Putting new Mac Pro myths to rest

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Cubemmal, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Cubemmal, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013

    Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    I keep hearing the same tired tropes from people who are believing the Apple marketing hype on the new Mac Pro and want to make some points here that are absolutely clear.

    First of all, Apple is clearly on a marketing blitz to present the new Mac Pro as some super computer. The black polished case, the "FirePro" graphics, and Phil Shiller rattled off the high end specs in a way that Jobs would not have done. Why is Apple making the case the new Mac Pro is a computing monster? Obviously because of the new, non upgradable diminutive size. They have to convince everybody this is not just as powerful as the old Mac Pro, but more so. Secondarily, the knew the specs on the new Xeons was not a big improvement from previous gen (the power comes from multiple GPUs) so there too they have to convince us since single proc is the only option.

    So, the myths ...

    • The machine is using FirePro cards. This is pure marketing hype, the machine isn't using any cards at all. It's using AMD consumer chips on a custom board, just as the FirePro graphics cards do. All that makes a FirePro a FirePro is the driver, and Apple has all it's own drivers. All Apple is buying from AMD is consumer chips and maybe some support silicon.
    • The machine is using expensive parts. Other than the Xeon chip the machine is using cheap parts. Cheap AMD consumer graphics chips, cheap SSD assembly which they use in Macbook Air consumer computers, fewer parts overall as they've ditched everything possible.
    • It has to be more expensive. This small cylinder is cheaper to manufacture due to a smaller BOM (Bill Of Materials), guaranteed. With a usual 10x markup the BOM has an enormous effect on final price.
    • Apple doesn't care about pricing. This one is really stupid. Apple is a consumer device company now, do you really think they'll price this in the stratosphere, especially considering what was said above? If anything they want to bring the price down so as to sell on volume, which is how they operate on every other product line. Price drops are more likely than any price increase.
    • Apple cares about the "pros". This one is a bit of a stretch, but I don't think Apple really cares about pros anymore. Again, it is pure marketing hype. From a physical standpoint I see a machine that is a step back from the old Mac Pro (less internally configurable) with a lot of marketing to convince us otherwise. Their behavior on the old Mac Pro (unbelievable waits between upgrades) and FCP demonstrates how much they care about the tiny professional market. Apple cares about consumers and this looks like a high end consumer (prosumer) computer.

    These are the facts. Anything further is speculation, but as I've written elsewhere I expect a machine that is priced at or below current prices due to all these factors.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    What a lot of tripe.

    Yes, they are using FirePro cards. Sure, they're not the FirePro cards you can buy, but if they're the same chips, just on a different board, it's still the same damn graphics card. Doesn't make the performance less.

    Umm, definitely using expensive parts. 1.5GB/s PCIe SSD? That's double the speed of the transfer speeds in the MacBook Air. Just because they don't come on a PCI card you can buy as a consumer doesn't mean that it's any less expensive to manufacture.

    I doubt the case is cheaper. Have you seen the design? The parts and cost to manufacture will be higher, especially when considering it's made exclusively in the US. Smaller does not mean cheaper. I imagine manufacturing the old cheese grater aluminium cases would be cheaper.

    And if you're a 'Pro' you'll have everything through external devices. The flash storage on the new Mac Pro is quicker than if you put two SSDs in RAID 0 through SATA.
  3. Cubemmal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    I take the engine of a Ferrari and put it in a VW, what do you have? AMD FirePro chips are the same as the consumer chips, they did not spin up a new Foundry just for their low sales professional market. Why is that hard to understand?

    Correction - yes it's a faster SSD so add that in with the Xeon as the only upgraded parts. Big deal.

    Here's the tripe. Do a back of the envelope BOM. No CDROM, not big boards, no fancy aluminum case, cables, etc. It all adds up. Hardware engineers FREAK about the BOM as with a 10x end price just pennies make a difference. New polished stamped aluminum cylinder? Piffle.

    WTF does that have to do with anything I talked about?
  4. deconstruct60, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Chuckle. This seems like a bigger myth generator than a Mythbuster.

    Which Apple didn't use. The current Mac Pro to new Mac Pro for the single CPU model (i.e., the only one left) will be jumping up 3 generations (for entry level. and 2 for rest of line up). Revolutionary improvement? No. Substantial evolutionary improvement? Yes.

    By whom?

