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Gruber on the Mac Pro
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Apr 4, 2017, 08:31 AM
 
Daring Fireball: The Mac Pro Lives

Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.

...will not ship this year...
     
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Apr 4, 2017, 10:38 AM
 
I first thought that this was a post from last Saturday that I didn't see until now.

Anyway, lots to unpack here. First up, a speedbump of the current model. So that's nice. Are they still stuck on Ivy Bridge-E, or did they move to something more modern? Haswell-E and Broadwell-E are supposed to be socket compatible. Also, the GPU names are unknown. I would very much like to see Apple move to Hawaii or Polaris 10 in the top models (Radeon 390 and 480, respectively) and that is certainly possible. I don't think AMD really makes any old Tahiti cards (D500 and D700) anymore. Wait and see, I guess.

Main issue is that they did it at all. Clearly they DO listen. A bit. Sometimes.

As for their plans... reading between the lines, I think Apple thought that the sliver of people who wanted something better than the top iMac and did not need lots of GPU power was tiny enough that they could ignore it, and that the reaction of customers was that they were wrong. I also think that they only made the decision to make this new MP quite recently, hoping that the remaining pro market would just settle for an iMac already.

Seeing the numbers - that "single digit percentage" of pro users use a Mac Pro - also makes it clearer to me why Apple is doing what it is doing when it is removing the pro/consumer split. They clearly think that most of their pro users are using consumer Macs anyway, and their consumers are using MBPs, so there is really no reason to make any division between pro and consumer anymore. Which is... reasonable, on its face, but it removes flexibility. They need to compensate by not being quite so quick with removing capabilities on their new unified prosumer lines - or make a dock themselves.

And the mini is not quite dead yet, apparently.
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 4, 2017, 10:46 AM
 
And I almost forgot...

AMD has launched new CPUs. The main new thing is that they don't suck, and are mostly a match for Broadwell-E Intel CPUs. The reason this matters is because they don't cost crazy money - you can get 6-core and 8-core chips for reasonable dollars, and the TDP is also not absurd. These could be fit into a new prosumer iMac.

Ever ready to respond with a functional price cut whenever AMD does something to force their hand, Intel will be making "Skylake-X" chips available soonish. These are Skylake-E-based replacements for the old Broadwell-E chips, but with a socket of their own (They will use Socket 2066 instead of Socket 3467 which is what Skylake-E will use). Intel will also make Kaby Lake-X chips for the same socket, but they will only be the same Kaby Lake chips we already see out, except adapted to the new socket to be drop-in replacements. These could also end up in a new prosumer iMac, if Apple decides that they want them.
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 4, 2017, 10:59 AM
 
Maybe a boxier aluminium case. If the whole side is removable they could have say 4 modular drive bays along the top, slots for the gpu(s) and removable cpu(s)?

Sounds ideal.
     
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Apr 4, 2017, 12:15 PM
 
The cheesegrater design still meets all the pro needs, and would be simple to update. If I recall, they needed to address a power/safety regulation in Europe that came into play right around when the DarthPro came out. And they'd need to add ThunderBolt. A new logic board of course, but the case revision would be minor.
     
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Apr 4, 2017, 12:28 PM
 
I'm thinking something like this:

Fractal Design

Not as big, only one dual-slot (they kept mentioning that everyone is moving to a single big GPU), no optical but still space for 2 3.5" and 2 2.5" storage devices. Apple could make it a bit narrower since they don't care about being easy to work in, and it might be tricky to fit a bunch of RAM slots and one of their PCIe storage devices on an ITX-class motherboard, but something like that.

Wonder if they will use TB3 internally to be able to put the SSDs where they want in the case.
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 4, 2017, 02:17 PM
 
Rackmountable would be nice.
     
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Apr 4, 2017, 03:57 PM
 
That comes at a high price - noise. Don't think they will do that. A smallish tower is probably the way to go.
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 4, 2017, 04:05 PM
 
What I mean is a design amenable to it... frex, I can rack two Minis in a 1U tray.
     
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Apr 4, 2017, 04:15 PM
 
Just for fun:

Originally Posted by P View Post
I'm thinking something like this:

Fractal Design
Ditto. Back in 2003 I was dreaming that Apple would come out with something that looked like that, and be blazing super fast. (I also dreamed that Apple would call it the xMac.)


