2010 calls Apple, wants its Mac Pro back

With all the hype surrounding the Retina-equipped MacBook Pro, few noticed that Apple has updated its Mac Pro desktop. The term "updated" is probably a little too generous, though. As former Mac designer Andy Hertzfeld points out, the years-old system received only a CPU clock speed bump. Users now have their choice of Xeon E5645 and W3565 CPUs, which were first released in early 2010 and late 2009, respectively.

The Mac Pro starts at $2500, so what other cutting-edge technology does it offer? Radeon 5770 or 5870 graphics cards, both launched in the fall of 2009. The system can be configured with a 512GB solid-state drive, but its performance will be limited by the Mac Pro’s reliance on old-school 3Gbps Serial ATA ports. There’s no USB 3.0 connectivity, either, and not even Thunderbolt support. PCI Express? 2.0 only. And the next update isn’t due until next year!

Don’t worry; it’ll be "really great." In an email reportedly sent to a Mac user, Apple CEO Tim Cook says a new Mac Pro will be released in 2013. Forbes has the the full text, which notes the "revolutionary" and "incredible" features recently added to Apple’s Final Cut Pro X and Aperture software. If the next Mac Pro will only be "really great," perhaps we shouldn’t get our hopes up for something extraordinary or magical.

I can’t help but contrast the Mac Pro’s specifications with those of the beefy Double-Stuff workstation configuration from our current System Guide. For around $2800, that system packs a water-cooled, six-core, Sandy Bridge-E CPU; an X79 motherboard loaded with USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps ports; a cutting-edge Radeon HD 7970 graphics card; 256GB of solid-state storage backed by 2TB of redundant hard drive capacity; and 16GB of RAM. There’s a discrete sound card in there, too, and the Cooler Master chassis is very snazzy. The base Mac Pro looks pretty sad by comparison.

To be fair, the Mac Pro can be configured with dual six-core CPUs… for $3800. Asus makes a well-equipped, dual-socket workstation board if you’d rather pair two current-generation CPUs.

Comments closed
    • kitsura
    • 7 years ago

    You know who else Apple doesn’t care about? The enterprise people. Every since they EOL the Xserve and Xserve RAID my company has been running those devices with 0 support.

    But we will be replacing those with a standard complaint devices this year. Know what else we are getting rid of? All the Mac G5, Macbooks, Macbook Pros and iMacs. Good riddance Apple, we don’t need you either.

    • zzz
    • 7 years ago

    Apple does not care about OSX anymore, it’s all about iOS. You can’t buy one with an actual workstation graphics card, this is proof of that, get over it. They make an overwhelming majority of their money on their mobile platform and there are many rumours of iOS replacing OSX. Stop complaining, this is the direction Apple is going, if you don’t agree then buy Windows or Android.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      Did you actually watch the WWDC keynote? I doubt it. Apple gave OS X tons of love.

      Back in October of 2010 it was noted that “the Mac is a $22 billion business. This means that if Apple were to spin off the Mac business, it alone would be the number 110 business in the Fortune 500 list of companies.” Apple’s Mac business has grown substantially since then.

    • ryko
    • 7 years ago

    So on one hand we have apple who obviously cares little about the professional desktop market with stunts like this, but then there’s Microsoft who seems determined to undermine the professional desktop market with win8 and metro. So now what? I miss sgi workstations…

      • The Wanderer
      • 7 years ago

      Sounds like another prime opportunity for this to be the Year of the Linux Desktop!

    • EV42TMAN
    • 7 years ago

    HAHAHA apple fails again. thing in the desktop,workstation, and server area they always fail. they would be better off to wipe OSx of the mac PRO and load windows 7

    • paulWTAMU
    • 7 years ago

    I can kind of respect Mac’s design, but who the hell pays current tech prices for 2+ year old tech?

    • Jakubgt
    • 7 years ago

    Remember, 17 months after the original iPhone 4 came out all we saw was a better camera and upgraded processor. I’m not surprised the Mac Pro is seeing such slow progress as well

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 7 years ago

    Apple makes awesome toys. They don’t make computers.

      • My Johnson
      • 7 years ago

      Troll harder.

        • AbsoluteCh405
        • 7 years ago

        Cry more!

          • flip-mode
          • 7 years ago

          Do better!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Good job! Good effort!

    • ShadowEyez
    • 7 years ago

    Desktops are not really Apple’s focus anymore, so it’s not suprising. If you had a limited number of engineers and integrators, wouldn’t you rather focus on say iPhone 5, iPad4, iTV etc… than an old desktop?

      • My Johnson
      • 7 years ago

      Mobile is where the money. But that has been known for some time now.

    • Xenolith
    • 7 years ago

    Might be time to start a Hackintosh system guide.

      • yokem55
      • 7 years ago

      Tonymacx86 already does a really good job of this and would be a huge time sink for these guys…

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    The Mac Pro has turned into a farce.

    The really sad thing is that Apple is ignoring the entire Ivy Bridge desktop lineup.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    I guess they want to have all video A/V editors, developers, etc doing this on ipads.

