Mac Pro 6,1 Cylinder - Fact Gathering.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tesselator, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Tesselator, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Strictly based on images, Apple's words, and other witnessed information prior to actual release, let's cull our collective information. Please no guesses, speculations, or opinions of any kind unless you base it on something Apple said, an actual posted image, or something you saw directly yourself. Thanks!


    I'll start with what we already know (and that I can remember) so far:

    Device designation
    1. The MacPro6,1 is a computer! (Ref. clamnectar)

    Case and System
    1. Assembled in the USA with some parts still manufactured abroad (in the far east?).
    2. It's cylinder shaped and the exterior is "Stretched Aluminum". Stretched aluminum is the same process which makes coke cans. They start with a puck shape and after several progressive pushes on the center it forms a hollow cylinder. It can create beautiful and strong walled shapes.
    3. After shaped the surface is machine polished for an "incredible" (mirror-like?) finish. Of course if their polishing compound is large grit it may produce a finish similar to current MacPro machines.
    4. It uses a triangular (3 sided) heat-sink Apple calls a "unified thermal core" which touches several chips presumably including the CPU, and both GPUs. No information yet as to whether it helps to cool VRAM, or other components.
    5. It appears as if it might also touch parts of the PSU but the images are inconclusive at best.
    6. A single slow-spinning fan with backward-curved impeller blades is located on top and pulls air up from the bottom intake vents and over the components and heat-sink.
    7. It looks as if the fan is exhausting out the top but it could also be forcing some air back down between the outer walls and the "back" of the three main PWBs (CPU card, and 2 GPU cards) where it would push past the RAM and the SSD on it's way out the bottom.
    8. "As you rotate Mac Pro to plug in a device, it senses the movement and automatically illuminates the I/O panel."
    9. It's 9.9 inches tall and 6.6 inches in diameter (wide).
    10. Apple is claiming that it's a workstation or will become one when you flesh it out. Here's the quote from Apple: "And it has everything you need to build a workstation...". They also refer to it as a "pro desktop computer" in one place and the "future of the pro desktop" in another. So it remains unclear how Apple themselves are classifying this machine.

    1. The images so far show only a single CPU design.
    2. CPU models will be from those supported by the Intel Xeon E5 chipset.
    3. Processors planed are currently to offer "up to 12 cores".
    4. Many MacRumors members assume the CPU socket will be Socket-2011 and that the chipset will be either of the C200 series or of the C600 series. VirtualRain is referenced here for example.

    1. The info so far claims dual ATI workstation graphics:
    2. AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs
    3. Up to 6GB of dedicated VRAM each.
    4. Apple claims you can edit 4K video with this setup.
    5. And also connect up to three 4K displays at the same time.
    6. Up to "7 Teraflops" of GPU compute power.
    7. It appears as if the two GPU boards are not interchangeable but unique physically and electrically.
    8. Most likely it is possible to connect a total of 7 common-day LCD monitors.
    9. The model demoed at WWDC states having: "4096 Stream Processors, 384bit memory Buses, 528GB/s"

    1. Four-channel DDR3
    2. 1866MHz. (up to 60GB/s bandwidth)
    3. ECC: Yes
    4. Total of 4 DIMM sockets

    1. One or two "next-generation PCI Express flash storage" (Same as 2013 MacBookAir?)
      See iFixit's pic of the SSD from the 2013 MacBook Air (top) with the old MBA SSD (bottom)...
    2. Up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA III SSD.
    3. Artagra pointed out that there looks to be "A place for a second SSD as shown in the pictures - the actual connector is not there, but you can see the silk screening on the board for it. This points towards two SSDs being a BTO option, but it's nothing confirmed."
    4. From Hellhammer: What We [think] we know about the storage "SSD" device itself so far:
      • Controller: Samsung (PCIe based, not available yet so not sure if it's SATA or NVMe)
      • NAND: 21nm Samsung MLC
      • Capacity: Apple's demo unit is 256GB. current NAND you can fit up to 1TB on the PCB
      • Connector: Proprietary (i.e. not M.2)

    1. Thunderbolt v2.0 (3 controllers, 6 ports, 6 devices per port)
      That's up to 36 external devices total. (a "PCI expansion chassis" is also mentioned as being one of them)
    2. USB 3.0 (?? Controlers, 4 ports)
    3. Gigabit Ethernet (two ports)
    4. HDMI 1.4 (one port)
    5. Headphones: 1
    6. Mic input: 1
    7. Mains Power In Socket: 1
    8. Three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi
    9. Bluetooth 4.0

    Power (PSU)
    1. No information yet. Remember, no guesses or opinions without a reference! Thanks!
    2. It does have a PSU and from the images it's located in the bottom - but that's all we know so far.
    3. Two users JHowland and deconstruct60 suggest the PSU might actually be "mounted to the removable port panel".

