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Old Mar 27, 2013, 12:27 PM   #51
deconstruct60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
I think while all these are probably all good guesses as to changes on the new Mac Pro, none of them really produce the "mini" Mac Pro a lot of people are hoping for.
I wasn't trying to motivate a "mini" or even "mid-tower" Mac Pro. These all modern functional demands that the current case is oblivious to because it is motivated by legacy design constraints/parameters.

GPUs and high end I/O cards are just as hot if not hotter than CPUs these days. that has nothing to due to with going "mini". Non-ODD storage devices don't need to project a tray through the size of the box. Again external impact but nothing really having to do with size. Even if swap for external drive sleds ( reuse and modify old XServe sled ideas or adopting some SATA USM standards for removable drives ) it would have an impact on the external design. Same for multiple antennas... big or small box still need to place them so that useful ( future airport extreme and large tower Mac Pro would both need multiple antennas for things like 802.11ac to be effective. )


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I'm mixed on the handles. They're pretty handy (hah) if you've ever had the experience of lugging around a Dell workstation.
The handles aren't really primarily handles. It is a "footer" to raise the box up off the ground. The same set on top is just as much driven by Apple's OCD symmetric design principles as high utility as something oriented to the human hand. They are sharp and flat because that makes for a great foot, not because it is substantially easier to carry.

The 7600/5600/ Dell boxes have handles only on the top of the sides. HP's boxes are similar. The design difference is that they are design not to stretch up the height of the box. Apple could still keep the symmetric footer/handle design. It just doesn't need to be quite so high (keep all the external & internal symmetry and just expand the dimension of depth around its central axis.). Or it doesn't need to be permanently attached ( make the core simple rectangular box transformable. ). There are other designs out there that meet the design parameters better than the current one does.

In fact it is somewhat indicative that the Mac Pro was taller in part to help segment the market between it and the XServe to a further extent. If promoting that segmentation went into the core design, it is completely unmotivated now that the XServe is gone. That doesn't mean the Mac Pro needs to fit all of the XServe functionality, just that they don't need to overtly minimize overlaps.


The Mac Pro would get substantially smaller if used substantially more limited parts. For example dropping back to a Xeon E3 with a much narrower TDP. That in turn also chops down PCI-e lane budget to roughly a single slot. Cap that slot to a sub 230W power budget and then can drop the power supply and PCI-e card zone cooling requirements. Those would do a major reduction. Substitute 2.5" drives for 3.5" and you could easily do a 1/3 shrink of all of the Mac Pro's thermal zones without much drama. Tossing the ODDs provides room for front I/O sockets and opens room for an antenna or two.

The issue though is that you cut the performance significantly. Capped at 4 x86 cores. Lost 20-60 PCI-e v3.0 lanes of I/O bandwidth. (an amount 5-15 times as large as Thunderbolt's. ). I can see utility of something that is more oriented to being a SAN client node. Lots of the space consuming I/O would be outside the box and shared. ( shared mobile/desktop with TB and shared storage through something like 10GbE. ) That smaller and priced close to the edge of the $2000 border would probably do much better than the single package current designs.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 02:25 PM   #52
orangezorki
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Originally Posted by deconstruct60 View Post
You can question, but the questions would have to be grounded in some good rationale to have any impact.





Every sub-market of the whole computer market is smaller than the overall market. Workstation's percentage of the market isn't the issue. How much it grows is.

The Mac Pro way to expensive to be a practical halo product. A product you buy because bought another more highly valued product.






Depends upon what that person does for work and where they do most of there work. Folks billing others while moving around can probably do more billable activities with those 3 devices than a Mac Pro.

Even if stationary this is not a halo effect property.





Apple should build it because it is "cool". Not really. The Cube was a bust. The "20 anniversary Mac" was a bust. None of these "crotch grabbing" , isn't that way more cool than it is useful products really save Apple or any other company.

Products that folks lust after but can't buy do not produce much of a halo effect as much of the handwaving about that purports it does.




It does need a redesign because several aspects are based on dated technologies and thinking.

a. lacking 2.5" bays at this point is wrong. Back in the 2002-2005 era 2.5" disks were only "laptop" disks. Now they are not.

b. Similarly two 5.25" bays? Why? ( looking forward over next 5-10 years is that looking like a growing segment). In a poll of real Mac Pro usage what is the ratio of folks would hacked a 2.5" additional versus those who slid in a second 5.25" drive later on? Closely related how many folks completely removed the ODD drives to pack in more storage devices they actively use everyday?

c. Why are the handles gratuitously rack hostile. A large number of competing, similarly equipped HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc. workstations all fit in a standard rack in a horizontal position.

d. Friendly to MIMO wireless antenna designs? Not really.

e. Friendly to 250+W GPGPU cards? Not really. ( computation 'power' of the GPU is about as import to a workstation as the CPU packages ).


f. Thunderbolts pragmatic requirement for an embedded GPU will impact the internal layout. ( not technically necessary but if Apple is OCD about uniformly deploying TB then a case design issue for Mac Pro none-the-less. )

Completely redone to be totally foreign to the current design? No. But it is dated on functionality.
You make many good points, especially on where the current design can be improved, but I was only trying to push the case for the MP to be continued in some form or other. Many of the points could be addressed by simple tweaks to the interior and motherboard, but admittedly not all.

