My Idea for a New Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tamvly, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. tamvly macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    OK, I follow the "what is happening with the new Pac Pro, if there is one" threads as much as anyone. Many are informative and fun to read, some not so much. While many of the folks who use this particular beast seem to have have legitimate needs for 12 or 16 threaded monsters, my needs are more humble. And I suspect a lot of folks are in the same position. For the record, I am currently using a Mac Pro 3,1 at 2.8 GHz (still a very capable machine).

    I like the idea of upgradeability and having lots of internal storage options. Plus, I want to have the choice of monitors. Glossy per the iMac? No thanks. So here's my idea of a new Mac Pro, noting than none of this is actually likely to happen.

    Processor: 1x4 or, preferably, 1x6 with as fast a clock speed as possible. I have no need for 2x configurations. Zeon? I really don't care.

    Memory: enough room for 32GB.

    Storage: room for 2 SSDs and at least one HDD, although two would be better. Let's me run the OS and most User data on SSDs (don't see a reason to put my 200 GB of iTunes on an SSD), a Boot Camp partition on one HDD and Time Machine on the other. I'd be happy if the HDD were 2 1/2" to save on space.

    Superdrive: One is sufficient, two is a waste of space.

    Bluetooth: I suppose, although I can always use USB connections.

    Ethernet: Wireless, couldn't care less. CAT5 works for me.

    Connections: 2 TB (non-video, because I might want them in the future), and a few USB3. And of course, the usual assortment of audio in and out and whatever.

    Expansion Cards: two slots, one for a video card and another for, well, something else.

    Video: don't really care as I don't play games. Just need support for two 30" monitors. Don't need HDMI.

    Cabinet: I love my Mac Pro and would be happy with the current design, but I am wondering (probably not, but I'd be thrilled) if all the above could fit into an enclosure roughly the size of a Mac IIci (my first Apple system).

    So there you have it ... I'd take delivery tomorrow. Let the rants and criticisms begin ...
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    NO. This was my biggest complaint about the G5 and most Power Macs. Two drives is nice. I don't often use both at the same time, but when I do, it's a life saver. Actual video oriented pros probably use this config more often.

    Doesn't Apple already market for this with the 5770? Same with the 120 on the last Mac Pro. The 120 certainly was NOT a gaming card.
  3. tamvly thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    Two Superdrives? OK then the tamvly configuration isn't for you. I have never used two at a time.

    As I meant to imply, a decent video card is all I need as long as it supports two monitors well.

    And BTW, forgot to mention SATA6 for those new super-speedy SSDs.
  4. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Customers already have thousands of monitors to choose from that are available in the market.

    The "Zeon" that you're talking about is available today in the configuration you mentioned "1x6 with as fast a clock speed as possible". The 3.33GHz 6 core Westmere has been available for over a year. Also many customers require 2x configurations so I wouldn't ever expect them to be discontinued.

    Again this has been available in the current gen Mac Pro for over a year.

    Mac Pros have had 4 HDD bays since 2006. Not really sure how this is an idea for a new Mac Pro.

    2 Super Drives are not a waste of space. If you only want one they come with 1 as the standard configuration and have since 2006.

    Thunderbolt and USB 3 is totally valid and I expect to see at least Thunderbolt in the next generation Mac Pro.

    Mac Pros already have expansion slots and also have the capability to run 2x30" displays.

    People have to realize that the beauty of the chassis design depends not on how it looks from the outside but on how the internals are arranged when you take the door cover off. It really works great for upgrades. I hope they don't change it unless of course they find a way to improve it. All that and I'm still not really sure what's the point of this thread :eek:
  5. d-m-a-x macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    I love the 2 superdrives, but I would not mind them being external. What i will not do without is a xeon processor. That is the main reason i use Mac Pro
  6. tamvly thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    Why Zeon?


    I guess I might have been more specific.

    While I certainly like the current Mac Pro, I also would consider a smaller cabinet. Hence the absence of two Superdrives (which I would never use) and smaller disks and limited expansion. Dare I suggest this might actually cost less?

    As I said in my opening post, this isn't for everyone. But I would wager that lots of folks would vote with their $ for something like this. YMMV.
  7. ActionableMango, Oct 28, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011

    ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    That isn't a Mac Pro. You've just described a small or mid-tower desktop PC. People have been asking for that for at least 273 years.
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Clearly the Mac Pro isn't for you. :p
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Nothing from Apple would be (exactly as the OP depicts), as they don't sell sell an LGA1155 based system that has a couple of PCIe slots.

