People Who Complain About the New Mac Pro Misunderstand It

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Radiating, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Radiating, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding about most of the compalints about the new Mac Pro.

    Before we begin though let's address the cost, thunderbolt expansion is expensive because it's new not because it's expensive to make. I own an Sonnet Echo Express Pro, that cost me upwards of $700. The parts that go into it are marked up over 800% and the market will tank in price very quickly considering you can buy the pcie to thunderbolt controllers for $80 right now, but Intel won't let consumers buy them, only manufacturers.

    The first thing to understand about Apple's New Mac Pro is that it had to have a single processor, the chipset only supported a single processor at this time with thunderbolt, so if Apple wanted thunderbolt they had to go with a single processor. However you can have up to 6 external Xeon Phi co-processors, and the single processor has as many cores and is faster than the dual processors it replaces.

    Second, Apple had to go with Firepros instead of Nvidia cards, AMD is far less interested in marking up their workstation cards, and sure you don't get CUDA core support, but if you did then you'd be paying $2000 more for the machine. Instead now you can have both the internal GPUs and up to SIX external ones. I've attatched a GeForce Titan with a PCIe to Thunderbolt adapter and VisionTek 3.5" 450w stand alone power supply to practically every Mac that Apple makes that has thunderbolt and it works extremely well. If you're actualy running applications that need CUDA cores, having 6 external cards sold at market price is a huge blessing, over 2 internal ones that are sold at a mark up.

    Third, external PCI cards, external hard drives, and external optical drives are the way of the future. Why?



    The last generation Mac Pro had to make an educated guess on how much EMPTY space you needed, and when you were done using that empty space, there was NOTHING that you could do to expand it without an engineering degree and a manufacturing plant. Apple had to guess that you needed 4 PCIe slots, if you needed 5, well too bad, and if you didn't need those slots you were wasting space.

    The new Mac Pro does away with the guessing game and gives you the option of nearly unlimited expandability. You can have up to 72 PCIe slots now (6x dual pcie boxes per cable), which is 18 times as many, and up to 300 hard drive arrays or optical drives, which is 75 times, and 150 times more respectivly. And guess what, the Mac Pro is smaller. How is that not revolutionary?

    Fourth, issues have come up about: Clutter. Cables, Mess, Junk. Hoestly I think this is a very short sighted issue. If it REALLY bothers you that much, then just buy a recycled Mac Pro case off eBay for $100 and some zip ties you can have all the internal parts you want. However, I haven't heard of a Mac Mini or an iMac user complaining, and guess what? Companies will come up with neat little solutions to package all of your external devices around the new Mac Pro, and here's the thing, if you ever decide that you need even more room, you won't be SOL, you'll simply buy a new dock or stand for your Mac Pro with more room.

    The new Mac Pro is about flexibility and scalability, unlike the last version which was one size fits all that didn't really do a good job at fitting anyone except the exact person who needs 4 hard drives, 2 optical drives and 4 PCI slots exactly.


    The Mac Pro is the next evolution of the desktop format.

    Finally, the biggest issue of all, performance the new Mac Pro can meet the needs of literally anyone who owned the last generation Mac Pro, every single performance and expandability criteria is higher. Everything you could do with the last model, you can do equally or better with the new one.


    You'll notice that not only are all performance metrics improved across the board, all of your expandability capabilities are improved across the board. Instead of having 2 PCIe 2.0 x16 slots used normally for the graphics cards, you have 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots used normally for graphics. Instead of 4 PCIe 2.0 lanes for expandability (shared between slots 3 & 4) you have 3 PCIe 2.0 lanes shared between 6 thunderbolt cables. That's 3 times the expandability before we consider daisy chaining, and you can use full x16 cards at x4 speeds just like before. On top of that there are several Mini PCIe connectors internally, not to mention USB 3.0.
  2. macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2010
    Why are you trying so hard? What do you care?

    I've seen the attempts that were made to max out Thunderbolt, and seen how no matter how many of those Promise Pegasus RAID boxes they attached, they maxed out around 1000MB/sec. Has that been changed? If so, I'd love to see it, and the accompanying price tag to make that work. Those external TB expansion boxes are something like $800-$1000, when my current PCI RAID card is much, much faster today, now, in an old Mac Pro.