    • smilingcrow
    • 7 years ago

    [WWDC 2013. Tim Cook enters stage left and reads from an autocue]
    Introducing the New Mac Semi-Pro/Semi-Amateur!
    [He looks bemused and the crowd freeze with shock]
    [PR iGuru off stage].
    Damn, we didn’t think that through.
    [Hastily reaches for his nearest iDevice. He is attempting to contact the Cupertino bunker where the RDF generator is located.]
    [Cook improvises on stage]
    Erm, well clearly it is a professional tool as used by fully committed tools, I mean professionals.
    [The audience gasp at the audacity of Cook for improvising and think he may be the next John Coltrane and vow to check iTunes for Cooks’s latest album]
    [PR iGuru hits the contacts icon on his; well you know what it is]
    [The voice of Siri]
    How may I assist?
    [PR iGuru]
    No, I just want to select someone from my contacts list!
    [Siri]
    Which of your magical friends do you want to share your vast wisdom with?
    [PR iGuru]
    No, I just want to see the contacts list.
    [Siri]
    Now don’t be shy.
    [PR iGuru with an ever increasing voice level]
    No, I Just Want To See The Contacts List.
    [Siri]
    Oh cheeky, well if you want to play games I have all day or roughly 3 hours according to my battery level and the specs at Apple.com.
    [PR iGuru shouts]
    I DON’T HAVE THE F’ING TIME.
    [Siri]
    Would you like me to cross reference my battery life estimation with 3rd party reviews keeping in mind that they are unauthorised so clearly biased?
    [PR iGuru screams]
    AAAAGH, I HAVE ABOUT 2 MINUTES LEFT TO GET THROUGH TO THE BUNKER BEFORE THE iSHIT HITS THE FAN. DIAL THE RDF BUNKER NOW.
    [Siri]
    I’m sorry sir but the RDF bunker is a myth.
    [PR iGuru yelps in a scared voice]
    Oh Christ, we are all doomed. If we don’t hit the switch that boosts the RDF to the maximum setting in the next 60 seconds we will have missed the 5 minute window that allows us to cover up our blunders.
    [Siri]
    Is that so bad?
    [PR iGuru whimpers]
    So bad, so bad! We can only stop him for so long. With every blunder we make he gets stronger and before long he will be back and he will judge us so harshly that the public response to the Metro interface will seem like a Justin Bieber fan’s drooling adulation by comparison.
    [Siri]
    The 5 minute window has now passed.
    Sir, your ECG sensor seems to have become detached as the reading is now flat.
    [PR iGuru]
    {RIP}

    • blastdoor
    • 7 years ago

    My hunch is that the whines/taunts (depending on who says it) about Apple “not caring” about pro users are wrong. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t make any change to the Mac Pro and they would make no announcement about the future. They would just sell out existing inventory and then EOL it.

    Instead, what did they do? They made a small update and then did something apple NEVER does — pre announced a future product, with a fuzzy release date. That ensures virtually nobody will buy the current product. Why would they do that if they wanted to clear out current inventory and then EOL it? It makes no sense.

    What does make sense to me is that they intended to have a new Mac Pro out this year and somehow royally f’d it up. And because they actually DO care about pro users, they are now scrambling to try and somehow keep those users from bolting the platform, by promising to update the machine (and accepting the short term loss of sales that will result from that promise).

    How and why did they f this thing up so bad? I suspect that we may be observing some shifting priorities post-Jobs. There is something about Cook (a certain IBMishness) that makes me suspect he is quite a bit more interested in the pro market, and the enterprise market, than Jobs ever was. Jobs contempt for the suits of the world was pretty clear, but I don’t think its a contempt Cook shares. And, just on a practical level, Apple needs to look for growth opportunities, and the pro/business market is a big growth opportunity for Apple, given Apple’s small market share.

    So anyway… yeah, Apple really f’d up, and they deserve a fair bit of criticism for it. But I think it’s off target to suggest that Apple doesn’t care about pro users or plans to abandon them. That just doesn’t make sense.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      I feel sad that I have to explain the joke behind my post but since you used the phrase so many times in your post I feel I must: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JDXAin4XkQ[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      If it was a priority to them it’d have come with Sandy Bridge E.

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        Or if they hadn’t f’d up it’d have come with Sandy Bridge E.

        Just because Apple screws something up, that doesn’t mean they don’t care or it’s not a priority. By that logic, the iPhone wasn’t a priority for Apple in 2010, because of the “antennae gate” problem, and it wasn’t a priority for them last year because they didn’t introduce the 4s until October instead of June. No doubt the iPhone will soon be EOL’d.

        The new Sandy Bridge Xeons only recently came out. The lack of a Mac Pro update prior to the release of those Xeons could be seen as a function of that issue alone.

        The fact that Apple hasn’t updated to the new SB Xeons is what raises the question — do they just not care about pro users anymore, OR did they screw something up. As I said, if pro users aren’t a priority for them anymore, then why bother saying anything? My money is on a screw-up, not a lack of priority/care.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          I think if they were a priority the hardware would be newer than 2 year old stuff across the board.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            Again, most of that lag is Intel’s fault. You could say pro users aren’t a priority for Intel because they took so long to update the Xeon. I guess they just don’t care about pro users and everyone should buy Opterons.

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            But all the other workstation makers weren’t affected by said lag.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            Oh really? How did they manage to include new processors that didn’t exist in their machines for the last two years?

            It’s only within the past few months that Apple has truly begun to lag by not updating to SB Xeon (and hey Intel — SB Xeon? What about Ivy Bridge? Don’t you care about Pro Users????)

            There’s no doubt that Apple is now officially a few months behind everyone else in upgrading their high end workstation desktop. But that’s what it is — a few months. Not “years”.

            My contention is Apple has f’d something up with the new design they intended to replace the Mac Pro, and have now been caught in the embarrassing position of not having a plan B. It sucks, and Apple deserves to be criticized for it. I just think the contention that Apple “doesn’t care” or “doesn’t prioritize” pro users is BS.

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            Sure, right now it’s months. But it *will* be years by the time they get around to pushing out new Mac Pros if Tim Cook’s statement is correct.