    A Thunderbolt equipped iMac could suffice though, if the OP is willing to deal with external TB solutions, an embedded GPU, and a built-in glossy monitor.
  10. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    And I think that's a decent point. What the OP is looking for is not the Mac Pro, but a different product entirely. Which is ok, but not a Mac Pro replacement.

    The specs the OP is talking about are honestly sub-Macbook Pro.
  11. deconstruct60, Oct 28, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009

    One solution to getting a matte iMac introduced is to ask for it. Instead of asking for yet another Mac product whose primary purpose is to cannibalize the iMac sales.

    Except for the 3 2.5" drives ( 2 SSD & 1 HDD ) the bulk of this could be done with a iMac chassis with slightly different mix of components than those that ship now. If willing to attach an external box or two ( second SSD and/or HDD in external box ).

    check, iMac ....

    check iMac ....

    one SSD and one HDD check iMac ( actually if went with two DIMMs like SSDs could be done if toss the optical drive ).

    check iMac ..... although.... most likely these are going to disappear from all Macs over next year or two. These have likely been 'steve'd' . External optical drive if they do if really need one.

    check iMac

    check iMac ( as long as don't need jumbo frames. but again easily fixable if Apple just chooses the right components to put into the box. )

    check iMac ( or next iMac update to weave in USB 3. Perhaps a bit lacking on digital audio in/out but can be added via USB 3, FW, and/or TB )

    qualified miss. "Something else" ... as long as that is pedestrian x4 PCI-e bandwidth that can be done over TB. If "something else" is a 10Gb Ethernet card or the like, then have problem.

    Not particularly out of reach of an iMac update (e.g. 2GB VRAM and updated GPU). Really need 30" or the old Apple 30" resolution (2560 x 1600) ?

    TB would need an update to mimic DisplayPort 1.2's "dual-link" functionality or another Dual-link socket on the back. Run into problems if want 2560 x 1600 and 30 bit per pixel (e.g., two large high gamut displays).

    As long as the CPU and memory demands are static over time.... there is no case needed. What will happen is those components will shrink over time till they can easily be stuffed into the same "cabinet" that one of the large displays is encased in.

    since have "freed up" space but utilizing the vertical space the monitor was going to take anyway, now can use the room that "IIci" case would take up for an expansion box (or two). For example extra drives ( SSD, HDD, ODD) and minor additional ports ( 2nd Ethernet , legacy FW , etc.) or slots ( slightly better video card).

    People whose problems are statically sized and are price sensitive will be heading to iMac land over time. You can spend your time requesting that Apple produce a product whose whole intent is to cannibalize the iMac's price range or you can get the features you need weaved into the iMac.

    The Mac Pro is for folks whose workloads are getting bigger over time. Static (and relative low growth ) workloads will move down the product line. Or out to Windows PC land.

    This "it has to be a box like my first computer was" mentality is going to loose when it comes to dealing with Apple. Apple isn't wedded to the past. The Mac Pro's case is relatively static for last several years because the functionality it needed to deliver didn't change... not because "it has to be a box with slots".

    P.S. As others pointed out this also is a good fit for the current Mac Pro. Unless the price is the primary but implied issue. The upcoming E5 1620 has 4 cores and higher GHz than have been seen at the entry level. Has 4 slots ( not all that many more than 2 ). Probably will dump at least one if not both ODD slots to shrink the height (to make the case more rack friendly by shaving off 4 inches or so that primarily the handles add). Xeon and ECC memory isn't what is boosting the price significantly if want the basically equivalent performance without resorting to overclocking gimmicks.
  12. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Honestly, the IIci the OP compared too was not the best form factor. I liked the 7X00 series, which was similar to the IIci, yet smaller, and had three removable media drive bays, and three PCI slots.

    The biggest issues with the size of the Mac Pro isn't really the drives or the PCI cards, it's the cooling requirements. The G5 had the same issue. The difference between today's machines and the 7300 is that processor cooling needs have increased exponentially.

    The Intel XServe is the perfect example of this, actually. Yes, it was thin because they stripped out the full height ODD and the PCI slots, but as a result, it sounded like a banshee when it was on because the smaller space significantly impacted the cooling requirements more than anything.
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    No. ci size (HxWxD): 5.5" x 11.9" x 14.5"

    7300 size (HxWxD): 6.15" x 14.4" x 16.9"

    Hardly fair since II ci predates widespread usage of CD-ROMs. So they both share floppy drives. ( which is dead) and the other had a CD-ROM (which is dead media walking at Apple ).




    Those 3.5" slots are only good for floppy disks. Likewise the CD ROM slot. The third (on the 7300) typically would be not used.

    so has speed. An iPhone would run circles around a 7300. 200MHz PPC. That is the clock gap between the Xeon E5 models being discussed.

