Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Jan 2018 21:51 UTC
Apple

The T2 processor isn't doing the heavy lifting in the iMac Pro - that's the Intel Xeon processor with between 8 and 14 processor cores. The T2 is the brain behind that brain, running the subsystems of the iMac Pro from a single piece of Apple-built silicon. The result is a simplified internal design that doesn’t require multiple components from multiple manufacturers.

On most Macs, there are discrete controllers for audio, system management and disk drives. But the T2 handles all these taks. The T2 is responsible for controlling the iMac Pro's stereo speakers, internal microphones, and dual cooling fans, all by itself.

It's a fascinating chip that certainly puts Apple ahead of its competitors, but at the same time, it's going to make installing non-approved operating systems on Macs ever harder. Sure, they're allowing it for now, but for how long?

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Comment by smashIt
by smashIt on Thu 4th Jan 2018 23:55 UTC
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't get it o_O

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by smashIt
by Sidux on Fri 5th Jan 2018 09:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by smashIt"
Sidux Member since:
2015-03-10

No dedicated audio chip, SMC chip.. It's all handled in T2 chip from what I've read.
What's more concerning is that it also handles storage firmware ..
OWC had some issues until now with proprietary connectors used by Apple but this will bring it to a new level when buying 3rd party solutions..

Reply Score: 4

Non-approved OS?
by christian on Fri 5th Jan 2018 00:56 UTC
christian
Member since:
2005-07-06

If you're buying a Mac, you're surely happy to pay the MacOS tax, else you'd save yourself 60% of the cost and buy off the shelf hardware.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Non-approved OS?
by fmaxwell on Fri 5th Jan 2018 10:41 UTC in reply to "Non-approved OS?"
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

If you're buying a Mac, you're surely happy to pay the MacOS tax, else you'd save yourself 60% of the cost and buy off the shelf hardware.


Your claim is without merit.

PC Gamer magazine put together a PC that was not even hardware-equivalent to the iMac Pro and their total savings was $313 after mail-in rebates.

And that was even when they used an older generation, far slower, Xeon E5-2620 V4 vs. the iMac Pro's Xeon W-2145: 2.1GHz vs 3.7GHz, Passmark score 11,341 vs 18,968. Had they used the same CPU as in the iMac Pro, the price would have jumped up by about $700 (even assuming the motherboard cost was no higher).

They also cut corners with non-ECC RAM (yuck!), no 10GB Ethernet port, no Thunderbolt port, far slower SSD subsystem, and Windows 7.

See:
http://www.pcgamer.com/apples-new-imac-pro-costs-5000-but-is-it-ove...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Non-approved OS?
by gan17 on Fri 5th Jan 2018 12:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Non-approved OS?"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Your claim is without merit.

It does hold more weight outside the US though, at least for the more consumer level (ie; not Xeon or ECC) hardware. Apple have this habit of "rounding up" exchange rates. Eg; if 1 USD = 2.2 in your currency, Apple will just round it off to 3.0 (before taxes) and charge you that. Couple that with the ability to get many off the shelf PC components like mobos and PSUs for lower than Newegg discount rates in some countries (SEAsia in particular), and the Apple Tax ends up being quite significant.

As for what they'll do with this T2 chip thing, you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll call the act courageous if/when it starts inconveniencing long-time Mac users. "Courage" is Apple's official weasel-word for "jackassery", after all.

Edited 2018-01-05 13:06 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Non-approved OS?
by CaptainN- on Fri 5th Jan 2018 17:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Non-approved OS?"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

The iMac Pro is not a consumer level product.

Even in the iMac 27" category there is no Apple tax if you compare comparable quality hardware (actually it's quite a bit more if you want a monitor anywhere near as good as the one they ship in iMacs - don't tell me about TN panels, or lower res 4K panels - or giant pixeled 32-inch repurposed TV panels, or sRGB panels). The problem with Apple's lineup (if you see this as a problem) is they simply don't offer the less expensive hardware - but then again, that crap breaks every 2-3 years from normal use and has to be replaced more often, so it's not really even cheaper.

This conversation always reminds me of a couple of idioms:

Some people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

Buy for price - by twice!

I say all this with an achy heart - I've been building my own PCs since I was a teenager. 20 years ago I could easily come in at 40% of what it costs the big guys (though, how many broken hard drives, and bad RAM modules did I suffer...). Times have changed.

