New Mac Pro; Supercomputer on the cheap?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Cubemmal, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Something I want to start working with is massively parallel computation, and the new Mac Pro would be a good candidate for that. Meanwhile I was reading an article about a former teacher of mine Andrew Ng about a paper he wrote on how you can build Googles $1M artificial brain on the cheap (see link above).

    What they did is outfit a bunch of workstations with Nvidia graphics for $20,000.

    It's not clear if they are saying the GPU's are 1TFLOP or the workstation is 1TFLOP.

    At any rate the new mac pro they showed is at 7 TFLOPS I believe, making it quite capable for deep learning algorithms. If it comes in at around $6 then it will be quite cheap too.
     
  2. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #2
    I'm sure if that's what you want, you could do a lot more for cheaper with non-Apple hardware. I take what you quoted to mean that each GTX680 does 1 TFlOps. Therefore, each server does 4 TFlOps.

    A new Mac Pro should do between 7 and 8 TFlOps, with 2 W9000's. But so would a standard desktop PC with two HD7970's. And as far as I can tell, they are around 500 bucks each. So you could probably assemble your own PC with FOUR 7970's, a cheap CPU, and everything else, for probably $3-4K. And that would outperform the new MacPro.

    So yes, the new Mac Pro would be a cheap supercomputer, but you could certainly build your own a lot cheaper.
     
  3. Tutor macrumors 65816

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    #3
    $6 is cheap, but $6,000 isn't cheap. Compare the two Fire Pros, yielding 7 TFLOPS (Single Precision) together, to this:

    One Radeon HD 7990 - $1,000: TFLOPS (Single-precision) - 8.2; TFLOPS (Double-precision) - 1.8 [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_ATI_graphics_processing_units ].

    The 2013/2014 Mac Pro should have two Radeon HD 7990s (for $2,000 - that's retail, not wholesale) to keep the price extra low and yield twice the performance.
     
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #4
    You're forgetting something...

    Remember, the 7990 is a dual-GPU card with an internal CrossFire arrangement for the GPUs. Historically, OS X has never supported CrossFire, so only one GPU would actually be visible to the OS, per card (so in essence, they essentially become 7970s). Even if that weren't the case, you'd still be looking at 375W TDP per card for 7990s (750W total). Somehow, I doubt the new Mac Pro would supply sufficient power for that.

    If cost cutting were a goal, Apple would be using dual 7950s or 7970s instead. The biggest advantage of using FirePros versus Radeons besides optimized drivers would be larger frame buffers (VRAM).
     
  5. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #5
    Yeah, IMO if the machine they showed at WWDC is $6k they will have just priced themselves completely out of the industry and there'll not be a 2015 model following it.

    That system is worth about $3.5K max and they're gonna need to shoot even below that if they intend to gain market share. By the time the MP6,1 releases we will be able to build the identical system (minus 4GB per GPU) for right around the $2K mark.
     
  6. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #6
    The retail value of a AMD FirePro W9000 is ~$3,100. So two is $6,200. So any other other system vendor that wants to match up cards is in a higher price zone ( the rest of the computer is going to cost more).

    AMD prices are a bit high and they too may be pricing themselves out of the industry. But $6K is well in the range what someone is going to pay for a relatively standard Nvidia Maximus solution also. $6K is not the unaligned with the market.

    It is also not going to be most of the market either.
     
  7. Tesselator, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #7
    That's why I said "minus 4GB per GPU" or were you selectively reading what I said so you could make a counter reply? The ATI cards they're using are effectively identical to the 7980's (minus the extra RAM) which will probably be selling for something like $375 by the time the MP6,1 ships.

    Sorry, $6k for what they showed at WWDC would kill the MacPro line. No one sane who wasn't a mega-fanboy would buy that for $6k.
     
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #8
    Which Mac Pro are you talking about? Here is what Apple talked about at WWDC and on their current web page

    " ... Not only does it feature a state-of-the-art AMD FirePro workstation-class GPU with up to 6GB of dedicated VRAM — it features two of them. ... "

    They basically laid out no hard details on what the lower end of the GPU options would be.
     
  9. Tesselator, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #9
    Yes I realize that. And they also cut costs in every other department. Single CPU, no SATA, no expensive case, no drive cage - backplane - or sliders, half sized PSU, completely gone is the main-board all together, one forth the number of system fans, the entire fabrication process has been ultra streamlined for robotic lines, even these magic "fire-pro" cards are coming in without heat-sinks, fans, and other various parts - not to mention the fact that what they showed is basically no longer user serviceable. They essentially applied iPod logic to the entire MacPro platform; make it for as little as possible and sell it for as much as they can. The only deal with that in opposition to your defense of "$6K" is that they can't actually sell it for $6K. If they try to they will lose 75% of their MP customer base with no one out there to replace them. Pretty much anyone with $6k or $7k in their budget knows they can totally get a much much stronger system than what Apple presented at WWDC for that amount. So either Apple has a line on a super bargain for the remade reformed fire pro cards or they'll have to come up with an alternative to represent the entry level.