    However, the Mac mini is smaller than those boxes. 1.4" x 7.7" x 7.7"
    So no hasn't.... depends upon how much performance you want to put into the box.

    It didn't impact the cooling requirements. The amount of air you need to move through the box is the same: cubic inches per minute. The issue is whether you move a large amount of air at moderate speeds over time or a smaller amount at higher speeds. You either have large bladed fan you run quietyly or you have a small blade you spin like a turbo jet.

    it is like F = m * a . You can generate same force by either boosting/lowering the mass or the acceleration.
  14. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I'm not sure what you mean. Your own post talks about how the case size impacted cooling requirements. Because the volume of air that was in the case at once was less, more air needed to be forced through which increased the fan speed and the noise.
  15. Tutor, Oct 28, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011

    Tutor macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    As you already have a Mac that serves, wait for this Sandy Bridge Xeon to round the curve:

    Xeon E5-1620 4 cores 8 threads nonturbo-3.6 GHz turbo-3.9 GHz Cache-10 MB TDP-130Watt CPU price-$294.

    Mac it as a refurb (or Hac it if you've got the nerve) and stack it as it deserves.
  16. d-m-a-x macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    I'd rather have a big gun and not need it, than need a big gun and not have one
  17. tamvly thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    After reading the replies to my post I have the following observations.

    I suppose, in retrospect, what I was proposing was a small form factor desktop substantially more capable than a mini. As one person pointed out, this has been requested 273 times. My reasoning is that such a machine, with more limited expansion and performance capabilities, might be less expensive than the current Mac Pro. It's probably not going to happen. Oh, well.

    To the person who suggested that an iMac reasonable satisfies my needs, no thanks. I don't want the crappy Apple display nor do I want to pay for a new display if I ever wanted to upgrade. Nor do I want a machine with severely limited internal upgrades possibilities.

    I still haven't seen a good rationale for why I need a Zeon.

    Yup, I am satisfied with my current Mac Pro. And I'll wait patiently for the next revision - probably a six core. Seems to make sense it would have SATA 3 and TB and an array of decent video options. Anyway, bring it on.
  18. DeeEss macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2011
    Am I missing something? Apart from the TB and obviously the case you've pretty much described the current 6 core which is deliverable tomorrow.
  19. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    No. That's not what I said. The requirements are the same. I'll try another example. If you have a processor that has a 130W TDP then whether you put it in a small thin case or a wider and taller case the TDP is the same. The heat coming out of the processor package has to do with the power being consumed. How you get rid of that heat is an implementation issue; not a requirement.

    If the static physical volume of air around the processor is small then you need to push the air through faster to achieve a fixed amount of cubic cm(or inches) per minute. The fixed amount is coming from the TDP. The static volume of air is akin to mass and the rate at which you push through is akin to acceleration ( yeah acc and velocity are not the same but they are both motion). You can push a large mass "slowly" or a small mass "quickly" to get the same volume flow rate.

    If the XServe had placed larger radial fans into the case in place of two or more of the HDD slots that would have reduced the noise levels. Same case. Same TDP. Different implementation.

    Similarly, a better heat transfer medium (e.g., water, flourinert , etc. ) could allow to punt the dissipation problem out of the case with limited volume. That just kind of kicks the problem to a new location.

    Taking away PCI-e slots doesn't really do much to increase the problem. In fact, adding the slots actually raises the dissipation requirements since each of those possible cards is also kicking off heat. Removing heat sources is largely decoupled issue to solving the CPU package heat problem. The only impact is that could use space/resources the others would have consumed and additionally apply those the the CPU package.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The issue is, Apple offers a limited product range, and what you want exactly isn't offered.

    So it's either an iMac (which you hadn't listed reasoning behind why you would exclude it), or a Mac Pro, which is technically speaking, overkill.

    As per Xeons, the reason those are used vs. consumer grade i7's, is it's the only way to get a DP system. Since the SP Xeons are essentially identical to the consumer i7 counterparts, and costs near or are the same (bit more for ECC memory for example, but not by much), it makes sense to go ahead and use them, as the ECC capabilities can attract more customers (those that require ECC).

    Now is running a Xeon CPU important to the needs/desires you've posted? No.

    But it doesn't hurt you either, and it's not costing you additional funds vs. if Apple used consumer i7's in the SP Mac Pros (which is possible; some members that didn't need Xeons and wanted more cores placed an X-980 in the CPU socket of a base 2010 Quad core, and is now also possible to do on a 2009 model with the hacked Firmware Update Utility).

