Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 31st Oct 2011 23:17 UTC
Apple While it's just a rumour, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock the past five years, and in all honesty, I'm pretty sure it's actually true. AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is contemplating axing its iconic Mac Pro.
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Actually...
by bhtooefr on Tue 1st Nov 2011 00:08 UTC
bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

...this fits in with what I predict Apple's lineup to be in 5-10 years.

My prediction of their lineup:

iPod touch
iPhone
iPad
iBook (iPad laptop)
iMac (iPad desktop)
iCode (Mac Mini or maybe an iMac, loaded with a special build of OS X targeted specifically towards iOS development)

And for the traditional OS X userbase, well, there's a huge selection of Windows machines out there that'll run your professional software.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Actually...
by Delgarde on Tue 1st Nov 2011 00:58 UTC in reply to "Actually..."
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

You think the iPod Touch / iPhone distinction will still exist in 5 years? Given that the former is essentially a less capable version of the latter, I'd guess they'll merge the two products over the next year or two...

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Actually...
by orestes on Tue 1st Nov 2011 01:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Actually..."
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

There will always be those of us who prefer not to be handcuffed to the phone contracts and/or added cost of the iPhone.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Actually...
by Delgarde on Tue 1st Nov 2011 02:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Actually..."
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

There will always be those of us who prefer not to be handcuffed to the phone contracts and/or added cost of the iPhone.


No, but that doesn't justify having a completely separate product line. I don't mean that they'll drop the iPod Touch entirely - just that they'll stop marketing them as different products, and instead treat them as variants of the same product. Maybe rename both of them to "iPad Mini", or something like that...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Actually...
by orestes on Tue 1st Nov 2011 19:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Actually..."
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

Now that I could see happening.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Actually...
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 1st Nov 2011 16:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Actually..."
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

There are also people that want a MacPro. That doesn't mean its economically beneficial for Apple to continue making them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Actually...
by jared_wilkes on Tue 1st Nov 2011 23:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Actually..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

For some, carrier voice/data connectivity is not a feature; it's an anchor.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Actually...
by Neolander on Tue 1st Nov 2011 08:41 UTC in reply to "Actually..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

This iCode idea makes sense. After all, considering the strong increase in Mac sales since iOS has been released, people who would have not bought a Mac for its intrinsic merits were ready at some point to spend €800 in an iOS development tool (I know that since then, basic Mac Mini pricing has been reduced and the Macbook has been axed, respectively resulting in a decrease of entry-level desktop pricing and an increase of entry-level laptop pricing).

However, I also agree with other posters that Apple would probably use a cleaner terminology, like...
-iPhone
-iPad Mini (= iPod Touch)
-iPad
-iPad Pro (= ipadified Macbook with a keyboard, probably something like a MacBook Air for the cool factor)
-...

Edited 2011-11-01 08:41 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Actually...
by docbop on Tue 1st Nov 2011 18:40 UTC in reply to "Actually..."
docbop Member since:
2009-11-04

I think you're on target. Being I work a lot in Media and writing is on the wall Apple slowing dumping Pro apps and hardware. GarageBand is gaining a lot of Logic's features, FCP has be consumerized and no longer a Pro app. They killed of Apple SAN, the server, and say MacPro will be gone soon.

People forget Apple has history of cutting products if profits aren't high enough. They are growing huge with iAppliances so Pro gear where margin are thin are fading away. IMO next will be desktop computers. They are ramping up there iCloud and iStores and all you'll need is your iTerminal du jour to get to the music, books, videos, apps, and now your data. 1984 is here and its call Apple.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Actually...
by zima on Mon 7th Nov 2011 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Actually..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

1984 is here and its call Apple.

I bet not many people suspected that is why Apple knew why 1984 won't be like 1984 - it's planned for a bit later ;)

Reply Score: 2

Don't Trust AppleInsider
by Macrat on Tue 1st Nov 2011 01:10 UTC
Macrat
Member since:
2006-03-27

These guys also claimed that the Mac mini was getting the axe because there was no refresh in 2008.

Then the 2009 model came out with a quick refresh in 2009. And then the 2010 unibody model and the 2011 i5/i7 models.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Don't Trust AppleInsider
by vondur on Tue 1st Nov 2011 16:24 UTC in reply to "Don't Trust AppleInsider"
vondur Member since:
2005-07-07

Normally I'd believe that, but Gruber in a post also indicated that the Mac Pro was not long for this world. When Gruber says something that specific, it is usually true. I'm pretty sure he has some inside info on these things.

Reply Score: 2

Premium?
by JPowers27 on Tue 1st Nov 2011 01:11 UTC
JPowers27
Member since:
2008-07-30

Mac Pro 12 core 2.66GHz is $400 more then a Dell PowerEdge T410.

To save money, I'd get the Mac Pro with base memory and then upgrade it 3rd party; that may make the pricing closer (the pricing I was using was 12G (standard on the Dell) and the Mac comes with 6G and Apple's memory is always overpriced).

