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RIP Dreams of a 27” Apple Silicon iMac (Page 2)
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Laminar
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Dec 1, 2023, 08:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Maybe this is at the outer edges,
Well, yeah, obviously.

but think a few years down the line how common ML workloads will be for more regular users. Apple is getting behind here, because a lot of Macs will not be able to run such workloads.
For sure most of this will be offloaded to the cloud. No reason at all to have 100 users with 128GB of RAM and huge graphics cards only for those boxes to sit idle 16+ hours per day when you can just pay for cloud time and give everyone a VM.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 2, 2023, 02:20 AM
 
Yeah, except that these workloads will become more common for more regular pro users. How many apps do image, video or voice processing? Have a look at what Pixelmator or Rogue Amoeba are doing. RAM is a huge factor that determines what you can and cannot do. To give you an idea, none of my colleagues who are experts in ML mentioned GPU processing power as a factor to decide between nVidia’s different GPU, it was all about availability and RAM.

You would have an argument if Apple had dedicated desktop chips apart from the Ultra.


Overall, it feels like the 8 GB iPhone base storage issue waiting to happen where regular users couldn’t update their OS for lack of storage.
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subego
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Dec 2, 2023, 07:37 AM
 
ML is ite own thing though. With Stable Diffusion I can eat 40GB of VRAM just dicking around.
     
subego
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Dec 4, 2023, 03:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
To give you an idea, none of my colleagues who are experts in ML mentioned GPU processing power as a factor to decide between nVidia’s different GPU, it was all about availability and RAM.
There might be a piece missing here. If I had to guess, it’s because something (budget for example) is locking them into a particular performance tier.

With the project I’m working on now a V100 completes an iteration in 1.8 seconds. It’s 1.03 seconds on an A100. That’s enough of a difference to be a deciding factor for me.

Now, the 40GB A100 costs $1.31/hour to rent. The 16GB V100 is 54¢. That’s also enough of a difference to be a deciding factor. At the moment, even though I don’t need the extra RAM I still rent A100s anyway for the time savings. If money was tighter I wouldn’t.
( Last edited by subego; Dec 4, 2023 at 03:22 PM. )
     
reader50
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Dec 4, 2023, 03:20 PM
 
What's the price to buy your own hardware? Presumably the compute card(s) as you already have a render farm. If you're renting server time on a daily basis (which it sounds like) those hours add up. Especially if you leave it rendering overnight for months. Owning the hardware would also get you away from TOS concerns, or being banned. And keep them from snooping on your footage before the movie is released.
     
subego
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Dec 4, 2023, 03:25 PM
 
A 40GB A100 is like 30 fuckin’ grand.

Also, can’t use my server farm. They’re all Macs, and NVIDIA makes the cards.

Right now I rent for about 8 hours at a time. It’s costing me maybe a couple hundred a month total.
     
subego
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Dec 4, 2023, 03:41 PM
 
I want to add though in support of Oreo’s point, the RAM is super important. What I’m doing right now can fit inside 16GB, but that would be pretty gimped otherwise. Most of the time I’m forced to rent an A100, or I quite simply don’t have enough RAM. So yeah… it is really important.

The specific reason I eat up so much RAM is I’m pushing Stable Diffusion way outside its normal boundaries. I have it rendering at HDTV resolution (1080), which it’s not designed to do.
     
reader50
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Dec 4, 2023, 04:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Also, can’t use my server farm. They’re all Macs, and NVIDIA makes the cards.
My Mac is happy to boot into Windows or Ubuntu as needed. I could install an nVidia card if needed, along with a basic macOS card to cover everything.

Of course, if your Macs lack PCIe slots, that could be a problem. Not sure if Thunderbolt would slow down AI work. Also, if you own Apple ARM machines, there's no native Windows yet, and even Linux is pending, last I heard.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 4, 2023, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I want to add though in support of Oreo’s point, the RAM is super important. What I’m doing right now can fit inside 16GB, but that would be pretty gimped otherwise. Most of the time I’m forced to rent an A100, or I quite simply don’t have enough RAM. So yeah… it is really important.
Just to add to that. 25–30 years ago, music and low-res image editing would push machines to their limit. Running Gaußian blurs in Photoshop was a poor person's benchmark at some point. Video editing was at the edge of what was possible.

