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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:35 PM   #1
MacMilligan
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Likely 2013 Mac Pro Equipment List

Details have been soft (obviously), but Tim Cook reiterated that new Mac Pros were coming, and from his prior statements it would seem a total redesign may hit early to mid year. This leaves us with a bit of a speculation window as to what may be offered hardware-wise.

Processor options:
Consumer Haswell will be out sometime in the spring of 2013. Most likely, the Xeon E3 will get an update within that time frame. However, Xeon E5, which will be the Mac Pro's only option will not arrive until 2014. This puts a Haswell Mac Pro out of the launch window.
In fact, an Ivy Bridge based E5 still hasn't been launched and isn't expected until the middle of next year. If we do see a Mac Pro in early 2013 it will likely be running Sandy Bridge.
Using Apple's current product line, we can develop a general road map as to what processor will be offered for each Mac Pro tier:

Single CPU Option:
W3565 (Quad-core 3.2Ghz, MSRP ~$500) to E5-1620 (Quad 3.8Ghz turbo, MSRP ~$300)
A high frequency, quad, uni E5 is the most likely choice for the entry level position. The E5 is still sandy-bridge based and an Ivy Bridge version is not supposed to come out until mid-2013. If an Ivy does make it into the Mac Pro, look for a 10% performance increase over the SB equivalent. An E3 will most likely not be found due to a different socket type.

Performance*: The E5-1620 would be 1.98x faster than the W3565.

Upgrades: The next tier would be the E5-1650 (6-core, 3.6Ghz turbo, MSRP ~$600) at 2.3x the speed of the W3565.

Double CPU Option:
E5645 (2x6-core, 2.4Ghz, MSRP ~$600 each) to E5-2630 (2x6-core, 2.3Ghz, MSRP ~$600 each)
The E5-2630 slots into the previous price point nicely while providing a generous performance boost. The only option here is, again, Sandy Bridge with Ivy Bridge being mid-2013.

Performance: The E5-2630's are around 1.3x faster than the out going E5645 units. The new E5-2630's are around the same performance as the previous top of the line build (X5675's.) The E5-2630's are 3.72x more powerful than the entry level 5.1 Mac Pro with a W3565.

Upgrades: The next price point up would take the Mac Pro into the 16-core range with the E5-2650 (2x8-core, 2Ghz) being the next appropriate point. Performance would be up 1.56x compared to the E5645 and 1.37x the performance of the current Mac Pro's mid-level upgrade option (X5650). The grand-daddy, most expensive option would probably be the E5-2670 (2x8-core, 2.6Ghz, MSRP ~$1500 each), which would be 1.81x more powerful than the E5645 base model dual cpu system and 1.34x more powerful than the highest end option in the current Mac Pro (X5675). The E5-2680 would be much more powerful, but its power requirements are quite a bit higher than the E5-2670, so it probably will not be offered.

Logicboard + ports
The major upgrades will be USB 3.0 support and thunderbolt ports. I also wouldn't be surprised if we saw more USB ports. My bet is that we see:
Front: 2x USB 3.0, 1x Firewire 800, 1x Thunderbolt, 1x headphone
Back: 4x USB 3.0, 2x Firewire 800, 1x Thunderbolt, optical in and out, analog in and out, 2x Gigabit ethernet, Dual-link DVI, 2x Display-port. Maybe HDMI since the MacBook Pro saw such an addition depending on videocard. Kepler will be here in full force, so HDMI is definitely likely.

The logicboard itself will of course be LGA2011 and will support 32 and 64GB setups like before, with the potential to be expanded to 64/128GB using 16GB sticks.

GPUs:
Kepler is the only choice and is already supported in ML.
We will probably see the Nvidia 650 being offered as the base model. With the option to upgrade to a 660 or 670. The dual card option may be dropped and support for Quadro cards added. I'd look for Dual-link DVI with two display ports, with the slight possiblity of HDMI out.

Memory:
Memory will likely be unchanged other than a slight speed boost and a bump to the minimum amount offered. Base line memory will be upped to 8GB and support for 1066mhz memory will likely go away. Apple will most likely standardize the option to only include 1600mhz ECC. Other possibilities are to include a 16GB single stick option. This would raise the max memory for a single cpu Mac Pro to 64GB and the dual CPU's to 128GB. This amount of RAM is supported easily by the CPU's, however there may be other issues on Apple's end.

