Hands on with Apple's new Intel Xeon E5, dual AMD FirePro equipped Mac Pro

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  • Reply 101 of 172

    Where's the comparison to the current models?

  • Reply 102 of 172
    Figure $680 for the upgrade from 256 GB to 1 TB in the Mac Pro if it is the same item as offered in the new MacBook Pro. How does one add external storage that is in the same ballpark as the PCIe storage? Thunderbolt 2 with SSD in a chassis with the Mercury Accelsior_E2 from OWC would be close. It might be cheaper with eSATA SSD drives which are about half the speed of the PCIe.
  • Reply 103 of 172
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     




    BTW, do you plan to buy any Mac Pros for personal or company use?

    Company

  • Reply 104 of 172

    when this comes out I will go in my local Apple store and try to run the system at full throttle. I will be very curious to hear that fan then.

  • Reply 105 of 172

    I suspect that 80% of the concerns with the new design would be solved with two changes:

     

    1) use the Small Form Factor GPU card sizing. If you're unfamiliar with this…

     

    http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/GTX670DCMOC2GD5/

     

    These would have to be adapted slightly, removing the fans and providing a bracket positioned so the GPU is up against the heat sink. But that's about it. And then we'd be able to select from a huge range of 3rd party GPU's without so much trouble.

     

    2) put in a single drive "bay". From what I can see, existing MP users fall into two basic groups, those with mega-files that have SANs or some similar tech for supporting huge arrays, and those who don't. Those of us in the "don't" group can likely solve 90% of our problems with any off-the-sheld 3 TB drive, when combined with the 258 flash one.

     

    These changes would require the resulting machine to be slightly larger, but is anyone really worried about that? We're trading down from MASSIVE machines, it's not like it's a contest on the size of the thing.

  • Reply 106 of 172
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    melgross wrote: »
    While I'm going to buy one, I'm also going to wait for next year's model. Quite frankly, this is going to be a much more expensive solution than the older Mac Pro. I always bought the top model, but this one is made in such a way that prices are going to be much higher due to what's included.
    The price structure is sickening. The logic escapes me really, they where ready to deep six the old model due to very weak sales and then they come up with this machine that even fewer people will buy. Makes no sense at all.

    It isn't the top end models that bother me, its the fact that the entry level machine is at least $1000 too expensive to drive volume. They need volume or the bean counters will simply scrap the machine a year or two down the road.
    Dual pro cards is expensive, even with the lower price 300 series. The 700 series has a whopping price tag, and again, there are two.
    Again my issue isn't those configurations specifically, it is rather the lack of that entry level machine. It turns many people off that might have been willing to spend $3000, with a little encouragement. Effectively the high price drives people away before Apple even has a chance to make a sale.
    We can see that the base $3000 model only includes 256GB flash storage. For some users, this will be enough because of the way they configure their system. But for the rest of us, we need at least 512 for the main drive.
    Yep it is a minimal but workable allotment. I'm most interested in just what type of flash this is. Samsung is apparently shipping 3D flash now that is very fast which makes me wonder if Apple has gone bleeding edge. Even if they didn't fast flash is relatively expensive.
    I'm also surprised that the base unit doesn't include 16GB RAM, I'm also disappointed that it only goes to 64GB, which is a step back.
    Apple will only advertise 64 GB because that is what they can ship. I'm pretty confident that 128GB could go into the machine when the chips are available. Of course this will cost you. In any event you are right about the 16GB of RAM, sadly this is a sign of Apple returning to their old ways of being stingy with RAM to the point of compromising the performance of the machines for the targeted users.
    With many workstations allowing 128, or even more, this will be a limitation going forward, unless Apple allows more in a future model. But even so, with the price of this, it's going to be kept for a while. So that path isn't there.
    The path is there it is just paved with gold.
    I wonder what the next step up will be, other than 8 cores. And will it be another $1,000? So that's $5,000. Then the next, again at $1,000 with12 cores brings us to $6,000. What else do we get for that? Where does storage go in those models? How about the graphics card? Will all of that be extra? I can somehow see the top equipped model costing $8,000, or so.

