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New Mac Pro Doubles As Trash Basket

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Am I the only one that saw this and thought of a space heater.. or perhaps a burn barrel... as others have already made the garbage can reference I figured I might as well go all the way.

 

Seriously though cool stats, cool Idea about heat dissipation but the lack of expansion and ability to rack mount is kind of a problem from a PROFESSIONAL standpoint.  I feel like apple sometimes forgets that the whole point to having a pro line product is having something built for the pros, often times that is not something pretty so much as uber functional and fitting into already established professional workflows.

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The lack of pci slots and drive bays is a serious turn off. I don't like the idea of having to run either over cables.

All my external drives (which haven't been used in a while, I prefer using bare drives inside my Mac tower) are FW 800 and 400. Now what?

*grumble*

Btw, anyone want a G5 tower? Works great.

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Rack mounting will be fun.

 

 

Philip Hodgetts suggests setting up a server farm in a wine rack. 

 

As for the cost of components, I wouldn't use current retail prices of current chips as a guide. You can get a current Mac Pro with two Xeon six-core CPUs and two ATI 1GB GPUs for $4,000. My sense of history is that Apple more-or-less keeps pricing consistent. So I'm guessing we'll see a configuration of the new Mac Pro at $3,000.

 

Just a guess. I could easily be wrong. We'll know in a few months. 

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I can't rack mount it, and for a professional post house, this is important. It has been a pet peeve of many people not being able to rack mount the older Mac Pros like we could the G4's. 

 

Eh... you can physically put it on a rack shelf, and I already know of a couple of facilities that took the Xeon Mac Pros and put two of them side by side in a rack. Not that big a deal. But I agree: I would've rather they made an (uglier but more functional) conventional rackmount server. I suspect any audio facility, video post house, VFX company, or graphics user would have preferred the same. 

 

No expansion slots means I have to buy other stuff to take up all those ports, which means that's more things I have to plug into power and more things I need to find shelf space for.

 

Apple is pushing the Thunderbolt 2 ports for I/O, so that will be the place for expansion ports, processors, interfaces, and all that other stuff. Thunderbolt 2 is fast enough that it'll blow PCIe out of the water. And you can daisy-chain 36 devices off one Thunderbolt port, if I believe the specs.

 

Again, we are talking about a machine that can do 7 teraflops, the benefit of a 12-core processor, which is faster than anything I can think of on the market right now as far as a desktop machine goes. I can't argue with the opinion that the machine will probably be priced very highly.

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Apple is pushing the Thunderbolt 2 ports for I/O, so that will be the place for expansion ports, processors, interfaces, and all that other stuff. Thunderbolt 2 is fast enough that it'll blow PCIe out of the water. And you can daisy-chain 36 devices off one Thunderbolt port, if I believe the specs.

Thunderbolt 2 is not any faster than Thunderbolt 1 over all.

 

In TB1 you have 2 downstream channels of 10Mb/s and 2 upstream channels of 10Mb/s, so if you had one device on the line it could only access 10Mb/s upstream, while 2 devices on the line could access 10Mb/s each.

 

In TB2, you only have 1 upstream channel of 20Mb/s, and 1 downstream channel of 20Mb/s each. So now 1 device on the line can access 20Mb/s, but if you put any more on there (theoretically up to 36) they SHARE that speed across the devices.

 

TB2 (Falcon Ridge) still feeds off the same PCIe 2.0 x4 lane. TB2 just gives you enough bandwidth to send 4K video...

 

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Multiple 4k display support built in is kind of crazy. This thing is going to be FAST.

At 1/8 the volume of the cheese grater Mac Pro, I am sure some great aftermarket rack mounts will come out. Being round, you can turn it 90 degrees and have the ports on the side, or keep turning and have the ports face you. It's not like there is a floppy drive on the front you need to access.

Unlike the Cube, this is the pro model. The Cube was introduced at Macworld NYC alongside bumped G4 towers. I knew a bunch of people, like graphic designers, that dumped their G4 towers to get a Cube, and loved it. The old iMac wasn't enough for their work, but the tower was overkill.

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All this talk about form factor and how everybody hates that Apple always wants to make things beautiful, pretty silly criticisms I think. Apple was not the first to design a powerhouse professional computer that didn't look like every other tower ever made. Does anyone remember Silicon Graphics? Most all of their computers that were doing the majority of high end professional graphics and animation work had an "interesting" form factor and design and of course ran a proprietary non-mainstream operating system.

 

post-1-0-39384500-1370956951_thumb.jpg

 

Also, the form factor that Apple has designed serves a really important function in terms of cooling and expediting service, board swaps, etc. The "Unified Thermal Core" design is brilliant.

