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Does This Kill The Mac Pro?

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Kevin Patrick
Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:53:19 pm

One thing you simply cannot get without a Mac Pro are PCI expansion cards. For graphic cards options/upgrades, capture and monitoring cards.

Do products like Blackmagic's Ultrastudio 3D, utilizing Thunderbolt, obsolete the need for a PCI based product? Taking away one of the unique advantages of a Mac Pro computer?

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/ultrastudio3d/features/


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Tom Wolsky
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 2:36:23 pm

Edit your next picture on an Air. I'm not seeing FCPX in compatible with everything, but maybe it is. Maybe needs another T-bolt port to be able to pass through?

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Coming in 2011 "Complete Training for FCPX" from Class on Demand
"Final Cut Pro X for iMovie and Final Cut Express Users" from Focal Press


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Rafael Amador
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:23:21 pm

That's look great.
[Tom Wolsky] "Maybe needs another T-bolt port to be able to pass through?"
Right.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:36:17 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "Do products like Blackmagic's Ultrastudio 3D, utilizing Thunderbolt, obsolete the need for a PCI based product? Taking away one of the unique advantages of a Mac Pro computer? "

One of them? Yes! All of them? No.

I've written about this at length before [link], but in summary, simple video editorial no longer requires a proper workstation. A powerful, consumer-grade computer will do. Adjacent fields, like effects, motion graphics, compositing, advanced color work, and 3D animation still benefit from bigger iron.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:55:40 pm

The AJA one is a bit better (in my opinion). Dual link/3G, pass through, HDMI, up-down-cross, etc and so forth:

http://www.aja.com/products/io/io-xt.php

Also, you could get something like this and attach a kona card to your thunderbolt mac:

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

I am sure with Thunderbolt 2 (or whatever it's called) and speeds get up over 4x PCIe, then the need for PCIe will dwindle, for now, Thunderbolt is a beginning.

So yes, the MacPro might go away at some point. I hop we get another few years of refreshes out of them yet so the technology can catch up a bit.

Jeremy


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Herb Sevush
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 5:44:34 pm

Pardon my stupidity, but with the benefits of Thunderbolt obvious even to me, why hasn't there been more acceptance of Tbolt in the PC world? Is it a licensing question ?

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


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Tom Wolsky
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 5:50:21 pm

I think I read somewhere that Apple has it exclusively on computers for one year or something like that. Part of its joint development agreement with Intel.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Coming in 2011 "Complete Training for FCPX" from Class on Demand
"Final Cut Pro X for iMovie and Final Cut Express Users" from Focal Press


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 6:35:23 pm

I think I should have done a better job phrasing my question.

Apple states that in early 2012 they will add what they refer to as Broadcast Quality Video Monitoring. Blackmagic's Ultrastudio 3D (and others like it) will provide iMac FCP X users with video monitoring.

So is Apple's thinking that the current (and future) high end iMacs will have enough CPU, GPU and RAM they need? While Thunderbolt provides, video monitoring, video capture and storage.

The GPU in the current iMac comes fairly close to the best graphics card in a Mac Pro, even for Motion.

http://barefeats.com/wst10g12.html

So the question I was thinking (but did a poor job posting) is whether video monitoring Thunderbolt products (or FCP X support for) are all the Apple is waiting on to finally end of life the Mac Pro?

They might feel that works for Apple's products, even Motion. It won't work for people who also use products like Premiere Pro, since it needs a CUDA engine. But, that's not an Apple product.

As a Mac Pro user, I don't like thinking about this. But, I do wonder why the Mac Pro is still around, even though it has not been refreshed in quite a while.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 7:43:23 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "So the question I was thinking (but did a poor job posting) is whether video monitoring Thunderbolt products (or FCP X support for) are all the Apple is waiting on to finally end of life the Mac Pro?
"


Non PCI i/o has been around for a long time in the form of ExpressCards and even 1394b (ioHD), so the fact it is now available through TBolt, as well, is not really a game changer in the sense you are talking about. I also believe the importance of video i/o is low to nonexistent on Apple's dance card. It is coming into FCP X, after all, either late or as an afterthought, depending on your POV.

Personally, I think they will do themselves some long-term harm if they off the Mac Pro. Even if they are not profitable on their own, it seems to me that Apple should partially subsidize these "trucks" in the interest of supporting their OS X/iOS eco system. But maybe long term isn't what it is about anymore.

Of course, Apple's long term plans are hard to fathom. Why, for instance, is it paying so incredibly much to insure that its management team stays in place until 2016? All, except Jony Ive--who you would think would be the one person to keep there.


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Martti Ekstrand
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:03:35 pm

What really kills the MacPro for me is the beef between Apple and nVidia with the result that CUDA enabled video cards are not a really feasible option. Having seen how a mid-range gaming PC just shines with Premiere Pro, running circles around my MacPro (with a ATI card) has really forced me to for the first time ever to consider buying a Windows box next time I upgrade. Sure, it's not a 'workstation' class computer but that definition looks like it's becoming more and more irrelevant.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:06:04 pm

[Martti Ekstrand] "Having seen how a mid-range gaming PC just shines with Premiere Pro, running circles around my MacPro (with a ATI card) has really forced me to for the first time ever to consider buying a Windows box next time I upgrade."

Buying Macs has never been about speed (at least for us).

They have always been slower and not as speedy as PCs.

Jeremy


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:16:21 pm

What do you mean by "us"?
For me, it's been about speed, too, all along.
When the first Macpros came out they were as beefy as any PC out there. The fact that Apple doesn't offer Nvidia cards anymore is bad but typical political bs on their behalf. They could have done so much more on the hardware side for higher end users but that's just not their game anymore.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:44:29 pm

[Frank Gothmann] "What do you mean by "us"?"

If you take a step back, I think you might find that he means the shop in which he works. At least, that is how I took it.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:46:42 pm

[Chris Harlan] "If you take a step back, I think you might find that he means the shop in which he works. At least, that is how I took it."

Yes, thank you!


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:45:36 pm

[Frank Gothmann] "What do you mean by "us"?"

The people that I work with. Us, here at the shop.

[Frank Gothmann] "When the first Macpros came out they were as beefy as any PC out there. The fact that Apple doesn't offer Nvidia cards anymore is bad but typical political bs on their behalf. They could have done so much more on the hardware side for higher end users but that's just not their game anymore."

The MacPros have traditionally not been the highest powered PC on the market. Look at them today, they haven't been refreshed in quite a while, and they are not the fastest computers on the market. Even when they are brand new and perhaps match up spec wise, that doesn't last for long. As a system, they are never as beefy. You can customize a PC much easier than you can a Mac in terms of cache, bus, processors and connectivity.

Apple has usually always favored system stability over speed.

Jeremy


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:47:39 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "The MacPros have traditionally not been the highest powered PC on the market. Look at them today, they haven't been refreshed in quite a while, and they are not the fastest computers on the market. Even when they are brand new and perhaps match up spec wise, that doesn't last for long. As a system, they are never as beefy. You can customize a PC much easier than you can a Mac in terms of cache, bus, processors and connectivity."

Agreed.


[Jeremy Garchow] "Apple has usually always favored system stability over speed."

I think this incorrectly implies that other vendors sacrifice stability for speed.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:04:56 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think this incorrectly implies that other vendors sacrifice stability for speed."

OK.

Apple has never been concerned about having the fastest computers in the world, as they favor stability, and that means tightly controlling their hardware offerings.

Better? :)


Jeremy


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:58:35 pm

quite.

I trust the mac the way I trust a volvo or something. I just can't quite bear the notion of a windows rig purchase..

but say - if the macpro goes, and the hints have become heavy...
so then say its laptops, the mac mini, and the iMac, (worst case scenario where apple do not do what seeman is outlining with a beefed up mini of some kind becoming a red style modular OS X core for post)

sort of, what happens in post then? Apple have long eyes for sure, but where is video post production absorbed in the line up? They really mean it for video to some degree - whatever we think, FCPX did take some time - but where does video post production past the home office fit in?