The one hole Apple does have, is echoed by their software support at the OS level. I can still get a decent gaming rig together, with mid range parts, and a huge GPU, and that does well for every current game. There's nothing like this in Apple's lineup, and nothing that can even be expanded that way (no upgradable GPU on anything). That's a shame - I love me some PC gaming, and I love me some macOS - I want both damnit!

Or maybe more accurately - I CAN'T STAND WINDOWS - how does anyone use that herky jerky nightmare for real work? Everytime I go to click on something and it throws something else up in my way, or removes focus from the box I'm typing in, it makes me want to scream. Do regular Windows users just get used to these things? It's maddening - like running in mud.

Edited 2018-01-05 17:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Non-approved OS?
by gan17 on Fri 5th Jan 2018 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Non-approved OS?"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Come to where I live, and I'll spec you a desktop with equal (or better, if Nvidias are available) components to a maxed out consumer iMac, and add an Eizo (not their top-range ColorEdge line, but it's still a friggin Eizo) 4K monitor for equal or less than what the iMac sells for here. Oh, and I'll throw in a mechanical keyboard as well. Only knowledge I'm lacking is Windows license pricing, because, like you, I can't stand Windows either. Once contracted dengue fever after coming back from a photography expedition in Indonesia, and had to be hospitalized for a week, and since I only had a desktop beck then, I borrowed a friend's Windows laptop during my stay. If you asked me again to choose between dengue and Windows, I'd take dengue. Less painful. But all that's besides the point. I was discussing hardware prices. You have no idea how much Apple markup their hardware in some countries.

Edited 2018-01-05 18:06 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Non-approved OS?
by CaptainN- on Fri 5th Jan 2018 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Non-approved OS?"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Ah but you skimped on the monitor. The iMac has a 27" 5K P3 color range panel. It's not a 4K. The difference matters if you want real equivalence.

No doubt in some places closer to where the components are actually made you can probably still come close. And maybe skimping on the screen is okay (I have usually done so for gaming builds, even in the US). Here though (US), it definitely not cheaper if you want everything the iMac has to offer.

Yeah - dengue over Windows for sure...

Edited 2018-01-05 18:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Non-approved OS?
by gan17 on Fri 5th Jan 2018 19:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Non-approved OS?"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

I live in Singapore. Here's the result of 5 minutes of lazy searching.

Desktop from Newegg SG;
https://www.newegg.com/global/sg/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883...
Note that you can actually get a better deal than Newegg here if you take time shop around a bit. Or you could probably mix and match up a bit (eg: better brand PSU in exchange for less dudebro-like cooling and case) and maintain a similar price.

Apple SG Page;
https://www.apple.com/sg/shop/buy-mac/imac?product=MNED2ZP/A&step=co...
Spec it with the equivalent 7th gen i7 CPU and 32GB RAM as the Newegg selection above, add a 512GB SSD (the Newegg option above only has a 480GB SSD option, but includes a 1TB HDD as well, so relatively fair) and take note of the price.

To be as close as possible, Here's LG 5K Ultrafine monitor Apple recommends as the equivalent (resolution, color gamut, etc) of the iMac range. It's the same one they show off in their multi-monitor setups, I believe;
https://www.apple.com/sg/shop/product/HKN62/lg-ultrafine-5k-display?...
I've handicapped my pricing further by linking Apple's marked up price. You can actually get it for around SG$150 less over here (at physical stores) quite easily.

Tl;DR
Newegg + 5K LG total = SG $4372
Apple equivalent 5K iMac = SG $ 4728

Edit:
FYI, Singapore isn't even considered cheap in this region these days.

Edited 2018-01-05 19:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Non-approved OS?
by daveak on Sat 6th Jan 2018 13:55 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Non-approved OS?"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

What model is the SSD, the link doesn't say? This is one thing that bugs me when people compare price/spec. SSDs are not all equivalent to each other.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Non-approved OS?
by The123king on Sun 7th Jan 2018 17:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Non-approved OS?"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

I built a desktop PC for the same reason. I just use Steam Streaming to play everything on my mac. All the benefits of beefy PC hardware with all the benefits of MacOS

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Non-approved OS?
by zima on Sun 7th Jan 2018 16:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Non-approved OS?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It does hold more weight outside the US though, at least for the more consumer level (ie; not Xeon or ECC) hardware. Apple have this habit of "rounding up" exchange rates. Eg; if 1 USD = 2.2 in your currency, Apple will just round it off to 3.0 (before taxes) and charge you that.

