The new mac pro "thunderbolt"

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nanumac, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. nanumac macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2002
    How about this...

    They release the middle ground mac, the expandable 2u mac pro with a highend processor and so on. Expand with a graphics card and it wont break the bank too bad. Has all the bells and whistles...

    But to satisfy the high end...

    They make the hardware expandable with thunderbolt!

    Want a monster highend mac with all the trimmings?
    Buy two and hook em together for more processor and more memory expandability, up to a maximum of eight? Perhaps no limit... THAT my friends would rock my socks and yours!

    The single unit would be powerfull enough for the gamer and college kid with ps and word...

    Is it possible? Think perhaps it is very close to possible, the technology in osx should be able to make that happen. Think grand central dispatch'ish stuff. Imagine a studio with 20 dual stations connected with thunderbolt, that turns into a true supercomputer spitting out frames all night and rendering in realtime or faster. Basically a real one user supercomputer!

    That would be kickass. AND apple doesnt need to have a dedicated "highend" machine anymore.

    Jiiiiiiiises i should be paid to do this... Hehe... Probably not...

  2. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I proposed a similar sort of idea on here a while ago when there rumours of an ARM based Mac.

    My idea, which I called MacStack was that while ARM processors are not as powerful as Intel processors, they are much cheaper. So a lot of ARM processors could be up to the job.

    Imagine a screenless iPod touch type device that acts as a basic computer. Use Thunderbolt type connectors to connect more of them in a stack to make a more powerful computer.

    The benefit being that when you want to upgrade your computer, you add rather than replace.
  3. nanumac thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2002
    As someone else suggested, the thunderbolt tech probably isnt applicable towards something like what I am suggesting. Would probably need to be closer to the processor, from what I understand it handles pci express but havent really heard of cpu interconnect via pci.

    Sure they could though, if they wanted to implement it that way.

    Might introduce a major bottleneck, and software may need to be tweaked towards it too, which is quite the challange.

    Would be nifty though! As you say, they would be free to drop intel also as arm matures.
  4. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    apple isnt about that.

    apple is about a single, closed, uniform package that suits your needs.
  5. G4er? macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    That many are finding don't suit their needs.
  6. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    It suits your needs if you do not care for value. That is the need Apple does not care you get. Never has. So we have all these HW doods complaining over open box pricing and cost. They don't care. Like Apple? Over pay for it. Too expensive? They don't care. Plenty of other options for you.
  7. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    The idea of an incrementally expandable "Rack of Macs" in the closest goes further back than just ARM processors.

    Unfortunately, the basic idea rubs up against Apple's principles of being very easy to use ... and the eventuality is likely that it will become part of Apple's iCloud strategy, where they not only rent you storage, but also CPU cycles to get those bigger jobs done...

    Personally, I like the idea of a localized "Cloud At Home" under Mac OS X, because truely high speed bandwidth to remote sites is still quite expensive.

  8. d-m-a-x macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    Which is fine, but the infrastructure is just not there yet.
  9. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth

    Understood ... one keeps on looking at various enabling tidbits, and keep on hoping.

    My bigger concern is that Apple will build out their iCloud ecosystem to provide this capability (the photo synch is already underway), but the feeble bandwidth pipes of the USA become the bottleneck.

    When ISPs are only charging $20/month for full Gigabit Ethernet, my concern goes away...but I don't realistically expect to see that {price:performance} anytime soon.

  10. gnomeisland macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    New York, NY
    Not original, sorry, but a good idea (IMHO). Especially once TB gets faster I think the Pro will be replaced by a system that looks like a 2U mac mini--size will be constrained by heat alone. It will have one or two Xeon type processors and a dense RAM structure and . . . that's it. Basically the same ports as the mini but with two independent TB buses. If you need more graphics power Apple and/or 3rd parties will sell you a display "box" with a graphics card built in. If you need PCIe cards, there are already expansion boxes for that.

