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



  • Reply 141 of 649
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

    After having had nothing but the top of the line Macs since day one including the II fx and Quadra 840 and so on through to Mac Pros ...

    People complain about the price of Mac Pros now but those people weren't around when we were paying over $10,000 for a II fx. Then add several thousand for a 20 meg HD and 32 megs of ram. I think I ended up with about $20k into that box before I was done and it still took two days to render a 30 second video.
  • Reply 142 of 649
    I haven't bought a tower Mac since the 1990s. And I consider myself a 'power user.'
  • Reply 143 of 649
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Have you actually looked at the revenue that comes from desktop computers nowadays?

    For context HP was contemplating dropping its entire PC business.

    Originally Posted by Mario View Post

    This is my sentiment too. I'm afraid that if Mac Pro disappears too, real pro users will be forced to go with PC route, and in the long run this can only be damaging to Apple.

  • Reply 144 of 649
    Originally Posted by RichS View Post

    Seems like there would be a lot of interest in a "beefed-up" version of the mini, maybe... wait for it... in a "cube" form factor!

    Like the newton, the old cube wasn't the "bad idea" it was made out to be... it was just way too early for the market.

  • Reply 145 of 649
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    I do believe that Steve was probably about ready to pull the trigger on the Mac Pro.

    I don't think Tim Cook seems as ready, but does see that its inevitable.

    Tim Cook also said the future of computers is in tablets.

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

    "But Apple doesn't care about Mac marketshare!"

    Steve didn't care.

    Tim. Cook. Does. Watch him at the beginning of the iPhone 4S announcement. He actually BROUGHT UP marketshare. If that's not obvious enough for you, watch the way he presents that section. The subtleties of his? know what, if you're not convinced by him bringing up marketshare, there's no way you'd catch the subtleties of how he presents that section.

    At any rate, he's gearing up for a fight.

  • Reply 146 of 649
    When Steve Jobs took over the company again in the nineties one of the first ways to exhibit his idea for marketing was to draw a cross on a whiteboard with the four corners being desktop, portable, pro, and consumer. The iMac is the consumer desktop machine and always will be because if the no after market custom options. What apple needs to do is not negate the Mac Pro to the annals of history but evolve it to fit the needs of power users today. The problem with the machine isn't that it has not place in the market. The problem is that the market has evolved beyond the machine Apple has been selling for the last 7 years.
  • Reply 147 of 649
    Originally Posted by n0shoe5 View Post

    Does XGrid still exist ? Is it capable of linking minis over thunderbolt for parallel processing ?

    To me, XGrid, or some future iteration of such, would be ideal for those who need more power.

    I figure the limiting factor is the current top speed of Thunderbolt, for both intercommunication and for external PCI cards (I'm under the impression that Thunderbolt doesn't use many lanes and that video cards do ... )

    Personally if i had the need and the money I would prefer to have the simple and elegant Mac Pro over a few minis and multiple external boxes ....

    I agree; I'd rather have the components all together in a tower under the desk than a desktop full of gadgetry hooked up to an iMac life some kind of digital life-support rig. Isn't that what the original iMac was about? Getting rid of the sea of cables and gizmos?

    My MP is worth it just for the ability to host my iTunes library, and redundant disk drives. I've upgraded it several times in the 4+ years I've had it.

    The next unmet need for many, imho = reliability and archival. The cloud is great but when it comes to depending on your data, it starts locally. Time machine is nice, but not nearly as great as swapping in a replacement drive on a running system that still has redundancy even after a disk failure. Would you rather spend a moment swapping a bad drive, or hours, even days, recovering?

    Sure you can do RAID now, but it's either a pale version or you really have to be determined if you want a serious, high-performance, bulletproof solution. It shouldn't be so hard to protect the core of your "digital life". If you're a pro, your data is likely worth far more than the hardware it's running on.

    What the next MP needs, imho, is to implement a fully-configurable, fully-capable RAID, BUILT-IN, using up to 16 laptop-size drives.
  • Reply 148 of 649
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Unless Apple is planning on discontinuing all their Pro software, the Mac Pro isn't going anywhere.

