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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > What would you like to see in an Apple business workstation?

What would you like to see in an Apple business workstation? (Page 4)
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Jan 13, 2009, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
By business, I mean a general workstation that can be configured as a relatively cheap workstation, or upgraded to a decent CAD or video workstation.
I don't think Apple would ever release such a computer. No one would ever buy the ultra-high-end machines that Apple wants to drive everyone above 'Basic User' to.
     
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Jan 13, 2009, 09:40 PM
 
It's true that people would like to buy the middle machine, but if you made a single cpu machine, I'd still want to buy the dual because I use it.

It's a bummer that my mother had to buy a Mac Pro because she wanted more than the Mini and she had her own display. That's not a business case, but it was overkill. Most simply wouldn't have bought the Pro.
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Jan 13, 2009, 09:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Fanless (ultra quiet) design.
Not necessary in an office environment. I sit next to a guy with a Mac Pro. The *only* time I ever hear his machine is when the faulty motherboard winds the fans up to max RPM.
     
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Jan 13, 2009, 09:43 PM
 
Yeah, I have a Mac Pro in our bedroom, I almost never hear the fans. Part of the trick is multiple fans running at low speed. I'm not doing much right now, but the 4 fans are running at 500RPM each and are silent.
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Jan 14, 2009, 02:58 AM
 
That is absolutely true.

The easiest way to get a quiet computer is not to use mobile parts, but to use large fans running at low RPMs. Large quiet fans are not especially expensive. But they do require a sufficiently large case. And that's just another reason Apple wasn't being smart when they designed themselves into this anorexic corner with every Mac other than the MP.
     
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Feb 19, 2009, 03:16 AM
 
Mac sales fall, PC sales rise

• Mac sales dropped 6% in Jan compared to a year ago. But before you blame it on the economy, consider that...
• between Jan 08 and Jan 09 Window PC sales increased 16%

Originally Posted by NPD Group's Stephen Baker
This is is not good. They need to address the iMac. A big chunk of this is because iMac sales are dropping two to three times compared to Windows PCs.
But of course it's not just because the iMac is in serious need of an update, it's mainly because

Originally Posted by NPD Group's Stephen Baker
What we’re seeing is that consumers are not buying based on value, they are buying based on price. Apple is selling value.
     
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Feb 19, 2009, 07:43 AM
 
I wonder what they call a sale, I've had a 17" MBP on order for a while now. What are sales like before this period? Apple introduced new MB/15" MBPs in October and often people rush out and order following announcements, so it's possible that the cycle time is different. The MP and Mini also have not been updated in more than a year now in addition to the iMac.
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Feb 20, 2009, 02:00 AM
 
my mother had to buy a Mac Pro because she wanted more than the Mini and she had her own display

Huh? That doesn't make much sense. She could have gone with a MacBook, iMac, MacBook Pro and continued to use her existing display (or eBay it). There was absolutely no NEED for her to buy a MacPro.
     
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Feb 20, 2009, 11:19 AM
 
At the time it was close to the same price to buy a Mac Pro base config (and a lot more powerful and more flexible) than even buying a decent MacBook and connecting it up to the display she already had. She had no desire to have a laptop, and the performance gap was so huge that she'll be able to use this machine for much longer. In short, a base config Mac Pro that was right at $2k was a better deal since she already had a nice display.

Why should she spend more money to get a MacBook Pro or the same money to get a MacBook that did a lot less? She needed a decent sized hard drive with all her photos, so even the MacBook wouldn't have worked because the small hard drives are more expensive at capacity and don't have nearly the capacity. It would've been a lot of work to eBay a perfectly good display for using the iMac for my mother (and not being around there, I couldn't do it for her), where the cost would be about a wash. Sure, you can make something work to get someone into a machine, but it's much more difficult and not as cost effective.
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Feb 23, 2009, 08:30 AM
 
In that situation, I'd have bought an iMac and used dual displays - but YMMV, if she did buy an MP instead of a Dell or something, it was good deal for Apple.
     
