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Mark Dobson
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 7:35:52 pm

Well this rumor has been around for a while although it has never been stated this clearly before.

One reason MacPro sales might be down at the moment is that everybody (well me ) is waiting for a new model to be launched. One with Thunderbolt as well as faster processors.

People say the iMac and MacMini, both now with thunderbolt, are sufficient to serve the market.

I would really miss the MacPro. One of the biggest advantages for me are the quad drive bays let alone the processing speed.

My MacPro is 4 years old now and I need an upgrade so I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that this is indeed - just a rumor.


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Alan Okey
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 7:48:53 pm

The irony is that for years, Apple sold software that could not take full advantage of its hardware. If this rumor comes to pass, Apple will now lack the hardware to take full advantage of its software.


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Robert Bracken
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 7:49:19 pm

damn, damn, damn. I love me some Mac Pro. We use AJA cards for our MiniDV tapes. (We're moving away from using them.)

This would make us change from Apple to PC for video editing. Whatever.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 8:04:03 pm

I've read similar speculation that Apple might create a modular system based around a Mac Mini Pro that would act as a 'brain' and the user would upgrade externally instead of internally with Thunderbolt acting as the connective tissue. It's not a bad idea, IMO, as long as the Mac Mini Pro still had the big CPUs, space for lots of RAM, and 4-6 discreet Thunderbolt ports. Local RAIDs, Fibre, broadcast I/O devices and even video cards could all be added externally via Thunderbolt. I'm not married to the typical desktop form factor so as long as the performance and expandability is there I'd be keen on seeing something different.


[Robert Bracken] "damn, damn, damn. I love me some Mac Pro. We use AJA cards for our MiniDV tapes. (We're moving away from using them.)

This would make us change from Apple to PC for video editing. Whatever."

There are a number of I/O options that don't require PCI slots these days so why would Apple killing the Mac Pro line be a deal breaker?


Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 8:57:09 pm

Thanks for saying this Andrew. I've said similar in numerous thread and not only does it make sense, I'd expect it and advocate for it.

A large Mac Mini shaped device that would be maybe 2 Rack Units.
6, 8, 12, 16 core models (or some subset).
2 PCie slots, 1 with GPU and the other for a 2nd GPU or legacy card.
SSD and a 2nd standard hard drive.
3 or 4 Thunderbolt ports for high speed storage, monitoring, video i/o, high speed communication to a "brain" computer which would be part of a server/san system.

It could have a lower price point entry with modular expansion based on your individual or facility needs.

I think the model would actually cause many to consider moving from PC to Mac. Keep in mind Apple's goals these days seem to be drive down cost, maintain margins, increase mass sales.

Even facilities may find the modular workstation more cost effective than Desktop after desktop with PCIe cards which duplicate functions.

Thunderbolt Video I/O can move from machine to machine as needed. A central sever/san may be an ingest station in other cases.

One can remove your Thunderbolt RAID and take it home to your iMac for editing or to your MBP or MBA for editing on the go.

Will this be ideal for everyone, maybe not. Will it reach a broader user base, likely IMHO.



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Gary Huff
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:21:58 pm

I thought we were moving away from a "facility" and to some apartment with a MacBook Pro.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:59:04 pm

[Gary Huff] "I thought we were moving away from a "facility" and to some apartment with a MacBook Pro."

And that what this allows. With Thunderbolt you can pull the major components and be completely mobile. Likewise one can walk into a facility and plug into a workstation. Bring your own computer.

Facility allows for the times when one needs group access. Otherwise one can be mobile. Media and Video I/O would be completely mobile.

This "MacMiniPro" itself could be moved much more easily than a MacPro could ever.

The purpose of a facility will change (it's already changing but this will continue the change).
Facilities have the advantage when there needs to be group media access and real time collaboration or shared gear (like centralized I/O) but no longer required for independent work. The mobility of high speed Video I/O and storage and that they work on anything from MacMini or Air to whatever replaces the MacPro.

The MacMiniPro can be anything from tied to a rack to something one could bag and carry and every Thunderbolt device that's attached to it can be moved independently as well as needed.

In short, it will be a major advantage over devices tied to PCIe slots in a dedicated desktop workstation.

The economic implications are significant.



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Gary Huff
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:01:48 am

What if I want the workstation without having to invest in rack space and have 2-3 external peripherals scattered about on my desktop?


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:10:29 am

[Gary Huff] "What if I want the workstation without having to invest in rack space and have 2-3 external peripherals scattered about on my desktop?"

Then you can get an HP Z400 of course. What if the market shows that there's declining demand for such towers?

What if developers follow Apple's lead and make rack mountable or stackable devices?

What if all that goes under my desk anyway since I wouldn't have a tower on top of my desk to begin with either?

What if a smaller flatter box gives me greater flexibility for placement in my workspace?

What if I do want some things on my desk for easy access?

You may want a tower with PCIe slots but I don't think the market does . . . at least not in a way that's profitable.

Even HP was considering selling off their PC division although they've decided against it a few days ago.



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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:53:43 am

craig, there is no mac mini pro. nobody on any in the know site has ever spoken seriously about what you're referring to there have they? i stand to be corrected but - can we please stop talking about the amazing things they're going to do once they're finished gutting the professional hardware/software base of the company that we're all so invested in?

let's all just take a moment and enjoy the view as apple eviscerate the professional hardware/software base we're heavily invested in.

they're just going to discontinue the tower. they're not going to go hogwarts and pull something out of the hat.

they're just going to discontinue the tower.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:53:58 am

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/10/31/despite_new_cpu_options_apple...

Apple could choose to offer a new high-end iMac or beefed up Mac mini that packs enough power to approach the performance current Mac Pro, greatly simplifying its product lineup while having a very limited impact on sales. That would save the company the efforts of having to design and maintain a tower system.

The same rumor mill that speculates about the demise of the MacPro talk about a beefed up Mini. To me that makes more sense than then the beefed up iMac because Apple sells more of there $1000 Thunderbolt equipped monitors.



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Herb Sevush
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:31:21 pm

Craig -

The modular super-mini T-bolt system you have been espousing has one major drawback for me - the mini is a closed box. Unless you see the mini as a CPU only device, the fact that you can't open it and swap out drives and memory easily is a major drawback. I can't afford to shut down my operations to take a mini to an Apple store to get them to swap out system drives if I have a problem. The ability to get under the hood is essential to me. It's why I won't even consider an Imac for my work, or a laptop as my main computer. If the system case isn't designed to be opened and worked on by a skilled amateur, I won't use it.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Mark Bein
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:00:31 pm

[Herb Sevush] "If the system case isn't designed to be opened and worked on by a skilled amateur"

Well, current mac minis and macbooks pro are designed to be opened and worked on by a skilled amateur!

And you can clone your internal drive to a firewire/usb/thunderbolt drive and work from
there if the internal drive fails.

I have all of my work data on external raid drives and time machine backups
of emails, address book, calendar and other documents.

if you have a spare mini your up and running in minutes.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:41:30 pm

[Herb Sevush] "the mini is a closed box. Unless you see the mini as a CPU only device, the fact that you can't open it and swap out drives "

I suspect the new box will be SSD and HD combo maybe build to order. They may need to be swappable but I don't think that would be impossible. This new box would be a bit bigger.