Facilities, say, can't realistically all buy iMacs, or laptops - does the whole thing hinge on a radical big mac empowerment of the mac mini? I'm a moron on the hardcore facility stuff Jeremy - this is an honest question type thing -

basically - I'm selfishly thinking about my own wee ecosystem of clients - they are entirely populated with macpros, some of them are large and all - its a reasonably serious question in a way - there are acres of macpros tied via fibre to storage in london - what happens if the mac pro tower goes?


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


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Michael Gissing
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:05:01 pm

what happens if the mac pro tower goes? Apologies to Queen -

Thunderbolt and Lightning
Very Very Frightning....

No need to be afraid of PC hardware. Under the hood it is the same as a Mac now, just cheaper and faster. And I can buy the parts and rebuild my PCs keeping my rack mount boxes going into a second decade.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:09:07 pm

[Michael Gissing] "Thunderbolt and Lightning
Very Very Frightning...."


Brilliant!

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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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:26:54 pm

would you look at the sad state of me - cap doff to soyka.

off on a post production rant and had badly neglecting an inspired cultural allusion there.

also a cracking tune!

let us all crank el speakers!








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


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:16:31 pm

there's way too much much OS X under soho's nails for video - it's a real problem.

There's no skipping off to Win7, that isn't actually a solution - you're talking masses of storage, assets, file systems, everything - i have met a dozen flavours of common set file directory systems under OS X in post - job number folder at top, render folders, script folders, FCP and AE project folders - if the box driving the IO systems, the OS and the media management and storage is removed by the vendor - that is likely to be a very broad problem in the short to medium term.


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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Sep 12, 2012 at 5:41:10 pm

[Michael Gissing] "Thunderbolt and Lightning
Very Very Frightning...."


To resurrect this nearly one year old post.

Apple just lunched a connector called Lightning.

What else can you tell us about Apple's future, Michael?

Jeremy


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:08:43 pm

[Aindreas Gallagher] "I trust the mac the way I trust a volvo or something. I just can't quite bear the notion of a windows rig purchase."

Fear not, brother. I've been running a Z800 from HP next to my Mac Pro full-time on real work for a week. You may well be surprised -- the PC platform has changed (quite a lot, and for the better) since I switched from PCs to Macs 11 years ago.

What exactly is it about Windows that gives you pause?

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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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:54:50 pm

I... don't know... its been a while..

I was WinNT for a good number of years, I'll defend that OS until I die. It was fashioned after the one ring as far as I can tell. It didn't crash once in three years on a P3 600mhz - and I beat the hell out of it.

It's just - have you seen the windows 8 proposed explorer? they've got the ribbon there now. its like GUI vomit. I don't know if I can go there walter, having badly studied design, and also, when they go WIN8 - we are all actually going to go to an insane version of metro using a mouse??? when we press the start button. we're going to be in metro tiles, on a 24-30" inch screen, to manage our applications.

meanwhile quicktimeX continues to be terrifyingly brain damaged, lion doesn't have persistent scroll bars, won't show the drive at default..

oh sure good. jesus.

Frankly, I think both OS's are going to hell.

I'm not sure what exactly in jeebus's name we are supposed to do at this stage.

I fear for the professional, I am not afraid to tell you.

time was we could rely on the proletariat moron to broadly purchase the same kit we badly needed at mass market prices.

If our own specific operating system, hardware/software system needs are about to slip to the bad (L-R not centre) bell probability curve of popular computing... if everyone else is wandering away to consumable computing on completely different terms...

well then, its just not pretty.

NOT PRETTY.

DOOM.

I call utter doom.


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


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:19:17 am

I doubt the final version of Windows 8 will get rid of the startmenu as we know it. It'll be an option. It's still in there, even in the DP; you can activate by changing the registry. And some of the new UI features once your out of metro (which sucks for the Desktop, I agree) are pretty sweet plus some nice performance tweaks even at this early stage in the DP.
Windows 7 is a pretty good OS; I don't think MS is keen on repeating Vista all over again so I don't see W8 bleak at all.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:12:50 am

[Aindreas Gallagher] " what happens if the mac pro tower goes?"

I have very strong feelings about the Mac in general, but first some background.

We aren't a hardcore facility, but we do have some comparatively hard core gear, I guess.

We have a SAN that runs metaSAN that is both fibre and Ethernet based.

We own cameras, lenses, we still farm out audio on most of our productions (acquisition and post), and of course we scale the freelance crew as needed, sometimes one person, sometimes 20 people. We do all kinds of projects, we don't do features, though.

Other than that, we are lean and mean and we get a surprising amount of work done with just a few of us. We like it, it works, we are fairly efficient and good (if I do stay so myself) at we do. Our clients are pleased.

We are also lucky in that we control almost the whole production pipeline. For the most part, we edit what we shoot. It's rare, but we do get hired to shoot and not post, or post and not shoot but those projects are rather sparse. So perhaps my view is myopic or limited.

The San is relatively new and its been great, absolutely great, for us. We are beta testers of this particular package, so we're living on the edge a bit.

Here's the weird thing about it, it's agnostic to file systems and formats. Yes, its a windows server with a huge blob of SAS connected storage where the data is then served out to fibre and Ethernet (storage is formatted NTFS). Macs, windows, and even Linux can connect to it, and metaSAN makes it all work. To our Macs, that storage looks and operates like HFS+. It's rather nuts.

All of our edit/post machines are Mac computers that connect via fibre and Ethernet. The nice thing about the Ethernet is that the licenses float, so if someone comes in with a laptop, we have an extra license that we can install on their machine, and away they go. Its very flexible, and any computer can be used as a server be it windows, Mac or Linux.

Now, as I mentioned, we are small, and most of the technical responsibility falls on my shoulders. It's fine, I can handle it, but I only know what I know, and troubleshooting macs is what I somewhat know. In our testing, I have had to do some things on the windows machine that are completely foreign. It's a completely new language that I am uncomfortable with. I can "support" our other macs over the phone, over iChat or logmein (over my iPhone, no sh*t), and I know how to tell the person on the other end of the line how to get them back up and running if need be. If something goes wrong on the windows side, I am a fish out of water, I need to call people.

So, basically, it's fear. Not only do I edit and creatively support our little company, but I am the tech dude as well. Windows would be a big problem for us, not only with training, but support and hardware building and purchasing. I know nothing about that, and I'm a bit scared of it, frankly. With macs, I can diagnose and fix the problem, then get back to the right brain work that I was initially hired and paid to do..

I firmly believe Macs have allowed me to do all of this wihtout completely pulling my hair out and allowing me to have a life outside of the office. Maybe I'm being naive.

Now, what if the MacPro goes away?

Well, if Apple offers a suitable processing alternative (let's just say that's an iMac for now) our SAN is still fine. We can connect via Ethernet, or get a thunder PCI connector and connect through fibre, on an iMac. Sure, it won't be as fast as pcie fibre, but we would still have plenty of overhead for the work that we do.

We never finished uncompressed anymore, it's most likely ProResHQ, and the occasional 444. All totally fine over Ethernet, and would be great over thunderbolt.

It would not be ideal as our choices would be more limited with GPU and the like, but I think, we'd be okay for a while during the formulation of a bigger plan to Windows if we had to. Our SAN will still work with Windows, so we are OK there.

So, yeah. It will be an adjustment, and our current infrastructure would support a non MacPro environment wihtout too much of a speed loss. A little, but not a ton.

I hope that Apple will refresh the MacPro one or two more times before they kill it. But they might not. Even if we had to switch to Windows tomorrow, we could do it. Most everything hardware wise is cross platform, and you can even by Episode to encode ProRes on Windows these days. Don't get me wrong, I will not look forward to that day.

Galileo Figaro, Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me.


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:20:33 am

reading through - how in the hell? I thought NTFS was death? read, but no OS X write?


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


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Michael Gissing
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:37:30 am

[Aindreas Gallagher] "I thought NTFS was death? read, but no OS X write?"

OS X can read write NTFS with the right software.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-read-and-write-ntfs-window...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:48:14 am

[Aindreas Gallagher] "I thought NTFS was death? read, but no OS X write?"

metaSAN, brother. It's quite incredible.

Basically, our macs see a huge wad of hfs+ storage, even though the files that our macs see are stored on physical NTFS media, metaSAN handles the rest . The nice thing is metaSAN (or metaLAN) scales up AND down nicely.

