Apple's Mac Pro 'cheese grater' is 12 years old, and is the best Mac ever made

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 57
    profprof Posts: 74member

    This varies, user to user, and anybody telling you that a machine isn't "Pro" because it has or doesn't have any given feature is selling you self-interested snake oil.
    Say what now?!? I can definitely say that the pro in the names of Apple products hasn't been pro for about 7 years now. And I'm neither selling those or products the competition, nor am I going to switch from the Mac; I'm simply an unhappy Apple customer and pro user.
    It will make some users very happy, and others will scream bloody digital murder about it -- as they always do.
    No, not always. I've been a very happy customer between 1999 and 2012. Somewhere around 2010 Apple stopped listening to their users and genius brains and took a deep dive into corporate shit territory: They stopped working on some hugely successful (but starting to be "niche") devices and focused on less diversity and more mainstreamy ultra portable devices. A few months ago when my trusty 2011 17" MBP was up for yet another mainboard replacement I sadly had to switch to a 2017 MBP with touchbar: damn, so many gimmicks, so little pro value: the keyboard is the horror (sticky keys, keys losing paint, bad typing ergonomics, no f'ing real escape key!), they glarey screen is a sparkling nightmare, the touchbar crashes some applications frequently (looking at you, iTerm2!), the machine freezes and restarts intermittently and then the USB-C dongle chaos and the maintenance fuckup (yeah, when our older laptops have a hickup, we simply remove the harddrive, put it in a spare machine and you were back to work in no time, such a problem now takes an expensive person out for at least half a business day and you're shit out of luck if you don't have a up-to-the-minute backup and a few days of work are lost forever...) all in the name of "ultra-portability".
    electrosoft
  • Reply 22 of 57
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,212administrator
    sandor said:
    deminsd said:
    The difference between the cheese grater Mac Pro and the contemporary iMac is mainly internal vs. external expansion, not general expansion. I owned a 2009 Mac Pro and updated the RAM, drive space, boot drive, GPU, and added USB 3.0 support via a 3rd party card. However, I eventually had to move on from the Mac Pro because the old motherboard bottlenecked the GPU, and the WiFi and bluetooth standards were too old and also too problematic to try and update relative to the OS. Bottom line: the 2017 5K iMac that I bought as a replacement can expand in all the same areas as the Mac Pro, with the exception of adding a card internally for USB upgrades. Again, the main difference is whether or not the expansion is handled internally or externally, not whether it's supported at all.
    Can't upgrade the GPU in the iMac, which is one of the main reasons the old Mac Pro is still coveted today.  Drives?  Sure, external, but if you want RAID of 4 drives, not as cheap as just sliding in 4 drives.  Upgrade CPU(s) like in the Mac Pro?  Nope.  With the iMac, everything is external.  So while it's possible, it's not the same as the Mac Pro.
    The process to replace the processor in the iMac Pro is no less or more of a pain in the ass than the Mac Pro cheese grater.

    To be very, very clear. Apple has never endorsed CPU replacements, even if they were possible.

    Mike, that comment makes it seem like you have never removed the CPU tray from a cheese grater. Apple literally has instructions on how to do it.
    Incomparably easier than an iMac:

    (yes, Apple has never endorsed them, yes, they are completely possible. http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems.html )



    This isn't a CPU replacement. This is a tray replacement. The heat sink removal procedure with the long-handled Torx, the un-lidded processors on the 4,1, and the temperature sensor cable is a pain.

    Yeah, I know they're possible. The point of the remark was that not everything can get a processor swap. Many iMacs can't, for instance.

    Regarding the procedure, I stopped counting at 10 Mac Pro processor pair swaps and had a whole series about upgrading the 3,1 through 5,1 at another venue. And, I've done it three times on an iMac Pro, so I'm pretty sure I'm qualified to comment.
    edited August 7
  • Reply 23 of 57
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,606member
    I did so enjoy working with the Mac Pros. Had a facility full of them and full of happy people using them.
    I hope the new machine has the same overall balance of functionality and performance.