[Herb Sevush] "memory easily is a major drawback."
Have you seen the new Mini? Just twist turn the bottom and you can add memory. I think with a bit of work and a larger box it may be viable. You'd need access to the one or two PCIe slots as well to change the GPU(s) and/or install remove the one legacy card it would allow. Rack mountable servers have accessible components.

I'm thinking of something that can work as that as well as sit on a desk (or under it). The variable is whether it'll open like a pizza box or have slide out components from the back. The latter would be better I think but the Mini requires you to twist turn the bottom for access but that's not really convenient for rack or stack situations.

Think of it this way. Put your MacPro on it's side. Get rid of the handles and legs. Then cut the height down since it'll only have two PCIe slots (one populated with GPU). You're losing the optical drive as well as all the internal hard drive expansion. They'll have to deal with air flow/cooling but I think it's possible if not likely for Apple to head in this direction. The goal is to maintain a "Pro" CPU/GPU and allow everything else to be external.

Yes external can mean clutter but it also means mobility with Thunderbolt across the line and for some it means dropping cost through the redundant use of PCIe cards on several workstations. To me this is how Apple plays its game back into the "facility" market by making a viable commodity computer that can server that market. It lowers the cost for many facilities with modular components that can be moved from machine to machine or the MiniPro to MBP for example.

BTW if I would venture a guess, Acer, who announced Thunderbolt support, might be the Windows computer maker most likely to head in this same direction. Realistically that would be idea because, for best value, being able to use those Thunderbolt devices on a Windows box would further lower costs for facilities that need to use both OSs.

For Apple, you then need to consider how FCPX ties in to this setup vs Avid and Adobe. Avid sells hardware so if the above ties in to things that compete against Unity and Isis, especially on price, Avid will get hurt further. Adobe on the other hand might like this especially if Acer heads in this hardware direction as well. I think down the road FCPX, which looks like it designed for a seat feed to a "management brain" may be part of a software tie in to take advantage of this setup.



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Herb Sevush
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:00:12 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Put your MacPro on it's side. Get rid of the handles and legs. Then cut the height down since it'll only have two PCIe slots (one populated with GPU). You're losing the optical drive as well as all the internal hard drive expansion. They'll have to deal with air flow/cooling but I think it's possible if not likely for Apple to head in this direction. The goal is to maintain a "Pro" CPU/GPU and allow everything else to be external."

Sounds fine to me. If the peripherals are on the outside it makes it easier to swap out and change. I have no love for opening dusty computer cases and swapping out boards hunched under my desk.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Gary Huff
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:37:13 pm

[Craig Seeman] Put your MacPro on it's side. Get rid of the handles and legs. Then cut the height down since it'll only have two PCIe slots (one populated with GPU). You're losing the optical drive as well as all the internal hard drive expansion. They'll have to deal with air flow/cooling but I think it's possible if not likely for Apple to head in this direction.

It's also possible that Apple will leave traditional computing entirely and move fully into the iOS ecosystem.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:03:15 pm

[Gary Huff] "It's also possible that Apple will leave traditional computing entirely and move fully into the iOS ecosystem."

And this is why Apple continues to grow market share and revenue with "traditional" computers like laptops and iMacs?
If you look at their last financials their computer revenue were close to that of iPad (iPhone dwarfed everything though).

http://www.splatf.com/2011/10/apple-4q11-charts/
and
http://www.macstories.net/news/apple-q4-2011-results-28-27-billion-revenue-...

Although Apple doesn't break down computer by individual product it would seem that MacPro is the poorest performer and they'd replace it with something with wider reach while also designing to lower manufacturing and component cost (by enabling larger bulk orders).



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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:04:26 pm

[Gary Huff] "[Craig Seeman] Put your MacPro on it's side. Get rid of the handles and legs. Then cut the height down since it'll only have two PCIe slots (one populated with GPU). You're losing the optical drive as well as all the internal hard drive expansion. They'll have to deal with air flow/cooling but I think it's possible if not likely for Apple to head in this direction.

It's also possible that Apple will leave traditional computing entirely and move fully into the iOS ecosystem.

"


I hope they do, it's Apples job to drive the future, even if it means casualties on the way. iOS is a great foundation for a future OS. Like some others here I'm not subscribing to the whole "sky is falling" idea, I'm excited about the future direction companies like Apple take.

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Gary Huff
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 9:59:44 pm

[Steve Connor] iOS is a great foundation for a future OS. Like some others here I'm not subscribing to the whole "sky is falling" idea, I'm excited about the future direction companies like Apple take.

Until you realize just how unsuitable iOS is for a professional work environment.


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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:32:21 pm

[Gary Huff] "Until you realize just how unsuitable iOS is for a professional work environment."

Well I'm assuming that iOS will mature considerably before it replaces OSX in the next few years.

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Oliver Peters
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:53:48 pm

[Steve Connor] "
Well I'm assuming that iOS will mature considerably before it replaces OSX in the next few years."


That is actually what Microsoft is trying to do with Windows 8 - a merged desktop and mobile OS.

My personal vision is an iMac-style computer with an iPad-style touch screen. Driven by some variation of iOS/OSX. I could see FCP X as totally designed with this in mind.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:00:22 pm

[Oliver Peters] "My personal vision is an iMac-style computer with an iPad-style touch screen. Driven by some variation of iOS/OSX. I could see FCP X as totally designed with this in mind."

But that kind of "upright" touch screen is awkward. I believe Jobs said as much. That's why the trackpad is the alternate tool of choice for non iPad/iPhone.

Possibly a track pad like the Wacom Cintiq would work.



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Oliver Peters
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:04:56 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Possibly a track pad like the Wacom Cintiq would work"

Correct. That's really more the ergonomics I was thinking about. Tilt the iMac farther back. OTOH a 27" screen might be too much. But, a track pad would also work.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:38:38 pm

[Oliver Peters] " But, a track pad would also work."

We're actually not that far away from that. I've seen people work with iPad as a mirrored desktop and you now have a touch screen to hold in your hand while you watch the bigger version on the monitor.

Most interesting example was someone who did this while using Telestream Wirecast for a live switched stream. They had built the shots on desktop but controlled the live switch from the iPad. Given it was wireless, they could even walk away for a short distance and still monitor and control the switching from the iPad.

One might almost think about Apple bumping up the size of the iPad to 13" or 15" and stripping out things that wouldn't be important for this use such as the cameras, and have a visual track pad for a fairly reasonable price.

I could easily see controlling FCPX from this. I think FCPX would need to have some more accessibility improves ranging from gesture commands to more onscreen buttons.



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Gary Huff
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:10:10 pm

[Craig Seeman] We're actually not that far away from that. I've seen people work with iPad as a mirrored desktop and you now have a touch screen to hold in your hand while you watch the bigger version on the monitor.

I could easily see controlling FCPX from this. I think FCPX would need to have some more accessibility improves ranging from gesture commands to more onscreen buttons.

But you can already do this. And who is using it? You? Kim Krause? Who is using it in an everyday work environment?

I can see it being great as a touch control interface for color correction, but for routine editing tasks? Seems like a big pain in the ass if you ask me.


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Mark Bein
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 7:56:50 pm

Apple Folks will compile macosx on a hackintosh.