Genreally, as far as SANs go, they are usually pretty strict, or run strict file systems (XSAN runs a proprietary file system, for example).

While metaSAN has some rules, it changes that game big time, and the rules are kinda loose within reason.

They also do some really crazy things with a program called PoolIt that will aggregate a number of disparate drives and present it to all the SAN clients as one mass. And it's dynamic, so you can add and remove drives/volumes. It's pretty bonkers. No, it's really bonkers.


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:35:03 am

whither ZFS? apple had something there,

time machine would have been pinging incredibly volume efficient queries then eh?

I read about the windows tech of cobbling drives together for a contiguous volume in windows media centre?
there is, to be fair, something to be said for the great outdoors...


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


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:27:23 am

ara.. forget my geeky questions. although that was a cracking answer.


[Jeremy Garchow] "Galileo Figaro, Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me"

tune!

<]:0)








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


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:42:31 am

I totally understand the reasoning and how you feel. But that's pretty much how everybody feels who's been with a certain OS for a long, long time. And change seems hard. But sometimes an end with fear is better than fear without end. 2 month using anything on a daily basis and you'll start to feel at home with it. And slowly things will come as naturally as they do now. Same goes for Linux. Or using the Terminal which still puts pure fear in a lot of people's eyes but once you get the hang of it things start to make sense and may actually make your life easier and more flexible.
That is really my main beef with Apple. I don't want to hand in the ropes and be totally dependable on a company that has proven again and again that they are happy to flush down anything they consider "old" or in which they have lost interest. And they do it without giving proper notice.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:32:07 am

[Frank Gothmann] "I totally understand the reasoning and how you feel. But that's pretty much how everybody feels who's been with a certain OS for a long, long time. And change seems hard. But sometimes an end with fear is better than fear without end. 2 month using anything on a daily basis and you'll start to feel at home with it. And slowly things will come as naturally as they do now. "

I totally hear you and you're right.

There are certain things I'm not "scared" of.

I don't fear changing NLEs for instance. I like those challenges. Learning new tools is fun for me, but the van has to start in order to drive the tools to the gig.

Uptime is important for us, and blue screens cause down time as I have no idea to where to even start.

With a Mac, I can reboot and hold shift, if I even need to go that far.

Or boot to a clone.

Or restore from a clone. And that works on a Mac mini as well as a MacPro.

I guess if I had to go Windows I'd start slowly and learn over time, just like anything else. You're right.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:47:16 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I guess if I had to go Windows I'd start slowly and learn over time, just like anything else. You're right."

Actually Jeremy, you're not all that off-base, at least not on this subject.

Having come over to the Mac side from Windows only about seven years ago, I can assure you that the Windows OS and Windows machines are not nearly as easy to troubleshoot as Macs. The operating system is not nearly as forgiving, because it has to accommodate more hardware brands, more software brands, and the hazards of viruses and anti-virus software.

Making Windows that much more difficult is the fact that clones and cloning software not nearly as reliable and easy to use as anything we're used to on the Mac side, and certainly not free. In fact, the freeware available on the Windows side is not as reliable either as it would be on a Mac.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 3:03:04 am

[David Roth Weiss] "Actually Jeremy, you're not all that off-base, at least not on this subject. "

Ha! I'll take that as a humourous dig.


[David Roth Weiss] "Making Windows that much more difficult is the fact that clones and cloning software not nearly as reliable and easy to use as anything we're used to on the Mac side, and certainly not free. In fact, the freeware available on the Windows side is not as reliable either as it would be on a Mac."

Then there's the whole registry edit situation.

And run certain programs as administrator.

Dlls or whatever those things are called.

Gag.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 5:59:37 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Ha! I'll take that as a humourous dig."

Of course!

You and I have known each other and essentially "worked" side by side here for years. Let's not let corporate decisions and indecision at Apple get under our skin so much that we can't horse around about this stuff. Deal?

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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Luke Hale
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 6:47:46 pm

I have been jumping back and fort with operating systems for about a year. Different employers are requiring different workflows. I will tell you its not about fear of change, its just that macs work smoother and better. Comparable machines are no longer comparable when you have a different OS.

Im a lover not a fighter and I am certainly not a brand junky, but this is my experience.

Luke Hale
Producer/Editor BYU-I and Department of Energy
opticalsmarts.com (Just for fun)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 5:48:20 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Most everything hardware wise is cross platform, and you can even by Episode to encode ProRes on Windows these days."

Unfortunately, you can only encode ProRes on Windows if you are running Episode Engine on Windows Server 2008. Apple has so far declined to license ProRes for desktop-based encoders on Windows.

If you're not a facility with other needs that Telestream's high-end solutions fill, but you do want to run Windows and deliver ProRes, it's a lot cheaper to buy a Mac that does nothing but encode ProRes.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 6:44:57 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If you're not a facility with other needs that Telestream's high-end solutions fill, but you do want to run Windows and deliver ProRes, it's a lot cheaper to buy a Mac that does nothing but encode ProRes."

But of course. I'm just saying, if you need it, it's there. There's been a lot of talk of mass exodus to Windows since the FCPX cooties have apparently started ideas of checking in to the Ellis Island of Microsoft for greater opportunities.

That's all.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 6:56:01 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "But of course. I'm just saying, if you need it, it's there. There's been a lot of talk of mass exodus to Windows since the FCPX cooties have apparently started ideas of checking in to the Ellis Island of Microsoft for greater opportunities. That's all."

I wasn't trying to be contrary -- I just wanted to clarify that a $500 license of Episode on Windows 7 doesn't get you ProRes encoding. You need a $4,000 license of Episode Engine, and it will only encode ProRes if you're running Windows Server 2008.

As for seeing what's available on Windows -- why not? Apple has "invited" us all to reconsider our workflows. Why not consider all the options?

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 7:00:33 pm

[Walter Soyka] "You need a $4,000 license of Episode Engine, and it will only encode ProRes if you're running Windows Server 2008."

Im sorry, I should have said Engine. There is a difference. I didnt mean episode or pro.

[Walter Soyka] "As for seeing what's available on Windows -- why not? Apple has "invited" us all to reconsider our workflows. Why not consider all the options?"

Wasn't that exactly what I was pointing out?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 7:04:06 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Wasn't that exactly what I was pointing out?"

My apologies! I misinterpreted your tone and I thought you were questioning why people would look at Microsoft solutions.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 7:51:50 pm

[Walter Soyka] "My apologies! I misinterpreted your tone and I thought you were questioning why people would look at Microsoft solutions."

Got ya.

I was simply pointing to Windows options and capabilities, but I didn't say it was easy or cheap!

;-)


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Dennis Radeke
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 11:17:18 am

[Martti Ekstrand] "Having seen how a mid-range gaming PC just shines with Premiere Pro, running circles around my MacPro (with a ATI card) has really forced me to for the first time ever to consider buying a Windows box next time I upgrade."

I think that Adobe works hard to take the platform out of the equation. We will give you all of the same acceleration opportunities on both Mac and PC.

That said, Jeremy is right - buying a Mac isn't about buying power - it's a UI/UE (User Experience) choice and that has value to the user on a daily basis. If mac is what you love, stay with it. If power+speed is more important to you than your UE - than the PC is a logical choice.

Hope this helps,
Dennis


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Bret Williams
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 12, 2011 at 5:06:53 am

Going to guess that Ive told them not to bother or turned it down. Offering the package though isn't a sign of weakness. It shows that they believe the whole team is valuable and that it wasn't just Jobs. Its a win win. Shows they have faith in their team and value them and rewards and keeps them.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 12, 2011 at 8:39:24 am

[Bret Williams] "Going to guess that Ive told them not to bother or turned it down."

Sounds a better guess than many. I've heard quite a few rumors that he wants to leave.

[Bret Williams] "Offering the package though isn't a sign of weakness. "

I don't think of it as weakness one way or the other.

