New Mac Pro

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  • Reply 141 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Yep! Seriously we agree here, the question is will a Mac Pro with a built in video card give pros the performance they want. It certainly could be done, but what i'm saying is that Apples history sucks here. There is no way we can be certain that Apple would implement the type of GPU performance Pros want.



    You can't be any more certain, not one iota more certain, that a hypothetical updated Mac Pro with slots and a discrete graphics card "would implement the type of GPU performance Pros want." I do concede, however, that in the slightly far-fetched scenario that Apple would fail to "implement the type of GPU performance Pros want" that slots would, in the very near term (until perhaps about 2013), simplify working around that limitation. In the longer term, when high-end monitors have their own built-in GPU (from perhaps about 2013), Thunderbolt would be the simpler, easier, and less expensive way to work around such a limitation.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I wouldn't be surprised to find out they are in the red with the Mac Pro.



    You're kidding, right? I would eat my hat if Apple were not making money on the Mac Pro. I would bet that their margins on the Mac Pro are above 30%.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    How is what I said an example of why Apple would never produce a XMac? it makes all the sense in the world from a business perspective as they can pick up a whole class of users they currently can't reach.



    I believe that Apple could reach far more new customers by dropping the slots. We're probably going to have to agree to disagree on this.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    So really I don't get what you are saying, is it that Apple isn't capable of designing a desktop machine.



    !?!?! I'm the one who is confident that Apple can design and build a fast machine with fast graphics without slots. You're the one who seems convinced that Apple cannot do so, that "it is in Apples DNA to minimize a given GPUs capability."



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Are you being dense on purpose here?



    I thought we were better than the five year olds in the sandbox calling each other "meanie".



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Actually there are technical issues to consider. A lot of engineering goes into making those graphics cards work. Thermal engineering being a big part of the effort. While Apple can certainly manage this if they really wanted too, I'm simply not convinced they would want to.



    Now we're getting somewhere. Thank you for conceding the major point of the discussion: that Apple can build a Mac Pro without slots that would have all of the graphics performance of a Mac Pro with slots. I agree that whether or not Apple want to build such a machine is an open question.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Lets face it the phrase "Ethernet over Thunderbolt is fast enough for everyday use" could be and has been replaced with: "Ethernet over (USB, SD, Firewire) is fast enough for everyday use" in the past. The problem is it is less than optimal solution and there is no reason to believe it would be any better on Thunderbolt.



    The question was not whether or not Ethernet over Thunderbolt is optimal. The question was whether or not it can be done. I have already stipulated that Thunderbolt is an imperfect substitute for slots.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Thunderbolt is a serial channel or hose if you will that has a limited capacity. You can't really argue the point here.



    Every interface has limited capacity. There is no point against with I could argue.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    This is where I disagree, especially in the context of a Mac Pro. Slots make the machine a pro level tool. If you remove the slots you end up with a fat Mini with all the draw that device has for pro usage.



    Let's imagine that Apple assign two engineering teams to independently design the next Mac Pro. Both teams are given the same list of features including which Ivy Bridge CPUs they must support, which graphics chipset, ports, etc. The only difference is that Team A is told to use the existing Mac Pro case and Team B is told to design a smaller case without expansion slots. The two teams present their designs and, no surprise, the benchmarks show all performance parameters within 1% of each other, one insignificantly faster in some tests and the other insignificantly faster in other tests. Team A's design will need to be priced at $2499 to $4999. Team B's machine will be half the weight, half the size, consume half the power, produce half the noise, and be priced at $1999 to $4499. Which design should the management team choose to produce?



    I understand it's your belief that Apple could sell more of Team A's machine. It is my belief that Apple could sell more of Team B's machine. I've already stipulated that there are some customers who would buy Team A's machine but not Team B's machine, however, I believe there are far more customers who would buy Team B's machine but not Team A's machine. We may have to just agree to disagree.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    That is total rubbish.



    Now there's a strong argument.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Are you actually saying that Apple can manage to have one machine in its entire line up of Macs that comes with slots?



