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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Who can afford a Mac Pro now?

Who can afford a Mac Pro now? (Page 3)
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parsley
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Sep 9, 2010, 01:26 AM
 
Pricing and Valuing the iMac Against the Mac Pro

Many people can't afford the shortcomings of the iMac.
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herojig
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Sep 9, 2010, 01:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by parsley View Post
Pricing and Valuing the iMac Against the Mac Pro

Many people can't afford the shortcomings of the iMac.
Interesting blog post there. But three years ago we bought 2 imacs for what we could have bought 1 mac pro for video and audio editing, and the only things we noticed/missed were:

* speed, 2.4 ghz Core 2 duos are slower then what came with macpro,
* memory, could not upgrade to same amount macpro,
* no esata,
* no card expansion for Protools HD, have to use Protools LE.

So in short, imacs are just slower. But we are in nepal, where there is more time then money.

Note: The assumption that internal drives failing cause increased downtime just show the writer's ignorance of OSX. If an internal drive fails, just boot up an external firewire clone. The downtime is about 30 minutes, and not days as stated.
     
dimmer
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Sep 11, 2010, 02:02 AM
 
It's pretty easy to see how things are going: we didn't buy towers or clunky desktops because we wanted them, they just were a natural requirement of a particular stage in the computing hardware setup. Has anyone ever said they wanted a hulking, ugly, noisy beige box to get work done on? Nope.

But for a time, we needed expansion slots, and GenLocs, and fancy-dandy graphics boards. And today? We honestly have very little need for any of those.

Sure, a tiny number of people "need" such systems. But it's a small market, that is getting smaller every day. Sure, Apple could speed up their demise with a mini-tower, but why bother? If you need the heavy metal, you got it. If you don't, then you are covered just fine.

For Apple to buy into a "Mini-tower" as the market shows no need nor purpose for one would be insane. Sure, some folks continue to belly-ache for such a beast: they just need to step back and ask themselves "Why?".
     
herojig
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Sep 11, 2010, 03:05 AM
 
Dimmer, I agree with you but the iMac is so beautiful and frustrating at the same time. If it had eSata I'd be happy. All they would have to do is put a mini card slot in, like the one they removed from the MBP!
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 11, 2010, 04:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by herojig View Post
Note: The assumption that internal drives failing cause increased downtime just show the writer's ignorance of OSX. If an internal drive fails, just boot up an external firewire clone. The downtime is about 30 minutes, and not days as stated.
Actually, the difference between just pulling out a drive and replacing it after you've limped through the day on FireWire and having to bring away the iMac for drive replacement is quite substantial for a production schedule.
     
herojig
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Sep 11, 2010, 05:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Actually, the difference between just pulling out a drive and replacing it after you've limped through the day on FireWire and having to bring away the iMac for drive replacement is quite substantial for a production schedule.
yes, but to say it takes days to replace an imac drive (OP) is just nuts. two suction cups and 30 minutes, tops. We do mostly audio & video editing, so there is no limping on firewire, it works just fine, albeit renders are slower. Just wish the iMacs had a slot for a dual estata controller like our older mbps do. we use those and they are really fast, the only thing on the internal drives are the apps. Downtime is 10 minutes if an internal drive there ever goes out, using cloned backup externals.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 11, 2010, 05:52 AM
 
If you do the repair yourself, yes.
     
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Sep 11, 2010, 06:51 AM
 
Well, yes, but the MP option also required you to do the repair yourself. It's just harder than on the MP, and not as hard as some previous iMacs.
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.
     
dimmer
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Sep 11, 2010, 07:06 AM
 
Yeah, Express Card did seem really appealing (my MacBook Pro has it, and my external drive array can use eSATA, which I'm happy just to know that I can upgrade to that). The platform just didn't seem to get any critical mass in the market place -- probably a chicken/egg issue. Apple could have tried to make more of this by not relegating EC to high-end laptops -- it would have made a very sweet expansion option for the whole MacBook line, and indeed for the iMac / MacMini lines. Now that it's been further demoted in favor of the SD slot, I doubt that it'll ever be more than niche, which does kinda suck. (Express Card can be a SD slot, or many other things: the SD slot is just an SD slot -- very limited by comparison.)
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 11, 2010, 08:23 AM
 
The vast majority of users has absolutely no need for any kind of expansion that would require an EC slot.
     
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Sep 11, 2010, 09:38 AM
 
True but even more of the users who do could use an iMac with EC over a Mac Pro if it existed.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
xmattingly
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Sep 12, 2010, 04:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by dimmer View Post
Has anyone ever said they wanted a hulking, ugly, noisy beige box to get work done on? Nope.

For Apple to buy into a "Mini-tower" as the market shows no need nor purpose for one would be insane. Sure, some folks continue to belly-ache for such a beast: they just need to step back and ask themselves "Why?".
Well, I think that's an over-generalization. Mac Pro's - yes they're huge, but my experience has been that they're actually quieter than laptops.

