Apple chose not to go this route; alternative "Tower" option to the Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Elwe, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Elwe macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2006

    The new P Series workstations from Lenovo look like they may be the best designed towers from any of the major players in a while time. Apple is not the only one who can design systems, and it looks like Lenovo spent a lot of time trying to do a lot of things right. Two socket systems that use the latest and greatest tech are not going to be cheap, but cheap is not really what it is about in markets for such systems.

    My guess is that Apple still has the correct read on the overall market. For the huge majority of people/businesses, a workstation that has a single socket (currently 12 cores; maybe go up to 14 or 18 before too long), two workstation-class GPUs, 64GB ram (probably will be doubling with the next generation), and a TB of PCIe SSD is more than good enough for most. And the fact that it can sit just about anywhere around a desk and be unobtrusive and quiet is a huge plus for a lot of people.

    But if you want modern dual sockets (let's face it--not everyone is re-writing their software to take advantage of GPUs; it is very hard in some cases), the increase ram amounts that come with two sockets, the freedom to use PCIe slots, plenty of drive options . . . and you still get a system that is reasonably quiet (though I doubt as quiet), is easy to service and is from a major player who will provide support . . . this may be your best bet. It is not as small and does not run (in a supported fashion) OS X, but it looks like a winner for those running other OSes.
  2. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
  3. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    The internal layout looks pretty decent, but the external layout looks pretty much just like every other Windows workstation I've seen in the past few years. Meh.

    Plus, if I'm just shoving it under my desk, what do I care?

    It doesn't look like they've released pricing on any of the E5 models?
  4. Dokebi1221 macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2014
    OP, either you are Chinese who's supporting Lenovo since it's a Chinese company or you have a really bad taste in design. :confused:
  5. Miguel Cunha macrumors 6502

    Miguel Cunha

    Sep 14, 2012
    Braga, Portugal
  6. Elwe thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2006

    It may depend on how many and how often you have to support workstations in the field. From my vantage point, I do not lump such workstations together with many others I have seen. I can tell and show you very key differences between this and others in the market--in the current generations and previous generations. Moving so many things to tool-less designs; being able to get support in these relatively novel ways (QR codes and diagnostic ports); be able to put in this many spindles (3.5" and 2.5" options); and this kind of multiple GPU support . . . all in a package that a major vendor supports is a relatively big thing for me. The main company I currently work for purchases between 1500-2000 dual socket workstations for deployment all over the world for use in various deployments. We pretty much do not have any "regular" desktops anymore--it is all phones, tablets, laptops, and beefier workstations for us. So what may be little things to others probably affect us more because they affect us many more times. I am not saying this is sliced bread; only that is seems to be better (again, from my vantage point) than any other platform from a major player that I can see right now. We currently have many current and last generation Dell and HP dual socket workstations deployed, and they . . . well, have their problems. I am sure this one will, too, but I think Lenovo listened to some people like us in the industry this time. I do not think they did last cycle, but that could be because this is the first one they fully designed themselves. Or they just put in the time/money to do so for whatever reason.


    Definitely not the first. The second is possible, though clearly I do not think so.


    For that use case, you are correct. As I wrote in my update, we use laptops (powerful ones) when we need such mobility. But the Mac Pro could be a great option for such a use case.
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Depends on how you define "design"

    One day i was driving down the street and saw an incredibly sexy sedan.

    Best looking four door I had ever seen.

    I stopped and took some pics. It was a Fisker.

    Meanwhile, Tesla makes a similar sedan, also electric powered. The Fisker compromised EVERYTHING to be sexy. The swooping roofline makes it an ultra-subcompact or something like that according to EPA. The Tesla is bigger and more comfy.

    The Fisker was rushed to market without long term testing. Turns out the splines on the drive motor snap off like toothpicks and immobilize the car, requiring $6K repair or so. And since they ran the company poorly they have gone bankrupt and their 10 year (or whatever it was) warranty isn't worth the paper it was printed on.

