Mac Pro too late for me

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wallysb01, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    I have been shopping for a computer to have at my new job. It needed to be a DP workstation, with plenty of RAM/HDD expandability. I would have loved a Sandy Bridge E Mac Pro. Alas, one does not exist, so I went through Thinkmate instead.

    Basic config of Thinkmate HPX XS8-2462:
    2 x E5-2630s
    128 GB (8x16GB) RAM -- another 8 free slots and expandable to 512 with 32 GB DIMMs, should the price ever fall and need arise.
    1x1TB HDD -- Self install Ubuntu or maybe Biolinux (to give you an idea of what I do) as OS, 7 additional free drive bays.
    NVIDIA GT 520 -- Primary use of this machine will be in terminal anyway...

    Bought separately:
    5x3TB HDD -- 4 will go into RAID5 (9 TB usable scratch space), one will go in my desk should a drive fail.
    ViewSonic VA2431wm 24" LCD

    Total system cost was just under $5500.

    The new 12 core 2.4 Mac Pro with 96 GB of RAM, 4x3 TB HDDs would have cost just slightly less (~$5200), while the 12 core 2.66 would have been substantially more (~$6500). I know its been well documented the speed improvements now available with other vendors and the frustration of those of us that would rather use OSX that need a workstation, but I thought I'd post this user's frustration that cost Apple a potential sale.
  2. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    There likely would be substantial differences from what you selected.

    A new Mac Pro very probably will have just 8 DIMM slots: just like the current one. If the empty 8 is solid future need then it waiting would not have improved things.

    8 3.5" drive bays. Not likely. Again the current 4 3.5" is probably the max. Perhaps some more 2.5" ones dependent upon how many ODD bays disappear in new design.

    It would be nice if a subset of the storage bays had old XServe style front facing drive sleds but not holding my breath. If they came they'd likely be 2.5" variants anyway.

    Doubt Apple will limbo this low. Also have doubts will get more than two x16 PCI-e v3.0 slots even in the dual CPU package configuration. If keep the processor/RAM daughtercard design then same 4 slot PCI-e limitation that the single package configuration is pragmatically limited to (and again same slot count as current version). The dual package config would have better embedded GPU throughput though.

    Don't see the base system prices changing even with Sandy Bridge update. Depending how tight Apple is squeeze margins might start out with a pair of 5620 (instead of the 5630 pair here). If 5630's then a $200 price creep upwards.

    Depends upon how you value the additional slots for various components. If place a have value those then it never was likely going to be a potential sale in the first place.

    Very similar indicator is biolinux as being satisfactory OS. Loosing to biolinux doesn't keep the OS X folks up awake at nights with worry. Ubuntu either.
  3. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Probably better you went this route as I don't see apple updating the mac pro. If they do, the price would be higher compared to what you purchased. Apple should get there head out of there rear end and announce whether or not another one is coming. Allot of folks are holding off until apple does something. My guess is apple will announce EOL of the mac pro just like they killed off xserve. With apple stock dropping like a rock, don't see apple investing in another mac pro. Enjoy your new linux workstation. After I sold my 2008 mac pro, I built my own (see sig). Enjoying win7 64 and Ubuntu.
  4. wallysb01 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    It is, but that was largely because I had to move away from OSX given the Mac Pro's deficiency anyway. I will explain further by hitting on the basic points you touch on:

    The total of 16 slots is a luxury. I have access, through clusters, to machines with 512 GB/1TB of RAM. But should our data expand, and I think its likely it will, having a little extra head room in a local machine could be quite nice and speed analysis thanks to avoiding queues and not waiting for large file transfers. And since I was already leaving a Mac behind, the added cost of machines in this class with 8 vs 16 DIMMs was pretty small.

    Similar to the RAM, I am actually configuring the machine to start with something that would be possible in a Mac Pro. I could convert an ODD bay and use it for the boot drive, if purchasing the theoretical mac, leaving the 4 other bays for the RAID. But since I am already leaving a Mac Pro due to over all uncompetativeness of the old machine, getting a workstation with 8 bays was not that hard for this kind of price. In total, I probably only added $500, at most, to the machine by having 8 HDD bays and 16 DIMM slots.

    This is where a save some costs to offset the added DIMMs and HDD bays given my specific needs, thanks to the added flexibility of moving away from the Mac Pro.

