Mid-Range MacPro Tower?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nPolar, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. nPolar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #1
    Since I made the decision to convert back over to Mac six months ago, I've been stuck in between the iMac and a MacPro, for all the known reasons. I was hoping for some announcement at MWSF about a mid-range MacPro with a smaller form factor tower, but as you all know, nothing.

    What is everyone's view on how likely Apple is to introduce a mid-range MacPro with a smaller form factor tower, and the even tougher question, when?

    Thanks to all!
     
  2. GreyHare macrumors member

    GreyHare

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    I'm betting on "not gonna happen." Everyone wants it, but everyone wants Macs to run arbitrary graphics cards, too.
     
  3. big dainjerus macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
  4. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #4
    There is hundreds of these threads and you will not see one.

    It is impractical for Apple to do thing. It's a money think. Like it or not.
     
  5. Toups macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #5
    Apple has not given any indications of a "mid-level" tower or similar as they are pushing the iMac for consumers. The closest to a middle of the road (between iMac and Mac Pro) would be the single 4-core Mac Pro system, but this is only $500 less than the 8-core.

    If your not a heavy lifting app user, I would recommend you look at the iMac 2.4 or even the 2.8, however my problem is with the 2.8 you are reaching the same prices as the 4-core Mac Pro, minus the LCD display, but you get upgradability.
     
  6. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Meat Space
    #6
    Many of us have been waiting for the same thing with the same results. One of the writers at MacWorld (Breen I think, but I could be wrong) predicted that this is the year that Apple will release such a machine, but he was the only pundit to make this prediction (almost all of them predicted the MacAir). If you already have keyboard, mouse and monitor, look into a mini unless you do serious video editing. Do a search on mini and you'll see how happy actual mini owners are with these machines. Good luck with a difficult decision that many of us have also faced!
     
  7. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #7
    Don't say Never. Sure it's a possibility but not one that is likely. To be honest the iMac is more than most people will ever need.
     
  8. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816

    irishgrizzly

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    #8
    I can see the marketing;

    The Mac Pro:
    Our most powerful Mac ever

    The MacBook AIR:
    Our thinnest laptop ever

    The Mid-range Mac:
    Our... er, most average Mac ever

    ;)
     
  9. bigbird macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    Apple is aggressively gaining laptop market share. Their iPhone and iPod divisions are making money like crazy. ITunes is about to explode with movies. They could care less about mid range towers. That mid-tower isn't needed by the typical Apple computer customer in their eyes.
    You could always order a single quad Mac Pro with no options and have your own mid-tower.
     
  10. newtech macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    #10
    The more likely scenario for some thing between iMac and Mac Pro is the headless iMac or "new generation" cube. And even that is doubtful as it would be so close in specs to the iMac as not to stand out.
     
  11. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #11
    Specs don't sell computers anymore.

    That's a bit of an overstatement, and a bold one at that, but it's getting truer all the time. Especially with most computers these days looking fairly similar... form factor may be a much bigger deal for many than whether it costs a bit more (or less) and runs a bit slower or a bit faster.

    Honestly, I think it's pathetic that Apple is offering their entry-level tower (the ONLY expandable Mac) at $2300- and that's if you downgrade the cheapest $2800 model's CPU, cutting the cores in half.

    I don't know why in the hel they thought it would be a good idea to use FB-DIMMs... they're more expensive, and they're slow as hell. Dual-channel DDR3-1600 would be way faster. Hell, dual-channel DDR2-800 would be faster. And much less expensive.

    I get why they're using Xeons- dual CPUs are possible, and they're also a bit less expensive than their otherwise-identical Core 2 Xtreme brrethren at the same clocks- but I can't help thinking there's got to be some way to offer another Mac Pro using a Core 2 Quad while keeping production costs down (taking into account some changes would have to be made to account for a different socket [MoBo too?] type).

    Power Macs used to have an entry-level cost of about $1700. Sometimes a bit less, actually. It couldn't be that hard to return there. Dropping the FB-DIMMs would be a good start.

    Of course, entry-level PowerMacs also used to cost about $3500... but that was a long time ago =]
     
  12. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #12
    I don't think there's room for a fourth desktop in the lineup, when the 4-core Mac Pro costs the same as a high end iMac. There's nothing a "mid tower" would be offering the Mac Pro wouldn't, except for perhaps size, which would compromise on functionality.
     
