Thunder Bolt= Mac Pro EOL

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Chaos123x, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
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    Will apple kill off the Mac Pro now that ThunderBolt can be used for high speed storage, multiple connections, video capture cards, expansions, and even GPU upgrades?

    With laptops and iMacs now having quad core processors and thunderbolt do we really need the Mac Pro anymore? Or will the demand for future 32 core macs keep the platform alive?
  2. macrumors demi-god


    Dec 14, 2009
    No. Apple has beefed up the other lines of Mac, as well as added new lines. Mac Pros will get their lovin' soon.
  3. VirtualRain, Jun 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011

    macrumors 603

    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    There's a less confrontational thread on this already...

    Of course, there are situations where only a Mac Pro will do the job, but those cases are getting more and more fringe.

    It's a question of economics really. If a lot of folks or businesses that might have purchased Mac Pro's in the past, now start buying laptops and iMacs with TB accessories, then, yes, the Mac Pro might come to an end. However, if enough people keep buying Mac Pro's to satisfy Apple's profitability targets for the product line, they will probably continue making them. Of course no one really knows how profitable the Mac Pro is and/or what Apple's threshold for keeping/killing it is, so one can only speculate.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Mac Pros can have up to 12 cores, current iMacs don't have as much.
    Then there are the GPUs, which are still faster than the ones you might be able to connect to a "SLOW" TB port (slow for GPUs), Then there is RAM expandability (64GB currently).
    Then there are a lot more options to expand it.
    The Mac Pro is still needed, and if Apple would discontinue it, several thousands of companies would lose, thus Apple would lose a lot of money.
    And the Mac Pro is "cheap" to make, as it uses general parts (even expensive ones) and the box hasn't been upgraded a long time (the exterior).
    Apple would be stupid to kill the Mac Pro.
    But maybe they are stupid.
  5. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
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    I thought thunderbolt was faster then pcie hence no thunderbolt expansion cards.
  6. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    TB offers two 10Gb/s channels, modern GPUs can use 60Gb/s and more.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
  8. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    (First) please change your title to;

    Mac Pro = Mac Pro Eol ?

    (Second) there are now 8 core single cpus iMacs do not have them.

    (Third) mac pros have matte screen option

    (Fourth) the gpus in mac pros are actually up to date when evenever they first come out. the 5870 was just about the best gpu for aug sept oct last year

    (Fifth) I think mac pros will stick around for a while longer. maybe 2016 or so.
  9. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
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    I thought thunderbolt was faster then pcie hence no thunderbolt expansion cards.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2006
    Dude, TB *is* essentially PCIe x4. Not nearly as fast as x16.
  11. macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Also a question of longevity. 4 year old Mac Pro's can still hang. Most iMac's have fried in that timeline. Either by death to display or motherboard or anything else. Heat kills them the fastest. Apple keeps putting faster, hotter procs in them and at the same time slims them down more and more and slows down the fans to keep things quiet when you are web browsing. But when you do real work with it you get too close to thermal shutdown for my liking. This reduces the parts life even more.
  12. macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    As mentioned above, Thunderbolt is PCIe, but only PCIe 4x.

    One Thunderbolt channel is only equivalent to a low to mid-speed single PCIe slot.

    Still fast, but not nearly fast enough for something like a high end GPU. :)
  13. macrumors 603

    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    LOL... good point!
  14. macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    Businesses appreciate the expandability of the mac pro if Apple stops offering the mac pro I think some will looking into hackintosh machines.
  15. macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's definitely a combination of economics and shift in technology (TB + consumer parts will fill the requirements of more users than what was possible in the past), which will likely eat away at the MP's sales figures when users recognize that the lower cost iMac will fit their needs.

    Yes, there may be sacrifices for shifting to an iMac for some users, but economics ultimately rule (and we're still in a recession afterall...). Those that must still have a MP, will buy one if it's still available at the time of purchase (i.e. those that cannot deal with aspects such as a glossy monitor, no PCIe slots, can utilize the additional cores of a DP system on a consistent basis, embedded GPU is too slow, must have ECC, ...).

    I see this trend gaining traction in the near future as well, as consumer oriented CPU's will have 8 cores on one die according to Intel's roadmaps.

