at least one form to justify the development costs. This is why I advocate a Mac Pro replacement available in two distinctly different performance levels, one for general purpose use and another for performance. The chassis would be identical but configured with either a high performance motherboard or a mainstream one.
  • Reply 22 of 331
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,672moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shrike View Post


    A rack mount system should be a 3U thickness minimum.



    They should keep the current 4 PCIe slot, 2 5.25" bay and 4 3.5" bay design.



    3U systems are 5.25" wide maximum so wouldn't fit a 5.25" drive the way the Mac Pro does, it would have to go in vertically, which isn't great for tray-loading drives.



    I reckon they should aim for 2U (double the XServe) but this won't fit PCI cards in unless they are sitting parallel with the motherboard.



    I think Thunderbolt will be the key decider of what happens here because Apple has to put support into the Mac Pro and it can't go on the dedicated GPUs nor on a PCI card. It has to come from the motherboard.
  • Reply 23 of 331
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I think Thunderbolt will be the key decider of what happens here because Apple has to put support into the Mac Pro and it can't go on the dedicated GPUs nor on a PCI card. It has to come from the motherboard.



    So we'll have a Thunderbolt port that drives displays using the chipset's Intel 3000 graphics and graphics cards with Mini DisplayPort and DVI that'll do everything else.



    Thunderbolt SHOULDN'T be forced to do graphics (or at least should be allowed off the motherboard) but whatever, Intel.
  • Reply 24 of 331
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,672moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So we'll have a Thunderbolt port that drives displays using the chipset's Intel 3000 graphics and graphics cards with Mini DisplayPort and DVI that'll do everything else.



    No, the Mac Mini with the Radeon 6630 still outputs over Thunderbolt and HDMI - same deal with the iMac GPUs - but they wouldn't be able to do that with a PCI card with its own display outputs.



    That's why I think they need to follow the same design as the iMac. As I say, I don't think putting a Radeon 6990M in is going to make a big difference to buyers. As long as the fast CPUs are there, it should be fine.
  • Reply 25 of 331
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Exactly my point, Apple needs a single socket expandable machine in the $1200 to $1500 range. $2500 dollars as you note is terrible for a single socket mspachine.



    The implication here is a low end motherboard for mainstream computing. This means a board with run of the mill desktop parts. This would allow for a reasonably priced machine that can be implemented by those needing expansion capability.



    Exactly my point, Apple doesn't have a machine that serves the needs of people with expansion requirements. At least not at reasonable prices. Thus they get zero play in those markets where expansion is important. ...





    Apple needs a product that sells significantly in at least one form to justify the development costs. This is why I advocate a Mac Pro replacement available in two distinctly different performance levels, one for general purpose use and another for performance. The chassis would be identical but configured with either a high performance motherboard or a mainstream one.





    I?m glad you suggest this concept, and I agree that it would boost Mac sales a lot. I?d be very eager to buy a mainstream Mac Pro in the $1200 to $1500 range. I don?t need a workstation, but much prefer an expandable tower to an iMac or Mac Mini. So, what have I been doing for a computer? I buy older Mac Pros from Craigslist. It does nothing for Apple?s sales, but it give me a computer that I like. I?m now looking for another to replace the G5 in my office.
  • Reply 26 of 331
    shrikeshrike Posts: 494member
    Ugh. The inevitable xMac discussion.



    Yeah, it would be nice if Apple built the "xMac", essentially half a Mac Pro with 1 socket, 4 DIMM slots, 2 PCIe slots, 2 3.5" drive bays and 1 5.25" drive bay and sell it for $1000 to $2000. But Apple under Jobs will never do it. It's iMac or bust.
  • Reply 27 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by snoopy View Post


    I?m glad you suggest this concept, and I agree that it would boost Mac sales a lot. I?d be very eager to buy a mainstream Mac Pro in the $1200 to $1500 range. I don?t need a workstation, but much prefer an expandable tower to an iMac or Mac Mini. So, what have I been doing for a computer? I buy older Mac Pros from Craigslist. It does nothing for Apple?s sales, but it give me a computer that I like. I?m now looking for another to replace the G5 in my office.



