Inside Apple's fantastically fast new Mac Pro

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 84
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 609member
    It's worth noting the "custom SSD" is the same module from the iMac Pro. It's not really an SSD, just a raw flash interface with no controller. The T2 lives on the logic board. Processor to T2 is PCIe x4, T2 to the flash chips is this specialized connector.

    In theory, this would make aftermarket SSDs easier to manufacture, because you don't need to source a controller. You just need to wire the board properly and have a bunch of raw flash chips. In practice, I doubt we will see aftermarket SSDs. Nobody else is using this type of system, so there's no reason for other companies to make bulk storage for it.

    I wonder how the T2 will deal with capacity changes. I assume it will just wipe both flash carts.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 42 of 84
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,195member
    wozwoz said:
    I'd like to see the 2013 Mac Pro (cylinder) updated with Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, faster RAM, faster graphics cards ... not difficult to do - and in an amazingly compact and quiet form factor. It would be the Prosumer model. I just don't buy the line in the article that "While the design of previous 2013 Mac Pro wasn't physically large enough to accommodate the heat dissipation of increasingly hotter chips" ... have you seen how much bigger the cylinder is than a Pro notebook? Or compared to an iMac Pro? And how much better it is at dissipating heat?   Apple has just been lazy in not updating the Pro cylinder.
    You seem to have a misunderstanding. As detailed in the TechCrunch transcript of the media interviews, Apple explained clearly the trash can couldn't work, they backed themselves "into a thermal corner". They bet on parallel processing and it didn't pan out. 

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/06/transcript-phil-schiller-craig-federighi-and-john-ternus-on-the-state-of-apples-pro-macs/

    They aren't putting new chips in it now because they've replaced the model.
    philboogie
  • Reply 43 of 84
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,195member

    wozwoz said:
    Rajka said:
    I've nothing against Apple targeting the pro market, even though its current hardware offerings are anything but pro, but I really wanted a prosumer desktop Mac to replace my cheese grater.
    Why wouldn't you buy a 5K iMac or iMac Pro? You're not going to have any prosumer software that won't run significantly better on those machines than a 2012 or earlier cheese grater. I bought the low-end standard 5K iMac and it blows away my old 2009 8-core Xeon Mac Pro. 
    Because they have a built-in monitor. The Mac Mini is too small and not powerful enough. The form factor of the Pro cylinder is perfect for the prosumer market - it just needs updating.
    They do have a built-in monitor, and the iMac 5K is one of the best. At the price point for a prosumer computer + 5K display, it's a ridiculous good deal. I just got one -- what do I care if it has its own monitor? I'll use the thing for a bunch of years and then replace it, just like I would have with a stand-alone monitor anyway. 
    caladanianbaconstang
  • Reply 44 of 84
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,258member
    zimmie said:
    It's worth noting the "custom SSD" is the same module from the iMac Pro. It's not really an SSD, just a raw flash interface with no controller. The T2 lives on the logic board. Processor to T2 is PCIe x4, T2 to the flash chips is this specialized connector.

    In theory, this would make aftermarket SSDs easier to manufacture, because you don't need to source a controller. You just need to wire the board properly and have a bunch of raw flash chips. In practice, I doubt we will see aftermarket SSDs. Nobody else is using this type of system, so there's no reason for other companies to make bulk storage for it.

    I wonder how the T2 will deal with capacity changes. I assume it will just wipe both flash carts.
    Nah, right now the SSD is locked by the T2, having slots doesn't make any difference.

    Unless Apple does unlock the firmware, but even so you may not be able to swap the controller.
  • Reply 45 of 84
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 609member
    DuhSesame said:
    zimmie said:
    It's worth noting the "custom SSD" is the same module from the iMac Pro. It's not really an SSD, just a raw flash interface with no controller. The T2 lives on the logic board. Processor to T2 is PCIe x4, T2 to the flash chips is this specialized connector.

