New Mac Pro

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  • Reply 61 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    [QUOTE=hmm;1929189]This is so far off the mark I don't even know what to say.

    [\\quote]

    He may be much closer than you want to believe. For the Pro to survive at all it needs to sell in a much higher volume. It is pretty clear that the Pro is supported be the rest of the Mac line up. That can not go on forever.

    Quote:

    The optical drive thing there's no real reason to cut them on workstations yet unless you're actually going to do something with the space. Some people still use them and you don't gain anything removing them from the current case.



    Actually Apples gains much. For one the space is basically a waste for many users. Warranty support is taken out of the loop.

    Quote:

    I'm not sure the cases cost that much to manufacture. They aren't the cnc style of the laptop lines so it shouldn't be that terrible. I don't think their design team will be bothered with a product line like this. Apple has shown previously they can afford to alienate professionals. Many of them will continue to operate within OSX due to software licenses alone unless the selection of replacement machines becomes unusable.



    Thunderbolt won't make up for lack of PCI slots.



    This I agree with 100% though my reasons differ.

    Quote:

    SAS, eSATA, capture cards for video, and cards like the Red Rocket are just that, cards. Thunderbolt doesn't have the slots, or the throughput considering that it shares its bandwidth with external displays. Adapters do even exist currently. If you use it to make a living, it has to work today.



    Anyway the mac pro seems like something that will stay much like it is until they drop the product line or merge it with another.



    They could just let it die out while they promote new concepts. I'm actually thinking those new concepts will be more modular and smaller than you imply.
  • Reply 62 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post






    They could just let it die out while they promote new concepts. I'm actually thinking those new concepts will be more modular and smaller than you imply.



    Modular requires bandwidth and produces more desk clutter. They've been sizing things down considerably and only really offering modular options on things that they consider legacy devices (they did it with dialup modems years ago). As for IO limited devices in small form factors we have the imac and mac mini. I don't think the volume on a mini tower with no PCI available (the reason to use a tower) would be enough to make the device worth it to apple. It wouldn't end up much cheaper than the imac. It would just lack a built in display. I think right now apple just wants to limit the amount of customers they burn when they do finally phase it out but I don't see them investing a lot of design hours here.
  • Reply 63 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    My guess is a much smaller Mac Pro (maybe a little bit larger than a Time Capsule) with no internal expansion slots, other than DIMM slots and mSATA slots, but with multiple Thunderbolt ports and one or two high-end CPUs. I expect a high-end discrete GPU to be permanently affixed to the motherboard.
  • Reply 64 of 331
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    My guess is a much smaller Mac Pro (maybe a little bit larger than a Time Capsule) with no internal expansion slots, other than DIMM slots and mSATA slots, but with multiple Thunderbolt ports and one or two high-end CPUs. I expect a high-end discrete GPU to be permanently affixed to the motherboard.



    Do you have any idea how big a Time Capsule is? Any "Mac Pro" that big would be laughed out of existence. It's physically impossible to get two Xeons and their requisite heatsinks plus RAM slots into something that small.
  • Reply 65 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    My guess is a much smaller Mac Pro (maybe a little bit larger than a Time Capsule) with no internal expansion slots, other than DIMM slots and mSATA slots, but with multiple Thunderbolt ports and one or two high-end CPUs. I expect a high-end discrete GPU to be permanently affixed to the motherboard.



    If you want a mac mini, buy a mac mini. That's about the size you just described and it uses laptop parts. The components you asked for would be a fire hazard. I suggest a class in thermodynamics before you ever decide to build your own computers
  • Reply 66 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Do you have any idea how big a Time Capsule is? Any "Mac Pro" that big would be laughed out of existence. It's physically impossible to get two Xeons and their requisite heatsinks plus RAM slots into something that small.



    I have two Time Capsules, so I know how large they are. I also recall that I wrote "larger than a Time Capsule".



