Mac Pro release surprise

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Cubemmal, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Cubemmal, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013

    Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Another potential aspect of this is the following.

    I think there's a good chance they kept something back as a release surprise. Apple loves giving us surprises which is why they are so secretive. Clearly their hand was forced on the Pro because of Intel's roadmap, they had to say something at WWDC or they'd lose too much credibility.

    What could the surprise be? All we've seen is the highest end machine.

    • Greater degree of upgradability than indicated. If you slow down the animations of the Mac Pro you can see that the GPU cards at least have a bottom connector to a board on the bottom, which connects in the center to another board is the body middle (I did quicktime screen movie which can be slowed down to see this). Therefore, removing daughter cards is simply a matter of pop the side, pop the top, pop the bottom, remove four screws and pull the card (there could be another connector on the backside of the card - for power for example, but it wouldn't affect this). So perhaps we'll have a full line up of cards and choices, maybe only from Apple, but they will exist. Certainly I can see Apple built this for serviceability.
    • Lower starting price point. The problem for the Pro line is it is too high end. What does the trash can do? It may drive off some pros, but if it is priced right will bring in higher end consumers because now it's small, quiet and more upgradable than any other mac. This is entirely possible if they put 5000 chips in there, a low end CPU and considering the short BOM they have with that tiny box.* This has the added advantage of elevating the Pro to be more of a high end consumer computer, rather than a pro-only computer.
    • New accessory hardware. Apple could announce a external Apple PCIe cage for GPU's, etc.
    • Upgrade to existing hardware. Basically a 4k display is all I can think of (I don't think this is possible with panel price points presently)


    My guess? Either nothing, or "Lower starting price point" of $2k. I actually think the latter, I think this is meant to bring in the high end consumers like me (software engineer in my case who likes beefy machines).


    * See this

     
  2. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    There will be a little more involved to replacing the GPU, they will be connected to the heatsink core with thermal compound so that will have to be properly removed and reapplied- meaning apple won't likely allow users to do this without voiding warranty. Perhaps we will see GPU upgrading/swapping options, but they will probably have to be performed by apple themselves or stores apple has certified to do repairs.

    And I don't think it is "obvious" apple has made an arrangement to buy GPU's at substantially less price, they haven't even revealed the price of this new mac pro and are touting only the top top tier. Likely the configuration they first revealed will be well above $5k.
     
  3. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Yes it is obvious, and yeah, they have. That's how Apple conducts its manufacturing. All companies do this actually, but they elevate it to an art form. How they pass those costs and savings to us remains to be seen.

    Agree.
     
  4. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    how is it obvious when there has been no pricing revealed? Look at apple's track record with GPUs in the mac pro and compare them to PC prices of equivalent models.
     
  5. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Maybe we're talking about two different things. Apple has negotiated discounts to buy these AMD chips. End of story.* This is what I mean by obvious.

    How they pass those costs to us remains to be seen as we both say.

    * Therefore because the retail versions of the card are expensive (due to marketing - not due to silicon since its the same as the retail) does not mean they have to cost as much to us. Apple will run their pricing tiers entirely based on their product lineup, marketing goals, etc and not how much those FirePro cards cost. If they are like most companies they have profit metrics that they will try to meet (like 50%).
     
  6. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    but even so, the mac pro is a very limited market compared to their consumer machines. Every GPU apple has offered in the past for the mac pro has been significantly more expensive than the PC counterpart because it costs amd and nvidia time and money to make mac specific versions that they know will only sell in the tens of thousands. Now throw in a custom proprietary card design for this limited market and I would not be surprised if apple is paying near the same price as the retail cost of the GPU on the PC side.
     
  7. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    That's my point, I think there is good reason to see this computer as how they are making the Pro have a wider market. It will always be one of the smaller markets, but I think the small and quiet radical design is exactly how they are planning on making this more appealing to higher end consumers.

    You're talking apples (ha ha) and oranges. The higher markup was because Nvidia/AMD had to make a special run just for Pro customers, so the Pro customer had to pay for Nvidia's profit margin AND Apples, and on a boutique item to boot. No longer. Now video ONLY comes from Apple, so it comes under Apples pricing.

    For example, Apple has discrete graphics chips in their notebooks, and those high end notebooks are priced pretty well considering what you are getting. On Apple's side they negotiate rock bottom prices and so they make a fat profit too. They will absolutely apply those same principles here.

    It's a form of market muscle. There are usually three parties in a market like this - the OEM (Apple), the parts manufactures (Nvidia/AMD) and the consumer. Apple wants the consumer to win because that's where the money comes from. And Apple wants themselves to win, so they squeeze their suppliers. They get away with it because they have such big volumes. Before you say it, not JUST in this line, they buy a lot of AMD chips for their notebooks.

    Final note, that stupid little PC board doesn't cost much of anything. Not on Apple scale certainly.
     
  8. VirtualRain, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013

    VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #8
    My thoughts...

    1. Upgradability cannot improve based on the cooling system as darkhorse mentions above. At best, you can hope for broader BTO options, but based on Apple's GPU support track record, my expectations are low.

