Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jun 2012 18:16 UTC
Apple "Why did Apple just release new MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and a Retina MacBook Pro, but no new iMacs or Mac Pros? And why are the iMacs probably being updated this year while the Mac Pro update won't happen for 12-18 months? As usual, I have some guesses." Good points.
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Thunderbolt isn't just PCIe; the controller multiplexes PCIe and a DP video signal, then send it over the cable. It is this video signal that is used to drive displays, not the PCIe data.

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tylerdurden Member since:

If anything the would implement thunderbolt as a connector coming off the graphics board, or having the PCH generate the displayport data from a PCI-e board. No one in their right mind would buy a Mac Pro class machine to run graphics off a crappy intel IGC.

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Drumhellar Member since:

Well, using an add-in board for Thunderbolt would require either sacrificing some PCIe lanes for Thunderbolt, or using a slot design that is out of spec. Considering Apple's ongoing commitment to using open specs for their desktops (standard memory, ports, slots, etc etc), the latter isn't likely. The performance hit also makes the former unlikely as well.

Alternatively, an internal ribbon cable could carry DisplayPort data to a location to a pinout on the mainboard. However, this requires some messy, messy routing (Thunderbolt is already a complex beast to route on a mainboard on it's own), and is aesthetically ugly. Apple likes their Mac Pro internals to be aesthetically pleasing, too.

No, the likely scenario is something akin to nVidia's Optimus, or an enhanced version of Apple's own Switchable Graphics tech (Which is already part of OS X), or maybe something along the lines of BumbleBee (a Linux implementation of Optimus that isn't necessarily tied to nVidia tech). Basically, the CPU graphics is used for output, as well as rendering of OS graphics. However, the graphics card does the heavy lifting for more demanding tasks, but instead of outputting rendered graphics to the display, the output is directed to the integrated graphics, which then actually displays it.

Again, OSX already has this capability. This also has other benefits. When the user isn't doing anything that requires the graphics card, it can be put in a low power state, and only draw power when actually used.

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