As for displays.......
This one time, at Boot Camp, I stuck a flute up my PC.
     
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Apr 4, 2017, 10:14 PM
 
I wonder if they want something that can be a quiet pro desktop workstation but is easier to rack mount than the black trashcan. Virtualisation is a thing and you can't run virtual Macs without Apple hardware. A Mac Mini isn't really going to be up to running ESXi on any kind of scale and the current Pros use too much backspace with no redundant PSUs or LOM etc etc.
Believe it or not there is at least one company still buying up Xserves for this purpose.
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Apr 5, 2017, 05:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by And.reg View Post
Ditto. Back in 2003 I was dreaming that Apple would come out with something that looked like that, and be blazing super fast. (I also dreamed that Apple would call it the xMac.)
The point about the xMac was that it would come with a middling desktop CPU and cost some $1600 or so. That I don't think will happen. I think they will make something that costs $2500 or thereabouts to start

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I wonder if they want something that can be a quiet pro desktop workstation but is easier to rack mount than the black trashcan. Virtualisation is a thing and you can't run virtual Macs without Apple hardware. A Mac Mini isn't really going to be up to running ESXi on any kind of scale and the current Pros use too much backspace with no redundant PSUs or LOM etc etc.
Believe it or not there is at least one company still buying up Xserves for this purpose.
If you take the case I linked, it would almost fit as a 4U rackmounted if flipped on the side. Apple could easily squeeze it down to be a 4U and add mounting brackets to the top and bottom as an option. All you're missing them is redundant PSUs, but then the Xserves didn't have that either, I think?
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 5, 2017, 01:23 PM
 
The question I'm asking is who is going to buy a speed bumped trashcan pro with the new design on the horizon. Sort of buying into obsolesce. I imagine sales of roughly zero?
     
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Apr 5, 2017, 01:25 PM
 
Also on a re read Apple's definition of "modular" seems to mean separate monitor rather than modular internal design. Surely they wouldn't repeat the mistake again?

Any ideas on what iMac Pro may mean?
     
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Apr 5, 2017, 02:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
The question I'm asking is who is going to buy a speed bumped trashcan pro with the new design on the horizon. Sort of buying into obsolesce. I imagine sales of roughly zero?
Who was buying them before?
     
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Apr 5, 2017, 06:36 PM
 
I think it clear that they will let people install whatever GPU they want, and probably fill them up with internal storage as well.

Also note that Skylake-E will support six memory channels, so you could put 12 DDR4 DIMMs in there without going dual socket.
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 5, 2017, 09:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
The question I'm asking is who is going to buy a speed bumped trashcan pro with the new design on the horizon. Sort of buying into obsolesce. I imagine sales of roughly zero?
Apple said that the sales of the Mac Pro are in the low single percentages of total Mac sales, much more than I would have expected. If you use 1 %, then this means Apple sold >200,000 units per year of a three-year old computer that no longer satisfied many needs and isn't Retina compatible. If you use their usual 30-40 % profit margins, then they actually make more money off selling a single Mac Pro than VW and many other car makers do from selling a single car (VW makes $850 per car on average, or 2.9 %). You could also be a bit more optimistic and say that low single-digit percentage means 2 %, and scale the numbers up from there.

I'm a bit disappointed that when Apple bumped the configurations, it didn't increase the base level RAM or storage, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage aren't cutting any longer. Throw people a bone.

I'm curious where they will go from here. Apple mentioned the word modular, but I am not sure whether that doesn't simply refer to the machine being separate from the display. Here are a few things I hope they will include:
- Flexibility with CPU and GPU configurations: allow for single and dual CPU and GPU configs. Give plenty of options from few, fast core Xeons to many, slow core Xeons.
- Allow for oodles of RAM.
- Have >= 4 m.2 standard PCIe-based SSD slots. Perhaps partner with Intel to offer XPoint storage.
- USB3/Thunderbolt2
- Plenty of headroom for cooling.
- Make the machine easily rack mountable with a conversion kit.
- Release a server variant.

I'm curious to see whether Apple is considering AMD's upcoming server and workstation chips, which seem to offer good bang for the buck. The Zen core gives Broadwell-level performance and their designs sport a lot more cores at the same price points. That'll make it difficult to integrate Thunderbolt, though.
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Apr 6, 2017, 01:44 AM
 
The fact they publicly acknowledged/gave a glimpse into future plans on the desktop lineup means something, though.
     
