Marco Arment on the nMP/mMP

ActionableMango

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Thoughtful article here:
https://marco.org/2017/04/15/mac-pro-audacity-of-yes

I especially like the following section, which mirrors much of the debate here on MR.

if you ask Mac Pro customers what they need and want, there’s very little overlap:

  • Video creators need as many CPU cores as possible, one or two very fast GPUs with support for cutting-edge video output resolutions (like 8K today), PCIe capture, massive amounts of storage, and the most external peripheral bandwidth possible.
  • Audio creators need fast single-core CPU performance, low-latency PCIe/Thunderbolt interfaces, rock-solid USB buses, ECC RAM for stability, and reliable silence regardless of load. (Many also use the optical audio inputs and outputs, and would appreciate the return of the line-in jack.)
  • Photographers need tons of CPU cores, tons of storage, a lot of RAM, and the biggest and best single displays.
  • Software developers, which Federighi called out in the briefing this month as possibly the largest part of Apple’s “pro” audience, need tons of CPU cores, the fastest storage possible, tons of RAM, tons of USB ports, and multiple big displays, but hardly any GPU power — unless they’re developing games or VR, in which case, they need the most GPU power possible.
  • Mac gamers need a high-speed/low-core-count CPU, the best single gaming GPU possible, and VR hardware support.
  • Budget-conscious PC builders need as many PC-standard components and interfaces as possible to maximize potential for upgrades, repairs, and expansion down the road.
  • And more, and more
The requirements are all over the map, but most pro users seem to agree on the core principles of an ideal Mac Pro, none of which include size or minimalism:

  • More internal capacity is better.
  • Each component should have a reasonably priced base option, but offer the ability to configure up to the best technology on the market.
  • It needs to accommodate a wide variety of needs, some of which Apple won’t offer, and some of which may require future upgrades.
Or, to distill the requirements down to a single word:

  • Versatility.
 

Morpheo

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I would argue that, as an "audio creator" myself, depending on your type of work, realtime plugins and mutliple VI instances are much, much happier with multi-core configurations. So anyway, yeah, versatility...
 
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ActionableMango

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I would argue that, as an "audio creator" myself, depending on your type of work, realtime plugins and mutliple VI instances are much, much happier with multi-core configurations. So anyway, yeah, versatility...
When I first read this I thought he was generalizing, but those bullet items are actually very specific examples, each with a link to the studio/individual/etc. that he is referencing.
 

H2SO4

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I’m a nobody but it’s great that a somebody has posted this. Maybe now Tim will get to hear.
 

BB8

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Software developers like Marco always think they're so important. Most software development for iOS doesn't even get done on iMacs, much less a Mac Pro. :rolleyes:
 
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SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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Thoughtful article here:
https://marco.org/2017/04/15/mac-pro-audacity-of-yes

I especially like the following section, which mirrors much of the debate here on MR.
The guy sounds stuck in 2007.

Photographers don't need multiple CPU cores. Photoshop is still mostly a single core optimised app with heavy reliance on a decent GPU. The Mercury Engine doesn't tax an Intel 530. Whenever you see synthetic benchmarks using many cores that doesn't represent how photographers work.

Video capture cards? Those things are virtually dead in the SSD era and will be completely dead when USB-C/TB3 ports replace HDMI and SDI etc.
 

namethisfile

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The guy sounds stuck in 2007.

Photographers don't need multiple CPU cores. Photoshop is still mostly a single core optimised app with heavy reliance on a decent GPU. The Mercury Engine doesn't tax an Intel 530. Whenever you see synthetic benchmarks using many cores that doesn't represent how photographers work.

Video capture cards? Those things are virtually dead in the SSD era and will be completely dead when USB-C/TB3 ports replace HDMI and SDI etc.
And, the 1970's with his catch-phrase of "The Design Culture of No."

Like, really?

And, let's not forget, it's to address the 2013 nMP...

Like, really?
 

irked

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Apr 8, 2017
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The guy sounds stuck in 2007.

Video capture cards? Those things are virtually dead in the SSD era and will be completely dead when USB-C/TB3 ports replace HDMI and SDI etc.
I regularly use 1 to 4 SDI inputs on my live shows, losing that ability would be a major blow.

How do you recommend I cut cameras live in your brave new world?
 
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ActionableMango

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The purpose of the list is to identify a wide range of needs in the Mac Pro user base. The gist of the article is that we lost an extremely versatile computer that met a wide variety of needs and got a significantly less versatile computer. Inherently that means fewer customers. He suggests whatever comes next be more versatile.

Picking on a finer point in there might be correct but is really missing the forest for the trees.
 
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namethisfile

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The purpose of the list is to identify a wide range of needs in the Mac Pro user base. The gist of the article is that we lost an extremely versatile computer that met a wide variety of needs and got a significantly less versatile computer. Inherently that means fewer customers. He suggests whatever comes next be more versatile.

Picking on a finer point in there might be correct but is really missing the forest for the trees.
Nice metaphor.

But, it seems like the "forest" doesn't have what he "needs." The forest, called the 2013 nMP.

He wants the "PC forest" with GTX 1080 Ti trees that grow on PCIE soil.

Even, though, the 2013 nMP forest grows Apples, too, amongst other delicious fruits of different variety once the soil has been turned with a thunderbolt fork.....
 

beaker7

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Nice metaphor.

But, it seems like the "forest" doesn't have what he "needs." The forest, called the 2013 nMP.

He wants the "PC forest" with GTX 1080 Ti trees that grow on PCIE soil.

Even, though, the 2013 nMP forest grows Apples, too, amongst other delicious fruits of different variety once the soil has been turned with a thunderbolt fork.....