    Well I can suggest but it takes Apple to produce something.





    As to buying used it often makes a lot of sense. However if you are still on a G5 it might surprise you to find out how far behind you are on the performance curve. Intel has made some rather surprising improvements over the last couple of years.



    The last computer (not counting iPads) I purchased was a 2008 MBP. Due to previous bad experiences I avoid used laptops.
  • Reply 28 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shrike View Post


    Ugh. The inevitable xMac discussion.



    Yeah, it would be nice if Apple built the "xMac", essentially half a Mac Pro with 1 socket, 4 DIMM slots, 2 PCIe slots, 2 3.5" drive bays and 1 5.25" drive bay and sell it for $1000 to $2000. But Apple under Jobs will never do it. It's iMac or bust.



    I would not be surprised to see any number of things come to the Mac line up. Think about it who would have even thought that Apple could be offering state of the art laptops at prices nobody could touch. Apple is a different company these days, they don't need to charge high prices to stay afloat. Further Apples customer base has grown and is more diverse than ever.



    Steves a smart guy with more than a few smart people working for him. They should realize that they have an opportunity to draw even more customers in with the right hardware.
  • Reply 29 of 331
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post




    As to buying used it often makes a lot of sense. However if you are still on a G5 it might surprise you to find out how far behind you are on the performance curve.






    I know. I already bought a used Mac Pro to replace a dull G4 PowerMac that was used for developing musical tracks. The Mac Pro is so much better. And my son develops apps on his Mac Pro. My office is the last to get one.
  • Reply 30 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I would not be surprised to see any number of things come to the Mac line up. Think about it who would have even thought that Apple could be offering state of the art laptops at prices nobody could touch. Apple is a different company these days, they don't need to charge high prices to stay afloat. Further Apples customer base has grown and is more diverse than ever.



    Steves a smart guy with more than a few smart people working for him. They should realize that they have an opportunity to draw even more customers in with the right hardware.



    The xMac makes sense: Apple doesn't have a consumer level desktop with REAL consumer level desktop hardware! Minis and iMacs are made of laptop hardware inside a desktop case. So, there's a gap in the offer. Today or you get a laptop/desktop "hybrid" or you get a desktop with server class hardware.

    As the iPad evolves and fulfills many of mobile computation needs, many people may ditch a laptop for an iPad + desktop Mac.

    I really think Apple should get the chance to introduce another desktop. As you said, costumer base has grown and is more diverse and that may justify a new desktop product.

    Just my 2 cents...



    About the Mac Pro, they are really just waiting for the sandy bridge Xeons to come out. I'm sure that they'll put a couple of Thunderbolt ports and SSD options. I'm curious about the case redesign everybody is speaking of and the GPUs.
  • Reply 31 of 331
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,672moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LoganHunter View Post


    Apple doesn't have a consumer level desktop with REAL consumer level desktop hardware! Minis and iMacs are made of laptop hardware inside a desktop case.



    They use desktop CPUs in the iMacs and mobile GPUs. The mobile GPUs are also among the fastest you can buy so not much advantage to buying a tower + screen separately. The time for a mid-range tower is gone.
  • Reply 32 of 331
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The time for a mid-range tower is gone.



    If you?re correct, then I?ll just keep buying used Mac Pros in the $900 to $1200 range. More significant than my measly purchases, however, a large segment of Windows users will continue to shun Apple desktops if there is no mid-range tower. It would seem that using the same case as the workstation Mac Pro should give Apple an easy way to develop such a mainstream product.



    By the way, the price range above is what I currently pay for used Mac Pros. For a new tower from Apple I?d pay up to $1600, or a little more, depending on how it's equipped.
  • Reply 33 of 331
    zephzeph Posts: 133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shrike View Post


    They should just forget about single socket machines.