The above comparison was using equal equipment from each vendor; however, I couldn't find any documentation on what video card the Dell was using. And I included MS Windows which is $825.00 (Small Business 2011); on a side note Windows Server 2008 is $3000.00 which is just about the same price a the computer. SUSE pre-installed is $279. Dell only sales Red Hat pre-installed if you take a year's maintenance at $869.00.

You could always order the Dell with no OS and then install one of the Linuxes for free with no support.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Premium?
by Morgan on Tue 1st Nov 2011 03:34 UTC in reply to "Premium?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Mac Pro 12 core 2.66GHz is $400 more then a Dell PowerEdge T410....


Came here to say something similar. I've seen repeatedly over the years that the PowerMac/Mac Pro line really is a good long term investment for someone needing a workstation at that level of quality and power. Sure, anyone can slap together a quad core i7 tower with off the shelf parts these days but they are their own support, and they have to buy the OS separately. For the target audience, I think the Apple Pro machines are a great investment. Less time diagnosing one's own workstation quirks is more time spent getting work done.

You could always order the Dell with no OS and then install one of the Linuxes for free with no support.


That is indeed a great idea, but again you would run into the support issue on the OS side of things. Of course, you can go the easy route and install Ubuntu LTS too.

As for whether Apple really will kill off the Pro...I don't know. As another poster mentioned, there will always have to be some sort of development platform for iOS and OS X, even when the merging of the two is complete. I simply can't imagine trying to write operating system components on an iPad.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Premium?
by No it isnt on Tue 1st Nov 2011 12:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Premium?"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

The Mac Pro line is a good investment for people who need that exact kind of workstation. The problem is, when you just need something slightly more powerful and expandable than an iMac, you can get it for less than half the cost ... of an iMac. Unless you pretend you need exactly what Apple is selling, you can get it cheaper elsewhere.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Premium?
by Morgan on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Premium?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

True, but unfortunately Apple refuses to make that magical mid-tower that would be affordable enough (in the Apple ecosystem) yet more powerful than the mini. In other words, the headless, expandable iMac.

The (flawed) solution for many has been to build their own expandable Hackintosh and deal with supporting a Frankensteinian hybrid. I've done it, and it's a great challenge from a geek standpoint but a poor business solution when a real Mac would be best.

I really think that Apple sucks for not making a tower for "the rest of us" after the G4 Cube flopped. Now THAT is a Mac I would be proud to own today, boycott notwithstanding.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Premium?
by frderi on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 18:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Premium?"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

As much as I would like to have an xMac myself (as an IT guy) I just don't see it making a lot of sense for its intended target market. Or you're a consumer, and you get an iMac, which gives you a single processor machine which is easy to setup, or you're a pro and you want the extra oomph an iMac can't offer, and you get a Mac Pro.

All in one computers are a lot easier to setup, look a lot cleaner on your desk and use less energy. The market appeal for a one-processor tower offering is quite limited and doesn't really fit Apple's "Empowerment by simplification" mantra.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Premium?
by JAlexoid on Tue 1st Nov 2011 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Premium?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Sure, anyone can slap together a quad core i7 tower with off the shelf parts these days but they are their own support, and they have to buy the OS separately. For the target audience, I think the Apple Pro machines are a great investment.


A) You do know that you can get pretty much the same support options as Apple offers from your local geek shop that will assemble the hardware for you, don't you? Or you can assemble it yourself and you still have the warranty for components. I've been doing both for many years. If anything breaks I just take back the whole machine or the broken part.

B) The target audience has knowledge and time to build and support their own hardware builds. That is the main problem for Mac Pro - it offers nothing more than aesthetics and , maybe, some internal airflow optimisations.


That is indeed a great idea, but again you would run into the support issue on the OS side of things. Of course, you can go the easy route and install Ubuntu LTS too.


You can buy Ubuntu support if you wish. And desktop hardware rarely doesn't work with Linux these days. Desktop hardware mostly is very standard compliant(without some tuning for power and efficiency). Optionally, when building your own machine Windows comes at OEM pricing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Premium?
by Morgan on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Premium?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

A) You do know that you can get pretty much the same support options as Apple offers from your local geek shop that will assemble the hardware for you, don't you?


Sure you can, but you have to pay for that support. Prices for that vary wildly, but for some it's just easier to go with the built in support of buying an Apple machine. (And please don't misconstrue, I personally have begun boycotting Apple products due to their recent business practices, but I won't stop someone else from buying from them if it makes sense for them.)

B) The target audience has knowledge and time to build and support their own hardware builds. That is the main problem for Mac Pro - it offers nothing more than aesthetics and , maybe, some internal airflow optimisations.


Not always true. I can think of many professions, most related to design or music creation, where the users don't have the time, knowledge or passion for technology to attempt building their own. And once again Apple's customer support is second to none in the industry. All that said, if they can use Windows or Linux for their work and they know a reputable shop who will build AND support a good workstation, that would be a potential for savings.