    I think *you* misunderstand the situation. Today, I'd have to spend at least $1000 to have worse performance, or perhaps multiple thousands for equal performance. Screw that.
  3. macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2012
    Ephesians 2:1-10
    An interesting point, and one that I've wondered about and found myself leaning towards, especially since PCIe is a very mature, well-established technology with a plethora of options in the market. If I recall correctly, don't you get something along the lines of 1100+ mb/s with your setup?
  4. macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2010
    Yes, with only half the available drive slots filled with old HDD tech, I got 1101MB/second using AJA System Test. That's nowhere near the limit of my x8 lane Areca card!
  5. macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2013
    I regularly get 2,200MB/second (to/from disk) out of Mac Pros. Try that with Thunderchicken.
  6. macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Last I checked, Xeon Phi doesn't work on Mac. Even if it did, not sure it would even be worth it over Thunderbolt.
  7. wonderspark, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013

    macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2010
    I would guess that with all six TB ports running all three TB controllers to a large pile of disks, the next Mac Pro could see about 4000MB/second, but that is with a lot of money wasted to make it happen.

    A single Areca RAID card can do 8000MB/sec with PCIe v3, and 4000MB/sec in v2 today, and that card is only $1250. (1882ix-24, x8 lane PCIe 3.0)

    With any luck, TB will actually go optical (as it was intended) instead of copper. Then, perhaps it will be a real improvement.
  8. macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Tacoma, WA USA
    No we understand it completely. Apple made a mistake and should call the new machine a super Mac Mini. Then they should read all the complaints and concentrate on designing a new Mac Pro. ;)
  9. macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    Magma and a few other companies have offered expansion systems for years, going back to the PCI days, let alone PCIe. A pre-2013 Mac Pro could just use one of those systems to add unlimited PCIe expansion and it wouldn't be limited to either 10Gbit/s or dual 10Gbit/s per channel like Thunderbolt.

    The cheapest Thunderbolt system I've seen to add even 3 PCIe slots and 3 SATA drive bays including internal power connectors for PCIe cards is a system from Sonnet that costs nearly £1000 without cabling or a SATA 6Gb/s PCIe card.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2004
    Since nobody has pointed out that the Phi's are x16 PCIe2, I guess I will :D
    So at most, you would be able to run 3 of those cards. The same goes for the Red Rocket.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    My somewhat significant experience with Thunderbolt is that daisy-chaining suuuucks. One device gets powered down, another loses a signal, etc. and you don't typically want to put a RAID in a situation where it accidentally powers off. There have also been some issues with device traffic making monitors flicker. Not to mentioned the decrease in performance when multiple high-speed data devices are sharing bandwidth. Fun times.

    Seems like 6 TB2 ports isn't all that much when you consider 2 to 3 monitors, a couple RAIDs, an enclosure with 10Gbe NIC and some legacy cards, etc.

    My surprise on a TB video production setup was how much had to be replaced by TB-compliant versions of cards I already owned. My Magma chassis with ATTO 10Gbe NIC, Sonnet PCIe SSD RAID and Blackmagic capture card (and cables!) were NOT cheap.

    I dunno, this just seems like a cluster. I understand the new Mac Pro quite well, maybe better than most having worked off TB on a huge project over 7 months. That experience and seeing what else is out there makes me pretty weary.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2013
    We haven't had any issues taking cards that were in a Magma and using them in the Sonnet bays though not every type of card is being transitioned. While the canister is interesting to me it will be a version or so before I'd put it in production. Notwithstanding our 2014 budget is likely going in before it ships. One of the primary software vendors in our space usually doesn't offer upgrades to the latest hardware right away and when they do it's a couple of months before they get it stable and consistent enough to use in production. There are still guys using G4s and G5s in systems that have been working and profitable for years. They are one trick ponies in that all they do is that one app but they are fully functional, have acceptable performance and are stable. In fact we just replaced the last of our G5s not because they didn't work but because the software vendor ended support for the PPC version of the vertical app we were using more than a year ago.

    One would think that given the Final Cut debacle that they'd be more aware of any impact on the user base and work harder to make sure any transition issues, at least on the hardware side, were minimized.
  13. macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    You have a fundamental misunderstanding, It doesn't meet my and others current needs and will not for the foreseeable future, much like the rMBP.
  14. mif
    macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
  15. macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2012
    Bla Bla Bla - Spin spin spin - tail wagging the dog is good.

    "Four legs good, two legs better!"

    When will the Orwellian double speak end.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2010
    I'm planning to buy one, but only because I'm in the market for a Mac Mini Pro.

    If I needed a Mac Pro, I'd be p155ed as he11.
  17. macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    And your point is ?
  18. macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    The market will determine that. Hopefully it's not way too expensive and it doesn't have too many inevitable version 1.0 teething problems. I'm just glad Apple is pumping so much effort into the Mac platform.
  19. Radiating, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013

    thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    How does the new Mac Pro not meet your current needs? The new Mac Pro is better in literally every single performance and expandaility criteria a computer can possibly have compared to the computer it replaces. Literally every performance criteria is better.