Storage:
I don't see Apple increasing the hard drive rack size to include over four 3.5" units, but we may see a 4+2 situation where they have 4x 3.5" bays + 2x 2.5" bays or even 4x2.5" bays for SSDs. With the possibility of losing the optical bay, that would free up space to expand storage. I'd love to see a 4+4 situation, as I'm sure Apple would too so they could sell more of their high margin SSDs and HDDs.

We will definitely see the Fusion drive offered as well as 3TB and maybe a 4TB option. More SSD options will likely be available ranging from 256 to 512GB. Price will likely stay sky high with the 256 being a $300 option and the 512Gb moving down to around $650.

Optical:
I doubt we will see the optical drive go away completely, but Apple will probably step back from the two slot drive and offer either an Optical drive or an expansion rack for 2x 2.5" slots. They may forgo optical all together and offer the external superdrive during check out instead.

Chassis:
The chassis may undergo a decent redesign. The top wings may be removed to either tighten the package or increase the internal size without making the case phyically larger. Optical drives may disappear. Apple may embrace the 140mm fan option to be quieter and to push more volume. I wouldn't be surprised to see 2.5" specific mounting options crop up within the case.

Black aluminum case anyone?

Definitely a long post. Can't wait to see what Apple finally has in store for us.

*Note: performance was judged using Passmark
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MacMilligan View Post
GPUs:
Kepler is the only choice and is already supported in ML.
We will probably see the Nvidia 650 being offered as the base model. With the option to upgrade to a 660 or 670. The dual card option may be dropped and support for Quadro cards added. I'd look for Dual-link DVI with two display ports, with the slight possiblity of HDMI out.
7970 seems to be supported natively in 10.8.3, if it continues on a trend then would Kepler be the only choice? I think you need to think more about this part.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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GPU's: Radeon's Tahiti has been supported for the last ML 3 betas now, so it's not an only Keppler show.

I also believe Firewire 800 is going bye-bye -- replaced with the TB ports. I don't think Apple is going to add more USB ports. Other predictions all seem very good though. Nicely done.

Adding to your list; Apple is going to pimp and prop the SSD/HDD hybrid drives big-time with this next MP release. This will be one of their big pushes. I also know of one major vendor that firmly believes Apple will be releasing an updated Thunderbolt next year that will be "at least 3x faster than the current generation". Which leads me to my pie-in-the-sky prediction: With a Thunderbolt update that is that fast, the Mac Pro can be turned into an large external 'module' for the iMac. If you've seen some of the recent external TB 'appliances' that are out there, you'd know why I'm leaning in that direction.

It's pretty clear Apple has a general disliking of the big towers -- they might surprise us by showing an iMac, which we then pan around to reveal hiding behind it, a large add-on chassis which contains the heavy-lifting 'pro' stuff we need. That would streamline things quite a bit for them.

You buy an iMac and then the add-on "Pro" module and that's your iMac Pro.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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Good point on the Radeon, however since iMac switched to Kepler, I find it a little strange if Apple would fully support both products. I'd be a strange split, but possible.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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Is it really worth the dream?

You will be wrong. I can assure that 100%, and the final Mac Pro that arrives will probably be far less than you expected. Happens every time.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by revelstudios View Post
GPU's: Radeon's Tahiti has been supported for the last ML 3 betas now, so it's not an only Keppler show.

I also believe Firewire 800 is going bye-bye -- replaced with the TB ports. I don't think Apple is going to add more USB ports. Other predictions all seem very good though. Nicely done.

Adding to your list; Apple is going to pimp and prop the SSD/HDD hybrid drives big-time with this next MP release. This will be one of their big pushes. I also know of one major vendor that firmly believes Apple will be releasing an updated Thunderbolt next year that will be "at least 3x faster than the current generation". Which leads me to my pie-in-the-sky prediction: With a Thunderbolt update that is that fast, the Mac Pro can be turned into an large external 'module' for the iMac. If you've seen some of the recent external TB 'appliances' that are out there, you'd know why I'm leaning in that direction.

It's pretty clear Apple has a general disliking of the big towers -- they might surprise us by showing an iMac, which we then pan around to reveal hiding behind it, a large add-on chassis which contains the heavy-lifting 'pro' stuff we need. That would streamline things quite a bit for them.

You buy an iMac and then the add-on "Pro" module and that's your iMac Pro.
That ties you to buying an iMac and then a Pro. People would want to be able to just buy the Pro and Apple no this. If the iMac and Mac Pro lines were to blur I think it would be the inclusion of a dual processor iMac with an external Thunderbolt 'box' for peripherals etc. Problem is an iMac and Pro blurred limits a lot of choice.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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7970 seems to be supported natively in 10.8.3, if it continues on a trend then would Kepler be the only choice? I think you need to think more about this part.
I don't think Kepler is the only possible choice, but it is the likely choice. While 7000 series is supported very recently, Kepler has been supported longer.

