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"Something for us in 2013"
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Oct 29, 2012, 02:53 AM
 
Still waiting for the MacPro to get a Rev so I was thinking about Tim's semi cryptic comment about having "something" for Pro users in 2013 and I don't expect it to be a MacPro. I thing there may be some hints at what Tim thinks the Pro user needs in the current just refreshed iMac lineup and for a better word for it I'm waiting for the iMac Pro

Here's what I think they'll throw out.

30in screen. what Apple consider to be a honking badass graphics card, more RAM, lots more RAM, optical drive, more thunderbolt ports. 3TB plus fusion drive storage as standard.

I suspect that such a machine would address nearly all of what Apple considers the Pro users needs for a modern Mac. The main noises about the need to keep a MacPro center around the need for storage, RAM and cards, notably graphics and video capture cards. I expect Apple will feel confident that an iMac with say 64GB RAM and a beefy graphics GPU will answer enough of the Pro users issues that the few left over can safely head off to Windows land.

Keeping the optical drive (but no blu ray) sort of throws a bone to Pro users as well for minimal cost, while the storage would again seem 95% adequate. As Apple keep pointing out external thunderbolt RAIDS are great for huge amounts of extra storage.

The above isn't really a Pro Mac, but it's probably close to what Apple now consider one to be.
     
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Oct 31, 2012, 04:06 PM
 
I think they have been trying to make the iMacs match the cinema display so you can plug the CD into an iMac and sit them beside each other and they will match.

I'm still hoping for something rack mountable, possibly modular using thunderbolt. I still can't work out how thunderbolt is going to work in a pro tower with full size GPUs though. Maybe if it were modular, the TB ports would run of the integrated GPU and the PCI-E cards would still just have mini displayports. Thats assuming the Xeons will have the integrated GPU. Unless they just use the i7s like you suggest, but I think those are not designed for multi socket boards.
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Nov 1, 2012, 01:56 AM
 
I think the way it would have to work with discrete GPUs is that the GPU simply passes some PCIe channels through to the TB port.
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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Nov 1, 2012, 02:25 AM
 
For some reason, that strikes me as untidy. Its clearly better than having thunderbolt ports and minidisplayports which would confuse people no end, but there is just something about it. It certainly isn't going to help the aftermarket GPU market any.
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Nov 1, 2012, 05:09 AM
 
What aftermarket GPU market?
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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Dec 12, 2012, 05:30 AM
 
Any wishful thinking they're going to build new Pros at the NA plant?

Pros are heavy, and usually BTO. It would definitely save them on cartage from Shenzhen.
     
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Dec 12, 2012, 05:49 AM
 
That is apparently the word on the street.

It makes sense. The Pros also have mostly off-the-shelf parts, and what isn't off-the-shelf (the case, mainly) doesn't seem to have the crazy tolerances that some of the other Macs have. The minis would also make some sense from that perspective.
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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Dec 12, 2012, 05:57 AM
 
It was mentioned on MBW, and then everyone went silent.

It was almost like the panel was afraid of jinxing it or something.
     
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Dec 12, 2012, 12:18 PM
 
I can't wait to see what the replacement will be. For some reason I have a feeling it won't just be a new tower, though I wouldn't mind at all if they just shrunk it a little, made it rack-mountable and jazzed up the case design a touch.

I'm quietly hoping for something radically different though. Something modular that uses a propriety size of rack and lets you build your choice of processing node, video workhorse, audio box or general purpose server unit.

I'd love them to use such a beast to spearhead a genuine push into business. I really think there is a market for something that would cater to the iDevices that businesses are adopting like crazy. A Facetime Server (Like a PBX system) would be awesome.
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Dec 14, 2012, 06:46 AM
 
Do you use FaceTime?
     
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Dec 14, 2012, 02:51 PM
 
Only sometimes. I think more people would more often if it was a more compelling product.
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Dec 14, 2012, 04:35 PM
 
What would make it more compelling?
     
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Dec 15, 2012, 01:56 AM
 
I think if you could easily route it within a local office to a choice of devices or terminals it would be cool. On the other hand it might just be one of those techs that people have to get used to as a generation before it really takes off.
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Dec 15, 2012, 01:37 PM
 
Optical Drive? Its nearly 2013.
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Dec 15, 2012, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Optical Drive? Its nearly 2013.
optical drive…for optical…media. Oh yeah. CDs - weren't those like a cross between vinyl LPs and USB sticks, except with the drawbacks of both?
     
