Did I Just Get The Last Mac Pro Tower?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dakrejci, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. dakrejci macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2013
    I don't if this is worthy to anybody or not, but here goes . . .

    I run a media production company and I need a new Mac Pro. I still have clients who want DVDs and CDs and I have PCIe cards that I want to continue to use. Apple has not addressed anything in their earlier communications about the circular Mac Pro this year, about how cards were going to work or the lack of CDs or DVDs (never mind anything related to USB 2, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, or eSata). I assume breakout boxes are in Mac Pro users future, but without any discussion of that, I hate to guess. The incompatibilities of the new Mac Pro with my old hard drives, cards, or other equipment could be a staggering amount of money to invest in new gear.

    In addition, I'm still a media editor who is smarting from Apple's answer to Windows Vista with the release of Final Cut Pro X (not a good move for a product that was an strong industry standard in Final Cut 6 and Final Cut 7). By the way, an Apple Store employee actually said to me that Final Cut Pro X is really just "iMovie plus, it's not a professional tool. You should go to Adobe Premiere." I already had been stung once by Apple's sudden switch to something different, I didn't want to get hurt again.

    So, I thought I would purchase kick-butt old version Mac Pro tower before the new ones came out. Working with an Apple Business Representative, I made the purchase on October 21st. Apple made their presentation on October 22nd and mentioned nothing about the issues I raised above, other than the new circular Mac Pro's would be available in December. On Friday the 25th of October, my order online suddenly showed a picture of the new circular Mac Pro, but with the specs of the old Mac Pro tower I'd ordered. I called my Apple business representative who said he'd check in with his "back room" people and find out what was going on.

    On October 28th, I got a call from one of those "back room" people, a nice lady from Austin, Texas. She said my order was going to be initially rejected on October 21st because the equipment was going to be discontinued, but there was some pleading by Apple (she says) to their manufacturers, and so I'm assuming I'm probably getting one of the last new old-style tower Mac Pros. She assured me I would get it, in spite of the graphics I'm seeing online with relationship to my order status. I told if I did get a circular Mac Pro, I'd be (1) angry and (2) would be calling Mac tech blogs offering photos and tear downs to help finance my new computer. She nervously laughed. She assured me I was getting an old-style Silver tower Mac Pro and she would throw in 2-day shipping at no additional cost and would resend my order to me just to confirm what I wanted. She also confirmed that they had no information on how PCIe cards, CDs, DVDs, or any of the other connections, would work with the new circular Mac Pros.

    The Apple "back room" representative did send the order status to, not only me, but also the Apple Business Representative I was dealing with elsewhere in Apple. He called me out of the blue and was stunned by what I said she told me (about the near canceling of the order initially). Since I had ordered Applecare with the old-style tower Mac Pro, I asked about support, especially in terms of parts, if the old-style Mac Pro's were indeed going to be discontinued. My previous Mac Pro had needed its entire motherboard replaced, so if something like that happened, what was the plan? After a long pause, the Apple Business Representative said he was going to do some digging and get back to me and also keep my order "front and center." No confirmation if parts would even be available.

    My order has yet to arrive, but should be here on Tuesday.

    This all reminds of me of the pre-Steve Jobs Apple when people were buying Powermac 9500s as fast as they could because they weren't sure Apple was going to be around much longer. 15 years later, professional users are having to buy old tower Mac Pro's because Apple hasn't provided information on how their current equipment or needs with work with their new innovation. Where is the breakout box (or boxes) for the new circular Mac Pros?

    One good thing, I was able to purchase a brand new still wrapped and in the box retail version of Final Cut Pro 7. Apple still has some laying around sells them for $999 to businesses, but you won't find that in the Apple Store. Apparently the professional community complained loudly enough about Final Cut Pro X that Apple made some additional copies of Final Cut Pro 7 available for those who still want to be media professionals.

    Hope that helps someone and I hope Apple comes to their senses soon and remembers the Media Professional customer base, at some point. There was a reason George Lucas edited the prequels on Final Cut Pro. Design and innovation is great, but without addressing productivity or compatibility to the user experience, what is the point?