For the fabled mini-tower: true that there would be a very niche market for them. I would argue that for the vast majority of Mac Pro owners, the expansion options is huge overkill. Seriously, how many people will ever need to fill more than say, a couple of expansion slots, slap in a 2nd DVD drive, 4 hard drives and max out to 64GB of RAM? Virtually no one on the planet. Be that as it may, for the $2500 entry price that vast majority of Mac Pro owners are not getting the most of what they paid for... so that would seem to pave the way for a more cost-effective, yet expansive model.

I think it's also fair to say that Apple does cater to niche markets. I can't imagine that there is hot!hot!hot! demand for the Magic Trackpad; Mac Mini & MacBook Air are arguably niche machines, for example. And, they're making a killing by offering the iPod Touch to people who want the product, but not the phone service.

That being the case, I could see a mini-tower being sold as a "Mac Pro for the rest of us." Only one DVD slot, One GPU & expansion slot, two drive bays and a generous array of ports... with a price tag similar to the iMac.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 12, 2010, 05:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
I think it's also fair to say that Apple does cater to niche markets. I can't imagine that there is hot!hot!hot! demand for the Magic Trackpad; Mac Mini & MacBook Air are arguably niche machines, for example. And, they're making a killing by offering the iPod Touch to people who want the product, but not the phone service.
The point is not that they don't cater to niches - they don't cater to DYING niches. They have no problem with building for a niche that's sustainable/growing.

I don't know about the MagicTrackpad - I know I'm kicking myself for having bought a Magic Mouse (which is the nicest mouse I've ever owned), because what I really wanted was *exactly* what Apple built in the Magic Trackpad. I don't think it's a "niche" product any more than the mouse is.

Mac mini may be a niche, but look at the history:
It started out as a cost-effective switcher test-machine. Over the last few years, the Mac has gained traction and the desktop market has begun dying (except for the iMac). Consequently, Apple repositioned the latest version for a niche that *isn't* shrinking: set-top boxes/media centers. They beautified it, integrated the power supply, added HDMI, and raised the price.

As for the iPod touch: I have no idea how that could be considered a "niche", by any stretch of the imagination. It's selling like crazy, and IIRC, Steve even told the disciples that it was the best-selling iPod of ALL models last year.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
That being the case, I could see a mini-tower being sold as a "Mac Pro for the rest of us." Only one DVD slot, One GPU & expansion slot, two drive bays and a generous array of ports... with a price tag similar to the iMac.
You mean "a handful of them", not "the rest of us".

I think it's been established that the "rest of us" don't want desktops unless they're iMacs.
     
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Sep 12, 2010, 06:18 AM
 
As I've mentioned a few times before, there is a PCCard slot inside the slotloading iMac G3 and the first gen iMac G5, although not accessible from the outside. It was used for the Airport card.

xmattingly: please read the rest of the thread - we've been over that argument already.
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.
     
xmattingly
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Sep 13, 2010, 07:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The point is not that they don't cater to niches - they don't cater to DYING niches. They have no problem with building for a niche that's sustainable/growing.

As for the iPod touch: I have no idea how that could be considered a "niche", by any stretch of the imagination. It's selling like crazy, and IIRC, Steve even told the disciples that it was the best-selling iPod of ALL models last year.

You mean "a handful of them", not "the rest of us".

I think it's been established that the "rest of us" don't want desktops unless they're iMacs.
Your point of view re: desktops seem to go in two directions; on the one hand you're saying the desktop is a dying market; on the other you're saying people only want iMacs if they don't want a tower. I don't believe either is completely true; I would qualify desktops as a shrinking market, but demand is still there. If we're quoting Jobs, he fairly recently characterized your home computer as the hub for all your digital stuff. I still think there is space in their product line between iMacs and Mac Pro's. Let's face it: iMacs are not desirable for anyone who does not want a machine w/ a built-in monitor; and as mentioned before the uber-expandability of a Pro is wasted money for many of peeps. MP is still a great product for any professional in multimedia or design. Hell, I'd even suggest that the Mac Pro is actually the niche market, and a "mini tower" would be a better seller. Handful or otherwise, Apple has never been afraid to fill in the gaps in their product line, even if some things don't sell as well. MB Air and Apple TV are a couple of things that haven't gone gangbuster, but they're still offered.

Re: dying niches: Would it be fair to say that the iPod Classic falls in this category?

Re: iPod Touch: My comment was to the effect that with the iPhone, Apple had a revolutionary new product and didn't have to offer it sans phone... but they smartly capitalized on it. I would have probably characterized it more accurately as an offshoot product rather than a niche. But - at the time it was introduced, I think the top seller was still the Nano, w/ the Classic as a runner up.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I don't know about the MagicTrackpad - I know I'm kicking myself for having bought a Magic Mouse (which is the nicest mouse I've ever owned), because what I really wanted was *exactly* what Apple built in the Magic Trackpad. I don't think it's a "niche" product any more than the mouse is.
Dude, if you really like Apple laptop trackpad UI, I would splurge on a Magic Trackpad. I have a MM too, and it's been sitting there unused since I got my MT.