    I think hooking multiple units together will be possible but many pros will complain until TB 2.0 is released which will bring the speed up to 50-100Gb/s. The current TB speeds are impressive but still a bottle neck compared to what the current Pro can do.

    THAT kind of system is very Apple. Very closed and yet very open to high-end/expensive accessories.

    Personally if the brain started at around $1200-1500 I'd jump on it.
  11. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    They need to release a new Mac Pro just to put an end to these inane "What if the New Mac Pro came with a built in dishwasher?" and "Do People want a Mac Pro with fire that can be fitted nasally?" threads.
  12. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Not really because this is one of those "I drank the Thunderbolt" marketing kool-aid posts. If the new Mac Pro doesn't have TB then you'd still get the TB zealots saying it wasn't worth buying because it didn't have TB. If it did have TB then the zelaots would jockeying to drop from 4 to 3 slots so that could tack on extra TB sockets to the side of the box.

    To the internal components inside the box with a TB controller the remote parts look like they are on the other side of a PCI-e switch. How many other "scale out" computer architectures use PCI-e as a inter-enclosure nodal interconnect? ..... none that are of high performance.

    PCI-e breakout boxes aren't the mainstream building block on larger shared memory architectures. TB doesn't particularly do much to improve that. The primary upside of TB is putting what has historically gone on low-to-moderate bandwidth PCI-e cards in an external box.
  13. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    How about they release a unicorn, and I can ride it to work every morning on it's optional rainbow accessory.
  14. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Even from intel's initial projections, which they're unlikely to meet, TB isn't expected to meet such bandwidth for a decade. With all of these suggestions of such a system, no one has successfully constructed or tested one. If you're going to make it into some kind of node based system, there are probably better methods. The problem is that you're describing something that is unlikely to appeal to new customers or the current mac pro crowd.
  15. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    I hope they do that.
    I doubt they will do that.
    Something about that format just doesn't seen "Apple" now or ever.

    I'd like a Pro-Mini, but it would definitely be a lot bigger than a Mac Mini. I'd say 1/4 size of the current Pro. The Pro's best layout is rack-able, as they did with the server versions, and if the case was made strong enough it could sit table top with the monitor onto of a slim, long structure.

    My 2006 MacPro is so clunky inside. It's a great design, but that motherboard and memory area is just crazy-large, the fans take up so much space, the double opticals are now useless (for me), and I wouldn't mind 1 or 2 interior drives instead of 4. Everything about the beautiful modern MacPro is large and last-decade. Time to redesign and move on.

    A tiny Pro with TB would be excellent. I just doubt they will do it, despite the market craving it.
  16. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    A Cluster is Not A Workstation

    It just isn't. Any more than a V8 pickup truck and a V8 muscle car are the same.
  17. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    scaling sucks... if it didnt, we would be doing it right now..

    same with vid cards, better of buying a top of the line super quick one than 2 less powerful ones. (i discovered that the hard way)

    The price vs productivity scale is on the side of new tech, not expanding old tech.

    I wish it wasnt, I would still be running my BeBox with R5 on it..
  18. scottrichardson macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2007
    Ulladulla, NSW Australia
    I find it highly unlikely that apple will sell us a mac in the cloud, or a cluster in the cloud. Apple sells HARDware. Every time someone was to buy one of these 'cloud' macs, Apple would still need to install new hardware in their datacenter. It all seems a bit redundant to me.

    Do Apple even use Macs in their own data centres? I swear I read once that they are running all sorts of machines, including Linux etc.

    I think most people have let this extended time between updates really get to them. New Mac Pro is right around the corner, with Thunderbolt, with your nice new GPUs, and even a new chassis. I would hazard a guess and say that aside from Intel's delays in getting the new XEONs out, Apple has held off so that they didn't cannibalise the promo phase of the new iPad. Lastly I am sure there were some technical issues in getting Thunderbolt into the new Mac Pro's also.

