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A Sneaky Feeling...

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Daniel McClintock
A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:52:00 am

I'm just speculating here... and I would love to hear all of your opinions... but I think the new 5K iMac was to be the original replacement for the old MacPro. My reasoning for this happened after I looked at the results of a Geek Bench review of the machine. In essence, the results indicated that the new iMac is faster than the current low-end MacPro.

Thoughts?

----------------------------

"Sometimes Life Needs a Cmd-Z!"


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Chris Kenny
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:55:51 am

[Daniel McClintock] "I'm just speculating here... and I would love to hear all of your opinions... but I think the new 5K iMac was to be the original replacement for the old MacPro. My reasoning for this happened after I looked at the results of a Geek Bench review of the machine. In essence, the results indicated that the new iMac is faster than the current low-end MacPro."

I don't think Apple did something as elaborate as the new Mac Pro just to tide people over for a year until this iMac showed up. The fact that a maxed-out iMac is faster than a base-model Mac Pro has more to do with Intel's product lineup than with anything Apple-specific, really. You can find the same thing with any PC vendor — their high-end 'desktop' (Core i7) systems will be faster than their entry-level 'workstation' (Xeon) systems. Sometimes the gap is much larger than it is with the iMac and the Mac Pro, actually, as Intel offers some very low-clocked Xeons that Apple doesn't use in any Mac Pro model. (Intel does this because some customers need Xeon features like ECC, but don't have huge performance requirements.)

it's true that a lot of people who worked on Mac towers a decade ago are likely using iMacs or MacBook Pros now. That's just a natural consequence of hardware advancing faster than demand for additional computing resources. But some of Apple's customers still have significant use cases that can't be accommodated by an iMac, and the effort Apple put into the new Mac Pro suggests Apple doesn't intend to abandon them.

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Jeff Markgraf
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:25:15 am

Here's an article at Extreme Tech that sheds some light on this issue.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/192425-the-new-imac-with-5k-retina-dis...

i7 vs Xeon, number of threads an application uses, GPUs, thunderbolt ports...its a lot more complicated than the short articles at macrumors and the like would have you believe.

In short, I don't think those who bought the macpro should be indulging in buyer' remorse. Different machines, different target audiences.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 8:28:30 am

[Daniel McClintock] "but I think the new 5K iMac was to be the original replacement for the old MacPro."

IMHO: By no stretch of the imagination. There always have been and always will be certain overlaps between product lines. Hardly anything ominous to read into.

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Viktor Kamenický
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 10:04:00 am

Don't forget that Intel's consumer processor technology(i3,i5,i7) is one generation ahed of the server one (Xeon).

purquoise


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 12:56:01 pm

[Viktor Kamenický] "Don't forget that Intel's consumer processor technology(i3,i5,i7) is one generation ahed of the server one (Xeon)."

Good point. If it weren't for the constant massive delays on Intel's side, I'm sure the Mac Pros (i.e. Apple) would certainly already have widened the gap to the iMacs. Not something Apple has any influence over.

Maybe even an additional nail in the business relations coffin of the two (see Motorola/IBM anno 2005) and more fuel for Apple's eventual autonomy on the CPU front as well. Something that I think is bound to happen sooner or later anyway (and personally would love to see).

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Walter Soyka
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 1:08:57 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "Good point. If it weren't for the constant massive delays on Intel's side, I'm sure the Mac Pros (i.e. Apple) would certainly already have widened the gap to the iMacs. Not something Apple has any influence over. "

If Apple truly wanted a wide performance gap between the iMac and the Mac Pro, they would have built at least a dual-socket Mac Pro.

Restricting the Mac Pro to a single CPU socket means throwing away the single biggest performance feature that Xeon offers over i7.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Chris Kenny
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:40:26 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If Apple truly wanted a wide performance gap between the iMac and the Mac Pro, they would have built at least a dual-socket Mac Pro."

Apple has done this, though. They've just done it with GPU instead of CPU.

[Walter Soyka] "Restricting the Mac Pro to a single CPU socket means throwing away the single biggest performance feature that Xeon offers over i7."