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Feb 23, 2009, 11:37 AM
 
That might be a nice idea. At least back when the MP came out, I don't think the iMac could handle dual displays anyway, but I don't think she would've wanted more than one (even though I use 3 displays myself). I think in terms of dollars per year of usable equipment, that particular transaction will be the most cost effective. i.e. the iMac would likely need to go sooner than the MP (especially if the display were to go out...).
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Feb 23, 2009, 11:49 PM
 
The iMac has supported dual displays from the last two generations of the CRT based model. So you've kinda argued yourself into a corner here: I made my mother spend more money than she need as I has (in effect) religious problems with Apple's product line. Stop and think about what other people need, rather than what you believe you should force upon them, so that you can blame someone else.
     
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Feb 24, 2009, 03:02 AM
 
Well all that bickering was totally boring.

This pic was just leaked and it appears to show that the iMac will stay around and that it will likely also move to a MBP-like chipset.


OTOH Intel just released three new low-power Wolfdale/Yorkfield chips. They're labeled as Xeons (Xeon L3110, L3360, X3380) so they're likely not what Apple would put into a headless midrange desktop, but they offer dual/quad, 2.83-3.16 GHz, 45-95W, and all that priced from $224-$530. That's a lot of power at a low price. Especially compared to the mobile C2Ds or the high-end Harpertown/Gainestown. It's somewhat annoying to see how many options Intel has for such a box all the while knowing Apple isn't likely going to make one.
     
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Feb 25, 2009, 02:34 AM
 
...I'm not sure why I'm being attacked here. The machine that was purchased is going to cost less per year over its useful life as a marginal cost, while being more powerful and expandable (as I believe I clearly stated with examples). Since it makes sense in this case, albeit a "business workstation" would be a good fit between the Mini & MP for a non-integrated display machine, please don't try to "force" a machine that isn't the desired form-factor of the user.

Simon, this is interesting. It seems to me that going with such a slim-line makes costs higher. I agree that having an iMac is great for many, but if you have a bit more room, you can make machines cheaper and more powerful. I think that's what a number of people are asking for (I just added a ton of RAM to my home MP for little cash, this wouldn't even be possible at this level with the current iMacs in a supported fashion). I get that Apple makes nice displays, but certainly people are out there who want something between the Mini and MP who want their own displays. That said, scale helps, so perhaps costs across the MBP and iMac lines will be reduced.
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Feb 25, 2009, 04:47 AM
 
That Apple pays a significant premium for laptop parts is not a given. There is a premium in the publicly available price lists, but Apple (and other big OEMs) idon't pay the same prices as everyone else. In the pricing example I made versus Dell, Apple's iMac prices are maybe $100 higher than Dell's similar desktop boxes once you include equivalent software. That "equivalent software" is where most pricing examples go haywire.

The gap in Apple's lineup isn't particularly that the iMac is overpriced for its performance - at least not in the low and middle part fo the range - it is that the iMac doesn't scale well all the way up to the MP performance. There is a gap in the lack of powerful GPUs and, to a lesser extent, quad CPUs, which Apple bridges with the most expensive laptop parts at a premium. The gap can be filled by bringing the MP back down to the pricing range it used to be in back in the G4/G5 days - an X58 motherboard can have a Core i7 920 at a $1599 pricepoint yet stretch to a dual-quad Xeon 5500 monster at the higher end of Apple's current price range.

Besides, Intel's recent releases of low-TPD quads such as the Q9550s was accompanied with comments that they were intended for OEMs rather than system builders - hence the high price in the official price list. Which OEM might have an interest in putting a quad in a slim chassis? Combine this with rumors of a redesigned iMac case with better cooling, and I think that this discussion will be much less relevant once the next revision rolls around.
     
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Feb 25, 2009, 04:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
That Apple pays a significant premium for laptop parts is not a given. There is a premium in the publicly available price lists, but Apple (and other big OEMs) idon't pay the same prices as everyone else.
It's not a premium. It's a whole different ball game! We're talking $530 mobile CPUs vs. $183 desktop CPUs that perform even better. Nobody seriously thinks Apple (or any other company for that matter) can get 65% discounts on 1k prices from Intel for their latest and greatest mobile CPUs.