    Max Processor Performance: 10% faster than last gen 12 core (1x 12 core X2697 vs 2x 6 core X5675)
    Max Cores: Same (12)
    Max Processor Power Consumption: 30% lower


    Max Ram: Same (128GB)
    Max Ram Speed: 40% better, 1,866MHz vs 1333 MHz


    Max Storage: 20 times greater volume
    Max single drive storage throughput: Same 2000 MB/s+ with OCZ Z-Drive, PCIe disk over thunderbolt or pcie.
    Max multi drive storage throughput (real world acheivable): 156% faster, 15,600 MB/s vs 10,000 MB/s (6x thunderbolt aggregation vs 16x PCIe), using SSDs in various RAID configurations.

    PCI Express Expansion:

    Max no. of PCIe expansion: 10 times greater, 40 (2 pcie mini slots (internal, hard drives), 2 pcie 16x slots for video cards (need to remove video cards to use), 6 thunderbolt ports (each physically supporting 6 16x cards) vs 4 (4 pcie slots (1-2 taken up by video card)
    Max no. of PCIe cards with default dual graphics and storage: 18 times greater, 36 vs 2.


    Max: Around 3.5 times greater, 2x W9000 + 6x Tesla K20 or Titan vs 2x K20/Titan

    If the new Mac Pro doesn't meet your needs when the old one did, then your needs must be imaginary.
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    First of all sorry because i haven't the time to read the posts above,
    i will do it later meanwhile i apologize.
    I have to say that i won't ever buy a machine like this to game on.
    Eventually i could too but not the main purpose i will buy it for.
    I will buy it to eat and crunch lots of datas as quickly as possibile.
    To play games i'd rather go to PS4 or XboxOne..don't wanna lose time
    with installations,problems,drivers etc etc and 1920x1080 are more than enough for me..i won't spend my life making counts on how many frames Crisys is losing at 4K.
    Even for work i splitted in two,for light jobs i use my Ipad mini,for heavy ones my MacBook Pro 15 ..then once back at home i load all on my Imac.
    The only thing i concern is ..the price..if its more than 2500 euros for the entry one..i won't approach its buying but i'll rather wait for its 2015 iteration.
    Have a nice day....gotta rush again.
  21. macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    1866 adds virtually no performance boost. To get to 128 I need to buy DIMM's that run 700 to 1K each

    If I want big fast external storage thats what SAS and Fiber are for.

    Max number of PCI interfaces are greater but also slower, and your forgetting existing PCI expansion boxes for those that need/want it.

    I can run two w9000's now, and if you''d like to run 1K+ graphics cards at a 1/4 to 1/2 speed fell free. Again slow external graphics bring nothing new to the table.

    Lets not count my 15TB internal, and 20TB external. I still have and use daily all my optical drives (2 internal and 2 external).

    It doesn't meet my needs, I'm glad you like it please buy an extra one in my name please, It'll make Jobs' ghost happy.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2010
    You kinda should read the hundreds of postings detailing those needs, the ones made since the announcement . ;)
  23. macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    reading unimportant, we just "misunderstand"
  24. macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2012
    It's not obvious?
  25. Radiating, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013

    thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    If you're using any application that needs 128GB of ram then you can afford to spend $2000 more to get the new 32GB dimms which will come down in price soon enough.

    The new Mac Pro supports SAS and Fiber just like the old one did. In fact thunderbolt fiber chanel cards are the same price as PCIe fiber chanel cards $600 (Apple Fiber Chanel card vs Promise Thunderbolt Fiber Chanel Box)

    6 4x interfaces that can be aggregated are better than 4 16x interfaces that cannot be aggregated. 95% of PCIe cards do not use 16x, and even the ones that do like RAID cards and Video cards do not make use of more than 4x over 99% of the time. I benchmarked RAID cards and a GeForce Titan over thunderbolt and even though both cards needed 16x for a few brief micro second, the performance hit was less than the typical sample to sample variation from card to card, most cards simply do not need 16x and will see very little performance hit when run at 4x.

    For the extremely rare very high end application that actually NEED 16x to the point where it creates meaningful slow downs, thunderbolt supports aggregation, meaning you can use all 6 of those thunderbolt cables to get 24x PCIe speed.

    Thunderbolt is better for rare high end applications and better for being able to do more stuff.

    Again I have an Echo Express Pro, and a GeForce Titan, and I've run them over a single thunderbolt 1 cable. There is no 1/2 or 1/4 slow down, the slow down is within the size of the sample variation from card to card, meaning it matters more what week your card was made then if it's over thunderbolt 1 or internal pcie 16x according to the passmark database.

    Thew New Mac Pro can support 35 TB, and 4 optical drives just fine, and do way more.

    You seem to have this misunderstanding of the capabilities of the new Mac Pro. It is more capable than the old version.

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