    And then, of course, we need a Thunderbolt tower for the rest of our drives. I've got 5 drives in the case now. One is an SSD residing in the lower optical bay as my startup drive. For speed, we may need two ports. So at least $750 there.
    Or you could set up your old machine as a file server, which along with a new high speed scratch drive wouldn't be too bad. People often seem to be in a rush to get rid of old hardware instead of trying to leverage it in a transition to a new machine.

    And then, what about cards? So we need a card bay. That could easily cost another $1,000.

    Hey, this is beginning to look expensive!
    Or you could buy TB enabled hardware and save that $1000.

    If you look at this machine from a different perspective, many potential users would have very little in the way of additional expenses after buying the Mac Pro. The idea that everybody will need an expansion chassis is bogus, you might need one but many Mac Pro users won't. Beyond that most people will have realized over the last year or so that TB was the way forward and would have been buying hardware with that in mind.
    I predict that a lot of video, photo, and publishing people are going to go towards the very capable 27" iMac.

    Arrg. Corrected for many typos.

    Possibly but you have to fit the machine to the job and frankly the iMac just rubs too many people the wrong way. You see I really think they have a hot machine here that will sell well to people who need and can leverage that hardware. The problem is there aren't enough of those people around to justify the the line. That is why I was really hoping for a variant that comes in at less than $2000, it would assure the volume to justify the product line.

    Honestly I think Apple needs a wake up call here. The best thing people could do is to resist buying the machine with the intent of making Apple address the pricing issue. No sales ought to make a few people at Apple think a bit about what they have done here.
  • Reply 107 of 172
    I like the way you think!

    In re the fusion drive -- It's just staging files (percolate up and trickle down) between an SSD and an HDD. Who says that both need to be in the same enclosure? In fact, with Thunderbolt 2 you could have multiple levels of staging:
    • Mac Pro Internal SSD
    • Thunderbolt external SSD
    • Thunderbolt external HDD/RAID
    • NAS or Cloud


    Hmm... I wonder... I have been running Mavericks since WWDC. It was very solid from the beginning and I had very few problems through DP 6. But starting with the GM and then the release, I am having problems with my Thunderbolt Pegasus RAIDS and I/O in general. One of the RAIDS will disappear, then take forever to comeback online, and the Finder or other Apple app will beach ball requiring a force quit or reboot???

    I wonder if Apple is screwing with the drivers in anticipation of the Mac Pro. Specifically to implement a fusion drive using an external HDD.

    What speed gain would a Fusion drive have as an external drive? Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they really only of befit to a boot volume (as a stop gap until SSD pricing falls), and even then a full SSD would bow them away (other than in cost). As a storage drive for large contiguous files they'd be useless surely?

    I wasn't clear!

    The secret of the fusion drive is that your high-use apps (and maybe some data) reside on the fast SSD. Low-use apps/data reside on the slower HDD. As your use patterns change, the fusion software migrates the apps/data (in the background) based on current (anticipated) use.

    So, if you have a fast I/O bus, like Thunderbolt, you could have the HDD portion of the fusion drive on an external HDD with little loss of performance.

    I have a 2011 27" iMac (Loaded) with a 250 GB SSD. I haven't done any real tests, but the Thunderbolt Pegasus RAIDS seem faster than the internal SSD. So much so that I decided not to create my own fusion drive on the iMac.


    Im not sure, but I suspect that the Thunderbolt 2 bus is a big enough pipe that external SSDs would be practical and would offer similar performance to the internal SSD.
  • Reply 108 of 172
    I watched the Apple video of the Mac Pro fab process and wondered what exactly was going on. Luckily I found a blog narrative at:

    http://atomicdelights.com/blog/how-apple-makes-the-mac-pro

    It's nice to see a description that is neither ignorant "it's made by aliens!!" or biased "just a trash can", but well informed (and rational) sounding. I have no special knowledge in this area, but the descriptions this person gives sound reasonable to me.
  • Reply 109 of 172
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post

     

     

    Then optionally don't put display on one of the sets of Tbolt outputs.