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Ian Bailey
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:44:31 pm

As a MacPro user I have some concerns, but I've always believed the next model would ship without an internal optical drive and with Thunderbolt ports instead of PCI slots. Here are a couple of interesting snippets I found online:

Mac Mini used for pro video editing: http://bit.ly/qKcvLg

REDcine running on a MacBook Pro with a RED Rocket card in a thunderbolt enclosure: http://bit.ly/rG0TTs


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Neil Goodman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 10:03:24 pm

This is cool, i actually wrote off the MacPro's as soon as the 27inch i7 imac came out with thunderbolt. The only reason i see for the mac pros was to use capture cards but with thunderbolt theres not need, and the quad i7 imacs are screaming fast.

Faster than the 8 core MacPro im typing this on.

Neil Goodman: Editor of New Media Production - NBC/Universal


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Oct 31, 2011 at 10:23:55 pm

[Neil Goodman] "he quad i7 imacs are screaming fast.
Faster than the 8 core MacPro im typing this on."


Of course there are those who need to scream louder but that doesn't require PCIe slots or internal hard drives. Add a couple of more Thunderbolt ports and the ability to have two or three matched monitors and you have lots of power and customization.



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Darren Kelly
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:17:21 am

"But despite the new processors now being in sight, AppleInsider reports that Apple is reportedly "questioning" the future of the Mac Pro line and whether it will even release updated models.
Although the Mac maker has reportedly developed a revision to the existing Mac Pro that may or may not see the light of day, people familiar with the matter said management as far back as May of 2011 were in limbo over whether to pour any additional resources into the product line.

According to these people, the consensus among sales executives for the Cupertino-based company was that the Mac Pro's days -- at least in its current form -- were inevitably numbered. In particular, internal discussions were said to focus around the fact that sales of the high-end workstations to both consumers and enterprises have dropped off so considerably that the Mac Pro is no longer a particularly profitable operation for Apple."


Getting the point yet Craig?

APPLE doesn't want to support pro users. They are a consumer electronics company now, not a computer maker, and not a maker of Pro Applications

Keep drinking the Kool-Aid

DBK


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:36:58 am

Sorry but there's nothing in the above statement that indicates they don't want to support pro users. There's nothing that indicates that Pro users only use towers. Pro users need CPU/GPU, high speed data throughput and all that can be delivered without a tower with PCIe slots and internal hard drives.

MacPro sales are DECLINING so either you think there are fewer Pros or maybe Pros aren't wedded to towers.

Of course you could look at Avid as the business model who just laid off another 10% of their workforce following several previously years of also laying off similar percentages of their workforces. Their profits are on a steady decline. Does this say something about the Pro market?

The business model for supporting Pros has changed and the businesses that support them have to stay in business.



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Bobby Mosca
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:38:24 am

I hate to do it, but I have to agree with Darren. It isn't just the writing on the wall, it's the trend. For the past couple years, Apple has headed down one path, and there is scant evidence they are changing direction or intend to. I think some, such as Craig, have done their level best to hold out hope and demonstrate how our worst fears are not, in fact, coming true.

Some have offered some great scenarios of how Apple is changing the game, but those scenarios aren't panning out. They're leaving the game. Dance with the gal that brung ya, they say, but for Apple, the better business decision may be to change partners.

That's fine, I guess. It's just too bad.


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Michael Gissing
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:48:34 am

There is a sense of self fulfilling prophecy here by Apple. I am waiting to see if the next upgrade path for me involves Mac hardware at all. I have a MacPro because pros chose FCS. The pro app sold the hardware. The lack of a pro app makes the hardware options open again.

My MacPro is only two years old so still plenty of grunt. But the need to embrace pro apps that prefer a Decklink card and an NVidia cards means that I would be better off using non mac hardware as the graphics cards are much cheaper on non Mac OS intel hardware. So a smarter move is to sell the MacPro with FCP7 & Kona3, build my own Win 7 box and start again with Decklink, NVidia and CS6 or MC6. Probably can come out cheaper than modding the MacPro. da Vinci for Windows is happening so there is almost nothing tying me to Mac hardware anymore. So Apple shouldn't be surprised at falling sales for MacPros. It is the logical consequence of dropping the ball with pro apps.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:03:29 am

[Michael Gissing] "But the need to embrace pro apps that prefer a Decklink card"

So the Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D Thunderbolt box isn't Pro? Would you run that on the HPZ series that won't support Thunderbolt? The point is PCIe slots aren't needed for professional Video I/O.

Do you think the Promise Pegasus RAID is slower than a RAID on a PCIe card on a Windows box?


That you can also run the above on a MacBookAir or even a MacMini offers major flexibility when you need portability over CPU/GPU power

And whatever replaces the MacPro will likely be quite professional on the CPU/GPU front.

Do you see something faster than Thunderbolt on Windows?

You could say that all the Macs now hit some level of Pro.



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Michael Gissing
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:11:52 am

[Craig Seeman] "So the Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D Thunderbolt box isn't Pro? Would you run that on the HPZ series that won't support Thunderbolt? The point is PCIe slots aren't needed for professional Video I/O."

So I junk all my 2 year old PCI based cards, and buy a whole new set of Mac hardware and 3rd party cards. Why should I buy Mac hardware? That is the point. Not whether I can do it the Mac way. Why should I pay Mac premium prices for hardware with limited choices.

It was the software that drove the hardware choice in the first place. It really is silly to say here is a way to do it so I should stick to a narrow expensive hardware platform when the software no longer compels me.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:41:47 am

[Michael Gissing] "Why should I pay Mac premium prices for hardware with limited choices."

AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox all have Thunderbolt video I/O with HD-SDI. I guess you'd add Osprey if you went PC. I don't see a limited choice here. The big ones are represented and obviously they think it's going to be a viable market. This is especially so since, unlike a PCIe card, their boxes can be sold to anyone with a MacMini or Air on up.

[Michael Gissing] "So I junk all my 2 year old PCI based cards, and buy a whole new set of Mac hardware and 3rd party cards."

Or you buy a PC. That's still going to cost. While those PCI cards will run on your desktop, the Thunderbolt boxes will run on whatever replaces the MacPro, my MacBookPro when I have to go mobile, my wife's MacMini if she needs to use Video I/O. Of course I'll be able to do the same with the Pegasus RAID.

If you own multiple computers the Thunderbolt allow me to move things around to different computers. If you only own one computer then the cost of buying a new PC might be worth it to you at least in the short term.

The thing is a computer manufacturer like Apple has to weigh what serves the market best and certainly Video I/O and high speed RAID are Pro needs and they've just expanded the ability to use such devices to their entire computer line rather than limit themselves to a technology thats for Desktop Tower use only.

It's ironic that people were complaining how the Express port was dropped from the 15" MBP (only on the 17" MBP) so Apple now uses a technology they will include on their entire line and some people complain about their PCI cards. Yes there's a short term loss involved but a major long term and, more importantly, a wider market gain.

One might say Apple "commodified" a professional interface by using it on all their models so that everyone can use them and developers themselves had a broader market. It makes good business sense for Apple to replace the MacPro with a Thunderbolt based computer that can have broader appeal because you can use the same professional devices with it (whatever it is called) as well as with your smaller systems as needed.



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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:54:10 am

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/19363

So you think Avid has the better business model? They're certainly the favorite of Hollywood and much of Broadcast and they're sinking. Laying 10% of their workforce after the "big cross grade" which is already following several years of laying off significant portion of their workforce.

