How feasible is an iMac Pro, to replace Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iBug2, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    I've been thinking about a possible iMac Pro in 2013 to replace the current Mac Pro.

    What I'll write is about my workflow and obviously may not be "ok" for others.

    First of all, I don't need 4 internal hard drives anymore. Before, I was using the internals as a RAID0 to speed up things, but nowadays we have SSD, so we don't need a RAID0 to boost OS/app performance. Single disk is ok for most stuff. If someone is doing video capture and requires a 6 disk RAID0 with SSD's, he/she can do that externally with thunderbolt now.

    I don't need 3 PCI slots. I've been using one except the GPU for eSata I/O, but now I don't need it due to USB 3.0. There are obviously some specialty PCI hardware which cannot be replaced today, but I'm pretty sure that if Apple dumps PCI altogether, most manufacturers will come out with Thunderbolt versions. GPU is one of the few places we need the PCI bandwidth. Sound/video editing cards can work with TB and give a similar performance.

    I don't need an internal optical drive, I bought and external Blu Ray drive 2 years ago and still use that instead of the internal drive on my Mac Pro.

    These were the stuff I don't need from Mac Pro.

    Now the stuff I need from Mac Pro.

    Dual Processor. Now, I don't really know if Apple can actually fit two Xeon's into an iMac chassis. If they can't, this is a deal breaker for most.

    Desktop GPU. I'm pretty sure a big GPU can be fit into an 33" iMac chassis. There's more than enough room for that one.

    Ram: I think newer Xeon's can use Non-EEC memory, so SO DIMM's should work with those. In that case, one can easily fit 64GB Memory into a 33" iMac.

    In this case, the biggest issue seems to be fitting dual xeons into an iMac chassis. If that can be done, I'd love a new 33" iMac, possibly with a 2.5k vertical resolution. Put a 4500$ price on that and I'll buy.
  2. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    An iMac will never get Xeon processors or GPUs equivalent to current-gen workstations.

    But an iMac will probably suffice for a lot of people anyway.
  3. iBug2 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    I don't really see why they wouldn't be able to fit a GPU into a possible iMac 33" which is as big as GTX580. The volume should be enough. Xeon is a different matter. Xeons are really big. That's why I said that it may not be a fit.
  4. ElderBrE macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2004
    I don't see a desktop GPU in the iMac, especially in how they're going with the iMac design. Unless they figure out a way to thunderbolt it from an external case that is... And I don't know if that's enough speed and how it will work in Bootcamp in such a case.
  5. iBug2 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    Not in a 27" one but should fit into a 33".
  6. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    This focuses much more on what is possible than what would be a good idea. That display size alone would lock in a very high cost of entry. Displays kept getting larger for a long time. At 30" they backed off to 27" which was basically a wider version of the prior 25.5/26" (marketed both ways) display panels. The over 30" ones on the market right now are for displaying 4k content, and they're all quite expensive. Even if Apple brought it down to a $5k point of entry, I doubt they'd go for this. With the imac and notebooks as mainstream components have started to trend slightly downward in power consumption and somewhat in overall size, they were able to leverage in machines like we have there on the basis of being good enough.

    The high end of anything tends to be the most conservative in this regard. I don't think in the present year a $5k imac would sell. What you have now is potentially some people who used to buy $2-3k towers looking at $2k imacs with some cto options. Giving them that at the older price tag isn't likely to go over as well. It doesn't really leverage on price or functionality over the quasi-big iron at that point. It's just a slight step down for the same cost. If you look at the history of old graphics workstations, they died out in the 1990s. It wasn't that desktops were necessarily ahead of them. They were leveraged by the fact that they cost and performance were in better alignment.
  7. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    Sick to death of these threads. What you (OP) need is to build a custom PC to fit your needs.
  8. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Full size GPU in an iMac chassis? S-troll on.
    Apple are making iMac cases thinner not fatter, the existing GPUs are MMX laptop versions, the only method of full size GPU enhancement would be via the thunderbolt port when it becomes available, even then that would be for CUDA or OpenCL use or in a pipeline to an external monitor I assume.
    Want something in between? Hackintosh time.
    The current crop of i7 CPUs hyperthread to 8 virtual cores, future ones might go to 12, plenty for most users and overkill for the average.
  9. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    My thought on this

    As mentioned before, we simply don't know what the 2013 Mac Pro will look like. For all we know it could be a hybrid of an iMac and xeon type processors. Again, speculation is something Apple has always been against in the past, but for those needing something quite fast and can't wait, my suggestion would be a 6-core and or 12-core depending on the type of work you do.

    In the end if the 6-core does what you need it to, then there is no need to keep harping on this subject of what the 2013 Mac Pro will look like or take the form of?

    I plan on staying with my 6-core 3.33 2010 as it does everything I need it to, but then again I only use my Mac Pro as a printer/file server and nothing really heavy. Therefore, the 2013 Mac Pro if any, wouldn't suit me for the tasks I do.
  10. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    ^^^ You use the Hex for a server? What do you use for your main computer?
  11. violst macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2012
    Not very feasible.
  12. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    I always wondered why the iMac never got a "pro" upgrade with dual processors. It doesn't need dual Xeons, but just dual whatever-it-has. At this time I'd switch to iMac if it had dual processing. The dual processors of the MacPro make it completely different from other Apple products in terms of productivity during high traffic and processing.

    However, be realistic: the Mac Pro with the Xeon processors is an excellent product... was an excellent product. They really need to upgrade this thing and step forward with modern interfaces like USB3 and TB.
  13. tomvos macrumors 6502


    Jul 7, 2005
    In the Nexus.
    An iMac Pro would have a lot of disadvantages. The most obvious ones have already been named:
    - Lack of PCIe expansion
    - Lack of internal storage option
    - Less powerful GPU

    I would like to add the lack of a decent display, too.

    But the real question nobody could answer yet is: What’s the benefit of an iMac Pro? Where’s the beef? And please don’t tell me just because Apple decides an iMac Pro should be sufficient for it’s Pro Users … because there’s enough evidence that Apple has no longer any idea how diverse the Pro User scenery is.
  14. joshhedge macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2012
    The GTX680MX in the top spec'd iMac is effectively a lower clocked desktop GTX680. Same core counts and shaders, just lower clocks.
  15. tomvos macrumors 6502


    Jul 7, 2005
    In the Nexus.
    Yeah, technically correct. But it has the ability to reduce clock speed if a certain thermal limit is reached. So in theory the GTX680MX can deliver 75% of the performance of GTX860. But is the GTX680MX able to deliver it’s performance on a sustained level?
  16. joshhedge macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2012
    We will have to wait and see, but Apples inclusion of this GPU shows that it is still interested in the (Semi?)pro market.
  17. Lampmeister macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2009
    Fort Worth
    I love all these theories! I hadn't considered an iMac Pro as a possibility, but given Tim Cook's vague comment, "We're working on something really great for next year," regarding a Mac Pro refresh, who knows? Considering the need for upgradability of components, I can't imagine that they could base an iMac Pro on the chassis of the new, or even old, iMac. It just seems like the sleek iMac look would get very bulky once they allowed for multiple drives, adequate cooling, etc.
  18. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    If the iMarket is an indication of future possibilities, Apple will probably be attempting to transition away from Intel chips for their desktops as their Apple-designed chips and iOS reach some level of competency that can support a "pro" desktop.

    While this isn't going to be the case for the next 5 years, I am sure it is a strong possibility for circa 2020. A lot of work has to go into such plans, and they are progressing wildly on their A chips, so it wouldn't be a huge step to expand and transition crews to higher-end processors.

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