Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 4th Dec 2009 19:59 UTC
Apple "Apple has added new build-to-order options for some of its Mac Pro and Xserve models. Specifically, a 3.33GHz 3500-series Xeon processor is now an option for the lower-end quad-core Mac Pro. Also, Apple now offers a 2TB drive option for both Mac Pros and Xserves."
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wow
by poundsmack on Fri 4th Dec 2009 23:03 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

for those prices on the ram and HDD upgrades i hope they at least buy you dinner first...

Reply Score: 4

No graphics?
by Drumhellar on Sat 5th Dec 2009 00:13 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Still no top-end graphics from Apple.

Radeon 4870 is cool, but theirs is only 512MB, while 1GB cards are out, not to mention the 5800 and 5700 series cards.

Reply Score: 1

RE: No graphics?
by elmimmo on Sat 5th Dec 2009 04:46 UTC in reply to "No graphics?"
elmimmo Member since:
2005-09-17

Problem with graphic cards in Mac Pro's is not so much what you are offered when you get the machine, but what you are not offered after that.

Depending on what your job is about, shedding €300 two years after getting the machine could virtually double you productivity (for instance, if it is 3D of video compositing, by halving your render times), but expandability in graphics is NOT a feature of Apple towers due to lack of compatible cards out there. With the promises of OpenCL (if they are delivered) it is even a sadder situation.

When Apple transitioned to EFI I expected that the need for cards with custom firmwares for Macs would come to an end (since I also expected PCs to transition to EFI, it coming from Intel), and that PC and Mac cards would then become one same hardware model (drivers issue aside).

Unfortunately, the situation has not changed one bit and Mac Pro's are as limited on their graphics expandability as iMacs are, most of the times.

Edited 2009-12-05 04:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No graphics?
by moondevil on Sat 5th Dec 2009 09:24 UTC in reply to "RE: No graphics?"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Which just shows that Mac are not the type of machine you want to buy, if your type of work depends on 3D and high performance graphics manipulation.

For me it was the main reason I ended up buying a PC last month.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: No graphics?
by elmimmo on Sat 5th Dec 2009 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No graphics?"
elmimmo Member since:
2005-09-17

Depends, video editing is almost exclusively Mac centric when at individual level, and hence lots of video compositing is done there too, wether it being the most upgradable hardware or not. Lots of motion graphics is then made on the Mac using Cinema4D for 3D (probably not so much because it excels over anything, but because it is the only 3D app available to Mac users with enough render quality and feature set).

All video editing/compositing apps (Final Cut, After Effects, Nuke, Motion, etc.) on the Mac use the graphics card for one thing or the other. Try using some of the apps in the Magic Bullets suite without an decent graphics card… And like I said, it is Apple who is boasting about OpenCL.

So it is not like there is no software or industry already existing and revolving around Macs that would benefit tremendously of an available market of easy to upgrade graphics cards.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No graphics?
by moondevil on Sat 5th Dec 2009 10:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No graphics?"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

On the gaming industry, which I do dabble quite often, no one even cares what Cinema4D is.

There the kings are Maya, 3D Studio and Poser for 3D manipulation, just to name a few.

Sure OpenCL is nice addition to the OpenGL programmers toolkit. But if you are graphics API agnostic, you can also use DirectX Compute, CUDA or Stream.

But still where are the top level cards for the Mac? Can I plug more than one card, SLI like configuration?

What happens is that most of the 3D software available for the Mac has to restrict themselves to the limits imposed by the short availability of graphics hardware.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: No graphics?
by elmimmo on Sat 5th Dec 2009 12:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No graphics?"
elmimmo Member since:
2005-09-17

Sure OpenCL is nice addition to the OpenGL programmers toolkit. But if you are graphics API agnostic, you can also use DirectX Compute, CUDA or Stream.


You did not understand what I meant. You mentioned that a Mac is not the best suited computer for a very specific area, 3D (which I agree with, at least regarding what its options are; you have Maya on OS X, though, it is simply not too a friendly app for motion graphics design).

What I meant is that, still, there are other areas where the Mac dominates (whether you agree on the reasons or not) and should OpenCL deliver on its promises, graphics-cards are going to be of interest to a much wider spectrum than what they are now. And hence, it is a pity that the situation is still where cards for PC do not work on Macs (which would render the point of choosing one or another simply on the software one wants to use, not on the power one needs).

i.e. I was not talking about being able to program in OpenCL at all, but being able to enjoy programs that make use of it.

So, I was agreeing with you, in a way, but was also just elaborating a bit more on it than just stating "Macs suck at that".

PS: And BTW, you just do NOT want to program in CUDA or Stream instead of OpenCL specially if you are API agnostic and with NVIDIA and AMD supporting the latter.

Edited 2009-12-05 13:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No graphics?
by moondevil on Sat 5th Dec 2009 18:00 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No graphics?"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Ah ok, sorry for the misunderstanding.

Reply Score: 1

How about fixes instead?
by bousozoku on Sat 5th Dec 2009 04:28 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

How about fixes for Leopard and Snow Leopard instead of hardware updates? ;-)

They finally have updated Java after another long wait.

We could even use that mid-tower they're never going to produce.

Reply Score: 2

I really do not get it
by alcibiades on Sat 5th Dec 2009 07:58 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

I've recently bought two machines for people, and am about to buy a couple more for others, and in each case they asked me whether they should consider a Mac.