    In theory, this would make aftermarket SSDs easier to manufacture, because you don't need to source a controller. You just need to wire the board properly and have a bunch of raw flash chips. In practice, I doubt we will see aftermarket SSDs. Nobody else is using this type of system, so there's no reason for other companies to make bulk storage for it.

    I wonder how the T2 will deal with capacity changes. I assume it will just wipe both flash carts.
    Nah, right now the SSD is locked by the T2, having slots doesn't make any difference.

    Unless Apple does unlock the firmware, but even so you may not be able to swap the controller.
    Except the flash carts aren't soldered in place, so they are clearly replaceable. So the question is how the system handles the replacements. As Apple has full control over the controller, they could create a system to rearrange how the actual flash data is used.

    Most of the hard work is already done. I've dealt with servers which support hot-swap RAM and hot-add RAM. You tell the OS you want to remove a particular RAM book. It evacuates the contents of that book, then tells you it is safe to pull. You pull the book, replace a bad stick (or increase the capacity, either by filling empty slots or replacing existing sticks), reinsert the book, tell the OS it's okay to use again, and the OS starts sending data back to it.

    Fundamentally, flash storage isn't any different. Tell the drive controller to evacuate certain chips, notify the user when it's done, and there you go.

    This wouldn't have come up with the iMac Pro, since even though it has two flash carts, it's not meant to be disassembled by the user, so they don't have to deal with flash cart swaps.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 46 of 84
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,013member
    xixo said:
    Shame it has to run Catalina
    Why? Catalina is running beautifully on my iMac. What issues are you running into that are affecting your uptime?
    No need to ask. It’s just a turd being dropped on the floor to see if anybody comes over and sniffs it.
    tenthousandthingsPickUrPoison
  • Reply 47 of 84
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,258member
    zimmie said:
    DuhSesame said:
    zimmie said:
    It's worth noting the "custom SSD" is the same module from the iMac Pro. It's not really an SSD, just a raw flash interface with no controller. The T2 lives on the logic board. Processor to T2 is PCIe x4, T2 to the flash chips is this specialized connector.

    In theory, this would make aftermarket SSDs easier to manufacture, because you don't need to source a controller. You just need to wire the board properly and have a bunch of raw flash chips. In practice, I doubt we will see aftermarket SSDs. Nobody else is using this type of system, so there's no reason for other companies to make bulk storage for it.

    I wonder how the T2 will deal with capacity changes. I assume it will just wipe both flash carts.
    Nah, right now the SSD is locked by the T2, having slots doesn't make any difference.

    Unless Apple does unlock the firmware, but even so you may not be able to swap the controller.
    Except the flash carts aren't soldered in place, so they are clearly replaceable. So the question is how the system handles the replacements. As Apple has full control over the controller, they could create a system to rearrange how the actual flash data is used.

    Most of the hard work is already done. I've dealt with servers which support hot-swap RAM and hot-add RAM. You tell the OS you want to remove a particular RAM book. It evacuates the contents of that book, then tells you it is safe to pull. You pull the book, replace a bad stick (or increase the capacity, either by filling empty slots or replacing existing sticks), reinsert the book, tell the OS it's okay to use again, and the OS starts sending data back to it.

    Fundamentally, flash storage isn't any different. Tell the drive controller to evacuate certain chips, notify the user when it's done, and there you go.

    This wouldn't have come up with the iMac Pro, since even though it has two flash carts, it's not meant to be disassembled by the user, so they don't have to deal with flash cart swaps.
    Um, you "paused" the OS, then swap an SSD with different files.....

    I think it will cause system-wide destruction.


