New Mac Pro

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New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:14 pm

I just recently saw the look and specs of the new Mac Pro and wanted to know what everyone else thinks about it. Anyone else interested in this machine (price not withstanding)? The look is definitely different.

Is this design really going to be better for air cooling or is it just a gimmick? And why has no one else thought of this design? The mechanics behind the tech seem sound.

So what are your thoughts?
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:50 pm

I think it's awesome. It's the kind of setup that we all wish we could pull off with a DIY SFF box (Xeon notwithstanding). The only real limitation seems to be the number of DIMM slots being half of what the CPU natively supports. Other than that, well, AMD GPU's. Full GK110's would be faster and more flexible.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:02 pm

I don't see the cooling as being a gimmick. It is a central cooling stack in the shape of a triangle with each side populated by its own motherboard. All of this is cooled by one fan. Very simple and very innovative. And it is only 9.9" tall.

As an OS X workstation designed for creative professionals I think it is a home run.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:53 pm

I'm excited about them pushing PCIe as a storage interface for SSDs. Hopefully this will push manufacturers away from SATA for SSDs.

The central cooling is interesting, but I'll have to wait and see how it works in when in the wild.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:06 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:I'm excited about them pushing PCIe as a storage interface for SSDs. Hopefully this will push manufacturers away from SATA for SSDs.

The central cooling is interesting, but I'll have to wait and see how it works in when in the wild.


I'm surprised PCIe SSDs aren't here right now. Samsung is obviously willing to produce them, and I wouldn't believe that the other manufacturer's are far behind; I mean, we got mSATA SSD's pretty quick, and those have a fairly limited market, it seems.

As for the cooling- well, Apple knows what people want. People want appliances. I expect that aside from converting electricity to heat, it will be both effective at cooling the high-TDP components as well as minimizing the aural profile.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:38 pm

greenmystik wrote:Is this design really going to be better for air cooling or is it just a gimmick? And why has no one else thought of this design? The mechanics behind the tech seem sound.


Yeah, someone thought of it before--Apple: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/p ... _cube.html

Expensive, limited expandability, and the most important issue for the target audience--you could see lines in it from the injection molding process that was used. Faint, barely-there lines but HORRIBLE OBSTRUCTIONS TO PERFECTION!

I thought it rather novel. Hey, if it works, go for it. Apple's had some random case designs and it's been nice variety. If they influence PC vendors to make new stuff to emulate them, that lets PC users have new cool things too without the Apple stigma.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:53 pm

Airmantharp wrote:I think it's awesome. It's the kind of setup that we all wish we could pull off with a DIY SFF box (Xeon notwithstanding). The only real limitation seems to be the number of DIMM slots being half of what the CPU natively supports. Other than that, well, AMD GPU's. Full GK110's would be faster and more flexible.


On Mac, I think there's better OpenCL support on the AMD chips? Maybe the nvidia chips were too hot though I would think they'd have better pro application support. Some people are complaining that the second GPU is likely going to be unused most of the time. Not that it really matters, Apple's pretty far behind on OpenGL support, what are they, on version 2.1? Maybe 3? I think 4.2 is the current one? Plus, any pros with a large investment in PCIe devices or internal storage are not looking forward to having to buy a PCIe external box to hook up to the machine via thunderbolt. Or a thunderbolt-based RAID for the drives they used to have internal.

Please recall that many "pro" users of Apple workstations have been very angry over the last several years. Apple abandoned the XServe which meant the Final Cut Pro and other media houses couldn't have an all-OS X set of machines to manage. Apple won many people over with Final Cut Pro and then pissed many off with the changes to Final Cut Pro X. The lack of roadmaps or information from Apple makes it harder for pros to plan budgets and see what features are coming in the future. People thought that Logic Pro was abandoned, no info and no updates for a while. Now Logic Pro X got released, yay! But that underscores the whole lack-of-roadmap that businesses like to have when they depend on a vendor's tools to generate revenue.

I guess like how Google keeps buying companies up and then letting their products languish before eventually killing them off except Google's not "evil" or whatever.

The traditional Apple pro user, from what I gather, was hoping for an updated dual-socket Xeon workstation with internal PCIe and SATA slots so they could just keep on truckin'. The new Mac Pro is very interesting and it will be interesting to see how well it gets adopted or if it's the thing that finally pushes Apple pros into looking at Windows based workflows and alternative programs.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:12 pm

I was talking to some audio engineers that are all Mac users. They all thought the design and the innovation was pretty cool, but that the limited expansion is a major factor. Some people need a lot more than just a video card in their PCI slots: storage controllers, audio-processing cards, and even I/O expansion cards. They were remarking on the ugly necessity of external PCI boxes and the extreme price of them as well.

I think the new design is innovative for cooling and rather nice looking, since they are neat and tight. Good for a single workstation without a lot of I/O or PCI needs.

I think it is really inefficient for floorspace (they are round, imagine wanting to store 8 or 16 of them in a tight space), and extremely limiting in terms of I/O and expansion.

And, naturally, very overpriced.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:11 pm

I think the design looks cool today, but will not age well, and will ultimately end up looking pretty cheesy (unlike the previous aluminum tower design, which still looks awesome after a decade in existence). The design is also going to attract a lot of dust and finger-prints, and is not going to look as refined with a bunch of cables jutting out the back. From a usability standpoint, some front USB ports would also be nice (a contradiction to my earlier point, I know).

As for cooling, I have no doubt that it will work well, as Apple's engineers generally do a good job with adequate cooling versus noise.