    They're in business to make money though, just as any other company. So if the MP's sales figures drop below the threshold if it being a profitable product, I don't see them continuing with it (i.e. use it as an advertising vehicle).

    They're making the bulk of their profits in other segments, such as the iDevices, and there doesn't seem to be an end to this (look at all of the recent iPhone revisions and introduction of new products such as the iPad for example).

    We don't know the actual % of Apple's profit margin that comes solely from the MP, but what evidence is available, doesn't indicate that it's all that large (MP's sales figures are combined with all of the other computers <laptops, iMac and Mini>, and this combined segment of "computers" is still smaller than the device market :eek:).

    No. Not even close.

    A Thunderbolt chip requires 4x PCIe lanes to transfer it's data to the system, and doesn't even utilize all of the bandwidth (TB up and down combined, is good for 1.6GB/s according to Intel <they stated 800MB/s sustained in either direction>, while those same 4x gen 2.0 PCIe lanes are good for 2GB/s).

    Now consider 16x of those lanes (gen 2.0), which is good for 8GB/s. PCIe gen 3.0 lanes each provide a bandwidth of 1.0GB/s, which will increase the gap even further.

    So PCIe is capable of much faster speeds.

    TB is great for laptops and AIO systems that don't have slots however, so it has a potential market if it can gain traction (this aspect still remains to be seen, as it's very early yet).

    But for a desktop only, it has limited value ATM. That's not to say it's useless, as it could allow peripherals to be shared with portable computers, or capture data stored on a TB equipped camera or even a smartphone (i.e. already advertised on at least one HTC phone).

    Exactly. Not many available ATM (not all that many announced yet either), are on the expensive side as well.

    I don't disagree that the thermal design isn't wonderful, but keep in mind, that Apple makes their money by selling new computers and devices.

    So if your system literally breaks every 3 years or so, then users are forced to buy a new machine. Now they don't have to buy Apple, but if they're heavily invested in OS X based software, or are just "hooked", then Apple is their only alternative.

    Apple may not even have a problem with this sort of scenario, and intentionally use it to their advantage. :eek: ;)
  16. macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2008
    For the best performance TB is already behind the times.

    Thunderbolt = 10mb/s
    Internal with SATA2 = 3mb/s
    Internal with 2 striped disks @ SATA2 = 6mb/s
    Internal with 3 striped disks @ SATA2 = 9mb/s

    Assuming next gen Pros use SATA3
    Internal with SATA3 = 6mb/s
    Internal with 2 striped disks @ SATA3 = 12mb/s
    Internal with 3 striped disks @ SATA3 = 18mb/s

    All theory but internal disks still rule.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2006
    Dude, you're getting your Gigs and Megs and Bits and Bytes all messed up! Very untrue but I'll let someone else clean it up :) Gotta run.
  18. macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2010
    So just use two thunderbolt ports for 2x10Gb/s = 20 Gb/s. Problem solved. That's what you did with SATA...
  19. macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2010

    Mac Pros will be around for a while. TB is no match for PCIe in terms of graphics cards. Also, for people who need fast workstations they are unmatched. Add as many displays as you want, easily upgrade ram and graphics etc, for high end work, imacs will never replace the mac pro market.
  20. macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2011
    Not any time soon. Especially with the cost associated with external thunderbolt anything at the moment. A workstation is a workstation is a workstation! A laptop is well... a laptop. And a laptop or an iMac having more cores doesn't eliminate the need for the pro market.
  21. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Again, you got Gigabit confused with whatever "mb" stands for in your mind.
    Btw, even if an internal HDD has a S-ATA 3.0Gbps interface, doesn't mean, it can provide such speeds, as those HDDs are slower than even S-ATA 1.5Gbps, which provides roughly 148MB/s and platter based HDDs top out at 120MB/s, unless you have some of those 10.000RMP models.

    So even if you would have an S-ATA 6.0Gbps HDD, it still would top out at 120MB/s.

    Maybe next time.
  22. macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
  23. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
  24. macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    No it's not when you compare it to a similar product with fw800 and hardware raid. What are you comparing it to exactly?
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2009
    NW Indiana
    As long as iMac's only have glossy displays then a Mac Pro shall be my workhorse. Plus I don't trust a MBP to be running all day without it frying.

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