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Re: Pretty amazing Thunderbolt demo.

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Walter Soyka
Re: Pretty amazing Thunderbolt demo.
on Jan 24, 2012 at 3:21:39 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "There's a section of RAM/CPU, a section of PCIe, a hard drive section, then a section of optical drives + power supply, and some big handles around the whole thing. Losing some of the parts, you don't think this could get smaller and lighter?"

I think the Mac Pro could lose an inch and a half of just the handles to be rack-mountable before even digging into the internals.

Craig's right that the "empty space" in the Mac Pro case is allocated to the PCIe slots, but remember that he still wants two 16x PCIe slots in his SuperMini for higher throughput than the current generation of Thunderbolt provides.

The rest of space over the motherboard looks empty, but is necessary for the heat sinks, fans and airflow that keep the components cool.


[Jeremy Garchow] "There's a section of RAM/CPU, a section of PCIe, a hard drive section, then a section of optical drives + power supply, and some big handles around the whole thing. Losing some of the parts, you don't think this could get smaller and lighter?"

Can it be shrunk down to Mini size? Certainly not. Can it be shrunk down to Shuttle PC size? I doubt it -- I'm not sure you could fit the Mac Pro's power supply and fans in a Shuttle case.

Can it be smaller and lighter? Yes, a little -- but at what cost?

Which parts do you want to lose? The processors, RAM, cooling and PSU are all required. An internal hard drive (or two or four) just makes good sense. If you don't want an optical drive, you could move the HDD up there and make the case an inch shorter.

Besides, with Thunderbolt expansion into external boxes, you immediately add all that volume and weight back as you add peripherals (plus more, because each device will have its own enclosure, cooling, and power supply).

Is it worth giving up memory capacity, PCIe expansion, or internal storage to save a couple cubic inches of case displacement and a couple pounds? Not to me. The changes that could be made would not be transformative enough to get the Mac Pro into spaces it can't fit now, so I think you'd be giving up an awful lot to save only a little bit of space.

You want transformative change? Just change the existing case's handle configuration so it can be racked horizontally.

Now I do recognize my sizzle core beast bias, so this is an honest, sincere question: do you think the market for a small machine with loads of compute power but not much else is larger than the market for a larger, more traditional, better balanced workstation system?

Walter Soyka
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