            • sjl
            • 7 years ago

            I’m willing to accept that they might have screwed something up in the update to later Xeons. It’s not fantastic, but it happens. (Mind you, that’s being extremely generous; I don’t think it’s good enough, but for the sake of discussion, let’s take that as given.)

            But why, why, why, [i<]why[/i<] are they still using the Radeon 5770, or (for a mere $AU220 more) the Radeon 5870, as the graphics card? There's no excuse beyond sheer laziness. And those are the [i<]only[/i<] options - you can't go out, buy (say) a 7750, plug it in, and expect it to work (let alone going out and buying an nVidia card.) Unless you install Windows, and frankly, if you're going to do that, why spend the money on a current Mac Pro? Oh well. I figured, when I bought my Mac Pro in 2010, that it would last me ten years. I just didn't expect it to be so close to the Mac "bleeding edge" (such as it is) two years later.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, that’s lame too (the graphics card). And it would be a lot easier to get an updated graphics card that works with the current Mac Pro (much easier than putting SB Xeon in the existing Mac Pro).

            I’m in a similar position with my 2009 Mac Pro. I bought it when it first came out (which is always the best time to buy a Mac Pro). I figured it would last 5 years at least.

            Maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe most Mac Pro users actually are in the same position we are — perfectly happy with what they have, not really itching to upgrade.

            • sjl
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, pretty much. The only thing that’s constraining me right now in what I want to do with the system is RAM – I bumped it up to 12 GB a few months after I bought it, and that’s not enough. I work in backup/recovery for a living; a playpen environment to get up to speed on various products wants 12 GB RAM minimum, and there’s no way I’m giving all of my RAM to a VM (and there’s absolutely no point in dual booting in that circumstance, as the backup server wouldn’t be able to do anything with the would-be client.) Fortunately, I can bump it up to 48 GB(!) fairly easily. I’m really glad I opted for the MP now; I wouldn’t be able to do as much fiddling at home with any other Mac system (and I really don’t want to have to have a second system for professional purposes.)

            Apple seems to be geared towards the “buy it, use it until it’s no longer useful, then buy a new system”. And, to be fair, the majority of people don’t need to upgrade their systems; my needs – and the needs of most people on TR – are exceptional. But so are the needs of video professionals (in particular), and Apple runs a very real risk of alienating them, between the Final Cut Pro X debacle and the lack of Mac Pro updates – either Apple needs to accept that they’ll lose that market, or they need to be more up front about what’s going on in the pro space. My tip: they’ll probably end up losing the market.

            It’s sad, given that that market is a major reason why Apple survived through the lean years. They really are moving away from their roots as a computer company; I understand why, but it’s still sad to see it happen.

          • Meadows
          • 7 years ago

          So Apple gets a free pass to make mistakes, but others don’t?

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            WTF? How is saying that Apple f’d up giving them a free pass?

            This entire discussion is bizarre. It’s an argument over whether:

            (1) Apple just doesn’t love a certain group of people as much as they love some other group of people

            or

            (2) Apple screwed up royally in their plans to update a machine

            How is either of these a “free pass” to Apple?

            Why is it so impossible to believe that Apple can make mistakes, but so easy to believe that Apple’s just a big bunch of meanies who, despite the money they could make off it, just refuse to sell a product that people want?

            I guess in a weird way, it’s a compliment to Apple. Apparently it is totally inconceivable to people around here that Apple is capable of making mistakes.

            • flip-mode
            • 7 years ago

            You make good points, but some of the machine’s specs could be updated. 5770 or 5870, really? How bout USB 3 and SATA 6G even if by add-in cards? And why no price drops over time? That’s the worst part about Apple products is that prices almost never go down even when the hardware is as out of date as this is.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      With Windows8 looking so bad for businesses, perhaps they’re looking to capitalise on what businesses actually want.

      </vague>

      • WaltC
      • 7 years ago

      The question is not just whether Apple cares about so-called Pro users, the question is whether, when Apple actually ships an up-to-date box, there will be any users who still care about an Apple “Mac Pro”…

      I cannot be the only one who thinks that putting 3-4 years between Mac Pro releases, especially with the fiscal resources Apple currently has, is an indication that Apple “cares” about its Mac Pro market at all. Other companies with far less in the way of resources have done much better with that particular market segment, and manage to update their component lists much more often. Indeed, as this thread indicates, individual users can themselves build their own boxes that are far superior to the Mac Pro in virtually every category, including cost–right now. The picture grows exceedingly more bizarre when you start ticking off factory warranties on all of those components versus the miserly year that Apple provides.

      But the Mac market in itself isn’t really directed at people who know what they are doing with their hardware, is it? Apple really doesn’t want those people, imo. The company sure as heck never markets to them. “PC vs. Mac” advertising, aside from being so dated it is no longer even applicable (it originated long before the Mac became an Intel x86 clone box), is surely not directed at people who know their hardware. It’s directed squarely at people who don’t. That has always been true of Apple, though.

    • rythex
    • 7 years ago

    At this moment there is an apple fanboy stating he doesn’t need USB3.0 because his I-Phone only supports USB2.0

    • burntham77
    • 7 years ago

    One of the managers at my job, who is a big fan of Macs, had us get rid of the Mac Pros when their leases were up and replaced them all with 27 inch iMacs. We not only got better screens, but the hardware is much better value than the Pros.

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      Yes but you still got robbed….

      • bthylafh
      • 7 years ago

      That’s what I’ve been having out DTP department do for the past year-ish. They didn’t upgrade their Power Macs and Mac Pros often enough to make paying nearly double worthwhile, and with Sandy Bridge the iMacs are plenty fast anyhow.