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    If you want a mac mini, buy a mac mini. That's about the size you just described and it uses laptop parts. The components you asked for would be a fire hazard. I suggest a class in thermodynamics before you ever decide to build your own computers



    No, a Mac Mini is not about the size I described. I wrote "larger than a Time Capsule". BTW, I aced my thermodynamics class when I was a physics student.
  • Reply 67 of 331
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    I have two Time Capsules, so I know how large they are. I also recall that I wrote "larger than a Time Capsule".



    No, a Mac Mini is not about the size I described. I wrote "larger than a Time Capsule". BTW, I aced my thermodynamics class when I was a physics student.



    Sure, but mentioning it implies the same footprint, so I figured you meant something with the same footprint and twice or thrice the height. Sort of a, well…



    NeXTCube 3.0, as it were (The G4 Cube being 2.0).
  • Reply 68 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Sure, but mentioning it implies the same footprint, so I figured you meant something with the same footprint and twice or thrice the height. Sort of a, well?



    NeXTCube 3.0, as it were (The G4 Cube being 2.0).



    I didn't imply anything about the form factor. It could be cube shaped or it could be very flat. Lately, the trend seems toward very flat. BTW, putting two Xeons into something the size of the NeXT cube would require forced air cooling, which the NeXT cubes didn't have.
  • Reply 69 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    The future is heterogeneous computing. This requires that the GPU be coupled closer to the CPU and RAM than ever before.
  • Reply 70 of 331
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The future is heterogeneous computing. This requires that the GPU be coupled closer to the CPU and RAM than ever before.



    Ugh, "Intel Integrated x000" here to stay. I hate that future.
  • Reply 71 of 331
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Ugh, "Intel Integrated x000" here to stay. I hate that future.



    Great for laptops, small desktops and possibly dual-running with a discrete chip on all-in-ones.



    But not Pro desktops like the Mac Pro
  • Reply 72 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Ugh, "Intel Integrated x000" here to stay. I hate that future.



    Intel will have no choice but to get it's act together with respect to integrated GPUs otherwise they will force Apple into AMDs arms. AMDs integrated Fusion processors are pretty impressive when stacked up against Intels offerings right now. If the next chips more than double that gap Intel will be hurting. What is funny here is that LLano actually runs graphicals work loads faster than intel while using less power.



    The point here is that unless you have special needs today's integrated GPUs aren't to bad. The next generation ought to be substantially better.
  • Reply 73 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The point here is that, unless you have special needs, today's integrated GPUs aren't too bad.



    I agree with this. I recently bought a 13" MacBook Air. So far, I am entirely satisfied with the graphics performance of the Intel HD3000. However, I have not yet tested the ability of the HD3000 to drive an external display.
  • Reply 74 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    I agree with this. I recently bought a 13" MacBook Air. So far, I am entirely satisfied with the graphics performance of the Intel HD3000. However, I have not yet tested the ability of the HD3000 to drive an external display.



    I just finished an article on the next generation ATOM chip and frankly the only thing that got a significant boost there was the GPU, which came in 3X faster. Of course ATOM's GPU was pretty terrible to begin with.



    Likewise I.m hearing good things about Intel's Ivy Bridge which should be at least 2X faster. More importantly it should support OpenCL.



    In other words many users will do fine with the Intel Graphics. The only good reasons to stay away are the lack of good OpenCL support and the lackluster 3D behavior. However if you don't need 3D or OpenCL then Intel integrated is no longer a serious mistake.
  • Reply 75 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    However if you don't need 3D or OpenCL then Intel integrated is no longer a serious mistake.



    I would think they'd want to maintain some options here on the "pro" machines. You never know with apple though. If they determine not that many mac users need these features, they may drop them. Autodesk and a couple other companies have brought a lot over to the mac side since the switch to intel, not that I'm a big fan of Autodesk. They are like the Adobe of the 3d world
  • Reply 76 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    As long as they actually provide the extended performance some users need. The problem is the future isn't so clear, as we move to heterogenous computing where the GPU is an equal partner with the CPU the closer that GPU is to the CPU the better everything works.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    I would think they'd want to maintain some options here on the "pro" machines. You never know with apple though.



