Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 18th Dec 2013 20:47 UTC

Apple today announced the all-new Mac Pro will be available to order starting Thursday, December 19. Redesigned from the inside out, the all-new Mac Pro features the latest Intel Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, PCIe-based flash storage and ultra-fast ECC memory.

This thing is so damn awesome. I don't need it, but I still want one.

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RE[3]: Comment by smashIt
by Drumhellar on Thu 19th Dec 2013 18:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by smashIt"
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the problem with those gpus is that they use consumer-chips

That's not really a problem. It's not like the Pro designs were simply replaced by consumer chips, and that's-that.

When chips were fixed-function, it made sense to optimize a piece of silicon for gaming or for workstations. Since chips are so general-purpose now, there's really no point in doing the optimizing on the chip - instead, it's done on the driver.

Some workstation-only features are now part of the architecture as a whole, and are exposed via driver + extra connectors - features like genlock/framelock, ECC memory, and stereoscopic. These are workstation features, and the silicon is also present on consumer chips.

One could also say consumer products use workstation chips. 10-15 years ago, both this and the converse would have been meant something, but it hasn't been true in a while.

So, the real question is, are the drivers on the new Mac Pro actual FireGL drivers? FireGL drivers are a different beast from consumer drivers. They are optimized heavily for geometry over texturing, tend to handle basic untextured views better, and handle wireframe views better. At the same time, gaming performance isn't as good as the consumer counterparts.

Other features exist in workstation drivers, like being able to partially render only part of a window (Say, when a viewport is partially obscured by another window), multiple clipping planes and slices, etc.

Finally, validation occurs. Apps are certified to run on a specific driver level, and driver development happens with close communication with ISVs. Accuracy of the rendered image is far more important than performance.

These things are what makes a FirePro a FirePro. Is Apple doing these things?

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