Hard truths about the new modular Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rkuo, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. rkuo, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017

    rkuo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2010
    1. We applaud the new announcement of the next generation Mac Pro, but Apple did not realize they had a problem until their best cheerleaders railed against them for half a year about the embarrassing state of the Mac Pro. Marco Arment, John Gruber, etc.

    2. Further proof ... nVidia has only now announced Pascal support for the Mac. If regular updates were in the cards for the Mac Pro, drivers would have been released much sooner and kept up to date. In fact, there are some threads on this very board that suggest Apple was stonewalling nVidia from producing compatible drivers for their Pascal cards. This suggests the direction towards the modular Mac Pro was only undertaken very recently.

    3. Thermal performance is NOT the reason for not releasing a new Mac Pro in the trash can form factor. GPU's have become increasingly more power efficient over time, not less! While a modular case design is certainly still the better option for peak performance, an updated GPU design in the trash can form factor would still have been a very worthwhile update.

    4. It may take Apple a year and a half to engineer a new Mac Pro, but that is not remotely necessary. Intel has reference designs, and most computer manufacturers release updated PC's within a couple of months of a major chipset/processor revision. In short, nearly all computer companies release new computers ... why can't the largest computer company in the world release one? The answer, of course, is that they completely ignored the issues until their feet were held to the fire this year, and that's why we're now a year out from the Mac Pro that ought to exist this year.
  2. jwpoof macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2006
    The biggest problem is now they're going to take forever to try to get a new proprietary computer design just right, when they could rectify the problems for most of us by just releasing a generic tower full of slots. I have no idea how long it takes for Apple to do something utterly non-revolutionary like that, but I have to think it would be much faster.

    Many of us don't need a new form factor. Most of us just need a MacOS tower that can be configured to our needs. Back to the drawing board might produce something interesting, but two more years is too long. They should just give HP a temp contract to produce MacOS towers in the interim until they get this next idea right.
  3. jeff7117 macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2009
    We wanted an updated 5,1, we got the trash can mistake.

    We will probably get an over-designed workstation that won't have the flexibility of the 5,1.

    It doesn't have to be complicated and it doesn't have to be pretty. It just needs to have room for expansion, have modern components, and be upgradeable.

    I hope it's not too late, but 12-18 months is a LONG time to wait for many folks still on the fence. How pissed are they gonna be if Apple gets it wrong again?
  4. DaveP macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2005
    If Apple released a cheese grater Mac Pro with the latest internals by the end of the year, I think 97% of the "Pro" community would be thrilled. I don't see it happening because it would not be "innovative", but it seems doable.
  5. thefredelement macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2012
    New York
    We have no idea what's going to be released, there's no reason to disappoint yourself already... who am I kidding, this IS mac rumors after all.. carry on.
  6. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2014
    I'm in agreement, though I don't think they "didn't realize" how bad the situation was. They are not stupid. They have willfully ignored this segment of their market.

    But I certainly don't buy the excuses or necessarily believe the promises. The RX-480's or GTX 1060's, say, would fit the envelope and would have provided a 2x performance increase. Update some ports and it would have at least been something. But nothing?

    OK, so what does Apple need a year to do? Make an artistic enclosure? Come up with proprietary connectors for a "modular" backplane? Send a group of designers to some mountaintop to meditate on what the perfect Pro machine would be? Yes, that must be it. Otherwise, if Steve was here, it would be "I want a new design on my desk by Monday!"
  7. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Two things:
    - The 2013 Mac Pro couldn't even handle the heat of the GPUs it came with.
    - I think Apple's assumption was exactly that: GPUs would become more efficient over time, not less. GPUs have gotten a lot faster, but the power consumption has stayed pretty much the same for high end GPUs. Why max out the GPU at 150w when you can make a really fast 225w GPU? And that's really what Apple was competing against. If you take Nvidia out of the mix (because the 2013 used a custom design), then you don't even have efficient options left on the AMD side to us.

    If Apple and Nvidia were getting along, or AMD was actually able to deliver, this might have ended differently.
  8. JimGoshorn macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2009
    It would seem that Apple is stuck on the idea of innovation and design before simply fulfilling the need of their users. That is what they did with the trash can and we can see what that got them. It doesn't seem to occur to them that they can wow the users with a performance computer that is user serviceable in a plain old case (cMP) rather than some glitzy design that impresses the amigos.
  9. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    Differently but even then still not enough so, and you have already provided the reasons. It wouldn't have changed the fact that all ATX sized cases out there, including the cMP, could fit large cards, multiples of them to easily outmatch what could have gone into the trash can. And even if CUDA was native on OS X since day 1 it also wouldn't have changed the fact that you could stack more of the same CUDA cores in other form factors.