    I have not written that, but it's obviously true since Apple currently "have one machine in its entire line up of Macs that comes with slots." I don't see how it's at all relevant to the argument at hand.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Seriously, the removal of such a device would be a very significant blow to Apples credibility with respect to the Pro market.



    I think Apple would gain credibility with the Pro market by giving them the performance they want at a lower price point by dropping legacy cruft that very few Pros either use or want.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    So it is good business to eliminate the one option that customers have to use Apple hardware in anything more than a trivial manner?



    That's a straw man argument.



    When NeXT replaced the NeXTcube with the NeXTstation, they did exactly what I'm suggesting that Apple do with the Mac Pro. In that case, graphics didn't suffer at all. Graphics improved dramatically when NeXT dropped the slots and switched to a more compact machine. NeXT were able to cut the price by half from $9999 to $4999. Of course, there were a few people who complained that NeXT were abandoning the Pro market, that Pros needed slots, etc. Sales increased many-fold.
  • Reply 142 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Here's something to at least advance the discussion, how do you think quality graphics would be implemented in a slotless computer, and has intel mentioned anything about their roadmap for thunderbolt/copperpeak bandwidth? The mac pro line has inflated considerably over time, so yeah it's higher than it would need to be, especially if it was selling in higher volume.



    Regarding thunderbolt bandwidth, I don't see it being much of a multi device standard with the current bandwidth. Currently it can handle the equivalent of 1 PCIe 3.0 lane, so even if you internalized the graphics, discreet graphics will be running off PCI rather than from a thunderbolt chip regardless.



    Last thing, the slots aren't what keep the price high. Apple charged less for more on that line in previous years and the slots were there that entire time. If they take out the slots and reduce the price, it's simply an excuse. I wouldn't care so much if thunderbolt grew closer to what PCI is today in terms of raw throughput.
  • Reply 143 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Here's something to at least advance the discussion, how do you think quality graphics would be implemented in a slotless computer, and has intel mentioned anything about their roadmap for thunderbolt/copperpeak bandwidth? The mac pro line has inflated considerably over time, so yeah it's higher than it would need to be, especially if it was selling in higher volume.



    In the context of the next Mac Pro, my guess for the most likely implementation of the graphics directly on the motherboard would be the ATI Radeon 7xxx "Southern Islands" GPU (with at least 1GB of memory) using the PCIe 3.0 protocol to communicate with the CPU.



    Intel's roadmap for Thunderbolt includes plans for a 10x increase in bandwidth. After that, who knows?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Regarding thunderbolt bandwidth, I don't see it being much of a multi device standard with the current bandwidth. Currently it can handle the equivalent of 1 PCIe 3.0 lane, so even if you internalized the graphics, discreet graphics will be running off PCI rather than from a thunderbolt chip regardless.



    Of course. I don't think anyone has suggested using Thunderbolt for internal interconnects.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Last thing, the slots aren't what keep the price high. Apple charged less for more on that line in previous years and the slots were there that entire time. If they take out the slots and reduce the price, it's simply an excuse.



    See Marvin's excellent post above.
  • Reply 144 of 331
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,611moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Here's something to at least advance the discussion, how do you think quality graphics would be implemented in a slotless computer



    If they stick with high-end cards, they can have a single PCIe slot but it would have to hold a GPU. They could go the iMac route (which I hope they do) and use an MXM slot with a mobile GPU like the Radeon 6990M. It's half the performance of a high-end PCI card but they only have a 100W power draw and still support double-precision computing.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Regarding thunderbolt bandwidth, I don't see it being much of a multi device standard with the current bandwidth.



    There were examples of Thunderbolt products at IDF:



    http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/14/t...ss-dock-seaga/



    It's best to think of it like a better version of ExpressCard, which has been in a large number of laptops over the years.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    If they take out the slots and reduce the price, it's simply an excuse. I wouldn't care so much if thunderbolt grew closer to what PCI is today in terms of raw throughput.