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Apr 6, 2017, 02:47 AM
 
As I recall, Apple did much the same before the Darth Pro came out. Released early hints, to try and slow the departure of professionals from the platform. Then showed the new MacPro in late 2013, with deliveries only happening in early 2014.

If the same pattern holds, we may see the new design(s) late this year. But not be able to order until 2018.
     
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Apr 6, 2017, 03:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Apple said that the sales of the Mac Pro are in the low single percentages of total Mac sales, much more than I would have expected. If you use 1 %, then this means Apple sold >200,000 units per year of a three-year old computer that no longer satisfied many needs and isn't Retina compatible.
It is Retina compatible, it just doesn't work with a display that Apple sells. Get a regular DisplayPort 4K display - like mine - and connect to one of the many mini-Displayports.

I'm a bit disappointed that when Apple bumped the configurations, it didn't increase the base level RAM or storage, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage aren't cutting any longer. Throw people a bone.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
- Flexibility with CPU and GPU configurations: allow for single and dual CPU and GPU configs. Give plenty of options from few, fast core Xeons to many, slow core Xeons.
Reading between the lines, I suspect that the future is single CPU, single GPU, but I think they will have multiple configurations. Looking back to the cheesegrater days, Apple was quite good at making options for them. Skylake-E will have 32-core options - I think that the number of people who need more is quite small.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
- Allow for oodles of RAM.
Oh yes.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
- Have >= 4 m.2 standard PCIe-based SSD slots. Perhaps partner with Intel to offer XPoint storage.
I look at TB3 and think that that would be an excellent system to connect internal storage - I hope they use that. XPoint/Optane is a major dud so far, though.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
- USB3/Thunderbolt2
ITYM TB3.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I'm curious to see whether Apple is considering AMD's upcoming server and workstation chips, which seem to offer good bang for the buck. The Zen core gives Broadwell-level performance and their designs sport a lot more cores at the same price points. That'll make it difficult to integrate Thunderbolt, though.
Zen makes more sense for an iMac Pro, IMO.
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 6, 2017, 04:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
As I recall, Apple did much the same before the Darth Pro came out. Released early hints, to try and slow the departure of professionals from the platform. Then showed the new MacPro in late 2013, with deliveries only happening in early 2014.

If the same pattern holds, we may see the new design(s) late this year. But not be able to order until 2018.
How hard can designing a new truck be?
     
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Apr 6, 2017, 05:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
It is Retina compatible, it just doesn't work with a display that Apple sells. Get a regular DisplayPort 4K display - like mine - and connect to one of the many mini-Displayports.
Sure, but then you are limited to a “small” 22~24 inch display. You need 5K if you would like to have a 27 inch display.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Reading between the lines, I suspect that the future is single CPU, single GPU, but I think they will have multiple configurations. Looking back to the cheesegrater days, Apple was quite good at making options for them. Skylake-E will have 32-core options - I think that the number of people who need more is quite small.
You are right that the more important measure is the number of cores. With a dual socket system, though, you could get more fast cores, though. (I received an education in this recently, when a slightly older 6-core 3.3 GHz Xeon completed computations twice as fast as a 2.0 GHz 16-core Xeon. In principle, the workload can be perfectly parallelized, but you would have to buy more licenses for concurrent instances of the compute instance of the software we use. The worst about this software package is its licensing shenanigans. But I digress.)
Originally Posted by P View Post
I look at TB3 and think that that would be an excellent system to connect internal storage - I hope they use that.
But how many third-party SSDs use TB3? I'd just like to pop in fast off-the-shelf SSDs (and avoid the nightmare I had with trying to get mac OS to recognize and boot off of an m.2-based SSD ).
Originally Posted by P View Post
XPoint/Optane is a major dud so far, though.
In what way is it a dud? It's a first-gen product akin to the first SSDs. I haven't seen actual independent benchmarks yet, but if Intel's figures are anywhere remotely correct there will be massive performance benefits. IMHO it's the most important memory breakthrough within the last 30 years or so (by going away from transistor-based storage to phase change materials*). Optane v1 will be expensive, offer small capacities and is not compatible with all current systems. We should look towards Optane v2, which could ship in time for the Mac Pro if we are unlucky

