What should 2019 Mac Pro be like?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Wingsley, Apr 18, 2018.

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  1. Wingsley macrumors member

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    #1
    I followed the endless discussion on the 2019 Mac Pro for a while, learned a few things, and wanted to open an entirely new line of discussion centered around three basic questions:

    1: What is a "PRO" Mac user? What makes them different from any Mac user?

    2: Why do "pro" users need to pay such a high price just for a "pro" desktop machine?

    3: If the current Mac Pro micro tower (the so-called "TrashIntosh") is so out-of-step with the needs of so-called "pro" Mac users, then what should a 2019 Mac Pro look like?

    Just for starters, I wanted to throw in a few comments of my own:

    1: I love the aesthetic of the current Mac Pro. It appears to be a very simple, powerful design with a lot of interesting features (for 2013).

    2: The current Mac Pro is prohibitively expensive.

    3: The new-for-2017 iMac Pro is also prohibitively expensive.

    4: Folks will say that if you priced a similar computer from Dell, matching the specs will render an equally expensive machine. While this may be true, (really?) it sounds like a debating tactic to end a discussion rather than beginning one. I say this because there are many custom-made and spec-made gaming PCs on the market that are powerful, run cool and quiet, and feature funky see-through cases that make the original colored iMacs from the late 1990s look cheesy by comparison. It's also interesting that some folks on YouTube are buying up previous-generation "cheese grater" Mac Pro mini-towers ("CheeseIntosh"?) and retrofitting them with never processors, RAM, graphics cards, etc., and transforming these dinosaurs into competitive machines. Here's an example of a custom-built PC for 4K video editing.

    5: So, if there are alot of former Mac Pro users out there that are now either using Hackintoshes, or moving to cheap Ryzen editing PCs, or hacking old CheeseIntoshes, because Apple isn't supplying the kind of hardware they need, why doesn't Apple just mass produce a machine like one of these?

    6: Why is gaming considered some separate and distant category? If Apple is happy courting gamers on iOS, why not build a powerful gaming tower, or better yet, a multi-purpose tower computing platform that can be configured for gaming, CAD/CAM, 4K/8K video editing, 3D art, science, etc.?

    7: Why does a Mac Pro have to be spectacularly expensive?

    8: What would it hurt for Apple to introduce a configurable tower/platform for the purposes listed in #6, but without all the fancy packaging and imagery? Basically, what would it hurt for Apple to find a made-in-USA common tower case with superior cooling and electrical controls, equip it with multiple CTO options including Core i7 and Xeon W, and sell a base model for between $1,500 and $2,500 US?

    9: Why does Apple ignore gaming on MacOS, but embrace it on iOS?

    Maybe this isn't what Apple is defining as a "pro" user, but let me propose a small-business perspective:

    I want a multi-purpose machine that can run MacOS and Windows 10. I want a full tower (with a separate aftermarket wide-screen monitor) that can be CTO'd with no RAM or hard drive on-board. It should have the latest USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, USB-A, WiFi, Bluetooth. I want it to be able to run common productivity tasks like Microsoft Office and Quickbooks, but also to be able to run Final Cut and/or Adobe CC for 4K video editing, graphics and DTP. I also want the option of being able to do some CAD with it. I want this to be a machine you can CTO just like an iMac Pro (Xeon W) and pay accordingly.

    This thread is not about pronouncing-at-length that "Apple would never do that". I want to explore a design possibility for a "pro" market I believe is real and large that Apple appears to be ignoring. Obviously, there are many small business owners out there, in and out of the "creative professional" category, who are doing the Ryzen / FrankenCheesIntosh / Hackintosh thing that proves there are real possibilities here. And if Apple is doing "workflow" research of its own, they must be aware they are "missing the boat" in this category.

    So, what would a mass-marketable "pro spec" CTO Mac tower look like in 2019, based on what we see around us in 2018?
     