    I'd expect them to remove the 5.25" bay too that holds the dual optical drives. If you look at the small box on this page:



    http://www.boxxtech.com/products/ren...o_overview.asp



    it has up to 12-core Xeon processors and 192GB RAM. That looks like it's about 1/5th the size of a Mac Pro. Add 4 storage drives, an MXM GPU and you have a very small and very powerful machine. You should be able to buy multiple models and chain them together with Thunderbolt for a very compact personal render farm.



    You are compromising on the GPU but it's not really going to affect a large amount of customers and it drives them into a more regular upgrade cycle because it's easier to sell the machine on again.
  • Reply 145 of 331
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    If they stick with high-end cards, they can have a single PCIe slot but it would have to hold a GPU. They could go the iMac route (which I hope they do) and use an MXM slot with a mobile GPU like the Radeon 6990M. It's half the performance of a high-end PCI card but they only have a 100W power draw and still support double-precision computing.



    Or Apple could go the Mac Mini route (but with a high-end GPU, of course) and put the GPU directly on the motherboard. Like this:

    http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/c...6265433?seq=52
  • Reply 146 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Especially when the entire industry is moving the GPU as close as possible to the CPU? I just can't see a rational argument for stuffing a GPU into a monitor. Especially when process shrinks allow for ever increasing GPU capability right in the SoC. At best you end up with a short term fix embedded in a long term device.



    Or to put it another way your monitors often outlast the hardware driving them. At least that is the way I see it. Even a monitor for a laptop would quickly be eclipsed by the laptops GPU in two years or so. Hey maybe those monitors will come with the GPUs in slots.
  • Reply 147 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post




    You are compromising on the GPU but it's not really going to affect a large amount of customers and it drives them into a more regular upgrade cycle because it's easier to sell the machine on again.





    The boxx you linked may have compromised on the gpu, but it's because you linked me a render farm node . Regarding gpu, why would you want to gimp it? If anything they're becoming more important/used in a lot of areas outside of gaming and 3d. By the way even that has a spare PCI slot but you couldn't run discreet graphics over it due to the power draw. You'd have to be careful on hard drives as well. From what I can tell it looks like the power supply is only 300 watts due to heat concerns. It's designed as a compact server regardless so it has some limitations as a workstation. I do like the form though. Apple could learn something from those guys . They are a bit pricey but they custom build in Texas, so it tends to be expensive.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Especially when the entire industry is moving the GPU as close as possible to the CPU? I just can't see a rational argument for stuffing a GPU into a monitor. Especially when process shrinks allow for ever increasing GPU capability right in the SoC. At best you end up with a short term fix embedded in a long term device.



    Or to put it another way your monitors often outlast the hardware driving them. At least that is the way I see it. Even a monitor for a laptop would quickly be eclipsed by the laptops GPU in two years or so. Hey maybe those monitors will come with the GPUs in slots.





    Higher end displays have a ton of electronics packed into them, but given the increased reliance on the GPU, I don't see it being moved out of the box. Extra heat is also bad for the lcd seeing as most of them rely on passive cooling.
  • Reply 148 of 331
    I'm new here, but I've been reading this discussion and there are a lot of interesting predictions/ideas here.



    I don't think Apple will be exiting the pro market. I think at this point they will treat the Mac Pro as an evolutionary product rather than a revolutionary one... with few frills in order to satisfy professional users who need raw processing and graphic processing power.



    I'd guess they'll integrate thunderbolt into the new model with significant TB expansion (say, 3 or 4 TB ports)... but will also leave the PCI Express expandability.



    I see one of two things happening:



    1. The machine sees integration of thunderbolt with only a minor case redesign to reflect this and upgraded specs. They might get an early in on Sandy Bridge-E.



    2. They redesign the case significantly to integrate TB, possibly add USB 3.0, and reduce, but still keep PCI-E slots for more limited, but available expandability. They might do away with the optical drives in order to shrink the case but keep room for 4 HDD bays.



    I expect the price point will remain the same.