    SorliGG1asciidewmewilliamlondon
  • Reply 24 of 57
    sandor said: Mike, that comment makes it seem like you have never removed the CPU tray from a cheese grater. Apple literally has instructions on how to do it.
    Incomparably easier than an iMac:
    Removing the CPU tray isn't the same thing as actually replacing the CPU. Those diagrams are from Apple's instructions about memory upgrades. 
  • Reply 25 of 57
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 416member
    this headline was definitely written to provoke a lively argument in the forums. Like, obviously subjective, but if I were to rank "all time best Macs" this wouldn't even crack my top 5… 
    randominternetpersonwilliamlondon
  • Reply 26 of 57
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,674member
    Yeah, changing the CPUs on an old Mac Pro a bitch. I think I got as many skinned knuckles doing that project as I did working on my old Volkswagen. 
    edited August 7 cornchip
  • Reply 27 of 57
    SorliSorli Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Wow...can't believe it has been this long and I'm still using my Mac Pro 1.1 upgraded many times over the last 10 years.   Love my Mac and still love the fact that it cranks with 32GB of RAM (now very cheap and allowed me to finish engineering number crunching) and purrs like a kitten doing what I need to accomplish.  Would I buy another Mac Pro, guess that depends on Apple and I wasn't impressed with their last couple offerings.  Either way, Apple keep innovating and making improvements!  Sorli...

  • Reply 28 of 57
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,846member
    deminsd said:
    The difference between the cheese grater Mac Pro and the contemporary iMac is mainly internal vs. external expansion, not general expansion. I owned a 2009 Mac Pro and updated the RAM, drive space, boot drive, GPU, and added USB 3.0 support via a 3rd party card. However, I eventually had to move on from the Mac Pro because the old motherboard bottlenecked the GPU, and the WiFi and bluetooth standards were too old and also too problematic to try and update relative to the OS. Bottom line: the 2017 5K iMac that I bought as a replacement can expand in all the same areas as the Mac Pro, with the exception of adding a card internally for USB upgrades. Again, the main difference is whether or not the expansion is handled internally or externally, not whether it's supported at all.
    Can't upgrade the GPU in the iMac, which is one of the main reasons the old Mac Pro is still coveted today.  Drives?  Sure, external, but if you want RAID of 4 drives, not as cheap as just sliding in 4 drives.  Upgrade CPU(s) like in the Mac Pro?  Nope.  With the iMac, everything is external.  So while it's possible, it's not the same as the Mac Pro.
    The process to replace the processor in the iMac Pro is no less or more of a pain in the ass than the Mac Pro cheese grater.

    To be very, very clear. Apple has never endorsed CPU replacements, even if they were possible.
    They never officially endorsed them except for the processor slot in the 68000 machines. When the ppc first came out, they sold a ppc card, which I bought. That went into the processor slot in most of Apple’s machines at the time, and gave us a dual boot machine.

    later machines had the CPU, and associated circuitry on a processor card that could be easily replaced. I, and a lot of other folks would do just that. By building machines like that, they unofficially, officially endorsed it, as they knew very well that the numerous companies making replacement processor cards were doing good business. That went on for years, until the Power PC G5 came out. Then they abandoned that concept entirely. It’s too bad. It’s not terribly hard to replace the CPUs in all the Mac Pros up to the 2013 model, except for the first one, which had special chips from Intel without the covers, which sat directly under the heat sink. I remember when Anand tried it. He didn’t realize that tightening the heat sinks all the way would damage those chips! Some thin shims under the posts would solve the problem. After that first model, all the rest used standard packaging.
    edited August 7 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 29 of 57
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,846member
    sandor said:
    deminsd said:
    The difference between the cheese grater Mac Pro and the contemporary iMac is mainly internal vs. external expansion, not general expansion. I owned a 2009 Mac Pro and updated the RAM, drive space, boot drive, GPU, and added USB 3.0 support via a 3rd party card. However, I eventually had to move on from the Mac Pro because the old motherboard bottlenecked the GPU, and the WiFi and bluetooth standards were too old and also too problematic to try and update relative to the OS. Bottom line: the 2017 5K iMac that I bought as a replacement can expand in all the same areas as the Mac Pro, with the exception of adding a card internally for USB upgrades. Again, the main difference is whether or not the expansion is handled internally or externally, not whether it's supported at all.
    Can't upgrade the GPU in the iMac, which is one of the main reasons the old Mac Pro is still coveted today.  Drives?  Sure, external, but if you want RAID of 4 drives, not as cheap as just sliding in 4 drives.  Upgrade CPU(s) like in the Mac Pro?  Nope.  With the iMac, everything is external.  So while it's possible, it's not the same as the Mac Pro.
    The process to replace the processor in the iMac Pro is no less or more of a pain in the ass than the Mac Pro cheese grater.