    I think Apple knows more than anybody the importance of a good GPU. Heck they put a discreet GPU in the Mini. GPUs are significant because so much is being accelerated with them these days. Even Safari users benefit from GPU acceleration these days.



    The thing here is that in a couple of years we will see systems moving towards tightly integrated heterogeneous computing. This will lead to a performance advantage over discrete GPU implementations. At least for mid level hardware efforts. So two to three years down the road discreet GPUs may be hard to find.

    Quote:

    If they determine not that many mac users need these features, they may drop them. Autodesk and a couple other companies have brought a lot over to the mac side since the switch to intel, not that I'm a big fan of Autodesk. They are like the Adobe of the 3d world



    I'm not sure what Autodesk has to do with your message. If you are trying to say they need the performance of discreet GPUs you would be right - today. However that might not be the case in the future.



    Let's take a look at AMDs Fusion processors. They are already dedicating more space to the GPU than the CPU subsection. In another generation or two you might no be able to recognize the x86 part of the chip. The point is you can integrate a lot of goodness onto a processor chip these days. With the new architectures they have coming more performance will be going into those chips without a significant increase in size.



    Now what does this have to do with Apple and Intel. Well Intel lags AMD here, no one disputes that. As noted the latest Sandy Bridge GPU isn't that bad for 2D but is pathetic for aggressive 3D and has zero OpenCL support. Ivy Bridge supposedly fixes some of this and gives a 2X boost in performance. If true Intel is on it's way to effectively displacing a large number of discreet GPUs. So between AMD and Intel over the next two years a good portion of the discreet GPU market will be wiped out.



    The problem with this is that Discreet GPUs then become much more expensive. I would imagine that two years from now discreet GPUs will be available only in high performance implementations.
  • Reply 77 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post




    I'm not sure what Autodesk has to do with your message. If you are trying to say they need the performance of discreet GPUs you would be right - today. However that might not be the case in the future.




    It was a pretty loose reference. I was saying that they (as a company that owns a lot of 3d content creation software) started to pay a lot more attention to OSX once it went to intel. A lot of cad and modeling programs will run basic functions on anything down to a macbook air but the experience today isn't really ideal.



    I'm still not sure where they're going with the mac pro line. The lower end model especially is way out of date. If we see more development of thunderbolt accessories to provide necessary I/O then I'm not sure how much longer that mac pro will last. I've been expecting them to drop everything the single socket design once thunderbolt has enough third party support.
  • Reply 78 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    It was a pretty loose reference. I was saying that they (as a company that owns a lot of 3d content creation software) started to pay a lot more attention to OSX once it went to intel. A lot of cad and modeling programs will run basic functions on anything down to a macbook air but the experience today isn't really ideal.



    By Autocads description I'd have to upgrade my machine before even considering buying the software. Not enough RAM plus possibly CPU performance issues. The reality is such software has always been demanding when used to its full capacity, thus it is no surprise that requirements are stiff.



    In any event I don't think Intel attracted AutoDesk to Mac Hardware. My guess would be that the stabilizing and refactoring of the UNIX environment had a lot to do with it. AutoDesk left the Mac world a long time ago because to put it frankly the OS sucked. Mind you I'm talking core OS here not the GUI. With Apple having a full multitasking, virtual memory OS AutoCAD had a place to put their software to make it shine.



    That of course is a guess, it would be very nice to know what transpired at AutoDesk to have them take on the Mac.

    Quote:



    I'm still not sure where they're going with the mac pro line.