    I assume you mean the 2620s and 2630s above. And again, the 2630s are a luxury afforded by some added flexibility from other vendors along with just having the budget to afford the increase. With Apple, it may not be possible to so carefully chose the processors to match your budget since they usually only have 3 choices. For example, the jump to any of the 8-core xeons was just out of range and reasonableness for my budget and computational needs.

    Oh, I don't think Biolinux or Ubuntu are threatening OSX, but OSX, because of UNIX, fit my needs. Windows does not. So for some the jump off direction from OSX will be linux solutions, for others (and probably many more people) it will be Windows. So, I'm sure Apple isn't concerned over losing me, but I know a fair number of people in my field that like using Macs but need linux/unix. So without a new Mac Pro soon, Apple will lose that admittedly small market. If they don't want it. Fine. I will make due. I'm sorry to lose OSX (at least in my workstation, I will keep my Apple laptop for now), but it isn't critical. But to be totally clear, I would have bought (or had my employer purchase for me) a Sandy Bridge E Mac Pro if it excited. The losses in hardware would have been worth the gain of OSX, but losing SBE on top of that was just too much.


    Thanks, I think I will enjoy this computer greatly. I have been on Ubuntu for a personal netbook and dealing with Red Hat in cluster environment for several years now. Now I will get the chance to have a very nice, modern machine and experience what today's linux has to offer.

    As a side note. I would have loved to build my own workstation. However, this is a not ultimately my machine, but my employers. And I don't think they are paying me to build workstations....
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The number of folks who would leave over the design constraint differences is likely at least as large as those in the misaligned upgrade window state. There are always people leaving as well as coming into Mac Market. It is the net balance that is primary driver.

    Yes, sorry about that. I was looking at older Xeon 5600 prices to mark the most likely E5 2600 selection. Was thinking 2600 numbers put wrote what I had just looked at.

    But this is the running theme. The is a value being placed on flexibility and diversity of options. Even with a new Mac Pro the folks who put high value on that aspect aren't core market the Mac Pro is targeted to.

    You "paid more" for the options so therefore put some value on them. Perhaps not enough to swing the balance in your specific case but there is value since paid more.

    I really wasn't getting at the short term tactical losses they are incurring. Long term there are some things they just are not likely to offer. So in an alternative universe where a new Mac Pro had arrived some subset of that small market would be leaving anyway.

    I'm far from those championing the notion of waiting for Ivy Bridge as being a "good idea" or strategy for Apple. If they started redesign on a Mac Pro so late that they have to use Ivy Bridge because the whole system won't be ready till almost (or well into ) Fall this year, then they have dug themselves a very deep hole to work their way out of.

    I don't think that is "news" to Apple at all. I suspect that after a small bump in Mac Pro sales after the June updates and that as approached and crossed into 2013, Mac Pro sales are now tanking significantly. More people waiting. Probably a few more giving up. Also with increasing others going illegal with hackintoshes. That path was probably discussed as to what to expect and is being tracked to confirm over time.

    Apple plays long term strategy. Eventually, your new machine will get old or you'll need to move to a new employer. As long as you continue to hold this position Apple has a shot to win you back "next time".

    Right now I think Apple still believes there are enough of folks with this outlook to make an updated Mac Pro viable. If the upgraded Mac Pro is bought and demonstrates long term growth it will stick around. If not they'll discontinue. It don't think Apple really knows which way that will go. That's why they are willing to give it another shot. At this point, the 2013 product buyers are the primary factor in whether the product has a long term future or not.
  6. wallysb01, Jan 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013

    wallysb01 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    Sure, but that balance would certainly be tipped in Apple's favor if they had a current machine...

    Absolutely. The added DIMMs/HDD bays and slight spec bump in the processor wouldn't have been enough if Apple had a SBE Mac Pro, but since they don't, its just icing on cake.

    Likely true. As you said, people move in and out of the Apple systems for a variety of reasons. It just depends on how many people in this alternate universe would have been arriving to a Mac for the first time. What that balance would have been, I don't know. But I'm certain its made worse by not having a SBE Mac Pro...

    I think they already are in a deep hole. They haven't released a truly new workstation computer in over 2.5 years. Long term, whether they launch a new one in February or August-October, probably doesn't matter. The people buying Mac Pros now, are people that have to or would nearly no matter what because of OSX. That isn't going to change. Also, I doubt the sales of truly new Mac Pros for 6 months is enough to substantially effect the bottom line of Apple. It would help, sure. And any money is money they should be trying to make. So, I agree they should release one in February, but I think the hole has been dug pretty deep already. The only question is: how much farther is Apple going to dig?