      The hard drives are a bear to get out, but fortunately that’s not something I have to worry about too often.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    This is why people shouldn’t support Apple……..What’s the point of paying so much money if you get such outdated hardware? Do some enjoy being tricked?

    • shank15217
    • 7 years ago

    Apple abandoned the server space and are planning to do the same to the high end users. I don’t thing the mac pro will get an update next year. Apple of the future is all about their phones and their laptops, they don’t give a crap about power users or the enterprise.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    “With those other guys, when you spend top dollar you approach top dollar parts in at least a few categories. With the other guys, you can buy high end performance with all the trimmings and get exactly what you expect. But here at Apple, we remember what Steve Jobs told us. Think different. So we turn the industry on its head, keep the top dollar price, but axe the real improvements. It’s a little something we call the, ‘Subliminally-Hidden Inter-retrograde Thought System.’ (Please avoid the acronym.) This is an Apple innovation.

    “We give you yesterday’s performance at tomorrow’s higher pricing. We tell you the awesome is there, but we don’t provide the awesome. You do. Instead of having the awesome given to you, handed to you like stale popcorn, you must reach out, expand your mind to accept the awesome of this product without awesome, and create the awesome in your mind. In so doing, you embrace the truth of the Reality Distortion Field and let it encapsulate you. Lost in the loving and welcoming Reality Distortion Field, you will soon find what isn’t true is true the more of you believe it and the harder you focus on making it real. And what is true becomes debatable, even deniable. Soon, you will find the awesome in this new Mac Pro and you’ll forget you ever doubted it.

    “Isn’t that worth top dollar pricing? Yesterday’s computer at tomorrow’s higher costs, but wrapped in a field of distorted reality freshly made for your use. Only Apple can give you that. Think different.”

    • hubick
    • 7 years ago

    Dear Pro users,

    This is what happens when you lock yourself in to a platform from a single vendor.

    Sincerely,
    — All of us who told you so.

      • Mourmain
      • 7 years ago

      — Sent from my 1366×786 Windows 8 PC, in my mom’s basement.

        • ClickClick5
        • 7 years ago

        EDIT:

        “Sent from my 1366×786 Windows 8 -netbook-, in my mom’s basement.”

        And I wrote that on my actual PC. 1680×1050, 20in.

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 7 years ago

          Also in YOUR mom’s basement, I bet!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        I LOL’d

        • smilingcrow
        • 7 years ago

        Hello Master Norman ……. Bates. Master Bates by name and master bates by nature.

    • Meadows
    • 7 years ago

    [url<]http://i46.tinypic.com/2iizcr8.jpg[/url<]

    • jensend
    • 7 years ago

    Forget the Double Stuff, which is far past the point of diminishing returns on the price-performance curve; instead, note that the Mac Pro is markedly inferior to your Sweet Spot config, which costs 40% as much, and it’s not really all that much better than the less-than-a-quarter-of-the-price Econobox.

    • bthylafh
    • 7 years ago

    More Apple evil:
    [url<]http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/06/retina-macbook-pro-full-of-air-style-proprietary-parts/[/url<] With the new Retina MBPs, the RAM is soldered with no sockets, the battery is /glued/ in place, and the SSD has a gratuitously incompatible interface. So if someone's got a new MBP and decides in a year that he wants more RAM, he's going to have to buy a whole new laptop, and same deal, apparently, if his battery dies.

      • aceuk
      • 7 years ago

      How do you expect them to make an ultra-thin laptop otherwise?

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        With sockets and screws, mostly. This isn’t about thinness, and you know it.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 7 years ago

          Look at the teardown, every square millimeter of space is taken up in that chassis. Socketed RAM takes up far more space than having the RAM modules on the mobo PCB itself

            • Squeazle
            • 7 years ago

            You mean they weren’t able to create an inset RAM slot. It’s one of those little innovations they could implement that would go a long way, but they can’t be bothered because they’re now on an update-timeline.

            • Decelerate
            • 7 years ago

            Why doesn’t someone else do it then?

            • Squeazle
            • 7 years ago

            No one else is so bothered about the arbitrary space saving.

            • adisor19
            • 7 years ago

            Wrong. No one else can afford to do it, sell it and still make a profit.

            Adi

            • adisor19
            • 7 years ago

            Love the down votes. That being said, prove me wrong gentlemen. Prove me wrong.

            Adi

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t see why the two things are mutually exclusive.

            No one else can make money doing it because the majority of customers don’t care, n’est ce pas?

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      The battery can be replaced by Apple. In this case, it looks like Apple will give the user a new laptop seeing as it’s actually glued in place ! Perhaps not that of a bad deal after all..

      Adi

        • bthylafh
        • 7 years ago

        Holy wastefulness Batman!

          • Meadows
          • 7 years ago

          Don’t worry about waste, they’ll just go and under-pay some Chinese company to incinerate the returned devices someplace hidden.

          • adisor19
          • 7 years ago

          LOL don’t worry, they wont throw it away.

          Adi

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      B-B-BUT! Just think of those extra 3mm of unsightly flab these things would have if there was actually room for DIMM sockets! Seems like a no-brainer to me…

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]So if someone's got a new MBP and decides in a year that he wants more RAM, he's going to have to buy a whole new laptop,[/quote<] Isn't that what Apple has wanted/has been doing all along?

      • Decelerate
      • 7 years ago

      He can always sell the laptop (great resell value). I doubt Apple can’t change the battery for the price of a new battery.