    I lean more towards the opposite; dual-CPU machines are a leftover from the G4/G5 days when the Motorola/IBM processors had no hope of competing with Intel's. I'm not convinced they are a necessity these days. The single hex Westmere trounces the dual quads. They should discontinue the latter and just offer a dual hex as the maxed-out option.



    With SB that would presumably be single-socket hex base, single socket octo upgrade, dual octo maxed out.
  • Reply 34 of 331
    mactacmactac Posts: 315member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    They use desktop CPUs in the iMacs and mobile GPUs. The mobile GPUs are also among the fastest you can buy so not much advantage to buying a tower + screen separately. The time for a mid-range tower is gone.



    Except for being able to get the screen of your choice. And having a computer that is easier to open and replace parts. To me those are very big reasons to desire a mid range tower.

    Now with pads and tablets and smart phones one could argue that the time for a non expandable all in one computer is gone.

    I won't be buying an iMac. But if iMac processing power was available in a mini tower I would pay more for that choice without a monitor than what an iMac would cost me.



    I read an interesting article today. It was about an on line retailer that had its website designed where everyone that was buying something had to open an account before proceeding to checkout. Basically forcing people to have something they didn't want. It turned out that a large number of shoppers left the website and bought elsewhere just because of the annoying feature of being forced to open an account. Then the on line retailer changed its website. When customers went to checkout they were asked if they wanted to open an account. Joining was optional. Sales went up $300 million.



    Apple is forcing every person who wants a mid range machine to have to take an all in one. No choice. There are definitely customers that walk away instead of accepting no choice.
  • Reply 35 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    OWC has some interesting benchmarks done around a new SSD. The lingk: http://blog.macsales.com/11258-by-th...-2011-mac-mini



    I post this because it highlights that you will need internal access to harvest the speed of future storage devices. The link is for SATA connected "drives" but even faster PCI Express cards exist. This doesn't diminish the value of TB at all, but rather highlights that you won't be getting best performance over TB for storage.



    What is notable is that these are notebook sized storage modules. This is why I wouldn't be disappointed at all to see an XMac with 4 or more high speed SATA bays (notebook sized). Shrinking the size of the iMac would be easy using such drives without a corresponding drop in performance. This doesn't even address the thought of PCI Express SSD in a Mac.



    In any event we are in a transition here where Apple is leading a charge to flash storage. Once the transition becomes mainstream the speed of SSDs will become a requirement.
  • Reply 36 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    The ideal solution puts all your cores on one chip as you get the best communications between cores. There are always exceptions to the rule though. It depends entirely on what one does with the machine.



    Even if Apple did go single socket there is still a need for a Pro motherboard as opposed to a mainstream. Mainly I'm thinking here the support for ECC RAM and other Pro features.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zeph View Post


    I lean more towards the opposite; dual-CPU machines are a leftover from the G4/G5 days when the Motorola/IBM processors had no hope of competing with Intel's. I'm not convinced they are a necessity these days. The single hex Westmere trounces the dual quads. They should discontinue the latter and just offer a dual hex as the maxed-out option.



    With SB that would presumably be single-socket hex base, single socket octo upgrade, dual octo maxed out.



  • Reply 37 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    They use desktop CPUs in the iMacs and mobile GPUs. The mobile GPUs are also among the fastest you can buy so not much advantage to buying a tower + screen separately. The time for a mid-range tower is gone.



    I'm sorry but I have to disagree. I think a tower would sell a lot for several reasons:



    1 - The option to buy the monitor people wanted and/or had budget to (I would still buy a cinema display but many people wouldn't);

    2 - Add at least one more hard disk or two;

    3 - Upgrade the graphics card (however, using a desktop graphics card would make it last up to date a little longer than a mobile one);

    4 - Upgrade RAM the easy way.



    It's clear that this would open the door for 3rd party hardware options (graphics cards, monitors, etc...) for Mac users which Apple doesn't like but still I think that such tower would be a nice bet on a new Mac product.