 

post-1-0-72494300-1370957145_thumb.jpg

 

As for rack mounting, the Mac Pro is less than 10" tall --- it can sit anywhere, on your desk, under the desk, on a shelf, on the floor (next to the real trash can), no need to put it in a rack. The things that can go in the rack are all those external devices that need to go into a rack and we're designed to go in a rack.

 

The video/slideshow for the Mac Pro that Apple has up on the Apple site explains a lot of this (and the presentation itself, like the product, is a work of art).

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There may be some cases of rack mounting. Maybe some rendering farms? For normal server uses, a lot of people are using Mac Minis. The college station I came from uses one to create our web stream. For convenience, it sits on a shelf in an equipment rack.

The fact that Apple now uses Intel chips means they probably won't be used like the PowerPC chips were in Virginia Tech's System X

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S the lack of expansion and ability to rack mount is kind of a problem from a PROFESSIONAL standpoint. 

 

I could see it as a network workstation.

For a stand alone its going to suck.

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I've owned a few SGI machines in the past, not the NUMA or real workstation class machines, but Pentium based models.  For the most part, they are plain black boxes inside with a shroud that gives it a bit of designer flair.  The Apple design does look to be highly functional.

 

I think there is a real advantage to true rackmount designs.  When building out commercial facilities, everything needs to be designed to a spec.  The racks that they are installed in have a seismic rating, so that you know your server can withstand a certain shock level - good for areas that experience tremors.  Having thing buttoned down inside a rack gives a certain security to the contractor that they did the job to their standards, and can tie down cables, lock the rear access pan, and walk away.  Machines sitting loose on a shelf allow the potential for prying hands to come in and make modification, even if during simple troubleshooting efforts - or people "borrowing" the machine for some other task.

 

The G5 / Mac Pro tower were not really rackmountable because the handles were wider than a 19" EIA rack, unless you did it vertically or side by side.  I'm certain that a 3rd party will be able to provide rackmount brackets for Mac Pros because of the size, you could probably fit several side by side with a single bracket, so this is an improvement from the older machines since they will physically fit in a rack at least.

 

The comparison with the cube (have one of these too) is a little unfair.  Thunderbolt is a native access to the PCI-e lanes, and thus signals that we are ready for outboard expansion that does not compromise from internal mounted components.  In the past, hooking things up via USB, Firewire, eSATA, or even FC-AL, meant that there was some compromise with respect to performance, reliability, or cost effectiveness.  When the Cube came out, it was highly limited to the professional market because of these limitations, although it was never marketed specifically as a "Pro" machine.

 

What Apple needs to do (or should do) is to manufacture their own Thunderbolt / PCI-e expansion chassis and storage chassis.  This will help eliminate compatibility and reliability issues between their hardware and 3rd party devices.  It will also help keep in check companies like Magma that will charge a couple thousands of dollars for the same functionality to cater to audio professionals that have no choice, since they must find some way to house HDX cards.  The question of whether Avid should be going down the DSP road in the first place is up to debate, but their initial technical showcase of the "Lightpeak" enabled HD interfaces was without cards.  I would like to see them return to this paradigm where they just repackage their products so that instead of HDX cards, you can purchase Thunderbolt HDX processors, or Thunderbolt IO with or without DSP on board.

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Couple of things...

If I turn the machine around so the back is in the front, then I have a giant power cable getting in the way. All the other cables are small enough to not be bothersome, but that power cable has a big connector which means it will stick out far.

Being able to rack mount a computer is way more efficient when you have a machine room (like every professional post facility has). The ergonomics of this any machine just don't make any sense to me at all for professional use.

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Isn't the on/off switch on the back?

 

Mounting it in a rack or even just on the floor under the desk will make getting to the switch difficult....

 

 

Considering the location of the switch (easily obstructed by cables), I'm going to guess they've made provisions for this.

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Apparently, I'm not the only guy who noticed the similarity to the old Mac Cube. Here's a very funny hybrid picture from Gizmodo of the Cube and the "Cylinder" (or whatever people are going to call the new Mac Pro):

k-bigpic.jpg

I get that there are aspects of the machine that are brilliant. The Gizmodo article goes into a lot of the technology in great detail:

 

http://gizmodo.com/the-brilliant-insanity-behind-the-new-mac-pros-design-512574427

 

Dave Fisk commented: Being able to rack mount a computer is way more efficient when you have a machine room (like every professional post facility has). The ergonomics of this any machine just don't make any sense to me at all for professional use.
 
That's very hard to argue with. I'm surprised Apple didn't offer a server configuration for the machine, and their main concern was to make a machine that would literally look cool on the desktop. Never mind the fact that about 75% of all the people I know who are using computers for audio or video either don't keep the machine on the desk, or keep it on the floor even out of the control room entirely.