    Switching between the adjectives card to board isn't much of a difference. Apple is using a custom card/board as opposed to a standard format card/board is true. Apple is not using a card/board at all means the first and second sentence here are in conflict.

    Actually not. GPU chip vendors do the low level drivers. Apple does the higher end of the stack, but the foudational levels are reportedly contracted.

    Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that Apple will ship these without BootCamp drivers to be used in Windows mode.

    What there won't be is separate drivers from the rest of the Mac drivers. That Windows mystique that there is a whole separate driver and support stack for FirePro isn't done for OS X. Everyone gets "pro" (non gamer) optimized drivers whether you get a MBA 11" , Mac Mini , or Mac Pro. That is nothing new so hardly a myth created by the new Mac Pro.

    However Apple is likely not going to provide the same warranty that the AMD FirePro card gets. ( in that respect they can't well support a demand for the same value add markup for that service. )

    The RAM supported by the consumer and Pro version of the chip packages is different. Like the Core i7 39xx and Xeon E5 1600 v1 series share a common implementation elements certain features a flipped on/off inside the package so they are pragmatically different.

    Cow manure. Where are the cheap PCI-e only SSD drives that are cheap?
    The lastest high speed DDR3 ECC DIMMs aren't cheap. Not outrageously expensive but is a goofy adjective for that context. Two rather than just one GPU would be extremely hard press to be a "cheap"; it is a cost increase. Can perhaps argue about the utility, but the BOM cost is more than significantly higher.

    Those are SSDs with a SATA interface. This one doesn't have a normal SATA interface. They aren't the same. Just because the form factor is similar says absolutely nothing about the components on the form factor.

    Like the case was a principle driver on the old or new costs. The markup is applied to all the components. Swapping out three $30 components and adding one $92 component means costs would likely increase.

    It is not the number of components that necessarily drives system costs. It is the collective cost of the components in the BOM.

    When did this become a pervasive myth?

    There have been "Apple's customer base is price insensitive" or "Tons of Mac Pro's selling for $6K all the time. " perhaps. but Apple doesn't really care about the price points?

    Apple is a company that is focused on people who actually buy products from them. Actually engage in consumption.

    The then current iPad has been the same price since introduction. The MBA 11" has been the same price since introduction. Since introduction of the Mac Pro model there has been a $2,499 priced model in most years since 2006. Entry Mac Pro has been > $2K since 2008. The 2009, 2010, 2012 entry model has been priced at $2,499.

    Apple, like most system builders, tweaks components to hit targeted price points. Apple has a habit of aiming at the same ones most years. ( swimming upstream of the general downward slide of the general PC industry). Mapping the general industry trend down to Apple is very often a myth and wrong.

    'I don't think' isn't really a mythbuster. It isn't necessarily "pros" but actually folks who actually buy things on a regular basis.

    What you see a machine that Apple isn't really targeting at you. If Apple targets others that doesn't mean there is no market there. If those folks gets their needs met then it is hardly purely hype.

    Depending upon what costs and markup is assigned to the GPU cards the price cost could rise a bit. But there is alot of flexibility between AMD's mark-up on the standard format cards and the minimal +30-35% Apple needs to hit corporate targets. Reductions by "smaller" can be wiped out by just setting the GPU margin appropriately. It still likely would be substantially lower than the standard card's margin.
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Well, each to their own. I personally think the new MP is a marvel of engineering. And if it's good enough for Pixar, I'm pretty sure it's good enough for most Pros.

    I just detected a touch of arrogance in your thread by naming it: "Putting new Mac Pro myths to rest" and the way you prattled your musings as being concrete fact.

    Like I said: good enough for Pixar, good enough for most, I'd say.

    Good day.
  6. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Wow really? "Putting to rest the myths"? Sounds more like you just made some stuff up based on assumption.

    I've said this in other threads and I'll say it again, the fact that Pixar, Black Magic and The Foundry are all praising this machine means its a fantastic, high end machine. I'm not sure if you saw the Pixar demo but the speed at which they were painting channels with an un-optimized Mari was astounding.
  7. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Firstly, the market for the Mac Pro, in any shape and size, is getting smaller.
    A great deal of professional work can be done without needing to move up to the Pro range.
    Print Publishing? Photoshop? Web design? Audio work? These are all pro tasks that might once have called for a top-end Mac, but now can be handled by Minis and iMacs, for the vast majority of cases.