    They will focus on PCI-E for graphics with TB for everything else.



    I don't think the changes will be very drastic.. other than increased CPU and GPU performance for high end users that need it. They will continue to push prosumers and lower end professionals to the Mac Mini or the MacBook Pro with TB. The MBA and iMac and dual-core Mac Minis will remain the choices for consumers.
  • Reply 149 of 331
    So, given the information on Intel's release dates, when are we expecting/estimating to see a refreshed Mac Pro? I really want to buy before the year is up.
  • Reply 150 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by compos24 View Post


    So, given the information on Intel's release dates, when are we expecting/estimating to see a refreshed Mac Pro? I really want to buy before the year is up.



    When it's out. We're really not expecting anything.
  • Reply 151 of 331
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by compos24 View Post


    So, given the information on Intel's release dates, when are we expecting/estimating to see a refreshed Mac Pro? I really want to buy before the year is up.



    Processors appropriate to the mac pro are supposedly coming out November 15th. Apple has announced machines using new processors early, and they've announced them months later. It's a safe assumption that you won't see these before mid november, but it could be next year.
  • Reply 152 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Processors appropriate to the mac pro are supposedly coming out November 15th. Apple has announced machines using new processors early, and they've announced them months later. It's a safe assumption that you won't see these before mid november, but it could be next year.



    I would think that we would start to hear leaks and other bits of evidence that would indicate that the new machines are about to come. At this point we have heard nothing. So it would be best to describe them as months off.



    That is if they upgrade the machine at all. I suspect that we will see Mini and iMac updates before anything Mac Pro related happens.
  • Reply 153 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I would think that we would start to hear leaks and other bits of evidence that would indicate that the new machines are about to come. At this point we have heard nothing. So it would be best to describe them as months off.



    That is if they upgrade the machine at all. I suspect that we will see Mini and iMac updates before anything Mac Pro related happens.



    Apple isn't going to just give up on the Mac Pro market. While nobody was buying the XServe (according to Steve Jobs), I find it hard to believe that Mac Pros are selling so poorly that they should just be phased out.



    Obviously they are not priority number one for the company, which is dealing with the transition to Tim Cook, and perhaps we won't hear anything for a couple months... but the Mac Mini and iMac do not cover all of the market.



    I think the biggest recent bit of news that Apple isn't giving up on these people was when they made the last generation of Final Cut Pro available and sought to address the many complaints of Final Cut Pro X in their most recent updates (of which there will likely be more).



    I think the best and most convincing reason not to abandon the Mac Pro is that Apple has to make SOME kind of machine to develop all those wonderful iOS apps on!



    I can't imagine it would go over well if Tim Cook/Steve Jobs came out and said "sorry.. but if you want to develop for the iPhone or iPad, you'll have to do it on a Mac Mini... or a PC". Not with the cut that Apple takes from every App sale... you bet they're gonna keep the Mac Pro around.
  • Reply 154 of 331
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snowguy716 View Post


    Apple isn't going to just give up on the Mac Pro market. While nobody was buying the XServe (according to Steve Jobs), I find it hard to believe that Mac Pros are selling so poorly that they should just be phased out.



    it isn't a question of the Mac Pros having a market, they do have one. However it is a high end market. The problem with the Mac Pro is all the missed opportunity. That is the market for an expandable machine in the $1200 to $1500 dollar range.

    Quote:

    Obviously they are not priority number one for the company, which is dealing with the transition to Tim Cook, and perhaps we won't hear anything for a couple months... but the Mac Mini and iMac do not cover all of the market.



    The transition happened long ago it was just made official recently.



    You are right, the Mini and iMac don't cover all of the market but adding the Mac Pro to the mix covers little more. It is just to expensive for the desktop.

    Quote:

    I think the biggest recent bit of news that Apple isn't giving up on these people was when they made the last generation of Final Cut Pro available and sought to address the many complaints of Final Cut Pro X in their most recent updates (of which there will likely be more).