You can buy Ubuntu support if you wish. And desktop hardware rarely doesn't work with Linux these days. Desktop hardware mostly is very standard compliant(without some tuning for power and efficiency). Optionally, when building your own machine Windows comes at OEM pricing.


I don't disagree at all there. ;) I've built many a system for folks and managed to get Windows at about half retail price due to buying OEM parts from Newegg or Microcenter. But, I'm just one guy with two regular jobs, and my side work as a support tech for folks tends to fall to the wayside. Even though I won't buy a Mac myself, I've been known to recommend them to people when I feel they are a good fit; otherwise I steer them towards Dell's Latitude and Vostro lines for business use, or Lenovo for consumer products.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Premium?
by JAlexoid on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 10:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Premium?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I can think of many professions, most related to design or music creation, where the users don't have the time, knowledge or passion for technology to attempt building their own.

But Mac Pro is nolonger in the design market, it's in the "I don't know" market. Apple's design market share has been taken over by iMacs and MacBooks. Mac Pro just does not fit with the modern usage scenarios.

And once again Apple's customer support is second to none in the industry.

I don't know of this "support" you speak of. Any local micro OEMs give better turnarounds on issues than Apple.(Including base software support) But, I'm sure Apple support in US is better than Europe.

PS:
otherwise I steer them towards Dell's Latitude and Vostro lines for business use

I almost crapped my pats laughing at Vostro recommendation for business. Dell Latitude, Lenovo T and W ThinkPads are the one's for business. (I'm using a Dell Vostro given by my client - the worst laptop I have ever used)

But back on topic, there is no compelling reason, other than MacOSX on Xeon, to buy MacPro. And they will eventually axe it in favour of more powerful MacBook Pro's.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Premium?
by zima on Sat 5th Nov 2011 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Premium?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I almost crapped my pats laughing at Vostro recommendation for business. Dell Latitude, Lenovo T and W ThinkPads are the one's for business. (I'm using a Dell Vostro given by my client - the worst laptop I have ever used)

Too bad we lost Thinkpads R. ;) Not too different from T in basics, also solid, essentially just with fatter & more plain casing (which I actually liked more in some aspects, how it was more angular and "pointy", better capturing the essence of Thinkpad styling IMHO ;p ) - and, at least for a year or so before their disappearance, with great prices of entry models; essentially not any more expensive that typical cheap laptops.

Instead we got those SL or Edge... things, mostly Ideapads in disguise (they aren't really bad; but, it's not the same). Even X become a bit random.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Premium?
by frderi on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 18:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Premium?"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

The Mac Pro is a machine targeted towards businesses, where predictability, consistency and stability is important.

Build any PC yourself and you know there is always a chance any one of its components might be introducing instability or bugs on your system. Thats why business order their computers from HP, Dell, and Apple, to do this part of the integration for them and to make sure the complete product works reliably. Having errors or crashes because one driver doesn't work well enough yet with the particular motherboard you chose is not good when you're expecting the things I mentioned in the first paragraph.

I'm pretty sure you can build a car yourself with car components which costs less than a Mercedes with the same specs. They might run fine and all that - Just don't expect these cars to appear at any Taxi service which takes itself seriously.

For a business, value for money is not a linear equation between unit price and component cost.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Premium?
by JAlexoid on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 10:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Premium?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Build any PC yourself and you know there is always a chance any one of its components might be introducing instability or bugs on your system.

That is why the average user should not be doing it. However, the micro OEMs will build a machine with the same stability as big brand OEMs. Specially when is comes to higher cost hardware, such as two socket motherboards for Xeon. Having build a ton of machines myself, there is little wrong that can happen when you're building a dual-CPU desktop.
Sure, if you're building a box with low cost components anything can happen. But dial up the price to $100+ per component and you're golden.

For a business, value for money is not a linear equation between unit price and component cost.

And to stay on topic, MacPro have very high pricetag and little value compared to even MacBook pro.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Premium?
by frderi on Fri 4th Nov 2011 07:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Premium?"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

I almost spat my coffee on that one. Your average PC guy around the corner isn't much better at assembling computers than your random computer geek is. They do not have the clout inhouse to do proper QA and testing.

Any business who takes itself seriously doesn't buy whitebox assembled PCs. Period.

Edited 2011-11-04 07:09 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Mac Pro = Hard to Justify
by Phloptical on Tue 1st Nov 2011 02:12 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

That sticker price is hard to swallow for the hardware you can basically get for half the price. A 12 core xeon and they cripple it with a lousy economy SATA2 drive, and then charge $5k for the whole package. Good job guys.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Mac Pro = Hard to Justify
by WorknMan on Tue 1st Nov 2011 02:18 UTC in reply to "Mac Pro = Hard to Justify"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

That sticker price is hard to swallow for the hardware you can basically get for half the price. A 12 core xeon and they cripple it with a lousy economy SATA2 drive, and then charge $5k for the whole package. Good job guys.