    One area that always seems to require more power is video work. CGI rendering, animation, what-have-you. This machine is designed for that market, and will no doubt do well.

    Unfortunately, there will no doubt be people who currently use a Mac Pro who are not served well by this machine, compared to the old format. But they will be a small minority, and you can bet that the bean-counters at Apple have worked out who is going to buy the MacPro and who will not buy it.

    We've still seen very little info on the Pro (AFAIK). We don't know exactly what will be unplug-able; how much it will cost.
  8. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    Mythbuster "Barefeats" will put the new Mac Pro to some serious testing once it's out.

    Only then will we find out what are the myths and what are the facts.

    BTW... it will probably sell pretty well.
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Need to be careful in reading too much into what they say. First, if they don't find something good to say about the machine might be the last time they get extremely early access. At this point in time the "bad" stuff they will just tell Apple directly. When the Mac Pro 2013 ships, what to look for are workarounds/FAQs/support docs about the new machine specifically.

    I don't think any of them said this is the only or best way to a high end machine. Much of arguments in these threads pop up around which of multiple ways to address some problems are better. The best fit answer is often far more context dependent upon non-Mac Pro infrastructure than it is on the Mac Pro. There is no one universally true right answer.

    Second, these folks probably did not get lower end, standard configurations. Clearly one focus point of the "sneak peak" and initial demos was to illustrate where the top end of the new Mac Pro was. Most folks aren't going to be buy the very top end models. Primarily, the demos and spec porn is about that they didn't strip the computational 'horsepower' out even though it is much smaller physically. What 'horsepower' you'll get for a fixed monetary amount is still up in the air. And these folks probably don't know because was a "free", loaner, demo box.
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Well the thing is Pixar and The Foundry didn't just say it was good, they proved it with their Mari texture painting demo. I do a lot of 3D and that was a very impressive demo especially considering Mari isn't optimized on Mac OS yet.
  11. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I would say that's more of a testament to the software itself. After all, it was a software demo first and foremost. Not that the power of the hardware should be neglected, but I don't doubt that you'll get similar results with a comparable PC workstation.
  12. VirtualRain, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013

    VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Never a dull moment in this forum these days :D

    I'm not sure any of your "myths" are widely held beliefs by members of this forum.

    Here's my take on each...

    1. I believe everyone here is fully aware of how AMD and Nvidia market their workstation GPUs so I'm not sure there is any myth to bust related to Firepro.
    2. Who says they're using "expensive" parts? Define "expensive". There's been some speculation as to the parts involved and their cost, but I wouldn't say anyone is exaggerating the cost.
    3. Like everyone else, you can only speculate on the base model configuration. What if the base model comes with a Quad, 8GB, 256GB SSD, and dual 7950s with 2GB VRAM... how will they price it? What about a Hex Core, 16GB, a 512GB SSD and dual 7970s with 3GB VRAM... What will they price that at (this config on a 5,1 is $5K today)?
    4. Who says Apple doesn't care about pricing? We all know they care deeply about it... They have the best margins in the industry and generally choose to price to maximize profit over market share. No myth to bust there.
    5. Are you new to these forums? Where have you got the impression that anyone here believes Apple cares about pros? Most people that frequent this forum had all but given up hope for a Mac Pro refresh until WWDC came along. Most folks here shocked there's any kind of future for the Mac Pro at all. Most were expecting a Mac Pro obituary. I don't think anyone here is under the impression that Apple's focus is on the pro market. We're just thankful they throw us a bone every once in a while.
  13. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    5 minutes during a keynote, and the creation of a new web page a few months back, is what constitutes a "marketing blitz?"

    You know absolutely no details about Apple's implementation. You don't know what chips they are using, and supporting silicon they are using, or anything at all about the GPU's other than that they are AMD.

    You know absolutely no details about the components in the machine, other than the interface used by the SSD.

    You know nothing about the manufacturing process, BOM, or cost to build.

    Hopefully you're right.

    With the recent launch of Logic X, I think this fear should be subsiding. There is a trend these days (in general in the industry) to make the barrier to entry lower for many formerly "pro only" markets. Why is that a bad thing? Is it bad that you only need to spend a couple grand in order to get the same audio quality that, 15 years ago, would have cost $20,000?