Keep in mind that while publicly available (as in published), the prices people like myself look at are always 1k prices. That's not what you pay at Newegg when you buy one, it's what companies pay when they order these CPUs by the thousands. Sure large volume customers like Apple will get additional discounts. But they will be nowhere close to the huge discrepancies in price between mobile and regular parts.

Bottom line is that you can build a cheaper and better performing computer than the iMac if only your case can deal with higher TDP CPUs. The iMac's can't. So it costs more and performs worse. Once you remove all the marketing spin, that's the plain and simple truth.
     
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Feb 25, 2009, 09:48 AM
 
Simon, your thoughts equal mine on the subject. I agree that pricing doesn't equal cost, but components designed to be small are usually more expensive and don't perform as well for a variety of reasons. Plus, if the small components are designed for the heat and power constraints of a laptop, they may perform worse than they could if they were designed without those elements in mind.
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Feb 26, 2009, 05:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
It's not a premium. It's a whole different ball game! We're talking $530 mobile CPUs vs. $183 desktop CPUs that perform even better. Nobody seriously thinks Apple (or any other company for that matter) can get 65% discounts on 1k prices from Intel for their latest and greatest mobile CPUs.
Apple got a 75% discount on the CPU in the first Mac, and that was for an unproven product and a CPU that had significant buzz at the time. Long-term contracts are worth a great deal, especially if the buyer commits to a significant volume (which Apple did, which is why they had such large problems when the Mac didn't sell well after the first 3 months). Add in the huge PR boost Intel got from bringing in Apple, and you can be sure Steve got himself some nice discounts. It doesn't cost Intel anything to do that: On its high volume parts, Intel has 90-95% top-bin parts after the initial rampup - that $209 CPU might as well have been sold as a $530 model.

Also, you're cherry-picking prices. Wolfdale prices are very low right now, because the desktop market is shrinking. Intel has capacity to spare, and so the laws of supply and demand come into effect. There is also a rebate for buying the CPU together with the chipset that isn't generally there for desktop parts.

Note that I'm not saying that there is no difference - I'm saying that the difference isn't very large, and the ability to commit to huge batches of mobile CPUs partially offsets the base price difference while also gaining flexibility.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Keep in mind that while publicly available (as in published), the prices people like myself look at are always 1k prices. That's not what you pay at Newegg when you buy one, it's what companies pay when they order these CPUs by the thousands.
I know. Newegg prices usually include a cooler, btw, further distorting the picture.
     
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Feb 26, 2009, 06:19 AM
 
C'mon P, you're accusing me of cherry picking prices while you bring up a discount Apple got form Motorola in 1984? Please.

You seem to be the only person I have ever talked to who seriously believes Apple wouldn't save money if they used desktop parts in lieu of mobile parts.
     
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Feb 26, 2009, 06:27 AM
 
And one more thing. The extent of the Apple-Intel agreement and a measure of how long-term it was might be inferred from the fact that only two years after engaging in the partnership Apple ditched Centrino-based chipsets for nVidia's for all their mobile computers. The Intel-Apple partnership is not some kind of exclusive eternal deal. And any discounts will strongly reflect that.
     
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Feb 26, 2009, 10:59 AM
 
Yes, that is a rather extreme example (and I didn't cherry-pick, it just the only one I know off the top of my head), but my point is a larger one: Producing chip number 2 costs cents. Producing chip number 1 costs millions, obviously - investments and development. If the promised volume is large enough, large discounts can be given as the investment cost can be spread over more chips.

Now, why do the laptop chips cost more? The production process is the same, as far as we know. Are production tolerances smaller? Perhaps - but Intel's yields are impressive for all mainline chips. Costs due to yield will be tiny. The packaging process may be different, but not significantly. Intel's costs for making the laptop chips are not significantly higher than for desktop chips. Back when laptop was small segment, a higher cost due to development cost was understandable, but we have passed the point where laptops are the larger slice of the pie.

No, laptop prices are higher because they always were, and per-thousand prices are higher because the market for per-thousand laptop chips is tiny. Few build their own laptops - many build their own desktops, or buy a whitebox assembled in a nearby garage.

