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New Mac Pro twinges?

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Michael Hadley
New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 5, 2013 at 5:27:09 pm

This looks promising (and beefy):


http://9to5mac.com/2013/03/05/sapphire-radeon-hd-7950-mac-pro-edition-intro...


And then there's this:

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/04/apple-building-2tb-solid-state-drives-f...


But who really knows, aside from Tim Cook, what their plans are.


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Bernard Newnham
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:45:14 pm

It says on Tonymac - "Sapphire is presenting a HD 7950 at the Cebit fair for MacPro Computer in a "Mac like" design:"

I think that just means they put a flashy cover plate on it. (Not a 'Flashy' cover plate, obviously.)

For those who must have a MacPro, Tonymac also has -
http://www.tonymacx86.com/333-building-customac-buyer-s-guide-february-2013...

Bernie


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Steve Connor
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:47:17 pm

Well those who use FCPX MUST have a Mac Pro, so this is good news

Steve Connor
'It's just my opinion, with an occasional fact thrown in for good measure"


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Lance Bachelder
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:46:42 pm

My new iMac just cried a little at that comment... say you're sorry....

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Darren Roark
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:16:51 am

Bernard was pointing out the alternative. Other than the slightly less legal aspect of buying OS X and installing it on non Apple hardware, I have had no problems with my "Hack Pro". It stomps the 2008 Mac Pro I had. Side note, I sold the Mac Pro for twice what this one cost to build.

And it works amazingly with Final Cut Pro X. (It has two Thunderbolt ports!)


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Gary Huff
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:28:43 am

[Darren Roark] "And it works amazingly with Final Cut Pro X. (It has two Thunderbolt ports!)"

Ah, you must have gotten the same motherboard I am eying!


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:37:13 am

[Darren Roark] "(It has two Thunderbolt ports!)"

Yeah, but do they work? ;)


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Darren Roark
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 1:27:44 am

Yes! They do in fact. The only issue is no hot swap. Since the system boots in 30 seconds, it's not a problem.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 2:17:42 am

[Darren Roark] "Yes! They do in fact. The only issue is no hot swap. Since the system boots in 30 seconds, it's not a problem."

I, for one, am curious about the rest of the system.

What's in it, how much did it cost, how was the setup, and how's it performing?


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:28:15 am

I'd like more info on this as well.
Thanks!


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Craig Seeman
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:30:18 pm

This? What CPU? It's i7 at best, not Xeon which is what a MacPro has always been.
http://event.asus.com/2012/mb/P8Z77_Series_Motherboards/Thunderbolt_landing...

Sans Xeon it seems more like something between an iMac and a MacPro rather than a MacPro. Of course even that would probably beat the current MacPro with its ancient Xeons.



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Gary Huff
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 2:25:12 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Sans Xeon it seems more like something between an iMac and a MacPro rather than a MacPro. Of course even that would probably beat the current MacPro with its ancient Xeons."

Exactly.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:18:50 pm

[Craig Seeman] "This? What CPU? It's i7 at best, not Xeon which is what a MacPro has always been."

You know you can install a Xeon in those motherboards without a problem. It's certified for Intel Xeon E3s. It's just not a xeon based chipset so some features unique to a Xeons won't be supported (eg. ECC memory). And, of course, it is not a dual socket system but neither are all Macpros and ECC isn't that relevant for what people want to use such a system here.
Given Apple's lackluster hardware io - few sata ports and pci slots-, most of the advantages of a Xeon are lost anyhow in a single socket Macpro.

------
"You also agree that you will not use these products for... the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons."
iTunes End User Licence Agreement


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Lance Bachelder
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:39:46 pm

I don't think it's necessary to have Xeon's anymore. I'd love to see a new Mac Pro sporting an i7 6 core Extreme Edition CPU - this should be plenty of horsepower for everyone's needs and would knock thousands off the price compared to a dual Xeon system.

More important to me would be dual PCI-E 3.0 16x slots for the latest GPU's, an extra PCI-E slot or 2 for Red Rocket or Kona etc. SATA 3, USB 3 and dual channel Thunderbolt.

With most of the software we use utilizing the GPU for so much heavy lifting, the ability to run the fastest GPU's available is key. Plus being able to update the GPU regularly as better cards come out by just running out to Fry's or wherever like I can with my PC is what I'm hoping for.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Darren Roark
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 6:42:59 pm

I agree with Lance. Most of the horsepower is going away from the CPU and going to the GPU. CUDA for Premiere and After Effects, OpenCL for FCP X, and so on.

