nMP vs PowerMac G4 Cube

shanshor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 4, 2008
227
82
To me, this seems to be a repeat of the PowerMac G4 Cube. Lots of power, shrunk package, hella expensive, no expandability. What's different this time around?
 

DesterWallaboo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2003
518
726
Western USA
To me, this seems to be a repeat of the PowerMac G4 Cube. Lots of power, shrunk package, hella expensive, no expandability. What's different this time around?
Mac Pro is a workstation-class machine for people that need workstation-class performance. G4 cube was a consumer machine with consumer performance.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,278
2,702
Delaware
The cube was expensive without added value
Cost to performance ratio was way too high, compared to competition, which even Apple continued to provide with other PowerMac towers. There was no real expectation of good sales, I think.

The nMP is high in cost, yet a good value...
Cost to performance appears to be leading to good interest, despite what some may say is high price.
So, the difference, IMHO, is that Apple seems to be moving with the nMP to whatever the future of the "pro" system has for them.
People seem to be moving forward with a system that is distinctly different from what Apple (or anyone else) has had before.
Outside of being an amazingly small system, the nMP is just not a repeat of the Cube.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,628
4,628
The Peninsula
What's different this time around?
Tim doesn't control the RDF - not that that saved the Cube....

Seriously, we don't know how where the new Mini Pro is headed. The demand for the Cube far outstripped supply right after the introduction - but soon dropped off once the day 1 demand was met. Early sales for the new Mini Pro don't mean that demand will continue.

And when Apple introduced the Cube, they didn't cancel all the other desktops months before. Today they could easily have updated the cheese grater with Ivy Bridge, and added the Tube.

There was no need to burn the bridges....
 
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sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,195
513
The Cube was not readily expandable. The Tube is extraordinarily expandable, thanks to the Thunderbolt interface, which provides practically limitless expansion of the PCIe bus.

The Cube was pretty but not shockingly powerful for its day. The Tube is shockingly powerful.
 

ZnU

macrumors regular
May 24, 2006
171
0
To me, this seems to be a repeat of the PowerMac G4 Cube. Lots of power, shrunk package, hella expensive, no expandability. What's different this time around?
The entire technological and market context into which this machine is being sold is different. Among other things:

  • The Mac Pro now sells to a different audience. Most people who used to buy Power Macs probably now have MacBook Pros. The people left buying Apple towers are concentrated in fewer markets, and are demonstrably willing to spend more money (Mac tower prices having been creeping up for years).
  • Thunderbolt 2 is far more plausible as a replacement for internal expansion now than FireWire 400 was at the time.
  • The workstation market is (or at least Apple believes it is) poised on the cusp of a change in emphasis from CPU scaling to GPU scaling that this machine is designed to capitalize on. No analogous situation applied with the Cube.
 

calaverasgrande

macrumors 65816
Oct 18, 2010
1,291
161
Brooklyn, New York.
Tim doesn't control the RDF - not that that saved the Cube....

Seriously, we don't know how where the new Mini Pro is headed. The demand for the Cube far outstripped supply right after the introduction - but soon dropped off once the day 1 demand was met. Early sales for the new Mini Pro don't mean that demand will continue.

And when Apple introduced the Cube, they didn't cancel all the other desktops months before. Today they could easily have updated the cheese grater with Ivy Bridge, and added the Tube.

There was no need to burn the bridges....
as it is currently designed, they can't sell the classic Mac Pro in the EU.
 

lesferdinand

macrumors regular
Dec 17, 2013
143
0
There was no need to burn the bridges....
Couldn't disagree more. If Apple truly believes that the nMP is the way forward for workstations, the dumbest thing they could have done was to hedge their bets. It would have weakened the nMP through less software support for the GCGPU model as 1) Apple wouldn't have sent a clear message that that is where they see the industry is headed; and 2) by fracturing the market, less nMP's would be sold.
 

azentropy

macrumors 68020
Jul 19, 2002
2,414
1,565
Surprise
To me, this seems to be a repeat of the PowerMac G4 Cube. Lots of power, shrunk package, hella expensive, no expandability. What's different this time around?
The difference is that they did away with the choice of a full tower this time.
 

ScottishCaptain

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
473
To me, this seems to be a repeat of the PowerMac G4 Cube. Lots of power, shrunk package, hella expensive, no expandability. What's different this time around?
What's different? They discontinued all the former towers in a pathetic attempt to ensure success. Apparently they have learned from their previous mistakes.

-SC
 

smallwonder

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2013
13
4
I bought a Cube when it first came out. Actually I bought 2, primarily because it was quiet which for me was a priority at the time. All you heard was the sound of the hard drive. It worked fine, until I soon outgrew it's limited expansion.

