MP 7,1 I've made two suggestions to Apple concerning the MP7,1 - Enhancement requests

bxs

macrumors 65816
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Oct 20, 2007
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Subject: I've made two suggestions to Apple concerning the MP7,1 - Enhancement requests

  1. When the MP7,1 is ordered to include the Stainless steel frame with wheels option, the MP7,1 image that accompanies the "Details of your order" I suggest it should show the MP7,1's side image with wheels and not the legs. This would be a nice touch for the customer IMO.
  2. The Buy section for the MP7,1 where the SSD size is selected should, I suggest, have accompanied information indicating that if ever the owner/user wants to have the SSD increased/decreased at a future time, it cannot be done. The only changed for the installed SSD if it has to be repaired at a later date is for it to be replaced with an SSD of the same size as originally purchased. For this reason, the user should take care when selecting the SSD size as the size cannot be changed once the MP7,1 is assembled/built.
 

s66

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Dec 12, 2016
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3. Once the system becomes vintage (no more support from official apple support channels for the hardware), release the tools to reset the link between the T2 and the SSD storage ourselves, or still let the authorised repair centers do that for us with whatever hardware we carry in.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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3. Once the system becomes vintage (no more support from official apple support channels for the hardware), release the tools to reset the link between the T2 and the SSD storage ourselves, or still let the authorised repair centers do that for us with whatever hardware we carry in.
It is pretty unlikely that the pairing tool is specific solely to this specific Mac Pro. So that one model getting to vintage status isn't likely going to be material.

Also by the time this Mac Pro goes vintage the number of new SSD NAND modules probably won't be that big. Paring used, worn ones will probably be a difficult "sell" to Apple.
 

chrissomos

macrumors member
Feb 16, 2018
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Subject: I've made two suggestions to Apple concerning the MP7,1 - Enhancement requests

  1. When the MP7,1 is ordered to include the Stainless steel frame with wheels option, the MP7,1 image that accompanies the "Details of your order" I suggest it should show the MP7,1's side image with wheels and not the legs. This would be a nice touch for the customer IMO.
  2. The Buy section for the MP7,1 where the SSD size is selected should, I suggest, have accompanied information indicating that if ever the owner/user wants to have the SSD increased/decreased at a future time, it cannot be done. The only changed for the installed SSD if it has to be repaired at a later date is for it to be replaced with an SSD of the same size as originally purchased. For this reason, the user should take care when selecting the SSD size as the size cannot be changed once the MP7,1 is assembled/built.
Are you sure that you can’t replace SSD at a later time? I think it has been proven that t2 ssds can be replaced by Apple.
 

Bradleyone

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Jul 7, 2015
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Are you sure that you can’t replace SSD at a later time? I think it has been proven that t2 ssds can be replaced by Apple.
Apple can definitely re-pair the T2/SSD combo for a repair, the controversy is whether they'll ever offer the service for any sort of voluntary drive upgrade, say 256GB to 4GB, whether the media is supplied by Apple or a 3rd party.

I think they definitely should. Apart from the frustration caused to loyal (and high paying) customers, they'd be leaving money on the table if they forced everyone who wanted a capacity increase to get a Sonnet or HighPoint, neither of which Apple even sells.

Ditto wheel kits.
 

s66

macrumors regular
Dec 12, 2016
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Also by the time this Mac Pro goes vintage the number of new SSD NAND modules probably won't be that big.
Don't disagree but it's not about size of the SSD!

Remember these systems cannot boot without a paired T2/Apple SSD module in them (even not from other media: the MP7,1 loads its boot code from the Apple SSD, and only from there - it cannot boot from any medium if the SSD isn't in it and working).

So, if you look at today's MP5.1 population: how many of those vintage machines still have their original Apple supplied bootdisk in them (even if they don't boot from it), how many still have that disk in a working condition ?
I know HDD and SSD's don't have the same lifecycle, but it's not because SSD don't have moving parts that they don't wear out, quite the contrary.

This will affect 2nd hand value of the MP7,1 to those that fear wear of SSDs and a risk that it can't be fix rendering the entire motherboard/SDD combo completely useless once the system is declared vintage by Apple.
 

astrorider

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2008
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Don't disagree but it's not about size of the SSD!