Ya, seems like their laptops have gotten more competitive over the years vs the competition, but the desktops are still way too much.

Not everybody these days wants or needs a laptop, and you should be able to get an equivalent desktop to get serious work done for cheaper than the laptops, without having to have a monitor bolted on to it.

But then again, Apple has never really been about choice, so you get whatever THEY think is best for you.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Mac Pro = Hard to Justify
by zima on Mon 7th Nov 2011 20:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Mac Pro = Hard to Justify"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

you should be able to get an equivalent desktop to get serious work done for cheaper than the laptops, without having to have a monitor bolted on to it

Probably not for very long. Laptops are already for some time the majority of PCs sold, their share rising. Economies of scales should do the rest (and laptops even use less less raw materials, or take much less space when shipping).
Then there are nettops (sort of all the rage in few emerging markets, I hear) if you want something without monitor bolted onto it.

Traditional desktops should hang around, for "really" (for a year or so, tops, at least) high performance - but I doubt it will be cheap (the "desired" components in more need for servers? Even GPU cards might go there, primarily about GPGPU, Tesla-like); back to the old days of "workstation" I guess...
(but, won't it be more optimal to run something ~remotely on some server beast, via inexpensive laptop? So maybe even back to "terminal & mainframe")

Reply Score: 2

v RE: Mac Pro = Hard to Justify
by jackeebleu on Tue 1st Nov 2011 04:37 UTC in reply to "Mac Pro = Hard to Justify"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

There is no comparison.

The HP supports up to 192GB of ECC ram. The included RAM (18GB) alone is worth $800.

The Mac Pro is basically two expensive CPUs combined with some other cheap parts in a fancy case.

Reply Score: 10

Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Go to HP site and search for = 594874-001. Or just google it. Go to Apple and configure= Z0M4 Apple = $5449 with 2 procs, 1TB 7200 HDD, HP = $5369 with 1 proc, no HDD closest spec as possible


These don't look equivqalent to me the hp is a server box with a rack mounted option and all the appropriate hardware,

a new generation server with more memory capacity and more HDD expandability. (quote hp)


whilst the Apple isn't.

Reply Score: 5

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The Mac Pros are only equivalent to the much cheaper HP Z600 line.

HP Workstation - Z600 - 6 GB RAM - six core Xeon, ITB HD

$2799

http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPubli...

Reply Score: 4

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Huh? The base Mac Pro is $2,499.00, i.e. $300 less.

It seems "much cheaper" does not mean what you think it does.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You're comparing a rackmount server which supports 192Gb of memory to a regular workstation which craps out at 32GB?

Not sure if trolling...

Edited 2011-11-01 11:04 UTC

Reply Score: 4

a better omparison
by unclefester on Tue 1st Nov 2011 05:51 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

The Mac Pro's support for only 32GB RAM is unacceptable for a "workstation".

I just priced a comparable Dell T3500 six core for USD2429.

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=04&fb=1&...

The HP Proliant machines are in a totally different class (eg support for 192GB of ECC RAM).

Reply Score: 5

the much, much cheaper option
by unclefester on Tue 1st Nov 2011 09:35 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

An i7 or Phenom consumer machine will give you 70~80% of the performance for well under $1000.

eg

i7 2600 - $300
Asus/Gigabyte i7 motherboard - $200
PC 1333 RAM 3x2GB - $50
ATI 5750 - $100
1TB HD - $50
Tower case and 700W PSU - $250
DVD burner - $25
Ubuntu LTS -free


Total $975

Using an AMD FX8120 CPU and a miditower case gets the price down to <$800

Reply Score: 3

RE: the much, much cheaper option
by Carewolf on Tue 1st Nov 2011 10:19 UTC in reply to "the much, much cheaper option"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Performance yes, but you can not really compare machines with ECC memory and machines without. Of course AMD Phenoms can be installed with ECC cheaply while with Intel you are forced to the pointless and overprices Xeons.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

My brother works for an autonomous government agency involved in civil engineering and surveying. They switched from buying HP workstations to building their own white box PCs about 20 years ago. They just buy whatever consumer grade hardware provides the most bang for the buck. Once every 12 months they replace them.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

You don't need EEC RAM (or an expensive Quadra/FirePro graphics card) for a workstation. A white box with a decent CPU and gaming video card will work just as well.

Reply Score: 2

zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

You don't need ECC? You're crazy.

Bit errors happen a lot more often than people think. Those strange application errors or a Windows blue-screen that happen once every couple of months? It might possibly be a bug in the software. But it is equally possible the RAM got corrupted in just that spot.

Even WITH ECC on their servers, Sun (now Oracle) had to invent ZFS with extra checksumming because bit errors would creep into the data in their customer's petabyte sized drive arrays.

If that can happen on server level hardware, with ECC, what do you think is happening in your 8 GB of consumer-grade crap RAM?

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Bit errors happen a lot more often than people think. Those strange application errors or a Windows blue-screen that happen once every couple of months? It might possibly be a bug in the software. But it is equally possible the RAM got corrupted in just that spot.