Also, Apple seems to flip back and forth between AMD/ATI and Nvidia quite often. It may very well be Nvidia's turn for the Mac Pro.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by revelstudios View Post
You buy an iMac and then the add-on "Pro" module and that's your iMac Pro.
Hmmm, maybe a "prosumer" module, but I'd find it odd if they did away with Xeon's. There is definitely a need for ECC support and advanced virutalization that is only supported through Xeon. You can't argue with the performance of a dual CPU setup as well.

Are you saying the pro module will have xeon's that augment the processing power of the desktop CPU? Sounds like a weird set up. I could see a graphics pro box being offered with Quadro support or something, but a Xeon box would be pretty out there.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesser Evets View Post
Is it really worth the dream?

You will be wrong. I can assure that 100%, and the final Mac Pro that arrives will probably be far less than you expected. Happens every time.
Hmmm, how could it be less than what I wrote about? I just analyzed what the parts would be during the time frame of the Mac Pro's launch window. Nothing pie-in-the-sky
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 06:01 PM   #9
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I don't think Kepler is the only possible choice, but it is the likely choice. While 7000 series is supported very recently, Kepler has been supported longer.

Also, Apple seems to flip back and forth between AMD/ATI and Nvidia quite often. It may very well be Nvidia's turn for the Mac Pro.
I thought that Kepler support came from the inclusion of a 6XX GPU in the notebook line. I could be wrong on this but the inclusion of a 7000 series GPU in 10.8.3 is pointing to support for what? I don't recall seeing any Radeon 7000 series chips in Apple's notebooks or iMacs. Hence my thinking of it being support for a coming revision - Mac Pro.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 06:20 PM   #10
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That ties you to buying an iMac and then a Pro. People would want to be able to just buy the Pro and Apple no this. If the iMac and Mac Pro lines were to blur I think it would be the inclusion of a dual processor iMac with an external Thunderbolt 'box' for peripherals etc. Problem is an iMac and Pro blurred limits a lot of choice.
Apple has always limited choices with every product they release. The first iPhone didn't have a flash for the camera or a 3G antenna. The first iPad didn't have a camera at all. Blu-Ray is non-existent and the 2012 5,1 Mac Pro still doesn't have USB 3. Memory, processor choices, peripherals, I/O have always been limited by Apple with every product cycle. A significant part of that is marketing and sales. They bake in an incentive for the next generation of product, with the last. They do this every time.

So if Apple could force an iMac sale with a 'Pro' module and hammer the middle market of graphic designers and 1080 DSLR filmmakers that have settled comfortably into 'only' using an iMac, this would be a huge coup for them. Sell an iMac now, and a customer also buys an add-on 'Pro' module now, or waits a little, and buys it later. Big money to be made there.

Think about how many 'Pro' guys right now use iMacs and would love to have just a little more power and expansion... That's almost everyone using an iMac for design, film, or rendering work.

It seems obvious to me, with the long-running lack of love the Pro towers have had -- neglected to the point of being questioned almost out of existence just last year -- Apple isn't going after the heavy lifting guys that demand Xeons and major card support. I think Apple's definition of Pro is a guy in front of an iMac with a little more horsepower. And for them, that's a big sales niche for making the iMac take over things.

It may be a pie-in-the-sky idea that I'm pitching here, but I can't help but feel like this is what Apple has been working on and that's what we'll see next year.

After-all, if the iMac costs $2.5k and the 'Pro' module costs another $2-3k, that's still cheaper than buying a new iMac later (with still less support than what something like this 'Pro' module could offer), or even the price of a full-tilt Mac Pro tower right now. It makes sense dollars, marketing, performance, and even to what Apple seems to have pegged as their Pro-customer now (the iMac and MBP Retina Prosumer).

Remember the Xblade servers that Apple dumped two years ago...
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 09:49 PM   #11
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I doubt we'll see any front Thunderbolt ports. They don't make much sense (who plugs something like a monitor or a RAID array into the front of the machine), and they make the design harder (Thunderbolt is GPU linked).

It'll be much like Firewire 800 was until the 2009 Mac Pro. It'll be on the back (on or near the GPU).

