Mac Pro + Thunderbolt possibilities

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by portishead, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. portishead macrumors 65816

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    Apr 4, 2007
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    los angeles
    #1
    I was just thinking the inclusion of thunderbolt could really cut the Mac Pro size down.

    Put 4 thunderbolt ports on that bad boy, and you can do away with most internal peripherals/slots. Pro users would no longer need internal drive bays. Maybe a slot for an SSD, and a slim optical drive.

    It would still have to be large enough to accommodate a dual slot video card, but that's it. AJA/Blackmagic already have Thunderbolt capture devices. Hard drive enclosures are in the works.

    I could see a mini tower in the future - about a quarter of the size of the current Mac Pro. Just thinking out loud and looking at how giant the Mac Pro currently is, and how much space is wasted.
     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    That's a horrifying thought.

    I personally like everything inside. Nice and tidy with no desktop clutter of differently-shaped enclosures, data cables, power adapters, hubs, power adapters for the hubs, having the wrong kind of cable all the time (USB, FW400, FW800), etc etc.

    Not to mention there are several people on this forum maxing out their slots and a few who want even more.
     
  3. portishead thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I see what you're saying, and don't disagree, but there could potentially be cost savings involved but not having to include a bunch of SATA connections, and PCI Express lanes.

    Maybe a new product below a Mac Pro like a Mac Pro mini. Pro Performance, but smaller package.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    I understand your point, but it's not as likely as you might think.

    1. Each TB port requires 4x PCIe lanes. Figuring this, you get 16x lanes for TB ports + 16x lanes for the GPU, so there's still a need for 32 lanes in order to do this (above those used for QPI).
    2. The PCIe lane count is established by the chipset, not the CPU.
    3. The ICH has traditionally contained the SATA, USB, and Ethernet controllers, but with the Sandy Bridge Xeons, the new chipset (X79) will contain the ICH as well (= those controllers will be there).
     
  5. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #5
    Indeed. My ideal MacPro would have two additional slots and two more hard drive bays.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #6
    The Mac Pro case may seem giant, but excluding the handles (so the internal space) it is smaller than most enthusiast and workstation cases. It can't get much smaller if you want to be able to cool, silently - on air, two processors, 8 DIMMs and a high end graphics card. The Mac Pro is "crippled" due to space constraints compared to other workstations in its class.
     
  7. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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    Jun 5, 2010
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    Dubai, UAE
    #7
    Giant? are you kidding? its tiny compared to the SGI Onyx2 i cut my teeth on.. :D
     
  8. portishead thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    You're saying TB has only equal throughput as a 4x PCIe slot?
     
  9. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Sep 14, 2006
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    England
    #9
    Thunderbolt is 10 Gbps. PCI-E 2.0 is 4Gbps per lane.
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    It needs 4x PCIe lanes to operate, but it doesn't utilize all the bandwidth they can provide (Gen 2.0 = 500MB/s per lane, so 4x produces 2GB/s).

    As Umbongo mentioned, TB is rated at 10Gb/s, which translates to a theoretical max of 1.25GB/s. In reality, the overhead reduces that down to 800MB/s (real world throughput limit according to Intel).

    So you get (800/2000) * 100 = 40% of the PCIe bandwidth available for use. Not that efficient, but for a laptop, device, or AIO system equipped with TB, it's a faster bus than what's been available previous to TB (eSATA being the fastest, at ~270 - 275MB/s for 3.0Gb/s ports real world).
     
  11. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 27, 2010
  12. IceMacMac macrumors 6502

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    Jun 6, 2010
    #12
    Please go buy an iMac and leave the rest of us alone.

    I want more slots, more bays, more...
     
  13. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    #13
    The whole point of a Mac Pro is bigger is better, smaller is anathema, to suggest smaller is liable to get you burnt as a heretic
    [​IMG]
    being able to swap the 3.5" trays with 2.5" trays so we can use the 10 gorgeous SATA III connections would be delicious. (While this isn't technically the chipset the Xeon tends to one-up the Enthusiast.)
     
  14. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #14
    People that don't need Mac Pros have been wanting this forever. A headless iMac. That's what you are asking for. i7-2600K with 2 HDD bays and 1 extra PCI expansion or something like that. Cheaper price point yada yada. Smaller form factor. I want silent. Like no fans. Passive cooled. Voodoo put out a case like that years ago. All heat pipes and fins. No noise.
     

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