Equally possible? Well, since you quantified it so clearly...

Some research, actual evidence, suggests that the probability of those events decreased dramatically with voltage and process shrinkage (say, http://www.ece.rochester.edu/~xinli/usenix07/ ) - if anything, SRAM seems much more vulnerable and responsible... but that would be outside of the scope of main memory modules.

Meanwhile, this mantra is repeated for 10 to 15 years - "if you'd only need 2x & up more RAM than is typical, like I do, then you would KNOW (promise!) why you have to buy ECC; and when my amounts will become normal, EVERYBODY will need to use ECC in their ~workstation to keep basic data integrity!"
It started at the latest in the times of 64-128 MiB, at least; never really came through.

That is crazy. You're not in LEO.

(and it's not about implementing storage verification and integrity; anyway, ZFS has its share of things which sound impressive, but... come on, 128 bits? ...were they hoping their fs will still live on when the Solar System gets turned into grey goo? ;p )

Reply Score: 2

If that happens
by siraf72 on Tue 1st Nov 2011 11:20 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

I'm dropping the mac in favour of a hackintosh or some such alternative.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by frderi
by frderi on Tue 1st Nov 2011 11:49 UTC
frderi
Member since:
2011-06-17

This could be happening, they already axed the XServe a while ago, leaving no serious alternative for someone who wants to run OSX in the data room, which makes it quite clear that Apple isn't at all interested anymore in high-end low-volume markets.

The Mac Pro might not be competitive anymore these days (I didn't check the workstation market recently) but this definitively wasn't the case when it first launched; where it was around 1K-2K cheaper than a similar specced Dell Workstation.

I don't think you should be comparing single processor desktops to dual processor workstations since they serve a completely different market, any dual Xeon just blows away a single processor machine for massively parallel computational tasks (think 3D rendering, mathematical calculations, high end video encoding, ... etc... where every core matters)

Still, I think that the Mac Pro still makes more sense than the XServe ever did. Its one of the closest things we still have around as a UNIX workstation, so I hope Apple won't abandon this market.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by frderi
by unclefester on Tue 1st Nov 2011 12:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by frderi"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The Xeon and i7s use the same architecture. The fastest i7s are faster than any Xeon. However the i7s don't support ECC RAM or dual CPUs.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html


My brother works for a civil engineering/surveying organisation. They just build white box "gaming" PCs with a fast CPU and a gaming graphics card for all their CAD use. They do everything an expensive workstation does at a fraction of the price. You don't need EEC RAM or a FirePro/Quadra card (they are just standard gaming cards with different firmware) for CAD work.

Edited 2011-11-01 12:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by frderi
by frderi on Tue 1st Nov 2011 15:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by frderi"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

I don't think CAD is all that high end. Sure, you need decent speed when it comes to graphics and a good amount of RAM, but its not like you're going to use all your cores of your computer all the time like you would with encoding or rendering.

Dual CPUs matter for tasks that can be parallelized and take a long time to complete.

Reply Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Kids these days say the darnest things...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by frderi
by unclefester on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 11:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by frderi"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Virtually all heavy duty encoding or rendering is done on Linux server farms these days (even at Pixar).

A few companies offer real time cloud rendering/encoding. You upload your files via a web control panel. They are encoded to your desired format and sent back.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by frderi
by frderi on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by frderi"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

I was thinking more along the lines of 3D rendering in medical applications, where vector data is visualized on the fly. I don't think any serious movie-production rendering like we know it from movies like those from DreamWorks or Pixar were ever done on Workstation computers, except for smaller projects like samples and 3D generated commercial applications like on the Pixar workstation or SGI machines.

Movie post production (downsampling raw footage after editing) and 3D modelling (Autodesk Maya) are two other areas where workstations make sense, since movie encoding will use all the cores of your machine and in Maya you you can define the number of threads the application will use.

Edited 2011-11-02 19:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by frderi
by frderi on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 18:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by frderi"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

Indeed, you don't, but I don't regard CAD work as all that highend. As you state, a high end gaming PC does the job equally well. Its not like in the nineties, where a workstation was mandatory if you were serious about CAD. A fast processor, a good amount of RAM and a high specced video card is enough.

When you look at AutoCAD, one of the most used applications in that space, its mainly a single threaded application, so it won't even take advantages of all the resources of a quad core i7.

Reply Score: 1

The use of ECC is not mind-boggling!
by theosib on Tue 1st Nov 2011 14:36 UTC
theosib
Member since:
2006-03-02

When you're doing really high-end stuff with huge amounts of RAM, the probability of a soft error (SEU -- single event upset, a particle-strike-induced bit inversion) occuring increases. I'm already nervous about my 8GB systems, running 24/7, vulnerable to the rare bit corruption. Yes, these events are exceptionally rare (today, but as supply voltages go down to save power, the probabilities increase), but they DO happen. For certain scientific workloads, you can check an answer in much less time than you can compute one, and so it's not uncommon that such a checker is written to validate simulation results, specifically because of SEUs and other sources of data corruption (I/O, etc.).

