Clash of the titans
Mac Pro power coming to laptops
Having a sense of history
The Pixel Project
By Rene Ritchie
Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm EDT
Here it is, the new Mac Pro, inside and out!
In a word: Wow!
Worse than the Cube that didn't sell very well. Was this Ivy's idea?
I'm not sure what you're saying with this comment. Worse in what way? From a purely aesthetic design, the Cube was an incredible machine. It didn't sell well because the aesthetics trumped engineering, and it was a disaster as a computer. We can't know how this will perform as a computer until people get to use it. Aesthetically, this new Pro is beautiful and the 1/8 size is amazing. Time will tell if it fits the Pro market that it claims. It may indeed flop like the cube, but the reasons it might flop can't be known yet.
re: "It didn't sell well because the aesthetics trumped engineering"
I think that might be the concern here as well. We'll see.
What the pro crowd is wanting is a pro machine.... not just a cool machine. We'll see if it can pull off both. It obviously will need external expansion for many pros, and I'm not convinced TB is yet up to the task (aside from really expensive storage).
I'm saying that this radical so called "desktop" design is akin to the G4 Cube, which didn't sell well and I seriously doubt that this will, for the same reasons. It's got mobile components, there is no internal expansion, and while you can plug in all the external components you can fit, it will be a mess of cables and devices. May as well get an iMac because this isn't really a "Desktop computer" with any expansion capabilities. Not impressed. That's what I'm saying.
The single reason it will flop:
NO expandability aside from maybe RAM and Thunderbolt (which isn't taking off, just like Firewire)
It looks great, but it's certainly not a Pro machine in this regard. What if you wanted to upgrade your graphics every 2 years? Not happening.
Damn. I love the look of this. Looks like it belongs on the Death Star. If anyone wants to buy me one....
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haha I agree, I REALLY like it with the cover off. I wonder if you will be able to buy translucent panels for it so you can see the inside.
.....that being said, once it has a bunch of cables sticking out the back, I think it will loose it's great look & more. It's design will easily show the rats nest of cables behind it :(
So.... targeting the steampunk market?
Nope. Not brass. No rivets or wood.
Only Apple can do this ..it is amazing..
Correction. Only Apple can do this...and get away with it. :D
I have no doubt the new Mac Pros will be a beast compared to the current aging lineup, but this seems to miss the target market. Mac Pros are by now a niche market, but that niche is utilitarian; they want power and, to a lesser extent, expandability. Industrial design that compromises either of these two works against the needs of those users.
Fair opinion. Got me thinking here. Good point about niche market and expandability.
Nailed it. Is this an attempt to make Macs less upgradeable/tinkerable? If so, what power user wants a machine they can't ever upgrade? Very cool looking, but utilitarian? I suspect not.
How do you know what can and cannot be upgraded then?
Unless Apple has perfected TARDIS technology, where the inside is bigger than the outside, the more compact dimensions preclude quite a few upgrade options available in the current line of Mac Pros.
Hmm.. I think this is a case, with 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports, where they are of the mind that TB can replace the PCIe slots of old for most and I think they are correct. I do think the original TB spec of 100GB would have been more welcome in a Pro device like this. Question is, can you bind TB ports to get more speed for external video cards, etc? Like SLI does for video cards?
From this standpoint; it's just as upgradeable, if not more, because TB 2 is basically a PCIe on a cable. The question is, is it before it's time? Since we still only have a minor number of TB chassis and the like and they are expensive currently.
Time will tell.
EDIT: Thinking about it, the next logical step, is stackable Mac Pro's and add-on chassis, linked by even faster TB3 or newer tech.. As Thunderbolt catches up to the OLD PCIe form-factor, I think it has the potential to replace it, minimizing the need to get 'into' a case. Giving a system like this even more longevity and expandability. Just add on a new chassis that does 'X' or 'Y'.. Why buy a new Mac Pro unless your needs demand it?
Also, this thing, with the sides off, reminds me of the star trek computer core as displayed in Voyager series.. just a mini-me version. ROFL!
There is no question that Apple *wants* expansion to go this way, via thunderbolt devices, but forget thunderbolt 2 -- thunderbolt 1 has not exactly taken the world by storm (chuckle) since its introduction. Until the vendors are there, no matter how theoretically capable thunderbolt may be, the bus ain't as upgradeable.
For things like the pro video users you mention, I would also question why they would want external expansion. Once you put in your video card of choice, it stays in -- rarely, if ever, changing. I would much rather that be secure in the internal housing of the computer than two separate devices connected via cable. That goes triple if I am one of the myriad production houses that keeps computers in racks alongside other gear. Of course, you also have the concern with this design that current racks and cabinets will not hold this one, necessitating another set of purchases.
