Insider preview of the 2013 Mac Pro design principles.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MiJuConcept, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. MiJuConcept, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014

    MiJuConcept macrumors member

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    #1
    Two ideas created the 2013 Mac Pro. The first was a history dating back to the original PowerMac Cube which highlighted the idea of vertical compact design and high performance coupled with near-silent high airflow. The second was a link between the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the PowerMac Cube and Macbook Pro as examples of titanium craftsmanship in the laptops and a tradition in extravagantly expensive engineering. A reference is made to the power of supersonic jet turbines as an enduring symbol of unrivaled speed and power. Specifically, SR-71 is one of the American symbols for zero-compromise engineering and the ultimate example of design in balance with performance. In response to this concept, the specifications were maximized, the engineering extravagantly expensive, and the black paint refers to stealth.

    As with the SR-71, Apple made a conscious decision with this generation to allow for expensive design and expensive manufacture. One of the driving factors in the design was the outer shell which was deliberately made seamless to demonstrate both engineering excellence and design purity.

    Working with the concept of jet turbine. When the outer shell is removed, the internal components are both easily serviced and strongly resemble a jet engine with the cowlings removed. The main cooling fan and thermal core takes design cues from jet turbine intake blades and combustion chamber. All of the thermal dissipation for CPU/GPU/ Power Supply are reverted to the "central thermal core" which maximized the air-metal contact area and thermal mass of the heat sinks and solved the problem of containing heat to one region of the system without leakage into the surrounding void. Externally, the cluster of connectors also refers to the central mounting point of a jet turbine to the wing of an aircraft.

    Early appraisal stated it as "a challenge worthy of Apple ......a computer only Apple could consider making (in terms of engineering cost and manufacture cost)."

    It has been stated by Apple that significant engineering challenges were posed by the thermal core in relation to the cooling performance, fan efficiency and noise levels. This caused a delay of over 12 months to launch. Several engineering innovations of this design include the interconnects between boards, fan blades, the triangular cooling system, CPU/GPU sandwiched between PCB and chassis, overall size, zero-legacy technology and deep-draw single-piece outer shell.

    The first flight of the SR-71 was December 22, 1964. Almost 50 years later, the 2013 MacPro pays homage to unrivaled engineering with a December launch. The Pratt and Whitney designation of J58 might find its way into some markings internally. Like the plane, the new Mac Pro will be built in North America.

    Keep an eye on the launch date to see if they managed to align it with the maiden flight ! (edit - as it turns out the first Mac Pro orders arrived late in December and photos of packages appeared on forums as early as 24th December ... coincidence ?)

    Footnote: Apple felt that taking onboard a difficult engineering task like this would ultimately pay off by forcing the competition to engineer the same solutions from scratch. That would take time and cost significantly more than any computer ever built.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    The nMP has nothign to do with a titanium spy plane built in the 70s, plus it was not built for profits, but spying. The near endless well of money the US government was pouring into defense contractors allowed this to occur.

    Secondly, most competitors will keep producing workstations that perform extremely well and outsell the MacPros, there's no business justification to copy apple
     
  3. MiJuConcept, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013

    MiJuConcept thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Zero compromise engineering. That is what the nMP is all about. The design elements speak for themselves and these elements were not "suggested" after the fact. They were the primary ideas in the first document.Take it how you see fit, it was the data which started this whole conversation in the design studio.

    I dont deny you the right of refusal but have you seen a better summary ? The idea of extreme power and speed ! Nothing to do with spying I'm afraid. It has more to do with American design excellence.

    For example, central cooling cores will appear in every compact workstation by the end of the decade because it offers incredibly high EMC isolation with effective heat removal.
     
  4. slughead macrumors 68040

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    #4
    I'd argue there were a heck of a lot of "compromises"--the total lack of internal expandability, for one. There's also the looming possibility that the GPU & CPU wont all be able to work at the same time due to power (heat?) issues.

    I was very impressed with the design when I first saw it, but it's very possible most of the "amazing" engineering is really just compromise. We'll see how it actually performs.
     
  5. MiJuConcept thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    It was always going to be more interesting as a water-cooled core but only IBM has taken the plunge so far.
     
  6. MiJuConcept thread starter macrumors member

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    ...a computer only Apple could consider making (in terms of engineering cost and manufacture cost).....

    http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/14/ap...ssive-100-billion-market-cap-gain-in-48-days/

    I dont think it would cost 100 billion to build an SR-71. But if Apple wanted one they could afford it.
     
  7. brand macrumors 601

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    #7
    Some of the old Power Mac G5 units were liquid cooled.
     