    Ironically, you haven't posted any facts, only your own speculation based on the limited information that Apple has released.
  14. GreenWater macrumors member


    Jul 30, 2013
    Venice, CA
    In the not too distant future, you will look at your old Mac Pro and think you have taken the engine of a VW and put it inside - what you think - is a Ferrari. :D
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Given an unlimited budget to pull from the HP or Dell workstation catalog and drop two W9000s in the system I don't think it would have been any less impressive. The Mari system requirements list the W7000 , W8000, W9000 line up as certified cards ( http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/mari/system-requirements/#tested-graphics-cards )

    Mari runs on Linux ( Unix). OS X is Unix also. Mari needs OpenGL 3.2. OS X has OpenGL 3.2. If not pressed about putting a Mac menu bar up on the screen it shouldn't take very long at all to get something running (unless there are some quirky Linux GUI bindings they incorporated into the app. ). A polished Mac specific/optimized app will take time.

    The unoptimized is offset by just throwing highest end BTO option at the problem and brute forcing around it.

    It would be far more impressive if pulled out an entry level Mac Pro with the targeted entry level GPU and had turned in an slightly less quick results. Then the upcoming optimizations would not matter as much. They probably do. The open question is whether the stack can deliver. That uncertainty is what many folks are really grumbling about. If it looked like what they expected they'd be more confident that it would eventually work. It doesn't.

    If the Mac Pro delivers at an acceptable price to many, then they will sell more than a modest number of these. It isn't going to be the exact same group of folks, but a sizable group.
  16. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    I dunno, the only things in the original post I found unreasonable were the opening "blitz" comment, the assumption that Apple doesn't care about pros, and the closing "these are the facts" remark. The rest seemed reasonable, probable, likely correct to me. <shrug>
  17. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Zero space left for people?
  18. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I think his assertion that the contrary are widely held beliefs (myths) is where this post is flawed.
  19. clamnectar macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009

    FACT - no u idiots its a personal sized cumptuer

    MITH - it will run windows 98
    FACT - UMMMM it"s called mac Ossex u morans

    MITH - U CAN"T run a NVIDIA graphic PROCESSOR in it
    FACT - ok, that's true but why do u need 2? RU DUMB? LOLL idiots

  20. ssgbryan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002

    Well, I know about how much I will have to spend on 3rd party add-ons to replace missing functionality - about $1,200. Which means that whatever the cost of the nMP, I'd have to add that to the cost.

    I do 3d art and not a single render engine I use will make use of GPUs in the nMP. They do everything with CPUs - which the nMP will have 25% fewer of than a Dell or HP workstation I can buy today. Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't have to spend $1,200 on add-ons to make the nMP functional for my workflow.
  21. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    do you just copy/paste this reply in all the threads you're in?
    here's the question- why haven't you bought one of the 16 core dell or hp?
  22. TsunamiTheClown macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    This post made this thread worth reading.

    Thanque :)
  23. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    OP seems to have everything figured out, may as well close every Mac Pro thread. :rolleyes:

    OP: Who the hell are you to say who Apple is targeting with this machine? It hasn't even launched yet and it absolutely is geared for content creation. You lost credibility when you said they're cheap on the case. Do you have any idea what Apple's attention to detail actually costs? Add that to the fact that this isnt something manufactured overseas by Foxconn? Also what does a 1.5Gbps SSD cost for you to go out and buy?

    I call BS. In the words of Eric Cartman:

    EDIT: Seems like he's long gone anyway. FLAME OFF.
  24. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

    May 22, 2012
    Why do you care?
  25. ATC macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    Being probably the only non-pro user here I sincerely hope Apple will at least have one option for a base-spec on the new MP that is cheaper than the previous entry-level MPs.

    I do a lot of video work (editing, encoding etc..) and I've outgrown my iMac in every way. I've pushed the thing to its limits, gone through 2 display panels (constant heat generation caused 2 panel failures, first one thankfully was within AC); as much as I love my iMac and has served me so far I think the all-in-one concept just isn't for me anymore.

    The problem is that while I can easily afford a MP I've just had a tough time justifying its price. It seems that I fall in that niche in between the mac mini and the traditional MP, and where an all-in-one is no longer a preferred option. Apple has ignored this segment, maybe rightly so as it's probably very small, but I'm selfishly hoping that with the new direction taken with the MP there will be a consumer-priced model.

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