Not to encourage this tortured metaphor any further, but the forest didn't have what a lot of people need. That's why they are burning it to the ground and planting a new one. Hopefully the new one will suck less.
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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What do capture cards have to do with SSD storage?
More and more Professional Cameras use SSDs and you just file transfer. Holy **** why did I need to say this.
[doublepost=1492720842][/doublepost]
I regularly use 1 to 4 SDI inputs on my live shows, losing that ability would be a major blow.

How do you recommend I cut cameras live in your brave new world?
Why wouldn't a Thunderbolt break out box replace that old nonsense in "my brace new world"
 

JMacHack

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I think we can rule out "Mac Gamers" and "Budget-conscous PC builders" anyone serious about gaming has a PC, and anyone budget-conscious isn't likely to drop the dosh on a Mac Pro.
 

irked

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Apr 8, 2017
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More and more Professional Cameras use SSDs and you just file transfer. Holy **** why did I need to say this.
[doublepost=1492720842][/doublepost]

Why wouldn't a Thunderbolt break out box replace that old nonsense in "my brace new world"
What possible advantage would I gain by adding outboard gear to my touring racks? The idea is to minimize points of failure on the road, not introduce new ones.
 

Brian Y

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Software developers like Marco always think they're so important. Most software development for iOS doesn't even get done on iMacs, much less a Mac Pro. :rolleyes:
What? I'm guessing you're not a software developer ;).

I need lots of cores, fast disk access and a bucket load of RAM. Until Xcode runs on Linux, it's iMacs/Mac Pros for me ;).
 

deconstruct60

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The purpose of the list is to identify a wide range of needs in the Mac Pro user base. The gist of the article is that we lost an extremely versatile computer that met a wide variety of needs and got a significantly less versatile computer. Inherently that means fewer customers. He suggests whatever comes next be more versatile.
No it doesn't inherently mean that at all. Identifying a large number of subgroups says nothing about the sizes or the direction of growth of these subgroups. Apple picked the wrong subset to get the growth they wanted. That doesn't mean that there isn't another subset that works. The shrinking subgroups can be dropped and still grow overall systems sold.

The quite firmly quantitative example of that is the overall Mac market versus the mainstream classic PC form factor one. That latter has generally been shrinking the last couple of years and the former generally has not. "Box with slots" Mac ecosystem moved away from and grew. So there is no "inherently" independent of the sizes and growth vectors of the subgroups.


One of the subgroups on this list is the Hackintosh crowd. Do you really think Apple is going to tons of effort into expanding that group? That is purely illustrative of that he is grasping at as broadly a group as possible with little concern with alignment with what might be Apple's long term interests. His list isn't necessarily what Apple is looking at. Apple has a weighting of these groups by size. They didnt' share it, but it is highly dubious to don't think they don't have them.

Picking on a finer point in there might be correct but is really missing the forest for the trees.
Ignoring those weightings is more so missing the forest for the trees. Number of buyers of systems counts.... a lot. Not cherry picking the most extreme edge cases.
 

beaker7

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More and more Professional Cameras use SSDs and you just file transfer. Holy **** why did I need to say this.
[doublepost=1492720842][/doublepost]

Why wouldn't a Thunderbolt break out box replace that old nonsense in "my brace new world"
I am aware of that.

How do you monitor, then? Surely you're using a professional grading monitor? Connected to a "capture" card?

I am using a Decklink "capture" card to monitor output from Resolve to a Sony OLED.

Even if i hook it up to an nMP, i need a "capture card" that is dropped in a TB box.

The point is that someone like Marco who doesn't do video is using a lot of terms loosely to illustrate a point that people in the pro arena have wildly differing needs.
 

AndreeOnline

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It's really quite easy. Once they build a Mac Pro for the most demanding users, all others will be taken care of too—as long as they make it build to order, since the only problem would be price.

Dual CPU configurations and at least two dual width GPU slots. The rest will follow. I don't think anyone is seriously worried about RAM limitations or slow internal drives. One might possibly be somewhat worried about extended internal HDD space. I'm not so sure about that, but they really should offer some traditional disk space. I love the cMP in that regard. Also, modern I/O is a given.
 

ActionableMango

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One of the subgroups on this list is the Hackintosh crowd. Do you really think Apple is going to tons of effort into expanding that group?
No, I don't think Apple would expend tons of effort expanding into that group. I never said anything like that. Implying that I thought that is straight up straw man. You might as well ask me if I really think the nMP is the ultimate symbol of perfection.

Ignoring those weightings is more so missing the forest for the trees. Not cherry picking the most extreme edge cases.
That's true. It's kind of like how your post cherry picked the hackintosh bullet item out of a larger list of more relevant items.
 
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namethisfile

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Picking on a finer point in there might be correct but is really missing the forest for the trees.
I have another interpretation of this. Is the hate of the 2013 nMP a way to drive the price of it down? Is that even possible? Because 2013 nMP on eBay are still price-y as hell. And, there aren't that many available!

Meanwhile, there's like a forest of the classic Mac Pro towers on sale on eBay. Like, so huge that this forest of classic Mac Pro towers has its own climate. It might even single-handedly save the world from climate change.

So, if the classic Mac Pro is so great, why is there such a huge second-hand forest of them?

Meanwhile, second-hand 2013 nMP availability is more like a shrub. And, price-wise, it has kept its value.

Not to encourage this tortured metaphor any further, but the forest didn't have what a lot of people need. That's why they are burning it to the ground and planting a new one. Hopefully the new one will suck less.
Sorry to keep bringing up the forest image.
 
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