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Dec 15, 2012, 05:43 PM
 
I could see the new Mac Pro being a third smaller than the current one.

0-1 slim optical drive instead of 2 full height
4-6 2.5" drives instead of 4 3.5"
2-3 PCIe slots instead of 4 because of TB connectivity
Smaller power supply - a little by wattage, a lot by volume
I think they'll keep 2 sockets and 4 slots/socket
     
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Dec 15, 2012, 06:15 PM
 
I think the holdup is due to rolling out Retina. They'd need a 28-30" monitor with real resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160) and internal rendering as high as 5120 x 2880. That will require a new monitor and may require a new generation of GPUs. Possibly with the GPU built into the monitor.
     
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Dec 16, 2012, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I could see the new Mac Pro being a third smaller than the current one.
0-1 slim optical drive instead of 2 full height
4-6 2.5" drives instead of 4 3.5"
2-3 PCIe slots instead of 4 because of TB connectivity
Smaller power supply - a little by wattage, a lot by volume
I think they'll keep 2 sockets and 4 slots/socket
Given that they're keeping the 3.5" HDD in the 27" iMac, I think that the 3.5" drives are staying - at least one or two, and options for multiple 2.5" drives as well. Optical is very much a maybe. I think that Apple will be shooting for a significantly smaller tower form factor - something a bit similar to the original Xbox 360 in shape - and that means that the optical is the biggest chunk in there.

Say that you put the PSU bottom rear - all the cool kids have the PSU at the bottom these days - and put two vertically oriented (long edge down) 3.5" halfheight HDD bays in front of it. One or both of these could be replaced with multiple 2.5" drives. These are then all accessible from the top if you open the side, and one big fan can cool PSU and drives in one long wind tunnel. Above all of that, the main motherboard along the inner side of the case, with CPU(s) and RAM. This means that the heatsinks for the CPUs will be hanging, but they do that in a lot of towers, so no big deal - and we get a second wind tunnel for the CPUs. Up top, a PCI riser gives us space for two big GPUs with dual-slot coolers, again vertically. Dimensions are set by the fact that the GPUs have to fit, so there is nothing in front of them. Alternatively, a more traditional GPU arrangement with horizontal cards for a lower but wider case, bringing some more space for the HDD at the other end of the case. Either way, the large GPU cards set the minimum dimensions of the case, and I don't think that Apple will make the case any larger than they have to by putting an optical in there.
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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Dec 17, 2012, 09:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Given that they're keeping the 3.5" HDD in the 27" iMac, I think that the 3.5" drives are staying - at least one or two, and options for multiple 2.5" drives as well.
3.5" drives are OK for consumers, but pros continue to move to 2.5". For example look at Dell's workstation lineup, they offer 10 different drive configurations in their Mac Pro comparable lines, 9 of which are 2.5". Cheap storage isn't as much of a priority as performance; there's a long term trend of disks getting bigger faster than they get faster (this applies to SSDs too, although they're a seperate curve from HDDs) so spindle counts go up.
     
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Dec 17, 2012, 02:45 PM
 
I'm expecting (hoping?) for something a bit more.... not-exciting.

A smaller mac pro tower, with a much wider range of performance. A much cheaper low end that's on part with a high end iMac. Core i7, laptop memory chips etc. And higher end models that have Xeon and all that fancy super expensive RAM. But all in the same case. Similar to what the other guy said, I'm thinking something like a single slot loading optical, four 3.5" hard drives, or maybe two 3.5" drives and four 2.5" drives. That takes about the same physical space and with SSDs becoming mainstream, who needs 2.5"? As a side-note, apple could probably come out with a dual purpose "bay" that you could put either a 3.5" or two 2.5" drives in pretty easily. So four 3.5" drives or eight 2.5" drives. Anyway, moving on... 2 or 3 slots, one with a big old GPU in it, and another one or two empty for people that need that sort of thing. I'm not sure about a new pro being 1/3 the size of the current, but 1/2 to 2/3 seems very easy.

There were also rumors a while back about a tower that is also rack-mountable. I tend to doubt this is going to happen. For one thing, there has been on rackmountable Mac for so long now. If they cared that much about making rackmountable stuff, they would have just upgraded the CPUs in the Xserve and kept going with it. And second, the thinner a rackmount device, the better. You're paying per ever 1.75". But as a tower, the thinner you make it, the more awkward and likely to fall over it is. It's just not a good match in my opinion.
     
