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Author Topic: New Mac Pro  (Read 6171 times)
BJL
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« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2013, 11:32:07 AM »
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The complaint keeps coming up that the new Mac Pro will lead to a desktop cluttered with multiple external accessories and cables, so I am wondering, what add-ons would people expect to need for a "photographer's workstation"?

My guess is that a large majority of Mac Pro users will have nothing more than the main unit and maybe an external disk storage device, and even with the latter, this will occupy far less space and also weigh far less than the current Mac Pro tower. And maybe a small optical drive that is almost always stored away in a drawer or on a shelf, and can serve multiple computers.

To me, the ability to share accessories like mass disk storage, optical drives, and maybe video capture interfaces between multiple devices (say a desktop and a laptop computer) beats esthetic worries about a couple of extra cables. More so since laptops cannot use internal PCIe accessories at all, AFAIK.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 11:34:15 AM by BJL » Logged
EricWHiss
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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2013, 12:37:11 PM »
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What I like about my current mac pro is that it has 4 hard drive bays and two cd-rom slots (which I can fit another drive into).   I can have my working files on a 4tb drive and OS and apps on another drive each with their own internal back up drives. I can swap out drives easily and drives are cheap.   Its clean and no extra boxes/power supplies/cables to deal with.   What I don't like about the new design is that its all RAM drive which will be expensive and buying RAM from apple has always been very expensive compared to aftermarket.
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Mr. Rib
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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2013, 02:37:59 PM »
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First of all, from a "pro" machine I'd expect that it's easy to customize it and upgrade it when the need comes. Since we don't know if it is going to be possible with new Mac Pro or not, let's not go into this topic (if RAM / graphic cards / processors aren't swappable, for me it's just a one big laugh).
Since you are asking, please remember that a lot of photographers are involved in shooting motion nowadays. And also look at a wider spectrum, it's not just photographers and motion guys who were expecting Apple to deliver. But even as as a "mere photographe" when it comes to your desktop needs, you need at least a HD backup rack. This makes it two racks- one for your storage, second for backup. Probably some mass storage / optical 3rd solution for critical projects. speaking of racks- it would be great if the chassis was compatible with server racks. A solution you can put horizontally or vertically depending on the need... and I know guys who would benefit from it greatly due to the amount of hardware they need to work (not neccessarily photographers, but other "pros").
So now we have a mac pro unit with 2-3 additional boxes full of hardware, just to get things started. I won't even go into peripherals that pro users need to attach, like external video cards, pro realtime converters for broadcast applications, etc etc. Oh and yes, each external device usually means it's own power supply, it's own cooling. So, from a PRO standpoint, what are the benefits of this new chassis form? It has a single fan, yeah that's cool, too bad all of the other stuff will need their own fans anyway.
If this thing was MODULAR, detatchable from a bigger module incorporating all of the aforementioned, I would probably like the idea. But the big question remains- will RAM/graphic cards/proccessors be easily accessible and swappable?
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design_freak
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« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2013, 06:23:28 PM »
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May I ask on what specifications you working on now? What is your memory? How much memory you really need? For what purpose you are using an old Mac Pro?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2013, 07:56:49 PM »
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Having looked into the reality of my set up today, the main issues I would have with the new Mac Pro proposal would be

- the lack of PCI slots to host a SCSI card - this could be solved with on external TB PCIe box like the OWC Helios (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/PCIe_Chassis/Mercury_Helios/)
- the lack of an internal slot for a scratch disk, but the very fast SSD may be fast enough to manage both boot disk and scratch disk without significant impact on performance,
- the cost of installing more than 64GB or RAM (32 GB modules are still super expensive, not even sure if they exist in the right config)

Now, I am starting to look seriously into the cost of a clearly superior PC hardware and I notice a pretty significant inflation over the last 5 years. I would cost me 1.5 times what I paid my Mac Pro 8 cores 5 years ago to get a similarly speced PC. More accurately, to get a PC similarly sized relative to the evolving needs we have (larger data, video,...).

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 08:22:36 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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John.Murray
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« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2013, 11:02:20 PM »
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A SCSI card?  Presumably SAS, I assume - there are TB solutions that handily will eliminate the need.
The internal storage would easily handle swap as it's over 2x (1200 MBps) the bandwidth of any SATA/SAS drive through a controller.  Both Steve and I have been raving about PCIe based SSD storage.
ECC memory is *significantly* more expensive because the demand is significantly less, remember that this is socket 2011 - memory must be populated in 4's.