When Pros used to spend $100,000 for an NLE it was a market with deep pockets but now that NLEs have prices in the $2500 range (Media Composer) and computers they use are the same computers others use at the same price, they become a very small, not very financially viable market on their own.

An NLE sale to Murch doesn't bring in any more than an NLE sale to me although obviously there's a bit more PR value in the sale to Murch. That wasn't the case when a "Pro" spend 100K and I spent $5K but those days are long gone.

Basic business sense says selling the same system at the same price to a 1,000,000 people is a better business target than selling it to 1000 people.



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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:02:52 am

Not sure if I mentioned this in another thread, but I was shooting at a BioTech conference a few weeks ago and they had Watson (the computer that won Jeopardy) on display.

Looking backstage it was nothing but a bunch of racks of processor boxes. Each packed with cores - running in massively parallel arrays. The point is that this planetary class computer didn't use a "big iron" monolithic approach. It was computing build around an array of processors modules each doing what they do best - with the simplest possible power distribution and IO necessary to enable them to do their job of crunching data fast.

The old "everything in one big tower" mode is dying out across the industry. The computer will increasingly be a string of task specific smaller modules - the sum of it's parts rather than a big massive central "all in one" unit - all connected by fast I/O pipes.

Thunderbolt I/O enables that.

Today's "laptop" is tomorrows "control surface." The power will reside in what you hang off the busses - not what's in any one big box.

It's computer as "collection of things" - rather than the computer as A thing.

That's my bet anyway.

We'll see.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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David Roth Weiss
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:57:26 am

[Bill Davis] "The old "everything in one big tower" mode is dying out across the industry."

Will wonders never cease! I think we finally agree on something Bill.

I would say that the form factor of whatever computers we'll be using in the very near future is simply going to be determined by whatever they can build directly onto the main-board. Much like that new super-thin MacBook that we all saw a few days ago on the rumor sites.

T-Bolt is just an I/O connection from a chip or chipset on the main-board, and you'll be able to hang anything on them. PCIe cards will be history almost immediately, and will probably all be gone by the time NAB rolls around in April or within a year or so tops.

As you say Bill, every module will connect via T-bolt, and we'll all be happy campers with a lot fewer fans, a lot fewer cables, and the entire footprint of a highest-end digital editing system will be lots of tiny boxes connected to some big beautiful monitors that all be plug and play and color managed.

RAIDs will continue be the biggest and noisiest boxes in the setup, at least for a while until SSDs are cheaper and totally ubiquitous. Then, we'll start seeing RAIDs get downsized too, and we'll soon see 100Tb in little boxes the size of a pack of Marlboros.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-2-MikeParfit...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Gerald Baria
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:56:47 am

[David Roth Weiss] "As you say Bill, every module will connect via T-bolt, and we'll all be happy campers with a lot fewer fans, a lot fewer cables, and the entire footprint of a highest-end digital editing system will be lots of tiny boxes connected to some big beautiful monitors that all be plug and play and color managed."

Oh the future looks great. It is a given fact that an external GPU can be connected thru thunderbolt. So all these woes about raw power can be put to rest. Apple just made the tower obsolete.

Quobetah
New=Better


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kim krause
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:51:16 am

yup...and about time to...i've been saying for awhile that a mac mini server with an iPad is pointing the way to how we are gonna be working in the not too distant future and i for one can't wait. who needs the big old towers and damn fans and graphics cards and all the other crap when a simpler way is available. good riddance to the expense and hello new streamlined workflow!


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Rafael Amador
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:02:10 am

some guys around seems to be millionaires.
How much shit.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:10:32 am

Well, the writing's been on the wall for some time.
The current Macpro isn't selling because it is essentially the type of machine Apple said they'd never build. High-powered CPUs in an otherwise unbalanced system that has been neglected and abandoned just like the rest of the non-consumer aspects of their business. We've been holding out to upgrade for over a year now and have considered moving away from the Mac altogether after FCPX.
Frankly, I don't want to wait any longer so after 20 years it's farewell Apple. We placed an order for two HP z800 this morning.
Media Composer is cross platform, we have Adobe licenses for Win, FCPX is utterly useless to us.
Moving to Windows puts us in a much better and much more flexible position with tons of options to choose from.

Using an iMac or a Mini type of machine is just crazy. Bye-bye Cuda, video io obsolete, fibre cards obsolete, esata cards obsolete, raid cards obsolete. Would have to buy everything again for TB if and when it will be available and then Thunderbolt storage doesn't work under Bootcamp (plus tons of other issues as well). If the internal drive craps out or something else break... off goes the entire machine for repairs for weeks and you cannot even get the drive out to access your local data.
And, just as a side note, what has become almost as annoying as Apple's attitude in recent years is the ever-increasing number of Mac users who whitewash everything this company does. I'd be curious to learn what on earth Apple has to do to get on the bad side of some of these people.


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kim krause
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:58:37 pm

i think you missing the point....by simplifying we can get of all that crap and those stupid cards and extra shit you have to buy...which by the way you still gonna need on a p.c. so whats the point of changing to p.c. ? you're gonna end up with exactly the same crap. streamlining is the future and a mac mini or 2 and thunderbolt displays are an awesome combo. unlimited hi speed storage (unless you prefer to access media off the cloud) toss in an iPad 3 for controlling the whole thing and you are looking at the suite of the future. i was reading in a newspaper article today about all the traditional jobs being lost in hollywood, especially the film side..... the writing is on the wall and it says " get ready for the future"


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:19:46 pm

I don't have to buy those "stupid cards and extra shit" (all of which is extremely useful to me and not stupid at all) because I have already bought it. I just need to take it out of the Macs and put it into the HPs. Done.
I'd have to buy tons of new gear and adapters (most of which don't even exist yet) if we had to go the Thunderbolt route and would take ten times longer for certain tasks than a proper workstation.
Then, even if all those adapters interfacing with Thunderbolt were available, given the cable length limitation of Thunderbolt in its current copper incarnation, I'd have 100TB of storage sitting three meters away from me. Great! I may as well put a hoover right under my desktop. Plus everybody else who is accessing a shared storage solution would have to sit in a 6meter radius from. We may as well tear the entire office down and build everything from scratch.
But, as you've said, I can always access my media from the cloud, right? I wanna see you accessing 2K DPX files from the cloud. Brilliant idea.

The cost of switching to Windows for us is zero, zilch, plus freedom of choice, cheaper prices for hardware and components plus it is future proof.
The cost of switching to a Thunderbolt enabled Mac solution is in the tens of thousands of dollars with issues and problems all over the place plus a moody and completely unpredictable company behind all this that may pull the plug whenever they feel like it.


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kim krause
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:56:50 pm

you are just thick...you won't need those cards in a computer with advanced internal architecture. if everything is built in it makes all the extra crap irrelevant. you can link thunderbolt drives together and have tons of storage. 3 meters is quite far away for most of us. that would easily be in another room at my place...much like your current drives are except just not as far away. and i would love to know how you gonna get a bunch of pcs for free. last time i checked hp were charging money for their machines....then you gotta stuff all that old crap into them to make them work....are you not listening to yourself?


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:58:36 pm

"Advanced internal architecture" - it's delusional to think that you can cramp the functionality and flexibility of a tower into an iMac or Mini.
For a lot of cards there is not even a Thunderbold equivalent or adapter anounced. Also, calling a choice of fast gpus and fibre connectivity "old crap" is just stupid and ignorant.