    That said, being physically possible (well, you can also desolder the NAND too) doesn't mean you CAN do it, certainly not the iMac Pro.  I hope they do, but so far they don't.
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 48 of 84
    thttht Posts: 4,492member
    DuhSesame said:
    tht said:
    DuhSesame said:
    tht said:
    Wonder if Apple will make an MPX module with 2 CPU sockets in it. It looks big enough to have 2 CPU sockets, and maybe 4 DIMM slots per socket. It would just run as an independent computer in the MPX slot like a blade. With 2 of those, you could put 150 CPU cores in the box. A desktop cluster for numerical simulation folks. They also should sell 8, 12, 20 TB PCIe SSD cards.
    I'm afraid that will be too huge for the current case.  28-core is more than enough for now and it's just easy to build a processor with more cores (aka Ryzen), most importantly, Xeon Scalable is much more expensive than predecessors, which is a bit unnecessary for a workstation.
    There always a desire for more CPU performance with numerical simulations, and there is a niche of folks who will pay for the most performance possible in the smallest footprint possible. Apple just doesn’t serve this niche as much as the media creation niche which is more than willing to pay for 4 GPUs in the box sucking up 1000 W of power.

    And if they really are going to make a rack version of this, where they have to put the handles in the front plate (the grill with the fancy hemispherical bores), seems like those MPX modules should offer more than just GPUs. Lots of custom ASICs for sure, but the MPX module could be a high core count Mac for Mac hosting or whatever server application. Have to do some more math to see if it the power/perf density is better than a rack of Mac mini’s. Don’t think you can put 25 Mac mini’s in the same footprint as a Mac Pro, but it’s going to be close.

    The DIMM slots are about 5.5” long. A full length PCIe card is 12.5”, so there is room for 2 to be in line. The big question is if you could layout a CPU and 2 DIMM slots on the sides with only about 5” of board space or so. More than enough power to support a 2 socket computer in the MPX module.
    There are even 4 CPU workstations, I'm sure you can scale that until you could build a supercomputer.  From what I know those MPX slots were built upon 8 lanes of PCIe with 500W power connections.  Nothing really fancy there, especially that Xeon W can't be scaled with more processors.

     I'm sure the board is big enough to have two processors, but like what you've said, 28-core is enough for now.
    To be clear on the MPX “slot”, or the slots that the GPU MPX module will use. There are two inline slots. One is the standard x16 slot with 75 W of power in the standard position and therefore should be compatible with standard PCIe cards. Inline with it looks like an x16 slot, but with x8 PCIe lanes, and an extra large power connector for the 475 W. I don’t know how these 24 total lanes of PCIe work together. It’s a quad-wide “card”, really just a box covering the heat sink and board, and will cover up a PCIe x16 slot, making in unusable. So, there’s maybe a switch enabling all 24 of those to be used when a MPX module is installed, and disabling the lanes going to the covered up PCIe slot.

    Also curious is that the dual GPU MPX cards have two (or 1 depending on your POV) connectors on top of the card. No idea what this does. No single GPU cards have been should as far as I have seen. Curious if it will have the same industrial design.
  • Reply 49 of 84
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,258member
    tht said:
    DuhSesame said:
    tht said:
    DuhSesame said:
    tht said:
    Wonder if Apple will make an MPX module with 2 CPU sockets in it. It looks big enough to have 2 CPU sockets, and maybe 4 DIMM slots per socket. It would just run as an independent computer in the MPX slot like a blade. With 2 of those, you could put 150 CPU cores in the box. A desktop cluster for numerical simulation folks. They also should sell 8, 12, 20 TB PCIe SSD cards.
    I'm afraid that will be too huge for the current case.  28-core is more than enough for now and it's just easy to build a processor with more cores (aka Ryzen), most importantly, Xeon Scalable is much more expensive than predecessors, which is a bit unnecessary for a workstation.
    There always a desire for more CPU performance with numerical simulations, and there is a niche of folks who will pay for the most performance possible in the smallest footprint possible. Apple just doesn’t serve this niche as much as the media creation niche which is more than willing to pay for 4 GPUs in the box sucking up 1000 W of power.

    And if they really are going to make a rack version of this, where they have to put the handles in the front plate (the grill with the fancy hemispherical bores), seems like those MPX modules should offer more than just GPUs. Lots of custom ASICs for sure, but the MPX module could be a high core count Mac for Mac hosting or whatever server application. Have to do some more math to see if it the power/perf density is better than a rack of Mac mini’s. Don’t think you can put 25 Mac mini’s in the same footprint as a Mac Pro, but it’s going to be close.