    Here's two solutions that I predict could happen:

    Apple redesigns the Mac Pro to use the 2011 pin socket in UP and DP configurations

    The case becomes rack mountable with hotswapable everything.

    This becomes the new Mac Pro/Server

    Because Intel will keep this socket for another 5 years at least, everyone who wants this refresh will finally buy. Then Apple doesn't do another redesign till the next socket. As the next generation ships contain all the former north bridge logic there is little need to keep redesigning it.

    Other solution:

    Apple sells an ATX style motherboard that ships with OS X Server, or some other "half a mac" board that lets you replace the motherboard in an existing workstation or server. The end user is then responsible for purchasing the remaining compatible parts and no support for any of the parts is provided except for the motherboard part itself.

    This is one reason the hackintosh community even exists at all, and why hackintosh users infringe on copyrights, Apple doesn't sell OSX separately legally, and doesn't wish to support all the boatloads of garbage PC hardware out there. So the solution is to narrow it down to just one part to support... which goes back to the spirit of the Apple I.

    Or Apple could turn around an just sell OS X as a separate product for EFI equipped computers (No licencing fail like with the mac clones.) But you can already predict what will happen here, that will cannibalize all Mac sales like it did last time.
  • Reply 149 of 649
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post

    Apple should build a Mac mini Pro or a Mac Pro mini.

    With a matte display to complement.

    No fan (or very quiet at least).


    Two 3.5-ich 7200 rpm disk drives inside.


    Firewire 800.

    USB 3.

    SDXC card slot.

    Gigabit Ethernet.

    Did I say quiet?

    With Ivy Bridge coming in about six months, quad-core will become standard in the Mac Mini. A bigger, faster Mac to replace the Pro and complement the Mini would initially have 8-core and 12-core processor options (with Ivy Bridge). I think Apple would abandon the dual CPU option in favor of simplicity and price. Today, with Sandy Bridge, 8-core CPUs are available. Ivy Bridge will provide for 12-core and Haswell will provide for 16-core CPUs.

    If I'm right about the CPUs, then a fan will be necessary.

    I have little idea what Apple would do regarding disk drives for such a machine, other than obviously not include an internal optical drive.

    Thunderbolt would obviously be included. My guess would be 2x Thunderbolt ports. I really doubt Firewire would be included at this late date. Firewire is moribund. I'm not convinced that Apple will ever adopt USB3. We'll see. Gigabit Ethernet is a given. I don't know about SDXC.

    With the possible exception of a slot for a graphics card, I think the chances of any other slots is nil.
  • Reply 150 of 649
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Originally Posted by inkswamp View Post

    Totally agree with you. Apple could just rebrand the Mac Mini and scale it from low- to high-end box and have it all covered. A slightly bigger Mac Mini-style enclosure (maybe taller) that has user-accessible internals/slots with Mac Pro-like specs would be a killer product and probably a lot cheaper to produce and sell than the Mac Pros. And hell, with Thunderbolt, you could, in theory, eliminate a lot of the internal accessibility for upgrades and expansion demanded by high-end users.

    A headless Mac with only enough room and cooling for 2 CPUs (maybe 4?); a high-end, user replacable graphics card; and a single 3.5" hard drive bay, would seem to be the bare minimum. Basically a Mac mini but built with desktop parts instead of laptop parts. Everything else can be attached via Thunderbolt.
  • Reply 151 of 649
    Originally Posted by bleaknik View Post

    I've got an idear! Make OS X scale through a tech like XGrid.

    While I've not personally used this tech, the concept is simple. Rather than one powerful machine with lots of RAM, Disk space, and processor power; offload those processing cycles to machines near in the cluster. Turn 'em off (or let 'em sleep) when they're not needed, and fire 'em back up when they are!

    Now, obviously, there's a few things here that are missing...
    1. Someone needs to create a rack mount fo the Mac mini that makes sense. Networking, power, thunderbolt all built in.