Glad to hear three meters of cable is enough for you. Screw the rest of the community including larger companies for which it isn't, right?
No, I don't get the PCs for free. But I pay less for them than for the current Macpro and I DON'T have to buy any new hardware if a new Macpro or whatever may follow was TB only to get the same functionality that I already have and for which I already paid top dollar.


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James Mortner
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:43:42 pm

We have a similar problem here, TB would be impossible to install with 3m limitation. Maybe later optical iterations will solve that ?


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:00:53 pm

[James Mortner] "We have a similar problem here, TB would be impossible to install with 3m limitation. Maybe later optical iterations will solve that ?"

Of course optical is in the works. I guess the question is if/when there'll be one optical TB port on the MacPro replacement. I've heard changing things about Intel's Optical TB strategy so I have a hard time guessing what's going to happen. I think originally it was going to have more bandwidth (sans power) but now I'm hearing that's further down the road but it will have the same bandwidth (sans power) and allow for long runs. Maybe that makes it easier to get into the current motherboard and processor designs.

I think this may well be one more reason Apple is in a holding pattern about what to do with the MacPro replacement. Somewhere in there it might be impacting the case design and I don't think they want to do that twice in a row. It may impact things such as supply chains and bulk parts orders. Keep in mind what Apple's strategy on how to commodify but keep quality and profit margins up. I think dealing with this is probably Tim Cook's specialty but they have to be in a challenging situation on this at the moment.



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Phil Hoppes
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:42:08 pm

I would agree. At the moment, I do a lot of 3D work which requires significant CPU horsepower to accomplish. I added a 1U server to start my "Farm" but if I had my druthers, I'd much rather use the "Cloud" when I needed it than build my own. I know, there are services out there for just this thing and they are starting to come available. I've looked into them and for the moment, for my needs, the current overhead to use those resources is fairly significant. Another current restriction is the pipe in and out of my home/office. Current ISP services suck especially when it comes to the going out side of the equation. Again, hopefully market pressures will make this change. I can imagine, hopefully sooner than later, a setup where I keep a modest modicum of computing resources in my office and on a needed basis I can quickly upload job's to the cloud, render things out, and get my work back, and let someone else maintain the headache of all of those BTU's and maintenance. It's not there yet but starting to become visible just over the horizon.

OT - In a previous life... I worked for a short time for a company that made "smart fan controllers" for computers. They were really proud of the fact of how they could dump 1Kw out of a box. I sat in one meeting and pointed out that the first law of thermodynamics says you can't destroy heat only move it, so great you just took 1KW out of a box but you just put it under my desk..... where I don't want it. Their comment was, that was the integrator's problem not theirs. This is the kind of thinking that currently has me putting servers in my closet with a small portable AC unit, all of which I would LOVE to dump but for the moment I can't.


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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:09:29 pm

Get some HP workstations, now there's a company that may or may not be committed to the PC space.

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:18:40 pm

Irrelevant because I can "choose" to buy HP, I don't have to. I can go with any tower I like, from any manufacturer I like, and if I want I can get individual components and build my own machine according to my liking, needs and budget. Same if I just have to replace or upgrade a component. Nobody is dictating anything to me, what I should and shouldn't use and how to use it.


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Phil Hoppes
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:13:06 pm

Just got a 1U ASUS rackmount from newegg. 2x Xenon Hex Core 2.4Ghz CPU's with 24Gb Ram, 1Tb drive, 4 hot swap front bays, Win7 Pro, just over $2600. Gives me 24 rendering threads, which is HUGE for me, and at about 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of an equivalent MacPro (haven't priced them lately but weren't they running around 8K for a 12core?)

and yea.... HP's commitment to PC's is ... ah... dubious at best. Wonder what eBay Meg is going to do with that CF.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:24:27 pm

[Phil Hoppes] "Just got a 1U ASUS rackmount from newegg"

One of two companies that make Windows computers that have announced Thunderbolt support.
Ahh, so this wasn't a tower either?
Looks like Asus will be the company to watch on Windows. I can imagine they'll be gunning to be an alternative to HP which has announced they won't support Thunderbolt which will likely hold now that they decided not to spin off their PC division.



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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:58:47 pm

[Frank Gothmann] "rrelevant because I can "choose" to buy HP, I don't have to. I can go with any tower I like, from any manufacturer I like, and if I want I can get individual components and build my own machine according to my liking, needs and budget. Same if I just have to replace or upgrade a component. Nobody is dictating anything to me, what I should and shouldn't use and how to use it."

You've always been able to do that, if that's so great why use Apple in the first place?

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Herb Sevush
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:01:19 pm

[Steve Connor] "You've always been able to do that, if that's so great why use Apple in the first place?"

Because of FCP. It was the sole reason I ever bought a Mac in the first place. With it's demise, it looks like I'm back in the land of hot rods.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:03:46 pm

[Herb Sevush] "[Steve Connor] "You've always been able to do that, if that's so great why use Apple in the first place?"

Because of FCP. It was the sole reason I ever bought a Mac in the first place. With it's demise, it looks like I'm back in the land of hot rods."


If that was my only reason to use a Mac, I think I'd be joining you!

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:04:01 pm

Because they had hardware and software in the past that suited my needs. With the demise of FCP, Color etc and the possible dropping of the Macpro that isn't the case anymore so I simply move on to find what I need without bending backwards.


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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:10:03 pm

[Steve Connor] "Get some HP workstations, now there's a company that may or may not be committed to the PC space."

HP is keeping their PC business [link].

Also, HP is the clear leader in the workstation market [link]: they shipped 42.3% of units in 2Q11 (I haven't seen 3Q's numbers anywhere yet), with Dell at 33.8% and Lenovo at 9.9%.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:09:04 pm

"I'd be curious to learn what on earth Apple has to do to get on the bad side of some of these people."


Perhaps stop their long successful march to the top of the modern business world?

(Just sayin' )

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:29:38 pm

That's exactly what I mean. People are very much invested in what makes sense for Apple and their balance sheet rather than what makes sense for their business. I don't care if Apple is at the top of the modern business world as long as they are profitable. World domination for Job's mignions is not something I am interested in. I care about my business, my balance sheet, my customers and their needs.


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Bobby Mosca
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:35:13 pm

THANK YOU!


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:54:11 pm

[Frank Gothmann] "People are very much invested in what makes sense for Apple and their balance sheet rather than what makes sense for their business."

You're missing WHY Apple products sell well. This includes the Computers which are increasing in market share.

A cost effective power box will sell far more TO PROFESSIONALS than a PCIe driven box in which facilities have to make redundant card purchases. Thunderbolt Video I/O and RAID that can be moved locally or feed through a Thunderbolt tied "brain" will be much more cost effective for many facilities.



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Bobby Mosca
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:50:18 pm

Vaporware. Craig, you've had some great ideas and I wish Apple would hire you, but the speculation is piling up and ship isn't turning. Iceberg ahead.


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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:00:59 pm

[Bobby Mosca] "Vaporware. Craig, you've had some great ideas and I wish Apple would hire you, but the speculation is piling up and ship isn't turning. Iceberg ahead."

Why shouldn't he speculate, Apple dropping Mac Pro's is just speculation anyway.

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:18:32 pm

[Bobby Mosca] "Iceberg ahead."