If I were a Mac guy, I would lust the most over a 15" MacBook Pro, which I believe is the pinnacle of laptop design, and by a large margin (don't get me started on the crappy trackpad on my Asus Zenbook). However, having both a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro sitting on your desk would be pretty cool...
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:57 pm

Airmantharp wrote:I'm surprised PCIe SSDs aren't here right now. Samsung is obviously willing to produce them, and I wouldn't believe that the other manufacturer's are far behind; I mean, we got mSATA SSD's pretty quick, and those have a fairly limited market, it seems.


There is the FusionIO stuff.

mSATA solves a problem for small form factor systems. Most SFF systems maybe have room for two 2.5 drives, but with mSATA they have room more, or a smaller footprint.

The Apple Cube was a ode to the Next Cube. The Apple Cubes also had a habit of melting.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... XTcube.jpg

I think it will age well. It's lightly styled, and it's not ornate. It should hold up at least as well as the current design, which is kind of cartoonish at this point.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:06 pm

LukeCWM wrote:And, naturally, very overpriced.

Pricing on previous gen Mac Pros compared favourably to the competition.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:15 pm

I really like the new design of the MacPro. Darth Vader meets Iron Man, all it's missing is a red lightsabre beam coming out the top of it. :D

I do hope the MacBook Pros stay mostly flat, however. It would be a pain to carry a lightsabre around everywhere I go...
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:28 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:It should hold up at least as well as the current design, which is kind of cartoonish at this point.


If the old, industrial design was cartoonish, then the new version looks like Darth Vadar's meditation chamber.

:P

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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:55 am

Scrotos wrote:Apple's pretty far behind on OpenGL support, what are they, on version 2.1? Maybe 3? I think 4.2 is the current one


The current version of OS X has 3.2 and Mavericks will have 4.1

http://www.geeks3d.com/20130611/apple-a ... mavericks/

Edit: formatting.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:51 am

BIF wrote:I really like the new design of the MacPro. Darth Vader meets Iron Man, all it's missing is a red lightsabre beam coming out the top of it. :D

I do hope the MacBook Pros stay mostly flat, however. It would be a pain to carry a lightsabre around everywhere I go...


Not sure where you get "Darth Vader" thing - all I think of when I look at Mac Pro is this:

Image

:lol:
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:31 am

Scrotos wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:I think it's awesome. It's the kind of setup that we all wish we could pull off with a DIY SFF box (Xeon notwithstanding). The only real limitation seems to be the number of DIMM slots being half of what the CPU natively supports. Other than that, well, AMD GPU's. Full GK110's would be faster and more flexible.


On Mac, I think there's better OpenCL support on the AMD chips? Maybe the nvidia chips were too hot though I would think they'd have better pro application support. Some people are complaining that the second GPU is likely going to be unused most of the time. Not that it really matters, Apple's pretty far behind on OpenGL support, what are they, on version 2.1? Maybe 3? I think 4.2 is the current one? Plus, any pros with a large investment in PCIe devices or internal storage are not looking forward to having to buy a PCIe external box to hook up to the machine via thunderbolt. Or a thunderbolt-based RAID for the drives they used to have internal.

[edited out]

The traditional Apple pro user, from what I gather, was hoping for an updated dual-socket Xeon workstation with internal PCIe and SATA slots so they could just keep on truckin'. The new Mac Pro is very interesting and it will be interesting to see how well it gets adopted or if it's the thing that finally pushes Apple pros into looking at Windows based workflows and alternative programs.


Could be better OpenCL support- but that's really up to Apple to make happen, and that may be why they went with AMD, as AMD has the hardware and was likely more willing to work with them to get the driver architecture where Apple needed it. It definitely makes sense from that perspective- though the Nvidia hardware would have been more powerful, and I can't ignore the gaming angle here, where Nvidia's SLI drivers are far more mature :).

I'm sure Mac Pro users were looking forward to a dual-socket system; the old Mac Pro design really isn't that 'old', since it could easily be upgraded to support Ivy-E, while giving users everything they need, like multiple PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and any number of SATA/SAS drive bays. This new system is fairly compact- so you have to wonder if there isn't more coming from Apple to satisfy those needs.

And if you think about it- what are you going to do on a Mac that you would need all of that processing power, that wouldn't be better done on a Linux cluster? I'd think that Apple decided to put in a second GPU instead of a second CPU because the things that Macs are used for and excel at are better suited to GPGPU processing rather than relatively slow CPU processing. It's not like a six or eight core Sandy/Ivy wouldn't be enough to keep a pair of top-end GPUs fed with compute work :).

Lastly, I don't think we can count Apple out for different designs; even this design could be turned into a 'square' by adding another side to accommodate a second CPU, and it'd be nothing to make it a few inches taller to support six or eight 2.5" (or even 3.5") SATA/SAS bays for storage. I think that it's far less likely for Apple to go this route, yes, but it's not like they couldn't.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:05 pm

I thought the new Mac Pro looked really good. I don't need it. But I want it.
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Re: New Mac Pro

Postposted on Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:00 pm

I think it's a very interesting piece of design and some very clever engineering, but the relative shallowness of the ThunderBolt device ecosystem makes me feel like expanding the Mac Pro will be far more painful for many professionals that it really should be.

How I feel about it will really come down to pricing. If Apple can somehow make this device for cheap (the 12C CPU and Fire Pro GPUs alone retail for over $10K) or at least reasonably priced, I think it could make for a very convincing option. If they price it inline with what it should cost if it were filled with retail parts, then I think it'll be a very hard sell at $15K or so.
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