    If it's funds, then the Mac Pro isn't an option to begin with, as their SP models sell for ~$1k USD higher than other vendors SP based Xeons, and the consumer systems as well (might be a tad more expensive than the consumer model, depending on what you're doing).

    But as an LGA1155 system would suffice, the savings would be much higher if you bought a PC based on this socket. But you'd have to sacrifice something (either OS X, or deal with a hackintosh method to run it = software support is on you).

    Apple just doesn't make what you want, and you're not alone in the desire for such a system. But it doesn't appear Apple has any interest in selling such a system, as it would cut into the iMac's sales too much.
  21. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    If you really don't care much for performance then you will have a problem finding a "good" rationale.

    It is ironic that the iMac is "evil" because it has embedded components and yet the entry-to-mid range Core i processors with integrated graphics are OK. The E5 range Xeon processors will probably be the second to last Intel CPU packages to get integrated graphics (the E7 being the last). That means the whole transistor budget is devoted to x86 cores and associated high speed I/O (keeping the cores feed).

    If you want a "Core i" product that doesn't have integrated graphics you are basically buying a rebranded Xeon part with some of the functionality turned off (**). There is zero to relatively minor price difference in cost. You get less functionality which is present in the chip for in many cases the same amount of money. Get less for the same price as get more... yeah that's a bargain.

    The Mac Pro would not suddenly sink in price to upper range iMac zone ($1500-$20000 ) if Apple shifted to "extreme" Core i7 parts and stay on the leading edge of what Intel offers.

    The E5 1620 has exactly what you were asking for in 4 cores and higher end clock speed. It will cost $294. Exactly what the E3530 costs in the $2,499 Mac Pro. If used a part $70 cheaper the Mac Pro price would be $2,399. If Apple found a truckload of "free" CPUs lying on the floor (-$294) , the Mac Pro would be would be $2,299.

    Similarly there are spin posts about how the ECC memory in the Mac Pro highly inflates the system price. Not. Again it is puzzling to see folks tag systems as needing mid double digits of GBs of RAM but then willing to throw data integrity under the bus for a relatively small number of dollars. The more memory you have the more likely you need ECC. Bulk means occasion errors. The cost difference isn't going to push you into the iMac range either.

    ** The one feature Intel may turn on in a "Core i" part is overclocking. That is a questionable feature if going to keep the box for several years. For users with tech attention deficit disorder ... sure. In 1-2 years they'll dump the box for the next gen's bleeding edge box. And how many top 5 PC vendors sell fully supported, enterprise class, overclocked boxes ?
  22. gglockner macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    Bottom line:

    - Apple doesn't offer as many options as PC manufacturers like Dell.
    - Desktop Macs come in 3 flavors: low-end Mac Mini, integrated iMac and Mac Pro.
    - I see no chance Apple will introduce a mid-grade desktop Mac without the integrated display. The growth area is mobile and notebooks, not desktops.
    - The OP's choice is either (a) to deal with the compromises of an iMac or Mac Mini or (b) to pay the premium for a Mac Pro and realize that it has some features that you don't want. If it's really a work tool, the extra cost is justified; if it's for fun, well there you go.
  23. tamvly thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    Sure I did. I don't want Apple's crummy (IMHO) glossy monitor used in the iMac. I already have two monitors that work fine for me.

    Exactly. I don't need a DP system and, therefore, I don't want to pay for the capability that I won't use. If it's a push, then I'm fine with Zeon, except for any delay in availability.

    Since it is very unlikely that I'll get my ideal system, I'll just wait for the 2012 MP and order a 6 core SP.
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I was only looking at the immediate post I was responding to, not the entire thread (went back and saw it was there in the OP). :eek:

    As per your reasons, I understand, and don't want a glossy monitor either (but I do need workstations, so it's moot anyway as they don't have built-in monitors).

    Xeon isn't costing you more money though vs. an i7 on the same socket, same core count, and same frequency (i.e. 980X vs. W3680) for SP systems.

    DP models do cost more (part of this is on Intel, as they charge a premium to add the second QPI channel needed for DP operation), but as your not purchasing those, it's a non-issue in your case.

    In the sense you are paying more, is the fact you could get away with an LGA1155 part rather than an LGA1366 part. Which Apple unfortunately, does not offer in a system equipped with PCIe slots.

    So if you need PCIe slots, the Mac Pro is all they offer, and has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they're running Xeons or the equivalent i7's (published quantity pricing is the same).
  25. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    At this point though, there is a difference between "need PCI-e expansion" and "need PCI-e slot form factor expansion" . There are many people still stuck on the physical form factor and not the core benefits of the PCI-e solution.

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