    I am sure this is all fairly predictable from inside Apple circa June 2012, where they knew the timelines and had access to sales data leading up to the spec bump. This is just my story and how Apple's choices have effected my purchasing choices.

    Absolutely, and I honestly hope they do win me back. All other things being mostly equal, I'd rather work on OSX than linux. But to make that sale, they now have to wait. By not providing a new Mac Pro yet, they have missed about 1/2 of a tock cycle in intel's tick/tock system. And it was probably a pretty painful half cycle to miss given the prolonged delays from intel were already leaving people waiting longer than they liked.

    Right you are, but with everyday that passes more and more sales slip away from them, making the 2013 Mac Pro a less profitable machine. Eventually, the death of the Mac Pro could be a self-fulfilling prophesy, if they push it out so long, that buys start waiting for Ivy Bridge. From the sound of it, I think we probably agree on one thing: If Apple waits any longer than an immediate update with the release of Ivy Bridge, its dead. Too many users will have left a machine that wasn't that profitable for Apple anyway.
  7. minifridge1138 macrumors 65816

    Jun 26, 2010
    That is a major computer you bought.

    I'm certainly not defending Apple's recent attention to the professional users, but I think you're beyond what Apple considers professional.

    Good luck!!!
  8. wallysb01 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    That maybe true. Especially now, compared to a few years ago. I think I'm a user that they could serve, and hope they do eventually return to serving, but I am done holding my breath.
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Immediately is likely too tight. Mac Pro buyers tend to buy at a slower than average pace than general Mac users.

    There are some indications the Ivy Bridge release will be staggered. E5 1600 v2 apparently maybe a month later (e.g., timeline here were 1600 are 'later' than the rest ) . There is going to be a difference between Intel launch date and availability of the whole product line up. If so then Apple will likely hold under the complete part line up is released.

    There may be a revised GPU (or GPGPU ) upgrade that is synched to the Mac Pro release target. So extremely tight coupling to the Xeon E5 updates is probably not healthy for the Mac Pro on this or future iterations (assuming Intel keeps the very leisurely pace they are on.)

    Even in shorter runs the Mac Pro would be profitable. It is far more allocation of intentionally scarce R&D resources ( personnel ) that is the question. There are multiple profitable options for Apple at any one time. Their objective has been since the 2nd coming of Jobs era has been selecting the correct subset of those options that leads to bigger bang for the buck and is expansive for the targeted market.

    The Mac Pro's primary problem that will drive off users is delivering inconsistently; not necessarily lack of tight coupling with Intel's schedules. A Xeon E5 SB drop in Feb-March '13 followed by a E5 IBridge drop in Jan-Feb '14 ... followed by E5 Haswell April-May drop in '15 would be far better than standing on stage with Intel on release day. In short, Apple needs to target a 3-4 month block of year and consistently hit that block every year. They need "base hits" not "home runs" (magically revolutionary boxes). There is nothing "magical" about E5 Ivy bridge that 'saves' the Mac Pro.

    All current indications are that Intel is going to move the Xeon E5 around in the calendar over time. ( not really shoting for 12 month average updates). That actually runs counter to what the Mac Pro primarily needs most at this point. I wouldn't tightly couple the Mac Pro launch even if couldn't finish early '13 because it sends the wrong message. I wouldn't delay long but won't not synchronize with Intel either. The "doom and gloomer" will only reappear in '14 when Intel doesn't have any substantive to do a Mac Pro upgrade cycle on if trigger early on Intel.
  10. wallysb01 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    Sure, I didn't realistically expect Apple and Intel to announce on the same day, or close to it. What I really meant was ASAP. So if HP/Dell and others are shipping Ivy Bridge workstations and Apple hasn't even announced....that will be a problem. And let me clarify, I mean that only if no SBE Mac Pro arrives in the next couple months. What else would hold back potential Mac Pro purchasers from going with another manufacturer? At that point, with no official word that a Mac Pro is coming to wait for, Apple will be looking like it is going to miss 2 intel cycles. Tim Cooke's "later in 2013" will only go so far. I don't expect Apple to announce right a long side with Intel, but any reasonable delay in an Ivy Bridge Mac Pro relative to the availability of IVE Xeons and without the release of a SBE Mac Pro, will to me and probably the majority of potential Mac Pro buyers, mean the Mac Pro is dead. So even if one does arrive say Nov-Dec this year, it won't sell well. Too many people will have left OSX.
  11. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Tim Cook
  12. lewald macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2011
    Apple needs the mac pro

    If one cannot create on a mac pro how will they get content to the apple devices? I have both systems in our shop but for game development if developed on windows then I know it will not be ported to the mac stuff. I do love the mac pros for stability. I do hope Apple does keep one computer for the creative community although like other posters we are giving up.
  13. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    It won't hold water with most past June. After a year of being out there, it won't be worth much.