Obviously, no one knows how well the MT has been selling, but even Apple has said that they're not expecting it to be a replacement for mice anytime soon, as their own people are using a mouse+trackpad together. So by their description I would consider it a niche product for the time being.

As far as functionality, the Trackpad works great! My only issues are with some gesture limitations, and limited options. For example, if the 3-finger window drag is turned on you can't use the 3-finger left/right (forward/back) gesture. And I would prefer 4-finger-up to activate Expose app windows rather than "reveal Desktop", but that's not an option. Other than the larger size, it's no different than a Mac laptop.

The Magic Mouse has got to be one of the most beautiful objects Apple has ever put to market, but... I didn't buy it just to look at it, so it's probably time to hawk it on Craigslist.
     
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Sep 13, 2010, 08:12 AM
 
I agree with nearly everything you just posted, xmattingly. A niche product doesn't necessarily have to cater to a small segment of a market, although that's what we usually use the term to signify. It just has to cater to a market segment really well. Based on that logic the iPod touch is indeed a niche product. In an ideal world in which iPhones were priced like iPod touch(es) and did not require contracts, everyone would buy iPhones instead of iPod touch(es). But it's not an ideal world. Apple doesn't often sell iPhones without their expensive 2 year contracts (not in most of the world, at least), and when they do the iPhone is twice the price of the iPod touch. That's why people go for the touch. It's a poor man's iPhone, essentially, and it's a very successful market niche created by the fact of the far higher pricing of the iPhone.

The Mac Pro is too a niche product, although for different reasons. It's a high-end niche product that Apple forces on those who don't necessarily want it but have no alternative because they want a tower Mac. The iMac was not initially ever meant to be a flagship desktop. The midrange tower is the mainstream product, which Apple's product line has been bereft of since the early G5 era. Apple used to be able to produce a midrange tower, but their chosen product matrix and pricing doesn't allow for it. Apple would have better sales and margins adjusting the low-end Mac Pro to be the xMac we ask for - that much I remain confident of. But going on seven years now Apple has abandoned the midrange true desktop market and left a huge hole in the desktop lineup, while the laptop offerings have become increasingly price competitive. Oh well.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Sep 13, 2010 at 08:18 AM. )

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Sep 13, 2010, 08:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Your point of view re: desktops seem to go in two directions; on the one hand you're saying the desktop is a dying market;
That's not a point of view, that's a datapoint. The desktop market is shrinking year over year, and has done so for quite some time.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
on the other you're saying people only want iMacs if they don't want a tower. I don't believe either is completely true; I would qualify desktops as a shrinking market, but demand is still there.
Yes. It's a niche market and a shrinking one. Apple doesn't care about those.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
If we're quoting Jobs, he fairly recently characterized your home computer as the hub for all your digital stuff.
That was just after the launch of the iMac G4 - eight and a half years ago. "fairly recently" is stretching it, and anyway he never said that a laptop couldn't fill that spot.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
I still think there is space in their product line between iMacs and Mac Pro's. Let's face it: iMacs are not desirable for anyone who does not want a machine w/ a built-in monitor; and as mentioned before the uber-expandability of a Pro is wasted money for many of peeps.
NO. This is the reason I asked you to read the rest of the thread - a midrange tower (ie, a tower with top iMac performance but with some expandability) would cost almost exactly the same as the single socket MP to produce. Your argument about cheaper towers is from the FB-DIMM era of the first MPs.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
MP is still a great product for any professional in multimedia or design. Hell, I'd even suggest that the Mac Pro is actually the niche market, and a "mini tower" would be a better seller. Handful or otherwise, Apple has never been afraid to fill in the gaps in their product line, even if some things don't sell as well. MB Air and Apple TV are a couple of things that haven't gone gangbuster, but they're still offered.
AppleTV is officially referred to as a hobby, and is kept alive because noone else has succeded yet. The MBA is now extremely long in the tooth. The Cube was killed directly. Every other midrange tower model since the first G5 has been killed quickly. Ever wonder why?

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Re: dying niches: Would it be fair to say that the iPod Classic falls in this category?
Sure, so it's kept around with no development. Don't look now, but the last MP update was 6 months late.
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.
     
Big Mac
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Sep 13, 2010, 09:30 AM
 
P, how do you figure that an xMac would be almost as expensive as the low-end, very overpriced (by your own declaration) Mac Pro? Why is that every PC manufacturer can produce much less expensively? We're talking about the same electronic components as the rest of the industry. What could account for the difference? The quality of the case and super huge profit margins? Apple can do better than that. Again, it's certain that a tower would have better margins than the iMac with its specialized R&D costs and the expense of the built-in display. I don't see how your argument holds up.

Maybe you'll say it accounts for the true cost of R&D for Mac OS X. You could say that, but as far as I know Mac OS X is little more than a prominent side product for Apple at this point so I don't buy that either.

