The new Mac Pro should be stackable Mac Mini's

CLS727

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 5, 2018
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368
Take the design of the new Mac Mini.... sell different versions for different CPU's as bases.

ie: Choose your base: Core i7, Core i9, Xeon W (8, 10, 14, or 18 Core), etc... and then how much RAM you want.

Then, in the same size case, sell a high powered eGPU..... and then let people daisy chain (stack) as many together as they want.... just drop another one on top and it all syncs together perfectly.

So the maxed out version would be like an 18 Core CPU base..... with 4 GPU's stacked on top..... kind of like a PC that has 4 GTX 1080's linked together with SLI.

Then you have a "modular" design..... and in the future, they could sell updated version of components to swap out on your stack.
 

krakman

macrumors regular
Dec 3, 2009
155
189
Take the design of the new Mac Mini.... sell different versions for different CPU's as bases.

ie: Choose your base: Core i7, Core i9, Xeon W (8, 10, 14, or 18 Core), etc... and then how much RAM you want.

Then, in the same size case, sell a high powered eGPU..... and then let people daisy chain (stack) as many together as they want.... just drop another one on top and it all syncs together perfectly.

So the maxed out version would be like an 18 Core CPU base..... with 4 GPU's stacked on top..... kind of like a PC that has 4 GTX 1080's linked together with SLI.

Then you have a "modular" design..... and in the future, they could sell updated version of components to swap out on your stack.
I posted this back in January 2018 #7775

modular-mac-pro-concept.jpg
 

CLS727

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 5, 2018
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368
At the Mac Pro mea culpa event, Apple admitted with the nMP that they had designed themselves into a thermal corner. Going even smaller would make the problem monumentally worse.
How would it be worse for thermals for each eGPU to be separate? They would all have their own cooling.
 

crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
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Charlotte, NC
And there will be an Apple shaped connector in the center to link all the mini's together. This will be called the Apple-Core :rolleyes:

Seriously, this idea has been beat to death over the past couple of years...

Nothing to see here folks, move along... ;)
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2014
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Silicon Valley, CA
I think the stackable mini concept is a slick looking but bad idea. For one, it makes changes very expensive.
- The whole concept of the Mac Pro was a future proofed open system with slots with a proven thermal design
- Apart from the main board nothing is soldered down
- Components can be replaced with industry standard parts at the component level - no waiting for Apple and at lowest possible cost
- Industry slots are a must
- This makes it easy for third parties to offer customization without Apple in the middle.

I upgraded CPUs, memory, drives, graphics, etc. over years.

If space matters, get an iMac Pro.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
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How would it be worse for thermals for each eGPU to be separate? They would all have their own cooling.
All else being equal, shared is better because one large fan will move much more air and be much more quiet than multiple fans adding up to the equivalent physical size.

For example a single 120mmx25mm muffin fan will move about 105cfm at 2300rpm. Four 60mmx25mm fans (equivalent total size) will collectively move about 90cfm at 4500rpm. So they move less air and are much louder doing it.

So if you have smaller dedicated enclosures and fans, you're actually losing cooling efficiency versus one larger enclosure with one larger fan.

To get the airflow in several units up to the equivalent of a single large unit, you'd have to increase the size of all of the smaller units. But three Mac Minis (one CPU, two GPU), is collectively smaller than a nMP (one CPU, two GPU), so you've actually gone smaller, not larger.

Also, many models of Mac Minis get really loud under extended heavy load, and there is speculation of thermal throttling in the 2018. Dropping an 18 core XEON in there is going to make things worse.
 
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Horselover Fat

macrumors regular
Feb 2, 2012
152
196
Germany
How would it be worse for thermals for each eGPU to be separate? They would all have their own cooling.
I would also add performance to the equation. Choosing external slots connected via TB gives you a considerable performance hit which means you cannot exploit the full power of the GPU you invested in.

This is true for audio as well. In audio production there is the hard problem of Low Latency Performance. The best cards are PCIe (RME and Lynx, http://www.dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency3.htm), TB interfaces are catching up but can never match since TB adds latency.

In terms of performance, external enclosures are a step backwards and it's sad that Apple is encouraging this.
 
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DPUser

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Jan 17, 2012
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Horselover Fat

macrumors regular
Feb 2, 2012
152
196
Germany
Your link is from 2014 and doesn't list any TB interfaces. I don't think there is a significant difference TB vs PCIe as far as audio goes.
Here are the most current results from June 2018, including TB interfaces: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost.php?p=13368351&postcount=2186

This thread keeps the topic alive. Recent TB interfaces (UFX+ and Quantum) have indeed become nearly as good as internal PCIe solutions. So in the audio world we 'only' face more expensive components due to external enclosures. eGPUs suffer from worse performance AND more expensive enclosures.
 

Manzanito

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2010
344
395
Take the design of the new Mac Mini.... sell different versions for different CPU's as bases.

ie: Choose your base: Core i7, Core i9, Xeon W (8, 10, 14, or 18 Core), etc... and then how much RAM you want.

Then, in the same size case, sell a high powered eGPU..... and then let people daisy chain (stack) as many together as they want.... just drop another one on top and it all syncs together perfectly.