* Intel weirdly denies this even though all signs point to them using a glass-crystal transition. As luck would have it there are some experts working on that precise subject in my research institute and they took Intel XPoint as an example of technology based on research in their field being brought to market.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Zen makes more sense for an iMac Pro, IMO.
I'd say it also makes sense in an iMac and would make Mac Pros with high core count cheaper. While you are right that for Mac Pros the benefit isn't as clear cut, for some configs it is definitely there. However, I don't think it is likely that Apple will switch to AMD CPUs (chiefly based on the ramifications that this may have in the business dealings with Intel).
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Apr 6, 2017, 06:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
As I recall, Apple did much the same before the Darth Pro came out. Released early hints, to try and slow the departure of professionals from the platform. Then showed the new MacPro in late 2013, with deliveries only happening in early 2014.
Yeah, but this time the PR situation was worse: people didn't even know whether Apple saw a problem or was interested in the pro market. While a similar period had passed (2010–2014*), there wasn't as much talk about whether Apple would leave the pro market altogether, in part by Tim Cook dropping lines here and there.

With the 2013 Mac Pro and its very, hmmm, opinionated design they went in the wrong direction, and Apple also stopped giving regular updates to its other Mac products (back in ~2013 the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros were still updated at a regular cadence). Moreover, Apple got the balance of many products wrong, there is the perception that the direction along which Apple has pushed its products doesn't seem to coincide with the needs of many customers. Some of that criticism is blown out of proportions, but in many cases a few concessions would make the machines vastly better (give me one USB-A ports on the latest notebooks in addition to at least one other USB-C port).

I'm very cautiously optimistic, but Apple has to acknowledge the damage it has done — not just with regards to the Mac Pro, but its whole Mac line-up. Its Mac projects don't seem well-managed at the moment. Things like the Touch Bar are major investments, but it seems that time lines weren't estimated correctly and there were no Plan Bs (in case of MacBook Pros that would have meant keeping them up to date with whatever Intel's latest CPUs are). I hope they apply the lessons not just to the Mac Pro but all of their products.


* I think technically, the first units shipped in December 2013, but as far as I remember, the 2013 model became broadly available in 2014). Also, I don't count the slight 2012 spec bump as an honest-to-goodness upgrade, so I would say it is a 3.5-year period in between updates.
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Apr 6, 2017, 07:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Sure, but then you are limited to a “small” 22~24 inch display. You need 5K if you would like to have a 27 inch display.
*Must* *avoid* *ranting*...

(This is a pet peeve of mine)

No you don't. I have a 27" 4K display, and there are many 4K displays that are bigger than that. 27" 4K is perfect based on the size of the user interface, and the image is sharper than a Retina iPad. Go bigger and the UI interface element get a bit big, but they're still fine.

The sharpness is easiest to explain, so I'll do that first: macOS has subpixel rendering, and iOS does not. The effective horizontal resolution of my 27" 4K display is 480 ppi, which crushes any iPad or iPhone out there. The vertical resolution is "only" 160 ppi compared to 264 ppi for an iPad, but horizontal resolution is more important to text.

The size story is a bit longer. The idea that you need 5K for 27" is a misunderstanding based on how displays got higher resolutions - first slowly, and then when mobile phones became the tails that wagged the dog, very quickly. We had displays of around 80-95 ppi for a long time, and OS X was designed for that range. Resolution crept up until the 27" iMac, which had 110 ppi, and then suddenly doubled as Apple went Retina after realizing that they could take the lessons they had learnt from phones and tablets and apply them to Macs. This means that the size of UI elements shrunk over time between 2001 (or 1999 or whenever they did the design work for OS X) and 2009, and were then locked down there. Using a 5K 27" display locks the UI elements to the size they were in 2009, not the size they were designed to. Anything that is not the UI elements can be zoomed freely these days.

(And anyway there is MST if you want to go even higher than 4K)

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You are right that the more important measure is the number of cores. With a dual socket system, though, you could get more fast cores, though. (I received an education in this recently, when a slightly older 6-core 3.3 GHz Xeon completed computations twice as fast as a 2.0 GHz 16-core Xeon. In principle, the workload can be perfectly parallelized, but you would have to buy more licenses for concurrent instances of the compute instance of the software we use. The worst about this software package is its licensing shenanigans. But I digress.)
This is true (two sockets have more cooling capacity and more memory bandwidth than one) but they are becoming a very small niche. I think one socket is the way forward.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
But how many third-party SSDs use TB3? I'd just like to pop in fast off-the-shelf SSDs (and avoid the nightmare I had with trying to get mac OS to recognize and boot off of an m.2-based SSD ).
TB3 is just PCIe3 with a cable instead of a slot. One could just put an adapter in between. Mainly I'm trying to keep the size of the box small - the one I linked uses an ITX motherboard and would not fit my 12 DIMM slots, much less 4 m.2 slots, so the size would have to go up, but I don't think anyone is served by a full ATX or EATX motherboard. Better to put the storage in its usual spots and use a cable to connect it.