Remember these systems cannot boot without a paired T2/Apple SSD module in them (even not from other media: the MP7,1 loads its boot code from the Apple SSD, and only from there - it cannot boot from any medium if the SSD isn't in it and working).

So, if you look at today's MP5.1 population: how many of those vintage machines still have their original Apple supplied bootdisk in them (even if they don't boot from it), how many still have that disk in a working condition ?
I know HDD and SSD's don't have the same lifecycle, but it's not because SSD don't have moving parts that they don't wear out, quite the contrary.

This will affect 2nd hand value of the MP7,1 to those that fear wear of SSDs and a risk that it can't be fix rendering the entire motherboard/SDD combo completely useless once the system is declared vintage by Apple.
If the internal T2 SSD fails, you can still boot from another drive if you've enabled external booting. The Carbon Copy Cloner site has some good info about Apple's Startup Security Utility here: https://bombich.com/kb/ccc5/help-my-clone-wont-boot

"Can I leave this setting unchanged and change it only in the future when I actually need to boot from my backup?
Generally no. Changing settings in the Startup Security Utility requires a functional user account on the internal disk of your Mac. If your Mac's startup disk were to fail, it would be impossible to change the startup security settings. Because the primary purpose of a CCC bootable backup is to function as a rescue disk in the event that your Mac's startup disk fails or otherwise becomes non-functional, we recommend leaving your Mac configured to allow booting from external devices. If your concerns about the security of your Mac outweigh the benefit of being able to boot your Mac from your own backup, however, then keep in mind that you can always migrate data from your CCC backup to a fresh installation of macOS. Lacking the ability to boot from an external device, you could boot your Mac into Internet Recovery mode, reinstall macOS, then migrate data from your backup disk using Migration Assistant."
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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Also by the time this Mac Pro goes vintage the number of new SSD NAND modules probably won't be that big.
Don't disagree but it's not about size of the SSD!
I could have phrased that differently but stripping out the prepositional phrase.

"Also by the time this Mac Pro goes vintage the number .... probably won't be that big. "

It isn't about the capacity size of the SSD modules. It is about the number of SSD modules. These are 'spare parts'. By the end of the service lifetime the number of new spare parts will have sunk to a relatively small number of do accurate forecasting.

Apple recently added an "special exception" policy to their Vintage/Obsolete coverage where they'll do repairs after the windows if the parts just happen to be available. ( e.g., the deployed component service failure rate was slower than expected. Or some special corner case popped up and they have to restock and bump the supply along the way.). However, Apple's general strategy is to not hold extensive inventories and to run critically low on parts at the end of the service lifetime they have explicitly announced they are covering.



Remember these systems cannot boot without a paired T2/Apple SSD module in them (even not from other media: the MP7,1 loads its boot code from the Apple SSD, and only from there - it cannot boot from any medium if the SSD isn't in it and working).
Which has exceedingly little to do with "upgrades" of the drives. This will also lead to more repairs of "worn out" drives during the Apple covered service lifetime. Which means the inventory of spare parts that Apple sets aside will even more likely be small by the end of the active service lifetime. if there is a higher need for spare parts, then you probably should prematurely deplete that supply chasing capacity upgrades that could be readily provisioned on another drive.

Should Apple keep an extra "Plan B" emergency reserve of 256GB modules on hand in case their projections are way off ? Probably. Somewhere before they shutdown production orders for spare parts they add some more 256GB modules so if they can coast past their operational lifetime targets with some options to "degrade" folks to keep the boot process still working. That is substantively different than what most folks are pointing at though ( capacity upgrades later). [ The more common representative "downgrade' case so far is folks who "ordered wrong" and want to backpedal. ]

If the T2's SSD drops into a "no more writes" mode it can still read the boot firmware. The state that folks are extremely agitated about really hasn't been demonstrated to be a common occurrence state at all. What would need to happen is that the SSD controller drives the NANDs off a cliff in some way that somehow destroys the firmware at the precisely the same time.

Apple should provide better "drive health" diagnostics for the T2's SSD. Again though, better, accurate proactive diagnostics should lead to higher rates of repair of the modules (because it is an Apple part service solution). So once more the low term levels of inventory at the end will lkely be smaller as the draw down rate will get incrementally higher.