Then apps like Aperture and Lightroom came along and computers became capable of editing many pictures of ever higher resolution simultaneously. Video editing moved from high-end machines, perhaps with accelerator cards towards the mid-range.

Nowadays the SoCs found in high-end iPads can easily ingest several 4k streams if you use the right codecs. Most forms of music (work fine on every Mac out there.) To be clear, I am not saying that you should edit feature-length movies on a MacBook Air or so, just that even entry-level Macs have become super capable. (I also know of the few cases where you might need a fully decked out Mac Pro for audio applications.) RAM might be the limiter here as well, but overall, these tasks do not necessarily require a high-end machine.

The next frontier is applying ML to all of these applications or apply them to things that require very low latency. The former eats RAM and memory bandwidth. Starting from ML-based denoise filter that e. g. detect hair and fill in hair-looking pixels rather than trying to recover detail that just isn't there.
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Laminar
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Dec 4, 2023, 05:59 PM
 
So...does the factory minimum RAM meet the needs of the purchaser of a base model computer? If you're purchasing a computer for specific purposes, like high end video editing or data crunching or ML, does the base configuration of any computer matter to you?
     
subego
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Dec 4, 2023, 08:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
My Mac is happy to boot into Windows or Ubuntu as needed. I could install an nVidia card if needed, along with a basic macOS card to cover everything.

Of course, if your Macs lack PCIe slots, that could be a problem. Not sure if Thunderbolt would slow down AI work. Also, if you own Apple ARM machines, there's no native Windows yet, and even Linux is pending, last I heard.
Yes to Intel, no to slots, so at the least I’d need a Tbolt slotbox.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 5, 2023, 01:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
So...does the factory minimum RAM meet the needs of the purchaser of a base model computer? If you're purchasing a computer for specific purposes, like high end video editing or data crunching or ML, does the base configuration of any computer matter to you?
People won’t miss if they don’t know what they could have. Imagine if Apple builds more advanced ML-based image editing algorithms, but they require 32 GB to work. Or, like GarageBand’s sample library they take gigabytes of precious space on your 256 GB SSD. The latter happened to us, my wife is into that sort of thing. Moreover, like I wrote before there was a shift in that you no longer needed beefy machines to do things like video editing. But software companies were thinking about how to make use of the resources, e. g. the >4+4 cores Macs ship with.

Another similar example is the paltry 5 GB of free storage that you get with iCloud. Basically, apart from email you can’t do anything with that.

Apple kneecapped themselves for short-term margins. I know Apple is a business that wants to make money, but not keeping up with Moore’s Law/spec inflation is going to lead to them having to pay a price.
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ShortcutToMoncton
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Dec 6, 2023, 09:33 PM
 
I’m completely with you on upgrade costs. What Apple charges for RAM and SSDs seems so absurd it almost feels illegal.

I don’t think your argument makes any sense from a business standpoint. Fact is that the vast majority of people buying a base model M computer will never saturate its capabilities.and the ones that know they will, almost certainly upgrade at POP.

So you’re left with an extremely small percentage of people who buy a base model computer and end up using it for……I don’t know, 4K video editing or advanced data processing? Seems like such a vanishingly low number that upgrading the entire lineup just wouldn’t make any business sense.

Reality is that almost everyone who buys an 8gb base M model is never ever gonna max it out. Hell my 2018 i5 Mini is a Plex 4K media streaming transcoder and it still is mostly overqualified and works great (and it was obsolete shortly after I bought it). Anyone who actually needs that level of power is going to pay for it.
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subego
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Dec 6, 2023, 10:56 PM
 
My render farm is four 2018 i7 Minis. I got all but one after the introduction of the M1, but they weren’t truly obsolete yet because I needed more than 16GB of RAM.