    To be very, very clear. Apple has never endorsed CPU replacements, even if they were possible.

    Mike, that comment makes it seem like you have never removed the CPU tray from a cheese grater. Apple literally has instructions on how to do it.
    Incomparably easier than an iMac:

    (yes, Apple has never endorsed them, yes, they are completely possible. http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems.html )



    This isn't a CPU replacement. This is a tray replacement. The heat sink removal procedure with the long-handled Torx, the un-lidded processors on the 4,1, and the temperature sensor cable is a pain.

    Yeah, I know they're possible. The point of the remark was that not everything can get a processor swap. Many iMacs can't, for instance.

    Regarding the procedure, I stopped counting at 10 Mac Pro processor pair swaps and had a whole series about upgrading the 3,1 through 5,1 at another venue. And, I've done it three times on an iMac Pro, so I'm pretty sure I'm qualified to comment.
    Basically true Mike. But the easy method to remove that tray makes it pretty easy to replace the CPUs. I’ve done it for several people. You can also replace the CPU in most Windows machines, as long as it’s the same socket. Not much difference in difficulty.
    edited August 7
  • Reply 30 of 57
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,212administrator
    melgross said:
    deminsd said:
    The difference between the cheese grater Mac Pro and the contemporary iMac is mainly internal vs. external expansion, not general expansion. I owned a 2009 Mac Pro and updated the RAM, drive space, boot drive, GPU, and added USB 3.0 support via a 3rd party card. However, I eventually had to move on from the Mac Pro because the old motherboard bottlenecked the GPU, and the WiFi and bluetooth standards were too old and also too problematic to try and update relative to the OS. Bottom line: the 2017 5K iMac that I bought as a replacement can expand in all the same areas as the Mac Pro, with the exception of adding a card internally for USB upgrades. Again, the main difference is whether or not the expansion is handled internally or externally, not whether it's supported at all.
    Can't upgrade the GPU in the iMac, which is one of the main reasons the old Mac Pro is still coveted today.  Drives?  Sure, external, but if you want RAID of 4 drives, not as cheap as just sliding in 4 drives.  Upgrade CPU(s) like in the Mac Pro?  Nope.  With the iMac, everything is external.  So while it's possible, it's not the same as the Mac Pro.
    The process to replace the processor in the iMac Pro is no less or more of a pain in the ass than the Mac Pro cheese grater.

    To be very, very clear. Apple has never endorsed CPU replacements, even if they were possible.
    They never officially endorsed them except for the processor slot in the 68000 machines. When the ppc first came out, they sold a ppc card, which I bought. That went into the processor slot in most of Apple’s machines at the time, and gave us a dual boot machine.

    later machines had the CPU, and associated circuitry on a processor card that could be easily replaced. I, and a lot of other folks would do just that. By building machines like that, they unofficially, officially endorsed it, as they knew very well that the numerous companies making replacement processor cards were doing good business. That went on for years, until the Power PC G5 came out. Then they abandoned that concept entirely. It’s too bad. It’s not terribly hard to replace the CPUs in all the Mac Pros up to the 2013 model, except for the first one, which had special chips from Intel without the covers, which sat directly under the heat sink. I remember when Anand tried it. He didn’t realize that tightening the heat sinks all the way would damage those chips! Some thin shims under the posts would solve the problem. After that first model, all the rest used standard packaging.
    I had forgotten about the PPC card! Nice call.

    But, regarding G3 and G4 upgrade cards, you may be forgetting the tit-for-tat with firmware updates. What a mess.
    edited August 7
  • Reply 31 of 57
    flydogflydog Posts: 91member
    ascii said:
    The definition of a "pro" computer is simply one that has the latest technology. And new technology is always big and hot and noisy before it is small and cool and quiet. So a pro chassis is necessarily large with lots of cooling.
    Source for this definition?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 32 of 57
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    securelpb said:
    Dell doesn't take 2 years to design a new workstation.
    “Yeah, they take two seconds.”
    OR
    “They actually design those things?”
    OR
    “Could’ve fooled me.”
    cornchip
  • Reply 33 of 57
    tipootipoo Posts: 934member
    I'm just hoping Apple doesn't hurt themselves by getting too creative again. A smaller (close to micro-ATX) cheesegrater that had easily upgradable components would be more than fine by me. It would be a bad look for taking so long if it was that derivative, but it would be functionally what most of us want. 