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Don Pickett
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Sep 13, 2010, 11:07 AM
 
Just for the fun of it I went to Dell.com and spec'd out some machines. In order to get one which matches the specs of a Mac Pro, I ended up paying Mac Pro money. No matter which way you slice it, fast, multi-core machines are expensive.

edit: Just checked again: single 3.33 GHz six-core is $5,124, with discount.

I even had trouble beating the iMacs on price. If I tried I could come in $100 or $200 cheaper, but I had to sacrifice HD space and RAM.
( Last edited by Don Pickett; Sep 13, 2010 at 11:14 AM. )
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Don Pickett
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Sep 13, 2010, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
That's not a point of view, that's a datapoint. The desktop market is shrinking year over year, and has done so for quite some time.
The desktop market is NOT shrinking year-over-year. Apple is now selling more desktops than the ever have. If you don't believe me, read through Apple's latest 10-K yourself.

What has changed is the makeup of the desktop market, but this merely represents how the computer market is changing in general.
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Sep 13, 2010, 11:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
P, how do you figure that an xMac would be almost as expensive as the low-end, very overpriced (by your own declaration) Mac Pro?
Didn't say that. I said that it would be as expensive TO PRODUCE as the low-end MP - ie, any price cut would come from Apple's gross margins. Instead of arguing for them sinking development money into a new box, just ask them to adjust the price of the current low-end MP towards sanity.

Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Why is that every PC manufacturer can produce much less expensively? We're talking about the same electronic components as the rest of the industry. What could account for the difference? The quality of the case and super huge profit margins? Apple can do better than that. Again, it's certain that a tower would have better margins than the iMac with its specialized R&D costs and the expense of the built-in display. I don't see how your argument holds up.

Maybe you'll say it accounts for the true cost of R&D for Mac OS X. You could say that, but as far as I know Mac OS X is little more than a prominent side product for Apple at this point so I don't buy that either.
Well, do it yourself if you don't believe me: Look up what the components in the low-end MP cost - Intel and nVidia and AMD and whoever publish their prices, and Apple puts the model numbers in their spec sheets. Replace them with whatever you'd like to fill the box with and see what it comes to. Don't tell me that you can save hundreds of dollars by making the box from plastic instead of aluminum or anything like that - just replace parts and add up all the savings. Subtract them from the $2500 of the bottom MP and we'll see what you end up with.

My point is that Apple has chosen, for reasons unknown, to overcharge for that low-end MP. They're not going to undercut themselves with a different box of comparable performance at a lower price.
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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Sep 13, 2010, 11:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Don Pickett View Post
The desktop market is NOT shrinking year-over-year. Apple is now selling more desktops than the ever have. If you don't believe me, read through Apple's latest 10-K yourself.
Not Apple's desktop market, the entire desktop market. Also, while it is true that Apple is selling more desktops now than a few years ago, the percentage point that is laptops is still increasing. Apple is just growing the 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.
     
Don Pickett
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Sep 13, 2010, 11:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
My point is that Apple has chosen, for reasons unknown, to overcharge for that low-end MP. They're not going to undercut themselves with a different box of comparable performance at a lower price.
Go to Dell.com and spec out a machine with the same specs as the low-end Power Mac. You won't beat it on price.
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Sep 13, 2010, 12:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Your point of view re: desktops seem to go in two directions; on the one hand you're saying the desktop is a dying market….
I would qualify desktops as a shrinking market, but demand is still there.
Certainly nothing that warrants fresh investment into a new product.

As for dying market: Please read the thread.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Re: dying niches: Would it be fair to say that the iPod Classic falls in this category?
1. The iPod classic has been a slow, but fairly steady seller, as far as i can tell. But even if not,

2. You may note that Apple didn't redesign it. Apple has invested NOTHING into this product - no software updates, no hardware updates, no capacity bump, nothing. Keeping the iPod classic in the lineup costs Apple literally nothing. Apple will keep it as long as they don't make a loss on it; all their work on it has been done.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Re: iPod Touch: My comment was to the effect that with the iPhone, Apple had a revolutionary new product and didn't have to offer it sans phone... but they smartly capitalized on it. I would have probably characterized it more accurately as an offshoot product rather than a niche. But - at the time it was introduced, I think the top seller was still the Nano, w/ the Classic as a runner up.
The iPod touch has sold 45 million, by some accounts.

I really don't see how that is possibly "niche", but no matter. Yes, the nano was the top seller at the time (Nov. 2007).

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Dude, if you really like Apple laptop trackpad UI, I would splurge on a Magic Trackpad. I have a MM too, and it's been sitting there unused since I got my MT.
[…]
The Magic Mouse has got to be one of the most beautiful objects Apple has ever put to market, but... I didn't buy it just to look at it, so it's probably time to hawk it on Craigslist.
I hear you.

Unfortunately, my wife has veto power.

Originally Posted by Don Pickett View Post
The desktop market is NOT shrinking year-over-year. Apple is now selling more desktops than the ever have. If you don't believe me, read through Apple's latest 10-K yourself.
The ENTIRE market is shrinking rapidly - EXCEPT for the iMac. That is the ONLY machine whose market is growing.
     