      I’d rather have a good static performing laptop than an “upgradable” crappy one.

      The entry price for retina asset however is steep. Too steep for my usage. 1500 for an Air with a great screen and I would’ve jumped.

        • Washer
        • 7 years ago

        So, instead of just spending $30 for a RAM upgrade you’re suggesting a person sell their otherwise fine laptop, lose at least a couple of hundred on the transaction and buy a completely new system? Don’t tell me you can’t see how that’s ridiculous. This also means that you’re now forced to pay an outrageous fee for a RAM upgrade over stock from the get go instead of being able to pay market price for RAM.

        I sincerely doubt Apple will charge a reasonable rate for a battery placement. There’s nothing stopping them from charging a ridiculous fee since the user has zero choice.

        Soldered memory doesn’t increase performance, neither does the battery being glued in place increase battery life. Your reality truly has been distorted if you’re trying to defend this practice.

          • adisor19
          • 7 years ago

          Battery replacement should be around 130 – 160$ including the cost of the battery.

          Can anyone verify that ?

          Adi

            • Joel H.
            • 7 years ago

            I believe a new battery is $200.

          • Decelerate
          • 7 years ago

          Soldered memory avoids packaging of the memory on a PCB and also avoids all the costs and manufacturing (3rd party subcontracting) of building that separate memory unit.

          It’s how the NIC cards have been eliminated as a separate component and the networking interface now integrated on all modern motherboards.

          Apple is betting that size > convenience, which imo is not a very bad bet. I personally am indifferent to the strategy: 100$ for 4GB is what most/all manufacturers charge, and I won’t be bothered to separately buy SODIMMS and install. I don’t even upgrade the desktops I build (but build them with that logic in mind), so to customize laptops…?

          As for whether this move is good overall, only time and the market will decide. Remember how Apple backed out of changing that switch from a rotation lock to a mute button? They can back off if they’re pressured to.

          Remember laptops with customizable GPUs? Where are they now?

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Apple is betting consumers do not care, which from their perspective is virtually guaranteed. Many, most even, people do not consider if shaving 3mm to 5mm of thickness is worth the inability to upgrade RAM for $30 instead of $100 or being able to replace a battery or upgrade storage without being tied to Apple, or just fix any of the above. Personally I do not find this acceptable, nor do I enjoy that the possibility of choice for me is being steadily removed thanks to that consumer ignorance. I fear the limitations that will be forced upon me when I buy a new laptop or consider a new desktop build.

            You know what really sucks? Companies, be it Apple or other companies not limited to electronics, are actively attempting to limit or prohibit consumers from being able to modify or repair products they have bought. Increasingly I feel strange and out of place because I have a desire to do my own repairs, learn new trades and skill, or even just use something longer than two years before replacing it.

            • Decelerate
            • 7 years ago

            Increasing specialization will do that to a society. 2012 cars are more complex than 1912 cars.

            As for feature sets: Apple is not a monopoly (yet) in laptops. As long as that statement remains true, failure to deliver what consumers want is a perfect environment for a competitor to blossom. RIM, Nokia, Microsoft (mobile), Motorola, etc. etc. [i<]eventually[/i<] learned this the hard way when they laughed at the iPhone circa 2007. What Apple can do, others can do to Apple. I'm not saying it will happen fast, only that it will. If they're playing by the right rules. Market share is [b<][u<]not[/u<][/b<] it.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Complexity does not preclude the ability for people to repair or modify devices like laptops. That prevention comes from design choices made specifically to hinder such actions. Complexity does not demand Apple glue in the battery, nor does it demand the RAM be soldered to the motherboard. The demand for RAM to be soldered to the motherboard is the prevention of other companies or people supplying RAM for Apple’s products. This prevention is then sold to consumers as justification for a thin laptop and the knowledge that because consumers are lazy they’ll never question if a laptop being 0.71″ instead of .81″ thick is worth that lose in the immediate or long term.

            Companies who also build or develop end products for consumers have no need to cater to people like me either. I am in the minority, I’m fully aware of this. What makes me sad is that on a website like Tech Report I would expect other intelligent consumers. People who have the knowledge to realize they’re being sold artificial benefits. It is there that I expected too much.

            • Decelerate
            • 7 years ago

            These benefits are artificial for whom? For you maybe, but having to lug a laptop for miles on end in the middle of nowhere for weeks worth, I value size and weight and every bit of gain in those aspects.

            Did you see the ram? The chips are soldered directly to the motherboard. Did you see the SSD? there’s no packaging at all (the SSD actually look like it’s a mutated ram stick).

            As for the glue, I’m not sure if it was necessary. The battery however is in multiple modules.

            Also, everyone not sharing your need for expandability and tweakage is not an “intelligent consumer”? Wow.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Thinness doesn’t allow you to fit the laptop in more places, doesn’t make it easier to use on a plane or on your lap or on a small desk space. It’s not as if they’re giving you an ultra thin bezel or fitting a 15″ screen in a 14″ laptop body. It’s still a 15″ laptop in every dimension except the one that doesn’t matter outside of marketing and photo shoots.

            Weight is beneficial but MacBooks have never been especially light outside of the Air line, I also don’t at all buy in to the idea that increasing the size by a few extra millimeters (or for that matter reducing it) would create a substantial weight difference.

            It’s also laughable to insinuate anyone takes their laptops with them to a place truly in the middle of nowhere (or even remotely isolated). You carry it through airports, to your hotel room, to the meeting room, back to the hotel, back to the airport and then back to the office. It’s either resting on the floor as you wait or on a table in front of you. But hey whatever you want to pretend is the case go ahead and do that.