  2. pawtracks macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2009
    Seattle, WA

    Attached Files:

    • oMP.png
      File size:
      217.8 KB
  3. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    And we all know how that turned out...

    Thunderbolt accessories will start rolling out in force and everyone will forget why they were complaining. There are already several Thunderbolt breakout boxes. It's just like when the Powermac G3 killed SCSI and serial in favor of Firewire and USB all in one go and everyone complained for about a year.
  4. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    How much want to bet that the Apple Super Drive doesn't work with the new Mac Pro on for CDs and DVDs?


    If look at the specs on the product every other Mac computer without a DVD drive that Apple is selling works with it. If go to any Mac Mini , iMac , MBA , or MBP online order page you will find a SuperDrive listed. [ the sole exception is the classic MBP 13" that is somewhat buried on the site. It has an internal drive. ]

    Mac Pro will be in the same category. If you ask nebulous questions you are highly likely to get nebulous answers. If ask if Apple equipment works with Apple equipment, you'd probably get better answers.

    It is a bit lame though they haven't updated the specs, but if have your underwear in a twist over this.... there are far more pressing issues.

    USB and Thunderbolt will "work" like the other Macs connections work. Where is the motivation for different expectations ?

    The same plan Apple has had posted on their website for YEARS.


    It is seriously not all that hard to find on the site if just search for it. Rather comical though that their employees are illinformed on this topic.

    Like the one listed in the online Apple store?


    [ not that a 'Smallest enclosure" is necessarily the optimal one for all folks. ]

    There really is no material difference between other Macs which have already required external expansion Thunderbolt devices. This isn't a "new" issue for the Mac Pro. There is no grab you by the hand and point you at specific boxes, but there are multiple vendors that serve this market already.

    Apple isn't going to chase down every possible configuration and compose solutions. Customers were responsible for picking the 3rd configs they have. They should be responsible for picking the box it goes into also. Apple doesn't pick out printers for customers. nor USB thumb drives. to a large extent neither displays (where sole purpose is display). etc.

    Hooey on the "complain loud enough". This "call and ask at the back door" for software happened before and after the Final Cut Pro upgrade transition. Apple's practice is to cut things off at the immediate transition (which incurs flushing from the retail stream and clawing back suppliers from profiteers ) and then do a limited set to a limited number of folks who absolutely need it.

    It is posturing on both sides that leads to the now normal "drama" festivals that occur regularly on major upgrades.
  5. slughead, Nov 3, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013

    slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004

    ... Except that firewire 400 was way faster than SCSI (apart from UW2 and above) and could be daisy chained to add way more devices. Then there was USB 2.0 and especially FW800. If you weren't satisfied, you could also still buy a SCSI PCI card that was just as good as what you had on-board.

    Yes, you can buy a PCIe Chassis, but they are slow (Up to 4xPCIe 2.0? And that's with TB2? Seriously?) and add a significant expense to something that should be standard (namely PCIe slots). This is not to mention the fan noise and added risk of PSU failure. I wonder how some of these thrown-together solutions with their cheap PSUs will hold up under constant use by professionals. PCIe 3.0 is ubiquitous and PCIe 4.0 is around the corner.

    TB2 will always be more expensive than PCIe as it adds another box with another PSU, it will also always be slower. TB2 isn't even out yet and it is already 1/8 as fast as 16x3.0. Technology is supposed to get better and cheaper. TB2 is a step back, and I don't expect people will stop complaining until they move to a different platform or Apple moves back.
  6. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    Are there not USB3 external CD/DVD burners that would likely work on the new MacPro's?
  7. echoout macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    There are 3 at the Austin Fry's. I tried to get the Arlington 2010 8-core but they sent me a rejection email. Fry's are so epically shady!
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Not necessarily. Thunderbolt is not Lightpeak in part because wanted to saddle the standard with bus powered peripherals. Power 100W external cards? No. But there is no requirement at all that there either be an external power supply or a external power supply that probably wasn't already there anyway ( e.g., Display, already external drive array, etc. )


    PCIe x1 v2.0 5 Gb/s
    PCIe x1 v2.0 8 Gb/s

    TBv1 10 Gb/s
    TBv2 20 Gb/s

    It isn't. PCIe x16 is not PCIe (in general without any adjectives). Doesn't Thunderbolt overlap the entire range of x1-x16? Nope. But it isn't necessarily slower either. You can hide and pretend in niche, corner cases but doesn't really make it true. Neither is PCIe-over-Thunderbolt bandwidth equated with Thunderbolt bandwidth. Again two different things typically muddled to support hand waving rants.

