OS X 10.8.3 beta supports AMD Radeon 7000 drivers, hinting at Apple's new Mac Pro

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  • Reply 21 of 211


    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    …watercooling the CPUs…


     


    Aah! PowerMac G5 flashbacks! 

  • Reply 22 of 211
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post



    Larger and whisper quiet fans to reduce noise would seem one area they would tackle.


    Quiet is good however in a professional environment such as ours there are at least 10 machines of various types, servers and desktops, etc. The Mac Pros are already the quietest machines in the room although with an SSD they would even be quieter. Even the room air-conditioning is louder than the Mac Pros.

  • Reply 23 of 211
    philboogie wrote: »
    There are quite a few people posting this very request; a smaller MP, an in-between iMac and MP. Knowing Apple, they never seize to amaze people. You might get your wish, but I doubt it. Because:
    iMac starts at $1299 Mac Pro starts at $2499. Say they want to release an mid-Mac, if you will. I think that price will need to be in between there, $1899. We know what they will do: the RAM is so low everyone is going to need to upgrade. If it's user accessible, fine. If not 'Apple-tax'.
    Then there is the GPU RAM; they'll make it lower than a MP, since it has to be in between an iMac & MP, so 512MB. We'll have people complain on that, or people need to get a $250 GPU.
    Next up, well, you get the picture. For you, and everyone who wants a mid-tower: I hope they'll release one. As long as they keep the current config of the MP as well.

    With the reference card of Tahiti the target should be a 7800 series with the BTO Option of dual 7970s which is supported by that kext reference to the 3GB DDR5 GPGPUs with Full Profile support.

    I would also expect soon for them to support the FirePro S10000 for those demanding TFLOP double precision performance.

    With the rumors about Intel moving to SoC for their Broadwell chipset moving to BGA [pinless] configurations Apple may once again look at AMD APUs in the future seeing as AMD's HSA initiative with ARM and others is founded upon LLVM/Clang to manage OpenCL for the software.

    This new Mac Pro will be interesting in whether the new Xeon Phi Co-Processor [a massively parallel co-processor for Intel] will even make a dent in the industry seeing as Intel's Graphics stack will continue to lag considerably behind Nvidia and AMD, not to mention Phi cannot compete against high end GPGPU for parallel processing prowess.
  • Reply 24 of 211
    mstone wrote: »
    Quiet is good however in a professional environment such as ours there are at least 10 machines of various types, servers and desktops, etc. The Mac Pros are already the quietest machines in the room although with an SSD they would even be quieter. Even the room air-conditioning is louder than the Mac Pros.

    Whisper quiet due to better bearing designs and larger fins running at lower RPMs allowing for an even greater convective heat transfer means a win/win for your environment and any other environment that isn't inundated with external noise. Working with equipment that demands less background noise doing engineering testing improves accuracies in measurements.

    I'm just thrilled when we were talking about AMD 7000 series before the new iMacs and dreams of having a dedicated GPGPU in the Mac mini that Apple isn't failing us for the high end.
  • Reply 25 of 211
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,802member
    ALthough this will probably never happen, it would be nice if the "low end" Mac Pro would offer just a standard quad Core i7 and not the Xeon which are way overpriced. Yeah, I realize the iMac already offers an i7 but if I am not mistaken it doesn't offer the fastest versions due to thermal issues with the case. There are several desktop versions of the i7 faster than what you can get in an iMac. I understand why they originally went with Xeon years back when the only other option was the duo core, but the standard desktop quad or even 6 core i7 is now an incredibly fast and powerful CPU for the single CPU model of the Mac Pro. Then offer the Xeon for the dual CPU higher end models.

    I remember the good old days of the Power Mac when the cheapest model was still affordable and under $2,000. I doubt it would cannibalize or compete with iMac slaes since those consumers have very different priorities.
  • Reply 26 of 211
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post


    I remember the good old days of the Power Mac when the cheapest model was still affordable and under $2,000. I doubt it would cannibalize or compete with iMac slaes since those consumers have very different priorities.