If you have an older Mac Pro, there are many off the shelf PC CUDA cards that can be used out of the box in Mountain Lion. You will want a single slot Mac friendly GPU in another slot to get the happy apple white screen at boot, but it's really handy for Resolve to have dual GPUs anyway. If you put a GTX 670 in an older Mac Pro, it will breathe new life into it using applications that take advantage of OpenCL and CUDA.

I have a similar setup to the "CustoMac Pro" here: http://www.tonymacx86.com/333-building-customac-buyer-s-guide-february-2013... That prices out to just over $1300.00 if you opt for the GTX 670. Monoprice is selling 27" displays with the same panel that Apple uses for less than $400.

I have an NVIDIA GTX 570 in my home built tower. The processor is the Intel Core i7-3770K, and I have 32GB of RAM. I get a Geekbench Score of around 14,500ish. Lastly, it has two Thunderbolt Ports. (They work great minus hot swap)

So for $1700 you can build a much more powerful workstation than the iMac (and some current model Mac Pros) that can be upgraded, can hold internal Kona or BM cards, and not break the bank.

The only downside I have found is in order to update the OS, I need to clone the boot SSD to another drive until I can be sure everything is working. In reality, this should be done anyway, it's not that much different than updating OS X back in the day with real macs!


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Gary Huff
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 6, 2013 at 11:06:48 pm

The driver support in OSX was one of the primary pieces of evidence as to why the Mac Pro was coming out last year.


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Marcus Moore
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 7, 2013 at 1:21:40 am

Except (again) that we know a new one is coming this year.



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Darren Roark
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 7, 2013 at 9:27:26 pm

Yes, it's been dragging on too long.

Now that thunderbolt is now two years old (as is my March 2011 MBP) they could have been waiting to see if it catches on in the pro world before radically redoing the Mac Pro. Thankfully it has. USB 3.0 is great for what it is, but it cannot replace daisy chaining, and it's direct connection to the logic board. They will coexist like firewire and USB 2.0 did.

I do wonder if they are purposely becoming more laxed about only supporting Apple blessed hardware. Now that you can use PC GPUs in a Mac Pro it seems they may go away from a one stop shop machine. Before having only three choices for a GPU, (stock crap one, 'premium', and 'holy crap you better be rendering DNA models) it made every release of the Mac Pro kind of repetitive. It would be "Faster processor, and a new choice of a card that PC users have had almost a year."

Thunderbolt ports and being able to use whatever graphics card you want would be huge. I do like my home built solution, but that might tip the scales back to having a warranty for me.


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Marcus Moore
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 1:56:23 am

Thunderbolt in it's current state is really just a much more robust Firewire. Until Intel can implement the much faster optical version that can support everything that PCIe can provide... the crossover point is moot.

That's why I remain convinced that the MacPro can't be a radical departure from what we know- there's simply no way to replace PCIe today with anything else. Perhaps Apple was hoping that Intel could evolve Thunderbolt faster than it has, but regardless it's not ready for the really heavy lifting yet.

And there's no room for anything smaller or less capable than the current MacPro. Anyone who doesn't need a MacPro is already using a topped out iMac.



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Darren Roark
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:20:02 am

That's sort of a glass half empty view. I could never have used something like a Teranex with one small cable that handles I/O. Yes, 10gb is considerably slower than 16gb in a PCIe slot. But hot damn can I run RED 4K in FCPX with no problems off a crappy Seagate desktop external with the thunderbolt adapter.

I do love the Mac Pro case. There isn't much reason to change it except for making more room for another expansion slot or two.

I do need something more than an iMac which is what lead me down the road of building my own system. I would have rather bought one from them.


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Christian Schumacher
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:44:50 pm

[Darren Roark] "That's sort of a glass half empty view."

Thunderbolt is fast. But it comes in a very narrow product list, it's pricey and has very strict limits. The apparent ease of use and its velocity can be very seducing (Isn't it just a simple PCIe cable? And isn't it lightning fast? Well, I'm sold!) But how is it going to pan out all of the daisy chaining that can be required? I mean as you expand your equipment, let's say add some components to the mix? Or even trying to work with a different workflow previously untested?

Effectively being the only kind of interface that you have to deal with in regards to upgrade your Mac set up, how is it all going to ride in the Thunderbolt channel? I mean nicely? Throughoutput, monitoring, archiving and adapters of all sorts? I'm kinda skeptic on this issue because it seems to be a very constrained workflow dictated by a single interface without any other more viable options that regular PCIe already offers. That's going to be upgrade hell!!! But It may well represent the smaller footprint that Apple is pursuing right now, and I concede that it is good enough for a lot of people.