  8. MiJuConcept thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    I like the fact that you can see the relationship between the PM G5 and possible future design modifications.
     
  9. slughead macrumors 68040

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    I think he was just pointing out that there have been workstations with water-cooling before (which it seemed you were implying was not the case). I'm not sure if he was saying it's likely Apple will ever do it again.
     
  10. MiJuConcept thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    History never repeats ?
     
  11. slughead macrumors 68040

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    I'm not saying that nor am I implying it, and I don't think "brand" was either.
     
  12. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    C'mon, the entire thing is built around compromise.

    I'm not one of the new Mac Pro haters by any means, but your hyperbole is a bit too much.


    They're just pointing out that water has been used before on Macs, and it's also very alive and well on other current workstations.
     
  13. MiJuConcept thread starter macrumors member

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    The early design brief adopted a position which encapsulated history in a positive way. Through discussing the icons of innovation, the connection with speed and power brought out other associations with extreme engineering. Notably, Apple was equally well represented in the cutting edge of design as were a number of other American companies. The leap wasnt that large, it was there staring everyone in the face.

    ----------

    No you are quite right about having to make choices - but if you change the DNA of the current MP how do you end up with the same object ?
     
  14. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

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    #14
    [​IMG]
     
  15. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    I'm not sure what your point is. You're phrasing everything in this weird pseudo-intellectual speak. No offense meant, but I have no idea what you're trying to say.
     
  16. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    If read in context in which he wrote it is correct. He said engineering compromise, not consumer compromise. At least compared to the old Mac Pro or current PC workstation offerings.
     
  17. AidenShaw macrumors P6

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    To paraphrase that - "a bad idea impeccably executed" ;)
     
  18. Gav Mack, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

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    #18
    The YF-12A prototype for the SR-71 was originally designed to shoot down aircraft and had missile pods fitted. Was painted black not for stealth as that technology didn't exist but to cool down quickly and had massive expansion tolerance ratios, far more than Concorde. Can't see the black can running on JP-7 fuel either cos it's rather unstable stuff and melts at -31 degrees c. Used to leak fuel constantly too :D

    I was an aircraft geek before computers :D

    The analogy fits far better with Concorde though - the most beautiful plane I've ever seen fly. I'll never forgive British Airways for not leaving one airworthy :-(
     
  19. Rich.Cohen, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013

    Rich.Cohen macrumors regular

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    There is no such thing as zero-compromise engineering. Engineering is entirely about compromises whether you're talking about airplanes, computer hardware, software or anything else. A good engineer can always you tell a list of things that were traded off when designing anything: cost vs. weight vs. endurance vs. performance vs. reliability vs. maintainability vs. ease of us. The list is endless and there is no such thing as perfect.

    The SR-71 is an example of great engineering and shows what can be done when world-class engineers are freed from the constraints of corporate and government bureaucracies. However, it is full of compromises. It wing tanks leak at normal temperatures and only seal when they heat up in flight requiring that it refuel immediately after takeoff. That was a compromise made by the engineers.

    It may turn out that the nMP will be recognized as great engineering. It will be years before anyone can make that determination. It seems to be an example of engineering design that was not constrained by past design solutions. I like that, but moving outside the box carries a large risk of failure along with the opportunity for record-breaking success.

    I plan to buy a nMP. I'm hoping that will turn out to have been a good decision.
     
  20. pastrychef macrumors 601

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    #20
    Who is the insider? Were you part of the design team for the New Mac Pro?
     
  21. Rich.Cohen macrumors regular

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    I'm also an aircraft geek. As I recall the YF-12A designation was a McNamara publicity dodge when he announced it in the mid-1960's. It was designed to replace the U-2. I wonder what missiles were actually tested with it? Most Air-to-Air missiles of the time weren't much faster than the aircraft.
     
  22. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #22
    Cube? not. Original Mac

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_128K#Cooling

    If not farther back in time. Mac was tall to promote the chimmney effect and was more compact than many of contemporaries of similar 'horsepower'. The Cube was far more a relaunch of

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_cube

    and then bastardized with some of the early Mac design principles. The Mac cube was not relatively high performance ( it used what was then "last year's" PowerPC processors to limbo into a remotely a viable thermal window). The Power Mac used higher performing components (with the exception of an overlapping model that again used 'last years' PPC to instead this time to go cheaper more so than power. )




    You are smoking something pretty strong. SR-71 used titanium largely because they had to. It would work in the operational environment ( temperature and stresses) without it. Nobody had done large forgings with Titanium before SR-71.

    The fact that this Ti was dumped for quality aluminum in all current Mac products show how not necesary the older Ti laptops were.