    Step back is entirely dependent on the usage context. Primarily TB aimed PCIe submarket that is aimed at what was common found coupled to IOhub/Southbridge chipsets. In fact, in most Thunderbolt systems that is exacly where you will find the TB controller situated. ( Apple has some systems where it is coupled to the now commonly CPU package integrated PCIe lanes)

    The vast majority of those IOHUb connected controllers don't exceed x4 PCIe v2. When Intel's IOHub gets past v2 PCIe then the most common TB controllers will also. To go forward sooner would be a part that largely doesn't have v3 lanes to connect to since Intel chooses to highly constraint v3 lanes in most of their CPU+chipset designs.

    Stubbing for the two x4 PCIe slots in current Mac Pros Thunderbolt has equal if not greater (in the Mac Pro context if using multiple TB controllers ) bandwidth. The two x4 PCIe slots on current Mac Pros are switched. Two TB controllers are not necessarily so. So there is also the "fiction" of appearance bandwidth versus real bandwidth in many general PC system designs. Slots don't necessarily mean bandwidth.
  9. slughead, Nov 3, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013

    slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Fair enough: It is a step back in many contexts and on par with current technology in others. Happy? TB2 is not, however, in any major way superior to PCIe except in that it externalizes easier and longer cords are possible. I fail to see what advantage this has, as there are a wide range of technologies from Gigabit ethernet to eSATA to SAS to FiberChannel which are much less expensive, much less cumbersome, and often times, much faster than TB2 which make more sense to externalize.

    Name one technology, other than running a display (didn't we have a port for that--one that didn't require a $50 cable?) and networking (why would you want to?), which TB2 can do and PCIe can't.

    In summary, it is inferior and the answer to a question nobody asked (at least in the desktop world). It adds expense and risk of PSU failure which was not there before. There may be bus-powered devices in the future, but for storage (which nearly every nMP will have to buy) and other peripherals, it'll require more power supplies, more cables, and more risk of failure. That's not to mention the $50 TB cable

    "Current Mac Pro" is an oxymoron. Not only is it PCIe 2.0 which is 3 years behind standards, but 4 ports is rather anemic for a workstation computer nowadays.

    Nonetheless, if the "current" Mac Pro were PCIe 3.0, that alone would give it more bandwidth than the nMP. Plus I'm sure you're overlooking the 2nd slot to "make things even" with the nMP, I think the versatility of having this slot available is totally understated. You're basically claiming the current Mac Pro only has 2 PCIe 4x slots (and none other) because it suits your purposes. I guess you assume everyone wants to have dual GPU, and I know you're not drinking that Apple Kool-Aid that much. You're neglecting the fact that you can throw in, among other things, a 16xPCIe 2.0 Four Port MiniSAS card which has more storage bandwidth than all the little ports on the nMP combined. This should not be overlooked. PCIe has versatility due to its bandwidth capabilities that blow away thunderbolt 2, and thunderbolt 2 isn't even out yet.
  10. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    He just enjoys arguing. No rhyme or reason to it, you say the sky is blue there will be a 1,000 word segmented essay on why the EMS actually slants to purple.

    I don't see the point in arguing that TB2 isn't an overall reduction in bandwidth available for end user to assign, but let him type.
  11. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    Maybe more people were buying top end Power Computing Mac clones. They were better than Apple's computers.
  12. RoastingPig macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Bus powered devices (independent of device "technology" ... protocol)

    Thunderbolt doesn't require a $50 cable.