  2. chabig macrumors 603

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    #2
    1. A pro user is whatever you want him/her to be. For Apple, "Pro" is just a marketing term.

    2. "Pro" users don't have to pay any particular price for a Mac. The general rule is that the more powerful the computer, the more it costs.

    3. It seems as though people don't like the all-in-one design of the tower, or the fact that it has languished for three years. People expect a pro machine to contain enough up to date technology to justify its price.
     
  3. Wingsley, Apr 18, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

    Wingsley thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I think that "pro" users also expect a machine that they can upgrade, so they can start out with a base amount of RAM or SSDs/HDDs, and "grow" their machine with their business. That's why I added the links to the videos; apparently, people are doing this with more flexible HackIntoshes and upgrading older CheeseIntoshes.
     
  4. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #4
    On the surface, this is a silly question. A pro user, is of course somebody who, professionally, makes money using their Mac. That's the literal definition. It's your profession. However, when you dig into it, it's an extremely good, and fascinating question.

    You cannot categorise all pros in one box. You are technically a professional Mac user, if you use your Mac to order new supplies for your garage as a mechanic, but it's hardly what Apple or any of us think of, when we think of a Pro Mac user, and this use would never require the kind of hardware in a Pro-level machine.

    Generally speaking when we talk of Pro users, we talk of people who require workstation hardware.
    This is often the creative professionals - working with 3D modelling software, game development software, high-end animation software, Final Cut Pro (and other NLEs) etc.

    It can however also be academia. In research, powerful and reliable computing power can greatly improve researchers' ability to do their jobs, and many universities even have supercomputers. The issue with supercomputers though, is that you have to queue up your jobs on them, waiting your turn, and likely only getting very limited time on it. Many researchers would love a computer like an iMac Pro, so that they wouldn't have to wait their turn on the supercomputer, but could instead start a computing job on their own computer, and get reliable data out. Maybe this would take a week whereas utilising the supercomputer it would only take 2 hours, but they might have to wait 3 months to get access to the supercomputer.

    There are a myriad of other workflows too, like machine learning professionals, and hell, even my girlfriend has a workstation at work. She digitalises old archives for the government for public access, and they need a computer that can be hooked up to all their scanning stations, and handle thousands of pages hourly, cropping them based on preconfigured instructions, compressing them to internet friendly sizes and uploading them to their server. And again, it needs to be able to do this 24/7 constantly.

    All in all, we have a relatively narrow-minded perspective of what a pro-user is, but what the computer companies mean, is somebody who makes money off of a workstation computer. One where 24/7 reliability is crucial. It's not even always about speed either. There are plenty of workstations slower than my 2014 iMac. But they have ECC memory and Xeon chips. Now with 16GB of RAM and 24/7 operation, you'll have a RAM error every 6 months on average. If you're thinking "I've not experienced that", well, you're probably lucky enough that it's in an unused part of the RAM, or that there was enough parity data that your OS could fix it. But it's a fact that it happens. - With ECC RAM, the error rate practically goes down to never. And that's the crucial difference. Workstation components are made to be more reliable. In many cases, faster as well, but that's because a large part of the Pro market that these companies target, is performance oriented too, like the Motion Graphics folk.

    Mostly again, reliability. With a normal Core Intel chip, obviously it will be tested. But they may only test each chip for a few minutes, with a single stress test, and then ship it.

    Xeon chips are way more thoroughly tested, and crucially, they are tested with a large variety of pro software, like Maya, AutoCAD and Cinema4D. These are examples of software I know Pro GPUs to be tested with by the way, I don't know Xeons are tested with these exactly.
    Xeons also typically include more cores, which makes them substantially more expensive, since it's typical in chip production for parts of the chip to not be fully functional. The more cores you push on a chip, the more parts need to be functional. Now if you try and make an 18 core chip, and 4 of the cores have defects, you can just sell it as a 14 core one, but there are limits.
    More important than that though is the fact that, as stated in my answer to Q1, Pro customers make money off of their computer. Thus, price isn't that big a concern. If you pay $1k extra for your PC/Mac now, if it'll save you an hour every day that you can spend on serving more clients, it'll pay for itself in the long run.
    Xeon chips are also used in servers and data centers, again, an area that will generate a lot of money from the hardware over time. Hell a lot of the time the software licenses cost more than the computers do.