    2. XGrid, from what I understand, requires the software to be XGrid aware. Can we find an OS implementation that will eliminate this need?

    3. Nodes (Mac minis) need to be easily added and removed from the cluster with little-to-no configuration. Maybe make the rack have an auto-launching USB-drive that will automatically run when the Mac mini is connected that'll autoconfigure it?

    It's a crazy idea. And I'm sure most of y'all laugh at me for saying this. But we really don't need workstations any more, especially when we have network computing. If only we could access those resources. That should solve most of your 3D rendering/video rendering/photoshop rendering needs.

    The only thing that I'm missing... is the gaming experience. Same thing for processing power... and RAM. And coupled with a nice external Thunderbolt graphics card, I think we have our answer.

    Mac minis!

    You mean something like this:
  • Reply 152 of 649
    Originally Posted by davidness View Post

    Maybe the reason for limited sales is that many people, like me, have been waiting for a decent refresh. I would buy a refreshed/updated Mac Pro as soon as it came out. I have been waiting for quite a long time.

    The main reason I want a Mac Pro is I want to attach 2 large NON-GLOSSY monitors to my Mac.

    I couldn't agree more. I am scrambling to hold on to FCP X on my MBP i7. I would buy a new Pro today if i could. And please, don't push me towards an iMac. If i need a mirror, i'll buy a mirror !
  • Reply 153 of 649
    Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

    If it didn't cost more than a third-world Kidney transplant, I'm guessing more people would be mac pros.

    I never understood why they couldn't sell it as an infinitely upgradeable tower with cheaper starting components to make it a more affordable computer, sometimes people don't need everything that the desktop tower has to offer to want one.

    Considering how much Intel processors that go into Mac Pro cost, it doesn't seem justified for customers to expect units to cost less than they do.
  • Reply 154 of 649
    mariomario Posts: 348member
    Originally Posted by REC View Post

    I don't think machines like this are relevant anymore. People want compact, portable, low impact, powerful (enough) and less expensive. Tower cases are for the 90's, for the past.

    This is also not Apple's business anymore. Apple has a good sense of cutting technologies when they are no longer relevant, I hope they can make that decision here.

    Sure, but we are not talking about "people" here. We are talking about professionals doing actual work on their computer, not just consuming information. Frankly Air or even iPad is good enough for that.

    But professionals editing HD video, or software developers developing all those back end cloud servers and services need a Mac Pro class machine. Hooked up to two 30'' screens, these things are a joy to work on. And you know I love this kind of computing power I would have to give up OS X and use a PC just to get it.
  • Reply 155 of 649
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

    How does a Mac mini with MacBook Pro internals sound?

    That could be considered "another high-end mac". And I would not have a problem with a rebuild and redesign.

    But if that would do it there are som more demands that a "mac mini with mac pro internals" needed

    -Storage. Expanding and changing drives at will

    -3. Party hardware

    -Supporting a lot of connections (could be done with HW)

    And what would be the point if I needed so many externak devices that it would take up a Mac Pro volume anyways...
  • Reply 156 of 649
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,950member
    People aren't buying Mac Pros because Apple hasn't significantly upgraded them in over 2-1/2 years. This is essentially due to a slow-down by Intel.

    Believe me, there is pent-up demand for faster, more-capable versions. Mac Pros are fast, rock solid systems. There's just been no way to upgrade in over 2-1/2 years! And from Intel roadmap, it will be over 3 years!
  • Reply 157 of 649
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    What makes me laugh here is that the article is taking popular opinion and assigning anonymous sources to it. The machine for the past couple years has been priced higher than PC workstation counterparts, and it's weaker on features and available accessory hardware. Anyone could have told you the future of the mac pro must be a topic of discussion at Apple. You don't need an insider source for that.

    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

    They need something more powerful than the Mac Mini but screen-less unlike the iMac. However, the Mac Pro is and has been a boat anchor. I mean seriously, that thing is unwieldy. No need for a huge hunk of aluminum like that in this day & age. I cringe whenever I have to deploy or service one.