    The DIMM slots are about 5.5” long. A full length PCIe card is 12.5”, so there is room for 2 to be in line. The big question is if you could layout a CPU and 2 DIMM slots on the sides with only about 5” of board space or so. More than enough power to support a 2 socket computer in the MPX module.
    There are even 4 CPU workstations, I'm sure you can scale that until you could build a supercomputer.  From what I know those MPX slots were built upon 8 lanes of PCIe with 500W power connections.  Nothing really fancy there, especially that Xeon W can't be scaled with more processors.

     I'm sure the board is big enough to have two processors, but like what you've said, 28-core is enough for now.
    To be clear on the MPX “slot”, or the slots that the GPU MPX module will use. There are two inline slots. One is the standard x16 slot with 75 W of power in the standard position and therefore should be compatible with standard PCIe cards. Inline with it looks like an x16 slot, but with x8 PCIe lanes, and an extra large power connector for the 475 W. I don’t know how these 24 total lanes of PCIe work together. It’s a quad-wide “card”, really just a box covering the heat sink and board, and will cover up a PCIe x16 slot, making in unusable. So, there’s maybe a switch enabling all 24 of those to be used when a MPX module is installed, and disabling the lanes going to the covered up PCIe slot.

    Also curious is that the dual GPU MPX cards have two (or 1 depending on your POV) connectors on top of the card. No idea what this does. No single GPU cards have been should as far as I have seen. Curious if it will have the same industrial design.
    Yes, 475W, my bad, those 8 lanes were only meant for Thunderbolt I suppose.  PCIe isn't designed for CPU expansion in mind, but you could put smaller PCs inside a large PC.

    An actual CPU card today would look like this, it's also another single-board computer.
  • Reply 50 of 84
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,988member
    karmadave said:
    The new Mac Pro will largely appeal to Audio and Video professionals who's company foots the bill. A) it's not a Consumer machine and B) it's under-featured and overpriced compared to PC Workstations from Dell, HP, and Lenovo...
    A perfect example of someone trying to pass off their opinion as fact.

    Nonsense like your statement has been debunked for just about every system.  Put together an exact parts list side-by-side, no "substitutions", no "dis rokz" part nonsense, and then you'll be in a position to school us.

    This is the problem with threads.  Trolls like you talk much but speak little and drown out legitimate, educational discussion. 
    macplusplusPickUrPoison
  • Reply 51 of 84
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,988member
    xixo said:
    Shame it has to run Catalina
    Shame the mods don't boot you off.
    MacProPickUrPoison
  • Reply 52 of 84
    dougddougd Posts: 292member
    I'm still pretty happy with my 2013 Trash Can.  Might upgrade the SSD to 2 TB MacSales keeps lowering
    the prices. 32 GB ram is enough for me,  I mainly use it for Capture One raw processing and Photoshop which it handles just fine. Been running 24/7 since new in 2013 with zero hiccups
    philboogiehodar
  • Reply 53 of 84
    DuhSesame said:
    I think we'll get an even better picture of what Apple is doing when the new 15/16" MacBook Pro comes out. Supposedly it's by the same team that designed this Mac Pro, and it will be able to drive the XDR display at full specs. So you'll have a Mac Pro, the iMac Pro, and at least one high-end Pro laptop. Not sure where that leaves the 13" MacBook Pro. We'll just have to see.

    Also, will the price of the iMac Pro refresh drop since the Xeon-W chips for it are now priced at half what they were?
    I doubt anyone wants their laptop to replace a 28-core workstation, you can't make a distinct line between a "Pro" and "Consumer".
    No, but people will want a “Pro” laptop to be able to drive the Pro Display XDR. Nobody’s saying it would replace a Mac Pro — but there are plenty of use cases where that display can be matched with a laptop, with no need for Xeon-W power. That includes my own.
    PickUrPoisonbaconstang
  • Reply 54 of 84
    BigDann said:
    This reminds me of the Three Bears story! The Mac mini is too cold, the new MacPro is too hot! The 2013 is the not quite good enough!