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I didn't say it's useless - I meant it is useless for most of the workloads Mac Pros are used for.

Reply Score: 1

Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

I'm skeptical of where you've taken this. You say you know what most Mac Pros are used for, AND you know those things don't need ECC. Really? Mac Pro isn't the only professional workstation sold with ECC memory, so either everyone is nuts or you're missing something

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

A dual CPU workstation with 32GB of RAM is woefully underpowered for any serious mathematical modelling. This often requires hundred/thousands of cores and multi-terabytes of RAM.

Reply Score: 2

zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

A dual CPU workstation with 32GB of RAM is woefully underpowered for any serious mathematical modelling. This often requires hundred/thousands of cores and multi-terabytes of RAM.

Or it requires programmers who actually know what they are doing, as opposed to theoretical mathematicians.

I've heard of completely crazed setups with sparse arrays. Most of the array is empty! And will always, ALWAYS be empty! And yet, the guy sets it up in his favorite math tool like a moron and just tells IT "Hey, go spend more money. I need another 7 TB of RAM to run this thing."

A programmer or heck, even a Computer Scientist (tm), could rewrite some of these models to run in a few GB.

"Back in the day" people did amazing mathematics work on IBM mainframe systems with 16 MB. That was all the RAM in the world back then.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm skeptical of where you've taken this. You say you know what most Mac Pros are used for, AND you know those things don't need ECC. Really? Mac Pro isn't the only professional workstation sold with ECC memory, so either everyone is nuts or you're missing something

Hm, glancing quickly over the thread, we have here(!) one Mac Pro in fairly general usage (the machine sleeps most of the time), one in video editing, somebody who probably has seen many machines in ~photo & ~publishing (so far mostly just fancy-feel media stuff) ...and one example of some constant data processing (but, with experiences of poor storage error handling by OSX). Plus some unspecified "they are used for serious big calculations" while others point out Mac Pros are actually in too low league for that.
Yeah...

So with this class of machines, there might be at least some amount of "nuts" happening after all... ( http://www.osnews.com/permalink?496342 , http://www.osnews.com/permalink?496363 ?)

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm already nervous about my 8GB systems, running 24/7, vulnerable to the rare bit corruption. Yes, these events are exceptionally rare (today, but as supply voltages go down to save power, the probabilities increase), but they DO happen

(emphasis mine) Research suggests they dramatically decreased with process shrinkage, hence lower voltages (for example http://www.ece.rochester.edu/~xinli/usenix07/ - at ~1 bit error per century for amounts of ram in your range)

Reply Score: 2

10 year machine
by whartung on Tue 1st Nov 2011 18:18 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

I bought my Mac Pro 5 years ago to be a 10 year machine. My basic premise is that it was "Fast enough" but should be able to expand in the key areas (notably ram and disk) to where I wanted to go.

At the time, it was actually cheaper than the competing Dell machine of similar specs.

If I were to buy a modern mac pro, that would definitely be a 10 year machine. Mine will likely not make it.

The critical problem is that in the '06 Mac Pros, it has a 32 bit graphics bus, rather than 64. And there's telling that the next OS X will be "pure 64 bit" through and through, and will likely not be compatible with my machine. Plus, GPUs are harder to get for this machine.

As far as performance, the current crop of Mac Minis perform better than my machine (according to some mac benchmark site I found, my machine comes in at 5600ish, and top end Mac Mini is 8300ish, something like that) but don't have the memory.

My machine is still "fast enough". I've upgraded the GPU already once. It needs a new disk drive. An SSD would make it a bit faster. It runs 24x7 (sleeping a lot when I'm away), and it's silent and stoic. Upgrading to the 3.0 Ghz CPUs is difficult as they're STILL expensive and hard to find (folks have been scavenging them out of other rack servers). If 10.8 for some reason lets me keep it, then I will, but I doubt it.

Despite the gains we have been getting, machines really have plateaued substantially. That's why I thought I might be able to get away with a 10 year machine.

So, maybe I have a 6-7 year machine instead of a 10 year. A Mac Mini doesn't cut it right now. 8GB isn't enough memory, and I'm happy that I have ECC memory in my current machine. Maybe I'll buy a modern used Mac Pro. I don't want to do a "hackintosh", and I don't want an iMac.

If Apple makes a Mini with 16G, then maybe I can get one of those, assuming it doesn't cook itself to death over time. My Mac Pro runs very cool, especially compared to my iMac at work.