Well, Xeon also offers much higher core counts on a single socket, especially vs. i7 on Socket 1150, which maxes out at 4 cores. You can get a Mac Pro with three times that many cores, and sooner or later Intel's 14 and 18 core options will likely show up in Mac Pros. (Though their TDP is a little higher, so the cooling and power supply might need to be tweaked a bit before that happens.)

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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Walter Soyka
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:10:01 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Apple has done this, though. They've just done it with GPU instead of CPU."

Dual GPU standard is fantastic, and so is PCIe flash storage. Neither of these is unique to the Mac platform, but Apple broke ground making them standard and I think that's a pretty big deal.

However, none of that excludes dual CPU.

GPGPU is great, but it's not the solution for everything. Looking at the FCPX performance differences widely attributed here to AVX with Sandy Bridge versus older processors suggests that the CPU is still relevant even for editorial.


[Chris Kenny] "Well, Xeon also offers much higher core counts on a single socket, especially vs. i7 on Socket 1150, which maxes out at 4 cores. You can get a Mac Pro with three times that many cores, and sooner or later Intel's 14 and 18 core options will likely show up in Mac Pros."

If 12-18 cores is better than 4, wouldn't 24-36 cores be better still?

To steal the FiOS/cable joke, the new Mac Pro suffers from half-fast design.

I'm not saying the nMP is a bad machine -- far from it -- but I would say that it could have been more differentiated from other Mac desktops.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:23:29 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If 12-18 cores is better than 4, wouldn't 24-36 cores be better still?"

Sure. Just not to markets that Apple targets with the MP. "Cores cores cores" are most relevant in e.g. 3D/CAD design. Something you can cater to much more efficiently and for far less $$ with nearly any given Windows or Linux box, which that market in fact turns to anyway. So where's the loss? For Apple's target markets e.g. video and audio, CPU performance is comparatively irrelevant. It's all GPU. Apple has never been about "the machine for everyone".

____________________________________________________
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Walter Soyka
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 5:05:56 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] ""Cores cores cores" are most relevant in e.g. 3D/CAD design. Something you can cater to much more efficiently and for far less $$ with nearly any given Windows or Linux box, which that market in fact turns to anyway... Apple has never been about "the machine for everyone"."

I get where you're coming from, and I freely admit that my bias is mograph/compositing/3D before editorial.

But as for Apple never being about the machine for everyone: I was all Apple for years. The nMP is the first Mac Pro that is not CPU-competitive with its peer workstations on the PC side. This is a real shift in Apple's approach to the workstation market.


[Robin S. Kurz] "For Apple's target markets e.g. video and audio, CPU performance is comparatively irrelevant. It's all GPU."

Should I assume from your statement you'd spec only the 4-core new Mac Pro with dual D700s? Save money with no performance downside?

I agree that GPU is increasingly important, but I'd disagree that CPU is comparatively irrelevant. You might be using a narrower definition of "video" than some of us here would agree to.

Even with FCPX, I think the performance gap between pre-Sandy Bridge Mac Pros with upgraded graphics cards and post-Sandy Bridge iMacs with stock graphics cards suggests that there is still relevance in CPU choice. The GPU is doing a lot, and OpenCL is very important here, but FCPX isn't running on your GPU alone. Apple themselves mention the use of GCD and multiple CPUs [link] with FCPX.

I also think that for many practical applications, there is a limit to how much performance you can wring out of unbalanced workstation design. More GPU grunt delivers no incremental benefit when your task is bottlenecked on the CPU.

All that said, I believe the Mac Pro is a good system and exactly the machine that Apple wanted to build, and I don't think that this late-2014 iMac was supposed to replace the mid-2010 Mac Pro 5.1.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:16:19 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Should I assume from your statement you'd spec only the 4-core new Mac Pro with dual D700s? Save money with no performance downside?"