[Bret Williams] "It shows that they believe the whole team is valuable and that it wasn't just Jobs. "

I'm sure the whole team is valuable, but in terms of future product, I don't think the second item you mention is an assumption you can easily make, especially with Ive potentially going. And the stock options DO vest in a pattern that compliments the coming four years of products already in the development pipeline that Apple has been talking up. The folks getting the options are the folks responsible for maintaing/delivering the products in the pipeline. The rather bold options incentive--with full vestment in little more than four years-- suggests the possibility that the focus is on the short term profitability with less concern for longevity. If that's the case, my guess is the Mac Pro is probably toast, even though I think it is an important asset to the osx/ios eco system--important enough that it should be produced at a marginal loss, if necessary.

But hey, its all tea leaves.


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Dennis Radeke
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 12:31:05 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "products like Premiere Pro, since it needs a CUDA engine."

Premiere Pro does not NEED CUDA, it just really likes it.

Check out my article on the subject: http://blogs.adobe.com/genesisproject/2011/10/diving-into-nvidia-gpus-and-w...


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:03:55 pm

[Dennis Radeke] "Premiere Pro does not NEED CUDA"

You are correct.

However, after having run PP CS5.5.1 on my Mac Pro both with and without a CUDA graphics card, I believe I have confirmed that I need CUDA.


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Paul Jay
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 5:06:31 pm

Thunderbolt Cubix.
http://www.cubixgpu.com/Blog/1/42

Full power DaVinci on an iMac or MacBook Pro.

Latest iMac performace VS MacPro on Pro Apps.
http://barefeats.com/macs11_01.html
When a Mac Mini will have the GPU power of the fastest iMac, you don't need a MacPro.

Stil there are situations for a MacPro with 12 Cores and 64 RAM, because After Effects or 3D apps will use them all.

But the scenario's become less and less with thunderbolt.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:41:25 am

[Walter Soyka] "What exactly is it about Windows that gives you pause?"
I still remember my friends PCs, all with the boxes open, the tripes out, HDs out of the enclosures, strange wide cables, fans to cool them and dust everywhere.
Macs were clean.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 9:20:06 pm

[Paul Jay] "Full power DaVinci on an iMac or MacBook Pro."

Not if my reading on the DiVinci forum is any indication. There was one poster who had his Quadro in a 4x slot so that he could have a RedRocket in the other x16. (the first x16 being taken up by the GPU driving the UI, a 120 I think.)

Well, the up shot was it didn't work very well, and after switching the RedRocket and the Quadro things worked a lot better.

I'm eager to see someone test this, but I'm not expecting it to work very well.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 3:31:20 am

Here's my thought. The Mac Pro as we know it is definitely dead. And I'll tell you why:

Thunderbolt. It contains both a PCIe signal and a Display Port signal.

So how's that Display Port signal going to get in there? Easy. But it means the end of the user replaceable main GPU.
I would be willing to bet that Apple will never again release a computer without a built in GPU. Think about what would happen if they did:

The Thunderbolt ports would only have a data connection, no video. You couldn't use Apples nice fancy thunderbolt display. You'd ether get working ports, or you could plug it into your GPU card and get video, but not both. Apple would never do that. They could i guess, make a custom Card that sent the video signal back through it's PCIe interface to the onboard Thunderbolt controller, Or they could make a card that had the thunderbolt ports on it.
But nether setup works the moment the user changes out the card.

My point, simply, is this. Because the display signal is folded into the Thunderbolt connection, Apple has to use an onboard GPU.

Now I guess they could stick this into the current design, but do you think they would?

It seems to me that to add Thunderbolt to the Mac Pro Apple is forced to do a redesign.

That's my theory. Now onto speculation:
If the GPU is no longer connected by a PCIe port, what's stopping them from getting rid of PCIe expansion all together? It would be just like apple to think that Thunderbolt is fast enough to replace PCIe...

It seems to me we may have a couple of generations of Macs which just aren't useable for high-end 3D/compositing/color work until 100Gb Thunderbolt comes along and Thunderbolt connected GPUs become feasible. (From looking at the DiVinci message bords, I see that DiVinci doen't work with GPU's connected by 4x PCIe connections.)


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 4:08:26 am

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "My point, simply, is this. Because the display signal is folded into the Thunderbolt connection, Apple has to use an onboard GPU. "

Hmm.

But what about the computers that already have thunderbolt?

They have dedicated GPUs as well as on board GPUs (minus the air/macmini of course).


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 4:11:50 am

Sorry, poor choice of words. I didn't mean "onboard" as in, part of the processor. I meant onboard as in built into the computer, like every other mac other then the current Mac Pro


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 4:29:02 am

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "Sorry, poor choice of words. I didn't mean "onboard" as in, part of the processor. I meant onboard as in built into the computer, like every other mac other then the current Mac Pro
"


Still not following.

iMacs before thunderbolt has built in GPUs as well as MacBook Pros.

If MacPros go away, it's becuae they aren't selling enough of them.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 4:51:49 am

I'm not sure I understand exactly what you don't understand..... (that wasn't exactly clear ether)


As I see it, the point of buying a Mac Pro is for two reasons:

The power that the CPU's provide, and the expansion options offered by the PCIe bus.

One of those options is being able to chose a GPU. If apple switches to an onboard GPU, as I'm arguing they're forced to by adding Thunderbolt, then your options will be limited to one or two GPUs which you can't change later, and unless Apple and nVidia get their act together, that means ATI and therefor no CUDA.

This would have no impact on any of Apple's software, but it would have a big impact on high-end use of Mac Pro's which is very CUDA intensive.


My further thought is that, having dispensed with the need for a PCIe connected GPU, Apple will also dump the PCIe slots altogether, in favor of Thunderbolt. Problem is, Thunderbolt isn't fast enough to replace PCIe as a connection for GPUs if the performance of GPU cards in x4 slots is any indication. (there is the Sony Thunderbolt connected GPU unit for one of their laptops, so it is possible. Whether that setup can handle high-end 3D work remains to be seen.)

My whole point?

I see Thunderbolt as forcing Apple to drop PCIe... And PCIe is the reason people buy Mac Pros.


I'm guessing the next Mac Pro will be a small box with Thunderbolt and no PCIe, and GPU processing will be severely handicapped to one onboard GPU that doesn't support CUDA and offboard GPUs that are handicapped by the Thunderbolt interface being 1/8th of the speed that PCIe GPU's use.

Also, anyone using Fibre Cards will find themselves handicapped compared to PCIe.


As soon as 100Gb Thunderbolt comes out this won't be a problem anymore.


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 12:44:26 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "I see Thunderbolt as forcing Apple to drop PCIe"

It's this thought that prompted me to start this discussion. Not that Thurnderbolt forces them to drop something. I thought of it more as a necessary technology to allow them to finally move away from PCIe computers.

I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen when FCP X supports broadcast monitoring, which I'm guessing will happen through Thunderbolt. Early 2012.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:30:18 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen when FCP X supports broadcast monitoring, which I'm guessing will happen through Thunderbolt. Early 2012."

I guess it would be pretty amazing to me if they could somehow limit this to thunderbolt only. It's a pcie protocol after all.

I know that there's a lot of uncertainty at this point, but I'm not sure this level of skepticism is warranted quite yet, even thought you and John-Michael have interesting points.

As it stands, thunderbolt is 4x PCIe. If Apple is interested in the Pro market, which they keep saying they are, then they realize that 4x PCIe simply isn't enough.


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Philip Haynes
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 1:49:36 pm

We are all(users, hardware and software developers) in the same situation if we rely on OSX environment as a backbone for our work. We are standing on the edge of a cliff with the cloud cover upto the edge of the cliff and we don't know if there are steps down or it is a sheer drop of 1000m. For those working on normal editorial at standard current broadcast standards, this analogy will seem overly dramatic. Though for those of us that have found Lion a step backward which won't support some of our PCIe cards or has presented no advantage at all, our concerns are very real.

The supported output of mini displayport in OSX(which is less than the tech spec) is insufficient compared to that of a dual link DVI output, and as we are entering a huge escalation in the Pixel count wars, so how do you work with the content at its native res in a mac environment? If apple throw everything into the thunderbolt basket, which at the moment is still vaporware or untested in my work environment.

It very hard now, to know what to do, apart from buy as many mac pros as you can now, and then look at the options with a certain amount of leisure. And yes technically a hackintosh is a option...BUT if you are in time critical situation and anything goes wrong, well you will have to underwrite it as no insurer will cover you.