    1. One (or two?) upgradable looking SSD (PCI Express flash storage) and,
    2. 4 RAM slots is all I see that a user may upgrade.
    3. Everything else seems to be done through peripheral (external) devices connected to one of the many I/O ports.
    4. PCIe 3.0 controller for "up to 40GB/s" bandwidth - but apparently no standard internal PCIe card-edge connections.

    --------------------------------------------- CHANGE LOG -------------------------------------------

    June 19, 2013
    Added youtube video
    Added "6 devices per port" to Connectivity #1
    Added Graphics #9
    Added Storage #4
    Added This change log.

    June 24, 2013
    Added Processor spec #4

    July 25, 2013
    Added Power (PSU) Guesstimation #3
  2. theSeb, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013

    theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Sorry to be pedantic but the parts will be manufactured in places like Taiwan, South Korea and so forth as well, not just in China.
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Is suggesting there could be a dual CPU model not speculation? ;) That would absolutely require a larger enclosure.

    You can only connect one display to a thunderbolt connection currently yes? So 6 displays supported in total? Or can you use splitting devices so this could have 12 (which the cards can support)?
  4. Tesselator thread starter macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    No, speculation would be saying: There might be... there could be... there probably will be... and so on. I said they didn't say... like so: "but that doesn't necessarily mean there won't be a dual." Ha! Safe! :D Hehe, OK, I'll remove it. Dashed! :(

    I dunno about splitting. There are 3 controllers and 6 ports so they are already split maybe yes? If true that's 6 MDP? displays and one HDMI display?
  5. zaphoyd macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2002
    Thunderbolt will daisy chain, there is an HDMI port, and displayport 1.2 mst which this should support should also chain. The number of displays will likely be limited by the internal gpu rather than physical ports. It will likely be somewhere between 6 and 12 depending on their resolution and exactly what GPU you order. Other apple machines (rMBP) can drive four displays on a single GPU and this has two. AMDs spec sheet for the firepro w9000 allows 6 displays per GPU?
  6. Tesselator thread starter macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    NP... OK... Changed.
  7. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    near Cambridge
    One CPU two GPUs

    On the website they state that there are two GPUs as standard and only refer to one CPU.

    The physical layout is for cooling for three chips so that is all there will be.

    The 12 cores indicates, I think, that Intel will produce a 12 core Xeon, or perhaps two chips on a single die.

    Their design decisions seem to be based on one GPU for graphics, one for openCL GPGPU and one CPU.

    It is rather rigid, and won't suit users like myself who would want more CPUs and fewer GPUs and more RAM slots.

    It is designed for developers of software for Apples other systems which will use GPGPU, and for power users of commercial software written for Apple systems. It is not designed as a general purpose workstation.
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
  9. Tesselator thread starter macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Nice observation!
  10. Umbongo, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

    Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Intel will produce a 12 core Xeon, that's been confirmed through "leaked" slides. It is looking like anything over 4-cores might be based on a 12 core die.
  11. Tesselator thread starter macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
  12. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Guess we won't know until they say. Suppose it doesn't much matter as it will drive 3 of any display which only a few will surpass.
  13. Artagra macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Some more info to add - one based on pictures, the other based on previously available Intel documentation:

    - A place for a second SSD is shown in the pictures - the actual connector is not there, but you can see the silk screening on the board for it. This points towards two SSDs being a BTO option, but it's nothing confirmed.

    - The Thunderbolt spec requires that ports support video output - so assuming Apple and Intel continue to follow the spec, we would assume 6 ports minimum (they could disable the HDMI when all 6 Thunderbolt ports are used for displays). This is why we have only seen Thunderbolt on PC motherboards / systems with built in graphics, and not on dual socket Xeon boards or Sandybridge-E systems. Of course, Intel and Apple could create a new category of port that doesn't support video.
  14. Zemzil macrumors member

    May 10, 2013
    Geneva, Swiss
    I'm just wandering how TB1 hardware will interfere with TB2 bandwidth.

    I mean, do we have to change cable or place TB1 peripheral somewhere specific on the chain to not affect it.

    I doupt that TB1 controller in previous hardware will support 20gb transfer in "bridge" mode.
  15. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    What are some realistic internal storage size predictions?

    I presume 512gig, 1tb, and maybe 1.5tb? Is it possible to go more and keep the cost in 4 figures?

    Or is 1tb likely and you're expected to store anything serious externally?


    Also - what are the odds of pushing 3, 4, 5, 6, 27" Thunderbolts? I understand that there can be other monitors, but specifically Thunderbolts. Any indication on how many?
  16. Hexley macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    Ay news on the weight?

    To visualize 9.9" by 6.6" you can compare it to the current iPad's 9.5" by 7.3" :)

    ****** tiny for a tower. But will it weigh at 3-4kg?
  17. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I think the limitation there has more to do with how the Thunderbolt 2 controllers and the updated Displayport system will work.

