Curtains for the Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Sam Posten, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    External drives can be rather small now, and you can get bus powered kits as well. Regardless, a new Mac Pro + bus powered (or even AC Adaptered) external drives are still considerably more portable than the original Mac Pro design. The new Mac Pro is 1/8 the volume of the older Mac Pro. I guarantee you the external drive will not come close to filling up the remaining 7/8 volume ;)

    OWC sells a bus powered RAID external: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/usb/raid_1/Gmax_Portable

    And I think this one is capable of being bus powered but it has to be the last in the Thunderbolt chain:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/PCIe_Chassis/Mercury_Helios_Accelsior_E2/

    I would consider either one, plus a new Mac Pro to be very portable.
     
  2. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    The Thunderbolt 2 ports and the PCI-E-attached flash (vs SATA-attached flash) seem to be about performance.

    Also, consider that Thunderbolt ports usually offer both data I/O and video output. That means that you probably want video cards that offer internal connections to support your Thunderbolt ports - connections that generic video cards don't have. (Maybe you could plug a cable into the DisplayPort output of a generic video card, run it back into the computer, and have the motherboard multiplex it with the PCI-E data stream. I don't know. But it does seem like this might be an area where having a graphics card designed specifically to support Thunderbolt ports might make life for the hardware engineers a bit easier.)

    Now if Apple is serious about partitioning the functionality of a Mac Pro into a "computing box" (CPU/GPU/RAM/high-speed ports … the new Mac Pro is basically this plus some boot flash), and a "storage box", they need to bring out the storage box, too. Something that connects by Thunderbolt 2 (for the new Mac Pro) or Thunderbolt (for most other recent Macs), and that offers 4 or more drive bays like those in the current Mac Pro would probably help to convince people that Apple was serious about both parts of the system design.
     
  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You know what has me most excited? The prospect of a 4k apple cinema display to go along with this badboy. Cmon fall!
     
  4. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    Thunderbolt is great and I hope/think we will start to see more products and cheaper prices, to some extent, soon. However, most displays do not have thunderbolt connections. I am sure it is important to Apple so they can sell their displays and everyone is waiting for a 4K Thunderbolt display which I am sure is coming.

    However, it seems to me there are probably a lot of people waiting for the Mac Pro that have no need for dual GPUs or video/display over Thunderbolt. I think many would be better served with a single low end or midrange video card that they could upgrade 2-3 years down the road. At least on the Windows side, more frequently updating a midrange card seems to be a more economical choice then shelling out a bunch of money for a high end card and upgrading less frequently. Of course, Windows users have a much more competitive video card market.


    It is like they designed this thing exclusively for the video industry and ignored the needs or other areas, such as print, where GPU power isn't nearly as important.

    If I won the lottery, I would order one of these new machines (when available) in a heartbeat. However, I was hoping for a design that would tempt me away from my MacBook Pro 15 in a couple of years. This machine isn't it (not that Apple won't sell a ton of them).

    -Keith
     
  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I'm sure well see more details that will answer these questions and more. I know that this machine will serve the graphic design world, the photography world and many others, mine is the design and engineering and I'll be using it for CAD and the Adobe products. That includes photorealistic rendering, but it requires a lot of cores to run faster. The MacBook Pro Retina I have now is doing okay. So this machine should better it. Plus I want to do animations, so the render times for that will be helped by this. At most I run two screens, an Apple display and Wacom Cintiq.As for the GPU's, they may be over kill for me. But I'm wondering if a lower end card would be available as a single card and thus freeing up that third side of the triangle. That slot could be used for perhaps some internal storage, more SSD or HHD. But that's just my uninformed imagination going. :)
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    What does the print industry need that the iMac doesn't provide right now.

    "but but upgradeability!!!!!"

    'NO.' Sez Apple!

    =)
     
  7. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    The point is not that every display needs to be a Thunderbolt display.

    It is that people expect to be able to attach displays (usually DisplayPort displays) to Thunderbolt ports. This won't work unless the DisplayPort part of the signal is there, and it won't be there unless (a) it's generated completely within the box, or (b) it's run into the box from outside (e.g., through having a very visible loopback cable that plugs into the DIsplayPort output of a video card, and funnels it into a DisplayPort input on the motherboard, so it can be multiplexed into the Thunderbolt signal and sent out through a Thunderbolt port.