    And that's just the CPU! All the components are like this! The ECC RAM, the power supply system, the GPU, and even the GPU drivers! FirePro and Quadro come with special Pro-level drivers that have been verified for a long suite of pro software. This verification process is expensive.

    When it's stated the Mac Pro and iMac Pro isn't that expensive compared to similarly spec'd workstations it's not a lie. In fact, the Macs are quite cheap.
    It's a very old example by now, but I've included a screenshot from the Anandtech review of the 2013 Mac Pro when it'd just come out, comparing it to similar offerings from Lenovo and HP. Note how cheap the Mac Pro was in comparison.

    It's not really about what it looks like. Just that it can be expanded over time. You touched upon it yourself. People are still rocking the CheeseGrater, and upgrading it to be really powerful. That's what a Pro machine can do. It can take all the expansion you want to throw at it, so it can fit into a wide variety of workflows. Red Rocket X cards and GPUs, Fiber Channel cards, Xsan, capture cards and video interface cards, etc. And a power supply that can deal with anything.

    It's not that the Trash Can was bad. It was brillant in fact. But it was a short term solution. If you pay that much money for a computer, it's nice to know that you don't need to replace it in five years, but rather that you can pluck in a few extra parts and keep rocking. Furthermore, some components are crucial for certain workflows that you can't expect a computer to come with standard, since it's so specialised, but the Trash Can didn't offer any way of connecting them either. Apple at the time said "Just use Thunderbolt 2!" And that would've been a great solution, but TB2 wasn't ready for it. Just look at what Apple is doing themselves. eGPUs only work on TB3 officially.
    Plus it ruined the aesthetics anyhow.


    Edit: Forgot to upload the screenshot I mentioned. Here it is.
     

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  5. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

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    #5
    One thing I really liked about the cMP and would like to see reinstated are the drive bays.

    Way to make them better would be to have 2.5" slots rather than 3.5", and have them be hot swappable, like Blackmagicdesign's Multidock.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #6
    I'd say a mix of 2.5 and 3.5. 3.5 are typically cheaper for large archive HDDs
     
  7. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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  8. Wingsley thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    So basically, you're saying "Bring back the CheeseIntosh"? Just curious.
     
  9. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #9

    I took it more as just a joke.... But hell, then I'm saying bring back the backplanes from old mainframes.
     
  10. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #10
    Or this:
    zx.jpg
     
  11. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #11
    That looks terrible in my opinion. Colour and texture feel wrong.
     
  12. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    #12
    Yes.

    I don't mean it literally has to be the same case, same size, with lots of holes. But I do want:
    • Industry standard slots, bays, and ports
    • Lots of capacity inside and outside
    • Current version industry standard UEFI (nod to AidenShaw)
    • Premium build with high quality materials (this one is probably a given)
    • Easy to work on
    • Makes mango smoothies
     
  13. AidenShaw, Apr 18, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #13
    It's space gray!! ;)

    A Pro workstation should be function over form - not a fashion statement.

    Anyway, my point is that the HP Z-series has a range of workstations to cover low end to high end uses.

    Rather than taking two years to come up with what may be a tragically disappointing proprietary mess, Apple could have very quickly inked a deal with HP to rebadge the Z-series.

    And while my messy picture simply has the HP logo replaced by an Apple - the case pieces on the Z are detachable and could be replaced by Jony Ive works of art.
     