Sure, I can plug lots and expand the SHINY Blingy nMP with drives & whatnot- ---------- spr e a d ------ all o v e r --- the ---top ---and -------- u n de r------- the---------------desk, but why?? I'd much prefer a tower with roomy internal expansion (thunderbolt or otherwise) placed under the desk, out of sight and out of the way.
If I had the nMP sitting on my desk, it may accidentally be used as an ashtray. Someone will also likely clip one of those car air fresheners to it..... Guess the nMP just wasn't meant for me.
 

sirio76

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2013
342
101
The nMP will fail like the g4cube, just the way the iPad failed after the Newton.
Time will tell.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,694
33,582
Boston
To me, this seems to be a repeat of the PowerMac G4 Cube. Lots of power, shrunk package, hella expensive, no expandability. What's different this time around?
The difference this time, is that you can upgrade the GPU and CPU and there is thunderbolt that makes external drives feasible.

I don't disagree with the comparison, but I think the computing industry as changed since the G4 cube was introduced and while there are similarities, there's enough differences to make the nMP succeed.

----------

And when Apple introduced the Cube, they didn't cancel all the other desktops months before. Today they could easily have updated the cheese grater with Ivy Bridge, and added the Tube.
This was one of the major criticisms on the G4 cube - why spend all that money on the cube when you could get an expandable PowerMac. Apple did hear those complaints and reduced the price of the G4 Cube but at that point it was too little too late.
 

-hh

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2001
2,528
324
NJ Highlands, Earth
The Cube was not readily expandable.
Sure it was: it had FireWire and USB ... the nMP still has USB, and TB pretty much is what FW should have had grown to by now (TB is only 4x FW3200, which was announced a half-decade ago), had Apple actually adopted anything newer than 2002 technology (yes, that's how old FW800 is).

The Cube was pretty but not shockingly powerful for its day. The Tube is shockingly powerful.
Where the definition of 'shocking' are benchmarks typically less than ~15% higher than their existing equivalent "old" Mac Pros.

Granted, the potential in the nMP is in massive GPU performance, but that's going to have to wait for software to catch up ... and in several significant use cases, lacks CUDA. Time will tell if Apple chose Betamax over VHS. In the meantime, for some other use cases (minimal multithreading support, such as Adobe Photoshop), the iMac delivers performance parity for substantially less. Objectively, it is hard to conclude that the nMP really is a 'Home Run', except for the very specific customer niche of 4K video.


-hh
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,909
1,194
Washington DC
hella expensive
...
What's different this time around?
Well, there's your problem. It's not hella expensive.

Don't believe me? Take a look, the new Mac Pro did not come with a massive price increase:



A bump, yeah, but I don't think you meant "a bump" when you used the word "hella."

The Cube, on the other hand, sold for about the same price as the better PowerMac towers that was still being sold alongside it. It had to face that comparison each time someone considered buying one.

That's a totally different situation than replacing one model with a similarly-priced newer model.
 

ZnU

macrumors regular
May 24, 2006
171
0
Granted, the potential in the nMP is in massive GPU performance, but that's going to have to wait for software to catch up ...
I guess I should be more sympathetic to people whose primary app isn't DaVinci Resolve, but it's hard to be sympathetic when they're quite as pleased as I presently am. Resolve may hold the title for the first app on the platform that could use (and indeed originally required) multiple GPUs, and Blackmagic has been doing their homework on OpenCL and is ready for this machine from day one. So I, for one I'm not waiting for software. I have been waiting for hardware, though. This hardware.

and in several significant use cases, lacks CUDA. Time will tell if Apple chose Betamax over VHS.
There's basically no chance of CUDA coming out on top in the long run if it remains an NVIDIA exclusive. Moreover, even if OpenCL somehow was a horrible mistake here, the basic concept of this new design just relies on the GPU being central, not on OpenCL in particular. Next year's model could use NVIDIA GPUs if it came to it.

Apple's central bet on GPU over CPU over the next decade is very unlikely to miss the mark. Unless maybe something like Intel's Many Integrated Core architecture eventually just eliminates CPU/GPU distinctions entirely at some point, in which case I'm sure Apple will be happy to design an even tinier machine with one massively powerful many-core x86 chip :D
 

8CoreWhore

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
2,280
398
Big D
There's a difference between "no expandability" and "I can't afford to expand it."

It's two different things. Let's stop this misinformation.

The nMP has tons more expansion capabilities with TB2.

If you want to say TB is costly, fine. If you want to say, "internally", fine. But it's wrong to say "no expandability".
 
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