GPU vendor likely won't be decided until a month before launch. Apple likes to keep their options open until the end.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 01:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by revelstudios View Post
GPU's: Radeon's Tahiti has been supported for the last ML 3 betas now, so it's not an only Keppler show.

I also believe Firewire 800 is going bye-bye -- replaced with the TB ports. I don't think Apple is going to add more USB ports. Other predictions all seem very good though. Nicely done.

Adding to your list; Apple is going to pimp and prop the SSD/HDD hybrid drives big-time with this next MP release. This will be one of their big pushes. I also know of one major vendor that firmly believes Apple will be releasing an updated Thunderbolt next year that will be "at least 3x faster than the current generation". Which leads me to my pie-in-the-sky prediction: With a Thunderbolt update that is that fast, the Mac Pro can be turned into an large external 'module' for the iMac. If you've seen some of the recent external TB 'appliances' that are out there, you'd know why I'm leaning in that direction.

It's pretty clear Apple has a general disliking of the big towers -- they might surprise us by showing an iMac, which we then pan around to reveal hiding behind it, a large add-on chassis which contains the heavy-lifting 'pro' stuff we need. That would streamline things quite a bit for them.

You buy an iMac and then the add-on "Pro" module and that's your iMac Pro.
it would be pretty tragic if there were no firewire. In my field there are a lot of hasselblads with fw800, and none with thunderbolt. I sure the same goes with video and audio too. Guess there is always pci, unless they scratch that too
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 04:06 AM   #13
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Traditionally, Apple has had access to CPUs from Intel before everyone else; I wouldn't be surprised to see an Ivybridge Mac Pro Q2 next year.

DVD drives are gone, no doubt about that. Because of this, I can see the re-design completely changing the inside, though I hope the outside stays pretty much the same, if not a little smaller. I love this design, and love the fact it's been around since 2003 with the Power Macs.

I don't know if they'd keep those additional SATA connections, or reduce the number down to 4; if they did, the machine would be a little more limited. Perhaps they'd make those 2 SATA connections Fusion Drive by default, then leave the 4x 3.5" bays for expansion. That'd be pretty neat.

Can't see them changing the daughterboard design for CPU/RAM, it's a great solution.

Graphics wise I can see them perhaps going back to low-end Radeon cards, then offering higher end Kepler as a solution.

Front IO I can see reduced to 2x USB3 and headphone port (though who actually uses the headphone port? Can kinda see that going too)

Rear IO will most likely be 3x USB3, 2x Thunderbolt, Line out, Line In and 2x Ethernet
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 04:18 AM   #14
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Traditionally, Apple has had access to CPUs from Intel before everyone else; I wouldn't be surprised to see an Ivybridge Mac Pro Q2 next year.

DVD drives are gone, no doubt about that. Because of this, I can see the re-design completely changing the inside, though I hope the outside stays pretty much the same, if not a little smaller. I love this design, and love the fact it's been around since 2003 with the Power Macs.

I don't know if they'd keep those additional SATA connections, or reduce the number down to 4; if they did, the machine would be a little more limited. Perhaps they'd make those 2 SATA connections Fusion Drive by default, then leave the 4x 3.5" bays for expansion. That'd be pretty neat.

Can't see them changing the daughterboard design for CPU/RAM, it's a great solution.

Graphics wise I can see them perhaps going back to low-end Radeon cards, then offering higher end Kepler as a solution.

Front IO I can see reduced to 2x USB3 and headphone port (though who actually uses the headphone port? Can kinda see that going too)

Rear IO will most likely be 3x USB3, 2x Thunderbolt, Line out, Line In and 2x Ethernet
If they go the thunderbolt route then ethernet will be gone.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 04:32 AM   #15
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If they go the thunderbolt route then ethernet will be gone.
Nope, new 2012 iMac still has Ethernet. No way they'll get rid of it on a Pro desktop machine if it's still present on the consumer one.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 05:12 AM   #16
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it would be pretty tragic if there were no firewire. In my field there are a lot of hasselblads with fw800, and none with thunderbolt. I sure the same goes with video and audio too. Guess there is always pci, unless they scratch that too
Guaranteed, FW800 will not be on the next revision of the Mac Pro. And with Thunderbolt, all you need is this cable and Hasselblads, old external drives, and whatever else will still be available:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD...rewire-adapter

Keep in mind Thunderbolt is a path to a lot of accessories that Apple can then nix from the box... Lending further possibilities to my "Pro Module" concept. And if the next revision of Thunderbolt really is 3x the throughput of the current one... That would blow everything wide open and change the idea of what a professional computer tower is for all of us.