    Hopefully Apple isn't so stupid as to think they can essentially cut the machine in half and then not only ask full price for it but also raise that price significantly. Even Apple's marketing isn't that good.
     
  10. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Where are you getting this "minus 4GB per GPU" and 7980s from? Apple specifically said AMD Firepro.

    Also, you've completely ignored the CPU in this argument. The price of that alone is going to be in the $2000 range.
     
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #11
    The mainboard is still logically there. It is about as serviable as it was in the current one effectively much larger now. There are probably 4 boards that hook to complete the logical whole.

    The PSU is likely not half sized in terms of output. W9000 cards have a TDP ~250-270W max. Even if Apple's custom thermal design and custom circuitry improves that by 10-20% it is still quite large ( 200-216W * 2 ==> 400-430W ). Throw in the 130W for the CPU and still north of 500W. Still haven't done power for USB 3.0 and TB socket ( those are part time power distribution systems ). There is overhead for the PSU ( 95% PSU at 600W is giving up ~32W in delivered power. Or adding ~34W TDP problem if that is the delivered rating.)


    The stuff that got dropped was largely relatively low powered. The second CPU slot was dropped for GPU card that is even higher powered. There is no 50% drop in power requirements.


    Higher than 1/4 since the GPU cards themselves had fans. Both the fans blowing at/away from the cards and the card fans are gone. The CPU effectively drops its two and you are also forgetting about the Power supply fan.

    The diameter is much larger now. Not double/triple size though.




    No longer serviceable. LOL. Not. There is a slide switch to open the case. There are screws plainly evident on the card retainers. The cards extremely likel plug into a base board since meet at right angles to it. (not many vertically L shaped since logical boards out there when looking at them from the side).

    Is there a 3rd party market for replacement parts? No. But that is hardly a definition of serviceable. At least with those not throwing FUD.



    Really? An iPod has DIMMs slots? An iPod as upgradeable discrete storage ? Not. An iPod has a fan? Not. An iPod has 11 sockets? Not.




    Because FirePro GPUs and top of the line Xeon E5 v2 are the hallmark of mass affordability. *cough*. Please.

    A completely full crock of male cow droppings. First, the Mac Pro has customers now at $6K prices for 12 core boxes. It is rather hard to imagine that they want have customers for this Mac Pro at roughly the same levels of price for just as many cores (and better overall substantially higher system computational compabilty. The current 12 cores get no where near 3TFOPs let alone 6-7TLFOPs for less than $6K ).

    Your are perpetrating a fraud that the exact high end specs that Apple talked about is what is going to be aimed at 75% of the market the new Mac Pro is going to go after. That wasn't the issue. The issue was what Apple did talk about and demo at WWDC. The subset of the aspects of what Apple talked about was the top-end, ultimate BTO Mac Pro. They said and demo nothing about the lower ends.

    Will there be lower end. Duh. The iMac has 4 different flavors of GPUs. Over time the MBP lines have typically had at least two. Apple has a long and established multi-year history of shipping 2 GPU systems with multiple configurations with at least a couple GPUs . There is exceedingly little rational reason not to expect them to also do so with the Mac Pro when they merge it with the notion that 2 GPUs standard is the way forward for the next several years worth of iterations.


    Not as much need for super bargin on custom FirePro as just not slap on a higher than necessary margin on top.


    If all did was take the $20-80 parts and left the $800-1800 parts in the price isn't going to change much.

    What is completely lost in all your handwaving is the relatively expensive parts they took out They did not. In some cases ( 2nd CPU for GPU + 4-6GB VRAM , Thunderbort Port for FW port ) the swapped in part is actually relatively higher; not lower. So the price isn't going to change radically.

    Small doesn't necessarily mean more inexpensive with electronics. That is fundamentally flawed thinking.
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #12
    OK, I'm wrong, the MP6,1 will start at around $6k...

    When should we hold the vigil for it's imminent and certain death?
     
  13. Tutor, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tutor macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Apple has neither the will nor the desire to do what it takes to gain MP market share. I'd be shocked if the top spec'd 2013/2014 system came in for under $12,000. Although I believe that the lowest spec'd 2013/2014 system will come in the range of $1,999 to $2,499, it'll be so watered down that the typing in 1200 point font will be on every wall - "RIP MP - the consumers have sprouted brains." At one time or another, the actions every major computer system manufacturer has convinced me to roll my own. I no longer even look to what their high end is as a basis for an identical DYI, but only as the minimum system config.
     
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #14
    Maybe, Maybe not.

    from the article

    " ... The new model is not that much smarter – or faster – than the original cat detector even though its neural net has a whopping 11 billion connections, or 10 times as many as its predecessor. ... "

    There is an alignment that the computations have to have with the GPGPU that is required. If not looking for fast or quick deep learning then perhaps the Mac Pro is a good fit. I haven't read Ng's paper yet but the amount of memory may or may not be best fit here depending upon what your Mac Pro budget is.