    Even if it didn't initially sell well they would let the product run a full evaluation period before Haswell competitors show up. That looks like that would give almost the whole of 2014. They could screw around with GPGPU uprades in 2014 to demonstrate movement off an Ivy Bridge base and would be force to do a much less than 12 month pace jump to Haswell.

    It couldn't just be hardware. There would have to be some software+hardware justification. The ace in the hole that OS X has is in part that it only has less than 10% of the PC market. (similar minority fraction in workstation market). There are always more folks making a transition outside of current Mac users than there are users making Mac-to-Mac transitions.

    If there was a new set of applications that could pull users in then it could grow from a dramatically shrunken base. It just isn't likely they'll open a new vast app user base though.

    I think there is a much more pressing disconnect in that a sizable fraction of folks will not have left the OS X market but just the license compliance aspect. Apple may have crossed a threshold point with hackintoshes. It isn't just the old Mac Pro market that would be in danger but a subset of the iMac one also. While the Mac market was relatively rapidly expanding the hackintosh element was a minor nuisance issue. If the Mac market is starting to flatten out then Apple may be forced into a more defensive posture. That would keep the Mac Pro around as a product in a similar fashion as the iPod Classic or the 6 year run of the 30" Cinema Display. More zombie than dead.
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The vast majority of "content" is platform neutral. It doesn't materially matter where the origin is as long as it is delivered.

    It most certainly will get ported if Apple get back on track of Mac units going up consistent year over year and PC units staying on their current downward track. The Mac market starts tanking as fast overall classic PC market then perhaps not, but that is independent of the Mac Pro status.

    The number of potential customers who will pay for software is why software gets ported. That is largely driven by the number of non-Mac Pro Mac users.

    In general software, is ported to platforms that are growing. If your company bails there is several other willing to fill that growth market targeting gap.

    There is a huge and growing creative community leveraging the rest of the Mac product offerings. It highly unlikely anyone with clout at Apple believes that the "creativeness" solely depends upon the Mac Pro.
  16. robains macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2009
    Apple IS moving away from Intel hardware ... that writing has been on the wall for some time and in many ways will "Complete" Apple's long term goal when it returns back to their own processors and hardware.

    Keep hoping all you like about a new MacPro ... if it ever did happen, it will NOT be an Intel based unit.

    Apple has been busy buying up chip manufacturing companies and designers at a rapid rapid pace for years now ... staggering pace actually. Intel has always been and always will be a temporary solution.

    I'm not sure why so many just can't seem to come to grips with where Apple are going and why they ARE NOT remaining in the "professional" market.
  17. deconstruct60, Jan 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Apple never had products on their own processors. Really still don't now even with folks hand waving about ARM based ones. ARM based means not really Apple's processors. Settling on ARM is very much jumping on board with the same processors that most other vendors are using.

    Deeply flawed and highly unlikely. If there is one space where ARM doesn't compete at all it is in performance workstations.

    Apple has bought exactly zero chip manufacturing companies. None. zip. nada.

    Intel was the solution because they were the foundation infrastructure for the PC Market. Apple's intent was to leverage that well funded foundation and move more quickly than others tapped by the backwards looking parts. So Apple could go to x86 but rapidly transition to 64 bits and hardly even look at BIOS as a boot context. Eventually the rest of the PC market would catch up but saddled with backwards looking boat anchors would always trail behind.

    If Intel screws up on design and manufacturing over time then Apple will likely drop them. Right now Intel is executing better than any of Apple's manufacturing partners. Given that:

    " ... That being said, it is still surprising to me that a 5-year-old Atom architecture paired with a low power version of a 3-year-old process technology can be this competitive. In the next 9 - 12 months we'll finally get an updated, out-of-order Atom core built on a brand new 22nm low power/SoC process from Intel. This is one area where we should see real improvement. Intel's chances to do well in this space are good if it can manage to execute well and get its parts into designs people care about. ..."

    Even ARM's supposed strengths aren't that large of an advantage when ARM tries to play in Intel's space. Intel is not MIPS. When ARM comes to do battle with Intel it will be a totally different encounter.