    It's not allowed to have Thunderbolt outputs without display output. intel tightly controls Thunderbolt, all designs have to be approved by intel, or they won't sell you parts. This is why you don't see Thunderbolt PCIe cards for Windows machines. Here's the application form for Thunderbolt devices (note they only approve certain categories of devices):

    Thunderbolt Developers Application

    Also note the 10,000-unit minimum, and other restrictions.

  • Reply 110 of 172
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    karmadave wrote: »
    Slick design and engineering don't make up for the fact that this machine is lacking in expansion and choice. Most workstation class machines offer more internal storage expansion, multiple graphics options, dual Xeon CPU's, and more memory. Also, conspicuously absent from Apple's latest announcements was a 4K display (several vendors have announced these). Again, I think this is a cool machine just with limited appeal...

    From the standpoint of a user you may believe that some of those features are important but in reality they result in more trouble than they are worth. The reality is such machines as the Mac Pro are a huge benefit to software developers as they have well known hardware to target. Further any bugs or driver issues are well known and have a central source of resolution in Apple. Since there are always bugs or software glitches, having a limited number of configurations can lead to higher quality apps due to a limited number of work arounds required.

    I know you want to believe that endless possibilities for user configuration is better but the MS Windows world has clearly shown that it isn't. You eventually get to the point that nothing works right as you battle driver and other compatibility issues. Beyond that Apple has chosen some really good GPU hardware here, there is no need to consider other hardware.

    In the end I think your general assessment here is wrong, Apples only real mistake is not driving volume by having an entry level machine in the $2000 range. With the high costs of these machines I could see the machine falling into neglect due to slow sales in two years time. There will be a slight rush at debut time as those waiting for the machine dive in to snap up their new machine. But after the early adopters who knows.
  • Reply 111 of 172
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    bayside wrote: »
    I watched the Apple video of the Mac Pro fab process and wondered what exactly was going on. Luckily I found a blog narrative at:

    http://atomicdelights.com/blog/how-apple-makes-the-mac-pro

    It's nice to see a description that is neither ignorant "it's made by aliens!!" or biased "just a trash can", but well informed (and rational) sounding. I have no special knowledge in this area, but the descriptions this person gives sound reasonable to me.

    Thanks, Gruber linked to that site yesterday as well. Very interesting, not to be missed, IMO.
  • Reply 112 of 172
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    woodbine wrote: »
    when this comes out I will go in my local Apple store and try to run the system at full throttle. I will be very curious to hear that fan then.

    Should be an interesting experiment. It would be nice if you could put a thermometer in the exit airflow at idle and then during full load. Also let it run long enough to see if the fan slows after the column of air gets going on its own, as I am halfway expecting.
  • Reply 113 of 172
    considering the specs and power and speed, until we know more I don't think you could build a hackintosh with the same specs for the same money, just some quick math would be about $2200+ or more to build your own as close to the hardware specs as this one and that would not be dual GPU's.

    The price seems about right for what it is, sign me up, just take my money
  • Reply 114 of 172
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    The "hands on" headline is a lie.

    A bit harsh, all you guys ragging on our on-the-scene reporter. That's his formulaic headline for "I was there." He took the pictures you're seeing.

    Maybe you could suggest a new headline formula for these reports.
  • Reply 115 of 172
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by davida View Post

     



    It's not allowed to have Thunderbolt outputs without display output. intel tightly controls Thunderbolt, all designs have to be approved by intel, or they won't sell you parts. This is why you don't see Thunderbolt PCIe cards for Windows machines. Here's the application form for Thunderbolt devices (note they only approve certain categories of devices):

    Thunderbolt Developers Application

    Also note the 10,000-unit minimum, and other restrictions.


    Interesting application.

  • Reply 116 of 172
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    Hands on area is not a "hands on". Get out.
  • Reply 117 of 172
    wizard69 wrote: »
    melgross wrote: »
    While I'm going to buy one, I'm also going to wait for next year's model. Quite frankly, this is going to be a much more expensive solution than the older Mac Pro. I always bought the top model, but this one is made in such a way that prices are going to be much higher due to what's included.
    The price structure is sickening. The logic escapes me really, they where ready to deep six the old model due to very weak sales and then they come up with this machine that even fewer people will buy. Makes no sense at all.