            [url<]http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-with-Retina-Display-Teardown/9462/3[/url<] Yes I've seen the internals. The laptop is basically unrepairable for anyone but Apple. Nothing can be replaced. You know what really sucks? Being without your laptop because a component that was user replaceable on any other laptop breaks in your MBP requires you to ship the unit to Apple, be repaired and then shipped back. That sucks. All of these sacrifices for a tenth of an inch.

            • Decelerate
            • 7 years ago

            You’re really in denial aren’t you: when I say middle of nowhere I mean on the top of a mountain smack-dab in the forest, after hours of trekking. There’s no wifi, even less an RJ-45 port stuck out of a tree. You happen to know more than myself on where I bring my ownlaptop? Wow.

            That laptop is not for you. There are dozens, hundreds that are. Move along.

            I’ll take my tenth of an inch. Those add up after a while.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      It is $200 to upgrade the MBP Retina to 16GB of memory at the time of purchase – you would have to be nuts not to.

      Based on what I read over at iFixit the SSD in both the 2012 MBA and MBP Retina can be replaced/upgraded.

      I am relieved that the 2012 MBA has an replaceable battery. The glued in battery of the MBP Retina is a problem.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        but if they’d not soldered everything to the board, you wouldn’t have to spend $200 for Apple’s RAM. You’d be able to spend $100 on Newegg instead.

          • End User
          • 7 years ago

          I just spent $100 for 16GB of memory for my 3770K build so I hear what you are saying. Having said that if you are that concerned about saving $100 you probably are not in the market for a $2,400-$3,800 (+tax) laptop.

          Earlier this week I ordered a 2012 11″ MBA and I did not hesitate checking off the upgrade to 8GB for $100.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Why should I not have the option?

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Apple does not want you to ask why. Apple wants you buy and buy and buy.

      • WaltC
      • 7 years ago

      I read the article, and it reminds me of ~1980’s x86 desktop motherboards on which every component–cpu, ram, etc.–was surface mounted, and most of the x86 components we take for granted today had yet to be standardized. If you wanted more/denser ram, for instance, buying a new motherboard was the only way to get it, and you had to buy it from the company that made your desktop–if one was even available–because most all manufacturers were using proprietary components in those days. Most often in order to upgrade your basic components your only choice was to buy a new box. That’s pretty much where Apple is with this thing. The profit margin on these boxes would no doubt delight Scrooge…;)

      • XA Hydra
      • 7 years ago

      Proprietary, locked-down designs.. Apple’s OS ( probably eventually iOS accross the board ) that directs you to Apple’s “app store”.. It’s the ever-progressing gradient to their ideal of a tablet-esque world of devices that may eventually only be operational/useful on that trendy “cloud” that keeps getting shoved in everyone’s face. ( To be fair, they aren’t the only ones hopping on this bus as of late, but they sure have the science refined )

      Fail-tacular.

      * over-hears people walking down the hallway raving about Apple’s ~Revolutionary~ new Retina Display *

    • glynor
    • 7 years ago

    They’re waiting for Haswell, I guess. Or maybe, but less likely, Ivy-based Xeons.

    My guess is that they don’t want to make two compromises:

    1. Including Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro with discreet graphics would be a pain, probably including a DisplayPort “dongle”.

    2. Including USB3 using SandyBrige-E CPUs would require using a crappy third-party USB chip, which they don’t want to do.

    Therefore, better to release “nothing” and wait for a real solution. They should’ve improved the GPUs though. Since they’re using mobile Kepler on their Macbooks now, I can’t imagine the driver work would have been that difficult. Perhaps Nvidia just can’t supply enough of them? There are still an awful lot of out-of-stock 680’s on Newegg.

    PS. I should have added. Generally I agree with Geoff’s sentiments. Their reasons might make sense, but it still means they haven’t updated their workstation line in forever. This would be a terrible time to buy a Mac Pro. Glad I got my late 2010 way back when it first came out.

      • xeridea
      • 7 years ago

      You don’t need anything special to have a discrete card in a system with thunderbolt…..

      3rd party chips aren’t necessarily crappy, and is far better than not having the option at all.

      They can’t even replace 3 year old video cards…. when brand new ones (from AMD) are plentiful.

      But instead they are selling 2009 hardware, at 2007 prices, in 2012.

      The real reason is, they don’t care about the line anymore. They only thing they care bout anymore is the iPod/Phone/Pad. They can’t be bothered with extremely simple updates. Their product line has a total of 7 products, but they only care about 3 of them.

        • glynor
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]You don't need anything special to have a discrete card in a system with thunderbolt.....[/quote<] Yes, you do actually. Since Thunderbolt carries DisplayPort video, it needs to connect to the GPU on the system. The current PC implementations (by ASUS and others) do this by connecting to the Ivy Bridge integrated GPU and then implementing LucidLogix's Virtu to allow you to use it with discreet GPUs. But Virtu is built on DirectX and isn't available for OSX. So, Apple would need to build their own version of this. They should, and the probably will eventually (or they'll buy Lucid), but for now it would require a clunky dongle to connect the output of the discreet GPU into the onboard GPU (which isn't even available on most of the Sandy Bridge-E Xeon CPUs, so they'd need something special there too). All-in-all, a terrible solution. [quote<]3rd party chips aren't necessarily crappy, and is far better than not having the option at all.[/quote<] While I don't necessarily disagree, the currently available 3rd Party USB3 implementations are certainly pretty clunky. The only one worth anything is the ASMedia one, and I've had driver flakiness with it already on my ASUS Z77 board. Since the Mac Pro does already have 1394b, which provides pretty good throughput without needing USB3, I think the "need" there is somewhat less serious. Though, like I said, I agree. The current Mac Pro is a severely outdated machine, and not worth the price at all. I was just saying that I can, if I put myself in their shoes, see why they decided to just wait. I think they should have just revised them to Sandy Bridge-E machines, and skipped Thunderbolt until next generation, though. I don't see how that's worse than continuing to sell these.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          That’s only if you’re going to use Thunderbolt for video. It has many other uses, which would be the point of putting on this system.