    If you mean committed to niche markets with deep seated growth challenges, then no ... but they never were before either. That really isn't "new".
  18. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2012
    Tim Cook announce that the MacPro would be released in 2013.

    I had to stop typing because this was turning into a multipage examination of how ARM processing power does not even come close to Intel on so many different levels with regards to benchmarks, threading, cache, and architecture.

    I would be more incline that Intel may replace ARM processors down the road as they are working on improving their mobile line of cpus.

    Either way competition is always good.
  19. robains macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2009
    Errr... NO!

    Why would Apple build a $10 Billion Fabrication facility in the US if they were going to use off-the-shelf Samsung parts or Intel parts? And to further that, look at who Apple have hired ... a bunch of Intel EE's.

    ARM "Based" means ARM "Based" it doesn't mean it's an ARM CPU ... ARM Holdings produce a processor design, it doesn't actually manufacter the CPU. ARM just describes a family of RISC based processing ... sorry but that doesn't qualify as a complete CPU, not even close.

    Don't kid yourself, these are Apple Designs with licensed ARM core (ARMv7 and ARMv8). Just as Intel's x86 instruction set is used by AMD, Cyrix, VIA and others.

    I do agree Apple's A series processor are no match for Desktop processors produced by Intel ... but why would that stop Apple from ending the Intel relationship? Apple don't care (it's fast enough for 99% of their customers), their A series will continue to improve and they'll most likely move it to iMac and call it a Day.

    Tim Cook announced nothing -- he was vague and made NO guarantee at all that 2013 would see a new MacPro -- re-read what was actually said by Tim.
  20. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    What $10B Fab facility ?
    TSMC is looking to drop a new Fab in the USA.

    Apple would probably prefer that they switch from a USA Samsung fab to a USA TSMC fab ( If dumping Samsung wholesale.) but that is not Apple spending the money for the Fab.

    Apple has sunk a couple billion into new datacenters but those aren't Fabs.

    Apple hired a bunch of Electrical Engineers ... imagine that.

    Which means the Apple derivative design is just that; a derivative design of what ARM does. I'm not saying Apple doesn't have added value in the design but the overall framework of the architecture is set by ARM. It pays for Apple to stay in that groove because all of the ARM licensing collectively help pay for the R&D that goes into the base ARM design. Therefore, Apple splits the R&D costs with others. There is no sound reason not to leave that situation.

    They aren't going to go do their own proprietary instruction set or move their ARM design too far off the track ARM is on (as long as ARM keeps doing a good job as making choices).

    Apple's SoC is going to be far more competitive versus the alternative based on which modules they weave into the package and onto the die with the ARM cores on it. It is just packaging at a different level. Selecting components to put inside of a box isn't that much different from selectiing components to put inside a plastic/ceramic package.

    Haswell will be the start of SoC variants that Apple can buy off the shelf for products like the MBA. Intel isn't adverse to a future where customers picking out some additional modules to wrap around and/or colocate with Intel's IP on a die.

    Lots of just plain hand waving. The Intel products will continue to improve at least at the same speed as the A series products will.

    At the average Mac price point, $999+ , the performance isn't going to justify the price.

    Update: Apple PR has reached out and clarified that only the Mac Pro is expected to be next updated in 2013. ... "

    " ... Apple said today that it is working on new models and designs for its Mac Pro desktop that will be released in 2013. ... "

    If Apple doesn't show up with anything new for the Mac Pro in 2013 they have major egg on their faces. No company is going to promise/guarantee they are going to deliver something far in advance. They'll say they would like do something. Stuff happens. In lawsuit happy USA that would just be invitation to a lawsuit. No big company with competent legal counsel promises anything in exact detail. ( for example most slides and roadmaps posted to this site have been stripped of the disclaimers that come with those "forward looking" statements of intent. )
  21. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    There was a time when this wasn't true.
  22. JLopez macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    Mac Pro ... but this out? (to be marketed!!) or is it just a fantasy?!!
    Is it worth waiting?! or buy what exists at the moment?! :confused:
  23. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Including this time. Apple never made dedicated 5U rackmount server. That doesn't mean they didn't consider 5U rack server were not for professional use. The tool being in a profession category and Apple making a tool in that class are two different things.
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    this far more depends about info about the customer than anything Apple is going to do in the immediate future at this point.

    If the workload absolutely doesn't demand a new model then probably not. If current system is on the verge of going obsolete list and workload has stretched out the model probably so.

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