And they seem to do it more / use even more silly exchange rate the more impoverished given place is...
Oh well, Apple doesn't care much for "lesser" people.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Non-approved OS?
by Drumhellar on Fri 5th Jan 2018 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Non-approved OS?"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

New Apple computers are price competitive when released. The problem with Apple, though, is really long product refresh cycles, with everybody dropping prices while Apple doesn't.

Just wait a year or two, when the iMac Pro is the same price with the same hardware, but everybody else has moved on to faster hardware for the same price, or equivalent hardware for a significantly lower price.

And, Apple using the Radeon Pro branding for their graphics chips irks me.

PC boards include ECC RAM on the Radeon Pro boards. Apple's Radeon "Pro" chips do not.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Non-approved OS?
by fmaxwell on Fri 5th Jan 2018 22:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Non-approved OS?"
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

New Apple computers are price competitive when released. The problem with Apple, though, is really long product refresh cycles, with everybody dropping prices while Apple doesn't.

You make a valid point. But I was answering the claim that you could "save yourself 60% of the cost [building a PC with] off the shelf hardware." It's just baseless Apple-hatery to claim that you could build the equivalent of a $5K iMac Pro for $2K. The W-2145 CPU alone is about $1,100, so the claim is silly on its face.

Apple's workstation class hardware is usually underpriced compared to the competition when it is introduced, often including newer generation Xeons before anyone else has systems with them.

And, Apple using the Radeon Pro branding for their graphics chips irks me.

PC boards include ECC RAM on the Radeon Pro boards. Apple's Radeon "Pro" chips do not.

AMD, which owns the Radeon Pro trademark, designed and named the GPUs, which include on-chip RAM. What is Apple Supposed to call the GPU? Radeon Pro Lite? Radeon Not Really Pro? Only Apple would be criticized for calling a GPU by the name that its own manufacturer gave it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Non-approved OS?
by smashIt on Fri 5th Jan 2018 23:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Non-approved OS?"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

The W-2145 CPU alone is about $1,100, so the claim is silly on its face.


the W-2145 for 1,100$ is a 3,7GHz chip.
apple is selling you a 3,2GHz chips with the same lable

and sorry, but if you need quadchannel memory and a ton of fast cores (which intel can't even deliver) get threadripper

Reply Score: 3

v RE[5]: Non-approved OS?
by fmaxwell on Sat 6th Jan 2018 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Non-approved OS?"
RE[6]: Non-approved OS?
by fmaxwell on Sun 7th Jan 2018 07:28 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Non-approved OS?"
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

"the W-2145 for 1,100$ is a 3,7GHz chip.
apple is selling you a 3,2GHz chips with the same lable

No, it's labelled "W-2140," which iFixit speculates is likely to be a W-2145 underclocked for thermal management reasons. So to make a spec-equivalent system, you need an $1,100 W-2145 (since the W-2140 is Apple-specific), just as I originally wrote.

and sorry, but if you need quadchannel memory and a ton of fast cores (which intel can't even deliver) get threadripper

How do you plan to meet Apple's packaging and noise requirements when you stuff a 180W TDP Ryzen Threadripper into an iMac Pro?
"

Why was the above voted down? It was civil, informative, and raised valid points about the choice of CPU for the iMac Pro.

You can dislike Apple as a company, but that doesn't mean you should try to bury comments that make valid points about their products. OSNews is supposed to be better than that.

Edited 2018-01-07 07:29 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[7]: Non-approved OS?
by Gargyle on Tue 9th Jan 2018 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Non-approved OS?"
Gargyle Member since:
2015-03-27

Why was the above voted down? It was civil, informative, and raised valid points about the choice of CPU for the iMac Pro.

You can dislike Apple as a company, but that doesn't mean you should try to bury comments that make valid points about their products. OSNews is supposed to be better than that.



I'm not sure, but dismissing AMD's TR just because of some arbitrary TDP value (why can they clock down an enormously expensive Intel to meet thermal requirements, but suddenly it'd be an issue when it's a cheaper but not less powerful AMD, ohnoes) and otherwise totally dismissing all of the strong point it has over Intel, is reeking of fanboy or troll bias. So being neutral is exactly what OSNews is doing by downvoting said comment.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Non-approved OS?
by christian on Tue 9th Jan 2018 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Non-approved OS?"
christian Member since:
2005-07-06

"the W-2145 for 1,100$ is a 3,7GHz chip.
apple is selling you a 3,2GHz chips with the same lable

No, it's labelled "W-2140," which iFixit speculates is likely to be a W-2145 underclocked for thermal management reasons. So to make a spec-equivalent system, you need an $1,100 W-2145 (since the W-2140 is Apple-specific), just as I originally wrote.
"

Or it might be from the same wafers as W-2145 chips, but couldn't match the required specs to be labelled a W-2145 and run at 3.7GHz.