It’s not by much, but ironically these manage to run Stable Diffusion faster than my M1 Mini I use as an HTPC.
( Last edited by subego; Dec 6, 2023 at 11:13 PM. )
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Dec 7, 2023, 08:07 AM
 
Yeah, that’s what I mean. Is anyone buying a base model M because they need advanced ML-based image editing algorithms or a render farm?

No. 99.8% of people who need to do those things buy the tool for the job. And an incredibly small fraction of people buy a base computer and suddenly discover they have to perform those type of tasks.

The issue isn’t base specs. Those are sufficient. The issue is upgrade costs.
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Laminar
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Dec 7, 2023, 02:10 PM
 
Ironically I just got bit by min specs. I have a 2015 MacBook Air 11" I use for car stuff. The 8GB of RAM is plenty for running one OS, but when I fire up VirtualBox with Windows 10 things slow to a crawl in both OSes. I don't want a bigger form factor because I need ultimate portability, so I figured I'd just install Windows with Boot Camp so that I can pick and choose my OS and get the full performance from each.

I ran Boot Camp Assistant, partitioned the drive, installed Windows 11, and then realized I'm in trouble. Even though my OS X installation is pretty bare bones with just a few apps and a few gigs of data, because APFS segregates everything out and also requires a 15GB Snapshot partition, OS X takes up over 80 gigs minimum. I allotted 32GB for Windows but it turns out a bare bones Win11 installation wants about 28GB. My MBA has the 128GB SSD, which means Windows only has about 5GB of data space and OS X has about 20GB available. But it also won't let me resize the OS X partition to free up 5 or 10 gigs to send over to Windows, at least from what I've found digging around. I tried using the diskutil command line but it tells me the lower limit of the APFS container size is 83ish GB and won't let me decrease it.

Realistically, I should be able to cut a 128GB drive in half, and 64GB should be plenty of space for an OS + 30GB of data. That's totally usable for a specific-use setup. But with APFS gobbling up all of that space on its own, 128GB is simply insufficient for running two OSes.
     
subego
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Dec 7, 2023, 04:11 PM
 
My DD iMac has a 1TB SSD. I was able to get the system down to 200GB so I’ve got 800GB left to play with.

Honestly? This feels crazy cramped to me. I hate it. I can’t imagine the pain of 128GB.

I wonder if there’s an age angle. I spent more than half my computing life absolutely starved for storage.
     
andi*pandi
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Dec 7, 2023, 05:17 PM
 
after struggling w 16gb iphone 4 running out of space and deleting photos every day, I had a Scarlet o'Hara moment when I got the 8 "AS GOD AS MY WITNESS I WILL NEVER NEED STORAGE AGAIN" and got the 256.
     
Laminar
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Dec 7, 2023, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My DD iMac has a 1TB SSD. I was able to get the system down to 200GB so I’ve got 800GB left to play with.

Honestly? This feels crazy cramped to me. I hate it. I can’t imagine the pain of 128GB.

I wonder if there’s an age angle. I spent more than half my computing life absolutely starved for storage.
I went ahead and ordered a 480GB SSD upgrade for the Air. Maybe then I can put Garageband back on it.
     
reader50
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Dec 7, 2023, 06:33 PM
 
2 TB has been the price sweet spot for the last year or two. Lowest price-per-TB, in both SATA and M.2 drives. Can't speak to proprietary Apple SSDs used in some models.

4TB still carries a premium, and increasingly 1TB does as well. Where it's 60-70% the price of the 2TB model. So I usually round up to the current sweet spot. It's not like your storage needs will go down over time.
     
Laminar
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Dec 13, 2023, 02:15 PM
 
Installed the 480GB SSD in the MBA last night, went in surprisingly easy. Not first-gen MacBook easy, but still a piece of cake. Went ahead and installed a fresh copy of Monterey. Went to restore my user profile from Time Machine and it said my last backup was October of 2021 even though I manually ran a final backup right before I shut everything down. Oh well, it's just a secondary machine so nothing crucial was on there.