    So do I remember the good old days having personally bought over 3 dozen Power Macs. But for the life of me, I don't recall getting any Power Macintoshes under $2000. 

  • Reply 27 of 211
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member


    There's definitely still room for innovation in the workstation case space. How do you keep 2 8-core CPUs cool when they have been running at 1600% nonstop for the last 7 days, without making a racket? Surely the current Mac Pro is not the final, all-eternity, perfect answer to that question. There must be new materials, conductors, that haven't been tried before.


     


    I also like the idea of a Retina Cinema Display.

  • Reply 28 of 211
    z3r0z3r0 Posts: 238member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post



    Case size is important. Just ask all those enterprise technicians who have to move the old Mac Pros around. For me, a Mac Pro case needs to be just large enough to hold a motherboard with several CPUs, plenty of RAM, and a few specialized PCIe cards. Standard I/O ports don't really take up much room. As for optical drives, I wonder if not having them would be better, letting me attach my specialized and constantly changing drives to whichever Mac Pro I want instead of having to settle for older internal drives. The amount of space for internal disk/SSD drives is something that I'd have to think about. There needs to be enough disk room for individual users but for groups of users, having SSD boot drives and external shared drives might be a better option. This would mean a much smaller case design. Think about a stack of Mac mini. Add better CPUs with heat sinks (tall-mini, size of two minis) and something on the order of four tall-minis would only be a foot tall. Redesign to get rid of the optical drives (two quad- or six-core CPUs could fit in the bottom two or three tall-minis) and you could put disks and I/O cards in the top tall-mini space to get four to six CPUs with disks and I/O cards for a nice new Mac Pro. All in a much smaller design and (maybe) with redundant power supplies. Actually, Apple could have fun and build the new Mac Pro as a modular computer: redundant power module, dual CPU module, disk module, I/O module. Just stack them to plug everything together. Start with a single CPU module but allow 2-4 (or more) to be stacked. Same with disk and I/O modules. This ends up looking like a blade server and could provide the same functionality (maybe even as a reborn OS X Server).


     


     


    Well lets see. If I add two AMD Radeon 7000 GPUs they'll take up 4 slots, throw in a RAID card thats 1 more slot, add a capture card AJA or Black Magic thats 2 more slots. If I need esata, Fibre, or Thunderbolt just do the math. Anywhere from 8-10 PCI-X slots. Four internal hard drives, 192GB+ RAM, plus 2 CPU Heat sinks, dual redundant power supplies (these are a must for Xserve replacement scenario) and yes lets not forget optical drives those are still important - blue-ray would be great! (and no I do not want to attach them externally with wires).


     


    This all requires a BIG machine.


     


    As for the stacking idea, its been done: http://www.sgi.com/products/remarketed/workstations/octaneIII.html


     


    Not exactly pretty.

  • Reply 29 of 211
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,802member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Onhka View Post


    So do I remember the good old days having personally bought over 3 dozen Power Macs. But for the life of me, I don't recall getting any Power Macintoshes under $2000. 



    I remember several. Just off the top of my head the low end quicksilver that was the 733MHz model. It was $1699 new which was followed by a dual 867MHz also for the same price. The original PCI power Mac was only $1599. I am sure there are several more if you want to look at everymac.com which gives the original selling price. Many of the Power Mac G5 models also had entry level models under $2,000. The switch to Intel with the Xeon is where the cheapest model went to about $2,500 and higher. 


     


    http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_733_qs.html


     


    To me at least it seems as if Apple just steers everyone that wants a desktop Mac to buy an iMac. They crippled the Mini with no dedicated graphics and abandoned the old $499 price point. They forgot about the Mac Pro and it might finally get a long, long, overdue update but will stil keep the high price points. The iMac on the other hand gets more updates and you seem to get good value for your money compared to the Mini and Pro. I understand why they do this since you are forced to get a new monitor when you upgrade unlike the other models. But as someone that needs a Mac Pro I wish they could offer a low end base model Mac Pro with an i7 for $1999.