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Sep 13, 2010, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Don Pickett View Post
Go to Dell.com and spec out a machine with the same specs as the low-end Power Mac. You won't beat it on price.
That is actually a little tricky, but not for the reason you think. To get an equivalent model with ECC RAM, you need to go to the workstation section, and there you can't order the plain GPUs - you have to order the overpriced FirePro and similar cards. Closest card performance-wise to the 5770 is the FirePro V5800, and if you pick that, an E5630 (E5620 wasn't available, for some reason), 1TB HD and 3 GB of ECC RAM, the price actually leaps to $2074 in my calculation - merely $400 less than the bottom MP. The gap is usually larger (and it was ginormous before the Gulftown refresh), and if Dell actually let you combine ECC RAM with a plain GPU, I could make that happen now as well.
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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Sep 13, 2010, 04:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
That is actually a little tricky, but not for the reason you think. To get an equivalent model with ECC RAM, you need to go to the workstation section, and there you can't order the plain GPUs - you have to order the overpriced FirePro and similar cards. Closest card performance-wise to the 5770 is the FirePro V5800, and if you pick that, an E5630 (E5620 wasn't available, for some reason), 1TB HD and 3 GB of ECC RAM, the price actually leaps to $2074 in my calculation - merely $400 less than the bottom MP. The gap is usually larger (and it was ginormous before the Gulftown refresh), and if Dell actually let you combine ECC RAM with a plain GPU, I could make that happen now as well.
I couldn't even get that close. By the time I bumped up the RAM and HD space and included a non-crippled version of Windows 7, I was at or above Apple's prices.
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Sep 13, 2010, 07:50 PM
 
There was a year or so when apple sold the Powermac G4 alongside the G5 for less than the cost of the least expensive ibook. So I don't see why they couldn't sell a tower for less than the cost of a macbook. Of course at that time the mac mini wasn't around so I suppose the G4 served that purpose. Oh and you could put twice as many drives in the G4.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 13, 2010, 08:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by macaddict0001 View Post
There was a year or so when apple sold the Powermac G4 alongside the G5 for less than the cost of the least expensive ibook.
The last PowerMac G4 dual 1.25 was an existing model with a minimal speed bump and intended to maintain support for booting into OS 9.

There was nothing really new about the machine, so there was no development cost. They already had the machine to hedge their bets against failure to deliver the G5.

A new semi-tower would be a completely new product line, requiring tremendous industrial investment and PR into a market that's shrinking by the week.

Look at this thread! There really isn't much room between the high-end iMac and the low-end Mac Pro.
     
Don Pickett
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Sep 13, 2010, 10:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The last PowerMac G4 dual 1.25 was an existing model with a minimal speed bump and intended to maintain support for booting into OS 9.

There was nothing really new about the machine, so there was no development cost. They already had the machine to hedge their bets against failure to deliver the G5.

A new semi-tower would be a completely new product line, requiring tremendous industrial investment and PR into a market that's shrinking by the week.

Look at this thread! There really isn't much room between the high-end iMac and the low-end Mac Pro.
My main problem with the iMac is simple: I don't like single points of failure.
The era of anthropomorphizing hardware is over.
     
sadpandas
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Sep 13, 2010, 11:35 PM
 
I purchased my mac pro because i am actually make a profit from using it at which is compose music for t.v. and film as well as compose, record, mix and remix releases. A professional line is just that, made for professionals that actually use their machines and the machine's attributes to earn a living. Also, i don't care that i could purchase a HP workstation, i use osx natively on a beast of a machine that a commercial paid for and i can't use osx or logic on a windows system. I had done the piece for that commercial on the 2nd to last pbook ('05 1.67 pre gloss). People have been making and recording music on macs forever so, if you don't mind using dated hardware or software you can still make an amazing composition (product) with a G5 or even a powerbook if you know a little bit about you are doing and have 'extra' time to bounce tracks. Also, you get to write off that giant price tag in your taxes and doesn't that soften the blow a little bit?

For some people it's overkill to purchase a mac pro for their needs. Then again some people use $100.00 of a $2500.00 machine or use $50 worth of their new photoshop cs suite.
*Dual 2.8 quad core Mac Pro, 512 8800 GT, 1tb boot, 500gb audio, 340gb video, 6gb ram
*15"pb*1.67*128vm*100hd*2g ram*
*PMac*Dual 2.0GHz* 4g ram*
*3.0 p4 630* gigabyte848p775* radeon X800 Pro 256* 2g ram*
     
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Sep 14, 2010, 12:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
That is actually a little tricky, but not for the reason you think. To get an equivalent model with ECC RAM, you need to go to the workstation section, and there you can't order the plain GPUs - you have to order the overpriced FirePro and similar cards. Closest card performance-wise to the 5770 is the FirePro V5800, and if you pick that, an E5630 (E5620 wasn't available, for some reason), 1TB HD and 3 GB of ECC RAM, the price actually leaps to $2074 in my calculation - merely $400 less than the bottom MP. The gap is usually larger (and it was ginormous before the Gulftown refresh), and if Dell actually let you combine ECC RAM with a plain GPU, I could make that happen now as well.
Does the latest generation of Mac Pros still use ECC RAM?
     