    It isn't the top end models that bother me, its the fact that the entry level machine is at least $1000 too expensive to drive volume. They need volume or the bean counters will simply scrap the machine a year or two down the road.
    Dual pro cards is expensive, even with the lower price 300 series. The 700 series has a whopping price tag, and again, there are two.
    Again my issue isn't those configurations specifically, it is rather the lack of that entry level machine. It turns many people off that might have been willing to spend $3000, with a little encouragement. Effectively the high price drives people away before Apple even has a chance to make a sale.
    We can see that the base $3000 model only includes 256GB flash storage. For some users, this will be enough because of the way they configure their system. But for the rest of us, we need at least 512 for the main drive.
    Yep it is a minimal but workable allotment. I'm most interested in just what type of flash this is. Samsung is apparently shipping 3D flash now that is very fast which makes me wonder if Apple has gone bleeding edge. Even if they didn't fast flash is relatively expensive.
    I'm also surprised that the base unit doesn't include 16GB RAM, I'm also disappointed that it only goes to 64GB, which is a step back.
    Apple will only advertise 64 GB because that is what they can ship. I'm pretty confident that 128GB could go into the machine when the chips are available. Of course this will cost you. In any event you are right about the 16GB of RAM, sadly this is a sign of Apple returning to their old ways of being stingy with RAM to the point of compromising the performance of the machines for the targeted users.
    With many workstations allowing 128, or even more, this will be a limitation going forward, unless Apple allows more in a future model. But even so, with the price of this, it's going to be kept for a while. So that path isn't there.
    The path is there it is just paved with gold.
    I wonder what the next step up will be, other than 8 cores. And will it be another $1,000? So that's $5,000. Then the next, again at $1,000 with12 cores brings us to $6,000. What else do we get for that? Where does storage go in those models? How about the graphics card? Will all of that be extra? I can somehow see the top equipped model costing $8,000, or so.

    And then, of course, we need a Thunderbolt tower for the rest of our drives. I've got 5 drives in the case now. One is an SSD residing in the lower optical bay as my startup drive. For speed, we may need two ports. So at least $750 there.
    Or you could set up your old machine as a file server, which along with a new high speed scratch drive wouldn't be too bad. People often seem to be in a rush to get rid of old hardware instead of trying to leverage it in a transition to a new machine.

    And then, what about cards? So we need a card bay. That could easily cost another $1,000.

    Hey, this is beginning to look expensive!
    Or you could buy TB enabled hardware and save that $1000.

    If you look at this machine from a different perspective, many potential users would have very little in the way of additional expenses after buying the Mac Pro. The idea that everybody will need an expansion chassis is bogus, you might need one but many Mac Pro users won't. Beyond that most people will have realized over the last year or so that TB was the way forward and would have been buying hardware with that in mind.
    I predict that a lot of video, photo, and publishing people are going to go towards the very capable 27" iMac.

    Arrg. Corrected for many typos.

    Possibly but you have to fit the machine to the job and frankly the iMac just rubs too many people the wrong way. You see I really think they have a hot machine here that will sell well to people who need and can leverage that hardware. The problem is there aren't enough of those people around to justify the the line. That is why I was really hoping for a variant that comes in at less than $2000, it would assure the volume to justify the product line.

    Honestly I think Apple needs a wake up call here. The best thing people could do is to resist buying the machine with the intent of making Apple address the pricing issue. No sales ought to make a few people at Apple think a bit about what they have done here.


    I suspect that the Mac Pro will be supply-constrained for 6-12 months, because of leading-edge parts (some of which don't even exist, yet) and limited production capabilities.

    When the constraint eases, Apple could offer both lower-end and higher-end models.

    I just spec'd a fully loaded iMac 27" at $3,949.00.

    I already have the Thunderbolt RAIDS and and could use my 2011 (~$3500) iMac as a Thunderbolt display (with a 23" Cinema Display) -- so all I really need is the Mac Pro.

    I can sell the iMac/Display and buy a couple of displays or just keep what I've got.


