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Re: Does This Kill The Mac Pro?

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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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