  13. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #13
    Just create an updated mini with a decent graphis card and a 3.5 inch drive and that would satisfy many users.

    For the rest of us who want expandability and GPU options, its not likely we will get what we want. Look at how pathetic the GPU upgrade option are on a $3000 machone (MacPro). Would we get any better on a more consumer friendly mid-range Mac?

    Cheers,
     
  14. fernmeister macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    #14
    Mid-Range Desktop Tower just isn't going to happen.

    Updated Mac Mini is the most likely.
     
  15. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Meat Space
    #15
    (Long after it is due for an upgrade and with no fanfare from Apple)
     
  16. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #16
    As a "first Mac" / media box I don't think it needs anything more than it already has. Bear in mind it's just a "headless MacBook" the next iteration will probably feature the x3100 and accommodate 4GB ram, but nothing more elaborate than that... Apple's take would likely be "for anything more than that, there are other offerings".
     
  17. nPolar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #17
    Thanks

    Thanks to All, this was very helpful. There are other threads on this issue, but nothing this concise and looks like opinions are even stronger after MWSF. Looks like i'm off to the AppleStore to get my MacPro order going, enough waiting, i'm in!
     
  18. andrewag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    Nothing's impossible (especially after where they placed the MacBook Air!).
     
  19. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    #19
    You should probably do a bit more research I would suggest.

    The reason Apple is using Fully Buffered DIMMs is a limitation of the Intel i5400 chipset that forms the foundation of their workstation.

    A workstation needs to be fast but it also needs to be stable.

    A good place to start reading could be here - Intel® 5400 Chipset
    That would be a waste of resources but it could be done and some day Apple may try another Cube.
     
  20. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Nunya, Business TX
    #20
    You won't regret it :D You have the benefit of buying it when it's new and owning it for the longest period between updates - think of all the people that decide in 6 months they might buy it, but maybe they should wait...
     
  21. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #21
    The iMac a.) Has a monitor already (not the same price anymore) and b.) is a <i>totally different animal</i> It takes up less space. It looks nicer. It's more kid-friendly. I don't think it would be a huge problem... though I suppose it might cut some sales. It certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

    Yeah, found that out later today. Kind of disappointing.. but I suppose that's what happens when you go to workstation-class motherboards, and the control over them is no longer your own. That was the real beauty of the "old" Macs... Apple got to design pretty much how they wanted.. many custom ICs were theirs, not just Motorola's... and they didn't have to compromise. They could build around ideas.

    It's unfortunate that there's not a dual-socket solution for normal Quad Core 2's out there. That would do it, I think.

    However, I would be surprised if Apple couldn't negotiate a deal with Intel to tweak the chipset a bit to support normal DDR3.. it would yield much higher real-world bandwidth, and less expensive RAM, which I suppose could offset the cost of custom MoBos.

    Eh, I don't really agree. It could merely replace the bottom-of-the-line right now with a higher-clocked Quad core config. That might be a bit confusing though, I suppose. Higher clocks, fewer cores. Hm. Many consumers might scratch their heads :|

    As for the Cube, I've kind of been against the idea ever since the advent of the G5. I mean, what would they look like? An Aluminum cube? Yuck.
     
  22. newtech macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    #22
    Think Mac Mini, but taller and maybe 25-30% larger footprint.

    The thing about the Mac pro is the RAM is on riser cards. Now if there were a performance or price benefit to using something other than FB-DIMMS redesigned riser cards could effect a personality change making the chip set see FB-DIMM's instead of say PC-8500 GDDR4 real devices.
     
  23. thedirtyduo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    #23
    Never

    Never gonna happen.

    Mac Pro (see that second word?) Your either a pro or not. Do you use computer for video or graphics? No. Then an IMac will work just fine. Yes; then you need .... a Mac Pro. Your either a professional or not. There is no in between.

    You also have been way too long without a Mac so pick up your skirt and buy a fricken Mac.:D
     
  24. andrewag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #24
    The Cube's position in the lineup was the reason why it failed. It was priced higher than the low end Power Mac and provided less (except for the form factor).

