Cultcast Podcast NMP review with OWC owner.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dmax35, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Listen to the second phase of this post cast related to the new Mac Pro. OWC gives a detailed perspective about the NMP vs upgrading your current or older Mac Pro.

    http://www.cultofmac.com/cultcast/#
     
  2. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Umm, which episode at what point? Only found them crying about cable prices...
     
  3. pawtracks macrumors regular

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    #3
    104. Behind the Veil
     
  4. wildmac macrumors 65816

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  5. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #5
    There are some fair points, but it's mostly sour grapes that he can't sell enough upgrade items.
     
  6. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    He makes two main points.

    • Fixing things that aren't broken.
    • Form vs function.

    For what a Mac costs he finds it concerning that the computers aren't very upgradable. TB isn't as fast as PCIe, and not as flexible. It puts the user in the position where they are forced to upgrade the computer in a few years if they want new technology. Old Mac Pros are still seeing a lot of upgrading from their perspective and are still workhorses.

    Interestingly he talks about how manufacturers can't void your warrantee if what you've done hasn't damaged the machine. So as long as your upgrade doesn't break the machine you're covered. Really interesting - these laws date back to the 50's when people made modifications to their cars.

    Conclusion
    He brings up good points that I agree with. Apple is favoring form over function, and given the cost of these and how long they generally last they should not be going out of their way to make them un-upgradable. However he does have a bias of course, his business is in selling after market upgrades. Ultimately it doesn't matter unfortunately, Apple does what Apple wants, and people still buy it. Heck - me too. I threw up when I first saw the nMP but have reluctantly come around. And now I guess I get it. My oMP, while quiet, is still noisier than I'd like. And frankly while I only spent $2.5k on it to begin with, I did upgrade it to the tune of another $2.5k over the years. And it's big - huge, and cumbersome.

    So with the nMP I can't upgrade the CPU's. No big, even with my 2009 oMP I have no interest in swapping CPU's. And I can't upgrade the GPU's .... well I've done that twice in oMP. OK, I'll buy more than I need and hope it gets me through. Beyond that ... well I can stick it on TB. Maybe Apple is right, I'm sure I'll be smiling when I turn on my machine and can't hear it in my very quiet office.
     
  7. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Yeah, the points are valid, but it's not like this is a new thing either. And the nMP does have ports out the wazoo.

    We also don't have confirmation yet about the upgradeability of the GPUs, but it will certainly be a while before someone does offer one. Remember how long it was when there were no video upgrade options for the current MPs, except for extremely expensive pro video ones?
     
  8. goMac macrumors 603

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    #8
    I would agree on the not as fast point, but I don't agree on that not as flexible.

    With Thunderbolt I can trade devices between a laptop and a desktop. I can add more drive bays beyond the case more easily. And I can run to other devices over longer distances.

    Sure, maybe some Mac Pro owners don't need these things, but speed argument aside, it's hard to say it's less flexible.

    It's going to have to be Apple that offers upgrades. I've been trying to get a confirmation, but so far I've just been getting a run around. Which I suppose is still better than a no. My guess is there won't be a confirmation until Apple ships the first upgrade card.
     
  9. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Quite possibly, since it appears that it's a custom card size and such.

    It will be a while in any case before a 3rd party had reason to make upgrades for it. That's part of the reason I'm thinking of springing for the D500s.
     
  10. dmax35 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Sorry about that. As pawtracks mention it's 104. about 1/2 way thru. Others might find the 1st segment interesting talking about an inside look into Apple's design center.
     
  11. wildmac macrumors 65816

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    #11
    While some good points were raised, he didn't say anything new. I was hoping for a more even evaluation of options, and perhaps some new ideas, but it was basically a rant.

    Perhaps they should talk to someone from Blackmagic?
     
  12. goMac macrumors 603

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    #12
    I think unless Apple makes this new style of PCI card a standard for PCs too (which they could do with Intel pushing everyone along with them) third parties might make a card. But I don't see that as likely. I do think Intel is eventually going to have to deal with this problem, as it's present in any machine with Thunderbolt, but I don't see Apple pushing to make this a standard.

    But the biggest issue is the thermal paste that connects it to the thermal core. That's going to mean you're going to need an AppleCare tech to do the replacement (if you want to keep your warranty), which to me means the upgrade process will likely be all Apple, from start to finish.

    In the pro-upgrades column, I think if Apple had intended for these GPUs not to be swappable, they wouldn't have put them on easily removable cards in the first place. I think (personally) that it's also interesting they put the CPU on a card, because that's another thing they seriously did not need to do if that wasn't intended to be upgraded.

    Looking at the design, I see a machine where every component seems to be modular, and I don't think that's an accident.
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #13
    I think that it would be prudent to wait for the teardowns before claiming that the graphics cards are "easily removable". The also need to be "easily reassembled" to be swappable in a practical sense.

    The general concept of "user upgradeable" means not only that the parts can be removed and replaced without specialized tools -- but also that upgraded parts are available to buy. Until Apple, OWC or others put those upgraded parts on the market, it's pointless to debate about how easy it is to replace a graphics card on the Mac Mini Pro.


    The "card" in the case of the CPU is a proprietary form factor motherboard. It's a "card" simply because the Mac Mini Pro has to be assembled, and needs to be repaired.

    It's fine for Apple to streamline its repair process by treating the mobo+CPU as the FRU. But unless the CPU is socketed and the mobo can be removed and replaced without special tools or skills - it's hard to consider that the CPU is upgradeable.