    Towers are still king of the desktop even on enterprise environments: they are cheaper than laptops and they don't have to replace screens just because new computers arrived. Each time you buy an iMac you have to spend the price of a computer + screen and for many people that's not just acceptable and the Mac Pro prices are far less acceptable!

    The xMac would be nice for several types of users: regular users, some gamers and even some pro users that don't need the power of a Mac Pro or just want a matte screen option that Apple doesn't provide for desktops these days.
  • Reply 38 of 331
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,672moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by snoopy View Post


    More significant than my measly purchases, however, a large segment of Windows users will continue to shun Apple desktops if there is no mid-range tower.



    The entire computing industry is showing 70% laptop, 30% desktop marketshare with the trend moving towards portables. In the best case, there are 80 million PC tower buyers per year across all manufacturers. The largest selling manufacturer is HP with a 17% global share. Apple has 4.5% globally. A lot of PC towers are used in server farms where Apple has almost zero presence.



    Given that Apple doesn't compete on the low-end ($300 laptops etc), they are actually doing pretty well and there is no large segment of Windows users put off by a lack of a mid-tower.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by snoopy View Post


    It would seem that using the same case as the workstation Mac Pro should give Apple an easy way to develop such a mainstream product.



    Yeah, the amount of times I've heard mainstream buyers asking for a 41lb solid aluminium workstation at an affordable price.



    Simple fact is, they don't hit the high volume, low price market and a mid-range tower won't do that either.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTac


    Except for being able to get the screen of your choice. And having a computer that is easier to open and replace parts. To me those are very big reasons to desire a mid range tower.



    Access to storage would be nice but you can get an external screen very cheaply. I don't think it's ideal but it's an option.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTac


    Apple is forcing every person who wants a mid range machine to have to take an all in one. No choice. There are definitely customers that walk away instead of accepting no choice.



    Probably not enough to be concerned about though.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LoganHunter


    1 - The option to buy the monitor people wanted and/or had budget to (I would still buy a cinema display but many people wouldn't);

    2 - Add at least one more hard disk or two;

    3 - Upgrade the graphics card (however, using a desktop graphics card would make it last up to date a little longer than a mobile one);

    4 - Upgrade RAM the easy way.



    It's clear that this would open the door for 3rd party hardware options (graphics cards, monitors, etc...) for Mac users which Apple doesn't like but still I think that such tower would be a nice bet on a new Mac product.



    Towers are still king of the desktop even on enterprise environments



    You can buy an i7 quad Mini that performs around the same as the entry Mac Pro, you can get a Firewire 800 RAID system and a Thunderbolt external GPU and plug it into any screen you want.



    No point in selling a tower when an attractive, modular machine like the Mini works far better.



    As time goes on, the performance requirements people need from a mid-range tower will reach the Mini. Next year, it's quad-cores all round and 28nm AMD GPUs and USB 3. Imagine doubling the performance of the current middle Mac Mini. Put in an SSD boot drive and plug in a USB 3 RAID system.



    A mid-tower won't improve on this setup in a significant enough way to be worth making.
  • Reply 39 of 331
    mactacmactac Posts: 315member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    No point in selling a tower when an attractive, modular machine like the Mini works far better.



    Please show me the modular pieces. Nothing is modular. Nothing matches. Not in size, shape, form, color, or materials. Look up the definition of modular then get back with us.



    I'm still amazed at the number of people who praise the look, feel and design of Apple products but then turn around and don't understand why some of us want to have internal capacity so that the Apple product we bought doesn't get surrounded by stuff that doesn't match.



    Here's a car for all of you.

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...=0&FORM=IDFRIR
  • Reply 40 of 331
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post




    Yeah, the amount of times I've heard mainstream buyers asking for a 41lb solid aluminium workstation at an affordable price.




    I was referring to a new, lower cost case, which has been the point of most of this discussion. If Apple makes an effort to lower the manufacturing cost of the Mac Pro, and can make a less expensive, low end model with a new motherboard being the only difference, then it seems like a no-brainer to do it.
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