  • Reply 30 of 211


    image I'm going to make a wild, wild guess. Apple decides to simplify model lines and parts supply by basing the new MP on the iMac. Low-end starts with a standard, single CPU i7 iMac. Then introduce a special, higher-end iMac with two (or more?) CPU's. Maybe with a special cooling system? The iMac is partnered with a combo drive/expansion-box tower using one, maybe even two, Thunderbolt ports. Voilà! iMac Pro. Thoughts?

  • Reply 31 of 211
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,854member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Some have suggested that it will be 19" rackable. If that happens it will certainly mean the removal of the optical drives as Apple would never release a machine where the optical drives would be vertically oriented nor would they release a professional machine for the desktop that was designed to be lying flat.


    Our facility had 5 Mac Pros and 2 G5s placed horizontally in a extra wide rack with shelves.  They were there for 6 years with no problems from the optical drives.  The trays are designed to work in either orientation.

  • Reply 32 of 211
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post


    image I'm going to make a wild, wild guess. Apple decides to simplify model lines and parts supply by basing the new MP on the iMac. Low-end starts with a standard, single CPU i7 iMac. Then introduce a special, higher-end iMac with two (or more?) CPU's. Maybe with a special cooling system? The iMac is partnered with a combo drive/expansion-box tower using one, maybe even two, Thunderbolt ports. Voilà! iMac Pro. Thoughts?



    I think they will stick with a full workstation class Mac. Apple wants to change the world right? Well we spend half our time at work, so I can't see them giving up on that space.

  • Reply 33 of 211
    ecsecs Posts: 307member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post





    Other than perhaps new internal design changes for watercooling the CPUs and better spacing on the boards for improved air-flow and thus heat transfer the design is beautiful and ahead of the industry, at large.

    Larger and whisper quiet fans to reduce noise would seem one area they would tackle.


     


    I believe Apple isn't doing it right in the cooling design lately. Their consumer Macs, in the quest for making it thinner than thin, lack proper cooling for intense CPU/GPU use, and such use can have a negative impact on the machine lifetime. On the other hand, the Mac Pro has room for good cooling. That's nice, but the problem with fans is that they're a mechanical part, so they get noisier with age, and of course they can fail.


     


    I'd prefer a cube-shaped Mac, with just one fan (maybe a super-expensive fan, as large as you wish, but ultra-quiet and ultra-durable, designed to remain quiet through aging, and just -one- fan in the whole box). Make the cube with an optimal size for cooling with such one fan when using it for intense CPU+GPU work. That's all I'd wish for a new Mac, no matter if you call it Mac Pro or Mac YetAnotherCube, but that's all I'd want (and of course no HDD nor Fusion, just SDD).

  • Reply 34 of 211
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post


    image I'm going to make a wild, wild guess. Apple decides to simplify model lines and parts supply by basing the new MP on the iMac. Low-end starts with a standard, single CPU i7 iMac. Then introduce a special, higher-end iMac with two (or more?) CPU's. Maybe with a special cooling system? The iMac is partnered with a combo drive/expansion-box tower using one, maybe even two, Thunderbolt ports. Voilà! iMac Pro. Thoughts?





    That doesn't do anything to simplify product lines. Perhaps sarcasm?

  • Reply 35 of 211
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    ecs wrote: »
    I believe Apple isn't doing it right in the cooling design lately. Their consumer Macs, in the quest for making it thinner than thin, lack proper cooling for intense CPU/GPU use, and such use can have a negative impact on the machine lifetime.