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Sep 14, 2010, 02:41 AM
 
Yes, they use ECC RAM but in a standard DDR3 socket. The price difference isn't much, and there is actually some performance benefit to using ECC, so that part makes sense.
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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Sep 14, 2010, 02:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Don Pickett View Post
I couldn't even get that close. By the time I bumped up the RAM and HD space and included a non-crippled version of Windows 7, I was at or above Apple's prices.
This is a feature of the Dell website - they have some 20-30 desktop models to start from, and then you can customize them to infinity. You can end up with wildly different prices, however, so the trick is to find something fairly close to what you want to start your customization from.
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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Sep 14, 2010, 07:44 AM
 
My brother and I built our Core i7 930 desktop months ago for $1,500, with all name brand components including 6 GB of RAM and a Radeon 5850 GPU. We saved about $100 over an equivalent Dell at that point in time (we would have saved $200 but for my choice of springing for an extra Fry's in-store warranty). Why is Apple incapable of offering such a thing, even at $1,800 or $1,900, or even $2,000?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Sep 14, 2010, 08:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The last PowerMac G4 dual 1.25 was an existing model with a minimal speed bump and intended to maintain support for booting into OS 9.

There was nothing really new about the machine, so there was no development cost. They already had the machine to hedge their bets against failure to deliver the G5.
Actually, the $1299 2003 MDD model came with a single CPU. The Dual CPU MDD 2003, at $3274, was more expensive than the most expensive G5.
     
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Sep 14, 2010, 09:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
That's not a point of view, that's a datapoint. The desktop market is shrinking year over year, and has done so for quite some time.
You are wrong. Mac sales are increasing, not decreasing, and they're projected to continue doing so. Where the "shrinking" factor comes to play is that desktops are rapidly losing their percentage of overall Apple revenue.

Originally Posted by P View Post
That was just after the launch of the iMac G4 - eight and a half years ago. "fairly recently" is stretching it
Wrong again. He was asked that question at his most recent D: All Things Digital interview (I believe the question was if Apple was losing focus on Macs, in regard to the iPad), and I'm paraphrasing - but his answer was essentially that your home computer will always be the hub for your stuff. The comment is still relevant; if you're not keeping up with Apple's latest talking points, that's your problem, not mine.

Originally Posted by P View Post
a midrange tower (ie, a tower with top iMac performance but with some expandability) would cost almost exactly the same as the single socket MP to produce.
That, I seriously doubt. Sure you can point to prices by strictly referencing off the shelf components, but have we forgotten how Apple set their own pricing w/ products like the iPod Nano, Touch & iPad by buying out a large chunk of the flash market? My point is that they are fully capable of setting their own prices, and as many people have pointed out in this thread, come out ahead of PC competitors.

Originally Posted by P View Post
The Cube was killed directly. Every other midrange tower model since the first G5 has been killed quickly.
Actually, I'm more curious why you're so intent on being on the offensive with me. I'm expressing my point of view here, just like anyone else.

The Cube was not a midrange tower. As G5's go... the only "midrange" that I recall was a SP 1.8 Ghz model, which had absolutely no development into it beyond neutering a higher end model and slapping it in the same box. Sure, there is a market for a cheaper Mac tower, but not so much for one that requires a firmware update to run well and has anemic RAM expansion.
     
xmattingly
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Sep 14, 2010, 09:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
A new semi-tower would be a completely new product line, requiring tremendous industrial investment and PR into a market that's shrinking by the week.

Look at this thread! There really isn't much room between the high-end iMac and the low-end Mac Pro.
Well, that sounds a lot like shooting the horse before it gets out of the gate. I don't think there would be that much invested in building a mid-sized tower. For the most part, we're only talking about taking some of the excess components out of a Mac Pro, and building that into a new (most assuredly smaller) form factor. And honestly, who says there needs to be much, or any PR fanfare? Apple launches a lot of their products without much in the way of ad support, beyond introducing it on their home page or sending out press releases.

Again, Mac desktops are shrinking by overall percentage but still growing by revenue. Seems like something that would be worth paying attention to, to me.
     
Don Pickett
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Sep 14, 2010, 10:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
My brother and I built our Core i7 930 desktop months ago for $1,500, with all name brand components including 6 GB of RAM and a Radeon 5850 GPU. We saved about $100 over an equivalent Dell at that point in time (we would have saved $200 but for my choice of springing for an extra Fry's in-store warranty). Why is Apple incapable of offering such a thing, even at $1,800 or $1,900, or even $2,000?
Because Apple doesn't do low-margin/high volume, and for good reason: that strategy always leads to commodity sales, which means you end up like Dell, trying to scrape profit together from a rapidly falling average price.
The era of anthropomorphizing hardware is over.
     
Todd Madson
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Sep 14, 2010, 11:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
People who need Mac Pros don't need demo units.

And while iMacs fulfill the needs of "most" users, the Mac Pro is woefully underpowered for the Next Big Thing in audio: component-level physical modeling.