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Dec 18, 2012, 01:19 AM
 
I thought a bit about rackmounting, that's why I initially figured on even the GPU standing on its side. Let's do some math, and because it's the season for outmoded traditions, let's do it in inches. The current Mac Pro is 20.1" high, including feet/handles. Rackmount width is 19". Apple could make one fit in a rack by just making it possible to replace the feet with rack fixations. 1U height is 1.75" as you say. The current MP is 8.1". Say that Apple can fit it into 2U, or 3.5" - a little under half the width of the current MP. That would require placing the GPU on its edge, but without an optical, I think they can fit that. You'd fit the GPU and just barely two more slots, although I think you'd need to have the GPU venting outside the case. Only space for 2 3.5" HDDs, but there could be multiple 2.5" bays there instead. Width-wise, we have now spent 4.2" on the GPU and another 4" on the HDD bays, leaving some 10" for the motherboard part. A cooler for socket 2011 (Xeon E5) seems to hover just around 5", so it is going to be very tight to fit two of them in there, but it is possible even with coolers that don't overlap in the airflow.

It's an interesting idea, and for a line that needs to suck up all the business it can, including some rackmount business might be worthwhile.
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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Dec 18, 2012, 11:43 AM
 
But. A 19" tall by 3.5" wide tower would not function very well as a tower. Particularly if a weak gust of wind hit it.
     
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Dec 18, 2012, 12:42 PM
 
With PSU and HDDs in the bottom, and the CPU cooling fans just above them, it would have a low center of gravity - but yes, the stand would need to be wider than the 3.5"
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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Dec 19, 2012, 10:27 AM
 
Whatever they make I am betting that it will be thin. I mean thin is in, no?

I would also love a 4k display but I think that would be pretty much a pipe dream for 2013. Maybe 2015?
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Dec 19, 2012, 01:59 PM
 
I think 4k is viable in 2013... it won't be 21" at the same pixel density as the RMBP, but probably 25-30".
     
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Apr 9, 2013, 02:00 PM
 
New rumors of the Mac for "Pro Users" have it coming out in the next few months, as early as this month. This is the problem I see that will determine the design of this new Mac Pro replacement.
Whatever this new Pro will have, it has to have Thunderbolt ports that can handle all TB devices. So, if there are TB ports on the Mac case itself (like the Mac Mini), then it has to support everything, including video. So, how does Apple do this? Have internal on-board graphics to support the ports on the case? Maybe two graphics cards like the MBP 15"? One internal, and one discrete high performance video card? What about a separate PCIe slotted graphics card? Does it have to have TB ports on it? Maybe it can connect to support on-board TB ports, and perhaps HDMI ports on the card. No minidisplay, Apple would not go for that, they have to be TB ports so no mistaking people confusing TB with MD ports.
The bigger problem is User experience. If they cater a Pro User Mac completely to the Pro users only, they need to discourage the mainstream users from buying it, and that means the price will stay high, or go even higher to separate it from that market, or else they see it advertised as the most powerful Mac, they expect it to be the best and may buy it only to find how hard it is to use. Pro users may not care, but Apple does, and they do not want to create a Mac that will alienate any of their consumers. So, if they make it cheaper to appeal to the fringe of people who want that "Pro" edge over the consumer line. If they reduce the price, you can bet they will make a basic Mac Pro, that will not have much of what we expect in a Pro Mac. Plus, in a closed system for Apple, they may supply all the peripherals needed to expand this option for Pro users, in order to maintain quality support, and not have to support compatibility with 3rd party products (admins of the Xserve can understand this).
In conclusion, knowing what Apple has done, if this new Pro Mac is even more complex than the current Mac Pro, with the ability to do the things we here want, expect the price to stay high, if not higher. If the price is to go down, as others here want, you can bet the Pro Mac will be much simpler with reliance on TB peripherals to make them as powerful as the full tower Mac Pro.
     
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Apr 9, 2013, 06:01 PM
 
Both the iMacs and the MBP 15 use discrete graphics with Thunderbolt. Without looking in to it, I suspect they simply route the DisplayPort output to the TB chip which muxes it with some PCIe channels. They could do the same here, with an internal DP cable from GPU to the motherboard and leaving only DVI/HDMI outputs on the card plate itself. One of the benefits of DisplayPort was that OEMs could use the same port for internal display cables as for external (with DVI/HDMI, they had to use LVDS for the internal connections) so Apple could easily do the same here.
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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Apr 9, 2013, 08:54 PM
 
Doubt that Apple would put a DVI port on any of it's Mac products, its old technology. They might allow an HDMI port, but there would have to be a full TB port on the graphics card, so you can plug the TB Display into it and get TB ports on the display working. Whatever AMD or nVidia makes would have to have the HDMI and full TB port on the plate of the graphics card. Then, if you want DVI, you just use the DVI to TB adapter.
     