  14. mdbradigan macrumors regular

    mdbradigan

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    #14
    I just want a Corsair One Elite... running Mac OS. Good processor, great video card, great ram, good (liquid) cooling, looks great. $3k. Make it BTO with up to 5x the specs for 5x the price, with 5 steps in between. Done. This isn't rocket science. These are off-the-shelf parts.
     
  15. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

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    #15
    That's not pro. Pro means "makes espresso".
     
  16. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #16
    My espresso maker runs Linux - can it be upgraded to Apple OSX ??
     
  17. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

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    #17
    Linux:

    [​IMG]


    Mac:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #18

    Space Gray doesn't bloody mean anything anymore. My iPhone 6 sure looks different in colour to my iPhone 8, but space gray they both claim to be. I'm thinking something either more glossy or less black.

    An Apple Pro workstation should be both function and form. One doesn't have to exclude the other. I'd call the CheeseGrater both for instance. PowerMac Cube was also both in my opinion, though some seem to think it wasn't so functional. Xserve as well.

    Well, we'll see what they finally show us in 2019. It might turn out even more brillant than we can possibly imagine.
     
  19. Wingsley thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    I just discovered a Max Yuryev video on YouTube about a custom-built AMD Ryzen editing PC. Very interesting. He's saying the Ryzen CPU is well under half the cost of an Intel i7 (more like 3/8 or 1/3) and the whole machine was inexpensive to assemble from Amazon-available parts.

    Should Apple look at AMD's Ryzen? And would Yuryev's parts-bin PC make a good possibility for a 2019 Mac Pro?
     
  20. AidenShaw, Apr 18, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #20
    Yes, proprietary coffee cups rather than universal grinders.

    But at least they're from Peet's, rather than that Seattle outfit.

    And Linux is more like LCD displays and touch screens these days...

    j80_ho_lm_50_productpage[1].jpg
    --- Post Merged, Apr 18, 2018 ---
    So, let HP engineer the workstation for function, and let Jony Ive design new skins for it.

    I'm betting that the MP7,1 announcement will be something like this:

    train-bridge.gif

    There are so many fun images when you search for "train wreck".
     
  21. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #21
    I'm not against the idea flat out, but I don't exactly think it's realistic. And by that I don't just mean this time around, but basically ever. What do you like so much about the HP's though? At least from the outside it looks just like any tower.


    Your optimism is astonishing ;)

    Though admittedly that did make me laugh.
     
  22. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    #22
    I was considering one of these as well, until it was revealed that they aren't really off-the-shelf-parts. Here is what the product manager says:

    To be honest, I actually genuinely feel your pain. You're mad and you SHOULD be. I took over as manager for Corsair One after launch and have had to discover firsthand how specialized the hardware is.

    Make no mistake, from an engineering standpoint I do think it's an absolutely fantastic product with an innovative cooling system able to balance performance and noise in a way nobody else really has in this form factor.

    But I also recognize its shortcomings in terms of the upgradeability that was promised and not delivered upon to the depth that you and I would like, and I've made efforts to correct our public messaging where possible to line it up with what's actually feasible with Corsair One.

    If the inability to upgrade the graphics card is a dealbreaker for you, you're welcome to contact customer service and request a return with my blessing. We recognize the damage is done and there's nothing that can be done to make it fully right, but we can do the best we can if given the opportunity.
    Source:
    http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showpost.php?s=51d3643442bbb60aa4464df1c123fe1a&p=919151&postcount=15
     
  23. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #23

    That's some good customer service though
     
  24. AidenShaw, Apr 18, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #24
    Why the preoccupation with what the MP7,1 will "look like"? Why is "looking like a tower" bad? That's the "form over function" mindset that produced the disaster that is the trash can.

    The HP Z-series has three tower models - small, medium and large. Lots of options, and freedom to choose a form factor to match your needs. (Dell Precision, Lenovo ThinkStation and others have similar small/medium/large options.)
     
  25. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    #25
    "Give me mangoes or give me death"
    --Patrick Henry
     

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