            • glynor
            • 7 years ago

            You can’t call it Thunderbolt unless it conforms to the spec, and it requires an Intel certification, which they’re not going to give without video support.

            So, that’s not an option if you’re not a knock-off Chinese manufacturer.

            • travbrad
            • 7 years ago

            What about non-knock-off Chinese manufacturers?

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Thunderbolt is just a transport layer. It could be to spec as in could theoretically carry a video signal without actually being attached to a GPU.

      • continuum
      • 7 years ago

      Actually, the past 6+ months have been a terrible time to buy a Mac Pro… but if you’re a professional user who can use all the CPU power you can get, then what do you do??

      Perhaps I’ve spent too much time in the video editing world, where I’ve watched Apple-hardware-based clients scream for all the CPU power they can get as 4K video becomes more and more affordable.

      Then Apple flips them the bird with this pathetic update. o_0

      They’ve waited this long, I can understand waiting another couple of months to September, but if they have to wait til Q2 2013, that’s a damned long time after a very long time already!

        • travbrad
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]Actually, the past 6+ months have been a terrible time to buy a Mac Pro... but if you're a professional user who can use all the CPU power you can get, then what do you do??[/quote<] Start using PCs/workstations that aren't made by Apple? Obviously switching OSs is a painful process for those types of users/businesses, but if the frequency and quality of upgrades on Mac Pros is going to remain this terrible in the future, maybe it's better (in the long run) to just switch rather than clinging on to a sinking ship. It's been a long time since Macs have had any real advantage in video editing, other than familiarity of a particular piece of software (like Final Cut).

        • glynor
        • 7 years ago

        I’d say it has been a terrible time for the whole past year. What I do (and I am a pro user, my Macs are all from/for work) is wait.

        That said…

        My 2010 Mac Pro handles the Red EPIC 4-5k footage our vendor gives us without issue. Since I’m producing basically all web video, I almost always convert it to 1080p ProRes first anyway because I don’t need the extra resolution (and that makes everything faster), but I have used the native resolution Red footage and it worked fine. Would a new Sandy Bridge E be faster? Certainly, but diminishing returns and all that.

        The [i<]real[/i<] issue is that the current-gen 27" iMac we have in our office also handles it fine. Maybe even better, if you get a fast enough disk hooked up to it. CPU power is no longer the biggest limiting factor, and I have much more trouble with disk performance than CPU needs (though some of that is certainly Final Cut not using the machines to their full potential). Of course, faster is always better, but the main issue I run into now with using high-res footage is compressing it down to H.264 at the end. But there's no reason to need to run that on your editing workstation (and having a separate compression box is convenient for a whole host of reasons). Mine's a HP Z800 now running Episode and I'm happy with it. With Thunderbolt, the reasons for really [i<]needing[/i<] a workstation form-factor are threatening to wear thin (though not till we get good Thunderbolt<->eSATA converters), at least in Apple's eyes. Good enough is the enemy of progress. And that's why I think they've waited. There are problems with refreshing the platform (I pointed out two), it really needs a re-design (which is expensive), and the market is assuredly dwindling. I think we'll get something nice, but they're going to change it (and probably use it to target the server market again, trying to expand the niche).

          • pedro
          • 7 years ago

          Cheers for this well considered post. It’s always interesting to see what the pros have to say.

          A question: Does H.264 encoding performance scale well with core count? I.e. is there a good case to be made for >8 core boxes?

            • glynor
            • 7 years ago

            Depends on the software.

            Telestream Episode will push my 16-core (8 real/8 hyperthreaded) workstation to 100%, and it actually gets a nice speed improvement for each core you add.

            Apple’s cruddy Compressor won’t use more than two threads.

    • xeridea
    • 7 years ago

    Give em a break. It takes a long time to swap out a motherboard, cpu, and graphics cards in a system. It could take them several minutes to make the change. They don’t charge nearly enough for all this effort.

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    “… Radeon 5770 or 5870 graphics cards …”

    shirly you must be mistaken …

      • theonespork
      • 7 years ago

      There is no mistake, and don’t call me Shirley.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      no, no. That’s ACTUALLY what it comes with. Yeesh.

    • PainIs4ThaWeak1
    • 7 years ago

    How many more excuses do people need? “Fanboi-ism”, in this case, equals “Insanity”.

      • mikehodges2
      • 7 years ago

      I just like my macbook air 🙂

      If I ever [i<]needed[/i<] a mac pro, I'd go down the hackintosh route, no questions.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]2010 calls[/quote<] OMG! Did you WARN THEM!?!?!?! (about Kepler's availability and Bulldozer's performance that is)

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      *gasp* 2010 has a [i<]time machine![/i<] Why didn't we hear about it then???

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        No, just a time phone.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    The audio and video production, broadcast, and post people are really pissed over these “updates”. I can’t say I blame them, either. They should see this as a sign it’s time for them to jump off the Mac. Apple clearly has no interest in in this niche any longer, so why they express an interest in Apple is beyond me.