    So which car was "designed" better? The one with the SCHWING factor or the one you can actually use?

    (Before the flame war starts I am NOT drawing a direct correlation, just pointing out similarities and the fact that "design" can have more than one meaning)
  8. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    There's some interesting things about the internals, such as the fact that the drive bays are designed to accommodate 2.5 and 3.5" drives. I'm not sure what professional use case is going to opt for 14 2.5" internal drive configurations, but I'm assume Lenovo has done their market research. If the tooless design works as advertised, that's certainly a general upgrade over the classic tower design which has been in a sad sad place for a while. Very interested in the cooling and acoustics with that fan design.

    I think you're right that Apple has the correct read on its market, but obviously their market ≠ the entire market, and so I assume Lenovo is setting itself up for areas where Apple has never even really tried to compete. The most interesting thing for me is its "profession" section where it lays out configurations for different jobs.
  9. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    SSDs tend to be 2.5" and have less capacity than spinners. Three spinners would have quite a bit more capacity than SSDs.

    One of the most common complaints about the MP6,1 is that it only has one internal drive.... ;)

    The $299 Best Buy special towers from anyone are horrors to work on.

    The workstations are in a different league entirely - have you opened up a Dell T3610 (or any other T-series)? Mostly toolless (I'm not sure if you need a screwdriver to replace the processor), but memory, PCIe options, disks, opticals, power supply are all toolless.

    And for those mocking the "plastic clips" - those very plastic clips make it simple to add or replace PCIe cards without tools. They're brilliant!

    I think that the comments about ease of upgrading other current systems are rather rich, since the new Apple workstations don't have any supported upgrade/expansion other than the memory DIMMs.
  10. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    Aye, but what use case is there for 14 SSDs? Seems like that'd be waay more points of failure than you'd want for pooled storage, and if you're worried about redundancy I feel like you're better off getting an external NAS or whatnot.

    Other interesting point is how it seems like they expect you to put the boot drive on an mSATA SSD, which I haven't seen on any other workstation builds (at least not in the recommended setups, my eyes glossed over half of the HP BTO options.) Only place I've ever seen an mSATA in the real world is in the bottom of Drobos.
  11. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2012
    I had an IBM machine some years ago, around the time of the first P4 chips. That PC was a dream to open and work with. Everything was compartmentalized. The case had two buttons on each side, and when pressed in, the cover would lift right up and off. The PCI cards had release levers that would clamp down instead of screws, the HDD and optical drives were in bays that latched in the same way and could be removed/replaced effortlessly. That was slightly before modular power supplies came into being, but nearly everything else was tool-less and modular.

    I thought it was very forward-thinking for the time.
  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Huh... In my mind, Tesla is the car equivalent of Apple (well designed), Fisker is akin to Thermaltake (over-stated "look at me" styling), and the Lenovo's mentioned in the OP are the equivalent of Ford F150 pickup trucks... Nice looking and functional, but still a pickup at heart. ;)
  13. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    May 12, 2005
    What if Apple had done a tower?

    Seeing the Lenovo video made me wonder what Apple's new tower might have looked like.

    NMP is cool, but I'm a tower guy.
    I want a big fat solid system that is upgradable.

    I'm just wondering what the 2013 Mac Pro Tower would have been.
  14. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    If it's black and shiny, it must be the answer to Apple's problem, right?

    I still have yet to see a nice-looking PC case.
  15. sarthak, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014

    sarthak macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2012
    Project Q chassis is quite nice looking. Not all PC designs are terrible. Components inside were designed to run OS X. Can't say the design is "inspired" by Apple as it is quite unique and announced prior to the Mac Pro refresh. Apple of course, has been an industry leader in terms of design and functionality.


    Similarly you have the SilverStone Fortress SST-FT03B-MINI. It runs about $145 + taxes in Canada.
  16. MacProCard macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2014
    Cough. Where's the thundebolt? But look. Instead, they give you 8 worthless usb 3.0 ports that power surges and break very very easily.

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