    And this is based on what? What makes you more of an expert in computer design than Apple?
  • Reply 36 of 211
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    waybacmac wrote: »
    :wow:  I'm going to make a wild, wild guess. Apple decides to simplify model lines and parts supply by basing the new MP on the iMac. Low-end starts with a standard, single CPU i7 iMac. Then introduce a special, higher-end iMac with two (or more?) CPU's. Maybe with a special cooling system? The iMac is partnered with a combo drive/expansion-box tower using one, maybe even two, Thunderbolt ports. Voilà! iMac Pro. Thoughts?

    Not likely. The iMac isn't really suitable as a workstation-class machine. They will continue to offer single and dual processor Pros. I could, however, see them using a non-Xeon chip in the base model of the Pro - saving quite a bit of money.

    However, your comments do point out that Thunderbolt eliminates one of the standard complaints about the iMac - expandability. It's easy enough to add an expansion port with extra storage and not give up performance, so the iMac may be suitable for more people than before.
  • Reply 37 of 211
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member


    If anything justifies a redesign, it is that GPGPU has come more to the fore since the last one was designed. Surely that must necessitate some changes, such as extra PCIe power connectors or new airflow design.

  • Reply 38 of 211

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post





    iMac starts at $1299 Mac Pro starts at $2499. Say they want to release an mid-Mac, if you will. I think that price will need to be in between there, $1899. We know what they will do: the RAM is so low everyone is going to need to upgrade. If it's user accessible, fine. If not 'Apple-tax'.


     


    It seems that a mid-tower more accurately falls between the mini (quad core i7) and the MacPro; they're both headless machines. The iMac is an all-in-one model aimed at minimalists; the other two are aimed at people who want OSX for whatever reason, but are content to build out the rest of the desktop with the components of their choice.


     


    A mid-tower is the same: no monitor, configurable via internals, etc. And so we're looking at a range of mac-mini on the low end and macpro on the high -- a nice, wide range to plop a mid-tower into. Especially with PCs available well under $1k. Putting it right at the price of the iMac seems perfectly reasonable to me -- I still wouldn't be tempted by an iMac. When the monitor dies, I want to swap a new one in off the shelf and be back up and running in 60 seconds. Can't do that with an iMac; but you sure can with a mini or a pro -- or a mythical mid-tower.


     


    Personally, I'd buy one in a heartbeat, *especially* if it was built like a MacPro - thoughtful aluminum case, super accessible, great cooling, easy clean, no worries. Couple of PCI slots so I can run a desk full of monitors, 4 or more cores, and I'm good. The Macpro's only real problem is its price. The mid-tower would cannibalize sales to some extent... but it might also broaden the market, and so drive sales. I think it sure would be worth trying. I wish Apple would go for it.

  • Reply 39 of 211
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,872moderator
    waybacmac wrote:
    :wow:  I'm going to make a wild, wild guess. Apple decides to simplify model lines and parts supply by basing the new MP on the iMac. Low-end starts with a standard, single CPU i7 iMac. Then introduce a special, higher-end iMac with two (or more?) CPU's. Maybe with a special cooling system? The iMac is partnered with a combo drive/expansion-box tower using one, maybe even two, Thunderbolt ports. Voilà! iMac Pro. Thoughts?

    They might have gone the route of putting a single Xeon in the iMac but the model number MP60 listed in the Bootcamp plist suggests that won't be the case. It also provides good evidence that it won't have an optical drive, which indicates a redesign because that 5.25" unit takes up a lot of space. They could move the hard drives into that space and just lower the height or maybe have a different shaped power supply but I think they should go beyond that.

    We get the same comments cycling round every time there's a Mac Pro reference such as putting in more PCI slots and an i7 because it's cheaper.

    The entry Mac Pro uses a $294 processor, which costs exactly the same as an i7. The 1000W power supply and motherboard will be more expensive but we know that they upped the Mac Pro price by $300 after the first Mac Pro model so they obviously weren't selling enough to justify the margins they had. The lower the volume, the higher the price.

    The parts that go into the Mac Pro can be bought for about $1200-1400 so they are easily at 40% profit margins.