In each case I say to them, if that's what you want, we can buy it. But to me it looks like going out shopping for ordinary middle class travel luggage, and asking the assistant, should I consider Louis Vuitton? Or shopping for your kids' school uniforms, and wondering if you should take a walk down Saville Row.

One is a charity, another is a small business with quite a bit of graphics, another does heavy graphics on a big screen, another is just looking for small form factor and nothing very intensive. All are on budgets. If you want, we can give the spec of the machines we are going to get, which do seem to meet their needs perfectly well, and you can tell me what from the Mac line I should be recommending. It looks to me like the choice is, if they want a Mac, to spend several times the money and get nothing that meets the need any better. But we can always learn.

Here for example is one

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176488

Any suggestions?

Just don't get it.

Edited 2009-12-05 08:09 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: I really do not get it
by shotsman on Sat 5th Dec 2009 17:59 UTC in reply to "I really do not get it"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

The only redeming thing about the system you linked to is that you can buy it without having to pay the Microsoft Tax.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I really do not get it
by alcibiades on Sun 6th Dec 2009 08:44 UTC in reply to "RE: I really do not get it"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Are you going to be more specific? What exactly is wrong with it? I genuinely want to know. And what would you suggest from the Mac lineup instead?

I'd also be interested in considered opinions about the itx that we are considering, if anyone is willing to offer serious comment on it, I'll supply the spec on that too.

Edited 2009-12-06 08:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I really do not get it
by moondevil on Sun 6th Dec 2009 09:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I really do not get it"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

They won't provide.

That is the thing with many Mac fans. A few weeks ago I had a discussion about buying a PC instead of a Mac exactly because of that.

No Mac with desired hardware configuration was available.

The Mac fans that were arguing with me, kept on saying that MacOS X was better, without providing any argument for the hardware.

And that is, for me, the current issue with Mac systems, limited hardware choice.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I really do not get it
by sergio on Sun 6th Dec 2009 14:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I really do not get it"
sergio Member since:
2005-07-06

And that is, for me, the current issue with Mac systems, limited hardware choice.


Thanks god for that!! If you want particular hardware specs... then go PC!!

Simple product line, that's what make Apple shine.

Reply Score: 0

RE: I really do not get it
by cranfordio on Sun 6th Dec 2009 14:21 UTC in reply to "I really do not get it"
cranfordio Member since:
2005-11-10

Looking at the specs of that computer, which I have to say are not very detailed, I would say a Mac Mini is the closest to this in terms of specs. The mini will cost you twice as much (not several times), but there are some advantages of the mini. The mini has 802.11n wireless, bluetooth 2.1, 10/100/1000 ethernet, two video ports. The mini also uses DDR3 memory, which probably also means it has a faster system bus. The mini comes with an Operating System, it may not be a cost issue for you but an OEM version of Windows Home Premium 7 (32-bit) is about $100, but of course linux is free. What the mini does not have is PCI slots, that for some people is what would stop them from ever buying one, but if you are never going to add any pci cards then does it really matter. Also, the wireless, bluetooth, 1000 ethernet, and faster memory may be a non-issue, which if it is then this computer is definitely a better buy.

Some people will mention support, If you are the type of person, like myself, that never calls for support then it doesn't really matter. If you do call for support, or are recommending it to people who would call the manufacturer instead of you, then this is where Apple really shines. Since Apple does both the hardware and the software it is one call for all support. But of course everyone has different experiences so it is hard to put a dollar figure on that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I really do not get it
by alcibiades on Mon 7th Dec 2009 07:15 UTC in reply to "RE: I really do not get it"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Thanks for an objective response. Seems to be sourced from Zoostorm. The processor is a 6300 2.8Ghz and there is 4G memory.

From a review: Inside, it is very well laid out and feels extremely well built. There are 3 free hard drive bays, and space for another CD/DVD drive. The installed hard disk is a Hitachi Deskstar 500gb with about 485gb usable space. The power supply is rated at 255W and runs virtually silent. The case fan and CPU fan are noiser, but not obtrusive. The CPU is cooled by a non-standard Akansa fan and heatsink, and runs very cool (around 30 degress C)....Motherboard is a Foxconn G31 and the bios is Phoenix.

Dunno, what's wrong with it?

I had estimated several times the price for a Mac, because looking at the Mini series, to match the processor speed and memory and disk capacity, you had to go to better than the entry level model. But maybe you don't need to match it, the entry Mini spec, though lower, would probably be adequate.

We will put Debian or maybe Mandriva One on it, but legitimate copies of XP are selling for around UK 35 now.

I thought about this, it was not just a silly instant prejudiced judgment, and I can't see recommending anyone buy the Mini over this. To match the spec more or less really is going to cost several times the price, and for what? If you only spend double, you are getting a machine with much lower performance. Why exactly do that? The great advantage of the mini is that it takes up less space and is highly portable. This is not really an advantage in the office of a modest charity. To spend more to get something lower spec, less expandable, and more stealable? Why?

I should write up the other choices we are currently looking at, and people can see how it is in the real world when someone asks you whether they should consider a Mac for their application.

The point about support is legitimate, there is no comparable calling point for this system to the ability to call Apple. But this is coming at what is, for these users, a fairly high price. These are people who seriously shop to save pennies. Linux has its costs too, if an end user is going to be heavily into devices, cameras, scanners, audio, its hard to see leaving them alone with Debian. But XP should be fine.

Reply Score: 2