Apple's doing just fine. Even FCPX is doing well even if not in the market this forum is in. It's number grossing 2 in the App Store to Lion. Given it's about 10x the price one might look at Lion sales and speculate how big what might be close to 10% or down to 5% or so that number is. EIther way it's a very large number.

[Bobby Mosca] "Vaporware. Craig, you've had some great ideas and I wish Apple would hire you,"

I don't doubt Ive has an even better design and Cook has the supply chain and component price worked out to make this new box a much better seller with higher revenue than the MacPro. It may not serve all Pros (It's been easy to put together a more powerful Windows box for some time) but it will serve must Pros . . . and every Video I/O, RAID, etc, you buy for it will also hook up to your MacMini, MBAir, MBPro, iMac and the third party hardware developers have to like that expanded market . . . which can drive down prices due to the economy of scale.



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Darren Kelly
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:37:02 am

"I'd be curious to learn what on earth Apple has to do to get on the bad side of some of these people."

Frank, that's what I've been saying. First Apple neglects the MacPro and then they drop the FCP Suite then they drop their pro audio application, and this rumour about the MacPro getting dropped is floated around - most likely the by Apple itself.

To me, it's obvious. As I have said many times to guys like Craig, Apple has decided to move more towards a consumer electronics company than the company we all have relied upon for software and a computer that allows us to edit.

Yes, Craig, you believe the Mac Mini is the future of video production. Good luck with that.

I have moved to Win7, Nvidia and Adobe. I like the integration of the software, and the multi layers I get in real time.

17 years ago, I spent the better part of $20K to get a VideoMachine DPR system. It gave me 2 layers in real time on a DX4-100 using 2 GB SCSI drives. Then, a Matrox system, 3 layers, then Reality card, same 3 layers and I have been waiting to get back to real time since the death of the Matrox RTMac card in the early part of this millennium.

RealTime feels great!

Craig, as I said before good luck with your Mac Mini and Thunderbolt.

Do us all a favour Craig. How about you answer the quote I started this post with.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:47:25 am

[Darren Kelly] "As I have said many times to guys like Craig, Apple has decided to move more towards a consumer electronics company "

Thunderbolt Video I/O and RAID are just what consumer are clamoring for.

[Darren Kelly] "Craig, you believe the Mac Mini is the future of video production. Good luck with that."

Do people really need hearing aids when they read? Sorry but outlandish misstatements are beyond the kind of responses I'd expect on this forum. Thunderbolt is available for the entire Mac line but right now you don't seem to be able to read this because if written it before as well and it didn't land in your sight the first time.

[Darren Kelly] ""I'd be curious to learn what on earth Apple has to do to get on the bad side of some of these people.""

Make products I can't use professionally. I use everything professionally including business calls on the iPhone. Presenting video demos and rough cuts to clients on my iPad, to editing on my MacPro and MacBookPro in the field. Thunderbolt increases my mobility many fold. Thunderbolt I/O will allow me to do live streaming on location with any current portable Mac or current Mac a client might have on location. I, like others on this forum, have already used FCPX for client delivery on jobs that would have taken longer on FCP7. If/When Apple comes out with a Thunderbolt based MacPro replacement it will be high on my needs list.



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Darren Kelly
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:55:35 am

Yes, I recognize TB is available on all Macs released in the past few months. No one has disputed it's existence Craig.

It is a new IO. It is not the Holy Grail, simply another pipe to move data over. It does not change the reduced feature set of FCPX. It does not somehow make it OK that Apple have been slowly discontinuing their "Pro" Applications. That's Apples words, not mine - Pro Applications.

I also didn't create the term MacPro. Once again, Apple created that term. It doesn't mean you can run the world on a Mac Mini.

If you can't see that Apple is shifting away from computers and software for their reduced "Pro Applications" I can't help you.

I'm not the one in the minority here.


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James Mortner
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:41:24 pm

Just wondering, what did you make of this ipad FCPX demo here ?

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/19077

Was very interesting no ?


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Darren Kelly
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:47:37 am

It was interesting. I don't think I will need to use that for my business, but it would make a cool way of demoing, or changing things with a client in the field.

Would it not work with any NLE software on any platform?


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James Mortner
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:14:42 pm

I guess the principle is sound for any NLE. What Im wondering is how cumbersome the actual editing process seemed...


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Oliver Peters
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:37:12 pm

[Bill Davis] "Looking backstage it was nothing but a bunch of racks of processor boxes. Each packed with cores - running in massively parallel arrays."

Much like building up supercomputers with racks of Xserves. Oh, wait ... ;-)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:37:39 pm

[Bill Davis] "Looking backstage it [Watson] was nothing but a bunch of racks of processor boxes. Each packed with cores - running in massively parallel arrays. The point is that this planetary class computer didn't use a "big iron" monolithic approach. It was computing build around an array of processors modules each doing what they do best - with the simplest possible power distribution and IO necessary to enable them to do their job of crunching data fast.

The old "everything in one big tower" mode is dying out across the industry. The computer will increasingly be a string of task specific smaller modules - the sum of it's parts rather than a big massive central "all in one" unit - all connected by fast I/O pipes.

Thunderbolt I/O enables that."



I certainly agree that parallelization is the driving trend behind supercomputing, but it's not exactly a straight line between Watson and Thunderbolt.

Watson cost $3 million to build, and would probably place 94th on the Top 500 Supercomputer list.

Watson is a cluster of 90 IBM Power 750 servers, each with an eight-core, four-thread POWER7 processor, for a total of 2,880 virtual cores -- not counting additional cluster, storage, and I/O controller systems. The system as a whole had 16 TB of RAM and 4 TB of hard disk storage. All of the content on was stored in RAM and distributed throughout the cluster, because the hard disks were slow to access during the game.

Watson's interconnect system is 10GB Ethernet. Thunderbolt fans will no doubt point to the fact that the line speed here is the same. I'd argue that 10GB Ethernet's robust switches enable interconnect well beyond what's possible with Thunderbolt today, but that's really tangential to my point:

Watson was built with server/workstation-class hardware.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:33:54 pm

"Watson was built with server/workstation-class hardware."

Absolutely, Walter.

What it WASN'T built with is a huge array of Towers, because the form factor is only smart for single purpose "closed" systems where you needed everything directly adjacent to the CPU to maximize throughput.

Watson clustered processors in the smallest physical continuity and attached the "clusters" of processors together using high speed, short pipes as you noted.

As Thunderbolt migrates from copper to optical - Intel's proposed roadmap of speed capabilities increasingly makes a processor at one end of the "pipe" handle data FASTER than one in an "old style" box on an internal buss.

That's the "tipping point" in computer design that makes the "tower" form-factor irrelevant.

Who cares if the CPU, the GPU, and the bank of memory modules are in one arbitrary box? Or in slots on a rack? Or in closets at different ends of the office? It's meaningless if the result is a system that crunches the numbers, displays the result, and allows you to manipulate everything, at will, a hundred times faster than you can now?

(IIRC that was the Thundrerbolt spec for the version 3 (all optical) interation. 100 times the bandwidth of USB 3.0)

That changes EVERYTHING about computer form factor design, as I understand it.

So hanging on to the specter of a computer as a "box" with cards in slots isn't in tune with where the hardware industry is clearly evolving.

To keep on topic for the forum, back when I started editing digital video, I dropped a lot of frames even working with 25Mbps DV on my Mac Quadra of the era.

