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Author Topic: The new Mac Pro - A round Peg in a Square Hole? Musings and Thoughts....  (Read 20986 times)
Josh-H
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« on: October 15, 2013, 05:40:04 PM »
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Now that we are moving closer to a release of the new Mac Pro my thoughts have been turning to potentially upgrading my current Mac Pro. My current machine still flies along as its pimped out with max ram, hardware RAID, SSD's etc. However, it is starting to get a little long in the tooth in a few areas (video card, cant add more RAM etc) and although an upgrade is no where near mandatory - it might be nice.

Looking deeper into the new Mac Pro I am starting to feel like this may be a case of form over function. Last time I checked desks, walls and racks are square and are designed to work most efficiently with square and rectangular shapes. The new cylinder mac pro is going to be a bit of a strange beast to house. Yes its small, but I cant help but feel its going to sit like an out of place black shinny vase on a desk - which by the time I attach all the required peripherals its going to mutate into somewhat of an octopus and potentially a cable management nightmare.

As a minimum
- Cable connection to external Monitor
- Thunderbolt 2 connection to external RAID chassis for image storage
- USB 3 to Card Reader
- USB 3 to external time machine back up drive
- USB 2 to headphones
- USB 2 to colorimeter for display calibration
- USB 2 to spectrophotometer
- Power Cable

Ok - some of those can be removed when not in use - but most of them are being used most of the time. Currently my Mac Pro sits nicely under my desk and all the cables are nicely tucked up the back and out of sight. Its neither in the way, nor taking up desk space, nor hard to manage. With the new beast, sitting as designed on top of a desk, all that cable infrastructure is going to draped around it like spaghetti. I'm having visions of some Dalek like device from Doctor Who hooked up to machinery in an operating theatre..  Grin

And what about that external storage option for images? Nothing on the market yet for thunderbolt 2.... Surely Apple will release some sort of matching storage solution? Or, do we see a continued promotion of Promise's offering? (Promise have announced a TH2 chassis as coming soon...)

I dunno.. but this new MAC Pro may well have the engine to deal with 4k rendering etc... but it could prove a real nightmare to house and manage in the long term. I mean it wont work well in a rack system either.. Why didn't they make it cuboid? well.. I cant help thinking that might have seen direct comparisons to the previously tanked 'cube'.

The new thermal design looks 'clever' and the specs are cutting edge for a desktop form factor - but will it actually be a practical beast to house? dunno.....

Have to say, I feel at this point (without having tried one) that I think I would have preferred to see a typical rack mount chassis or a continuation of the existing chassis....
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 05:55:37 PM »
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Josh,

Mostly agreed, but what prevents you from putting the new Mac Pro under your desk?

Cheers,
Bernard
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Josh-H
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 06:18:43 PM »
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what prevents you from putting the new Mac Pro under your desk?

Fear of using it as a foot stool.  Grin

In all seriousness - nothing. And that may well be a solution. Although I do think it will need to sit on something to avoid the inevitable carpet dust...
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John.Murray
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 09:58:22 PM »
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The only way the form factor makes sense is processing power vs: acoustic noise.  pretty much all other workstations have multiple fans on all subsystems with no real way of centrally controlling overall cooling.  In that probably a brilliant design.  As far as external devices; 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) thunderbolt runs to external cabinets ought to take care of that Smiley
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digitaldog
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 09:32:36 AM »
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As far as external devices; 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) thunderbolt runs to external cabinets ought to take care of that Smiley
Agreed. As one how's owned MacPro's from day one, there's never enough internal slots or areas for drives for many, why attempt it? That said, I will probably pass on the first generation to see that all the bugs are worked out. Might change my mind though <g>
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Andrew Rodney
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studio347
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 08:34:15 AM »
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As we can see in a simple nice trashcan, the trashcan design is quite beautiful unlike some people's suggestions. It's very simple and functional... it just makes sense. And it's very useful!, safe to the leg too. Easy to grab and move.. Round/ circular shapes belongs to pure nature, and square/rectangular seems to belong to more humans. I can imagine the apple developer teams are very emotional and creative bunch... They have devoted  quite a long time for the previous MP design. Let them to focus on something new/ different and interesting...Smiley
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 08:39:27 AM by studio347 » Logged
tived
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2013, 12:19:41 AM »
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There is no debating that the new Mac Pro is another good looking Mac product, very well designed, but for those that need processing power, it leaves much to desire.

Maybe a modular design, stack another on top and it can do parallel processing and suddenly we have a little beast.

Good luck to those who jumps on it, it will be interesting to hear your experiences, in particular from those that uses very large file sizes

Henrik
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2013, 08:45:42 AM »
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There is no debating that the new Mac Pro is another good looking Mac product, very well designed, but for those that need processing power, it leaves much to desire.

Maybe a modular design, stack another on top and it can do parallel processing and suddenly we have a little beast.

Good luck to those who jumps on it, it will be interesting to hear your experiences, in particular from those that uses very large file sizes

In fact, as of now, it is a really fast machine that should be a top performer for large images processing, not sure much faster could be built for less than 10,000 US$. The problem will be in the difficulty to upgrade it to keep it current moving forward.

Cheers,
Bernard
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tived
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2013, 04:55:01 PM »
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I guess we will soon find out  Grin
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2013, 08:41:52 AM »
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In fact, as of now, it is a really fast machine that should be a top performer for large images processing, not sure much faster could be built for less than 10,000 US$. The problem will be in the difficulty to upgrade it to keep it current moving forward.

A confidential informant in Cupertino points out that Apple has said nothing publicly about the power source for the new Mac Pro.  In fact, he tells me, it will be battery powered—and the batteries, embedded inside a sealed case, will not be replaceable.