    I realize that my situation is unusual... But, I also think that the Mac Pro philosophy is the future -- expand the base system with external components.

    I do understand the desire of some existing Mac Pro users to move ahead gently (to the wallet) by reusing their existing components in a new Mac Pro... But, before long, technology advances are going to overtake those older components (if they haven't already).

    My question to these users: wouldn't you be better off selling your existing system and going with the flow? ASAP?
  • Reply 118 of 172
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post





    I wasn't clear!



    The secret of the fusion drive is that your high-use apps (and maybe some data) reside on the fast SSD. Low-use apps/data reside on the slower HDD. As your use patterns change, the fusion software migrates the apps/data (in the background) based on current (anticipated) use.



    So, if you have a fast I/O bus, like Thunderbolt, you could have the HDD portion of the fusion drive on an external HDD with little loss of performance.



    I have a 2011 27" iMac (Loaded) with a 250 GB SSD. I haven't done any real tests, but the Thunderbolt Pegasus RAIDS seem faster than the internal SSD. So much so that I decided not to create my own fusion drive on the iMac.





    Im not sure, but I suspect that the Thunderbolt 2 bus is a big enough pipe that external SSDs would be practical and would offer similar performance to the internal SSD.

    I think there will be just faster external PCI chassis to handle larger data path and more PCI cards as well as RAID.  Maybe someone like Violin Memory will release SSD arrays?  Maybe?  But Promise just announced new TB2 RAID boxes. and a new adapter to handle the faster Fibre Channel arrays that use 2 8GB FC.  TB1 could only handle the slower Fibre Channel, but TB2 can handle the faster Fibre Channel. 

  • Reply 119 of 172
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    drblank wrote: »
    What's funny about your statement is that for the longest time since personal computers came on the scene, $3,000 for a computer (without monitor/printer) was NORMAL.  The original Mac 128 was $2,495 and you think that $3,000 is steep for this?
    It isn't excessively steep for what is offered, it is excessively steep for an entry level workstation computer. The problem is the $3000 price tag will drive people away before they even rationally consider the machine.

    Frankly this is exactly the same problem the old Mac Pro had! It was way to expensive at the entry level point which had the effect of curtailing sales drastically. This machine will have exactly the same issue and two to three years from now (after the initial buying surge) Apple will be neglecting the machine and thinking about caning it.
    I think people have been spoiled by the prices of computers being so cheap.  

    Well no, it is the realization that there is inherent value in the electronics required to get some amount of work done. The problem is that there are many users out there that could benefit from the Mac Pro if it was priced to fit a budget. $2000 isn't an unachievable price point for a decent desktop computer yet Apple missed this mark by $1000. So a lot of midrange users get the bone again from Apple and we have to go through the drama of no Mac Pro sales in a couple of years due to nothing in the line up to drive volume. Apple really needs to try harder, I can only hope that the have a plan in place for the Mini or its replacement to address this.
  • Reply 120 of 172
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post



    The pros already hate this circular Mac. They prefer rectangular boxes that they can pack with all sorts of CrossFire goodies and optical drives. Apple is going to a place that no one else wants to go to. It's like trying to put a round peg into a square hole. As awesome a design as it is, I doubt the world is ready for it. You can't change professional's minds overnight. Their heads are too used to working with rectangular boxes. I'm sure the critics and pundits have already made the decision that this circular Mac Pro will be Apple's ultimate failure. It's too expensive and too radical design for anyone to understand.



    I'd love to own a high-end Mac Pro, but although I can afford one I have absolutely no need for a computer this powerful. I know the entire computing industry is laughing at Apple for creating a circular desktop computer. Wall Street is ready to downgrade Apple because they're already sure Apple will lose a ton of money on this Mac Pro as it's too expensive for consumers. It looks like this Mac Pro will further increase the doom predictions for Apple.

    Perhaps they should have pointed out that the Mac Pro is essentially a "hobby" for Apple at this point.  They could sell 2 of them and it wouldn't be disastrous.  Ok it would be embarrassing, but almost no one cares about this product line (relative to Apple's other lines of course.)

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