Despite new CPU options, Apple reportedly questioning future of Mac Pro



  • Reply 41 of 649
    dsoldsol Posts: 9member
    The MacPro is expensive because Xeons are expensive. I've never understood why Apple used Xeons in their single CPU macPro configs. Yeah, yeah - it supports ECC. But the single CPU configs cut the number of RAM slots in half anyway, so ECC was pretty pointless.

    It may be a less profitable section of the market, but the high end content creation space is worth money and also represents an enormously important one from a prestige (and PR) viewpoint. Irritatingly, Apple's actually positioned really well right now to really redefine that space right now by equipping all their MacPros with large quantities of uber-fast flash memory (in addition to multiple regular drives). They could also make use of their considerable engineering prowess (from the G5 days) to create a monstrous CPU/GPU farm in a box that ran reasonably quietly.

    I've been waiting for the new Mac Pros for months now. My 2008 model is getting very long in the tooth. If it wasn't for the fact I've loaded it up with 20GB of RAM, I'd swap to an iMac. After Effects is a RAM hog as are many 64bit video apps. Hence - we stlll need a Mac Pro in the lineup.

    Hell, if they really don't care about that market, why not license out OSX to another vendor (like Dell?)
  • Reply 42 of 649
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

    Slim the case down but don't stop making it. We rely on a MacPro that has run great for over four years now.

    I see where they are coming from but I like the internal drive bays. Yeah, I guess thunderbolt external drives here we come with a mini attached. It is inevitable...

    Not only the fact that HD video editing demands powerful processing, but new graphics cards and PCI-based I/O cards for signal in-out is very important for pro video editors. I know the new iMacs are fast, but they will need to be way faster or be able to match the current dual quad-core and six-core processors in the Mac Pro line. Let's hear from the hardware manufacturers. Can you guys at AJA and Black Magic make Thunderbolt-compatible hardware? Way back in the mid 1990's we used Power PC Macs which had 5 PCI slots for external digital hardware. Much of that has been taken over by software, but it did make the operation faster, since the outboard gear had its own processors to take some of the load off the CPU. High Def video produces large amounts of data that must get pushed around. I don't know if a current iMac can do it.
  • Reply 43 of 649
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Originally Posted by MysticalOS View Post

    i'm gonna have to go the hackintosh route istead so i can keep my high end hardware.

    You can't depend on the Hackintosh route to continuing to work either. Every time this topic comes up I always say to myself what if? Since nearly all of my high end projects involve Adobe CS with the exception of FCP which they already bailed on, I guess I would go to Windows. Pity since I love working on a Mac but that is the only logical choice for me if they discontinue the Mac Pro.

    It would be a hassle to use an iMac for some lower end projects and then switch over to high end Windows machine for heavy duty work. Makes no sense, I would just switch to Windows for work and keep my iMac and MBP for home and on the road. Although I would need to put Windows on the MBP to share the Desktop when away.
  • Reply 44 of 649
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 452member
    Running a Dual 2.0 GHz PPC daily, I still think I can blow the wheels off any iMac made today for heavy graphic work.

    I will believe a high-end iMac when I see it.
  • Reply 45 of 649
    I bought a Mac Pro 2008 (in early 2008) so have enjoyed it for almost for 4 full years, and i still love it.

    The iMacs will most possibly resemble the speed of this one for basic tasks, but doing video, audio and especially heavy 3D there is no match.

    I bought it new for a low price (with a little developper discount) for around 2.250?. Now i have to pay double or more for a new one that is about 2x as fast as this 2008 model. It's simply outrageous.

    They should put a foot in Intel's face for getting so expensive cpu's.

    Also, the future doesn't look to good for 3d artist as there are more and more cores with lower clock speeds. This is annoying since software still has problems being optimised for so many cores. Apps that use single cores for some threads, should rather benefit more with cpu's that have less cores and higher frequencies.

    So for pro's there will be 2 options:

    Go get a PC (also makes sure we have less problems with lacking plugins or apps as a whole) and will mean a decrease in sale for apple's pro apps (which are already becoming less pro and more consumer like final cut pro)

    Buy a top of the line iMac for the work, and an aditional one for render-farm based rendering and computing. It will be cheaper than a single Mac Pro. So getting a machine capable like the high-end iMac, but without the screen will be a sollution that remains expandable.

    in any case, they are SCREWING the pro's that were once the centre of the MAC existence. (i started as a graphic designer where the mac was the one real tool you had the have)
  • Reply 46 of 649
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Although the Mac maker has reportedly developed a revision to the existing Mac Pro that may or may not see the light of day, people familiar with the matter said management as far back as May of 2011 were in limbo over whether to pour any additional resources into the product line.