My circumstances are different to many of you as editing and content creation is only part of my workflow to feed exhibiting and live manipulation via a mac based environment.

Phil
Philip G Haynes
Live Visual Design and Direction


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:22:13 pm

[Philip Haynes] "The supported output of mini displayport in OSX(which is less than the tech spec) is insufficient compared to that of a dual link DVI output, and as we are entering a huge escalation in the Pixel count wars, so how do you work with the content at its native res in a mac environment?"

Specifics? What do you mean here?

[Philip Haynes] "It very hard now, to know what to do, apart from buy as many mac pros as you can now, and then look at the options with a certain amount of leisure. And yes technically a hackintosh is a option...BUT if you are in time critical situation and anything goes wrong, well you will have to underwrite it as no insurer will cover you."

This is going on in many aspects of the video market, just look at the amount of cameras. It's pretty insane. It is hard to know what to buy if you need to buy something.

A hackintosh is appealing, but that's a level of tinkering I'm not ready for in a pro environment.


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Philip Haynes
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:49:39 pm

[Philip Haynes] "The supported output of mini displayport in OSX(which is less than the tech spec) is insufficient compared to that of a dual link DVI output, and as we are entering a huge escalation in the Pixel count wars, so how do you work with the content at its native res in a mac environment?"

Specifics? What do you mean here?


2560 by 1600 is currently the output ceiling of a mac mini displayport/thunderbolt as it stands which is great for most folk. Though there is no clear data on what is going to happen outputting using purely the thunderbolt side of things, and what will be the latency compared to the display port side of things.

Phil
Philip G Haynes
Live Visual Design and Direction


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 3:44:21 pm

[Philip Haynes] "2560 by 1600 is currently the output ceiling of a mac mini displayport/thunderbolt as it stands which is great for most folk."

Is there anything higher? Just curious, I don't really know.

I just went on Nvidia's website and even their "ultra high end" GPUs max out at the same resolution. ATI seems to be the same.

So, is this really limited to a Mac, and a Mac Mini at that?

I know you can get 4k out of a Kona 3G and a RedRocket, but the display options are very very limited at this point.

Jeremy


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 6:59:13 pm

I think what Philip is talking about is the apparent limit of 10Gb on thunderbolt vs. Display Port's 17.28Gb max.

Display Port supports up to QFHD (3840 × 2160) at 30bit and 60 Hz.

Obviously, this isn't a problem at the moment.

One question I do have is whether Thunderbolt supports 30bit displays. All the good pro monitors from NEC, Eizo, etc. are 30bit now, but apple's new thunderbolt display is still 24bit.

I don't see why Thunderbolt wouldn't be compatible with 30bit, but since it isn't Display Port it doesn't have to support any standards they don't feel like supporting, and Apple has no personal use for 30bit color at the moment.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 7:30:54 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "I think what Philip is talking about is the apparent limit of 10Gb on thunderbolt vs. Display Port's 17.28Gb max."

Let's also not forget that Thunderbolt is two channels of 10Gb, each way.

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "Display Port supports up to QFHD (3840 × 2160) at 30bit and 60 Hz. "

It does? Do you have a computer or graphics card that allows it or is that just the theoretical limit?

What Quad HD monitor are you using?

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "All the good pro monitors from NEC, Eizo, etc. are 30bit now, but apple's new thunderbolt display is still 24bit. "

Be careful there. A lot of those are 30bit PROCESSING, not 30 bit display panels. Huge difference. Also, Thunderbolt in it's current config is copper, once it goes optical, it will have more bandwidth.

If the GPU will send 30bit, so will Thunderbolt I imagine. Thunderbolt uses display port (and PCIe) protocols, as far as I can tell. There's not a lot of true 30bit (or 10bit) panels out there at the moment, and not a lot of GPUs that will send 10bit. Just because a monitor has display port does not guarantee 10bit display.

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "I don't see why Thunderbolt wouldn't be compatible with 30bit, but since it isn't Display Port it doesn't have to support any standards they don't feel like supporting, and Apple has no personal use for 30bit color at the moment."

You do realize that Thunderbolt is intel technology, right? Apple just helped get it to market.

Bit depth in the display port sense, is GPU based. Thunderbolt is just the data transfer mechanism that handles the PCIe and DisplayPort protocols (again, as far as I can tell). So thunderbolt is in fact display port in part.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 8:22:07 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Let's also not forget that Thunderbolt is two channels of 10Gb, each way."

I didn't forget. Don't you forget that you can only have a max 10Gb in any direction for both DP and PCIe.
Marketing departments always want you to add both directions together, but that's marketing.
Thunderbolt is a 10Gb a second connection. There is no way to send more then 10Gb of PCIe data and 10Gb of Display data at a time, in any given direction.


[Jeremy Garchow] "It does? Do you have a computer or graphics card that allows it or is that just the theoretical limit?"

The theoretical limit. At the moment you have to pay about 80 grand for one of those panels.

At the moment, Thunderbolt is more then capable of driving current displays, so that isn't a problem.
However, it is not capable of replacing PCIe, and I hope to god that Apple understands this.

Cause if they don't, we're all screwed until 100Gb thunderbolt comes along, which won't be for a few years.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 8:40:01 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "There is no way to send more then 10Gb of PCIe data and 10Gb of Display data at a time, in any given direction. "

Per channel. So, it's 20 Gb total throughput, as far as I understand it anyway.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:14:57 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Per channel. So, it's 20 Gb total throughput, as far as I understand it anyway."

yes and no. Yes, it is technically sending 20 Gb total each way, but you can't use all of that for any one use.

Thunderbolt had Display Port and PCIe in the same cable, but they're two separate systems. You can't have anymore then 10Gb of each. So calling it 20Gb is incorrect cause if I want to send data X from point A to B, 10Gb is how fast it'll get there. There's no way for it to use both channels.

At least that's my understanding of the connection.

There is the possibility that PCIe over both channels would be possibile, but in that setup, there would be no Display Port signal.


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:42:57 pm

[Philip Haynes] "buy as many mac pros as you can now"

I have (like probably many Mac Pro users) have thought about what to do if (or when) Apple ends the Mac Pro's life.

What would you do?

A. Instantly purchase a Windows box.
B. Instantly purchase a Hackintosh box.
C. Instantly purchase your last, new Mac Pro(s).
E. Wait, and read the posts from people who choose A, B or C.
F. Start a Creative Cow forum titled, Apple Mac Pro or Not: The Debate


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Philip Haynes
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 3:49:46 pm

really depends on your needs and workflow and how platform agnostic your workflow is.

For me and most of my clients the Mac is the cheap part of the environment, it is the software and the hardware that we use where the real expense resides, and the fact we have a stable and rugged workflow.

Phil
Philip G Haynes
Live Visual Design and Direction


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Martti Ekstrand
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 8:09:42 pm

A.

I can't see a iMac as a reliable option for me with long workdays of editing and rendering. My brother is on his third iMac for music production (with outboard Firewire soundcards), on both previous ones the motherboard died from heat exhaustion after a couple of months of instability. The enclosure is just too tight for sufficient cooling.


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John Davidson
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:13:48 pm

We literally just installed our first iMac edit system today. Pegasus 12Tb should be here this afternoon. Have to say I'm pleased and a little excited about it. It already seems swifter than our 12core mac pro. Probably won't be so great on big AE renders though.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Jacob Kerns
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 12, 2011 at 7:40:51 am

Wow everyone that afraid of Windows? I made the switch and its been smooth.
Biggest plus is the cost.

Thunderbolt isn't Apple only its coming to PC it's called lightpeak. SONY and Asus have announced their releasing it.

Also if you follow TonyMac and build a PC from Asus parts Lion installs without issue and even updates without issue.

Windows is the last thing to worry about in the switch. Get a good Asus mono and videocard along with quality ram the system will be fast and stable. I've been happy with windows 7.

Also for the record since no one can read about Windows 8 the metro interface is totally optional! I'm running beta in VMware and its runs just like Win7's.

NIADA
Technical Director


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Seth Burke
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 12, 2011 at 7:41:12 pm

From what I understand, other than Thunderbolt, Apple does offer custom built Mac Pros.