    I still have a hard time believing that - all the time that has passed from the moment the trash can was dictated on the drawing board, all the way down to the 4th year of it barely selling and getting bad press, and then without being updated by Apple themselves - it would only dawn on them a few months ago that this thing does not serve the primary premise of being a pro machine. They clearly designed that thing alienating traditional pros, in hopes of catering to a few bunch that are comfortable with their approach. The same goes with the MBP2016 for its similar share of needless castrations.
  10. rkuo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2010
    GPU manufacturers produce SKU's at all levels of power consumption. There was never a choice between 225W GPU's or nothing. Heck, the max power for the GTX 1070 right now is 150W, and that's with some extra electronics on board. I can assure you that if Apple had an option for dual 1070's in the Mac Pro people would be ecstatic. AMD has some nice Polaris based options that are still much faster than the 2013 Mac Pro GPU options, but yes, they are behind on the high end until Vega appears.
  11. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I've mentioned this before, but if it didn't have a 225W GPU, it wouldn't have been competitive with PC workstations. Apple hints at this in the full interview transcript.


    The cMP never had the very top end GPUs, but AMD wasn't able to deliver the middle-upper end at 150w either. Still 225w just like before.

    The Mac Pro isn't just competing with itself, it's competing with Windows workstations, and Apple knows that.
  12. SteveJobzniak, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017

    SteveJobzniak macrumors 6502


    Dec 24, 2015
  13. The_Martini_Cat macrumors member


    Aug 4, 2015
    If Apple is designing their own future GPUs, as we may conclude they are doing from recent news, they will need a rockin' testbed to max them out. "When GPUs cluster together, they can model the most violent stormy weather." I'm thinking 2019 for the modular Pro.
  14. Denmac1 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2007
    Lost in Space
    As much as I still love my G5 2006 Cheese Grater, which I thought was an outstanding well thought machine, I don't think Apple will duplicate the effort. We still have a bean counter in charge and shipping costs have increased dramatically since 2006 and those darn things weighed 40 pounds.
    However, we could only hope that Ive could come out of his ivory tower and perform another design miracle (however, I believe that Steve was his muse)
    I don't really care where my computer sits as long as it's convenient to switch on. The Mac Mini is fine for a top of desk unit, but even I don't have enough desk real estate for the trash can.
    And wtf with almost 2 years to bring to market? They have enough staff AND money to do it right and within a reasonable amount of time.
  15. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2014
    There is no way that Apple is going to design their own GPUs for a Pro system any time soon. What they are doing is taking complete control over their A-xx chips, which used third-party GPU designs. Apple wants the whole chip to be exclusively theirs. There have been no signs of anything more. To the contrary, Apple would have a very hard time competing with Intel, AMD and Nvidia in the GPU space.
  16. rogerdee123 macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2008
    we now have a trash-can mac pro .... what will the next one look like? .... a garbage disposal? ..... coffee maker? ...... attic fan ?
  17. Denmac1 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2007
    Lost in Space
    I like coffee maker..."Hey Siri...brew me a latte"
  18. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    it's going to be pretty.. make no doubt about that.
    considering the company being discussed, i would say yes, it does have to be pretty.
    that's their whole thing.. head of class industrial designers.
    pretty sure they'd kill mac pro prior to putting out something ugly.. regardless of how well it may work.
  19. AidenShaw, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017

    AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    f5, you make me sad. :(

    Because you're probably right. Form over function.

    Jony should look at Dieter's stuff again. Functional and elegant. He's lost his way, and Apple suffers.

    Myself - I put my workstations on the floor under my desk. Never see them - I only care how well they work, not what they look like.
  20. jeff7117 macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2009
    Form over function, it's the new Apple way.

    There's really not much they can improve over the 5,1, and that's the problem.

    Just paint the 5,1 black, slap some new components in it and roll it out the door.

    I'd buy one. Today.
  21. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    why not HP-Z? surely that's a lot better than 5,1..
    right ?
  22. Zenithal macrumors 603

    Sep 10, 2009
    "But it's not Apple. Windoze sucks!"
  23. orph macrumors 65816


    Dec 12, 2005
    >.> and nvidia update there GPU driver..
    but that will be imac or laptop id gess macpro way to far off

    and got to mention the 3rd push, if there seeing a lot of hackintoshes (with high end parts?) maybe thats also giving them a push. osx dose call home with info so it's not a far gess that apple has numbers on hack's in the wild.

    i can see a cmp with half the size :D or a massive NMP
  24. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Regarding points #2 and #3 of original post:

    #2: That's just a lot of speculation. We don't know why it took so long Nvidia to release Pascal drivers.

    #3: GPUs have become more efficient in terms of performance per watt, but the actual graphics cards released all continue to hover around the same TDP range:

    GTX 680: 195W. GeForce GTX 680 | Specifications | GeForce
    GTX 980: 165W. GeForce GTX 980 | Specifications | GeForce
    GTX 980 Ti: 250W. GeForce GTX 980 Ti | Specifications | GeForce
    GTX 1080: 180W. GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Cards | NVIDIA GeForce
    GTX 1080 Ti: 250W. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Cards | NVIDIA GeForce
  25. jeff7117 macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2009
    I have no problems running windows, and have already made the switch.

    Apple didn't have to re-invent what was arguably the best workstation they had. Bold isn't always better.

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