    This should not be a surprise to anybody following Apple. They alienated the company which made some of the most popular software for their machines, and discontinued their own professional software. They discontinued their infrastructure products, and declared themselves to be a gadget company which is changing its focus to "portable devices".


    there appears to be an increasingly limited market for high end desktops, particularly

    Particularly when there is so little high-end software that will run on it.


    Apple could choose to offer a new ... beefed up Mac mini that packs enough power to approach the performance current Mac Pro, ...

    Apple began to retreat slightly on its Mac Pro sales efforts when it ceased regular shipments of the $4,999 12-core to channel partners.

    Yeah. A 12 core MiniMac. Good idea, Daniel. Not.


    A year ago, the company similarly abandoned sales of the Xserve...

    Apple has since recommended the Mac Pro as an alternative to the Xserve,

    That too makes very little sense. I don't know why any responsible business would invest in that sort of infrastructure, especially when the manufacturer has disavowed continued interest in serving enterprise customers.
  • Reply 47 of 649
    One reason why the current Mac Pro has lasted as long as it has is because the current form factor has been around in one way shape or form since 2003 at the end of the PowerMac era. Back then, three slots seemed to be a good compromise from the four slot days of the previous machines, and some of us are old enough to remember the six slot professional Mac days. Nowadays (and especially with Thunderbolt), two slots might be for a video card and the other for future expansion. Anything else can be through Thunderbolt (and that technology will only get faster in coming years). Four hard drive bays is nice to have, but the chassis was designed in the days of 80-160 gig drives and has no built in hardware RAID. 4TB drives will be available next year. Two internal drives is probably enough with an option to do solid state drives. Again, Thunderbolt makes external arrays that kick butt from a performance standpoint a very credible option for many.

    Memory, bandwidth and performance is something hard to duplicate in other Macs. The 4 core i7 iMac is a nice machine for many professional departments, but Core i7 doesn't have the deep performance bandwidth of the server level Xeons in the Mac Pro. There are some applications in video and scientific disciplines that just need the horsepower. It would be nice to keep those features in a smaller Mac Pro.

    The big problem is investing in the form factor changes you'd need to do in order to bring the Mac Pro into modern times. It used to be that many of us prosumer geeks bought tower Macs since it was the baddest machine out there. Nowadays that Mac is out of the reach of many of us from a budget standpoint largely because of the cost of the server Xeons Apple uses. Right now the only way to get a Mac Pro at the old price point of $2500 is to spec the older Nehalem processors (4 core) rather than the Westmeres. You probably would retire the Nehalems at this point and go with a 4 or 6 core Westmere as the base unit. But a new form factor is a big expense...Apple might just be happy continuing the existing form factor except it's tough to reduce the price on that unit without changes. If there is a chassis change, you'd want it out on the market for at least another five years considering the life spans of its predecessors.
  • Reply 48 of 649
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    Part of Mac Pro's problems is the lack of support behind it. Look at it this way: They lag on upgrading the hardware, they make little effort to promote the use of the Mac Pro in industries that are ripe for it, and there just is no mojo behind the product due to a lack of development. Get behind the Mac Pro line like they do the iPhone and watch sales climb. I'm not saying they'll be shipping millions of them per quarter, but, in time, traditional industries that prefer Mac options will pick up on it and sales will boost.
  • Reply 49 of 649
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

    Still, there's no question the Mac Pro provides power that high end prosumers and professionals can't get elsewhere on the Mac platform.

    Apple doesn't really care about those kinds of markets. They are a gadget company now. Let Microsoft service the "high end" professionals.

    Apple makes most of its money selling to Grandmas.
  • Reply 50 of 649
    Here's a straightforward solution:

    Make the Mac Mini scaleable in stacks. Use the Thunderbolt port to make it simple to build anything from a FinalCutPro station, to a server, to a super computer by simply daisy chaining Mac Minis.

    This would enable Apple to continue to serve the Pro market all the while only having to continue to build a Mac Mini which is enough for most people. Power users could add another Mac Mini or several to meet the needs they would find in the Mac Pro.

    The required change is in OSX enabling the stacking, no need for Apple to design, build and maintain a separate hardware line. To address the only remaining shortcoming: expansion slots. These could be added in the chain as external components. Either Apple could build and sell an expansion stack shaped like the Mac Mini with Thunderbolt I/O or leave it to third party manufacturers to build their expansion chips into these shapes.

    The Mac Pro will be missed, but its place is in the history books.
  • Reply 51 of 649
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

    Exactly! It is like Apple doesn't understand what most people need or want in a desktop.