So the maxed out version would be like an 18 Core CPU base..... with 4 GPU's stacked on top..... kind of like a PC that has 4 GTX 1080's linked together with SLI.

Then you have a "modular" design..... and in the future, they could sell updated version of components to swap out on your stack.
It should NOT be nothing like that. Why, in the name of everything that’s good, fair and sacred do people have the need to kill and undertake a design that WORKS, i.e., the cheesegrater mac pro?

Why does the Mac Pro have to be different of, say, HP Z workstations, just for the sake of being different?

In all likelihood we’ll get something similar to what you describe, but I fail to see the advantage in, i.e., using egpus, loosing performance vs pcie, just to acomplish some sort of Jony Ive’s ego soothing.

The mac pro should not take any kind of compromises in order to be smaller/prettier. Period.
 

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
1,732
1,307
Take the design of the new Mac Mini.... sell different versions for different CPU's as bases.

ie: Choose your base: Core i7, Core i9, Xeon W (8, 10, 14, or 18 Core), etc... and then how much RAM you want.

Then, in the same size case, sell a high powered eGPU..... and then let people daisy chain (stack) as many together as they want.... just drop another one on top and it all syncs together perfectly.

So the maxed out version would be like an 18 Core CPU base..... with 4 GPU's stacked on top..... kind of like a PC that has 4 GTX 1080's linked together with SLI.

Then you have a "modular" design..... and in the future, they could sell updated version of components to swap out on your stack.
Anyone who actually needs a Mac Pro, I mean really needs one as opposed to just wants one will probably not want this form factor as it will be non-standard and expensive to upgrade. I'd sooner have a re-release of the cMP with newer hardware. The Mac Pro redesign is really that simple. No need to reinvent the wheel.
[doublepost=1542285054][/doublepost]
Yes. I think the CPU, RAM, Storage, and ports can all be in one base..... then all the stacked parts are matching eGPU's.
Stupid and expensive idea. It just needs to be a box, like every other workstation. Sure it needs to be serviceable but, it doesn't need an overly complicated form factor just to look cool.
 
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mattspace

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Jun 5, 2013
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a slotbox, with nothing on the motherboard, just a rack of slots that has a similar processor / ram tray to the cMP - want USB, put in a usb card, want thunderbolt, put in a thunderbolt card, want ethernet, etc. Want 6 GPUs and no other connectivity, go for it.

but that wouldn't require you to rebuy the machine when you want a new display gpu...
 

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
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It should NOT be nothing like that. Why, in the name of everything that’s good, fair and sacred do people have the need to kill and undertake a design that WORKS, i.e., the cheesegrater mac pro?

Why does the Mac Pro have to be different of, say, HP Z workstations, just for the sake of being different?

In all likelihood we’ll get something similar to what you describe, but I fail to see the advantage in, i.e., using egpus, loosing performance vs pcie, just to acomplish some sort of Jony Ive’s ego soothing.

The mac pro should not take any kind of compromises in order to be smaller/prettier. Period.
This is the thing, those of us that would actually use one of these would be happy with a classic workstation design because it just works, it's more cost-effective and I don't actually spend all day looking at my computer, I look at the content I'm creating on it. This is why Apple need a separate team to design the 'Pro' products so they don't end up as iToys.
[doublepost=1542285435][/doublepost]
a slotbox, with nothing on the motherboard, just a rack of slots that has a similar processor / ram tray to the cMP - want USB, put in a usb card, want thunderbolt, put in a thunderbolt card, want ethernet, etc. Want 6 GPUs and no other connectivity, go for it.

but that wouldn't require you to rebuy the machine when you want a new display gpu...
You need some onboard ports - USB, Ethernet, TB - as quite often you are limited to the number of slots you can physically and electronically have on a motherboard. Sure some servers have a load of slots, but even then they have the most used features onboard. Need a balance between the flexibility and out of the box convenience.
 
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JeffPerrin

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2014
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You can stack a whole bunch of minis on top of a cheese-grater case! :)

Pro needs: PCIe slots, extra RAM & storage space, and a beefy power supply. To keep it all QUIET and cool; large fans spinning at low RPM. Nothing small about these requirements!
 

mattspace

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Jun 5, 2013
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Australia
You need some onboard ports - USB, Ethernet, TB - as quite often you are limited to the number of slots you can physically and electronically have on a motherboard. Sure some servers have a load of slots, but even then they have the most used features onboard. Need a balance between the flexibility and out of the box convenience.
back in the day, apple made a series of very generic low end machines, with a "personality" card - which would have a variety of IO options, perhaps a hardware video digitiser etc, in addition to normal expansion slots. Perfectly serviceable idea to have "standard" IO on a replaceable card.

is-it-well-built-688.jpg
A mac pro that's a volkswagen transporter / ford transit / mercedes sprinter commercial van - the most "pro" vehicles there are, completely bare inside so that their "pro" owners can fit them out however they wish for their own workflows.
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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Aug 5, 2001
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It should NOT be nothing like that. Why, in the name of everything that’s good, fair and sacred do people have the need to kill and undertake a design that WORKS, i.e., the cheesegrater mac pro?
Yeah, it is strange that Apple went all "Design is much more important for professionals, than actual working hardware". That being said, I do think there's room for an xMac between the Mac Mini and the chessegrater Mac Pro.
 
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