    (I also hope for more min-maxability than the iMac Pro - I need lots of CPU, but not much GPU). 
  • Reply 34 of 57
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,136member
    CPU removals are a complete waste of time, whether on a general PC clone, a Mac/iMac or what have you. Depending on the paste and the heat sink/liquid cooler. More focus should always been on maximizing the memory with the lowest latency, the fastest read/write I/O and now with high end SSDs it's obvious that area is being sewn up as well.

    The rest of performance gains to be had are inside the OS, and once that's peaked to replace the entire system.
  • Reply 35 of 57
    tshorttshort Posts: 42member
    tshort said:
    The PowerMac I bought in 2004 was a "Cheese Grater" design. The base chassis appearance is the same as the Mac Pro. The title seems a bit misleading, but is accurate.
    ... I don't think I understand? The Mac Pro "cheese grater" is 12 years old. We acknowledge the Power Mac G5 before it, but the piece is not about that machine.
    The 4 main words: "Mac Pro cheese grater". I initially misread; so maybe it's easy to misread rather than misleading. Because I focused on "Mac cheese grater", it conflicted with what I thought was an incorrect statement about 12 years, is all...
  • Reply 36 of 57
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,212administrator
    tshort said:
    tshort said:
    The PowerMac I bought in 2004 was a "Cheese Grater" design. The base chassis appearance is the same as the Mac Pro. The title seems a bit misleading, but is accurate.
    ... I don't think I understand? The Mac Pro "cheese grater" is 12 years old. We acknowledge the Power Mac G5 before it, but the piece is not about that machine.
    The 4 main words: "Mac Pro cheese grater". I initially misread; so maybe it's easy to misread rather than misleading. Because I focused on "Mac cheese grater", it conflicted with what I thought was an incorrect statement about 12 years, is all...
    Ah! That makes sense. 
  • Reply 37 of 57
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 58member
    I cannot imagine who at Apple who actually needs and uses a workstation grade machine (Pro is just a marketing term) that would think anything with a spaghetti bowl full of cables and wall warts would be better than a tower with everything inside- especially if it was easily accessible and hot swappable.

    To be honest, I just do not care about how thin the edge of the next MacBook (Pro or not), iMac or iPhone is. I do not care about the bezel. I do not care about the color for the most part.

    I do care about the ability to repair, upgrade, maintain and modify my workstation. I care about connectivity and do not see a lack of ports as a feature to be promoted. I care about how quiet the unit is and how reliable it is.

    With my Mac Pro Workstation when USB 3 came out I was able to buy an inexpensive card that was a quick plug in and go to add USB 3. It is nice to be able to have 5 internal HDs in the 4 regular and the lower optical bay. It is nice to be able to add BluRay HW and a couple of minutes. It is nice to have it all running from one power supply instead of all that crap needed to hook up the trashcan.

    The slide out CPU/Heatsink unit allows for quick, affordable and painless CPU upgrades. The fact that the side opens easily and that unit came out means I can regularly blow out the heat sink with canned air and keep it as cool as a cucumber in the crisper drawer.

    A slightly smaller form factor version of the Mac Pro Workstation would be the best possible outcome and I would buy one as soon as they went on sale. I am not paying $5 Grand for a sealed up all in one that is essentially a throwaway (iMac Pro) and am not going to fry a laptop to do desktop lifting.
    dewmewilliamlondon
  • Reply 38 of 57
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,212administrator
    davgreg said:
    I cannot imagine who at Apple who actually needs and uses a workstation grade machine (Pro is just a marketing term) that would think anything with a spaghetti bowl full of cables and wall warts would be better than a tower with everything inside- especially if it was easily accessible and hot swappable.

    To be honest, I just do not care about how thin the edge of the next MacBook (Pro or not), iMac or iPhone is. I do not care about the bezel. I do not care about the color for the most part.

    I do care about the ability to repair, upgrade, maintain and modify my workstation. I care about connectivity and do not see a lack of ports as a feature to be promoted. I care about how quiet the unit is and how reliable it is.