Down-speccing chips is common, and can be done for a variety of reasons. But you can be pretty sure the W-2140 will be cheaper than W-2145, else they'd be labelled W-2145 and under clocked.

Anyway, my original comment wasn't so much directed at this specific machine as Apple in general. macOS machines tend to be much more expensive than equivalent Windows machines (where there is equivalence). Same with iphones and ipads. It's why apple have net profits margins of >20%, margins most companies can only dream about.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Non-approved OS?
by Gargyle on Tue 9th Jan 2018 15:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Non-approved OS?"
Gargyle Member since:
2015-03-27

"and sorry, but if you need quadchannel memory and a ton of fast cores (which intel can't even deliver) get threadripper

How do you plan to meet Apple's packaging and noise requirements when you stuff a 180W TDP Ryzen Threadripper into an iMac Pro?
"


How do you reckon an 8C/16T TR will pull 180W when a TR having DOUBLE those numbers is pullling the same amount of power? Impossibru, I tell you. But granted, it's the official TDP. No arguments there.

That being said, why wouldn't you just go for the Ryzen 1800X? 8C/16T, just like that silly Xeon, but while having the same performance it demands less power. LESS, mind you! Granted, it does not come with the possibility of using quad channel RAM.

I just meh at people dismissing AMD's current offer in favour of Intel's while technically or logically there isn't a real reason to.

Edited 2018-01-09 15:21 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Non-approved OS?
by zima on Wed 10th Jan 2018 00:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Non-approved OS?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

How do you plan to meet Apple's packaging and noise requirements when you stuff a 180W TDP Ryzen Threadripper into an iMac Pro?

Apple once put G5 into iMacs, and that's not too far from heat dissipation of the Threadripper...

Reply Score: 2

Would anyone want to these days?
by Spiron on Fri 5th Jan 2018 07:37 UTC
Spiron
Member since:
2011-03-08

With their change of direction to being completely unfriendly to anything OS (or really anything NIH) and the fact that Linux still doesn't work well on that new Macbook is anyone that's invested in alternative OS's really rushing to Apple these days? Most seem to be going to the XPS13 and similar

Reply Score: 5

weckart Member since:
2006-01-11

Back in the day, many non-Mac users would grudgingly admire Apple hardware for its reliability and longevity and some even use it exclusively with Windows/*nix.

Nowadays, even Mac users are less than enamoured with the sealed in, glued up non-upgradable and flimsy mess that the Mac line up has become.

Reply Score: 5

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Nowadays, even Mac users are less than enamoured with the sealed in, glued up non-upgradable and flimsy mess that the Mac line up has become.


That must be why last quarter Mac sales were up 10% year on year

Reply Score: 0

Is this T2 a southbridge-like chip
by mrroman on Fri 5th Jan 2018 13:07 UTC
mrroman
Member since:
2014-11-20

I don't know how it is now, but chips like this were called southbridge. They handle I/O, Audio, etc.

Like this: https://www.viatech.com/en/silicon/legacy/chipsets/kt133/

Reply Score: 6

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Looks like it, but the difference here is that everything is designed in-house from Apple, and it's essentially a full ARM CPU behind it rather than just an i/o controller. They're using it mostly like a south bridge, but that doesn't mean they couldn't use it for much more later as they're already doing for their security enclave.

Reply Score: 4

osvil Member since:
2012-10-25

I guess that's the advantage of vertical integration. They can customize what they want to support in their system. Even getting some functionality on the custom chip that would require an additional controller (like happens with the SSD).

I don't think this is pure "mac driven" innovation. I guess part if not all of the functionality is already in their iPhone/iPad SoC. This could even be a step in the convergence direction.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

This could even be a step in the convergence direction.

Yep, I suspect that's exactly what it is. They'll gradually beef up this T2 chip--probably giving it incremental numbers along the way--until it's running everything. At the same time they'll bring MacOS and iOS closer and closer together until they end up being merged or are at least running off the same codebase. Short of a shift in UI paradigms, I don't think iOS and MacOS could be fully merged and work well for both a desktop and a touch device. Of course, Apple seems to refuse to learn from the mistakes of others, so...

