question about storage in new MacPro (2013)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by compute, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. compute macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2013
    Can someone please explain me a bit how the to be released MP deals with storage capacity.

    I understand that there is no longer going to be a HDD or SSD but that its going PCI Express flash storage, i have no clue what this is ( i don't really know lots about the technical part about computers).

    Is PCI express storage like comparable with a HDD/SSD (shape) or is this like a completely different thing?

    Does it come in for example the same numbers as a HDD (for example i have a 2TB HDD, can i have pci express storage in 2TB)

    Sorry if my questions sound a bit stupid but the articles i'm finding are all quite technical, hope someone can explain it a bit clearer.
  2. WMD macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    Florida, USA
    The storage itself is just like the flash memory found in SSDs, but in a different enclosure and plugging into a different port. It won't have an outer casing like an SSD does - it'll just be a circuit board with flash chips on it. Kind of like a video card, except much smaller. The connector might be a custom new thing, but it could also be a PCI-Express 1x port, which would be around the right size. Imagine a typical USB flash drive with the casing taken off - that's about the right shape.

    PCI-Express is normally used for internal expansion slots inside a desktop computer, but can do regular data transfer too, as Apple is now taking advantage of. for capacity, I don't think they have 2TB yet. That would be extremely expensive, anyhow. Apple will probably offer 250GB/500GB, maybe up to 1TB.
  3. compute thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2013
    thank you for replying.

    So does this mean that all other additional memory has to be external.

    In other words the build in storage is basically only good for the programs i have installed on my computer?
  4. nycaleksey macrumors member


    Jul 14, 2009
    Yes, that's the idea. OS+Apps on superfast PCIE storage and TB2/USB3 external storage for everything else.
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Historically, SSDs (as the term was first used) didn't have 2.5" hard drive cases. That has really only been a relatively temporary blip along the evolutionary path.

    The push was to displace HDDs from standard sockets/sleds from largely existing designs. If just start with the intent to use and SSD there is little to no reason to use the legacy socket/sled form factor at all.

    At the speeds Apple quotes ( 1250MB/s ) it is it isn't x1 lane. More like a x4 PCI-e v2.0 ( or x2 PCI-e v3.0 ) lanes. There is a upcoming standards that merge legacy disk ( SATA ) and PCI-e standards for around those number of lanes.

    Even the 250GB isn't going to be mainstream SSD priced because this is faster than was comes in the 2.5" boxes ( those boxes actually can't do these speeds .)
  6. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    It is far more accurate to say that the Mac Pro doesn't have SATA ( serial ATA ) storage. SATA is an industry standard way of communicating from a system to a storage device. Historicaly these have been HDD and so that standard is oriented toward communicating at typically HDD speeds. It is faster than an individual HDD but not faster than 4-5 of them bundled together communicating.

    PCI-e is a standard communication bus used to connected different controllers/processors inside of a computers. It isn' storage specific and mainly about getting data to/from memory. Typically in a storage set up the HDD would talk to the SATA controller and the SATA controller would talk to the rest of the computer over PCI-e.

    PCI-e drives just cut out the "middle man". (or at least put the "middle man" into the drive itself). This means can get top end speeds way higher than the SATA standard. Downside is that because largely not standardized do not have as wide a market of vendors for the drives.

    It is a 10x faster speed for capacity trade off. Similar to how have 4-16GB of RAM but have a 500-1000 TB hard drive. RAM is orders of magnitude faster but more expensive. Flash is actually a bit in the middle. Not as fast (or expensive) as RAM/GB , but neither as inexpensive or sold as an HDD.

    You can by 1TB of RAM. You will need write a check with alot of digits.

    The new Mac Pro has a notion that your bulk storage is going to be done outside the box/cylinder.


    It is good for data too. (you user account info. Personal documents , etc.) Just not big bulky archives of stuff ( large iTunes library , extensive iPhoto library , etc. )
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    It will be exactly like having a computer with a single built-in 250 or 500GB hard drive. The only difference you'll notice is that it will be much faster than a hard drive. It will probably show up in Finder as "Macintosh HD" unless Apple decide to change the default name.

    If you need more space built in to your computer, you will have to take out the existing PCIe SSD card, replace it with a bigger one and restore all your files from a backup. Its very likely that, during the lifetime of your Mac Pro, 1TB or even 2TB replacement cards will be available.

    What most people will do, however, is add external hard drives or SSDs, connected by Thunderbolt or USB3. Pro users who need masses of fast storage will probably get something like this:
  8. compute thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2013
    Thanks for explaining folks, really appreciate it.

    Maybe a bit off topic but would you guys trade in a 6-core 3,33 (2010 model) for the latest MP. if its not going to cost you a penny. Reason i'm asking is because i could get the latest MP when released but i would have to turn in my current MP in return for the new one. Long story to explain.

    To be honost from reading all negative comments i'm not even sure if i'd want to switch.
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Yes, it more closely resembles a Mac Mini and thus I am happy to call it a Mac Mini Pro and welcome it.
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Nobody can answer that without knowing a lot more about what you do and what hardware or software you use.

    In the absence of any further information, I'd suggest that you hold on to your 2010 Mac Pro for at least another year. Then we'll actually know what the specifications, prices and options are, which publishers are going to properly support the new GPU and what new Thunderbolt peripherals will be available.

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