    From the above though it seems like better neuron modelling is needed just as much as more FLOPs . Sliipery slope of specializing the neuron so that only cat comes out (and not increase false positive rate ) and having a mechanism that can be leveraged to do other things.

    But generally yes. An relatively affordable "cluster in a single container" is what the Mac Pro is trying to be. So maximize the core count per space.
     
  15. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #15
    I don't think anyone is claiming it will start at $6k. Reading over this thread, it's obvious we're all talking about the configuration they talked about at WWDC. You even said so yourself...

    No one doubts there will be cheaper configurations, but the maxed out 12-core dual 6GB GPU model will certainly come at a premium.

    I'd be thrilled if it came in at some ultra-bargain price, but it seems a bit illogical to think otherwise at this point.
     
  16. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #16
    But that is likely primarily due to crackhead priced 128GB RAM and 1-1.25 TB SSD prices. Not the CPU or the GPUs. If you flip every single BTO maximum of course the price goes into looney toon land. That prices are for folks who have trapped themselves into a process of a single purchase order. They don't pay market prices since they choose to throw market forces out the window. It isn't going to cost any cheaper at the other major system vendors if throw the equivalent into their "mega box" container either.


    Watered down only if not looking at the overall computation potential of the box. The latent capability


    Primarily because you are not the market they are trying to sell to. Max config as a starting point is extremely indicative that they aren't really trying to sell to you. That says nothing about whether there is a much wider market at the lower configuration and lower price points.
     
  17. Tesselator, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #17
    Let's hope Apple cares. Do please remember that the geek delivering the information at WWDC said it will have two 6GB fire pro cards as a default configuration.

    Of course the same geek also said it has 6 firewire ports too tho, so... :p
     
  18. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #18
    I took that to mean dual GPUs were standard, not the 6GB specs.
     
  19. Tesselator, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #19
    WWDC quotes:
    "This is the first Mac ever that comes standard with dual workstation GPU's - AMD FirePro graphics in it."
    "You can have up to three 4K displays on the built-in dual workstation graphics."


    And I thought I perceived his brain thinking "default configuration" as he spoke the word "built-in". :D

    I kinda hope you're right tho! I personally have absolutely no use for more than about 512MB or maybe 1GB of VRAM and I want one of these new Macs for under $2.5K. :)

    Of course specs are subject to change without notice so this is a pretty casual conversation/concern - just fun to consider what is, what was said, and what may be. :)
     
  20. Tutor, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013

    Tutor macrumors 65816

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    #20
    The recent history of the computer retail industry reminds me of the Jack Sprat nursey rhyme:

    Jack Sprat could eat no fat
    His wife could eat no lean
    And so betwixt the two of them
    They licked the platter clean


    It's true that prior to the 2012 Mac Pro, Apple was not only price competitive at the high end (the fat), but I found them them to be less expensive than their greedy competitors who were and are on fatfull diets.


    Nope. Neither you nor I know what the exact computational potential of the low end box will be, but we can use history as a guide (and the base has been watered down). This is the area where Apple has not been price competitive traditionally, but I also acknowledge that this is where they have, in the past, eaten most of their meat - but even those lean sales were not completely filling. But doesn't this help spark the desire to self-upgrade as depicted by the numerous threads on how to due so (upgrading parts one has already paid for). I acknowledging that Apple sold more units at the low end at higher prices than its competitors. But that is like stating that the lion prefers his whole of the tiny field mouse rather than a just a leg of the antelope. Isn't the true reason why a true upgrade from Mac Pro 2010 has taken so long is that Apple wasn't satisfied with the tiny share of the overall market that it was eating? I believe that what Apple puts in that lowend cylinder and the price tag that they attach will determine whether Apple continues to hunt outside the iToy market.


    Although I'm now my own shepherd and Apple (as well Dell, HP and others) does no longer look to me for warm clothing and then my flesh, I was once sheep - a part of that much wider market - and it was the incessant shearing and calls to the slaughter pin that motivated the change. I am not so pessimistic about others' ability to learn the value of protecting their wool and staying off the platter at dinner time.
     
  21. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #21
    Yeah, that one threw me for a loop after looking and seeing none.
     
  22. Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #22
    Yeah, there were a few times where we had to read over the top and into what he was saying - cuz it was apparent on several occasions he didn't actually know and several occasions where he knew but misspoke. The "firewire" one was a misspeak - which actually stemmed from something he doesn't fully understand about the interface - which he revealed by something he said a bit earlier. That will happen. I do this from time to time in class lectures myself.
     
  23. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #23
    I was quite disappointed that there is no FireWire (without TB adaptor). I know it's the normal progression of things, but I have quite a bit of Video/Audio equipment that I use and have no intentions of replacing. It's all academic for me anyway. I'll be sticking with 5.1 for years.
     
  24. Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #24
    Yeah, we're off topic now but I'm with you on that. If I were on anything newer than the MP3,1 I wouldn't consider the MP6,1 unless my business were going extremely well!
     
  25. drsox macrumors 65816

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    #25
    So what if anything have you learned from the responses to your question ? I too might do the same just for an interest in parallel programming.
     

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