    Which LAN configuration is going to be cheaper in early 2014 ?

    a. three systems hooked together with Thunderbolt cables.
    b. three systems hooked together with 10GbE Ethernet cards and 10GbE Ethernet cable.
    c. three systems hoooked with 10GbE Ethernet cards hooked to a 8 way 10GbE switch and 10GbE Ethernet cable.

    The desktop world isn't equal to just "boxes with slots". It is a category that has actually evolved since 1981.

    Or can observe the present....

    That is going to be news for the groups that have already made the move to centralized storage.

    "The Mac Pro that you can today walk into a store and buy is the current Mac Pro".

    "The Mac Pro that you can only buy in the future is the current Mac Pro".

    One of those is an oxymoron and one isn't. There is a Mac Pro that can bought new (non used or refurb ) today in a store (e.g., Fry's) .

    Followed by a rather weak misdirection from the typical workloads that would be mapped from x4 slots to TB ports versus what isn't being being mapped to TB ports in the nMP design objectives.
  14. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    Yes but you cannot run a computer with memory installed in another room using PCIe. So TB is the better technology (better is not equal to faster, otherwise a laptop wouldn't be a better technology than a desktop, but it obviously is). You can take out anything you want, even memory or CPU, from the box. So TB is not a step back, it's the future of modular computing, and as always, when it comes, people are not ready for it. Apple tends to push things as everyone knows by now.
  15. slughead, Nov 4, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

    slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    There are many PCIe cards which are Bus powered :)

    How much wattage can TB do? 10 Watts? PCIe can do 75 without the need for extra plugs.

    Like I said, nearly everyone with a nMP will have to buy external storage if they haven't already.

    Current as in up to date--do you know what an oxymoron is?

    Again, glad you agree: apart from networking, externalization, and display, TB2 has no real advantage over PCIe. PCIe, meanwhile is 8 times the speed and counting.
  16. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    About the risk of failure, we'll see since the risk isn't only about the power supply. Power delivery through PCIe can fail and burn cards as well, and with the new Mac Pro you don't have that risk. To me, any device that's bus powered is an increased risk. Imho all devices should have their own power supplies and don't draw power off other devices or you run into scenarios like the Mac Pro where the USB devices can shut each other off randomly because the device tries to draw more power than the Mac Pro can give through USB.
  17. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
  18. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    TB eventually will do 0 power when they switch to fiber. TB was never designed for power delivery, it was an afterthought. For now, it does power due to copper.

    Wonder how many they are.


    Actually I think they already demonstrated this in 2010 or 2011, by building a computer that had it's RAM 100 meters away from the box, using lightpeak. Certainly the access speed to memory is affected by 100 fold, but nevertheless the computer was running and was usable on everyday tasks. So the possibilities are basically endless with Thunderbolt. You can connect your Mac to internet, through fiber, and you can have more CPU's and memory suddenly. That's the future with CPU cores in cloud with shared access.
  19. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    That's quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Moreover it would also be devastating on the environment, in addition to being wasteful and and unreliable. More PSUs increase cost and risk of failure.

    Having a single, high-quality, high-wattage PSU is vastly superior than having little low-quality power bricks clogging up your electrical outlets. It's more elegant and far more reliable as well as being less expensive.

    PCIe power is as robust as your motherboard and PSU, and I very much hope you're using a decent PSU and Mobo. It's 75watts and it's made to provide that. Not only that, but device manufacturers aren't shy about asking for extra power, directly from the PSU. This is far more reliable than a power brick.

    Bus power on USB is quite a bit different than devices inside the case.

    As far as USB 3.0, one of the problems is it's only 4.5 watts per plug, and all of your devices have to share that. This has lead to ridiculous inventions like this one:

  20. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    First of all: Citation, needed.

    Second, this exchange reminded me of this quote:

    Ricky Bobby: Heck, I just read in the newspaper that they put a pig heart in some guy from Russia. Do you know what that means?
    Lucius Washington: No, I don't know what that means. I guess longer life.
    Ricky Bobby: No, he didn't live. It's just exciting that we're trying things like that.

    ... Except for the possibility of using your main PSU to power the devices (unless they run on < 10watts), and the possibility of running devices that are > 2GBps like GPU and high-bandwidth drive controllers.