    The mac mini to me is in a weird spot. People like the concept but it has too many compromises over even the imac which is really designed as a consumer machine and leveraged upward into professional markets. Much of the manufacturing cost there comes from engineering it to be small, and you do end up having to make choices. You don't get a lot of internal storage. You are limited in ram. You're limited on gpu power. I think they don't want it to interfere more than necessary with imac sales. Apple likes to ensure that their line is really simple at a given price point.

    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...

    The case isn't the reason for the price. The laptop cases are way more intricate to make, and the majority of the cost with something like aluminum is generally processing rather than raw materials. As for thunderbolt, it needs more third party support.

    Originally Posted by TheBestMan View Post

    I have a Mac Pro, but haven't done much to it other than add more hard drive space and memory since I bought it 3-1/2 years ago. (or was it 2-1/2??)

    That's fairly normal. With an imac or mini you can't easily do these things. The mini especially is a bit tight on ram, and buying 8GB sticks really kills the economy of it (even though it would help ensure a long usable life to the machine).

    Originally Posted by dsol View Post

    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.

    I need to correct this misconception. It may inflate the cost of the logic board "slightly" but even there it's not much at all. Apple uses a fairly basic logic board configuration. ECC ram used to be way way more expensive. It's not so much anymore, especially if you upgrade your ram via third party. Mac Pro 1,1 through 3,1 (2008) used special ram with the aluminum fins for additional cooling. The newer ones don't require this, and their cost isn't that bad assuming you don't buy from Apple.

    The Xeons used are basically identical in cost to the corresponding i7 extreme processors. The baseline model uses a $300 processor in a $2500 machine. It's roughly the same processor cost as the cto i7 imac (and you don't get a 27" ips display built in). It costs less than the most expensive macbook pro processor option (the 2820QM had a $568 recommended channel price).

    Pretty much the machine was made on a very limited hardware budget, so at the low end it couldn't take full advantage of all updates made available for this socket (for example westmere focused on more expensive processors).

    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

    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".

    You're right. It shouldn't surprise anyone. The clashing with Adobe really is completely stupid though. It hasn't actually benefitted anyone who uses things made by either of these companies.

    Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post

    A post from Feb 2008 asking for a mid-range tower.

    We should call it 'Mac'

    Mac Mini < Mac < Mac Pro


    The thing about Apple is they know a lot of people will grumble and buy something anyway. They don't worry about what is left. If you look at their products and accessories that serve a very limited market, those are always the ones that are unreliable and full of bugs (display adapters, quadro cards, etc). If it affects enough users, the bugs are fixed much quicker or they move on to something new.

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

    Do they? Your opinion says yes. But the facts may say no.

    I work for a studio level FX/Annie house and last year we replaced 20 aging Pro based workstations with iMacs and have had no issues. We are replacing the other 30 with iMacs over the next six months. We have a mac mini server running our email. We also have four workstations running a Linux based rendering system. If we could get Mac minis that could handle that load we would.

    If the imac display was really a solid display, that would get me to buy one. Unfortunately getting that display to be really amazing and working out the quality control to a finer degree would be cost prohibitive. The top display manufacturers tend to use a lot of extra electronics and testing to get the LG panels to perform as they do.

    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.

    You can't really assuming that imac is set up correctly. In a lot of past iterations it was missing a few things. Scratch drives used to be a big deal due to hard drive speed. Faster hdds/ssds and the ability to cost effectively put 16 GB of ram in one solves this issue. Your G5 can't handle anything from Adobe past CS4, nor can it handle the 64 bit rewrites of other software manufacturers which make use of the extended ram capacity here.

    You think it's faster because at one point it handled certain bottlenecks that were still an issue in something like an imac. That is not the case today.

    Originally Posted by reuzedoder View Post

    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.

    It's annoying isn't it? Aside from the area directly around the cpus, the case design really isn't that great. You can access things easily, but the airflow to other components isn't anything special. Graphics cards often run too hot. Hard drives tend to run closer to their upper limit than I'd like. For a couple generations it required a special ram design for extra cooling.