    I for one would love to see Apple release a new Mac Pro that comes in 2 sizes, just like they do with the iMac. I mean they're the same thing, just one is bigger. With the Mac Pro, we could have a mini-tower and a full-tower. Mini tower could have 2 PCI slots, 3 drive bays. Full tower could have 4 PCI slots, 5 bays. Or something along those lines. The mini tower option would surely keep the gamers happy!

  19. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    I'd hope the mini tower would have a philosophy of "go use the TB port!" So it would have 1 PCI slot for the graphics card, 1 Drive bay, heavily reduced memory storage area, far fewer fans, compacted power source, NO opticals.

    THAT would be an awesome mini tower. Carve it all off as external additions and allow a computer with little more than a processor, drive, video card, and memory... like the mini, but high-end powerful.
  20. ClassObject macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2010
  21. tony3d macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2006
    Wirelessly posted

    I can't for the life of me understand the advantage of scaling down the Mac Pro tower into a Thunderbolt chain of boxes. My Mac Pro measures what maybe ten inches wide by 30 inches long I don't know. The point is I like having everything in one spot. I really don't see the advantage of having a bunch of boxes on my desktop.
  22. 3282868 macrumors 603

    Jan 8, 2009
    Thunderbolt could be beneficial with a Mac Pro update.

    Imagine a smaller form factor (think G4 cube) with RAM, maybe 2 internal SATA III HDD's, processor(s), USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, 2 or so PCIe slots, and perhaps a graphics card or a graphics box. It can be placed in a closet or such, with one Thunderbolt cable running to your desk, connecting your HID's, displays, etc. and Thunderbolt supplying additional external HDDs and devices. A Smaller form factor places it out of the way, Thunderbolt allows for expandability without a cluster of stacked devices, and BTO guts. That would make perfect sense for a Mac Pro system.
  23. degl macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2010
    For me a new MacPro could be something as the HP Z1, a all in one package design workstation, or maybe a Imac Pro ;) i´m sold.

    I love the concept of the Z1, but gosh, how i dislike windows.
  24. Photovore macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2011
    So!, it seems as if Apple could satisfy most people by manufacturing the following Mac Pros:

    6,1 = 1 PCIE slot , 2 drive bays
    6,2 = 2 PCIE slots, 3 drive bays
    6,3 = 3 PCIE slots, 4 drive bays
    6,4 = 4 PCIE slots, 5 drive bays

    ... but, if you go into Ruth's Chris steak house, you won't find the sirloin in 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 ounce sizes. If you want bigger than the small, you get the large (if they even have more than one size). If you don't want as much as the large, but more than the small, well, I guess you figure out what to do on a case-by-case basis.

    Of course computers are more expensive than steaks and therefore represent perhaps more consequential decisions for most folks; but, I mean, you've gone way past a $400 foil-sided box full of wires. You're spending a couple of grand. You have decided that you need a pro machine. At that point, is a few hundred plus or minus going to make or break you? In most cases, I think not. (Of course many would shrink back at that point and buy an iMac. If that satisfies their needs, well then, that's why they exist in the first place! My work, though, happens to need a Pro.)
  25. throAU, May 2, 2012
    Last edited: May 2, 2012

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    see: Xgrid

    If you're doing stuff that a 12 core mac pro can't handle, or Xgrid can't already help with, chances are you're writing custom software and could run it cheaper on a cluster of generic PC servers running Linux or similar. sure, use the mac to visualize the results, but the number crunching is best done on something good at that job.

    even apple don't run their data center on a bunch of mac pros or xserves (or mac mini servers, lol) :D

    I mean, for the price of a single fully loaded mac pro here, i can buy half a rack of Xeon equipped Dell or HP servers (and an MBA to view the results on, lol).

    make that 1/4 of a rack, apple seem to have reduced RAM prices on the pro since last i checked :D

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