Better drive health would allow users to pick the time when the stop flogging the T2's SSD like an old mule and shift day-to-day usage to another drive. The folks pushing 8-12 years out will need to pick a point in the future. But a >= 1TB drive that is only used for maintenance ( e.g. , a 120GB partition with a minimal macOS instance and the rest of the rest of the drive unformatted and used. ) should in a very high number of cases last for years. There is gobs of spare space fro the SSD controller to put a extremely small amount of write changes into. And read-only from a NAND is extremely unlikely going to cause any failures at all.


So, if you look at today's MP5.1 population: how many of those vintage machines still have their original Apple supplied bootdisk in them (even if they don't boot from it), how many still have that disk in a working condition ?
I know HDD and SSD's don't have the same lifecycle, but it's not because SSD don't have moving parts that they don't wear out, quite the contrary.
The 5,1 isn't vintage; it is obsolete status. If these 5,1 drive failures largely happened inside the pre-vintage/obsolete window then they would be replaced by new drives later in their overall system's lifetime. An older system on a newer drive is more probably going to last well past the vintage/obsolete date than the ones that didn't have a failure. This "huge" failure rate inside the coverage window you are pointing at only creates more systems at the end that will coast past the vintage/obsolete date; not fewer.

The problematical ones would be the original ones that had zero failures over the 8-9 year span.

Also past the Applecare coverage window most of these drive failures would not be reported to Apple. So their knowledge of the failure rate of their drives over the extended period would be incomplete. ( they could close the holes there with some configuration surveys of older systems down to the drive top metadata level. Once again though if all of that replace is driven into Apple's spare parts inventory it will need to be larger and not depleted during the pre vintage/obsolete status. ( so selling off stuff sooner that may need later isn't a good idea when the production of new components is limited (or at turned off stage.). )
IMHO, Apple probably doesn't have a solid idea of how many of these they will need in several years. They have an opportunity to accumulate better knowledge over the next 2-5 years but for not they shouldn't be overly confident they know what is going to happen with replacement rates over the whole service lifetime for this system. And folks outside of Apple probably are even less aware ( don't have access to iMac Pro replaement rate data that has already come in and nor the new Mac Pro data or most of the rest of the Mac t2 based soldered line up that has had post-termination diagnostics applied. )



This will affect 2nd hand value of the MP7,1 to those that fear wear of SSDs and a risk that it can't be fix rendering the entire motherboard/SDD combo completely useless once the system is declared vintage by Apple.
The 2nd hand value after Apple has put it into obsolete status? That is already going to be pretty bad.

"fear of wear" would be counterbalanced by better diagnostic reports (more information to make a rational decision on as opposed to a fearful one based on little (not enough) information.

Finally, "wild, wild west" pairing is probably gong to lead to less information. No more. There is a pretty good chance the way all data on the NAND chips is encrypted that all of the wear level metadata on the drive is destroyed in a T2 controller - NAND module pairing. That has no impact when the NAND module is brand new. ( there may be some factory "does it work" test wear but that is negligible. ). Opening it up to pairing by anybody will open the door to folks who will pair up an older worn drive from a scrapped Mac Pro to a system and then selling as a "only used by a little old lady from Pasadena to drive to church on Sundays" drive. Pragmatically using the car analogy the odometer will be rolled back to zero. Brand new modules and 'almost worn out' modules both presenting an 'odometer' reading of zero is actually overall less information for used buyers than more. That would contribute to creating more 'fear of wear' fear more so than if know that the module odometer reading is accurate or not.

These are not self contained SSD drives. They are just subcomponents of a complete SSD. If took a normal SSD drive and soldered off a NAND chip and put another on the integrity of that drive would be likely be compromised because the metadata about the drive is stored in the NAND chips also.
 

deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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Apple can definitely re-pair the T2/SSD combo for a repair, the controversy is whether they'll ever offer the service for any sort of voluntary drive upgrade, say 256GB to 4GB, whether the media is supplied by Apple or a 3rd party.
Unlikely, that a 3rd party is going to show up here any more than 3rd party show up to the internal component replacement for other SSD drives. These modules are really subcomponents of an SSD not a complete system. NAND chips arent' completely generic and interchangeable. And Apple's NAND buffer is non standard chip.

This isn't like the MP 2013 SSD where the connector pins were functionally the same but phsycially offset slightly so the "key slot" is different form fit.


