iMac Pro What if....Merging the Mac Pro and iMac Pro Family

Discussion in 'iMac' started by BayouTiger, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. BayouTiger macrumors 6502

    BayouTiger

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    #1
    Just a thought......

    I've seen very little about what exactly is meant by "modular" for the new MacPro. I was just giving it a little thought and was wondering what that might mean. Assuming the the modular aspect heavily leverages TB3 as it connection means, It seems that a convergence between the iMac Pro and Mac Pro could be a possibility.

    What if the new MP consists of a central processing unit which ties into a storage module, video processing module, and I/O chassis which can be tied together into a single chassis/power supply, but could also be swapped into a smaller TB3 chassis for connection to the iMac Pro and maybe MacBook Pros, and others?

    This would allow shops to put together exactly the solution they need matching the appropriate CPU horsepower to the size and type of storage and video system needed and let them connect however they deem necessary.

    Seems this would be great way to really make some interest for pros that may want to use their specialized gear across platforms and could make the Mac a mainstay in the pro arena again.

    Then again I thought is was kind of the plan behind the old cylinder, but the eco system languished with very little peripheral support. I can also see where this could be a driver based nightmare.
     
  2. haruhiko macrumors 601

    haruhiko

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    #2
    What's the difference from the 2013 trash can Mac Pro then?
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #3
    Not so good for pros who would rather use pro screens rather than Apples consumer offerings.
     
  4. Mac32 Suspended

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    #4
    This seems highly unlikely, but this scheme could actually work fairly well with thunderbolt 4. Thunderbolt 3 not so much IMO. However, thunderbolt 4 isn't even being discussed yet, so I assume it's quite a long way off yet.
     
  5. BayouTiger thread starter macrumors 6502

    BayouTiger

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    #5
    I think this was always the plan for the nMP, but many balked at the idea of a string of separate boxes without a central chassis. I’ve used my trash can this way for years and it has served brilliantly.
     
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    #6
    Well, from the announcement last April, to Apple, "modular" meant "no built-in screen". It could mean more but if you go and read the transcript with wishful thinking turned off, all their references to "modular" are either in the context of external displays or the existing range (implying that one of their current products is considered "modular"), and all their references to "upgradeable" are about Apple offering upgraded/updated models. However, the iMac Pro press release at the end of last year did say that the forthcoming Mac Pro would be "upgradeable" (but then so is the trashcan - you can upgrade the RAM and would be able to upgrade the SSD if Apple sold them).

    The trashcan was tied to a three-way design with the heat emission spread between one particular CPU and two medium-spec GPUs - turning it into an "appliance" for applications optimised for dual-CPU OpenCL and making it very hard to keep the specification up-to-date. Apple have admitted that as a mistake - but I don't see them admitting the underlying cause of form-over-function designer lust. There's a small, but strategically important, section of the pro market that need a rather boring pick-up-truck rather than a flashy coupe, but Apple are only interested in offering them a sports SUV with gull-wing doors and the sort of hood that, if it isn't welded shut, just reveals an acre of ribbed aluminium with a single hole for wiper fluid.

    There's this great way of making a truly modular computer that can be adapted to high-end users' needs: a couple of regular PCIe expansion slots that can accept a huge range of existing mass-produced GPUs, high-speed network interfaces etc. provided that suitable firmware and drivers are available: hugely cheaper and less risky than having to produce small runs of custom hardware (including their own cases, power supplies and Thunderbolt-to-PCIe bridges) and no bottlenecks caused by having to squeeze 16-lane PCIe signals onto external cables.

    The only thing that's really changed is that, with TB3 and USB3.1g2/USB3.2g2, there's little or no bottleneck for external storage so its no longer essential for the CPU unit to include space for half-a-dozen hard/optical drives... although a couple of slots for standard SSD blades wouldn't hurt.
     
  7. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

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    #7
    What do you consider a "Pro" screen then?
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #8
    Uniformity. Hardware calibration.
    Matt screen. A screen you can move up and down. A monitor hood.

    All the things Apple doesn't.

    Eizo CG range, NEC Spectraview range or the new Pro monitors from BenQ.
     
  9. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

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    #9
    This.

    What I expect is something that looks like a Mac Mini, and sits on top of a sleek Apple-branded eGPU enclosure that uses a proprietary snap-together connection (and GPU board) that's a little bit better than Thunderbolt 3. Plus six THB3 ports for everything else you need.
     
  10. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

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    #10
    1) Use a VESA arm.
    2) Buy a hood.

    Spectraview doesn't offer anything that the 27" iMac Screen doesn't. Also, I'm able to pick the color profile I want from my iMac Pro's color menu, and my Wacom 1440p, Dell 5K and Native 5K displays match perfectly. Better than when I actually tried to hardware-calibrate them.

    I'm sure that there are specialized monitors for film editing and such. But whenever I ask customers about how they deal with color calibration, the answer always is "We check it on a Mac."
     
  11. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #11
    Lol. A Spectraview has hardware calibration built in with a LUT. An iMac does not.
    Sorry but for photo editing I don't know anyone who uses Apple Screens. The colour is too saturated and irregular.
    Picking a profile from a list, doesn't mean you are! Measuring it with a colorimeter and storing it in the LUT does. They don't sell an Apple screen that offers that.
     
  12. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

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    #12
    LOL all you want. But picking from a list beat the colorimeter I used. The choice of profile also determines how saturated your colors will be.

    I don't know anyone who doesn't use Apple screens for serious photo/design work. So there. :p
     
  13. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #13
    Then you clearly don't know how to use s colorimeter or had a rubbish/faulty one. What where you using?
     