As we can see in a simple nice trashcan, the trashcan design is quite beautiful unlike some people's suggestions. It's very simple and functional. . . . Round/ circular shapes belongs to pure nature

You have cracked the code: Apple has concluded that all computing devices should be disposable.  You're not supposed to upgrade them, just use them for a while, pitch them in the trashcan, and then buy the newest model.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 10:18:47 PM by Chris Kern » Logged
Chris_Brown
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2013, 10:37:25 AM »
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The new thermal design looks 'clever' and the specs are cutting edge for a desktop form factor - but will it actually be a practical beast to house?

Call me a doubter, especially after "The Cube". Effectively cooling a computer is one of the most important mechanical requirements of its build design. How many selectively placed cooling fans does the current Mac Pro have? Twelve? And now Apple is reducing the size, placing a large fan at the top and calling this better. It may be, but I'd like to see the temperature readings at various spots in its carriage during an AE lenghty rendering or huge batch process.
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RobSaecker
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2013, 10:20:33 PM »
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... I'd like to see the temperature readings at various spots in its carriage during an AE lenghty rendering or huge batch process.

No doubt you'll be able to; my Mini has 15 different temperature sensors, I imagine the new MP will be similarly equipped.
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tived
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2013, 09:55:57 PM »
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when is this beast coming out?

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francois
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2013, 02:10:41 AM »
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when is this beast coming out?



An Apple event is scheduled for tomorrow…
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Francois
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2013, 06:06:43 AM »
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Josh,

Mostly agreed, but what prevents you from putting the new Mac Pro under your desk?

Cheers,
Bernard


If I understand things correctly, the start button is located where all the ports are. If one wishes to have the cables running from the back of the tower (preferable), it's definitely going to be difficult for some of us to comfortably get at the start button. Place the start button at the front and you're presented with a rather unsightly 'cable salad'. As opposed to where my Mac Pro tower presently resides (under the desk with just the front side - start button side - visible), I would unquestionably need to find another solution if and when I update to the new Mac Pro.
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jjj
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2013, 03:26:41 PM »
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Fear of using it as a foot stool.  Grin
That's what I currently use my MP for [I have a standing desk and a high chair] and it is one of the numerous ergonomic benefits over the new form factor which seems like it was designed by marketing numpties.
Making something 'smaller' by putting the insides [hard drives etc] on the outside is bogus nonsense, more cable nests, more expensive enclosures to buy, more clutter and for zero benefit as far as I can see. If you are that bothered by size as opposed to capacity/upgradeability then an iMac or Mac Mini would be better choice.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 03:29:21 PM by jjj » Logged

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John.Murray
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2013, 11:52:17 PM »
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hmm possibly - but then an imac/mini is using a 4 core 65w desktop class cpu.  how do *you* cool a 12 core server class Xeon?  Answer: everybody else does it in huge noisy, inefficient enclosures - sure lots of room for additonal stuff, but i have yet to see *any* enclosure capable of holding "enough"; so we goto SAS or Fiber Channel Cabinets with expensive i/o adapters and cables with their attendant PCI->whatever-bus->whatever-device->using-whatever-driver..... etc...

or an alternative; Thunderbolt which *is* a PCI bus, removing at least 2 layers of device driver abstraction between the CPU and the external cabinet ......

If you don't like, or need the grunt the "footstool" offers, buy an iMac, or MacBook Pro and hook it up to the same......
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 11:53:51 PM by John.Murray » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2013, 12:15:55 AM »
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Let's wait and see - what the total cost of ownership will end up being

There are pro's and con's with everything.

There will be very tangible ways to determine the effectiveness and some that are more difficult to measure such as brand loyalty/preference of OS.

The way the machine is configured is perhaps not the most suitable one for still image processing, but may be fine for other types of content creation.

Most people here don't have >64gb of ram - would they suddenly go out and buy it now, just because a new Macpro comes out - so for the 90% of user this unit it probably all they will ever need.

However those of use who desire and needs more, will need to look elsewhere

Henrik
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2013, 12:39:05 AM »
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For large storage, why not use a NAS tucked in your closet? Using gigabit ethernet, multiple RAID drives and local SSD "cache", I would think that performance is enough for most people (it sure is for my 18MP files).

As a benefit, you get to move noisy and volume-occupying stuff away from your eyes and ears, and things like redundancy, hot-swapping and backup tools.

-h
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2013, 12:46:52 AM »
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For large storage, why not use a NAS tucked in your closet? Using gigabit ethernet, multiple RAID drives and local SSD "cache", I would think that performance is enough for most people (it sure is for my 18MP files).

As a benefit, you get to move noisy and volume-occupying stuff away from your eyes and ears, and things like redundancy, hot-swapping and backup tools.

I have been using best in class gigabit NAS (in fact 10 gig compatible but the network isn't up to that) and just cannot stand anymore how slow they are compared to my previous SCSI320 direct attached storage solution. The worst is the time it takes for raw converters to chunck through hundreds of D800 images and the save time in PS. Yes... it is supposed to be asynchronous except you cannot do some types of operations without stopping the save operation...

It is just killing me and removing all the fun of image processing on large files.

It is true that the NAS are several meters away and therefore totally silent compared to the previous direct attached storage solution I was using, but it seems that TB2 will enable cables up to 10m, which is good enough for me to deliver the same "cabinet value" as my current NAS.

Internal storage in the Mac Pro was not relevant for me because I want to dissociate a change of machine from a change of storage. So one or several external storage boxes are a given.

I do not use any PCI card in my Mac pro anymore since the SCSI Raid died... do the cluster I was once afraid of with the new Mac Pro will in fact not happen for me.

The price is the remaining unknown. If it is affordable I'll probably get one.

Cheers,
Bernard
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