My point is that OEM rebates on laptop chips, compared to per-thousand prices, can be larger than for desktop because Intel's costs for producing a laptop chip is not significantly different from that of producing a desktop chip. I think Apple pays more for laptop chips than it would for desktop chips, but I don't think that the difference is anywhere near the $350 you quoted, and I think that the added flexibility from using the same chip in a large part of the product line partly weighs that up. We know that Apple has tendency to commit to huge orders for good prices and preferable delivery terms (iPod flash, for instance) and it stands to reason that they'd do the same here.

The only situation where Apple pays a large premium compared to the desktop is at the very top of the line, but I've always said that that is where the iMac laptop-on-the desktop works badly.
     
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Feb 26, 2009, 11:48 AM
 
So P, now you're agreeing with us that the iMac as Apple's major desktop solution is not optimal? Sounds like you've changed your mind to a significant extent.

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Feb 27, 2009, 11:08 AM
 
After reading this topic I actually checked out Apple's Canadian store and saw that the lowest end Quad Mac Pro is really not that much more expensive than the high end iMac. So Apple kinda already is doing what you guys are suggesting, they just don't advertise the optional lower cost. Now granted the markup is obviously still there and stuff, but after looking at that I'd seriously consider a Mac Pro some time after the next refresh... OK probably the one after that since my MacBook is still a pretty great trouper!
     
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
So P, now you're agreeing with us that the iMac as Apple's major desktop solution is not optimal? Sounds like you've changed your mind to a significant extent.
Not really. I always said that the difference was there, just that it wasn't very large. At the low end and through the mid-range, the iMac is still a good deal. It might be $50 or as much as $100 cheaper if it were one-two inches thicker, but I think the current design is worth $100. YMMV.

Where the iMac doesn't work quite as well is at the current high-end. The slotloaders peaked at $1499. The G4 iMacs kept pushing the price higher until the 20" was $2200. The G5s returned some sanity by dropping the ceiling to $1900, then $1800, then $1700. The Intel models then began creeping upwards again.

The top model is now back at $2200. That is not particularly good value for a 3.06 GHz dualcore with a middling GPU. But - and here I go back around to the argument I made before - that doesn't really matter to Apple's sales, because the market at $2200 is about as miniscule as it is $1800. This the Cube of this generation - those who like it would buy it at any price. Down the range where the price counts - at $1000 or $1200, or preferably below - the premium for using laptop parts is tiny.

I still think that a low-end MP at say $1600 for a Core i7 920 would fill up a hole in Apple's lineup, and I still don't think that a $999 gray box would fit. It would have performance very close to a $1199 iMac, and adding in the display, you wouldn't save a cent.

Oh yeah, and one more thing: Do you know how brands like Audi and BMW make their money? Not on the high-end models - Audi purposefully restricted the number of R8s it builds to make it scarce. No, the high-end models often don't even make back their investments in development and tooling. It's at the low-end they make their money. BMW can charge more for their 3 series and Audi for the A3, because it says BMW or Audi on the back than say Ford can for a similar car. The higher margin there more than makes up for the loss they take on the R8 and M6 and whatever. The 24" top-of-the-line iMac sells many iMacs - lower-specced ones.
( Last edited by P; Feb 27, 2009 at 01:14 PM. )
     
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Mar 2, 2009, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
...I still think that a low-end MP at say $1xxx for a Core i7 920 would fill up a hole in Apple's lineup, and I still don't think that a $999 gray box would fit...
Agreed.

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Mar 3, 2009, 03:00 AM
 
Well Apple is about to update the iMac. Not going with quad-cores and sticking to mobile parts they are reaffirming that the iMac is basically a non-portable notebook rather than a real desktop. And with those prices I'm not expecting it to do very well in this economy. It's somewhat sad to see Apple rather sit tight and wait for the crisis to disappear than innovate out of it. The company feels like it's become a bit fat and lazy lately. Oh well.
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 03:44 AM
 
Meanwhile, according to Engadget Apple is preparing the launch of a new Mac Pro with 8-core (3.0-3.6 GHz) and 16-core (3.6-4.0 GHz) configurations. Interesting. We haven't heard much about Beckton (8-core MP variant of Gainestown/Nehalem/i7) at all. Maybe Apple will (once again) feature an Intel Xeon first.