    When it comes to Thunderbolt, there's still the issue of how they get it to work with a dedicated GPU. The spec they are required to follow in order to call it Thunderbolt is that it has PCI and displayport on the same connection, no compromise. So they either have PCI slots and no Thunderbolt or they don't have Thunderbolt because if you put in another GPU, it can't know how to route the graphics out the TB ports. If you put in a non-standard GPU, it breaks the TB spec.

    There's also the issue about the machine having 40 PCI lanes. If you have 4 slots, you can't give them all 16 lanes and if you max out the lanes on the slots, there's nothing to allocate to Thunderbolt. I think it's very much an either/or situation.

    When you consider that the Mac Pro slots only have a 300W power allocation, you can only have multiple low-power GPUs or a single high-end one. The simpler option is the single high-end one.

    Once you've decided on the GPU, Thunderbolt can take care of expansion. It would be better if Apple managed to get the 20Gbps Falcon Ridge controller though. This prevents the scenario where Macbook Pro/Air//iMac/Mini professionals are buying Thunderbolt peripherals and Mac Pro professionals are buying PCI cards. They all buy the same peripherals.

    The single GPU would still be upgradeable but only from Apple as it has to work with Thunderbolt.

    As far as the CPU goes, they can stick with allowing 2 CPUs but Ivy Bridge will bring 10-core chips, maybe 12. These will be expensive chips.

    Right now, the highest-end MP uses 2x $1440 CPUs = $2880 but the performance is only about 20% faster than the $1885 single CPU 8-core E5-2687W. The equivalent Ivy Bridge chip will likely be 20% faster so they could offer the same performance as the current $6200 Mac Pro for:

    $2499 - $294 + $1885 = ~$3999

    While they could still offer a faster dual processor model at $6200, if few people are buying those, the better option would be to offer the best value to the highest volume of customers.

    The entry model could do with a 6-core CPU and then have an 8-core in between.

    By taking out the optical, the PCI slots and 2nd CPU, they can cut the power consumption down so the PSU can drop to 500-600W.

    If they can fit this into a Cube, that would be great but I think they'd struggle with that. They can at least manage the following size as it's just a reworking of what they have already:

    1000

    If they can put in functionality to allow zero-config connections over Thunderbolt, even better. You could buy as many $3999 models and just plug a TB cable between 1 and 2 then 2 and 3 etc.

    Sure the complaints will come in about not being able to access PCI cards but for high-end tasks, wouldn't you rather spend $3999 on another MP and run any task natively on a dedicated 10-core Xeon than spend $4750 on a Red Rocket PCI card that only does one thing? There's always the backup of having an external PCI box anyway.

    If they can figure out how to make PCI slots and Thunderbolt work together in a Xeon box, all the better I suppose but they still need to allocate 40 lanes between them so they won't have more than 4 slots.

    Ultimately, just like FCPX they have to design this box for the next 10 years, not for the last 10 years and make it appeal to the widest Mac Pro audience. If leaving the design largely unchanged and leaving out Thunderbolt accomplishes this, so be it but I don't think it does. I think the USP should be performance-per-dollar, not expansion - make it more than twice as fast as the iMac for less than twice the price.

    Remember what the original Macintosh said:



    These big, heavy workstation form factors are becoming unnecessary for workstation use just like the mainframes. Same for servers. One day, so few people will buy them that they will be dropped:

    http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2079015
  • Reply 40 of 211


    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



     


    This bugs me. What happens to the workstation crowd? Are we to be stuck with 3 RAM slots? Even the iMac has more. The Nehalem/Westmere models already omit two of their maximum possible slots… 


     


    I totally buy only one double-wide PCIe (16x 3.0) slot with the rest of the expansion expected to be Thunderbolt (and then six of those), though. Even on the full size model. Drop the internal PCIe, both optical drives, and trim out some of the excesses with the case build (because, hey, times have changed since 2003. The design itself is fine. Great, even. Why make a silent computer less so? Why make spectacular cooling less so?

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