    TB may be the future, but the practical applications which it offers advantage over PCIe are extremely few and far between, at least, for 99% of users. For the rest of us, TB adds expense and risk.

    PCIe 3.0 already made TB2 obsolete even before TB2 came out. TB3,4,5, et al may be great technologies (if they ever come about), but by the time they arrive PCIe 4.0 will be doubling things once again, putting the finish line even further away.
  21. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    I think one thing worth remembering about Thunderbolt as a PCIe replacement, is that the main thing you would want higher speed PCIe slots for are the GPUs and fast SSD storage, both of which are supplied with the new Mac Pros.

    This means that Thunderbolt's main purpose is for everything else, which mainly means storage and peripheral devices, where I think 20Gbps is a step forward.

    Okay so an individual Thunderbolt port can't handle the same maximum speed as a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, but the question is; does it need to? Do RAID controllers need more than PCIe 2.0 x8 performance? I think the majority of devices you'll need to use on Thunderbolt won't need all that either.

    Also, one big advantage of Thunderbolt is it doesn't waste internal space, cooling etc. on something we might not use. Maybe I'm not a typical use-case, but although I've stuffed my Mac Pro with 5x SATA drives, I still only have one PCIe slot in use (my GPU), unless you count an eSATA back-plate I added to gain external access to the spare SATA port. If I don't need extra Thunderbolt devices then I just don't have them; maybe it's not a huge advantage, but it will work for me. Sure external devices will need space, but only as much as you need for those devices.

    Obviously I'm still annoyed that I need to externalise storage, especially when Apple only offer a single SSD in the new Mac Pro when there should be room for two, maybe even one SSD blade + a slim 2.5" drive which would have been perfect. Also they could have easily added eSATA and/or Mini-SAS ports for at least this initial model to ease the transition for people with existing external storage, as there should still be SATA bandwidth they could have made available.
    But I do think Thunderbolt 2 is a big leap forward for external devices, I just wish I didn't have to take that leap right now when devices are still so expensive.
  22. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    Wrong analogy, since the computer was running fine. but your patient died. :)

    And is that so hard to believe? TB is PCI. You can connect memory and CPU's through TB obviously, that's what the idea was behind it.

    Of course, but without Apple pushing it, that future won't ever come. When they said "no flash" on iOS, there were tons of high profile websites not running on iOS, how is it today? Almost no website uses flash or they have a mobile/html alternative for iOS. If Apple didn't push it, we'd still have tons of flash websites today eating battery of our phones. At some point they have to push the button and say "we are going this way". And TB is ready for primetime. It's slower than PCI-e, probably always will be, but that's irrelevant as long as you don't need the extra speed PCI-e offers, which most don't.

    If you always had to have the fastest, you were not fit to use a Mac to begin with. Macs never had the fastest GPU's or the fastest CPU's available.

    That's like saying desktops already made the next laptops obsolete since desktop processors are faster than laptop processors. Desktops will always be faster than laptops but laptops are higher technology devices than desktops.
  23. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I'm not sure that's the exact thinking Intel had with Thunderbolt. Again: Just find a source with an example of what you're talking about, because from what I've read it hasn't been done yet.

    Laptops are totally different computers than Desktops. The nMP is totally different than a laptop, and the portability of the nMP vs a regular desktop is rather trivial, especially when you consider the lack of internal storage.

    Don't get me wrong: the nMP has an impressive amount of features in a small form-factor. It's not even in the same league as a laptop which also includes its own power and monitor though. I don't see how it fits into the market, but maybe there are many like you who have a minimal amount of data needed day-to-day and have a laptop they can use for a monitor laying around.
  24. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    $50 TB Cables?

    I just bought an open box 2m Apple Thunderbolt cable off of Ebay for 21.95.No tax and free shipping. It looks like there a plenty of 2m TB cables on Ebay for about that price.
  25. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Firewire suffered from a lack of devices (there was a grand total of one at launch), and Apple didn't offer compatibility for the expensive SCSI peripherals many pros had purchased out of the box, hence the comparison.

Share This Page