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The Mac Pro is a beast - I am still running a first gen MacPro1,1 - it's got an IDE drive installed in the second optical bay, four 3.5 SATA drives in the main bays and 2 2.5 SATA drives connected to the extra SATA connectors hidden under the front fan. At various times it has a hardware RAID card, extra FW+USB card, extra video card, video capture card, etc. I'm just about to grab a pair of 4 core xeons, extra ram, a Radeon hd5770 and some SSD drives - flash it to a MacPro2,1 and I can run Mavericks on it, with a Geekbench of about 10k. US$400 for the upgrades not including the SSDs.

I think Apple has really dropped the ball with the new Mac Pro - it is like the Cube, it looks cool but the Mac Pro is not a machine that requires form over function - people buy them to upgrade them, swap things in and out, stick them in racks, etc. Thunderbolt is not a replacement for pro use expandability - it just means a lot more cost + a lot more (very expensive) cables + a performance hit.

A good excuse for Apple to discontinue the Pro line eventually though - "hey we made this great new machine, but nobody bought it, so sorry"

> I think Apple has really dropped the ball with the new Mac Pro

Guy English made some great points about potential for the new Mac Pro:

"The CPU is a front end to a couple of very capable massively parallel processors at the end of a relatively fast bus. One of those GPUs isn’t even hooked up to do graphics. I think that’s a serious tell. If you leverage your massively parallel GPU to run a computation that runs even one second and in that time you can’t update your screen, that’s a problem. Have one GPU dedicated to rendering and a second available for serious computation and you’ve got an architecture that’ll feel incredible to work with."


Guy says it's not about benchmarks but the innards seem to be entirely designed around generating a ridiculous Cinebench score for a keynote demo.

Right now it's trendy to criticize the new Mac Pro for boxes it doesn't check that the current version does; mainly a lack of enclosure space. That's something Apple can easily address with their in store setups. But when the thing releases all anyone will be able to talk about is how much Apple is charging for the high end version with the E5 2697 and 2 W9000 Firepro cards.

> Guy says it's not about benchmarks

I think what he meant was that the current benchmarks are unable to quantify the benefit to users of having a GPU for computational power while the other is driving the displays. The new Pro configuration suggests you'll be working in real-time when doing graphically intensive tasks rather than waiting for something to render. Animators & video editors will benefit from this in ways that are difficult to slap a technical benchmark on.

These machines are probably aiming to scoop up some high-margin high-end workstation business, hence the demo by Pixar at the last WWDC.

The case design is really phenomenal. I've been inside mine (2009) a lot lately trying to fix a stability issue (the north bridge is possibly getting to 120˚C, the ATI Radeon 4870 was running very hot and disassembling showed 4 years worth of dust jamming it up). Swapping components with nary a screw and the general cleanliness (no SATA cables snaking around, air channels from front to back) is excellent.

I'd like for Apple to carry both lines going forward, but I guess that is unlikely. The issues I'm seeing now discourage me from dropping another 3-5k on the new ones knowing they are even further from being fixable.

I would recommend getting the hd5770 and trying the 10.8 upgrade before going all out on a build for Mavericks. My experiences with 10.8 on Mac Pro 1.1 (flashed to 2.1) have been hit or miss, and I'm honestly not sure about Mavericks. The 10.8 install did work (it booted), but the machine would lock up on me from time to time, and some stuff wouldn't work. It was also obvious that Apple did not want this to work, so maybe they'll put more effort into making sure Mavericks does not work. I concluded that it was not stable enough (for me personally) as a development environment, but maybe it will work out for others. If someone wants to do a Mac Pro build for Mavericks, I'd recommend they start with a 3.1 or 4.1 (something with the 64EFI)

The new Mac Pro 2013 is beautiful man. I'm not the target market, but I can see professional audio/video engineers getting excited about it. Editing 4K video in real time? Pretty badass. I was also impressed with the case engineering, but we'll have to see how it performs. I don't really see the design as form over function. It was designed to use a single fan for the entire machine.

Thanks - well I can still use all the performance bumps from the add-ons even if I stay in 10.7, but I'll let you know how it goes with 10.8 to start with.

> a lot more cost + a lot more (very expensive) cables + a performance hit

I think that the jury is still out on if there will be a significant performance hit. Thunderbolt is like having a direct connection to the PCIe bus, isn't it? Now, you're right about the extra cost, but I think that they will still be sufficiently upgradeable, albeit with more cost and fewer choices.

Thunderbolt is like PCIe x2, but a slot is x8. Whether you need that much bandwidth is being fiercely debated.

Fiercely debated by whom? I routinely set up machines with multiple 10GigE cards, each requiring 8x PCIe to function properly. 4K uncompressed RGB 10 bits video is 1,3 GB/s (2D, 24 fps; 3D and 48 FPS would demand 5 GB/s), this just doesn't go smoothly through a 10Gb/s link. I think this is quite typical of professional workstation work (vs something you could work on a laptop).

Obviously not you... I don't think that having multiple 10GigE cards is quite the norm though, at least for the market Apple is targeting. (Unless you are doing this on a Mac Pro, in which case, I don't know what I'm talking about).

This is one of the reasons people purchase the Mac Pro, so you can stick cards in them (audio, video, data capture, networking, RAID, etc.)

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