I really wouldn't be that quick though to dismiss the idea of the halo product. That's why many car companies willingly lose money on absurdly awesome cars. If someone saw their favourite star driving a Lexus LFA, it just might make them more likely to consider stepping into a Lexus dealer next time they want a new car, but they would end up buying a RX or IS, not a LFA. In the same way, if I had only used PCs up to now, seeing my favourite animator, photographer, movie director etc using a MP would definitely make me more aware of Apple as a brand, and more likely to get a Mac of some description next time I get a BSOD. The MP market doesn't have to grow as long as the right people keep putting the latest version on their desks.

It's funny that you mention the 20th Anniversary Mac. I remember, as a kid at school, drooling over the TAM. In many ways, especially compared with the MP, it was stupid. The screen was tiny even for then (but LCD on a desktop - Woo!), it was underpowered and massively expensive. But it showed how beautiful a computer could be, and that the company actually cared about design and the little touches that make a machine a joy to use. It absolutely was a halo product for me, and led me to buy a second hand Powerbook 1400c even though my whole school and the world was moving to Windows 95. That TAM has since led me to spend at least $20,000 on Apple products in the many years since then, even though I have never seen or touched one.

David
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 02:36 PM   #53
d-m-a-x
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A Mac Pro at all would be nice, lest a smaller one

----------

At least they came out with an air filter, who hoo!
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...199988811.html
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 04:43 PM   #54
deconstruct60
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Originally Posted by orangezorki View Post
I really wouldn't be that quick though to dismiss the idea of the halo product. That's why many car companies willingly lose money on absurdly awesome cars.
Cars companies are lousy examples. GM and Chrysler just come out of bankruptcy. Honestly there isn't a single car reasonably sized company that goes ape over "awesome" cars that financially succeeds by those cars directly or indirectly. They are actually much more an example of what is jacked up about the car industry like rampant "cash back" and special year end closing deals and dumping cars into the leasing/rental industry; not something to be emulated.

You are confusing what is often done with what actually works.


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It's funny that you mention the 20th Anniversary Mac. I remember, as a kid at school, drooling over the TAM.
The TAM was one of the first things Steve'd once Jobs got back in control.

" ... Steve Jobs returned to Apple in late 1997. In March 1998 he made sweeping changes, including scrapping the Newton MessagePad. It was at this time that the TAM was discontinued, ... "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twentie...tosh#Mythology

I picked the Cube (one of second Jobs era's temporary forays back into style over substance) and the TAM on purpose. They were dismal. They didn't lead to any substantive long term Mac market success at all.


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In many ways, especially compared with the MP, it was stupid. The screen was tiny even for then (but LCD on a desktop - Woo!), it was underpowered and massively expensive. But it showed how beautiful a computer could be, and that the company actually cared about design and the little touches that make a machine a joy to use.
No, it was stupid as a design exercise too. For company that was running out of money to waste time on this is one reason the company was about to completely tank. If it isn't useful other than as something to look at, why bother. Apple was much better served by raising utility and design on all products not just a product to bring in relatively few looky-loos .

They didn't care about design.

Quote:
It absolutely was a halo product for me, and led me to buy a second hand Powerbook 1400c even though my whole school and the world was moving to Windows 95.
Not really. The real halo product was the Powerbook 1400c. If it had not delivered value you likely would not have given Apple another shot. The notion need some kind of gimmick product to bring folks in to look at the products they would actually buy is much more demonstrative that the sales and marketing for those products is substantially defective in some way. If trying to draw a substantial number of buyers it is far better when they are looking for and find the product. Not happen to bump into it while they are pretending to be a famous movie star they are not.


Quote:
That TAM has since led me to spend at least $20,000 on Apple products in the many years since then, even though I have never seen or touched one.
Again that is a bit of a dubious attribution to "halo". A product you yourself label as stupid, under peroforming, and not value priced. Maybe you have convinced yourself, but even still it isn't a representative of how most people approach buying a product. Sure Apple gets some counter-culture buyers ( buy Mac because it isn't Windows. Look I'm a rebel and non conformist blah , blah , blah ).

It wasn't until Apple got the entry-mid laptops and desktop Macs straightened up and competitive till the overall Mac market started to grow. There is self-refenforcing handwaving with no quantative back up that some small subset of Mac ( Mac Pros , Mac Pro precursor , TAM , etc) "saved" the Mac. They didn't. Without all of the pieces kept after the cleansing Apple would have collapsed. The fact that Jobs come in and killed off about 3/4 of product line up says even more about how much each of those niches were saving Apple by themselves.
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