    Approach (b) would be incredibly ugly, and is not Apple's style.
     
  8. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    @Thomas Newton - not sure what you are talking about, but I have Mac with Thunderbolt port and a Display Port monitor, and it works perfectly using the Display Port cable that came with the monitor. Completely plug and play, never any problems. So far as I know Apple's Thunderbolt ports are 100% backwards compatible. Certainly that was my experience.Really, I'm mystified by most of the complaints about the new Mac Pro. The only potential issues are cost and will Apple make their own first party Thunderbolt disk enclosures for those who still want spinning media but want a reliable, elegant/matching and covered by Apple Care solution.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    It's a fascinating computer. My initial reaction was "Mac cube", a past stylistically notable failure. My second question was "who is this for?"Its not for me and my wife -- nor was the previous Mac pro. I'm curious how it goes.
     
  10. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    On your Mac, the graphics chipset is internal. There is an internal DisplayPort "port" that is wired to a Thunderbolt controller. The Thunderbolt controller repackages the DisplayPort signal, and a PCI-E signal. The monitor sees the DisplayPort signal and is happy.

    What the complaints are about is wanting to use regular Mac Pro or PC graphics cards. The problem with these cards is that you can't count on having any sort of internal video output to feed into a Thunderbolt controller on the motherboard. Nor can you count on them combining their own video output with the PCI-E signal (to which they have access) to offer their own Thunderbolt ports. So how would you guarantee the users of a hypothetical "upgraded aluminum tower Mac Pro" the same plug-and-play, backwards-compatible experience as the one on your Mac?
     
  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    For SVS cylinder owners, wonder what this would look like standing beside one. Kind of "Mini Me"-ish? :lol:
     
  12. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    A powerful box that doesn't require the user to buy a monitor? Although in some cases, depending on the work being done, a Mac Mini will work quite well in that regard.

    It will be interesting to see how the pricing shakes out on these things. If it is similar to the current machines, they will probably sell a ton of them.

    -Keith
     
  13. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

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    This is going to cost like 5000 bucks up to 10 000. This is insane, unless they have prices ranging from 1990 bucks, I doubt anyone else than businesses will buy this.
     
  14. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    While Mac Pros can historically be customized to over $12,000 Apple has usually had an entry level build at the $2499 range. If they double that entry point I would be very surprised. Their M.O. over the last few redesigns across their Mac line has been to come in at previous price points if not a little lower. Granted this is a complete redesign so all bets are off, but I think it would be a recipe for failure to debut the low end at the price you're speculating.
     
  15. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Yeah the guys in the Pro Tools forums, some are freaking out, but the guy who runs the site, and is a hugely respected PT expert, is *not* freaked out as well.

    One funny post said "all these 'pros' freaking out how the new Mac Pro is not a true Pro machine...also think the Macbook Pro is..."

    The interesting thing for me now, just having played with a rMBP in the store, is that by the time the new Mac Pro is out, so will a new rMBP. I need both a lighter laptop (I have a mid-2010 15" MBP) and a pro machine for Pro Tools, Creative Suite, Lightroom, etc.



    If money grew on trees, I'd max out a Macbook Air for on-the-go, and then go with a Mac Pro for the professional apps. The current rMBP machine, using all flash memory, is super-fast. I just ran Logic Pro, Aperture using 35MB RAW files, and Photoshop CS6 at the Apple Store. All ran blazingly fast. I'm sure they'll run faster on a new Mac Pro, but bottom line is that the performance was more than acceptable for me, and miles ahead of my 2010 MBP.

    If a new rMBP (slated to come out some time in the next few months) uses the powerful and energy-efficient Haswell chips, along with the new, faster PCIe SSD flash memory first implemented the just-updated Macbook Airs, I may just opt to max out a mid/late 2013 rMBP for both portable and home use. The move to all-flash-based HD gives me confidence to take that machine anywhere/everywhere, with no moving parts to fail. The retina display is awesome to look at, and I could be confident that a maxed out rMBP would be more than sufficient to run all my Pro apps very well.
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  19. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    My interest in the new Pro (and any other Mac) has always been predicated on their past track record at pricing refreshed machines close to previous models. If that link's guesstimate is that the lowest entry level Mac Pro will be priced at $3500, I'm out. I'll wait and see what the new iMacs are spec'd and priced at and go with that solution instead.
     
  20. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Very surprised to hear that!
     

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