Also, they claim its video card will come with two DVI ports and one MDP port. Sounds feasible. Many PC cards come with 2 DVI ports and S-video. The S-video port and the MDP port are roughly the same size.
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 06:14 AM
 
I'm willing to bet that Engadget has no idea what they're talking about. The clockspeeds are off, and a 16-core MP makes no sense at all. You'd have to use Beckton, as you say, and that will be an 8-core chip with 4 socket support. 8 times 4 is not 16. Sure you can make a 2-socket motherboard, or use cheaper Becktons (harvested parts with some cores disabled), but why not put a 32-core monster at the top if you can. I mean, cost is obviously not an issue if you went for Beckton in the first place. Besides, it's scheduled for Q1 2010. Sure Apple can get chips early on occasion, but a year?

The video card with 3 ports is more likely though, but I think only two of them will be active at once. No word on what GPU - Radeon 4870?
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 07:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I'm willing to bet that Engadget has no idea what they're talking about.
I agree with you about Beckton. Seems quite a stretch. I guess we'll know more pretty soon. At the latest by March 24.

The video card with 3 ports is more likely though, but I think only two of them will be active at once. No word on what GPU - Radeon 4870?
Yeah, probably. Recent 10.5.7 builds showed support for the 4850 and 4870.

http://darwinx86.org/news/les-news/8...es-ati-4850-i7
(English)
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 11:05 AM
 
Well, the new Mac Pro is here, and it's now priced even further out of most people's reach, creating an even bigger vacuum for a business Mac.

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Mar 3, 2009, 12:02 PM
 
And yet it's specced close to my idea of a $1599 MP (the clockspeed is higher). That is WAY overpriced.
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 12:22 PM
 
Agreed, if it was just a bit cheaper I was going to be seriously considering moving to a Mac Pro from my MacBook, but not with these prices.
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 12:32 PM
 
It's ridiculous. Instead of closing the gap between the iMac and the MP, they actually managed to increased it significantly. To make matters worse Apple thinks it can keep previous prices or even increase them during the economic crisis.

The only part I can understand is why there's no 2.26 GHz quad option. Intel has the E5520 (2.26 GHz, dual-socket variant) and the W3520 (2.66 GHz, single-socket variant). But there's no W35x0 to cover the 2.26 GHz single-socket option. The W3520 is already the slowest single-socket Nehalem Xeon available. That said, it's still much cheaper than the Harpertowns they used to use.

What I really don't understand is why they didn't make use of all the single-socket Gainestowns. W3520/2.66 at the low end, W3540/2.93 in the middle, and W3570/3.20 at the high end. With the cheap cost of this W35x0 series, they could have easily gone to a $1999 price point (compared to the previous $2299 entry-level).

If I wouldn't know better I'd guess Apple on purpose widened the gap to make additional space for a new desktop mac based on i7 9x0 desktop CPUs (Bloomfield).

Add to that the silly 8 GB RAM limitation of their $2999 system. What the heck were they thinking?
( Last edited by Simon; Mar 3, 2009 at 12:48 PM. )
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 01:13 PM
 
I guess we all generally agree around here on this subject now.

Why would there be an 8 GB limit? How can that even be considered on such expensive hardware?

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Mar 3, 2009, 01:44 PM
 
My guess is that Apple is just following its normal for new products skim-the-cream pricing model. Few desktop computers will be sold during 2009 so Apple figures to charge the folks who really need the kind of power the dual-CPU MPs represent. Then with economic improvement and new chip prices Apple can reconfigure the line, adjust prices, etc. There certainly is room for all kinds of speed bump performance improvements, including new models.

IMO the product mix is changing. Part of this is the logical consequence of the large amount of power available in desktop computers today - even at the C2D levels of 2006. All of today's Macs perform graphics work in milliseconds that used to take many minutes.

The thread title: What would you like to see in an Apple business workstation?

The new Mini IMO is the sleeper of the new Macs. iMacs are horribly hamstrung by their glossy displays intolerable to most (not all) graphics pros but the Minis are not. Running OS 10.6 with FW 800 connectivity, 9400M graphics, 4 GB DDR3 RAM and third-party displays a Mini can now actually drive a desktop Aperture or Photoshop workflow (although obviously not like a 4x-the-price MP would drive such apps) at a very cheap price.