IMO, Thunderbolt actually strikes me as a half empty glass:

"Like all Thunderbolt devices, the transfer speed of 10 gigabit per second translates to something less than 1000MB/s -- even if you load it up with eight 6Gbps SSDs capable of a combined speed of 4000MB/s. And, as you can see, even with eight 6Gbps HDDs capable of a combined speed exceeding 1200MB/s, they don.'t come close."

"One reality check: Before you get carried away and connect two or more Thunderbolt storage devices to your Mac, be advised that the bandwidth is shared by all devices on the "daisy" chain. Even if you have a Mac with two Thunderbolt ports, the maximum real world throughput with both in use is 1350MB/s. We know. We tried it."

http://www.barefeats.com/hard167.html


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Craig Seeman
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:27:08 am

[Marcus Moore] "Thunderbolt in it's current state is really just a much more robust Firewire."

I think that's a bit understated. Firewire didn't support monitors, PCIe (even if it's just the lower demand cards) and not even close to the RAID speeds (unless I'm overlooking something). Of course that's "more robust"... a lot more robust.

[Marcus Moore] "there's simply no way to replace PCIe today with anything else."
I can see a MacPro with two 16x PCIe 3 slots and the rest on Thunderbolt. That could shrink the size a bit.

[Marcus Moore] "the MacPro can't be a radical departure from what we know"

I'm not sure what "radical" is but I could see the new MacPro as smaller with only two PCIe slots as I note above. A GPU on the mother board unless they've found a way to use the PCIe GPUs with Thunderbolt. This could also mean an option to buy one without GPUs (other than the one on the motherboard) for a lower priced server like model. To me, that would be radical.

Maybe I'm overlooking the importance of 4x PCie slots vs Thunderbolt.



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Chris Harlan
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 3:26:50 am

[Marcus Moore] "Thunderbolt in it's current state is really just a much more robust Firewire."

Thunderbolt's a whole lot more than that. You may not be using it for more, but that's a different story.


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Marcus Moore
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:32:21 pm

I did overstate my point. Thunderbolt certainly has added advantages beyond just bandwidth. They type of information it can transmit for example.

I guess in it's current form I see it enabling uncompressed HD and 4K editing the same way that firewire did for DV/HDV just over a decade ago. Firewire had other uses as well, for hooking up audio gear. The extra bandwidth in Thunderbolt allows for it to do more, like external video I/O, displays, and less demanding PCIe cards.

It really is just a bandwidth problem. When Intel gets Thunderbolt to it's 100Gb/s capacity, when you can hook up ANY GPU or Redrocket Card or other peripheral you want... then it's wide open and the essential need for any kind of tower setup evaporates; take a beefed up iMac, hook up a couple extra GPUs and a RR card and what CAN'T you do?



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Chris Harlan
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 7:06:17 pm

Marcus, I definitely agree with you on the bigger picture. I do not think TBolt is and adequate replacement for trad. PCI slots.


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Chris Kenny
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 5:23:55 am

[Marcus Moore] "Thunderbolt in it's current state is really just a much more robust Firewire. Until Intel can implement the much faster optical version that can support everything that PCIe can provide... the crossover point is moot."

Thunderbolt supports PCIe 'natively', and while it's true that it's not as fast as, say, an 8x internal slot, it's fast enough for pretty much everything except a) GPUs and b) real-time uncompressed RGB 4K video I/O.

It's more than fast enough for 1080p and 2K video I/O, which by itself is a pretty big deal. It has really opened up pro video on machines without slots in a way that wasn't previously true.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Herb Sevush
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:33:12 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Thunderbolt supports PCIe 'natively', and while it's true that it's not as fast as, say, an 8x internal slot, it's fast enough for pretty much everything except a) GPUs and b) real-time uncompressed RGB 4K video I/O.

It's more than fast enough for 1080p and 2K video I/O, which by itself is a pretty big deal. It has really opened up pro video on machines without slots in a way that wasn't previously true.
"


It's also not fast enough for some multicam work, even at 1080.

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


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Chris Kenny
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:50:17 pm

[Herb Sevush] "It's also not fast enough for some multicam work, even at 1080."

Uncompressed, sure, but I don't know that there are a ton of people trying to do that. It's fast enough for over 20 streams of ProRes 422 HQ at 1080p/29.97.

Even in pro video, people who need storage faster than ~800-1000 MB/s are a pretty small niche.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Herb Sevush
Re: New Mac Pro twinges?
on Mar 8, 2013 at 4:23:59 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Even in pro video, people who need storage faster than ~800-1000 MB/s are a pretty small niche."

I didn't realize people are getting 800 MB/s over thunderbolt. I withdraw my remark.

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


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