Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Jun 2013 17:07 UTC
Apple We already talked about iOS 7 yesterday (after a night of sleep, it's only looking worse and worse - look at this, for Fiona's sake!), so now it's time to talk about the downright stunning and belly flutters-inducing new Mac Pro. As former owner and huge, huge, huge fan of the PowerMac G4 Cube - I haven't been this excited about an Apple product since, well, I would say the iMac G4. This is the Apple I used to love.
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I think it's exciting
by whartung on Tue 11th Jun 2013 18:25 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

I am not a "pro" user, but I own an '06 Mac Pro, which has basically been working flawlessly for the past 7 years that it's been powered up 24x7.

This is the next "no more floppy drive" device from Apple. It's effectively done away with internal expansion, beyond memory. I don't know if a single socket device can upgrade to a dual socket device, I somehow doubt it. You might be able to swap out CPUs if you're clever, like some folks with the current crop of Pros can do.

But, that's really it.

Everything else is plugging in to ThunderBolt. Drives, displays, even extra GPUs in theory.

The expansion bus is no longer an edge connector, it's a serial cable.

This will bring expense to expansion, as each device will need it's own enclosure and power supply. You can use a multiple drive enclosure to get more bang for your buck. In theory you can get a card cage box with PCI edge connectors to plug in current crop cards. I don't know the driver shenanigans involved with that, or if that will "just work".

The dark side of this design is that whatever elegance the device has currently goes out the window once you start expanding it. With the beast that is the current Mac Pro, most of your expansion in internal and it remains as is -- an enormous, heavy, gleaming aluminum tower. Once set, never to move again.

When I got the Mac Pro, it was my hope for it to be a 10 year machine. The lack of a 32bit video pipeline killed that with Mtn. Lion, otherwise it would be going strong and staying current. Even though there are few GFX cards for Mac Pros, there are some, and I've upgraded mine in time.

I don't know if this machine can be a 10 year machine. Ostensibly it can, if we can upgrade the GPUs externally. Yea, machines are much faster today. A Man Mini has comparable stats to my Mac Pro. But, just. And it has no legs. It's a 1-2 year machine before being tossed aside.

This one might be a 5+ year machine, as is. If the GPUs can hold out.

As is, it seems like "home weather modeling" is not out of line on this box. The GPU should hold there own for many purposes, for some time.

But we'll see what the $2500 version of this machine comes with. I fully expect the base model on the Apple Store to be about this price point, since Apple builds to price points.

Reply Score: 8

RE: I think it's exciting
by tylerdurden on Tue 11th Jun 2013 18:49 in reply to "I think it's exciting"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

The "10 year" apple refers to has nothing to do with the specs of this specific model being "relevant and current" for a decade, or each machine being an investment that can be used for 10 years by the consumer.

They refer to the basic architecture of the system being of use for apple for at least 10 years. I personally think that is not the case, since it is a single socket architecture, and thus not very scalable for the professional market.

The external expansion, however, makes a lot of sense: customers can keep their drive arrays and all their data, as well as some PCI-expansion chassis for low bandwidth devices that they may have made an investment on. And simply "upgrade" to a newer "cylinder" when there is a new CPU/GPU combo available by simply swapping the processing cylinder to a newer revision.

I should caution that "it makes sense" depends on the price point Apple under which apple ends up delivering these machines. My guess it that the device will be too expensive, and as such... most of the value proposition of this architecture will be rendered moot.

Edited 2013-06-11 18:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I think it's exciting
by whartung on Tue 11th Jun 2013 20:37 in reply to "RE: I think it's exciting"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

The "10 year" apple refers to has nothing to do with the specs of this specific model being "relevant and current" for a decade, or each machine being an investment that can be used for 10 years by the consumer.

They refer to the basic architecture of the system being of use for apple for at least 10 years. I personally think that is not the case, since it is a single socket architecture, and thus not very scalable for the professional market.


You're confusing Apples 10 year with my 10 year. My 10 year is exactly that, my 10 years. 10 years on my desk -- unrelated to Apple. The basic premise being that the interfaces on that machine were not going away any time soon. The capacity of the machine would be enough to last 10 years (at the time, 2TB internals hard drive + 16GB of RAM, but the hard drives have crushed the 2TB barrier), and while CPU were getting faster, they weren't getting that much faster that quickly. Simply we were topping out the curve of CPU performance that in 10 years it wouldn't be a 8088 at 4.77Mhz. The CPUs would be "fast enough" for 10 years.

All this remained true to form. The only unexpected thing was the 32-bit video sub system that Apple obsoleted in OS X.8, Mountain Lion, when it mandated 64b for everything, all the time. I think the next gen Mac Pro fixed that issue.

So, I'm just not sure if this machine would well serve a consumer for 10 years. 5 easy, just not sure about 10. Were it not for the 32b video subsystem, my first gen Pro would have easily.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: I think it's exciting
by Lobotomik on Wed 12th Jun 2013 09:18 in reply to "I think it's exciting"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

>> The expansion bus is no longer an edge connector, it's a serial cable.

The expansion bus is *AGAIN* not an edge connector, it's a serial cable. Steve Jobs hailed this as a great advancement in computing when the original Macintosh was launched: It was sealed, because it was an "appliance", but it had two 1Mbps serial ports which he said were an insanely great way to provide expansion. It was not, at the time, so the Mac II came with NuBus.

Now we're back to square one with a serial bus. OK, Thunderbolt is 20K times faster than the original RS423, and serial buses have proved their immense practicality, especially USB. But it still looks stupid to me to pay a fortune to have an insanely beautiful computer on the desk, only nestled in a jumble of data cables and power cables and power warts and different but equally ugly external boxes.

It will look insanely elegant, however, if you simply plug it into LAN and file to shared servers, and use Bluetooth (Apple) keyboards, mice and monitors, which looks like the way this thing should be used.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I think it's exciting
by JAlexoid on Wed 12th Jun 2013 10:52 in reply to "RE: I think it's exciting"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

You are missing one thing though, the external enclosures will probably cost more than the MacPro itself. Thunderbolt enclosures today cost about $500 a pop and go to thousands of dollars.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I think it's exciting
by JAlexoid on Wed 12th Jun 2013 10:46 in reply to "I think it's exciting"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

extra GPUs in theory

Don't count on it. Thunderbolt2 is too slow and has high latency for that.

It's a beautiful device, but very un-Pro.

Reply Parent Score: 2