    Some here have been pointing at the screws that hold the Mac Mini Pro together as proof that it's upgradeable. To me, it just means that the robots that build the Mac Mini Pros use those screws to put it together. It says nothing about end-user upgradeability.

    If you can't buy the upgraded parts, and if the disassembly/reassembly process it too difficult for even the skilled tinkerer to attempt, then in practice one would have to conclude that it is not user-upgradeable.

    Anyway, the systems aren't yet being sold, and we're just guessing at many of the fundamentals. Perhap in a year from now the Apple store (or OWC and....) will have GPU and CPU and other hardware upgrades for the Mac Mini Pro - and those of us with doubts will be proven wrong.
     
  14. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

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    #14
    for clarity.. in my case, it was always the access latch at the top of the list then the screws were next..

    btw- i'm not try to rekindle the debate.. release seems more imminent now and surely we've done it to death 3 times over by now #
     
  15. goMac macrumors 603

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    #15
    I don't think the cards will be user upgradable. That said, that's different than upgradable.

    Right, but those are the same requirements for upgradability. And the mount is very... particular for something that's not intended to be removed after purchase at any time. Apple could have done a lot more screws, or bolted it more directly into the case. Usually in things Apple doesn't intend to be swappable, they're buried somewhat into the case.

    Apple also knows that replacing GPUs is something a lot of pro users desire. They did surveys beforehand, and my inability to get a commitment from anyone at Apple isn't definitive, but it's telling. They haven't entirely forgot upgradability, and putting those cards in an area so accessible is telling.

    I think third party cards, at least for now, are totally out of the question though.

    Again, not "user upgradable", but upgradable.

    The hard drive in the first Macbook Pros were not "user upgradable", but if you took them to an Apple store, they'd do the upgrade for you. Same thing for the iBooks.

    They'll do a GPU upgrade on a Mac Pro today, but given that that has been user upgradable, it hasn't been very common.

    Yes, but it's interesting that IS the design to start with. Apple didn't have to build a case that was user accessible with the cards front and center. Just look at the disks in the Mac Mini. They're buried under piles of boards.

    Let's all repeat again: "User upgradable" is not the same thing as "upgradable."

    Which is exactly what I said (at least the Apple having upgrades and doing them in store part.)
     
  16. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

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    #16
    that's preaching to the choir :)

    aiden has always strongly taken that stance and i agree as well..
    but yeah, they're 100% upgradeable if done so at time of purchase.

    but if i can't walk down to the store and buy a gpu, as a part, then take it home and install it myself then, for all intents & purposes* it's not to be considered upgradeable.. and certainly not user serviceable (repairable)

    i guess you fall into a grey area (which is yet another valid stance).. that being they're upgradeable but only if done by a qualified service technician (or whatever)


    *at least per the general definition/tone as this particular forum has been using it the last few months or years.
     
  17. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Guys,
    I really wouldn't hold your breath for upgradable cards. Basically the only group with the resources, interest and history to do an upgrade is OWC. However In an earlier interview with this same guy (the CEO of OWC) soft panned the idea they'd make one. Consider, the engineering effort would be significant. The connector is custom, one way or another, even if the lines are standard PCI. Second, how big is the market place? Third you have to depend on drivers being in the kernel and working properly. For example, the standard iMac GPU drivers won't work because they don't support 4k, TB 2.0 and the dual cards. Fourth you have to write custom boot flash. Basically it isn't going to happen, don't even dream or expect it. And Apple? There's basically no chance they're going to release upgrades either.

    You're going to have to accept that you buy the computers and can't upgrade the graphics, just like the Mini, iMac, MBP and Air's.
     
  18. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #18
    I think that we're on the same page then....

    I just upgraded a 400K$ 40 TB SAN array.

    A forklift picked it up, and dropped it in the dumpster. The upgrade was $60K for 80 TB (expandable to 2 PB), and occupied 6 RU.

    It all depends on what your definition of "upgradable" is.... ;)
     
  19. goMac macrumors 603

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    #19
    Sure. I don't think Apple's upgrade prices would necessarily be dirt cheap. They'll probably keep the same premium they've had, and tack on service fees. But it's still a cheaper choice than replacing the whole machine.

    Unless they change the socket every revision, there will be newer cards that fit and can be installed into the same socket. And those cards will make their way into the market, just like every Apple OEM part does, because Apple does have individual parts. No way around it.
     
  20. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

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    #20
    why owc? do they even sell gpus? (real question.. i don't know)

    it's proprietary though..
    a strong engineering effort would be made if they were required to reverse engineer the entire thing then figure out how to build it themselves in order for it to actually work on a mac etcetc.. then run the risk (nearing 100%) of being sued by apple for infringement.. and all the effort is down the drain.

    with it being proprietary, apple will assist in the r&d.. the basic template and knowledge on making it work easily without too much troubleshooting is already provided..

    the problem is this -> the card that xyzinc can sell for $80 instead of $100 like apple's are now going to have to sell them for near $100 as well.. and that apple tax, the $20, goes to apple in both cases..

    for gpus? small.. probably too small for someone like nvidia to move into the game and even then, apple has the power(trademark) to deny them entry.. which would likely happen if there's some sort of political (not literally political) bullying going on in the background (such as cuda)

    gpu upgrades will more likely be in the realm of the gpus which are available for the mac pro as sold by apple.. (i.e.- 2years from now, a base model can have d700s to it.. or maybe the next gen of Dxxx can go into first gen.. etc.

    ssd is a bigger market and we'll likely see more 3rd party offering with those.


    you're in the majority here.. most people are going to agree with that statement..
     

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