IMO the new Minis meet the needs of the title of this thread. Typical "business workstation" needs are much less than the requirements of the graphics apps cited above.

However for tech evolution reasons the Mini will live a much shorter life cycle than the top MPs. 4 GB RAM will soon prove limiting in the future, as will the maximum 8 GB RAM of the low end MP. In fact that 8 GB RAM limitation makes investing in a new low end MP appropriate only for certain very specialized usages that do not evolve to benefit from additional RAM.

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Mar 3, 2009 at 01:53 PM. )
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 02:16 PM
 
I'm so frustrated right now, I need a Machine with more horse power, and it seems the best bet for me is either stick with the MacBook or build my own and hack OS X onto it.
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 02:27 PM
 
You could also go for a closeout/recertified MBP or Mac Pro, Salty.

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Mar 3, 2009, 02:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
I'm so frustrated right now, I need a Machine with more horse power, and it seems the best bet for me is either stick with the MacBook or build my own and hack OS X onto it.
...or buy a 17" Macbook Pro. Once we get past the usual caveat that laptops are limiting to the performance of heavy graphics apps like Aperture I recommend the 17" MBP. I have not used one yet, but the new 17" MBP should provide a truly excellent mobile graphics platform. What I like about it rather than the 15" MBP:

• More screen real estate, a very big deal when in the field and no external display is connected.

• Much higher pixel count, a very big deal when in the field and no external display is connected.

• Available matte display, a very big deal (to many graphics pros) when in the field and no external display is connected. Note however that I not have actually seen the new 17" MBP because it just recently started shipping.

• Faster; the added size and easier heat dissipation of the 17" apparently allow Apple to make less engineering compromises.

• Twice the available RAM, a very big deal moving forward as app vendors evolve apps to better utilize available cheap RAM, OS 10.6 and boxes with more RAM access. Under OS X Photoshop (and probably Aperture as well) can already take advantage of up to 32 GB installed RAM, maybe more.

• Longer battery life is alleged by Apple and by the first users who have received the new 17" MBPs.

• After years of using 15" and smaller, starting with the Duo, I currently use a 2.33 GHz 17" and far prefer the larger size.

• All the above benefits and it only weighs 1.1 pound more than the 15" MBP.

Good mass storage management is one key to decent heavy graphics app performance. For best speed keep the internal drive underfilled.

The cost of maximizing RAM in the new MBP unfortunately is still exorbitant, but 4 GB should work OK in the short term and new 17" MBP RAM prices are already falling. Just watch OWC prices <http://otherworldcomputing.com/> and wait a bit to max out the RAM.

We buy laptops for their portability. The mobility componentry used to achieve thin boxes limits performance. Expanding on what I said in the first sentence, do not expect a laptop or an iMac to fully perform like a Mac Pro desktop would handling heavy graphics.

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Mar 3, 2009, 04:25 PM
 
Regarding the RAM limit: Apple writes:

# 8-core: Eight memory slots (four per processor) supporting up to 32GB of main memory using 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DIMMs
# Quad-core: Four memory slots supporting up to 8GB of main memory using 1GB or 2GB DIMMs
So it seems we have the following config:

Quad has 3 channels. 2 of them have one socket and the 3rd has two. Odd, but there are PC motherboards designed that way.
8-core has that same config, except double for the other CPU. I guess we're in a NUMA config now - never thought about it before.

Only thing really strange then is why the limit on the quad isn't 16 gigs. Did Apple really cripple the ability to use 4 gig DIMMs, or will they just not build a machine like that for you?

My guess is that Apple is just following its normal for new products skim-the-cream pricing model.
Yes, that makes sense. They did the same with the G5. Prices usually drop when the iMac gets the same architecture.

I agree that the new minis qualify as a business workstation, though.
     
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Mar 3, 2009, 05:28 PM
 
I just think that the Mac Pro is too expensive for a general purpose workstation if you don't want an all-in-one unit, and the Mac mini doesn't offer the expansion capabilities that some companies may need.
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Mar 3, 2009, 05:35 PM
 
We agree.