    For such a product to succeed Apple would need to mimic the iMac 24" specifications on something that maybe provides a PCIe slot for graphics and of course priced say $200 lower than the equivalent iMac. This would allow for people to select an all in one with display, or something with a tad bit more expandability and not overlap the Mac Pro workstation.

    I know a lot of people say that if you don't need a Mac Pro then the iMac is perfect, but everyone has different needs (all in one simplicity or more expandability using desktop class processors). I guess I have considerable bias because this is a machine I would like (I would prefer to keep my existing 20" ACD for example, possibly be able to fit in one more drive and know I can update the graphics if I needed but don't need the power of a Xeon. I have a G5 PowerMac at the moment and it really was overkill when I purchased it for what I do with it).

    That said, I can see where people such as thedirtyduo are coming from since I don't understand why everyone is after a 12" MacBook Pro when the MacBook replaced that computer quite well.
     
  25. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #25
    No.. my point was that an aluminum computer with the same form-factor as the G4 cube would be ugly, in my opinion. The G4 cube was gorgeous... and a real feat of engineering (for the time). I mean, the concept art (or rather, photoshopped G5 towers) for the new Cube sort of says it all. I suppose apple could make a polished Al cube sans grille, but still... unless they go back to that plastic they used on the G4 cube, why bother?

    As for the "price or performance benefit," I think in the long run, at least, there would be a price benefit.. and there would certainly be a performance benefit, as FBDIMMs have incredibly high, performance-crippling latency. We're not talking a few CLs higher... we're talking a very complex setup that- I'll admit I don't fully understand- chokes the theoretical throughput of DDR2-800. Quad-channel doesn't really even the playing field, either. Btw, GDDR is for graphics cards.. and DDR3 is the most recent iteration of DDR memory for computers, GDDR4 is only on GPUs right now.

    Lol? You're either a pro or you're not? So, you're saying you have to be a professional- in the field of computers in some capacity- in order to need- or even buy- a Mac Pro?

    The "Pro" moniker is meaningless. They needed a new name for the Power Mac, because they no longer used PowerPC processors. You can't very well call a Xeon PC a Power Mac. Well, you could. But you shouldn't. So they didn't.

    Apple has pretty much always had a reasonably-priced, expandable Mac.

    Is the Mac Pro any different from the G5 it replaced in its target audience? I don't think so. Maybe I'm wrong. However, didn't the original Mac Pro ship with only two hard drive bays? This Beige G3 has three hard drives in it. It's a desktop, not a minitower. That should tell you something.

    Oh, and take a look at the MacBook Pro. It has the "Pro" suffix in it. What sets it apart? Well, I suppose a larger, higher-res screen, an actual graphcis card with dedicated VRAM, a few more options, and uh... not.. much else. Slightly higher clock speeds. It's hardly more expandable.

    Not really. Many professionals still use "antiquated" hardware such as the MDD G4 model. Earlier, even... QS. Many use G5s. Know what else many use? PCs. You don't <i>need</i> the fastest out there no matter who you are, unless your machine is literally barring you from accomplishing what you <i>need</i> to do. Not all power users are professionals. And not all people who want a reasonable degree of expandability are either. Buying a machine with two RAM slots, a single hard drive bay and a non-upgradeable graphics card is just depressing. I'd rather buy a PC. Oh, right. They're all PCs now.

    Me? Then buy me one. I can assure you, I'm never getting a Mac again... because as far as I'm concerned, Apple no longer makes Macintoshes. I mean, look at it reasonably. Do you really consider a machine with an Intel processor, motherboard/chipset, all non-proprietary hardware and alien-sounding attributes like "EFI" a Macintosh? Oh, right, it's the OS that makes it. Unix. I like Mac OS X, but there are a lot of things it's missing the Mac OS 9 had.

    I'd rather build my own PC. Soon enough I'll be able to make one with 8 cores if I care to... and clock it a lot higher than anything Apple offers- with a much, much nicer (and less expensive) graphics card, faster, less expensive RAM, and as many drives as I please. I find living with fewer than two rather difficult, so it's just as well.

    But I like OS X, not windows. So I'll run that on the PC instead.

    Wow I'm bored... =/
     

Share This Page