If the final product is like this design, we have some these drawbacks for power users, and I doubt those users feel a sleek rounded design makes up for those drawbacks. If Apple pushes thunderbolt only, I suspect eventually vendors will follow suit, and then customers. But it seems like inflicting unnecessary pain on your high-end users.
But, as you say, time will tell.
Hopefully, with the new Mac Pros announced, vendors will release more thunderbolt peripherals.
I don't mind getting one for my imac, but the prices are simply way too outrageous!
I think people are mixing up what "upgradable" is.
If I want to upgrade the GPU, how could I do that here? Yes, it ships with an awesome one, but it's a computer that people want to be able to upgrade internally.
What if *I* want to spend the 5 minutes it takes to replace the HDD instead of having to ship it to Apple? Yes, I can plug in an external to boot off of, but then I have to run two things off of my battery backup (the Mac "Pro" and the External HDD).
What if I already bought a PCIE card I like, why buy it again with ThunderBolt? It might be outdated, but still.
I think it's not only to stop upgradability, but to make it so you have to get everything upgraded by and from Apple. RAM is usually highly marked up by Apple (and most other computer companies too), but this way you *have* to buy their RAM, no competition.
It isn't so much about expansion, but crucial necessary expansion. Storage is now easy to do externally. GPU, no so much. The weak link here seems to be GPU, unless what it has matches your needs. A friend of mine immediately said, "What about CUDA?" (As he works with a lot of video pros). I used to work heavily in 3D animation. What it has may or may not be what I'd need, but even if it is, for how long? Being able to update the GPU in a graphics workstation is critical on a pro box for that field.
Even Nvidia is openly supporting OpenCL which is does much the same thing as CUDA while being consortium led via Kronos.
Adobe's Mercury Engine uses the GPU and I'm assuming OpenCL. We'll see see about GPU upgrades but I don't think it's going to be a big deal to many production houses.
That's good to hear. I'd never heard of CUDA, but it was something a friend seemed quite concerned about (and that video professionals would be concerned about). My background in the pro-machine market is 3D animation and rendering. OpenGL was king there, so this should be great. The only issue is that GPUs last about 2 years, so someone looking to keep this longer than that, in that market area, would need some way to keep with the latest GPUs.
I checked back with a friend who works with many of these people. According to him, he's never met one doesn't hate OpenCL. They see it as a beta type thing going nowhere. CUDA is stable, and pretty much their only option. And, we're talking stuff like 15 minute instead of under a minute, without CUDA. For stuff like After Effects, he says that unless something drastically changes, no CUDA is a no-go. Maybe Apple will have GPU options?
CUDA coming from a single vendor and being first to market basically has enjoyed a maturity that OpenCL has had to work to meet. Late last year though there was a milestone release http://www.vivantecorp.com/index.php/cn/media-article/news/104-khronos-r... to 1.2 that cleaned up much of the API. It's definitely going somewhere because with CUDA you can only use Nvidia GPU...with OpenCL you're working on Nvidia, ATI, Intel and possible more graphics vendors product. If you were designing software for the widest possible reach OpenCL 1.2 is looking pretty good for the wide net it casts.
It looks like R2D2 went to the dark side. I like it.
I'm looking for the spot where Obi Wan turned off the tractor beam.
"The Death Star plans are NOT in the main computer...they're in the new Mac Pro!"
Honey… I Shrunk the Cray!
I just got a Macbook Pro recently and I want this next. It has to be the baddest-ass computer on the planet right now and that's both in looks and performance. This thing uses Intel's workstation and server processors. That alone is huge! "Can't innovate my ass", said Phil. LOL That'll show the doubters! Oh, by the way, Rene make sure you offer a free one of these along with the usual iPhone and iPad.
Beautiful design, nice job Apple.
It's a beautiful piece of design but it does kind of look like a trash can in the fourth pic.
It looks exactly like a trash can with an apple logo and some cable connections.
It looks nice but now I wish I could add a solid state drive to my iMac and I can't like a regular desktop. Is this pro user upgradeable?
Mac Pro nickname candidates:
- The Tube
- The Ashtray
- Pony Keg
Looks like an iGarbage Can
Looks like a trash can with an Apple logo, No pro will buy this due to expandability issues, only some diehard fanboys can justify this purchase.
Exactly my thinking. Apple didn't design this for pros because this doesn't address what Pros buy and use Mac Pros for. And as others have pointed out, Thunderbolt hasn't taken off, so hitching their future to Thunderbolt as an expansion option when there are few peripherals for it, is a bad idea. Also, PCIe Flash Storage that is not upgradable, for Pros? This is for Amateurs who want to impress with a fashion statement, not WORKSTATION users.
This should perform like a bat out of Hell.
Internal expansion is overrated. People that need to work on 4k content are going to be running external arrays and KiPro and more.
Musicians that want to connect to the modern equipment nowadays are going to be using things like Universal Audio Apollo or Apogee Thunderbolt equipment.