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Mar 3, 2009, 07:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I still think that a low-end MP at say $1600 for a Core i7 920 would fill up a hole in Apple's lineup
It certainly would... shame about the price.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Meanwhile, according to Engadget Apple is preparing the launch of a new Mac Pro with 8-core (3.0-3.6 GHz) and 16-core (3.6-4.0 GHz) configurations.
Nobody believed this. Pure crack pipe influence.

Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Why would there be an 8 GB limit? How can that even be considered on such expensive hardware?
If it is indeed implemented, market segmentation.
     
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Mar 4, 2009, 03:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Only thing really strange then is why the limit on the quad isn't 16 gigs. Did Apple really cripple the ability to use 4 gig DIMMs, or will they just not build a machine like that for you?
They deliberately crippled it. There is no reason the quad-config could not support 4 GB DIMMs just like the octo config. What Apple is doing is basically forcing people who want more than an 8 GB RAM ceiling to buy the 8-core model. That would make sense if the quad-core were a $1599 desktop and the low-end Mac Pro wasn't $3k workstation. There is one word for this stratgey: ludicrous.

I agree that the new minis qualify as a business workstation, though.
The Mac mini a workstation? I assume you're joking.

The Mac mini might be a non-expandable desktop Mac, but nothing about it is even close to a workstation. Not the 2 GHz C2D, not the shared graphics, not the 4 GB RAM ceiling, not the slow notebook disk, not the external PS, not the flimsy and slow optical, not the putty knife, etc.

The Mac mini is a desktop a secreatry would probably be fine with. Now how many companies that aren't Apple companies anyway buy their secretaries Macs? Zero, exactly.

Apple has basically entirely left the desktop. No company goes to Apple for the low-end so the Mac mini is banished to dens at people's homes. The iMac is not a serious business choice, because a business looking for mobile computers will buy mobile computers, not non-portables with mobile parts (read expensive and low performance). The Mac Pro would obviously be an excellent business workstation. The problem with that is that with it's ridiculously low RAM ceiling (on the quad model) and it's extremely steep price (on the octo) it has pretty much pushed itself out of that area too.

If you step back for a moment and look at all this there are two possible conclusions:
• Apple has done this because they are trying to widen the gap for the new desktop headless Mac
• Apple has become fat and lazy and is somehow out of touch with desktop computing

I'd love to believe no. 1, but my gut is telling me it's no. 2.
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Mar 4, 2009, 03:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
I just think that the Mac Pro is too expensive for a general purpose workstation if you don't want an all-in-one unit, and the Mac mini doesn't offer the expansion capabilities that some companies may need.
That's entirely correct.

A 2.66 GHz quad with an 8 GB RAM ceiling would be a perfect headless desktop Mac at around $1699. But at $2499 it's a joke. And it sure aint a real workstation either.
( Last edited by Simon; Mar 4, 2009 at 03:51 AM. )
     
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Mar 4, 2009, 04:51 AM
 
When I'm looking around the office, every computer I'm seeing is a laptop with integrated graphics. Over in finance, there are cheap desktops with integrated graphics. Down in engineering, there are UNIX workstations. There is no hardware reason that there couldn't be a Mac in either of these slots - MB; mini or iMac; MP. The only place I've seen a big gray box recently is as a gaming PC.

I fully agree that the low-end MP is heavily overpriced, but even at $1599 I see few offices that would buy it except as a replacement for the more expensive 8-core MP. I'd love that machine personally, but I wouldn't get one at work.

If you step back for a moment and look at all this there are two possible conclusions:
• Apple has done this because they are trying to widen the gap for the new desktop headless Mac
• Apple has become fat and lazy and is somehow out of touch with desktop computing

I'd love to believe no. 1, but my gut is telling me it's no. 2.
Apple is charging too much for the Nehalem MPs because they're brand new - as noted earlier, they did the same for the G5. I just think that the regular overpricing would be $2200 for the low end and not $2500. Now it looks like they might end up at $2200 eventually, and not the $1600 I hoped for or the $1900 I thought. It will all look better once the Core i5 iMacs launch but it doesn't look pretty right now.