Partitioned it out to give 100GB to Windows 11 and started that install process this morning.
     
subego
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Dec 13, 2023, 04:27 PM
 
Somewhere along the line, Apple changed how they partition disks.

Any Time Machine backup I have which was started before the change became useless for a full restore after the change. That could be related to the problem.



Edit: hook yourself up with a magnetic dry-erase mat if you don’t have one. Keeps all the screws together, in the order you removed them, and you can write notes for each pile.
     
reader50
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Dec 13, 2023, 05:06 PM
 
Apple changed the default TM backups to APFS-based, beginning with Big Sur. The later OSes can still use HFS+ TM backups, at least so far.

If you want your files back, try restoring your Documents folder after the upgrades are done. If that doesn't work, try wiping the OS partition and installing Mojave or Catalina. Then import your latest user account. Then upgrade in place to Monterey.
     
andi*pandi
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Dec 13, 2023, 06:19 PM
 
so, having given up on a new 27" imac, and deciding the mac mini w updates was too expensive for what it was, I was resigned to a 24" imac... and then saw this:

https://smalldog.com/products/%E2%99...ga56-mq2y2ll-a

is this worth it? it would be a big speed bump to what I have, and has 32gb ram and 1tb hard drive. But at a 2017, it's only 4 years newer than what I have and it's update life wouldn't be great.

Blue iMac $2,329.00
Apple M3 chip with 8‑core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, 10‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
1TB SSD storage 24GB unified memory

Or I could look for a newer old imac... 2021?

I haven't ebayed in years, where is a reputable place to buy used macs?

like this one? https://eshop.macsales.com/configure...AQA1JS6XXX1XXA
     
subego
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Dec 13, 2023, 06:35 PM
 
In case it’s useful info, a Mini with an LG 27” 5K monitor is $2,373. The big tradeoff is the Mini is only an M2, but it’s otherwise specced the same as the iMac you listed.
     
andi*pandi
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Dec 13, 2023, 06:47 PM
 
I'm sensing you feel that I should go back in the mini direction.

Once I add all the specs to the mini, it is $2900 without the monitor.
Apple M2 Pro with 10‑core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16‑core Neural Engine
32GB unified memory
4TB SSD storage

imac pro if it's the newer one: $2700
3GHz 10-Core Xeon W processor
64GB memory
4.0TB Solid-State Drive
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB VRAM
10 Gigabit Ethernet
     
subego
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Dec 13, 2023, 06:57 PM
 
I was looking at the M2 non-pro Mini specced as close as I could get to the 24” blue IMac you listed.

M2 (non-Pro)
8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 16-core Neural engine.
24GB unified memory, 1TB SSD.

That’s $1,399.


Edit: you could also drop the SSD to 512, and spend the $200 on an external SSD for more total space. If you can take the pain of 256, that’s $400 for external storage.
     
subego
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Dec 13, 2023, 07:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I'm sensing you feel that I should go back in the mini direction.
The short answer is yes.

The main thing is the monitor. I don’t want you to have to give up the 27”.

FWIW, the $999-$1,399 model I suggested above is better than the one we use to edit (except we sprung for the 2TB SSD). That’s a 2020 M1, 8/8/16-cores, 16GB RAM.
     
Laminar
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Feb 15, 2024, 10:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Installed the 480GB SSD in the MBA last night, went in surprisingly easy. Not first-gen MacBook easy, but still a piece of cake. Went ahead and installed a fresh copy of Monterey. Went to restore my user profile from Time Machine and it said my last backup was October of 2021 even though I manually ran a final backup right before I shut everything down. Oh well, it's just a secondary machine so nothing crucial was on there.



Partitioned it out to give 100GB to Windows 11 and started that install process this morning.
And now the thing dies 30 seconds after I take it off of wall power. It claims the battery is at 100% but it just pukes out and when I try and reboot it flashes the low battery sign. Is it a coincidence that this started just a month or two after upgrading the SSD (which involved disconnecting the battery)? Looks like it's $60ish for a new battery and they're easy to replace.
     
 
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