    What Apple is giving up is the market that wants an affordable but expandable Mac. Simply put not everybody needs a Mac Pro nor the massive box.

    Quote:

    I think the best and most convincing reason not to abandon the Mac Pro is that Apple has to make SOME kind of machine to develop all those wonderful iOS apps on!



    The vast majority of that development is done on Mini, iMacs or laptops.

    Quote:

    I can't imagine it would go over well if Tim Cook/Steve Jobs came out and said "sorry.. but if you want to develop for the iPhone or iPad, you'll have to do it on a Mac Mini... or a PC".



    Can't be serious? I have a rather old MBP that still does a credible job developing code.

    Quote:

    Not with the cut that Apple takes from every App sale... you bet they're gonna keep the Mac Pro around.



    How is Apples cut in anyway involved in a developers selection of developmental hardware? I don't follow your logic at all.
  • Reply 155 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The problem with the Mac Pro is all the missed opportunity. That is the market for an expandable machine in the $1200 to $1500 dollar range.



    What Apple is giving up is the market that wants an affordable but expandable Mac. Simply put not everybody needs a Mac Pro nor the massive box.



    How I wish someone at Apple was reading this and paying attention. This is the only Apple product I would be crazy enough to camp outside an Apple store to buy.
  • Reply 156 of 331
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    You can buy one on Craigslist or EBay. I bought one for under $1000. Now I'm looking for another. If Apple won't build a lower cost tower, someone else is getting my money. I too hope the right people are reading this forum, but will not hold my breath. How long ago was it that someone started the xMac discussion? I remember those who said, "It will never happen." They have been right so far, but I hope it changes.



    I think Apple has claimed to serve business too. However, I've not seen any Macs in retail stores or reception desks. Concerning education, a local institute has put 60 Mac Pros on Craigslist in the Portland, OR area. These three-year-old Mac Pros are being replaced by Windows PCs.
  • Reply 157 of 331
    zephzeph Posts: 133member
    It's kind of amusing to see the pundits here claim Apple is missing out on a great opportunity by not making an xMac when the company just sold 4.63 million computers and 12 million iPads. Laptops account for the vast majority of their computer sales, too.



    And we're not even talking about iPhone sales.



    I bet that if the xMac was a viable business proposal, Apple would already have one out. Fact is, they know the market better than most and their track record/sales figures prove it.



    Face it, they know better. In fact, I use iDevices for pretty much everything and use the MacPro only for audio. My iPhone takes care of 80% of my internet usage, and I'm typing this on an iPad.

    I'll go to the studio later and fire up the MacPro to work. That's when I use desktop machines. I have an Asus laptop that dual boots into Vista64 and Ubuntu 11. It sits in the living room as an internet access machine, but I'm usually too lazy to bother and just whip out my iPhone.



    And I love my iMac, it is like a friend, but since I got the MacPro for work and the iPhone for everything else, I only switch it on maybe two or three times a week. And that is mostly out of a sense of guilt, too.
  • Reply 158 of 331
    I stopped trying to get through to them long, long ago.



    Take it from me, they won't quit whining. Ever.



    And don't even think about suggesting they shut up and buy a PC. Because even though it's exactly what they claim to want, they don't want it.
  • Reply 159 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zeph View Post


    It's kind of amusing to see the pundits here claim Apple is missing out on a great opportunity by not making an xMac when the company just sold 4.63 million computers and 12 million iPads.



    Apple is making money hand over fist. Fine. But the fact remains that this Mac user of 18 years isn't buying anything new from Apple because what I want isn't being made. So Apple in its infinite wisdom is successful but it is also very close to losing a long time buyer and user of Apple computers.



    Can I make Apple build what I want? No. But I think they should be wondering what would happen if more of the long term repeat buyers of Apple products start feeling the same way I do.
  • Reply 160 of 331
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    And don't even think about suggesting they shut up and buy a PC. Because even though it's exactly what they claim to want, they don't want it.



    No. We want OSX on an Apple computer that meets our needs. That is not a PC.
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