Until Apple updates the Mac Pro, they've really bound their professional users. The "current" Mac Pros are not fast enough and are exorbitantly priced. If, for example, you wanted to put together a high-end FCP system... you wouldn't actually be able to buy a Mac fast enough to meet the requirements of what that entails with today's media. They've effectively left us with software that requires more than their hardware can provide in extreme cases.
The Mac Pro lineup is an embarrassment right now. The speed of a machine goes well beyond processors and availability. The machines are lacking so much [inadequate PCI lanes, old PCI generation, inadequate number of PCI slots, inadequate system controller throughput, inadequate graphics support, no eSATA or BD or USB 3.0] that I can only imagine that Apple is planning a massive refresh. If they just speed bump the machine and double the cores... it's not going to be enough. What use are 16-cores if the machine costs $8,000, ships with 2GB of RAM and only has 2 outdated 16-lane slots?
Save us, Apple. Because there is no option right now. Hackintoshes aren't stable enough and Mac Pros are too slow.
Well said Brook, hopefully some one is listening, but unfortunately even so Steve keep saying that they have not abandoned the Pro's, what they do sure tells a different story ;~(
Brook, I hope you're right. Trying to figure out how to get a MacPro to do more than one thing well is really difficult with the way the PCI slots are in the back. And if they're going to be redoing the whole thing, I'd like to see a case thats rack mountable without sawing parts of it off as well.
The current crop of six-core CPUs offer no speed benefits over the Quad-Core Xeons on a per-core basis. In fact they're a bit slower due to the cache subsystem and CPU interconnect methods used to cram all six cores onto the same CPU die. Which also leads me to believe that if there is a redesign, Apple will release it at the end of July or possibly even in August when Intel ships their next round of CPUs. Still 6-cores, but fully unified cache architecture and faster bus and clock speed options. There will also be a new south bridge that doubles the PCI-E lanes per host from 40 to 80, which means that a system can host up to 5 PCI-E X16 slots on a single south bridge. We all like to gripe about the lack of PCI-E slots in a Mac Pro, but we also have to acknowledge the shortcomings of the chipsets available. Currently, we are limited to 40 lanes, which is two X16 slots and 2 X4 slots -- or what we have with the current Mac Pro. Yes, there are PC workstations out there that have more slots, but they still have to divide that up between the 40 lanes available on the Intel chipsets. Some of the nVidia chipsets provide dual PCI-E hosts -- one for peripheral expansion and another for SLI video use. Some E-ATX server boards have multiple south bridge connections and multiple PCI-E busses to deliver more slots. But those are a whole other animal. The latest PCI-E spec is still v2.0 and the current Mac Pros have v2.0 slots.
There comes a time when we have to look at system hardware for what it is and then look at the software we run on it. By today's standards, FCP is a pile of shit. It runs primarily locked to a single CPU, barely making any attempt to scale onto a second CPU. A 6-core Mac Pro would not solve this problem, you would just have more idle cores sitting there doing nada. Premiere Pro CS5 would definitely benefit though for the Mercury Engine. Beyond that, nothing else would matter. After Effects is so clunky and slow and CPU-bound to single-threaded hell that it's a complete displeasure to use compared to just about anything else these days.
So what I'm really hoping for, if a new Mac Pro is really in the works, is this:
* Latest Dual Xeon CPUs
* Proper form factor to allow horizontal rack-mounting.
* 5 x PCI-E slots, hopefully all X16, 2 of them double-width with one additional accessory slot.
* 4 internal 3.5" HDD bays
* 4 internal 2.5" HDD bays
* 1 internal optical bay -- and make it a Blu-Ray, dammit!
* Direct access to HDD bay iPass/SAS connections so we can attach to third-* party hosts.
* 6Gbps SATA onboard for internal bays
* New video options, primarily the nVidia 480
* One good Quadro offering with support SDI add-on
* Dual USB3 headers
* Dual FW800 headers
That's a lot to ask for from a company that's a little too obsessed with minimalist simplicity. But I can always dream, right?
I think if Apple were to do a spec bump right now and offer up 6/12 core options, people would go gonzo to buy them and then would be pissed in two months when the new CPUs were shipping. Apple could do a price adjustment, that would sure be nice. But then again, they probably won't because if they did it now, it would only last until the new offerings came out and it seems that they like to set a price for a line of systems and not monkey around with it much. They don't tend to drop the price, they like to maintain the price and fluff the hardware being offered.
Anyway, we'll see what happens. But at this point, I really don't expect to see a new Mac Pro until Intel ships the next iteration of CPUs and host chipsets.
I really hope any new Mac Pro has more than 5 PCIe slots and I don't need so many x16 slots.
second video card if using DaVinci
Five slots get used fast.
You win, Jeff, great points. Your knowledge of these things goes beyond mine.
I suppose my general dissatisfaction comes from the fact that I always feel like I'm buying accessories to make up for the system's shortcomings. Need another FW bus? Fill a PCI slot. Need eSATA connectivity? There's another slot. Need a Rocket? There's another. Put in the graphics card and you're all full.
But what about the SAS card, RAID card, fibre channel card, Kona card, USB 3.0 card and additional Rocket or two?
I just hate that I've spent thousands of dollars on PCI expansion chassis and PCI cards that I could've spent on additional processing power.
If Apple's going to price the machines to the moon like they have been [remember when $3,000 was the ceiling for the top-of-the-line processor machine?], they need to add the features that we actual professionals expect from a $6-8,000 machine.
And put a freaking eSATA port on the iMac too.
I think eSATA is one of those things apple will never support for whatever elitist reason they have.
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