Today, I NEVER drop frames editing HD-DSLR footage on my i7 MacBook Pro via FCP-X. That's the point. Absolutely I can't edit multiple streams of uncompressed RED footage on this same laptop right now, so I get those who still have to keep their brains "tower centric" and off-load stuff like video calculations to card-based sub-processors. But the writing is CLEARLY on the wall. That's NOT going to be the case for very long.

So invest carefully. If you can't "Section 179" it - maybe it's not a great investment? Tho that's obviously between you, your business model, and your accountant.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:19:35 pm

Bill, maybe we're just arguing out of habit now. I don't disagree with you that computers should be no bigger than needed and should have modular expansion.

You're right on that Watson didn't use towers, with extreme expansion available inside the case. However, Watson did use exclusively high-performance hardware -- the same sort of electronics found in servers and workstations, not miniaturized PCs.

For more on what I'm thinking there, see my post in another thread about how workstation hardware is more than expansion [link].

I am not arguing for the tower form factor itself. I'm arguing for the big, hot components which require larger power and cooling solutions, and therefore larger cases. I'm arguing that it's not the 4 PCIe slots that make the Mac Pro case bigger than a Mac Mini case.

Given the choice of the same performance in half the space, or twice the performance in the same space, I'd choose performance. Others would prioritize space. They're different requirements with different solutions.

Simple as that.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:44:28 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Bill, maybe we're just arguing out of habit now. I don't disagree with you that computers should be no bigger than needed and should have modular expansion.
"


You're completely right about the "out of habit" deal.

I don't actually see it as "arguing" - more just discussing the possibilities and clarifying thinking when you perceive that someone is taking what you're writing the wrong way. It's a difficulty in the world of instant written on-line communications - since without the benefit of "tone" a whole LOT of stuff in comes across as potentially "argumentative" when it likely often isn't meant that way at all.

Peace.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:10:23 pm

Video editorial used to require a workstation and all its throughput just to move video around. Over the last decade, computers have advanced significantly while video standards have stayed mostly still, so you no longer need a monster machine just to edit. You can run Autodesk Smoke on an iMac with Thunderbolt storage today.

This doesn't mean that workstations are useless, though. It just means that if you're a video editor, you don't need a workstation anymore, and you can use a desktop PC/Mac very comfortably.

There are disciplines adjacent to video editorial that really do need much more power. Motion graphics, 3D animation, and compositing applications can all max out a top-of-the-line workstation, even if that same machine still has plenty of processing headroom for video editorial applications.

Everyone immediately points to PCIe slots and expandability as the most important feature in a workstation. I value it highly, too, but PCIe expansion does not a workstation make.

Do you want multiple processors? You need Xeons, because the i7 does not support multiple sockets. With multiple processors come increased power consumption and heat production, so you must add bigger power supplies and cooling systems. You also need more RAM slots, error-correcting RAM to fill them, and faster memory/CPU busses.

Once you have all these big, heavy, expensive components in place, you have a big, heavy, expensive system.

In other words, the difference between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro (or any desktop-class machine and workstation-class machine) is far more than a handful of PCIe slots or Thunderbolt. You cannot strip two PCIe slots out of the Mac Pro and instantly build an equally-capable, smaller, cheaper machine.

If you are primarily a video editor, then the Mac Pro is not for you anymore. It's simply unnecessary. You can get by with the Mac Mini of the future (or maybe even the Mac Mini of today).

However, while you are editing on your Super Mac Mini, some of us are actually happy to pay for proper workstations for animating and compositing. While you are envisioning iPad editorial, some of us are building render farms to get better work done faster.

The appeal of the Super Mac Mini may certainly be broader, but it is by no means a one-size-fits-all solution. You may want the the same power in a case half the size, but I'd rather have twice the power in a case the same size.

If Apple does indeed drop the Mac Pro, it will slot right into the timeline I laid out in my article FCPX and the Domino Effect [link], showing Apple's continued march toward exclusively consumer-oriented products.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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T. Payton
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:31:49 pm

It would probably be a good idea to let Apple know what we are thinking:

http://www.apple.com/feedback/macpro.html

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Chris Harlan
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:43:56 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If Apple does indeed drop the Mac Pro, it will slot right into the timeline I laid out in my article FCPX and the Domino Effect [link], showing Apple's continued march toward exclusively consumer-oriented products.
"


Totally agree. And I'm pretty sure it ain't an "if." The iPhone has become a commodity, and the revenue from it and related products is just too powerful for them not to continue to focus exclusively on commoditization, even to the point of eventually burning themselves out.

Hey, Walter, when we were talking about BeOS a few months back, I had no idea how serious a contender it was for the Mac OS. That Jobs biography is filling in a lot of little holes in my understanding of what was going on back then.


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James Mortner
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:59:30 pm

Nice post Walter, insightful as ever


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Steve Connor
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:53:35 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If you are primarily a video editor, then the Mac Pro is not for you anymore. It's simply unnecessary. You can get by with the Mac Mini of the future (or maybe even the Mac Mini of today).

However, while you are editing on your Super Mac Mini, some of us are actually happy to pay for proper workstations for animating and compositing. While you are envisioning iPad editorial, some of us are building render farms to get better work done faster."


Very true, most work I do does not require heavy duty animation and compositing, I don't need the power so I don't fear the change. However If I did do a lot of heavy duty animation and comps, I would have switched from Mac a while ago.

I don't think there is any question Apple is moving away from many segments of the Pro market at the mid to high end. I think they are positioning their creative tools at the editorial content market, not for anything that requires real horsepower.

Of course it would help a lot of people if they just told us what they were planning!

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:18:04 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Do you want multiple processors? You need Xeons, because the i7 does not support multiple sockets. With multiple processors come increased power consumption and heat production, so you must add bigger power supplies and cooling systems. You also need more RAM slots, error-correcting RAM to fill them, and faster memory/CPU busses."

And what makes you think that one needs a "tower" for that. I disagree. I think you'll find the ability to put 12 or 16 cores into a smaller unit sans PCIe slots and internal hard drive expansion. I think Apple is capable of working out the cooling and power needs. I think industrial design and engineering is their forte.



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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:24:36 pm

[Craig Seeman] "And what makes you think that one needs a "tower" for that. I disagree. I think you'll find the ability to put 12 or 16 cores into a smaller unit sans PCIe slots and internal hard drive expansion. I think Apple is capable of working out the cooling and power needs. I think industrial design and engineering is their forte."

I don't need a tower, and I'm not arguing for a tower. I am arguing against unnecessary miniaturization at the expense of performance.

Open up a 12-core Mac Pro and look at the power supply and cooling system for those two 6-core Xeons. It takes space! It can and will be miniaturized, but by then, there will be 24- or 32-core designs suitable for the old, larger form factor.

I don't disagree that Apple excels at industrial design, but high-density computing is a huge market that plenty of other companies have a lot of experience in.

Faster, smaller, cheaper -- pick two.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:49:42 pm

[Walter Soyka] " don't need a tower, and I'm not arguing for a tower. I am arguing against unnecessary miniaturization at the expense of performance.

Open up a 12-core Mac Pro and look at the power supply and cooling system for those two 6-core Xeons. It takes space! It can and will be miniaturized, but by then, there will be 24- or 32-core designs suitable for the old, larger form factor."