  14. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

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    #14
    I was using Wacom's colorimeter, which is just a rebranded X-Rite. I ran it 20+ times using various settings, and it couldn't hold a candle to me just picking "Adobe RGB (1998)" as the color profile for each monitor. Ergo, my monitors were properly hardware calibrated at the factory. The Wacom tablet itself was horrible, with a strong green cast, and I had to manually tweak the RGB levels, sacrificing brightness, before and after the calibration to even get it close to the others. But simply picking the profile in display preferences made it match perfectly after resetting it.
     
  15. Chancha macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    One of the major functions of hardware calibration is the ability to re-calibrate the screen as it ages, and/or when you need a different target for working on different destination media. So calibration isn't just about accuracy now, but also flexibility in working with the screen, which as state by others this is lacking in Apple's offering.

    Out of factory calibration is a necessary step to even better the potential of the display to perform consistently, but it is not mutually exclusive to having LUT cal later down the line. I would consider your Wacom being "fixed" by merely an ICC profile a case of luck.
     
  16. Macshroomer, Mar 5, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018

    Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

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    #16
    Then get to know more people.

    First off, for just editing photos which means choosing them, I am not so concerned about color cast as much. But for processing which is the development of the film or digital negative, while I have calibrated monitors in the past, I just make sure my portable and desktop are on the same Adobe 1998 setting and it really is fine.

    For example, I flew to Belgium a couple weeks ago to do a press check on a coffee table book I co-illustrated. I brought my MacBook Pro which matched my Mac Pro and everything was dead on.

    I always check any printed magazine piece, advertising tear sheet and again, close to if not always dead on. The only time I see a noticable difference is when someone got lazy or on too tight a deadline with the blue line comps for an editorial piece in a magazine and an ad on the same print gang was either really dark and low key or had burly color that threw my printed piece.

    For web / social ads, it is far less critical. Also, I know hundreds of pros like my self who are doing fine on deliverables in using MacBook Pros and iMacs. That is the reality of it from what I see and as a professional photographer for almost 30 years, sir...I have seen it all.
     
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #17
    Factory calibrated is great for the first few weeks. Even two identical panels from the same manufacturer used for the same time will drift differently. You can't trust your eyes when it comes to correct colour. If your manually tweaking things you might as well not bother.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 5, 2018 ---
    I know just the right amount of people thanks ;)

    Apple used to be leading the way with displays for professionals. These days they are no longer interested in that market.
    Glossy screens are not good when trying to match screen to print.
     
  18. Chancha macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    As far as I have seen, there is almost never any point in Apple display history where they led the way. Probably a few times they were close, like when they offered pioneering components like the 13" Trinitron and the first LCD (particularly the 17" 1280x1024). But almost always they are form over function, lack of extra inputs, local adjustments, and of course as mentioned above hardware calibration.

    And you are right, by going glossy without offering even a matte BTO is the definition of being unprofessional. The wow-factor in Apple retail store is of higher priority than actual pro usage.
     
  19. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    #19
    Apple fanboy,

    Just offering up one person's perspective. Everything I have, the roof over my head, the furnishings, the clothes on my family's back, my investment accounts, are all funded by the visual content I create. I use an iMac and a MacBook Pro, and both are calibrated monthly by a Spyder5Elite. I do not use any other monitors. I've never had a color complaint by the customers or businesses that I create content for. I'm fairly certain that I am living proof that using calibrated Apple displays work.
     
  20. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

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    #20
    Totally agree and to add to this I often have conversations with my customers as a means of calibration of sorts in that I ask them what machine their designer is using and it almost always is an iMac. This has been pretty much standard across the board since around 2012 or so.

    If everyone is speaking the same language, then there is effective communication going on which leads to sucessful outcomes. For sure some of my digital fine art printing houses get more rigorous and I will often load a print profile but that never negates getting a test strip or strike off to give an expensive print the thumbs up.

    By the way, I checked Mr. Fanboy’s profile.....it says he works in “Logistics” for what that is worth.
     
  21. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

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    #21
    Well, I must be quite lucky then. Since choosing the ICC profile made 4 screens, from 3 different manufacturers, match when the colorimeter method failed.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 6, 2018 ---
    Well those 4 screens of mine are still matching after a year. With less difference between them than when I used the colorimeter. And yes, I know that adjusting the color manually is not ideal. That's why I reset the Wacom's settings and used the profile method instead.

    I have yet to see a display that matches the quality of Apple's 27" LG Panels. Neither in resolution or color quality. I might believe that $5000 monitors exist which are specifically made to perfectly match a particular type of output, such as film or print. But for general-purpose work, the LG panels are the gold standard.
     
  22. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    #22
    Well, while I can't speak to any of the needs that a graphics designer has in this thread, I do have some input on what I would like to see as a developer, gamer, and security researcher from a Mac Pro that I don't have in my iMac Pro.

    I *need* Xeon class processors for their high core count and frequency. They also support ECC memory, which helps my security research a *little* but mostly it just keeps things running smoothly.

    I *need* lots of RAM, and I don't care much about "upgradability" in this area because I will usually order it maxed out anyway.

    What I would *like* to see from a modular Mac Pro is exactly that, modularity. I'd like to be able to switch out my GPU as newer models become available for gaming, and maybe upgrade my CPU ... but GPU modularity is more important.

    eGPU modularity is possible with the iMac Pro, but then I can't run the eGPU to power my main monitor ... which sucks. GPUs evolve way faster than RAM, CPUs, or even SSDs. If I could keep my GPU fresh in a modular way that directly powers the main monitor, connected or not, then I'm a happy camper. Everything else is good from an AiO stance, which is why I didn't hesitate too much on the iMac Pro, as I only wanted the nice GPU as a gaming thing after I'm done with work for the day.
     

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21 March 4, 2018