    Apple swung hard to the Animators & videographers with this design. Which is good!

    But us photographers got short changed! Now if Apple where to take this design and make a desktop version dropping a few of the slots. Basically, the 2013 on steroids! I would buy one to replace my aging 2013 Trash Can!
    You’re not the only one who wants a “less pro” Mac Pro, but there’s aren’t enough of you. Sure, Apple could make a cut-down version with fewer PCIe and DIMM slots, a smaller power supply and case, etc. But given the demand (relatively low) and buyer demographic (much less likely to order higher-end BTO configs), it would be priced somewhere around $9,999. 
  • Reply 55 of 84
    BigDann said:
    This reminds me of the Three Bears story! The Mac mini is too cold, the new MacPro is too hot! The 2013 is the not quite good enough!

    Apple swung hard to the Animators & videographers with this design. Which is good!

    But us photographers got short changed! Now if Apple where to take this design and make a desktop version dropping a few of the slots. Basically, the 2013 on steroids! I would buy one to replace my aging 2013 Trash Can!
    I dunno, the standard iMac or the iMac Pro should have plenty to like for pro and prosumer still photographers.
  • Reply 56 of 84
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 1,008member
    I have 2 12 core 64GB Mac Pro trash cans at work. They are very fast and I love them. I’m gonna request one or tow of these cheese grater Mac Pro towers once I build up a little seniority  ;)
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 57 of 84
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    sdw2001 said:
    I can't get over what a monster this thing is.  Apple's "pro" machines have always been more marketed to prosumers/power users rather than true workstation users.  This machine changes everything.  

    I'm not up on PC workstation class machines, so a question for someone who is:  Is there anything even close to this?  

    You need to do a lot more reading, and you can start with the link you provided. You are confused about the relationship between CXL and PCIe5. PCI5 does not use any aspect of CXL. Rather, CXL leverages PCIe 5, with its major selling point being memory coherency between CPUs and attached coprocessors of various sorts (GPUs, FPGAs, NNPs, etc.). It's roughly similar to CCIX, and somewhat similar to GenZ (though CXL and CCIX use PCIe5 mechanicals, whereas GenZ doesn't).

    You are similarly confused about the state of play in NVMe SSDs. Not one person who understands the technology thinks that "existing PCI-E limitations limit the benefits of  that extra speed". The limitation comes from the only PCIe4-capable controller that's on the market currently (the Phison PS5016-E16), which was a quick patch job on a previous controller to add PCIe4 compatability. Better controllers are coming soon, and they should be able to push read and write speeds up to ~7GB/sec... that is, if you're moving bulk data. For most people, random I/O is more important, as is latency, and the PCIe version doesn't make any difference for that- it's the flash and the controller.

    As for 100Gbps Ethernet, a single PCIe3 x16 slot is almost but not quite adequate to saturate the link. A PCIe4 x16 could handle a dual port card. By the time you get to PCIe5, a single x4 slot could handle a single port. PCIe6's bandwidth will obviously be welcome for anyone using 100Gbps Ethernet, but it's far from necessary.

    JSG1 -   Thanks for the cleanup.  I'm no Engineer admittedly but love to catch up every now and then.  A few days ago I was looking some PCI-Sig videos about what they're doing with version 4, 5 and 6.   The roadmap has incredible bandwidth increases.   I totally misspoke and alluded to PCI limitations with NVME.  It's not the limitation of PCI that I really wanted to say was that a NVME SSD on PCIE4 doing 5Gbps is going to differ in real world results depending on usage case.  