When I mention a MiniPro type I don't at all mean at that size. I am thinking of a much bigger box. That's why I mentioned an image (maybe in another thread) of a MacPro on its side, top and bottom handles gone, sans PCIe (except for GPU and one other) and hard drive expansion (except for SSD on one traditional large storage hard drive). It's a Mini form factor (as in rectangle) but much bigger. I'm thinking of something that might be a couple of rack units (which is larger than the Mini of course). The heat the drives generate (if you had 4 installed for example) will be gone and that'll help a bit. Apple will have the challenge of air flow/cooling in a smaller space but I don't think this would be as "confined" as a Mini is.

BTW just as point of reference a top BTO MacMini is
i7 dual core
SDD 256GB
HD 750GB 7200RPM
Radeon 6630 256MB

It's 7.7" x7.7"x 1.4"

I don't own one but I believe they moved the power "wart" internal. If that's the case it has to be handling head better than the previous Mini.

The box would have to be much bigger to sustain i7 6 and 12 core and a much better GPU. An additional PCIe slot would add some internal space and require some "air." I'm thinking of something that fits into a 19" rack unit and is at least a couple or 3 RU in height. This is a much bigger box than a Mini.



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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:57:18 pm

[Craig Seeman] "When I mention a MiniPro type I don't at all mean at that size."

Craig, I apologize. I totally misunderstood, and I thought you were envisioning a much, much smaller case.

I do still think it'd be a tragic loss to drop all Xeon-powered Macs for the i7 line. Why give up all that performance potential for a marginally smaller case?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:31:33 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I do still think it'd be a tragic loss to drop all Xeon-powered Macs for the i7 line. Why give up all that performance potential for a marginally smaller case?"

What's wrong with we all buy the same keyboard, the display real-estate we need, then we buy the CPU box we want? Need a uber GPU or 10 for game development? Hang another box on the line. I get to have 2-6 i7s for the work I need. Walter gets to have 50 Xenon's in his array. The cooling and the power supplies come matched to what each box requires? Isn't that a whole lot more efficient than just building boxes of fixed stuff that lock you into a rigid system until it becomes dysfunctional? The big difference is that we're not trying to stuff everything into the same case or even the same rack.

You pick OSX- or iOS as you like. Heck, with fast enough pipes, and global management capabilities like Grand Central and the Core Suites, run iOS on your iPad and OS-X on the "render box" next to your array as you need.

I'm sure there's complexities I don't understand here - but the "componantization" of the computer is really no different than what happened in Stereo systems in the 1970s. And that sold a WHOLE lot of great music playback systems for generations.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Walter Soyka
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:40:06 pm

[Bill Davis] "What's wrong with we all buy the same keyboard, the display real-estate we need, then we buy the CPU box we want?"

Nothing! That's certainly the way I'd like it to be.

The question is this: which choices will Apple offer? If this rumor is true, there may not be a Mac workstation to consider.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:53:30 pm

What's wrong with this is that it is completely fiction. It's like saying it is ok eol all cars tomorrow because one day there will be a holo-deck that can beam you to Australia in a second.
The report was not that Apple considers abandoning the Macpro for a super-duper new type of powerhouse that can do everything but will be just smaller.
It was that Apple considers dropping it and nothing else. To go from this to speculating about how wonderful a new world with stacked external cpu boxes will be is... a reality distortion field.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:08:33 pm

Mac minis are quad core with dual hard drives these days, and it's really small.

I do think we are on the precipice of change. It sucks to be stuck in the middle of it, but that's where we are. We can see what's ahead, but it's just out of reach so the present looks a bit murky.

For now, I can still but a MacPro from an Apple reseller today.

Watson, will some day seem futile.

And on and on we go.


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Bill Davis
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:55:23 am

Frank,

Fiction?

As I noted elsewhere here it's nothing more or less than a modern reflection of precisely what happened in the electronics industry in music playback through the 60s 70's and 80s.

Big consoles were the form factor originally.
Then "components" took over. You selected your speakers, your reciever, etc. At the low end pre-configured "systems" dominated - at the high end the consumers with more specialized needs, budgets or just tastes assembled their "stereos" by mix and match.

That's all I'm envisioning here, and it can't be a mere "fantasy" if it's already happened in a very similar industry in reality.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:22:38 am

Of course it is fiction because, contrary to your example, you are throwing technology into the mix that simply doesn't exist yet and nobody knows if it ever will. I cannot get any external cpu or gpu boxes, there are hardly any raid enclosures let alone networking, fibre etc.
So, we are talking about Apple possibly discontinuing the only machine that currently can handle highend workflows both with regards to performance and ability to integrate into an existing infrastructure.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:51:48 am

[Frank Gothmann] " I cannot get any external cpu or gpu boxes, there are hardly any raid enclosures let alone networking, fibre etc."

Not here yet, but it's all coming soon.

http://www.magma.com/thunderbolt.asp

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/thunderbolt/

Now:

http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_series.aspx?m=192®ion=en-global&rsn1...

http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10549

Jeremy


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Paul Jay
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 8:46:24 am

There a so many blind and uninformed response here im not going to bother responding to them!!


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kim krause
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 11:32:19 am

thats for sure...i can say with great certainty that the mac pro in its current form will no longer exist. some of its technology is already being pushed into other machines and it will become obsolete in the next 18 months. don't believe me? save this email and wait! my crystal ball is seldom wrong...


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Brad Bussé
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 8:01:29 pm

From the first Magma link: "Three PCIe 2.0 expansion slots (Two x8 and One x4)".

Exactly how can you run two x8 and one x4 PCIe cards which all share a single TB port operating at the speed of a single 4x?


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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 8:34:41 pm

TB Port is two channels but that still wouldn't be enough and I'm not sure if a single device can grab both channels.



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Frank Gothmann
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 2, 2011 at 8:44:22 pm

All cards share the bandwith ie. with TB they won't give you full performance. It's the same thing Magma's been doing with their PCI Express and regular PCIe expansion boxes for years. They are all external, mobil and, in the case of the regular PCIe expansion, faster. And they all have some quirks and compatibility issues every now and then depending on what cards you want to use and what you use simultaneously.


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David Lawrence
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 3, 2011 at 1:46:13 am

Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper) nails it:

http://www.marco.org/2011/11/02/scaling-down-the-mac-pro

_______________________
David Lawrence
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Chris Harlan
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 3, 2011 at 3:19:51 am

[David Lawrence] "Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper) nails it:

http://www.marco.org/2011/11/02/scaling-down-the-mac-pro
"


Agreed. Unfortunately, that is right on. I still think it is to their benefit to have trucks (as Jobs put it) in their eco system. Even if sales don't justify them individually, they add value to the overall system. Of course, that system itself may be dissolving now too. iOS 5 devices no longer need personal computers, only access to centralized servers. It looks like the Larry Ellison/Oracle view of thin client computing has gained enormous ground in the Apple environment. Frankly, I've always been in Gates' camp when it comes to thin client. In my book, a true personal computer trumps a terminal--no matter how snazzy--every time.


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Richard Cardonna
Re: OT: Apple to drop Mac Pro?
on Nov 3, 2011 at 1:26:00 pm

Of course with everything on a servrr or cloud their wil be no app warez, you will pay monthly for use and they have access to all your info regardles of any non disclosure clause. o basicaly you only own your keyboard and monitor. All the rest is in the air.

RC


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