Alternatively, put a daughterboard with some m.2 slots somewhere - but then you limit yourself to exactly that. My idea would let you put plain old spinning rust there as well (connected over USB 3 with UAS, or just SATA signals routed over the same cable like Intel actually does anyway from the PCH).

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
In what way is it a dud? It's a first-gen product akin to the first SSDs. I haven't seen actual independent benchmarks yet, but if Intel's figures are anywhere remotely correct there will be massive performance benefits. IMHO it's the most important memory breakthrough within the last 30 years or so (by going away from transistor-based storage to phase change materials*). Optane v1 will be expensive, offer small capacities and is not compatible with all current systems. We should look towards Optane v2, which could ship in time for the Mac Pro if we are unlucky

* Intel weirdly denies this even though all signs point to them using a glass-crystal transition. As luck would have it there are some experts working on that precise subject in my research institute and they took Intel XPoint as an example of technology based on research in their field being brought to market.
It is a dud in that it does live up to the promises Intel made, in particular because it wears out and needs wear levelling to have usable lifetime - which kills its main advantage over flash, which is the latency. Intel carefully avoids this question by speaking about the latency of the underlying hardware, not of the device they actually sell. If we were still on big HDDs, they could make a killing selling it as a disk cache for them, but it arrived to late for that - the gain over SSDs is not big enough to bother with. It can be used as a sleep/wake boost, letting laptops drop to S4 (hibernate) and still come back out of it quickly instead of burning battery in S3 (sleep), but that is a very narrow use case for something that expensive.

(This is more or less well known by the tech press and has been for a while. Sometimes someone writes an article about it, and a month later they get some exclusive from Intel in return for never doing it again. Optane is a failure for now, and Intel is launching it because the delays were getting embarrassing. There is potential in the tech for a v2, but it isn't here yet)
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 6, 2017, 02:19 PM
 
Xserves do indeed have redundant PSUs. It was optional.

I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Apr 6, 2017, 02:19 PM
 
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Apr 6, 2017, 07:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
*Must* *avoid* *ranting*...

(This is a pet peeve of mine)

No you don't. I have a 27" 4K display, and there are many 4K displays that are bigger than that. 27" 4K is perfect based on the size of the user interface, and the image is sharper than a Retina iPad. Go bigger and the UI interface element get a bit big, but they're still fine.