The days of stuffing a bunch of stuff into a computer case are dwindling.
It is interesting for sure. A friend immediately said... what about CUDA? That wasn't my thing when I was in the pro market, but apparently since Apple nerf'd FCP, most have moved to Primere and use CUDA. Also, I don't think TB matches the internal bus, it's just way better than previous kinds of connections.
I does look neat, and I'm sure it will be fast... but most pro users care much more about if it can actually get the job done. Hopefully this thing will be really cheap (compared to previous Pro models), and then the added costs of external expansion won't be such a big deal. But, unless I'm missing something, even external expansion doesn't currently quite cut it (no matter the price).
I agree that it looks just like a trash can. It also reminds me of an air filter unit I saw once! Maybe it'll take nasty odors out of the air while you work! Phil Schiller wants to talk tough over this? Did Ive take his inspiration from something he saw at Home Depot? Lolz!!
This will instantly look ugly when you pug in multiple external drives, cables to monitors, external conversion boxes for SAS, e-SATA, Firewire .....
Why bother to make such a beautiful small machine that has no room for modular expansion.
This 'tube' will take up more room then a box, and be sitting beside a ton of various coloured 'boxes' for drives and expansions.
It probably can't be sitting on carpet as it will suck up fluff from the ground, not to mention that a tall slim design is much more likely to fall over on carpet.
I think it is beautiful, and it makes me drool.
But I was burnt with the G4 Cube.
IMHO this is the modern G4 Cube; over priced, to expensive to expand.
Well, the cube couldn't really be externally expanded in the way this can.... so I'm not sure the Cube is a very good comparison. The question is whether the pros will want to go the external expansion route, and whether some aspects really can be adequately expanded (like GPU).
At the time the G4 Cube could.
It used what Apple believed was the latest external ports Apple backed (Firewire and USB).
USB 2 killed it though.
This is the same, only USB3 and TB2.
You cannot add anything else unless you use adapters; again the same as the G4 Cube.
I am only suggesting (although most MacPro users don't add many new cards on their machine in it's life) the thought that you can get 10 years of use out of a machine is a key to buying one for business.
This machine is great now, but looks very expensive to fix, and would be a hard sell to management departments as a future proof machine.
To me this is what this appears to be aimed at, private sales not corporate sales.
But time will tell.
As with many Apple decisions these days they are instantly polarising, but that does not determine sales or future feelings.
And the internet loves knee jerk reactions.
The great thing is I can say "this isn't for me and my work", and move on happily.
I just liked to mention what I felt, and I appreciate feedback that is opposed to mine too.
Discussions are great when everyone is tempered and listens as much as they type.
Which I hope I do!
I somewhat agree. It is certainly innovative, just not what most pros want or need. I too wonder about its future.
But what I mean is that TB2 really is fast enough to be an external bus for pretty much anything that would go internal, it's more a matter of expense. FW, while nice for external storage and a few other applications, wasn't really that. So, different, but I'm not sure any more realistic.
Looks almost like an oil filter for a car with the covers on
No, I think it's just out of touch with the pro market, or a different definition of pro than many of us are thinking.
Professionals, as opposed to hobbyists, who need a fast and neat machine in their desk? Spot-on... well, depending on the price.
Video or 3D designers, special applications, server room, etc... not so much.
OMG its R2D2!!! Awesome...
Apple pursues this concept since the Mac 128K, later with the Next Cube and the G4 Cube. This is the dream machine of Steve Jobs. The main difference now is not the shape that you see, but is in the powerful components that you don't see and are inside of it.
I feel sorry for you who thinks it is comparable to the underpowered G4 Cube or to a notebook because it has small parts. Just wait and see.
Not a single shot from the front? Areyoukiddingmewiththis?!? C'mon guys.
For many years, I was one of those people who always bought whatever the top of the line Mac was. Quadra tower? Owned it. G3 tower? I owned the beige tower, before the glossy one was released. G4? Owned two. My last tower was the Quicksilver. I hung onto that thing until I had to give up on OS9 for work, which wasn't THAT long ago, by the way. Since it was the last Mac sold which could boot OS9 natively, I got a great deal when I finally sold it in 2008.
I've been buying Mac Minis ever since, and I haven't looked back since... until now. This is the Mac that could bring me back into the Pro line. Frankly, I've been wondering how long it would take before people realized a tower isn't needed anymore. Internal storage? Please. It's cheaper and easier to add on a slew of external drives.
Even if the new Mac Pro didn't include ANY internal storage - not a single HD or bit of flash memory for an operating system - even if it were just I'd have been excited by this design. Give me power and give me connections. That's all we need.
Anyone who laments the loss of a tower is a fool.
this is superb! very cool design..
Well. I ordered my 8 core for March delivery. The Design is superb as usual.