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Apr 10, 2013, 12:27 AM
 
@l008com
What you want is an xMac

One aspect that IMO is missing so far from the discussion is harnessing the power of GPUs for computations: in addition to using those massive Xeons and server/workstation-grade components, this could be the second, expensive differentiator. nVidia and AMD are putting a lot of effort into making their ultra-high-end GPUs more suitable for computational tasks, and this is clearly something that will trickle down.

I agree with mduell that the next Mac Pro will feature quite a few 2.5" drive bays. Probably I'd be happier if they also included two 3.5" bays so that people could stuff in those 4 TB drives for people with massive storage needs.

I don't think Apple needs to shrink the Mac Pro, I don't think the average Mac Pro user cares, the tower will sit under the user's desk anyway -- unless they want to make it rack mountable. But then they'd move back into server territory, a market they've moved out of several years ago.
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Apr 10, 2013, 05:16 AM
 
This came up last month on MacRumors about the new Mac Pro having 3.5" SSD drives with 2TB capacity.

Apple Building 2TB Solid State Drives for Next Mac Pro Release? - Mac Rumors

- Insert the 'not sure if serious' Joker image here -
If it does turn out to be true, it would be a helluva expensive solution to the storage.

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Apr 10, 2013, 05:26 AM
 
Given that the cheapest 1 TB SSD costs ~$600, that'd be indeed a very costly upgrade.
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Apr 10, 2013, 06:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't think Apple needs to shrink the Mac Pro, I don't think the average Mac Pro user cares, the tower will sit under the user's desk anyway -- unless they want to make it rack mountable. But then they'd move back into server territory, a market they've moved out of several years ago.
Rack-mountable not as in "server". Rack-mountable as in "media".

Your idea of rack-mountable is 1U high with a depth of sixty or so cm, like the XServe. That's pointless, and nobody in the market for an updated Mac Pro is actually interested in that.

We're talking five or so units high, and 35 cm deep. Fit for a standard studio rack or a flight case.
     
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Apr 10, 2013, 01:40 PM
 
Whatever Apple eventually pushes-out as a "Mac Pro", I suspect it will be one of two possibilities...1) A last-gasp for the current machine, maxed to the hilt with all the bells and whistles, that stands as the final version of anything named Mac Pro. Or, 2) A completely new form factor that takes everyone by surprise, in a "I never saw that coming" way, redefining "Mac Pro" for the future.

My money is on the former. The pro market is a shrinking niche. In my field of graphic design, people I know are either limping along with their current older Mac Pros until they die, or have moved over to iMacs, or even Mac Minis.
     
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Apr 10, 2013, 04:44 PM
 
Graphic designers don't need a multi-socket Xeon, but there is some market for it in the video editing field. Apple's recent update of FCP is promising from that perspective.
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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Apr 10, 2013, 05:07 PM
 
In the audio world, it's somewhere in between, depending upon what you're doing. Though having a large number of cores can be quite helpful for the way things like Logic tend to multithread.
     
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Apr 10, 2013, 10:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Rack-mountable not as in "server". Rack-mountable as in "media".

Your idea of rack-mountable is 1U high with a depth of sixty or so cm, like the XServe.
No, I wasn't thinking about a 1U server, there is no way Apple can make the Mac Pro 1U and silent. I was more thinking about 3~4U, something that doubles as a server and a workstation machine. But it needs to be silent.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Graphic designers don't need a multi-socket Xeon, but there is some market for it in the video editing field. Apple's recent update of FCP is promising from that perspective.
It was a long, long time ago when graphic designers pushed the envelope in terms of CPU and GPU power. Still today some graphic designers are worried whether the integrated graphics will be fast enough for Photoshop

Even though it's a niche market, I think Apple can use the Mac Pro like Mercedes and BMW use their S-class and 7-series sedans: introduce new, expensive technologies and push them top-down. One area is really that of harnessing the power of GPUs: top-of-the-line GPUs run way too hot to introduce them in the 15" MacBook Pro, so that'd be one area where the Mac Pro still has an advantage.
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