The sharpness is easiest to explain, so I'll do that first: macOS has subpixel rendering, and iOS does not. The effective horizontal resolution of my 27" 4K display is 480 ppi, which crushes any iPad or iPhone out there. The vertical resolution is "only" 160 ppi compared to 264 ppi for an iPad, but horizontal resolution is more important to text.
I don't think including sub pixels the way you did as a way to increase the horizontal resolution accurately reflects perceived resolution (however you want to define that). In any case, if you want to go to high resolution (for the sake of discussion let's call it Retina™) in both, horizontal and vertical direction, 4K isn't enough on a 27" screen. Besides, this isn't so much a philosophical discussion and more about direct competition between the 27" iMac and the Mac Pro where presumably the iMac should be the lower-end model. Personally, I'd like to have 300+ dpi on my traditional Mac OS-based computers and 400~500 dpi on my iOS devices.
Originally Posted by P View Post
This is true (two sockets have more cooling capacity and more memory bandwidth than one) but they are becoming a very small niche. I think one socket is the way forward.
I think you have a point and I am inclined to agree. Don't the 2-socket models also have more PCIe lanes?
Originally Posted by P View Post
Alternatively, put a daughterboard with some m.2 slots somewhere - but then you limit yourself to exactly that. My idea would let you put plain old spinning rust there as well (connected over USB 3 with UAS, or just SATA signals routed over the same cable like Intel actually does anyway from the PCH).
I don't think Apple should make the same mistake and pretend it is size constrained. m.2 cards are very small compared to other components, and allowing the user to expand SSD storage without connecting an external box is something that should be on Apple's list. They should spend the space, there is no reason why a Mac Pro has to be small.
Originally Posted by P View Post
It is a dud in that it does live up to the promises Intel made, in particular because it wears out and needs wear levelling to have usable lifetime - which kills its main advantage over flash, which is the latency.
Can you provide links to articles on that? I'm curious about independent benchmarks and all that here. However, my view isn't as bleak, the first mass market SSDs weren't exactly great when it came to performance consistency and, of course, overall performance. My former boss's 64 GB SSD in his first-gen MacBook Air wasn't exactly a screamer. It's a first-gen product of a piece of technology that might bring about huge benefits, but right now it is barely able to make a use case for price, capacity and performance reasons.
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Apr 7, 2017, 05:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't think including sub pixels the way you did as a way to increase the horizontal resolution accurately reflects perceived resolution (however you want to define that). In any case, if you want to go to high resolution (for the sake of discussion let's call it Retina™) in both, horizontal and vertical direction, 4K isn't enough on a 27" screen. Besides, this isn't so much a philosophical discussion and more about direct competition between the 27" iMac and the Mac Pro where presumably the iMac should be the lower-end model. Personally, I'd like to have 300+ dpi on my traditional Mac OS-based computers and 400~500 dpi on my iOS devices.
Since I'm running it, I think 27" at 4K qualifies. It is very sharp, and I don't notice that the iPad or the built-in MBP display is any sharper, because I sit closer to them. More resolution is always better, but you hit diminishing returns pretty soon when looking at something from the distance you sit from a 27" display.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think you have a point and I am inclined to agree. Don't the 2-socket models also have more PCIe lanes?
Yes, because they have the same number per socket, but the bandwidth between the sockets becomes the limiting factor then.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't think Apple should make the same mistake and pretend it is size constrained. m.2 cards are very small compared to other components, and allowing the user to expand SSD storage without connecting an external box is something that should be on Apple's list. They should spend the space, there is no reason why a Mac Pro has to be small.
There is, for people who transport their boxes. One of the reasons for the size of the current MP is that should be easy to ship. It was apparently a selling point for video editors and the like.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Can you provide links to articles on that? I'm curious about independent benchmarks and all that here. However, my view isn't as bleak, the first mass market SSDs weren't exactly great when it came to performance consistency and, of course, overall performance. My former boss's 64 GB SSD in his first-gen MacBook Air wasn't exactly a screamer. It's a first-gen product of a piece of technology that might bring about huge benefits, but right now it is barely able to make a use case for price, capacity and performance reasons.
AFAIK, there is no possibility to benchmark anything in person yet, only over the network to a box that Intel controls. There are some critical articles, but not from the highly reputable sources. Just about everyone mentions that endurance is far from what was promised, though. Here is one summary that is mostly a rant.

Intel crosses an unacceptable ethical line - SemiAccurate

Here is a "performance analysis"

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/29/intel_optane/

The more reputable sites, like Anandtech, are curiously silent.
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 7, 2017, 05:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
AFAIK, there is no possibility to benchmark anything in person yet, only over the network to a box that Intel controls. There are some critical articles, but not from the highly reputable sources. Just about everyone mentions that endurance is far from what was promised, though. Here is one summary that is mostly a rant.

Intel crosses an unacceptable ethical line - SemiAccurate

Here is a "performance analysis"

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/29/intel_optane/

The more reputable sites, like Anandtech, are curiously silent.
Ah, thanks for the links. Semiaccurate is very reputable from what I know, but most of their interesting stuff is behind a paywall, so I don't check them regularly. Anandtech has done less of these forensic architectural deep dives since Anand and Brian left for Apple.
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Apr 7, 2017, 06:45 AM
 
SemiAccurate (ie, Charlie Demerjian's ramblings) is a bit of hit and miss. Charlie has very well-known biases and wears them proudly. He hates nVidia with a passion (nVidia's PR department would have put Apple's under Katie Cotton to shame - they play Hardball with a captial H with reporters who unearth their smelly secrets) and loves to throw garbage at them. Intel he is generally in favor of, at least their production wing, but he also dislikes their bullshitting and the current renaming habits. AMD he seems to have a soft spot for, etc.
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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