Developers figure it will be about five years before desktops will be able to run a single instance of, say, a Fender bass amp, simulated at the component level.
It's not just the SOUND of the amplifier but the playing feel. A cranked tube amp either on the guitar side or bass side has an interactive touch sensitivity component involved that is extremely hard to model.

The two big dogs of the hardware modeling scene have been the AxeFX Ultra (about $2000 USD and truly a computer in itself) and the Roland VG-99 ($1500USD and ditto). The new Eleven Rack by Digidesign apparently is focusing on the touch sensitivity or feel component, I haven't tried one of these yet. The VG99 has THREE dsp processors in it to do its thing, not sure about the AxeFX or the Eleven. The VG does the best 12-string and pitch transposer algorithms outside
of an Eventide 8000 IMO. There's a session guy Bill Ruppert who did a ton of demos with this box and he is basically able to recreate any sound from the pantheon of rock in the box. He's recently duplicated all of his VG sounds on EH effects units but the VG sounded better.

I own one of the VG99 units and there is a way to emulate the touch sensitvity but the sound is about 86% there. It sounds very convincing with the right programming (the factory presets are meh) but if you own the real thing you can tell the difference both in sound and in the touch sensitivity.

It's because overdrive/distortion/tube characteristics are much better than they were say 8-10 years ago but we're still some years away from REALLY nailing it.; but at least they're good enough to use now.

The average listener/consumer would look at what I'm typing and go "who would care about how it feels?" and I'd present to you 40-50 years of popular music depend on the way guitars work thru amplifiers. That translates over to the sound too but...

Yeah. Give it another 8-10 years and check back with me.
     
Todd Madson
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Sep 14, 2010, 11:23 AM
 
Back to the original question: NO, I could not afford a 12-core Mac Pro. The $2500 or so I spent five years ago for the G5 ended up giving me a fast computer that ultimately was unstable in terms of how long the hardware lasts: it just crapped out again this morning and probably for the final time. It had a liquid coolant leak
about two years into ownership so that means a major failure about every 24 months.

I sprang for an iMac 27" Corei7 as it would give me far more power than the G5 had at around the same price adding in a large LCD as well
as the capability to integrate with my existing equipment..

Really what I want is more cores/memory/storage/faster video every time I upgrade. I'm quadcore with hyperthreading giving me a faux 8-core
experience. Next time I'll get 8-real cores with hyperthreading for faux 16. And so on.

But that being said, the attendant cost of the higher end towers just hasn't kept pace with reality: most people haven't gotten raises the last few
years and there are those struggling for the few jobs that are out there.
( Last edited by Todd Madson; Sep 14, 2010 at 11:29 AM. )
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 14, 2010, 11:50 AM
 
Todd, the "component-level" simulation simulates the actual circuitry.

As in, you'd be able to design an actual circuit board, specify which capacitors, specify what tolerance and aging. No "touch". Actual individually modeled resistors and caps.

So you could grab a schematic of that old Hohner amp and build it to 1960s spec, and play that back through a speaker (or sim) of your choice.

A Bassman isn't too complex of a layout, and the high-end Mac Pros are supposedly five years from managing that - JUST that. No sequencers or other plug-ins accounted for.

There's plenty of room up there (oooh - circuit-modeled CS80, anyone?)
     
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Sep 14, 2010, 12:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
You are wrong. Mac sales are increasing, not decreasing, and they're projected to continue doing so. Where the "shrinking" factor comes to play is that desktops are rapidly losing their percentage of overall Apple revenue.
You REALLY aren't reading what he's saying.

Originally Posted by P
Not Apple's desktop market, the entire desktop market. Also, while it is true that Apple is selling more desktops now than a few years ago, the percentage point that is laptops is still increasing. Apple is just growing the market.
He is talking about the ENTIRE desktop market shrinking. This includes every single computer manufacturer that makes desktops. That market is shrinking, even though Apple's desktop sales are increasing.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 14, 2010, 01:00 PM
 
Yes.

To reiterate:

The iMac is THE ONLY DESKTOP WITH GROWING MARKET SHARE.

And that's solely because it's an iMac, and NOT a tower.
     
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Sep 14, 2010, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
You are wrong. Mac sales are increasing, not decreasing, and they're projected to continue doing so. Where the "shrinking" factor comes to play is that desktops are rapidly losing their percentage of overall Apple revenue.
Person Man commented on this (and Spheric, and I once before) but to be certain this is crystal clear: Complete desktop market. Not Apple market, or Mac market.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Wrong again. He was asked that question at his most recent D: All Things Digital interview (I believe the question was if Apple was losing focus on Macs, in regard to the iPad), and I'm paraphrasing - but his answer was essentially that your home computer will always be the hub for your stuff. The comment is still relevant; if you're not keeping up with Apple's latest talking points, that's your problem, not mine.
Linky for that? I watched those, and the bit usually commented on from there was his comparison of tablets as cars and computers as trucks - computers would remain relevant, but not everyone would have one because a tablet would be more useful for the things they usually did:

Originally Posted by Steve Jobs
“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. … PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. … I think that we’re embarked on that. Is the next step the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we’re headed in that direction.”
Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
That, I seriously doubt. Sure you can point to prices by strictly referencing off the shelf components, but have we forgotten how Apple set their own pricing w/ products like the iPod Nano, Touch & iPad by buying out a large chunk of the flash market? My point is that they are fully capable of setting their own prices, and as many people have pointed out in this thread, come out ahead of PC competitors.
But that gets them coming and going. If they can get great prices for the components they'd switch TO, why can't they get great prices for the components they switch FROM? All I'm doing is comparing the cost of the components in the current low-end MP with a midrange tower and finding that they're basically the same. There simply isn't a big saving to make there (which there was before the Nehalem launch).

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
Actually, I'm more curious why you're so intent on being on the offensive with me. I'm expressing my point of view here, just like anyone else.
You can have your point of view - that's the point of these forums - but you keep bringing up points that were discussed earlier in this thread. Instead of starting from what was written there, you start over from the beginning.

Also, there is a difference between a point of view and a fact. When I'm saying that the low-end MP is overpriced, that is a point of view. When I price together a cheaper one at HP or Dell (both of which I've done in this thread), that's a fact that I bring up in support of my point of view. So far I haven't seen a lot of facts to support your points of view.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
The Cube was not a midrange tower.
It was an attempt to make something between an iMac and an MP. It let you easily upgrade GPU and HD, two of the most frequently requested features of a midrange iMac on these forums. It had a lot of other things going in its looks etc, but it showed that Apple was thinking about this segment between MP and iMac.

Originally Posted by xmattingly View Post
As G5's go... the only "midrange" that I recall was a SP 1.8 Ghz model, which had absolutely no development into it beyond neutering a higher end model and slapping it in the same box. Sure, there is a market for a cheaper Mac tower, but not so much for one that requires a firmware update to run well and has anemic RAM expansion.
Apple was dangling its feet in the water. They specced it out exactly like the mid iMac at the time and priced it the same. There were others before it, but the point was that Apple isn't unaware of the segment. They've tried a few times, but it's always resulted in unattractive products or PM cannibals.
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.
     
Veltliner
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Sep 14, 2010, 09:36 PM
 
There's no need for a small tower.

Those who don't need a tower will happily buy one of the speedy 27" iMacs.

And those who want to choose their own display will need a workstation, not some half-a** tower.

I wish that discussion wouldn't come up again and again.

A workstation is not a cheap thing, and when you put the money together to buy one you don't want compromises. You want a fast, reliable machine.

Apple's market segments and model offerings are excellent, as sales numbers show.
     
macaddict0001
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Sep 14, 2010, 11:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The last PowerMac G4 dual 1.25 was an existing model with a minimal speed bump and intended to maintain support for booting into OS 9.

There was nothing really new about the machine, so there was no development cost. They already had the machine to hedge their bets against failure to deliver the G5.

A new semi-tower would be a completely new product line, requiring tremendous industrial investment and PR into a market that's shrinking by the week.

Look at this thread! There really isn't much room between the high-end iMac and the low-end Mac Pro.
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
Actually, the $1299 2003 MDD model came with a single CPU. The Dual CPU MDD 2003, at $3274, was more expensive than the most expensive G5.
Your both wrong, they stopped selling the dual 1.25 and dual 1.42 when the G5 was released, introducing the single 1.25 MDD.
     
Big Mac
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Sep 15, 2010, 01:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by Don Pickett View Post
Because Apple doesn't do low-margin/high volume, and for good reason: that strategy always leads to commodity sales, which means you end up like Dell, trying to scrape profit together from a rapidly falling average price.
Uh huh, sure. Components I bought for a total of $1,400 months ago that would give the new Mac Pros runs for their money - I'm sure Apple could easily get 30+% margin out of such a box easily, price it at $1899 and sell a ton to customers who want a midrange tower, not a high-end iMac.

The only reason why I can see it isn't done is because Apple has to protect the iMac line. Forcing people to buy iMacs when iMacs are inappropriate for their needs is part of the sales strategy. And it's the major reason why my brother and I ended up building our own system.

Btw, macaddict, I think you're wrong, if you're claiming that Apple didn't continue to sell a model of the MDD G4 after the G5's introduction. One model of the older revision MDD G4 that was capable of booting into OS 9 was still sold for some time after the G5s came out, although it may have only been sold in the Education section of the Apple Store. I also can't remember if it was an SP or DP model.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Sep 15, 2010 at 01:42 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
macaddict0001
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Sep 15, 2010, 02:40 AM
 
Yeah sorry I meant they introduced the SP MDD at the same time as the G5.
     
Big Mac
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Sep 15, 2010, 03:09 AM
 
Okay, sorry, that's what I thought you meant but it was unclear. Was it only available in the Education section though?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 15, 2010, 03:53 AM
 
No, it was freely available.

I thought it was dp, but may Be wrong.
     
 
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