    With my Mac Pro Workstation when USB 3 came out I was able to buy an inexpensive card that was a quick plug in and go to add USB 3. It is nice to be able to have 5 internal HDs in the 4 regular and the lower optical bay. It is nice to be able to add BluRay HW and a couple of minutes. It is nice to have it all running from one power supply instead of all that crap needed to hook up the trashcan.

    The slide out CPU/Heatsink unit allows for quick, affordable and painless CPU upgrades. The fact that the side opens easily and that unit came out means I can regularly blow out the heat sink with canned air and keep it as cool as a cucumber in the crisper drawer.

    A slightly smaller form factor version of the Mac Pro Workstation would be the best possible outcome and I would buy one as soon as they went on sale. I am not paying $5 Grand for a sealed up all in one that is essentially a throwaway (iMac Pro) and am not going to fry a laptop to do desktop lifting.
    I'm with you on most of this, but I'm also reasonably sure you're going to be disappointed, regarding the bold section.
  • Reply 39 of 57
    jimdreamworxjimdreamworx Posts: 1,063member
    As a pro, I need the ability to install NVIDIA cards in order to play better video games in Boot Camp!

    You'd be surprised at how much I hear this (as someone who supports an environment with multiple Macs.)

  • Reply 40 of 57
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,846member
    melgross said:
    deminsd said:
    The difference between the cheese grater Mac Pro and the contemporary iMac is mainly internal vs. external expansion, not general expansion. I owned a 2009 Mac Pro and updated the RAM, drive space, boot drive, GPU, and added USB 3.0 support via a 3rd party card. However, I eventually had to move on from the Mac Pro because the old motherboard bottlenecked the GPU, and the WiFi and bluetooth standards were too old and also too problematic to try and update relative to the OS. Bottom line: the 2017 5K iMac that I bought as a replacement can expand in all the same areas as the Mac Pro, with the exception of adding a card internally for USB upgrades. Again, the main difference is whether or not the expansion is handled internally or externally, not whether it's supported at all.
    Can't upgrade the GPU in the iMac, which is one of the main reasons the old Mac Pro is still coveted today.  Drives?  Sure, external, but if you want RAID of 4 drives, not as cheap as just sliding in 4 drives.  Upgrade CPU(s) like in the Mac Pro?  Nope.  With the iMac, everything is external.  So while it's possible, it's not the same as the Mac Pro.
    The process to replace the processor in the iMac Pro is no less or more of a pain in the ass than the Mac Pro cheese grater.

    To be very, very clear. Apple has never endorsed CPU replacements, even if they were possible.
    They never officially endorsed them except for the processor slot in the 68000 machines. When the ppc first came out, they sold a ppc card, which I bought. That went into the processor slot in most of Apple’s machines at the time, and gave us a dual boot machine.

    later machines had the CPU, and associated circuitry on a processor card that could be easily replaced. I, and a lot of other folks would do just that. By building machines like that, they unofficially, officially endorsed it, as they knew very well that the numerous companies making replacement processor cards were doing good business. That went on for years, until the Power PC G5 came out. Then they abandoned that concept entirely. It’s too bad. It’s not terribly hard to replace the CPUs in all the Mac Pros up to the 2013 model, except for the first one, which had special chips from Intel without the covers, which sat directly under the heat sink. I remember when Anand tried it. He didn’t realize that tightening the heat sinks all the way would damage those chips! Some thin shims under the posts would solve the problem. After that first model, all the rest used standard packaging.
    I had forgotten about the PPC card! Nice call.

    But, regarding G3 and G4 upgrade cards, you may be forgetting the tit-for-tat with firmware updates. What a mess.
    Sometimes firmware upgrades were required. If you only went to faster chips, then no, but if you went to a later chip design, then yes. You had to find the the firmware. Before downloads that could be a pain. It was actually worse for Windows. With Apple’s plugin boards, a whole bunch of circuitry came with it, making it easy to get a much faster, and later generational part. But with Windows, and DOS machines before it, only the CPU itself came out. So you could only upgrade to a faster version of the same chip, with the same socket.

    in fact, specifically because of the known ease of upgrading Macs, a new standard for PCs came out which essentially did the same thing. But, because it cost more, it failed to catch on, and never went anywhere.
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