No, I think a used "new" Mac Pro might be a better replacement in the long run.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 10 year machine
by lancealot on Tue 1st Nov 2011 22:06 UTC in reply to "10 year machine"
lancealot Member since:
2007-02-25

This was exactly my plan. I bought a Mac Pro early 2007 (MacPro2,1) in the past, and got it at the minimum specs (2.66 dual-CPU dual core). As soon as I got the system I added my own memory, and hard drives. Plan was to make it last 10 years. Since the time I bought it, I have upgraded the standard video card (nVidia geForce 7300 GT) to the best video card that system model accepted, which was a NVidia 8800GT (they made a special EFI32 version for that model Mac Pro). Second I upgraded the standard memory to 16 GIG ECC (used mostly for VMware machines). Third I added a ESATA that supported "port multiplier" to be able to support any external drive system (like a Drobo). Lastly I added a SSD drive as the boot drive. All those modifications over the last 4+ years has always improved the speed of the system to the point I am very happy with it. On top of that I have been upgrading my system OS since Tiger, and got system improvements that way (upgrades have always been issue free, which I can't say the same for past Windows systems). I could get another system, but besides more CPU cores (which a lot of software doesn't even properly use, and I think 4 CPU cores is not bad), and faster bus speeds, I doubt I would see a huge difference. I think the increased memory and SSD drive alone makes for a HUGE upgrade to any system. Almost 5 years later I am happy with my system and have no plans on upgrading. It runs 24/7 with 5 VMware virtual machines running at all times processing data, and the system never crashes, never has issues. Only time I have ever gotten crashes was due to a faulty hard drive that was connected via ESATA I used for time machine, and from Parallels (which is why I use VMware now, doesn't inject kernel module). I have learned MAC OS X doesn't always handle faulty hard drives very well. The system I got is fast, solid, and unbelievably silent (event with everything maxed out on the system). I paid more for the system, but feel I got my moneys worth given how well it has operated for almost 5 years now.

Reply Score: 1

RE: 10 year machine
by zima on Mon 7th Nov 2011 20:40 UTC in reply to "10 year machine"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I bought my Mac Pro 5 years ago to be a 10 year machine [...] If I were to buy a modern mac pro, that would definitely be a 10 year machine. Mine will likely not make it.

Just like the previous one was supposed to be... ;p

Generally & more seriously - as you sort of say, cutting that time in two would give two faster machines, which most likely would use less energy (especially if you keep it on 24/7, sleep notwithstanding), and probably even less resources during production and such (just look at the bulk of Pro, and its components...)

I know, it gets hard to let go something into which we invested so much, something cared for & upgraded. Especially in so nice case.
Kinda, also, like that warm fuzzy feeling of ECC, which doesn't really make practical difference, it's just traditionally "required" in some trends / schools of thought.

(certainly not "The critical problem is that in the '06 Mac Pros, it has a 32 bit graphics bus, rather than 64" / PCIe versions are forward & backward compatible anyway; perhaps you mean the weird video card firmwares always required by Apple machines)

Reply Score: 2

What about all graphics artists
by riha on Tue 1st Nov 2011 23:41 UTC
riha
Member since:
2006-01-24

Repro houses, prepress companies, photographers, printing plants and so on doing all kind of graphics and documents.

Mac pro:s are de facto standard for them.
Sure, it would be interesting seeing all of them getting macbook pro:s instead.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What about all graphics artists
by zima on Mon 7th Nov 2011 16:52 UTC in reply to "What about all graphics artists"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

They didn't really seem to require machine of such class for over a decade...

(especially if a place was less affluent & not jumping so readily on unnecessary expenses - in my still fairly prosperous one, a short hop across the Baltic from yours, even bondi-blue iMacs often held out in ~printing business way into mid-noughties; and since then, people also largely realised that PCs are usually equally good, or even with better bang-for-buck)

Reply Score: 2

Mac Pro's price and ECC
by sicofante on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 00:51 UTC
sicofante
Member since:
2009-07-08

I've been building workstations for some 10 years now.

1- "It's never been particularly competitive price/performance-wise": WRONG. While todays MacPros are not that cheap, a couple of years ago they were less expensive than buying the parts and building them yourself. Today they aren't much more expensive than that.

2- "Apple's insistence of using Xeons (and thus, EEC memory) is mind-boggling - especially since there's no option to use regular processors with normal memory." WRONG AGAIN. It's a wise move to use Xeons and ECC memory. Today ECC memory has exactly the same price as non-ECC. Particularly, 8GB ECC modules are MUCH CHEAPER (like four or five times cheaper) than the very few 8GB non-ECC modules out there.

(I stopped reading there. It's obvious you are not very well versed in workstations.)

The only complaint that can be made about Xeons is that they aren't overclockable. One firm, EVGA, makes a motherboard that can overclock Xeons, but it's pretty much the only one. If they make a SB-E or Ivy Bridge motherboard that allows Xeon overclocking, that's probably what I'll be building next year.

I'm glad to see Mac Pros going away, but just because they are a very hard to beat competition. (HP, Lenovo and Dell are much easier to beat, believe me. They force the buyers into very strict configurations that are pretty easy to compete against.)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Mac Pro's price and ECC
by unclefester on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 10:56 UTC in reply to "Mac Pro's price and ECC"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

What are you smoking?

The Mac Pros cost around twice as much as as similar specced HP and Dell workstations.