    2. Apple could have easily lowered the prices in 2012 when the current design was getting dated but didn't. They know the primary customers of these machines have deep pockets. I think it's highly unlikely a brand new system is going to launch with a lower price than the outgoing one. Apple's MO seems to be to deliver more for the same. However, this is a new more integrated platform that could possibly justify a lower price, so this may be one to watch for. On the other hand, the launch surprise might be a nice price increase. :(

    3 & 4. I expect Apple will launch a new 27" TB2 ACD and black input devices. There's an outside chance they launch a 4K display, but the price will likely be so high, few will be able to justify it. Remember the 30" ACD when it launched at $3300? As for expansion chassis, if they thought they could do this cost effectively with sufficient margins and meet the broader needs, they wound't have gone with a minimal design in the first place. There's no doubt in my mind that they will leave expansion chassis to third parties.
     
  9. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I don't see the issue. It appears they showed us the highest end cards in the modeling demonstration video, namely the 6GB cards. Looking at the FirePros these are (unsurprisingly) the highest end chips. Obviously they specced the cooling system for this, so the cooling system doesn't need to be upgraded. In other words 2XAMD FirePro 9000's with 6GB is as high as it goes (given the cost of that silicon that is as high as you would want it anyhow).

    My point is that the BTO options go downhill from there. The only constraint probably is that they appear to have to have two GPU's for Thunderbolt constraints (6 ports).

    Right, they never drop prices.

    You're contradicting yourself, "brand new system" and "has to be the same". Which is it? Obviously this is brand new and a break from the past, there's no reason to believe they won't change the pricing lineup.

    I highly doubt that. They've already pissed of a sizable portion of their pro customers, both from the wait and the lack of PCIe. Raise the prices more and they've got a DOA product, which is the LAST thing they want (PR black eye that would sink the stock even more). They need to bring more customers in, and dropping the low end price by $400 or so will do it.

    Agreed.
     
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #10
    Here's the issue: Excluding the CPU power, they established that a consumer headless mac with a video card should go for $1000, a-la the mac mini with 6630gpu.

    IMO, If you go much more expensive, you have to support the people who pay that kind of money, and offer expandability. If you aren't going to do that, then you might as well as pull out the EEC chips and sell it for $1400.
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #11
    I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I agree there will be factory BTO options, but what I was trying to say is... I don't see the GPU being user upgradable due to the cooling design and what DarkHorse said about the heat sink for the GPU being part of the chassis.

    The price has been beaten to death in other threads but there's essentially two dimensions to how Apple prices it. (1) Are they looking for high margins with low volumes (selling to Hollywood types), or are they willing to sacrifice some margin for volume selling to independent creative folks? And then (2) what level of components will ship in the entry level model? Unfortunately, we don't know their strategy yet on either but I'll be (pleasantly) surprised if there is an entry level system cheaper than $2500.
     
  12. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Got it, agree.



    Agree. It might be a long, or longish shot, but I think there's a good chance of it. We really have no idea as pricing is a complex black art, and anyhow a lot more goes into the decision than pure economics (product placement, desired marketshare growth, etc).
     
  13. spaz8 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I've read a comment or 2 that makes me think this may not be the only form factor. Perhaps we've just been shown the sexier looking single cpu config. Vs. a square or ovoid dual cpu setup.

    I see a lot of ppl thinking the new MP will cost a fortune, but there is a pretty huge gamut of fire gl cards. I think the base model ( e5 2620 v2) could still come in between $2-2.5K USD (6 core 8-16 GB ram), the mid 3700 USD (10 core - E5 2650 v2 32 gb ram), and high, 5-10K.. (12 core E5 2680 v2 64 gb ram - dual? ) .. of course the GPU's could cost you as little as $450(w5000)-$3400(w9000) each. You've been able to configure a $20K mac pro since the g4 or g5 days.

    As soon as I read the specs my cynical mind though Apple is making a statement with the hardware to 1) give the stagnant thunderbolt Eco-system a shot in the arm. 2) Give openCL a shot in the arm and get developers to not just support Cuda.

    Unfortunately I also remember how much emphasis was put on 64-bit when I bought my MP 1,1, and how many years it took for the software to catch up. I fear the same hear, that this MP is too ahead of the curve, that the 7,1 will be the one to get not the 6,1.
     
  14. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #14
    Really? An "art form"? Only if that art is obfuscation. They rarely pass savings to us. And if they do it is just to get the prices in the normal range of overpriced. It gets absorbed in what others have called the "Apple Tax". That they can sell me a 3 year old GPU for $450.00. $50.00 more than it cost when it was constrained and wanted. Or a new one $600.00 more than any other retailer. Thanks, I guess. I wont mention RAM prices. That there prices never change after HW prices fall dramatically due to refresh cycles. How does this show a savings? I am hoping you were being sarcastic. Apple has positioned their savings model to be that you can buy the HW from them. The Mac or iPhone, etc. Everything else should be bought and dealt with elsewhere lest you be a fool. Once in a blue moon they sell something that falls in line with current pricing. When they do that we say it's a "deal". It isn't.
     
  15. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

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    #15
    Can't disagree more.

    No way Apple won't provide a matching solution themselves. You can look to Optical drives in the same way. Apple has pulled them from all their product lines, sans cMBP, but they still made an external Apple optical drive available. There are plenty 3rd party ones, yet they released an Apple one.

    There are only a handful of PCI chassis makers, and the ones out there can be pretty flakey. It's a pretty important piece to this new MacPro strategy. There will no doubt be a rock solid Apple solution built to work and match.
     
  16. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

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    #16

    There is absolutely no proof of this. And let me also point out that the FireProW9000 are $3,300 each.
     
  17. Neodym macrumors 65816

    Neodym

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    #17
    They did on the new Airs.
     

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