Reply Score: 4

Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

It does not make sense.
RAM and video interfaces are wired to the CPU. nVME SSDs could be directly connected to PCI Express ports.

This is just another southbridge / integrated I/O controller.

I don't know how much audio they are putting in this chip, but there are some good reasons for not putting audio analog amplifiers and input stages in very high integration chips placed just in the center of mainboards.

Reply Score: 5

DeepThought Member since:
2010-07-17

There are so many uCs in a PC style computer, there are likely some in the south bridge. Only difference is that Apple takes an ARM core (they know them best).
The problem is: Again some hidden software that handles things in the background of the OS the user cannot control.

Reply Score: 4

zaxx386 Member since:
2017-09-13

Yeah just another example of Apple "inventing" something that the rest of the technology world has done, or was doing for a long time prior.

Reply Score: 4

DeepThought Member since:
2010-07-17

Yeah just another example of Apple "inventing" something that the rest of the technology world has done, or was doing for a long time prior.


Agree. And the press will jump on this wagon!

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know how it is now, but chips like this were called southbridge. They handle I/O, Audio, etc.

Like this: https://www.viatech.com/en/silicon/legacy/chipsets/kt133/

Point taken, but why, WHY did you have to remind us this data-corrupting, audio-cracking travesty of a southbridge out of all available examples? ;) (like nice behaving SiS southbridges for example)

Reply Score: 3

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Its just a chipset. "South bridge" is basically a name for a specific chipset configuration in ATX PCs at some point.

In most cell phones and tablets, the "South bridge" is already located within the processor package.

Which is why most newer "processor" designs, especially in the mobile/embedded space, are defined as "System on a Chip" (SoC) designs.

Reply Score: 3

*Yawn*, another Apple revolution
by No it isnt on Fri 5th Jan 2018 16:05 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

Seriously.

Reply Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Yeah, if Cook uses that word constantly like he did last time, I'm going to fly to Coopertino and shove a thesaurus into his hand personally. ;)

Reply Score: 5

I'm a cynic
by BushLin on Fri 5th Jan 2018 21:24 UTC
BushLin
Member since:
2011-01-26

The cynical part of me thinks the motivation for this chip is lock-in, no 3rd party SSDs, no 3rd party OS they don't want. I wouldn't be surprised if it was slower than the generic Intel chipset.

Reply Score: 5

Not a threat to Open Source
by Narseh on Sat 6th Jan 2018 16:25 UTC
Narseh
Member since:
2016-02-06

There is nothing to worry about here. Secure boot was first implemented by Microsoft and there we had the ensuing controversy regarding booting Linux. Microsoft back then agreed to sign Linux kernels for free. Now we have apple implementing the same technology and respecting Microsoft root certificates. I'm pretty much sure there is nothing keeping the nerds from installing Linux on iMac Pros.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not a threat to Open Source
by BushLin on Sat 6th Jan 2018 18:56 UTC in reply to "Not a threat to Open Source"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

Well, there is a threat of a decision to only sign for Mac OS and Windows. Whether you should worry about it remains to be seen.
Sony decided to remove the ability to boot Linux from the PS3 well after a sizable number of people had purchased for that purpose.
If you don't have a written agreement and you rely only on the goodwill of a company on the stock market, you're always taking a chance.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Not a threat to Open Source
by zima on Sun 7th Jan 2018 17:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Not a threat to Open Source"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Sony decided to remove the ability to boot Linux from the PS3 well after a sizable number of people had purchased for that purpose.

Doubtful that the numbers can be described as "sizable" - it would probably have impact on the uptake of PS4... And heck, hardly "sizable" number of people buys PCs for reason of running Linux...

Edited 2018-01-07 17:20 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Does it run MINIX?
by uridium on Sun 7th Jan 2018 12:52 UTC
uridium
Member since:
2009-08-20

Just asking..

Reply Score: 2

Congratulations...
by Soulbender on Mon 8th Jan 2018 14:03 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

...it's a Southbridge

Reply Score: 2

RE: Congratulations...
by christian on Tue 9th Jan 2018 14:07 UTC in reply to "Congratulations..."
christian Member since:
2005-07-06

...it's a Southbridge


LOL, I salute you!

Reply Score: 2