Obviously we'll have to wait for pricing, but in any case - a serious socket 2011 rig is going to cost some serious money no matter what.  Last time I priced an equivalent PC to the current Mac Pro iteration, it came in at roughly 1/2 the price (using desktop video cards as opposed to workstation class cards)

A bit off topic - I wonder if OS X Mavericks will properly support 10bit displays?
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design_freak
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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2013, 04:11:32 AM »
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A SCSI card?  Presumably SAS, I assume - there are TB solutions that handily will eliminate the need.
The internal storage would easily handle swap as it's over 2x (1200 MBps) the bandwidth of any SATA/SAS drive through a controller.  Both Steve and I have been raving about PCIe based SSD storage.
ECC memory is *significantly* more expensive because the demand is significantly less, remember that this is socket 2011 - memory must be populated in 4's.

Obviously we'll have to wait for pricing, but in any case - a serious socket 2011 rig is going to cost some serious money no matter what.  Last time I priced an equivalent PC to the current Mac Pro iteration, it came in at roughly 1/2 the price (using desktop video cards as opposed to workstation class cards)

A bit off topic - I wonder if OS X Mavericks will properly support 10bit displays?
Yes SCSI sometimes is needed for other equipment (not only storage)  Ex. for old high-end drum scanners ...
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2013, 04:21:06 AM »
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A SCSI card?  Presumably SAS, I assume - there are TB solutions that handily will eliminate the need.

A SCSI320 card for an external RAID array. Yes, I could buy an equivalent TB array, but that would cost me around 1,500-2,000 US$ extra...

Cheers,
Bernard
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BJL
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« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2013, 10:25:33 AM »
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Thanks Eric, Mr. Rib, and Bernard for your comments (and for following me over here from the MF forum!).

I think we all agree that there will likely be high costs for any internal upgrades like RAM, mass storage, and graphics cards, due to the use of custom or "extreme" hardware components, and also a cost barrier for those who wish to reuse accessories from previous computers (I am looking _at_ your SCSI devices Bernard!). Apple has never put much priority on backward compatibility, going way back to its dropping internal support for 5.25" floppy disks and then 3.5" diskettes long before "IBM-compatable" PC's did.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 01:20:26 PM by BJL » Logged
Mr. Rib
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« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2013, 08:10:33 AM »
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Bernard,

First and foremost, the storage. I need a backup raid, at least one. Then there's my RAID setup for regular storage and then there is SSD for scratch / system partition. I would like to have all of these inside one chassis.
I need a SCSI interface for a drum scanner and as you are probably aware I would like to have the card incorporated inside the chassis, not some external solution (if there even is such a thing with a TB interface..).
All of this in one chassis that is server-rack-compatible when you put it in a horizontal position while still being able to use it in regular, vertical position.
Of course I would expect new mac pro to be fully customizable and upgradable by user, so that I can keep my machine up to date with a 1-1.5 year upgrades. I'm not asking for a lot..
A real masterpiece would be a modular design allowing to attach / choose modules you need- but everything contained in a single chassis which you can link / unlink.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2013, 07:35:09 PM »
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Bernard,

First and foremost, the storage. I need a backup raid, at least one. Then there's my RAID setup for regular storage and then there is SSD for scratch / system partition. I would like to have all of these inside one chassis.
I need a SCSI interface for a drum scanner and as you are probably aware I would like to have the card incorporated inside the chassis, not some external solution (if there even is such a thing with a TB interface..).
All of this in one chassis that is server-rack-compatible when you put it in a horizontal position while still being able to use it in regular, vertical position.
Of course I would expect new mac pro to be fully customizable and upgradable by user, so that I can keep my machine up to date with a 1-1.5 year upgrades. I'm not asking for a lot..
A real masterpiece would be a modular design allowing to attach / choose modules you need- but everything contained in a single chassis which you can link / unlink.

Well, Apple could still propose an upgrade path where new graphic cards/CPU could be replaced in store by certified Apple service people. This would solve many of concerns related to the frozen specs of the current integrated design.

Regarding extensions/modularity, it could in fact be done fairly easily by third party vendors thanks to the TB2 connections. I have some fairly detailed ideas on how it could be done, but won't disclose that here.  Wink

Cheers,
Bernard
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