    I for one and really glad Apple has a 6k Mac again.   I'm old now...I remember when the IIFX was around $8k in a zero/zero config.    For years Apple straddled the prosumer/workstation arena with PowerMac G4, G5 etc and many got used to these tweeners.   The near future should be interesting as the Mac Pro internal design evolves with higher bandwidth solutions.  It's never going to be cheap but if you make your living with that Mac you can often justify the purchase ...just hire a good accountant. 

    JSG1 let me ask you about your personal feelings about the future of tech like Optane. 
    chiaphilboogie
  • Reply 58 of 84
    Apple made its trash can Mac Pro limited by design. Even Apple could not upgrade anything in it! LOL! It is a total joke for both Apple and its owners!  A good example of extreme proprietary design and function!
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 59 of 84
    JSG1 -   Thanks for the cleanup.  I'm no Engineer admittedly but love to catch up every now and then.  A few days ago I was looking some PCI-Sig videos about what they're doing with version 4, 5 and 6.   The roadmap has incredible bandwidth increases.   I totally misspoke and alluded to PCI limitations with NVME.  It's not the limitation of PCI that I really wanted to say was that a NVME SSD on PCIE4 doing 5Gbps is going to differ in real world results depending on usage case.  

    I for one and really glad Apple has a 6k Mac again.   I'm old now...I remember when the IIFX was around $8k in a zero/zero config.    For years Apple straddled the prosumer/workstation arena with PowerMac G4, G5 etc and many got used to these tweeners.   The near future should be interesting as the Mac Pro internal design evolves with higher bandwidth solutions.  It's never going to be cheap but if you make your living with that Mac you can often justify the purchase ...just hire a good accountant. 

    JSG1 let me ask you about your personal feelings about the future of tech like Optane. 
    No way to tell with Optane. Intel missed their target by a mile with the first release, and the next-gen Optane isn't a huge improvement. But... we've seen it before with Intel, where they keep iterating and eventually get to where they wanted to be. It's possible that Optane will yet live up to their promises. If so, then that's great, the world could really use a good SCM. If not, then it's a niche product, with some use for some people, but it won't move the whole market much.

    SCMs in general though... They're a revolution waiting to happen. The big questions are:
    1) Will they happen? Is there a tech coming that will really be able to replace both DRAM and flash? If I had to bet, I'd say yes, but I wouldn't feel very confident in that guess.
    2) Will the price ever hit mainstream markets? No clue about that one at all.

    Beyond SCM, there's in-memory compute. Not much like SCM, except for how it promises a major paradigm shift by changing how we think about memory. Interesting things happening there too, but it's too soon to try to predict where that's going. I think it's going to be big, though, unless it gets overtaken by something even bigger.

    One thing I will say: The desktops we use today are not really different from the desktops we used ten or twenty years ago, seen from 10k feet. You have a CPU, memory, I/O busses, ports, video, storage. Details have changed a LOT but all the parts are organized in roughly the same way. I think that that will NOT be true ten years from now. Big changes are coming.
    hmurchisonhodar
  • Reply 60 of 84
    BigDann said:
    This reminds me of the Three Bears story! The Mac mini is too cold, the new MacPro is too hot! The 2013 is the not quite good enough!

    Apple swung hard to the Animators & videographers with this design. Which is good!

    But us photographers got short changed! Now if Apple where to take this design and make a desktop version dropping a few of the slots. Basically, the 2013 on steroids! I would buy one to replace my aging 2013 Trash Can!
    You’re not the only one who wants a “less pro” Mac Pro, but there’s aren’t enough of you. Sure, Apple could make a cut-down version with fewer PCIe and DIMM slots, a smaller power supply and case, etc. But given the demand (relatively low) and buyer demographic (much less likely to order higher-end BTO configs), it would be priced somewhere around $9,999. 
    You're just asserting opinions as fact. You don't know what the demand is, and you don't know the "buyer demographic". That said, it's quite possible that Apple shares your opinions.

    Your quoted price is ridiculous, though. Apple could do quite well with an "xMac" (as discussed here endlessly) in the $3k range. They just decided they'd rather segment their market in a different way.
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