    Actually they do understand what MOST people want. Because most people want a machine that is easy to set up, isn't a mess of cables etc. 95-98% of the world doesn't need 12 cores, or to be able to hot or cold swap hard drives etc.

    Apple is in the business of making money and lots of it. So their focus is on the 95, not the 5
  • Reply 52 of 649
    If you really want to save the Mac Pro, put your money where your mouth is: buy a Mac Pro today!

    Alas, like the iPod Classic, its days are probably numbered. The reason it's not an easy one to let go of is that it still has advantages for professional use, and the pro market sustained Apple during the dark years. Still, it is progress if Apple doesn't need the pro market like it once did. For me, the main reason the Mac Pro existed (going all the way back to the days of the dual G5 PowerMacs) is that it used to be the only way to get two processors in a Mac. Now, thanks the ubiquitous dual- and quad-core CPUs, there's less of an advantage for the Mac Pro.
  • Reply 53 of 649
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

    Exactly! It is like Apple doesn't understand what most people need or want in a desktop.

    Most people don't need desktops at all. The iPad is more than adequate for what most people do with computers.


    They could but they are tied to their old marketing beliefs. The current desktop lineup is of their own making and frankly it is like they don't have the maturity to let go.

    What old marketing beliefs are you talking about. No computer OEM is making much money from desktops these days.
  • Reply 54 of 649
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    If they are migrating from 3 to 2 and eventually to 1 laptop range it doesn't make sense to have a 3 desktop range when desktops account for an ever decreasing proprtion of sales.

    They could merge the Mac Mini and Mac Pro into one hybrid screen less desktop which would also sell as a server, addressing three markets in one product. Add a decent range of options and a realistic price and you have a decent market proposition. The small business and/or enterprise market will always need a power based solution. If you seed that to Windows you risk losing the laptop sales to.

    The only other realistic option would be an iMac and iMac Pro. We all know how Steve loved the all-in-one design. With the increasing popularity of cloud based software/solutions will we need all that power in a few years time anyway?
  • Reply 55 of 649
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Originally Posted by gprovida View Post

    I suspect a lot of Pro users find the top end iMac to be pretty darn good.

    I suspect that a lot MORE pro users find Windows machines to be better. Apple doesn't care about high end anything or professional anybody.
  • Reply 56 of 649
    If they stop in fact they say they say goodbye to the professional user that needs all the expansibility and power.

    I am a longtime Mac pro ( powermac) user going back to the G4.

    The current casco was made for the G5 - its IBM-processors produced so much heat that they needed to make this big machine with all the fans in it to cool it without making too much noise.

    So I guess it is time to make a new casco- smaller and lighter.

    If they stop making it it will be the first time i have to stop using an Apple. I need its speed, space and flexibility.
  • Reply 57 of 649
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    No you won't.

    Along with the hardware, the software has been optimized to use the CPU and GPU more efficiently than was ever done on PPC.

    Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post

    Running a Dual 2.0 GHz PPC daily, I still think I can blow the wheels off any iMac made today for heavy graphic work.

    I will believe a high-end iMac when I see it.

  • Reply 58 of 649
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    I agree with this decision (if it turns out to be true). The Mac Pro has 2 things the iMac doesn't: PCIe bus and many cores.

    Thunderbolt gives the iMac an equivalently fast expansion bus. And multi-core work, people are discovering, is better done on the GPU anyway.

    One argument in the other direction though, is that iOS takes care of many consumers, enabling them to make the Mac, if anything, more Pro.

    In some ways I would like them to recommit to the pro-ness of the Mac. For example I was disappointed in Lion to find not all system daemons had man pages.
  • Reply 59 of 649
    Originally Posted by bryanl View Post

    You mean almost like the 27" iMac?

    Another person who doesn't understand the pro market.

    This article comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who can stop fellating their iDevice long enough to see the writing on the wall.
  • Reply 60 of 649
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,737member
    I've had my Mac Pro (dual quad core Xeon) for 3.5 years and it's still a top-notch machine which stacks up well against the latest iMacs. It would be very hard to duplicate that longevity with a Mac Mini or iMac.

    Here's the appeal of the Mac Pro for me:

    - Top of the line components which will be good for around 3-5 years. Even though the initial cost is high, you save on the fact that you don't need to get a new one for at least 3 years (in my experience).

    - Easy to throw any old SATA hard drive into it for more drive space. No need to go out and order another new external hard drive which supports eSATA/Firewire/Thunderbolt (external connectors change all the time).

    - Eight memory slots. Meaning, you don't have replace all of the memory in your machine to add more RAM (again, much cheaper).

    - I get to pick what monitor(s) to use with it (or if I even need a monitor -- e.g. server setup).

    Note that for my job (and most "pro" jobs), the graphics card doesn't matter.
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