I think they definitely should. Apart from the frustration caused to loyal (and high paying) customers, they'd be leaving money on the table if they forced everyone who wanted a capacity increase to get a Sonnet or HighPoint, neither of which Apple even sells.
It isn't that much money. I suspect you are thinking relatively short term upgrades. That probably isn't worth any short term gains offset as to what that bring up in the future. Apple has to supply parts for the duration of the Mac Pro service lifetime. If they don't do an upgrade until 2021 that is about a 9-10 year span. Two big factors ignoring.

One, is that in several years the new Mac Pro / iMac Pro will probably take different blades. They aren't necessarily going to be backward compatible. Once Apple stops production on the current MP/iMP the economies of scale for production will disappear. So the production will probably stop and Apple will just make what they need for repair/replacement parts and coast on that inventory. Adding highly unpredictable 'retail' sales on top of that is going to a substantially higher risk cost.

Two, the SSD controller is fixed in time. The T2 SSD controller is already about 2 years old. In 3 more years the it will be 5 years old. How is that going to compete with SSD controllers that are only 1-2 years old 3 years from now. How it is going to compete against controllers in 5-6 years? 8-7 years? Probably not that well. Apple's $/GB rates probably won't go down at all. In the present they are somewhat competitive against MLC based SSD. In 3-5 years the NAND $/GB aren't going to change substantially? They are already not price competitive against TLC ( QLC). 3-4 more years of tech advancement isn't going to help that get better.

Some time in late 2020 - early 2022 time frame Apple will probably come out with a T3 chip. The MP/iMP will probably iterate to that. So the primary task here for Apple is long term parts supply.

Apple is likely getting all of the repair/replace work. ( versus folks tossing in a 3rd party HDD or 2.5" SSD into a Mac Pro 2008-2012 4-5 years down the road. Or even 3rd party SSD into a MP 2013 4-5 years down the road. ). That will be money right there (as the price Apple charges probably will not decrease over time. Demand goes down and supply will drop right along with it. ) . Chasing higher capacities is likely just "greedy on top" money, that will be dual edge sword over time. ( most Mac Pro buyers arent' going to fill up all of their slots. Or are maniacally addicted to putting all of their data onto one physical drive. Add-in SSD storage cards 2-3 years from now will be more than a competitive option. )


Ditto wheel kits.
There isn't a huge barrier to entry on the wheel kits. There is a special screw they need but that isn't a big hurdle. It is doubtful though that it is a huge market though. The rack model fits in more mainstream rack carts. ( there are also older video carts that folks put a vertical Mac Pro into that this probably fits in too.).
If the Apple wheels was the only way to add wheels to a system with a Mac Pro in the mix then perhaps that would be an issue . But this is no where near a high entry barrier segment. If someone doesn't come up with 3rd party wheels in 10-14 months then it is more likely that the other wide variety of options are what is suppressing that development far more so than Apple screw choice.
 

tsialex

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Jun 13, 2016
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If the internal T2 SSD fails, you can still boot from another drive if you've enabled external booting. The Carbon Copy Cloner site has some good info about Apple's Startup Security Utility here: https://bombich.com/kb/ccc5/help-my-clone-wont-boot

"Can I leave this setting unchanged and change it only in the future when I actually need to boot from my backup?
Generally no. Changing settings in the Startup Security Utility requires a functional user account on the internal disk of your Mac. If your Mac's startup disk were to fail, it would be impossible to change the startup security settings. Because the primary purpose of a CCC bootable backup is to function as a rescue disk in the event that your Mac's startup disk fails or otherwise becomes non-functional, we recommend leaving your Mac configured to allow booting from external devices. If your concerns about the security of your Mac outweigh the benefit of being able to boot your Mac from your own backup, however, then keep in mind that you can always migrate data from your CCC backup to a fresh installation of macOS. Lacking the ability to boot from an external device, you could boot your Mac into Internet Recovery mode, reinstall macOS, then migrate data from your backup disk using Migration Assistant."
One thing is the NAND module fail and another is the disk that is contained inside the NAND modules. You can corrupt the disk and still boot, but you can't boot if the NAND module(s) fails or is/are removed. The BootROM is stored inside the NAND module(s).
 
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