Yes, at a higher price, but if people really wanted an updated Mac Pro Tower with the latest i7 chip, graphics card, etc. you can purchase one using their "Business" store.

I called the customer service and they referred me to their business line and yes, they actually have builders that will customize the Mac Pro to specs that are not found on the online store.

I never did it because it was way too expensive for just me, but if you own a business, it might be worth looking into. There's also leasing as well: If you're in limbo and are waiting till next year for something to happen, but you need a Mac now, it'll be cheaper to lease a Mac instead of buying it.


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 11:47:29 am

[Seth Burke] "people really wanted an updated Mac Pro Tower with the latest i7 chip, graphics card, etc. you can purchase one using their "Business" store"

You can? I never heard that from Apple's business representatives.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 4:38:21 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "[Seth Burke] "people really wanted an updated Mac Pro Tower with the latest i7 chip, graphics card, etc. you can purchase one using their "Business" store"

You can? I never heard that from Apple's business representatives.
"


Wouldn't that require a different motherboard? I find that a little far-fetched.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 13, 2011 at 4:54:49 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Wouldn't that require a different motherboard? I find that a little far-fetched."

It would, and it is.

Maybe you can get an Apple store to install an NVIDIA Quadro 4000 for you, but I can't imagine there'd be many extra CTO options beyond 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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Seth Burke
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 14, 2011 at 10:23:37 pm

So you're right I checked back with the Apple customer business line and it wasn't the Apple store they sent me to, it was Melrose Mac, who happens to work with Apple as a reseller.

But in any case, like I said earlier: YES, IF you want a Mac Pro tower with the i7 with and the latest graphics card, etc. excluding the Thunderbolt, it can be made. And like I said earlier, it's expensive for individuals.

Just call them and ask if you don't believe me, here's their address: http://www.melrosemac.com

They are located in Southern California, so shipping would be costly if you're not there. Again, this is only if you really need to have the Mac Pro Tower for your business. Any by the way, I have run into a couple post houses in Santa Monica and Burbank that mentioned the idea that the cost to upgrade to updated customized Mac Pros vs changing out an entire bay would be more cost efficient. Either way, still too expensive for me.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:40:33 am

At first, John-Michael, I didn't understand you, but now I see where you are coming from. I apologize.

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "One of those options is being able to chose a GPU. If apple switches to an onboard GPU, as I'm arguing they're forced to by adding Thunderbolt, then your options will be limited to one or two GPUs which you can't change later, and unless Apple and nVidia get their act together, that means ATI and therefor no CUDA."

I guess I don't understand why you couldn't change the GPU. Are you saying that the thunderbolt port is the traffic cop in the MacPro?

I don't think it works like that, or maybe it does?

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "I see Thunderbolt as forcing Apple to drop PCIe... And PCIe is the reason people buy Mac Pros."

But thunderbolt is part pcie, so how and why would apple drop pcie?


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:32:39 am

[Jeremy Garchow] " "I see Thunderbolt as forcing Apple to drop PCIe... And PCIe is the reason people buy Mac Pros."

But thunderbolt is part pcie, so how and why would apple drop pcie?"


I miss typed. I meant to say PCIe slots.


Here's a very long explanation of my logic:

You can't change the GPU because the Display Port signal output from the GPU needs to be sent to the Thunderbolt controller. There are only three ways to do this, and apple is very, very unlucky to chose two of them.

1) A built in, non-replaceable GPU. This is how all other Thunderbolt equipped Mac's work. The output from the GPU is sent to the Thunderbolt controller across the circuit board.

2) A Custom PCIe 16x GPU with Thunderbolt ports instead of regular Display Port connectors or DVI connectors. Basically, Apple would take an ordinary ATI GPU card and stick thunderbolt controller chips on it. They'd get their Display Port signal from the ATI GPU and their PCIe connection and feed it all out together. Unfortunately this would limit the speed of the GPU cause the Thunderbolt Controller would be using at least 1/4 of the 16x PCIe connection.

3a) A slight variation on #2, except that the custom GPU would feed it's Display signal along an internal Display port cable to a Thunderbolt controller somewhere on the Mother board. In this case the GPU card would have no ports on the outside of the computer.

3b) same as 3a, but ordinary GPU is used and the PCIe 16x is moved so that the GPU card is completely contained within the Mac. This way the Display Port cable(s) which drive the THunderbolt controller can be plugged into the normal GPU without exiting the computer.


Those are the possibilities.

Number 3b would be the best for us, as it would allow all current Display Port GPU's to work.

Number 3a would be ok, but new GPU's would have to be made, so our options would be limited for a while, since all current GPUs wouldn't work with Thunderbolt. (It's posible that Apple would let you use a normal GPU, there by leaving you with THunderbolt ports that serve data but not display information.)

NUmber 2 would also be limiting to us as we'd have to wait for new GPU options as the old ones wouldn't work with Thunderbolt.
(Again ok if apple lets us use old GPU's)

Number 1 of course would mean no user replaceable GPU.

How likely are each of these?

Well, I'd say that number 1 is likely,

Number 2, while perhaps a great way to get thunderbolt ports on Windows computers, it is totally Un-apple, (I'm sure they want a Thunderbolt port on the front as well as the back, and this option wouldn't allow that. Also, this would be limited to two thunderbolt ports.) and so I rate that one Very, Very unlikely.

Number 3a would be great, and the most likely choice if apple realizes how much we pros need to be able to swap out GPUs and other things.

Number 3b is unlikely because it would require a redesign and I strongly doubt that Apple wouldn't redesign the Mac Pro so as to be able to continue offering PCIe slots. I believe that any redesign of the Mac Pro will be Thunderbolt centric and and redesigning the Mac Pro to offer option 3b would be un Apple as that wouldn't be forward thinking and they'd just have to redesign the Mac Pro again as soon as 100Gb Thunderbolt comes out. Simply put, option 3b requires an extra redesign before apple goes all Thunderbolt.

Keeping PCIe Slots at all also requires an extra redesign before the Mac Pro goes all thunderbolt, and that's why I said before that I believe that Apple is far more likely to keep the current design until they dump PCIe slots all together.

So the question is, when will that be?

Well, if Apple has any love for us pros that won't be until 100Gb thunderbolt comes along.
But if the fact that rumors of a small Mac Pro have been going around for months, I think at least a partial dropping of PCIe slots is in order.

Unless they have 100Gb Thunderbolt up their sleeves for the upcoming refresh, They'd better chose Option 3a or we're all going to be stuck for a few years.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:54:25 am

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "Number 1 of course would mean no user replaceable GPU."

Not necessarily -- the potential Thunderbolt Mac Pro could have an integrated graphics card, but if Apple also provides at least one 16x PCIe slot, users could still opt to install and use another graphics card.

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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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:58:01 am

that's not the same as a user replaceable GPU, Though that would be fine as long as Abobe lets their Mercury playback engine work on a second GPU. (right now it only works on the Primary GPU)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:06:19 am

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "that's not the same as a user replaceable GPU, Though that would be fine as long as Abobe lets their Mercury playback engine work on a second GPU. (right now it only works on the Primary GPU)"

True, but the built-in GPU could be made inconsequential. If you plugged your monitor into your own installed card and used the built-in GPU/TB controller for data only, your third-party graphics card would be the primary, wouldn't it?

Also, you may be interested to know that Adobe is working on MPE with Maximus [link]. That's still an NVIDIA-only configuration (as it requires a Quadro and a Tesla), but since this is the forum of wild-eyed speculation, it might be a step towards CUDA processing independent of the primary graphics card.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:20:01 am

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "You can't change the GPU because the Display Port signal output from the GPU needs to be sent to the Thunderbolt controller. "

Are you sure it works that way? What if there's no thunderbolt display connected to the computer, do you still have to send display data out of the thunderbolt port? Why?

I'm sure there must be some sort of "handshake", right?

If there's no handshake, why does the computer need to talk to the thunderbolt chip at all?


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:42:57 am

I realize I kinda contradicted myself later on this point. It's all up to apple, wether they'll let you set up the computer such that there's no display signal in the Thunderbolt connections.