    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

    Never love anything that will not love you back.

    Apple will throw you under the bus if you don't provide them with enough profits. It is not a two-way relationship.

    They want profits. That is the one and only thing the Corporation cares about. Your love is irrelevant to Apple, unless it results in oversized profits.

    That's something I never understood about Apple fans. I use their computers too, but I'm not emotionally attached to the brand. Anyway they could have done something beyond this kind of awkward retreat from the market segment.

    Originally Posted by Svegard View Post

    If Apple drops the Mac Pro without making another high end alternative I will be throwing Logic and Apple out the door and get a PC with Pro Tools HD...

    That goes for the rest of the pro audio marked using Mac as well....

    Yeah, and I will dump all my iToys with it......

    Windows isn't as bad as it was say around XP to Vista. Windows 7 is quite usable really even though I prefer OSX. Both have bugs. OSX doesn't always just work. I hate when people suggest that it does. It's just if you've worked with it long enough, you may have workarounds for some of the weird quirks. A slow switch toward Windows means having to deal with new issues. I still wish Linux was up to my own needs.
  • Reply 158 of 649
    I have a medium octo-core end MacPro3,1 which I have beefed up to 4TB internal storage and 2 X25-M intel SSDs 1 for 10.6 bootup and 1 for win7 ultimate. 5 drives, one machine and I have 2 removable eSATA backup drives used to image copy my backup drives monthly - this setup would be a mess with external drives and a thousand power bricks.

    In addition - I need the flexibility, updatability and I need a paper weight that is secure and I can lock down. I also need 2-3 24" matte monitors and have an upgraded graphics card. It is still a good fast setup (if you haven't gone SSD - you can buy 4 yrs equivalent worth of upgrades - it is worth the bucks), but I will probably upgrade in the next year or two if there are viable upgrades.

    I admin a bunch of PCs (no choice) for my wife's business and I buy Dell - they have so many tower configs with any chip (e.g. OptiPlex 990 Desktop comes in 4 form factors and is a great PC world business desktop), power supply (including very efficient ones), and cards you want. How can crappy Dell have the engineering resources to make literally tons of models and Apple can't even justify one lousy pro machine?

    Apple needs to stop acting like a small start-up and address multiple market niches with smaller margins - to build a true Halo effect with techies and pros you need to address the niches and push them. Apple should even use the idevices to subsidize the pro side - the Halo effect will pay off in spades. And give us a few choices - at least a big tower and a slimmer tower and with or without ECCs - and no we don't need to buy a new monitor every 2 or 3 years - they now last for 10.

    I'll always buy apple for my business if there are viable options, but I don't like the way things are headed - and if I have to go PC for my business, it is too much trouble to admin multiple platforms at home and might have to do a full PC switch (heaven forbid - and this from a die hard apple guy)

    Apple - don't do it - listen to the pros - you are being penny-wise and pound foolish!
  • Reply 159 of 649
    It strikes me as if Apple is waking up to birthing off a sub-line and not using the Xeon as the only solution for the Mac Pro.
  • Reply 160 of 649
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

    This? Really? That's nonsense. Apple can live without the Mac Pro quite well.

    Without a proper SERVER, however? They'll never get market penetration. Whatever the Mac Pro becomes, it needs to be more servery.

    "But Apple doesn't care about Mac marketshare!"

    Steve didn't care.

    Tim. Cook. Does. Watch him at the beginning of the iPhone 4S announcement. He actually BROUGHT UP marketshare. If that's not obvious enough for you, watch the way he presents that section. The subtleties of his? know what, if you're not convinced by him bringing up marketshare, there's no way you'd catch the subtleties of how he presents that section.

    At any rate, he's gearing up for a fight.

    I suppose so... Without innovation leading the ship Apple, instead of counting beans and trying to defend what you already have, Apple will slowly deteriorate and simply be another tech company... but I give 'em at least 5 to 10 years.
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