    The Mac Pro is good for people that need that sort of hardware. My over riding concern is that there is to much of a gap between the Pro and the rest of Apple hardware lineup. Frankly it is frustrating as it should be rather obvious to anyone at Apple that there is a massive gap in system capability between the Mini and the Pro.

    Quote:

    The lower end model especially is way out of date.



    I'd go farther and say the low end Pro is a huge mistake.

    Quote:

    If we see more development of thunderbolt accessories to provide necessary I/O then I'm not sure how much longer that mac pro will last. I've been expecting them to drop everything the single socket design once thunderbolt has enough third party support.



    Agh here we go again. Thunderbolt isn't even remotely capable of providing an economical and robust substitute for a well designed desktop computer. The whole point of such a machine would be to offer the option of a high performance video card, lots of bays for storage and other goodies traditionally in a desktop. TB can't effective help with an of these requirements.
  • Reply 79 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    By Autocads description I'd have to upgrade my machine before even considering buying the software. Not enough RAM plus possibly CPU performance issues. The reality is such software has always been demanding when used to its full capacity, thus it is no surprise that requirements are stiff.



    They bought out Alias and have been releasing maya versions mac side with better stability. They ported over a couple other programs more recently. These aren't so much cad software as packages used in cgi and broadcast graphics.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The Mac Pro is good for people that need that sort of hardware. My over riding concern is that there is to much of a gap between the Pro and the rest of Apple hardware lineup. Frankly it is frustrating as it should be rather obvious to anyone at Apple that there is a massive gap in system capability between the Mini and the Pro.



    The gap is there. It is obvious. The mac pro still does a poor job of justifying its value especially in the single socket configuration. My point of reference was more like the high end imac to the low end mac pro although that machine shouldn't exist in its current form.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I'd go farther and say the low end Pro is a huge mistake.




    It is, but people bought them for things like faster storage access and better cooling/stability relative to the top imacs. ECC ram and xeon processors make for dumb features on those machines. Anyone who would actually need such features would pretty much be going for a dual socket configuration, so yeah it's just a bastardized configuration.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Agh here we go again. Thunderbolt isn't even remotely capable of providing an economical and robust substitute for a well designed desktop computer. The whole point of such a machine would be to offer the option of a high performance video card, lots of bays for storage and other goodies traditionally in a desktop. TB can't effective help with an of these requirements.




    This is fun because you do make a lot of great points (not being sarcastic). I agree with you about that being the point of the form factor. I think apple really dropped the ball here though. The graphics card options aren't that great. They don't offer any good workstation card options. The quadro ones have had consistently buggy drivers and none of their cards supported 10 bit per channel displayport signals. Their hard drive bays could use better cooling. The single socket has the same ram capacity as an imac. Any thoughts on where the line is going?
  • Reply 80 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Any thoughts on where the line is going?



    Not a clue. The new Mini with the GPU is a nice move or maybe a partial step. For professional use it would be nice if that GPU had more RAM. On the flip side that new Mini is a disappointment as it appears that Apple is entrenched in the two machine lineup.



    Limiting hardware models was smart when the company was about to go under. However now that they have a handle on the market they need machines that will expand sales. While every body imagines a different XMac I think there things define that machine. The first is far more expandable RAM. The second is the option for a high performance GPU card. Lastly easy to access and expandable secondary storage. The Mini offers none of these and the Pro is way to much machine for many. This machine should go for about $1200 to $1400 without the GPU card.



    Note that the XMac doesn't have to have a removable video card option. The option could be built into the motherboard just like they do on the Mini. However the video option needs more video RAM and a step up in performance over the Mini. In any event these three items are critical as TB does not offer a viable alternative. It is a mid range machine for more advanced users.



    That is all guessing at the moment. The lack of serious rumors with respect to the desktop line bothers me. It looks like Apple will just milk the lineup for another year.



    On the other hand I saw yesterday that Intel released some info on new chips that could go into a laptop. Apple could bump many of it's machines this fall. This would hold people over to Ivy Bridge.
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