If they're nice, and any option other then #1 is used, they'll let us stick in our own GPU and there would be no Display data going to the thunderbolt ports, which wouldn't be a problem as long as your're not using a thunderbolt display.

I think it's more likely that they'll use a built in GPU and hopefully leave at least 1 slot for us to stick a better GPU in and as long as the software supports this setup, then that wouldn't be a problem.


My original point was that Thunderbolt forces Apple to change the Mac Pro, so it isn't a question of if the Mac Pro get's a redesign, but how much. And given they have to redesign it, I believe that apple will lean toward a more forward leaning of at most 2 PCIe slots.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:57:51 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "It's all up to apple, wether they'll let you set up the computer such that there's no display signal in the Thunderbolt connections."

But I'm asking, why can't there be both? If something is plugged straight in to the GPU, then it uses that (DVI/Displayport/whatever). If it plugs in to thunderbolt, then display goes out through thunderbolt as long as the monitor gives the proper handshake (from what I have read, Displayport 1.1 devices must be at the end of the chain). Or does it not work that way? Do you know or are you guessing? I sure as hell am making a lot of guesses at this point. It's all the information I have. :)

Look at the 17" Thunderbolt MBP. It has both PCIe ExpressCard (1x) and Thunderbolt. Can't it use both at the same time? Not all data has to run through the thunderbolt port. In a MacPro with dedicated GPU and Thunderbolt, would all display data have to run through Thunderbolt? Maybe, maybe not. I'm thinking not as that would severely hobble a MacPro that can easily handle more than 4x PCIe.

http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs-17inch.html

Another crazy theory. What if a Thunderbolt monitor itself had an integrated GPU in it and it was used for display, leaving the dedicated GPU for computation. That might be getting too crazy!

Jeremy


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:12:23 pm

You're thinking about this the wrong way...

The monitor that you happen to be using has nothing to do with my argument.
My theory also has nothing to do with how you could configure your computer after you buy it.

Here's my thought, put as simply as I can.

Apple will not release a Thunderbolt equipped computer that doesn't supply display data through the Thunderbolt connection in it's stock configuration. There's two ways they can do that, one is a Custom GPU and the other is a built in GPU. And if they have to custom build it anyway, I think they're very likely to built it unto the computer.


[Jeremy Garchow] "Another crazy theory. What if a Thunderbolt monitor itself had an integrated GPU in it and it was used for display, leaving the dedicated GPU for computation. That might be getting too crazy!
"


I wouldn't be surprised... That would be a great way to add displays. However, I won't be using Apple displays since they're all over priced and underwhelming so until other display manufacturers do this I'll stick to the GPU in my computer.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:27:51 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "You're thinking about this the wrong way...

The monitor that you happen to be using has nothing to do with my argument.
My theory also has nothing to do with how you could configure your computer after you buy it.

Here's my thought, put as simply as I can.

Apple will not release a Thunderbolt equipped computer that doesn't supply display data through the Thunderbolt connection in it's stock configuration. There's two ways they can do that, one is a Custom GPU and the other is a built in GPU. And if they have to custom build it anyway, I think they're very likely to built it unto the computer."


I am thinking about it the wrong way? Then help me understand what you are saying.

It seems to me that you are saying all data has to pass through thunderbolt, bar none. You seem to be saying data can't go out regular PCIe, and display can't go out to a dedicated DVI or Displayport. Basically you seem to be saying that Thunderbolt is the data traffic cop in a MacPro. Am I misinterpreting what you are saying?

What I don't understand from your arguments is why all data/display has to go through the Thunderbolt port? Why can't it do both? The MacBookPro does this with data already. it DOESNT do this with display data as it would be foolish to run a displayport and a thunderbolt port, when they are really the same, or just similar enough. You get a Thunderbolt to DVI adapter, and bingo, DVI. With non PCIe slot computers, this makes a lot of sense.

But with faster PCIe slot computers, it doesn't. You don't have to use the thunderbolt port if you don't have a thunderbolt device. If you do have a thunderbolt device you attach it, but my fibre card will still run @ 16x or 8x via fibre channel. The only time the data will passthrough @ 4x is if there's thunderbolt storage on the other end of a thunderbolt cable. In order to get to the fibre storage, I don't HAVE to go out the thunderbolt cable. Same with display data. In order to get a signal to my DVI monitor, i don't HAVE to use the thunderbolt port. I can use the GPU. Now, if I had a thunderbolt monitor, I could use the Thunderbolt port.

Am I not explaining this clearly enough?

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "The monitor that you happen to be using has nothing to do with my argument. "

I think the gear that is used is completely relevant to this discussion.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:43:39 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "What I don't understand from your arguments is why all data/display has to go through the Thunderbolt port? Why can't it do both? "

I never said it had to go through thunderbolt. (At least not intentionally. Now I understand why you couldn't understand me.. )
I've been talking about what apple has to do to get Display data into the thunderbolt connection.


Remember, I'm talking about the Stock computer, and Lest you've forgotten, Apple doesn't make any monitor other then the Thunderbolt one, so there has to be display info in the Thunderbolt connection. I never said it couldn't go anywhere else as well. It sure can!

Let's put it this way. The thunderbolt connections have to offer display data or the new Thunderbolt display won't work, and apple wont built a computer that doesn't offer the ability to drive their one and only display.

(And before you ask, no, the thunderbolt display won't work plugged into anything other then a Thunderbolt port)

In the custom GPU setup, you could change out the GPU and lose display data in the Thunderbolt port, but the stock computer would need a custom GPU or a built in one.


Now is this making sense?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:33:50 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "Let's put it this way. The thunderbolt connections have to offer display data or the new Thunderbolt display won't work, and apple wont built a computer that doesn't offer the ability to drive their one and only display."

The have two. The displayport:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC007LL/A

and the thunderbolt:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC914

The thunderbolt also turns the monitor into a fw800, ethernet, and USB Hub, facetime camera, and allows two monitors to daisy chain off of a MBP. Crikey, that's a lot of capability in one cable.

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "In the custom GPU setup, you could change out the GPU and lose display data in the Thunderbolt port, but the stock computer would need a custom GPU or a built in one.
Now is this making sense?"


No. (Sorry). I don't get it. A MacPro can have a GPU with DVI/Displayport. Thunderbolt IS Displayport+PCIe. You can have a DVI/Displayport monitor and plug straight in to the GPU, or you can use a Thunderbolt monitor and plug right in to Thunderbolt, which will still get the info from the GPU, it's just sent out of the thunderbolt port. You can have both, you don't need custom anything (in theory) and you won't have to buy a thunderbolt monitor with a thunderbolt MacPro.

So what you are saying is, Apple will sell a MacPro to sell more Thunderbolt monitors with a purposely hobbled GPU?


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:53:03 pm

You're right about the Displays.... I thought that they'd EOL'd the Cinema display, but obviously I was wrong.

[Jeremy Garchow] "No. (Sorry). I don't get it. A MacPro can have a GPU with DVI/Displayport. Thunderbolt IS Displayport+PCIe. You can have a DVI/Displayport monitor and plug straight in to the GPU, or you can use a Thunderbolt monitor and plug right in to Thunderbolt, which will still get the info from the GPU, it's just sent out of the thunderbolt port. You can have both, you don't need custom anything (in theory) and you won't have to buy a thunderbolt monitor with a thunderbolt MacPro."

Think about what you just said.

"or you can use a Thunderbolt monitor and plug right in to Thunderbolt, which will still get the info from the GPU,"

You need a Custom GPU to do this. There's no other way.
How do you expect to do this without a GPU of a type that doesn't currently exist?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:55:21 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "You need a Custom GPU to do this. "

Why?

The thunderbolt chip parses the information from the graphics system and says, "Go here to the thunderbolt display at the other end".


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:56:44 pm

And how do you expect it to get that information?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:59:25 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "And how do you expect it to get that information?"

Through the motherboard like everything else.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:05:14 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "
Through the motherboard like everything else."


And there we have the problem.

No current PCIe GPU sends display signals anywhere but out the back of the computer. (The current PCIe bus doesn't allow for it. They can send data, but not a display port signal.)