The Mac Pros cost around twice the retail price of the components.

Dell and HP allow a vastly greater choice of models and custom builds.

EEC RAM costs 3x as much as equivalent branded NECC RAM from any aftermarket supplier. eg 1x4GB PC1333 EEC $90 vs Non-ECC for $30

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mac Pro's price and ECC
by frderi on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 18:18 UTC in reply to "Mac Pro's price and ECC"
frderi Member since:
2011-06-17

*brrrrr* Why would you want to overclock a workstation class product, where you expect it to be rock solid and not produce any errors, by running its processors in a higher frequency thus potentially introducing instability, crashes and other errors? Doesn't make sense to me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Mac Pro's price and ECC
by zlynx on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 22:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Mac Pro's price and ECC"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Right on.

This is also the reason to buy the workstation GPU cards. They are not overclocked and they are verified to always return the right answers, just like CPUs.

Believe it or not, gaming cards are often overclocked and they may produce occasional math errors because it doesn't matter at 60 frames per second if the occasional frame is wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Mac Pro's price and ECC
by unclefester on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 02:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Mac Pro's price and ECC"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Workstation graphics cards use exactly the same hardware as their much cheaper gaming counterparts. They simply use different firmware and drivers.

"Certification" is simply a polite term for extortion. You are expected to pay far more for an identical product with a bit of paper that guarantees it will work properly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Mac Pro's price and ECC
by zima on Mon 7th Nov 2011 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Mac Pro's price and ECC"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

they are verified to always return the right answers, just like CPUs
...
gaming cards [...] may produce occasional math errors

(so I guess you imply "workstation cards" may not...)

See, if you say something like this, we know you just repeat claims of marketroids.

You can sort of have "verified to always return the right answers" with real fault-tolerant designs - for example, with triple modular redundant hardware (from whole machines to the block level of chips), running in lockstep; or more than triple, also in sync. Or dual redundant at the very least. And this still doesn't protect from software errors which absolutely dwarf such hardware errors, when you're at the bottom of an atmoshpere.

Yup, you can sort of have it with many avionics computers, which have a real need of "verified to always return the right answers" (& sometimes work in harsher environments), so they implement serious means towards that goal.


You cannot have it in re-branded & overpriced consumer trash - which is mostly about profit margins for manufacturers who just love when there are enough people wound up about it.

Reply Score: 2

APUs
by kyrc on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 14:10 UTC
kyrc
Member since:
2008-11-30

Workstations are going towards multcore APUs. Audio/Video/CAD will be done in software. There's less and less need for expansion slots.

Thunderbolt is probably sufficient for getting data in and out of the workstation.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Neolander
by Neolander on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 20:25 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Enough bold text !

Edited 2011-11-02 20:28 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Nice Case
by quackalist on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 21:57 UTC
quackalist
Member since:
2007-08-27

Wouldn't mind the case to roll my own PC...imagine they'd be too expensive even if you can buy them separately.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nice Case
by Darkmage on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 08:36 UTC in reply to "Nice Case"
Darkmage Member since:
2006-10-20

bout $400 for a mac pro case... $100-200 if you shop around.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Nice Case
by unclefester on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 09:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice Case"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Half a dozen new cases with PSU for sale on Ebay starting at $139.

Reply Score: 2

I actually own one of those beasts.
by Darkmage on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 08:35 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

I own a Mac Pro, it's amazing, and worth every cent. I would highly recommend ownership of one to anyone. I've run linux and windows low and high end machines, and the Mac Pro is the best machine I've owned. There are small things I would change about it. But over all the 8-core 24gb setup is brilliant. I Highly recommend it. The ability to run multiple PCI-E HDMI/Component video capture cards allows you to make amazing things. You just can't do that on an iMac, Mac Mini, or Macbook Pro

Reply Score: 1

1080p HD Video
by Darkmage on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 19:16 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

Really the main use for a Mac Pro is 1080p HD Video editing. I use my 2009 Mac Pro to do layered video in real time at 1080p. The system can actually encode raw 1080p out to compressed H.264 in real time, which is something I'm yet to see any consumer grade pc hardware do. With the addition of 3D content Apple should be trying to reposition the Mac Pro entirely towards high end video editing. It needs a lot more HDMI/SDI ports.

Reply Score: 0

RE: 1080p HD Video
by zima on Mon 7th Nov 2011 16:37 UTC in reply to "1080p HD Video"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

That's probably mostly because the software you're used to, the one typically utilised for video editing on OSX, is somewhat unoptimised (and is quite a mixed bag overall, really - heck, at one event of my local Apple country branch, they couldn't keep FCP from crashing; ultimately, a good thing it's essentially being abandoned in ~pro market; Premiere seems somewhat better, but still...)

Even a fairly typical & affordable laptop, from 2009, at the very least was essentially becoming capable of the thing you're delighted about - assuming a decently optimised NLE software, with sound approach to HW requirements (Vegas, for example)

Edited 2011-11-07 16:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2