It will be very interesting to see the pricing from HP and Dell once they launch their Nehalem Xeon models.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Mar 4, 2009, 07:01 AM
 
No, P, I think these are the new MP price points. When the MP was a brand new line, it started at $2200 now it starts at $2500. I think the G5 line started out at $1900 when it first debuted.

This isn't peak demand pricing, it's Apple's new pricing model. And it seems to really suck.

Here's a new sig: My next Mac desktop will be a Hackintosh and not by choice.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Mar 4, 2009 at 07:07 AM. )

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Mar 4, 2009, 08:29 AM
 
What happened in the G4-G5 transition was that the low end jumped from $1499 to $1999 when the G5 was launched, but then the price dropped back down $200 6 months after the launch. Another 8 months along Apple launched the so-often quoted single CPU G5 back at the $1499 pricepoint, but dropped this pricing level again a year later and returned to a dual only setup with the low-end at $1999.

My reasoning is that 6 months from now, Apple will drop the floor $200 or $300 back to where it was before the Nehalem transition, but this isn't enough. A $2200 MP is still too expensive for what you get. My thinking was that dropping FB-DIMM and the fancy chipsets would let Apple get the price down below $2000 with the same profit margin, returning the lineup at least to something more similar to the late G5 lineup. I'd prefer something closer to the late G4 lineup, with one model around $1500, but instead we haven't gained anything from the switch to cheaper parts.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Mar 4, 2009, 10:10 AM
 
There is no new Mac Pro, the Mac Pro was just refreshed. Apple doesn't refresh the MP any more often. And this was just such a regular refresh. The new price point is not some kind of fancy strategy with the "new" Mac Pro and peak demand pricing. There is peak demand. I don't know where some poeple get these ideas from. This is quite simply Apple being arrogant and believing the desktop has already died.

They think by pricing this like a high-end workstation it becomes one. What they fail to see is that a quad-core 2.66 GHz machine with an 8GB RAM ceiling is nowhere near what professionals consider a real workstation. The writing's on the wall: this Mac Pro will not sell. 4 cores and an 8GB RAM ceiling is hat 95% of the people expect from a generic inexpensive PC tower.

The question is now how long it will take Apple to realize their pompous mistake and what their answer will be when they do. Judging by what they just did, it's entirely possible their answer will be to drop the quad-core (and with it the $2499 entry-level price) altogether.
     
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Mar 4, 2009, 10:20 AM
 
OK, so I'm going to start reading how to make a Hackintosh. I was really set on getting a tower finally, and now they've just priced it so far out of my reach. Instead of making a couple hundred dollars Apple's only going to make what a Snow Leopard disc will cost me. I was talking about it last night with one of my geeky friends who's built tons of PCs in the past, and he'll give me a hand, we already picked out a nice case that will look good enough with my other electronics stuff (Glossy black with silver highlights... you know it's really hard to pick out a computer case that doesn't look like a 14 year old geek's masturbatory fantasy?)

He's guessing I could build a decent quad core for about 1300 CND. I'm currently trying to decide if I want a 3Ghz machine or a Quad Core... I think since I don't use that many apps that are highly parallel the higher clock will work in my favor.
     
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Mar 4, 2009, 10:45 AM
 
Congratulations. Your requirements as a customer are what's important and not Apple's notion of what it is you should want. If more people act like you hopefully Apple will come to its senses and will do better in the long run.

You can actually get both 3 GHz and a quad-core CPU.

If you want i7 you should look at Bloomfield CPUs. They're quad-cores but they'll need the new Tylersburg chipset with socket B (LGA 1366). You can get the Core i7 940 at 2.93 GHz or the Core i7 Extreme 965 at 3.2 GHz. The latter's really expensive, but the former's ok. $560 at Newegg. There's also a cheaper 2.66 Ghz option, the Core i7 920. $289 at Newegg.

If you don't want the latest and greatest you should look at Yorkfield (two dual-cores on one MCM, based on Core 2). You can use an older socket T (LGA 775) board for it. The Q9650 runs at 3 GHz and is only $325 at Newegg.

Also, when you're done don't forget to post a thread detailing your choice of components, your reasoning, and your experience. I'm sure it will be of interest to many others here.
( Last edited by Simon; Mar 4, 2009 at 10:59 AM. )
     
 
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