Apple will need to make a GPU that's capable of this, however they do it. (I outlined the options as numbers 2, 3a and 3b)


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:52:12 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "No current PCIe GPU sends display signals anywhere but out the back of the computer. (The current PCIe bus doesn't allow for it. They can send data, but not a display port signal.) "

I'm confused, dude.

Yes, the ports are on the card to go out to a monitor, but the physical data can be sent anywhere. That's how the GPU is used to process in applications like PPro or Shake or Color. The data is available anywhere as long as it's plugged in. The data is processed on the GPU and sent to other devices (via PCIe) such as a Kona card. I don't have to take the displayport out and send it to the Kona, for example. It's just data.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:37:43 pm

It's a different kind of data. CUDA is meant to be used that way. Sending the whole data stream back doesn't work that way.

Ever taken a screen shot and found a video or something was just a black box? Current GPU cards aren't designed to send the video stream back through the PCIe connection, they're designed to send it out of the computer.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:43:11 pm

[John-Michael Seng-Wheeler] "Ever taken a screen shot and found a video or something was just a black box?"

Yeah, that's called copy protection.

Alright, at this point I am going to need proof John-Michael. I think I fully understand where you are coming from, and I don't think the system operates in the way you are describing.

Color does not have or need Cuda, and I still need to get GPU processed images out to the Kona, and those images are not coming out of my DVI port into my Kona to get there, which is how you seem to be describing how Thunderbolt works.

Jeremy


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:00:36 pm

Yeah, I think you're right about it being copy protection.


I have no idea how well a GPU would or would not work used this way. There's still the problem that the GPU needs to send the video data to the Thunderbolt controller and that means going through the north Bridge. (the signal destined for the Thunderbolt controller would need to be separated from the signal going back to the processor, But that's not unsurmountable, it would just require a North Bridge Specially designed for the process. Sending the data all the way back to the processor would be a bit silly, but without a special north bridge it wouldn't be possible without going through the processor.)

I agree it is posible, but it still seems like a bad way to do it.

A built in GPU or a custom one seems far more likely.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:11:33 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Alright, at this point I am going to need proof John-Michael. I think I fully understand where you are coming from, and I don't think the system operates in the way you are describing."

I think you're both right.

The PCIe bus was not intended to push data to the graphics card and receive fully rendered data back, but it is flexible enough to allow this to be done. I'd suggest that a 16x card may be important here.

I have heard that this was one of the big challenges that Assimilate ran into when porting SCRATCH to the Mac. On Windows, they use a NVIDIA daughtercard with SDI out, so the processed image data doesn't have to come back through the PCIe bus. On the Mac, they didn't have this option, so they have to push rendered frames back from the card to the computer. Guaranteeing realtime performance was apparently quite an engineering challenge.

Even if it's possible to render graphics on one card, pipe the rasterized frames over the PCIe bus in real time, and output them over another card, this would be lousy system design. You'd be building a large bottleneck into the system and soaking up several PCIe lanes for no reason at all.

Jeremy, check out the Thunderbolt process diagram PDF [link], page 3. It shows two ways that DisplayPort may be passed directly into the Thunderbolt controller (which I think is more or less what John-Michael is suggesting is necessary), preserving PCIe bandwidth for data instead of display.

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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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 1:30:39 am

Thank you. I have seen the diagram, but I have not read that paper:

"For some power users, optimal workflows can be had with workstation performance and expandability while using a thin and light laptop. Thunderbolt technology enables using the thinnest and lightest laptops, connected, with “in the box” performance over a single external cable, to high-performance external media drives, HD displays, HD media capture and editing systems, as well as legacy I/O hubs and devices, for the utmost in performance, simplicity and flexibility."

I keep flip flopping. Good thing I am not running for public office.

Now I'm back in the camp that Thunderbolt makes sense for laptops/iMac types and not desktops, and this paper pretty much spells it out, but doesn't say the word. In the fine print, they are comparing thunderbolt to eSata, fw, USB, not PCIe 2 or 3. Laptops/non full length PCIe computers will get performance that they have never seen before. Once Thunderbolt catches up, then it will make sense on desktops.

Jean-Michael, with this information, you are right. If Thunderbolt really is the traffic cop to the whole data structure, then Thunderbolt limits a desktop's capability.

Now, it's back to if Apple will release a MacPro without Thunderbolt. I think they will now that I have changed my mind sixteen times. Otherwise, it's a 4x MacPro which doesn't make sense.

Sorry for my incorrect ramblings, I apologize to you J-M S-W. This is miniaturization in the flesh.

Thanks, Walter, for pointing out the document.

I don't think Apple will kill the MacPro as they can't quite yet. Of course, I could be wrong, I've certainly proved that today.

Jeremy


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 1:50:55 pm

I haven't read this thread enough times to get to the point where I can say "Ah, I see ... "

But, I was looking at some recent info on Intel's latest high end processors, the Core i7 Sandy Bridge E. My take on the review this site did was that it appears to focus on increased multi-processor, multi-threaded performance. Which I assume applications like FCP X and After Effects. (referencing the recent benchmark data from Barefeats) The article notes that the first models will be 6 core, but the die clearly shows a layout for 8 cores. It also has 4 channels of memory, as opposed 4 channels in the current i7, providing almost double the bandwidth.

But it appears Intel removed the integrated graphics core. Here's where I was wondering how this relates to what you guys have been talking about.

How does the removal of on-die GPU affect all of this?

What does this mean to systems that are PCIe based and systems that have Thunderbolt?

Or does it even matter?

Would this be the CPU that people have speculated Apple has been waiting for? Assuming of course they are still planning on updating the Mac Pro.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:24:03 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "I haven't read this thread enough times to get to the point where I can say "Ah, I see ... " "

You mean all the speculation hasn't formed a crystal clear image of the future????? What's wrong with you, man? ;-) Just kidding around, Kevin.

[Kevin Patrick] "Would this be the CPU that people have speculated Apple has been waiting for? Assuming of course they are still planning on updating the Mac Pro."

In what we talked about yesterday CPU speed doesn't have a ton to do with it.

Think of the internals of the computer as plumbing. The data is the water that flows through the pipes (which is the PCIe and other busses, ram/cpu/etc). The ports on the computer (fw, fibre channel, DVI, displayport, thunderbolt, whatever) are the faucets. It varies a little bit because water not only comes out, but can also go in to these faucets, but let's just say for simplicity that these ports are faucets that all the water comes flowing out of.

If the pipes in the wall (in the computer) are 2" diameter, that means a massive amount of water can be pushed around the inside of the walls, but if those pipes get restricted down to 1/8" just before hitting the faucet, that water pressure is severely restricted. Sure, it can get from the water heater to the faucet really fast and with a lot of pressure, but once it comes out of the faucet, that pressure is reduced.

In a laptop environment, Thunderbolt represents an advantage as the all the pipes were 1/8" to begin with. With thunderbolt, they have all been replaced by 1/2" pipe. Sweet.

In a desktop environment, the pipes are already at 2" so a 1/2" faucet will do nothing but reduce water pressure on the whole system. this sucks if you need a lot of water pressure.

In both of these cases, the size of the water heater (call it the CPU) doesn't do much to add to the overall water pressure.

It's not a highly accurate analogy as the data in a computer can flow in multiple directions, but hopefully it helps to visualize what we have been talking about.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:33:49 pm

[Walter Soyka] "On the Mac, they didn't have this option, so they have to push rendered frames back from the card to the computer. Guaranteeing realtime performance was apparently quite an engineering challenge."

Isn't this perhaps that Adobe is having some challenges with capture cards at the moment? They rely heavily on GPU processing, adding a capture card in to PPro slows everything down (system becomes sluggish). Turn off the capture card, and it's faster.

[Walter Soyka] "Even if it's possible to render graphics on one card, pipe the rasterized frames over the PCIe bus in real time, and output them over another card, this would be lousy system design. You'd be building a large bottleneck into the system and soaking up several PCIe lanes for no reason at all."

But isn't this how anything works with a capture card and GPU based processing? What about DaVinci? At some point, the frames need to be handed off to a professional video output device that is NOT the displays connected to the GPU (that is, a broadcast monitor connected via SDI). How does DaVinci do it without system speed penalty?

Jeremy


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