Tim Cook played coy in his email from August (where he said Apple was working on something really great). A 'simple' form factor change with updated memory and processors doesn't fit this statement very well. Either he's full of it, or Apple really does have a major Fusion Drive + Next Generation Thunderbolt card up its sleeve.

Signs are pointing to yes.

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Nope, new 2012 iMac still has Ethernet. No way they'll get rid of it on a Pro desktop machine if it's still present on the consumer one.
I don't think they'll drop the Ethernet ports either, but if they did, this would work just fine:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD...hernet-adapter
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 05:42 AM   #17
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Tim Cook played coy in his email from August (where he said Apple was working on something really great). A 'simple' form factor change with updated memory and processors doesn't fit this statement very well.
This is Apple.... If they change the colour of a device it's described as magical. Tim will exaggerate any new Apple product as expected, I hope it is something major but don't think for a second that keeping the form factor and adding thunderbolt isn't something Tim/Apple would describe as really great. I'm pretty sure it would be magical.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 06:02 AM   #18
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This is Apple.... If they change the colour of a device it's described as magical. Tim will exaggerate any new Apple product as expected, I hope it is something major but don't think for a second that keeping the form factor and adding thunderbolt isn't something Tim/Apple would describe as really great. I'm pretty sure it would be magical.
Right on. Everything Apple does they play up quite bit so it's hard to read into any hints prior to release. I just can't see them doing the same Mac Pro tower update again though. They got burned by it this last time (2012 5,1) and with the extended wait, I'd hope they have something else cooking.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 06:05 AM   #19
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Right on. Everything Apple does they play up quite bit so it's hard to read into any hints prior to release. I just can't see them doing the same Mac Pro tower update again though. They got burned by it this last time (2012 5,1) and with the extended wait, I'd hope they have something else cooking.
Have to agree it's an age old design that needs a revision.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 06:52 AM   #20
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I have no personal experience with the TB to FW adapters but the word on the internet is that their not all that great for anything outside of storage.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 07:04 AM   #21
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Tim Cook played coy in his email from August (where he said Apple was working on something really great). A 'simple' form factor change with updated memory and processors doesn't fit this statement very well. Either he's full of it, or Apple really does have a major Fusion Drive + Next Generation Thunderbolt card up its sleeve.
You have to realize one, major m.o. that has carried Apple in the press and market: hype. If Tim Cook came out and said, "Meh. We'll fool around with the Mac Pro and it'll be ok or something," it wouldn't cut it. In fact, the more ebullient and bombastic a public figure is, the better they do for their products and company. Steve Ballmer has that ebullience, but he flops around bashing others and laughing at successes and pushing vaporware.

Apple with do something predictable. It won't be AMAZING, but it will be pushed with descriptives like "powerfulest" and "professional supremity" and "incredible power" etc. All the while it will just be a good product with a conservative set of features. As usual. They won't reinvent the desktop with the MacPro, but they could repackage it and update the innards to provide a brilliant workhorse computer.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 07:07 AM   #22
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They won't reinvent the desktop with the MacPro, but they could repackage it and update the innards to provide a brilliant workhorse computer.
Which is exactly what most of us want. There is no need to get all pessimistic about it.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 07:11 AM   #23
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If Apple drop firewire then they could be relying on people using an Apple FW to TB adapter or a PCI-e card. I think it's highly likely it will be dropped.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 07:12 AM   #24
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You can't have a dongle for everything. Desktops will still have enet connectors. Hell, that's the one thing I miss on my Air and rMBP. I use a dongle every day as I have to connect to lots of stuff that is not wifi.

I see Apple's vision for the future being more cluster oriented. I think the replacement for the MacPro will be a means to cluster Mini's together using thunderbolt connections and peripherals. I just don't see them going with a big hunk of hardware at this point in their vision of the future of computing.

They've shown at every step in the past several years that their train is headed their way. You either get on or get left. More power to them. I have learned at every turn that the faster I move on and ditch old legacy stuff, the more efficient I am and the less headaches I have. (ethernet connections aside! )
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 07:16 AM   #25
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You lost me when you said 1.98 x the power. No chance. It'll be a 25% gain at most.

Where people pull these figure from is astounding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draeconis View Post
Traditionally, Apple has had access to CPUs from Intel before everyone else; I wouldn't be surprised to see an Ivybridge Mac Pro Q2 next year.
They got them early once. When they half updated the 06 model.
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