    Right now I think that you are limited to 2 displays per Thunderbolt controller chip. So on the retina MBP you can have 2 displays connected to the Thunderbolt ports, either 2 daisy chained from one port or one on each port.

    I think that the HDMI port on the MBP is separate so you can have a total of 3 external displays.

    The Mac Pro has 3 TB controllers (2 physical ports each) and one HDMI port, which if it works the same as the MBP would let you have 7 total displays.

    That probably drops down to 1 display per TB controller when you're dealing with 4k.
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    No on forcing air back down.

    1. Apple's diagrams on their site clearly have it going up in the picture.

    2. It is rather dubious to heat up the air with a very long heat exchanger and then inject it back at critical electronics. ( the board's backs aren't empty of electronics ( e.g., the storage drive is there). )

    Even more dubious to set up a feedback loop to try to force that heated air back into the heat exchanger again for a second trip.

    3. There is zero reason not do cool the front and back of the boards.

    A second processor would require a second set of four RAM DIMMs. Where do you think those are hiding in the pictures??????????????????

    off-the-shelf 4 Port USB 3.0 controllers exist from multiple vendors. There are no PCI-e lanes left to use more than one controller. Adding a switch to use two controllers just buys wasted space, added costs, and added complexity. Extremely high probability that Apple did not do that.

    This is probably the now standard Mac digital out also. There is no reason why this wouldn't have standard Mac parts.
  19. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    two chips ( in the die sense ) in a single package (a Multiple Chip Moudule MCM ) .

    But a die is a die. It is "written" on. It isn't a container.

    While Intel could do an MCM of two 6 core dies, it is doubtful they'd do it just for one small subset of a product line.

    The E5 design is a layer cake of core---cache--core. 'layers' ( layers along the die's surface). To go from 8 to 10 to 12 just add another layer. Get a bigger die footprint ( so less per wafer) but not a huge need to go MCM just for a subset of the product line.

    MCM is the route to take when the process technology is behind the curve of what you want to do. Intel is out in front of everybody (except maybe the folks in IBM R&D labs ) now. AMD yeah, but Intel in this price point right now... probably not.


    It will probably be like Firewire where the whole chain after the 'older' controller/switch falls back into backward compatibility mode. It is the same set of wires. And the same exact aggregate bandwidth. TB 2.0 just shuffles the deck chairs to get a boosted new logically joined channel that is faster (by reducing the number of logical channels in the network ).

    It is easy to make that plug compatible because it is exactly the same stuff. The only thing that changed is which wires encoded DisplayPort and PCI-e data can travel on. It was segregated. Now it is not.
  20. clamnectar macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    One thing that occurs to me is that the dual GPUs coming standard will give software developers a huge incentive to write software that takes advantage of GPU data crunching.

    The current situation is that nobody can count on a Mac Pro owner to have a truly powerful GPU. Hell, Apple won't even ship them with one. When the new Mac Pro goes out and everyone has this hardware waiting to be unleashed, the developers who fail to take advantage of it will lose a real competitive edge to those who do. And those who do will be able to have confidence that the code they write will be useful to a large number of people, not just a few enthusiasts.

    I think this is a brilliant move by Apple.
  21. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    A move they already made several years ago on the iMac and MBP. It was and still is a good idea. Right up there with creating an open standard for programming those GPGPUs ( OpenCL) ... wonder who helped do that several years ago? (Well, not really wondering. ) Movement to this general configuration has already been in motion for years.
  22. clamnectar macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    I know you love to disagree, but I think you'll agree this is a whole new level of GPU power, assuming the low end Mac Pro doesn't come with totally impotent dual cards.
  23. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    I'm not disagreeing it is a good idea. Just that pointing out that it is not new. The Mac Pro is just catching up.

    This year's MBP will have a new level of GPU power too. Relative to the MFLOPs in the laptop units the GPGPUs in the recent MBP were a whole new level of power also.

    It is incrementally different in that it appears Apple is going to "exact twin" them. I'm only in disagreement if you think that specific aspect merits brilliant.
  24. clamnectar macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    Considering there's a real sluggishness on the part of pro apps developers to put in the effort, I think this is a big deal. Of course, it's now up to them to make it happen.
  25. echoout macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I hadn't thought about it, but assuming the usual supsects don't change to other primitive shape form factors (HP Torus?, Dell Pyramid?, BOXX Sphere!, Promax Platonic?), is it somewhat safe to assume other workstation offerings will have twice the power possibilities from the get-go?

    Not knowing if the MacPro will feature the top Xeon offering, other workstations would likely have twice the processing power potential, twice the physical RAM options, twice the GPU possibilities, twice the physical storage space (SSD vs. PCIe Flash, I know), similar USB 3.0 connectivity, no idea on HDMI, no idea on Thunderbolt, and would be obviously bigger, less quiet and in a box that is "tower-like"?

    That's actually pretty exciting too.

    Sorry for the hijack.

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