I've in fact tested it with FCP and Motion, yes. The difference—also given a healthy amount of RAM for each machine—in the overall performance is in fact nominal between all three models. Single digit percentage at best, but also non-scientific. Would I spec the lowest one for general use? No, since that's not all I do either.

If it were a dedicated FCP suite, heck yeah.

[Mitch Ives] "I'd have to look again, but I saw it as $4,500 once it's equipped."

No idea what you're putting together there, but in my book it's more like $2,749.00 for max GPU, plus less than $200 for a total of 24GB of RAM. The RAM obviously NOT from Apple.

- RK

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Walter Soyka
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:36:43 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "I've in fact tested it with FCP and Motion, yes. The difference—also given a healthy amount of RAM for each machine—in the overall performance is in fact nominal between all three models. Single digit percentage at best, but also non-scientific. Would I spec the lowest one for general use? No, since that's not all I do either. If it were a dedicated FCP suite, heck yeah."

I would love to hear more about your tests. Every anecdote seems to yield a different conclusion, so I think understanding the context is very important. I believe your results, but I'd like to understand the boundaries.

Does a "dedicated FCP suite" ever use After Effects? RED media? Transcode media? Output multiple encodes for differing deliverable formats?

Once you toss out tasks like that, is a nMP still the best choice, or would an iMac do the job just as well for less money still?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Bret Williams
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 8:25:05 pm

I really can't see NOT getting an i7. Double the virtual cores via hyperthreading if I remember correctly. And I'm not sure if the i5 does accelerated h264 compression or not.


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Mitch Ives
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:56:37 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "I've in fact tested it with FCP and Motion, yes. The difference—also given a healthy amount of RAM for each machine—in the overall performance is in fact nominal between all three models. Single digit percentage at best, but also non-scientific. Would I spec the lowest one for general use? No, since that's not all I do either. "

I'd have to call BS on this. There were a boatload of tests done on the nMP when it came out and there were noticeable differences in speed between the 4, 6 and 8 core models. The 12 was a case of diminishing returns. We tested the 4 and the 8, and went with the 8 as there IS a major difference on many of the things we do. If what you say no one would buy anything but a stripped 4 core.

BTW, put in a boatload of ram (like 64GB)... that's really made Motion a dream and it allows FCP X to crank.



[Robin S. Kurz] "[Mitch Ives] "I'd have to look again, but I saw it as $4,500 once it's equipped."

No idea what you're putting together there, but in my book it's more like $2,749.00 for max GPU, plus less than $200 for a total of 24GB of RAM. The RAM obviously NOT from Apple."


Go on their website and set the machine up like you're serious about this business. Get the faster processor, get the 32GB of ram, dump the gimmicky fusion drive and get a 1TB SSD (huge speed difference), get the 295 graphics card with double the ram... you're at $4,399.

I love it when people compare stripped models to higher end nMP's... not much point.

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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Bret Williams
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 23, 2014 at 5:52:37 pm

Don't forget to add the cost of a 27" 5k display to the nMP price you're comparing the iMac to.


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Mitch Ives
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:39:50 pm

[Bret Williams] "Don't forget to add the cost of a 27" 5k display to the nMP price you're comparing the iMac to."

I believe my original post said that...

The iMac is cheaper... no argument there. The question that's being bantered is how much cheaper... and is it really comparable to the nMP?

The answer is no... not on the intensive stuff... but as Walter pointed out, if Apple had made the nMP a dual processor then the answer could have been "hell no"...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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Mitch Ives
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:02:25 pm

[Daniel McClintock] "In essence, the results indicated that the new iMac is faster than the current low-end MacPro."

Not entirely true. It was faster on one test and not on the multicore (a really important thing). Also, a reasonably configured 5K iMac isn't cheap. The $2500 model isn't going to cut it. I'd have to look again, but I saw it as $4,500 once it's equipped. That's more than a base MacPro, but you still need a monitor for the MacPro.

Don't underestimate the multicore side of things...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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David Howard
Re: A Sneaky Feeling...
on Oct 27, 2014 at 3:09:57 am

very interesting mate

Redefined Media

Video Production Sydney


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