    The same is true for software devs. I retired my Hackintosh a while back and I was shocked – SHOCKED I say – to find that Pro Tools 10 runs fine on Windows 7. I initially put PT8 on my Hackintosh and stuck with it for quite a while because it took nearly a year for Avid to support Windows 7 with the 8.0.3 update (July 2010!). More recently, Avid released the new HDX cards (not that I really give two shits about these things) on OS X first, back in November, and it took them until June of this year to get Windows drivers and Pro Tools HD support for them.

    I’m thoroughly perplexed. If Apple has abandoned you why are you capitulating to their years-old tech? This is stupid.

      • Dposcorp
      • 7 years ago

      I up-voted you big guy 🙂
      By the way, as far as jokes that I use to make fun of people, the “___________called, its wants its __________back” never gets old 🙂

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 7 years ago

        1985 called, and it wants its joke back!

        🙂

      • riviera74
      • 7 years ago

      Actually, all the A/V production types should be even angrier once Final Cut Pro was released about 18 months ago even more than this “update” to the Mac Pro. I think it was on arstechnica.com where they mentioned how FCP would push all the professionals to using Windows 7 rather than Mac OS. Now we have this issue.

      Maybe Apple is so addicted to the profits pouring in from iOS and the MacBook Air/MacBook Pro that the Mac Pro is now orphaned. This is NOT GOOD.

      First xServe gets canned. Now this. The iMac may not be long for this world either given the lack of real updates.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        They were mad then, too, though Apple has slowly added a lot of the missing features back.

        • grantmeaname
        • 7 years ago

        If Apple’s not making money on it, and the rest of their ecosystem doesn’t depend on it, why would they do anything but cut the Mac Pro?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Not sure why they haven’t, to be honest. They clearly no longer want the one group of people that stuck with them through a decade of soiling themselves to the point of almost running out of money.

            • grantmeaname
            • 7 years ago

            I wonder if they’re concerned that the iOS ecosystem depends on developers using Mac OS and they don’t want to alienate whatever proportion of the developers it is that love Mac Pros.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Using a Mac Pro to write iOS software is like using an end loader to pick up after your dog, isn’t it? 😆

            I like to think most iOS software developers are relatively mobile people. They’re more moist for the high-res displays on the Macbook Pros than anything.

      • shaq_mobile
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know much about Macs except that since they changed over to Intel CPUs, I’ve been expecting software that was dedicated to Mac OS to slowly migrate to Windows. If all Apple uses in their desktops are standard PC hardware, or even cutting edge hardware (with a humongous profit margin), then the only real difference is in the OS. Why limit yourselves to a niche market when Microsoft already has a strong foothold in the majority of the PROfessional world that won’t be losing traction anytime soon. It’s cheaper for businesses to purchase PC’s and as far as I know, the administrative tools for Windows are immensely powerful and well established. Seems like using Macs in the corporate/professional environment is largely a fashion statement, as I don’t really see any other advantage.

      I suppose it doesn’t matter due to Apples iron grip on the tablet market and somewhat firm grip on the smartphone market as well. But when the only real advantage of Mac OS is the stability of the OS, ease of use and previously alternate hardware that was supposed* to be better (I was pretty young during the motorola CPU era), as each one of those is countered with good products the only reason to stick with Apple is status.

      Most corporations and users can’t/won’t afford that cash for status. Our whole marketing department used to be exclusively Macs but we recently upgraded them all to Sandy Bridge Dell Optiplex’s. They were almost half the price, we can easily manage them with the rest of our ~4000 PC’s, hardware is easy and inexpensive to replace, upgrades are abundant, software solutions are ubiquitous, ease of use isn’t an issue after several days, technical support negates any stability issues… heck, we just kept the IPS panels that Apple sold them and even the folks wearing Birkenstocks admit they are “acceptable”.

      Since desktops aren’t nearly the status symbol, or present the opportunity to show off, as a small form factor gadget or laptop, I don’t see much of a reason to stick with Apple in the desktop front.

    • yokem55
    • 7 years ago

    I seem to remember that some blogger dude at smeck-semort or something or or other writing about a solution to this lack of quality desktop Mac hardware involving something called a shackinhosh or something like that….

      • rpsgc
      • 7 years ago

      You mean a ‘Hackintosh’ ?

      [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackintosh[/url<]

        • bthylafh
        • 7 years ago

        Whoosh!

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Apple doesn’t care about Mac pro people.

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      That’s the impression i get as well. It remains to be seen whether the future real update that will come in 2013 will restore some hope in the Pro market.

      Adi

      • A_Pickle
      • 7 years ago

      “Good heavens, no. That’s the one upgradeable computer we sell, and we’re damned ashamed of that. Also, it’s not NEARLY thin enough.”

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 7 years ago

        Haven’t we a long way from “What’s the best/easiest way to accelerate a Mac?”

        … at 9.8 m/s² !

      • Decelerate
      • 7 years ago

      Seems like it. I think it will damage them in the long run if they don’t remediate this soon.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    Apple knows they screwed up hard-core on this Mac Pro “update” which is why they are groveling and backpedaling through emails, tweets and the removal the of the “new” moniker in their online store.

    [url<]http://9to5mac.com/2012/06/12/apple-rescinds-new-mac-pro-is-no-longer-new/[/url<]

      • Shambles
      • 7 years ago

      So does this make the “New Mac Pro” the “Old New Mac Pro” and then the following model will be called the “New Old New Mac Pro”?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        “Same Mac Pro As Two Years Ago But With Slightly Faster CPUs Since Intel No Longer Makes The CPUs We Use In Our Mac Pro” Mac Pro.

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