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Well, to put it simple, this is a desktop solution. Not a rack one. Don't want to be funny but it replaces the Mac Pro desktop, who replaced the power Mac desktop, who replaced the G5, 4, 3, etc. all desktops. It's just not meant as a rack thing, never was. This line that is. Maybe, there will be a server (rack) update coming?

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Doing a little bit more investigation into the design of the new Airport Extreme (WiFi) and Time Capsule (Airport Extreme and storage combined) you will find that the vertical form factor was adopted to accommodate a unique software controlled 6 element antenna system. It remains to be seen if this "beamforming array" actually provides the sort of RF performance that is claimed but I wouldn't start objecting to it until we get a chance to play with it.

 

- from Apple: "With 802.11ac technology comes the intelligent, powerful beamforming antenna array. Most base station antennas emit an equal and constant Wi‑Fi signal in all directions. But the beamforming antenna array is smarter — it knows where an 802.11ac device is on the network. Then AirPort Extreme targets its signal to that device. So your Wi‑Fi signal is stronger, clearer, and faster."

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I think this is typical Apple industrial design that sacrifices function for slick unique form factor. You will notice that they never show it with all the cables plugged in that you would need to use it in a professional setup.  Remember Thunderbolt 2 cables will probably only be 3 or 5 feet in length so it will be a cluster of cables power wall warts, I/O cables and external cabinets just to replace the functionality of a current Mac Pro Workstation that has Kona card for HDSDI I/O 4 TB of  Raid Storage and nVidea Graphics cards needed for Adobe products all in a single cabinet with one power cord..  The resulting footprint of the Mac Pro Trash Can will be much more messy and have a larger footprint and be susceptible to cable pull out or bad connections. 

 

Great specs if they had only put it in a conventional rectangular stackable and rack-able case.  Unfortunately because of all the proprietary internal parts and interconnects I doubt 3rd party repackaging it  into a more conventional expandable case will be possible.

This Mac Pro only has one flat side to stack stuff on (the Top) and that is the only exhaust port so the machine will quickly stop working if you put anything on top of it. Hasn't any of their industrial designers ever looked at a real working office or edit Bay?

 

What is funny is Apple used to make fun of PCs for all the messy cables needed to hook them up compared to the original iMac..  They have  come full circle and are now the ones that need the rats nest of cables and external boxes to make it functional. 

 

Did you ever notice that in all commercials and promotional videos  for Apple Hardware they almost Never show cables connected to anything.  Even when they show the screen lit up and displaying graphics there are no power cables plugged in and no Ethernet (before WiFi) or phone cords. or Keyboards or mice cables.  Most don't even show a keyboard or mouse unless they have to. 

 

I love it how they point out that when you swivel the new mac pro around the port labels light up.   But they don't mention the fact that if you have all the cables plugged in you won't be able to rotate it very far at all without pulling out cables.  I predict massive failure.to capture any of the professional market with this stupid anti-functional design.

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Heat rises. Centrally cooled with a single top fan makes a lot of sense.

The lack of expandability is troublesome to some, but shows the growing trend towards modularization. this is your computing core. Build storage to suit your needs, build interfaces to suit your needs, modularize your computing. Few people do things on one machine anymore.

Although I won't be an early adopter of the new machines (my tower is sill quite new), apple is doing what they've done many times in the past, and making waves by adopting, sometimes prematurely, the future of where computing is going. They are banking on the fact that they, and they're customer base are large enough to force the market into thunderbolt 2.0 after a slow adoption of thunderbolt. We'll see. Everyone complains about change, but I think apple has done some really smart things, and really, our common definition of computing is going to transition into a multi point model, rather than a single source model, and this machine embraces that fact. Native power fits what you need native, external for everything else because its being shared and farmed out anyway.

http://wanderingear.net

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Apple has been gradually moving away from internal expandability for sometime now.

 

Used to be that you could replace or upgrade the memory in Mac laptops, now it's all soldered to the motherboard. You used to be able to get an internal (and replaceable) optical drive, now your only choice is an external one. Their laptops used to have a built in Ethernet port, now your only choice is a Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter. Here's an interesting article on this trend:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/06/opinion-apple-retina-displa

 

The new Mac Pro just seems like another step on the same path.

 

I think this trend may have actually started with the original iPod which shipped with an internal battery that was not user replaceable and you had to send it into Apple and pay $99 to have the battery replaced. Some later iPod models had the battery soldered to the logic board or glued into the case, making it even more difficult to replace.

 

The performance of pretty much all lithium batteries degrades over time, so Apple basically took a component that they knew would have to be replaced at some point during the life of the product and made it non-user serviceable. They did this banking on the fact that most people would either upgrade before the battery had to be replaced, or would be ok sending in the device and paying a battery replacement fee if they wanted to keep using it.

 

Of course none of this seemed to end up hurting iPod sales any. Instead, it is one of the most successful consumer products ever.

 

And history suggests that Apple learned from this experience.

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