    Chuckle... the SR-71 is unmatched to this day (at least out of the shadows) is largely because it was not a jet turbine that power it at its unique speed zones. The ramjet mode is powered the SR-71 to still standing world records.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird#Engines

    It is painted black..... but that is about it.

    By the way the new Mac Pro design does NOT have a turbine in it. There is a fan. Fans are not turbines. So there is no way this is "turbine" inspired. A turbine capture and transfer work ( energy). A fan is powered to blow air. What the Mac Pro has is the latter, not the former. Far closer to the rear prop powered original Wright flyer than the SR-71.


    The old Mac Pro had seamless design. The other macs have seamless design. Those don't particularly have a SR-71 connection either.



    Holy cow.....

    "reverted" thermal? Initially channeled perpendicular to the board is entirely mainstream PC cooling design. The sharing is new. The rest is pretty much the same as the older coolers on the current (and previous) Mac Pro which also transferred heat to a metal object with fins. that in turn transfers to the air.

    There isn't one region. That is why the circular fan encompasses both the thermal core and the areas on the other side of the three main board. The Power supply is outside those three. The backside of those boards is outside the scope of the central core. The I/O connector board is outside the scope of the central core.

    That is some strong stuff you are smoking. Those connection can't hold the "jet engine" at all. They aren't structural in any way. They also aren't particularly vertically oriented ( again highlighting that they are not structural ).

    Design has to do as much with how things work as much as the vaguely resemble something else visually. These aren't even in the same zip code as far as connection function goes.

    Far more likely the delay was because they were not working on this until 18-24 months ago. That is probably about a 'normal' cycle for a new Mac design. There is nothing here that worthy of being labeled a skunk works project of the level of the SR-71.

    Part of the thermal solution here is simply just reducing power available. That is not a 12 month engineering delay problem. They do have to day thermal fan control feedback from three different sources and funnel that into one fan. That is work that need to be done but not a SR-71 like project.


    You mean pins into backplane. Wow.

    The NACA ( pre cursor to NASA) lab over at Ames in Mountain View was doing prop curve versus efficient studies in the 30's.

    This innovation was far more so enabled by the CPUs and GPUs getting smarter about onboard thermal control. Sharing a single heat sink would be an extremely bad idea for earlier generations of not-so-smart CPUs/GPUs.



    LOL.... as with the "unibody design" , Ti forgies , etc. the folks in aerospace industry are scratching their heads about this being some new fangled super innovation.

    Polished and painted to Apple standards, perhaps not. But pressed forgings inventively new ... get real.

    I don' t think Apple is trying to force other system vendors to do the same thing. They are trying to distance themselves by trying something different as opposed to the highly risk adverse bulk of the rest of the industry.

    Apple made some trade-offs with this design. Most of the competitors are going to play against some of the weaknesses traded off as opposed to jump in and slavishly copy.

    The new Mac Pro design seems to be about a year or two early to having the internal components to truely make it shine. ( IOhub without tons of I/O deadicated to SATA which this device doesn't use, better thermal control on CPU and GPUs to run at even more dynamic workload settings, PCIe and/or TB controllers matched to PCIe v3 bandwidth to reduce PCIe lane consumption pressure. )
     
  23. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

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    Off the top of my head wasn't it the Sparrow or the prototype of it? Think I recall as when they flew the YF-12A extensively it could outrun any Soviet AAM anyway. The AAM was only 3-400 mph faster and the launch plus the wake of the rocket exhaust caused stability problems over Mach 3. So it went reconnaissance, made larger and became the SR-71.
     
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    not really. That was more cover story than intent.

    " ... revealing the existence of the YF-12A Air Force interceptor, which also served as cover for the still-secret A-12,[15] ... "
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird

    The CIA commissioned what became the SR-71, not the Air Force. Some Air Force folks sank more money into the cover story than was really necessary with the YF-12A tangent work.

    Again not quite.

    " ..Finished aircraft were painted a dark blue, almost black, to increase the emission of internal heat and to act as camouflage against the night sky. ... "

    And yes part of the design was to lower the radar cross section. It wasn't "invisible" but until the 70's SR-71 had one of the smallest radar image cross sections flying relative to its size.


    Leaks when not operating at speed. The expansion was used to seal up the tanks as the plane got to normal operating speeds. Spilling fuel over the skin at Mach3 would be a bad idea that likely would lead to a bad outcome.


    Both the SR-71 and Concorde died for commercial reasons. Not practical to run on a continued basis.
     
  25. Rich.Cohen macrumors regular

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    #25
    I don't remember. I was an Army missile maintenance officer at the time. I'm pretty sure it had been operational as a surveillance plane for a number of years before McNamara announced it.
     

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