New Mac Pro - 2018?

Discussion in 'Apple Desktop Hardware/Software' started by elvis, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. ae00711

    ae00711 Member

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    :rolleyes: :thumbdn:

    given that elvis is OP/tread starter, he and others can speak as they wish

    and going by your logic of 'if you're not happy with it, move', well if you are happy with mac..... move on :tired:
     
  2. scips

    scips Member

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    After market ram could invalidate the warranty.
    Non apple super pc running osx, normal individual component warranty.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    No disagreements from me. But you don't turn an aircraft carrier around on a dime. That takes time. The bigger the company, the longer it takes to get these changes filtered through.

    The Mac Pro issue has been kinda shitty for 3 years now. Might seem like a long time to a consumer with one desktop to worry about. But it's pretty recent for a company with hundreds or even thousands of systems to manage (and expensive people and infrastructure in place to manage it).

    Ironically, I don't have this problem at home. I've moved all my extended family members to Mac, and it's been awesome. For day to day computing, they don't need anything bigger or more complex. In fact, in the last 12 months, even an iPad has been plenty for their Facebook browsing and family finances on cloud services. They don't need wired Ethernet, they don't need shared storage, they don't need insane processing or GPU power (none of them are gamers).

    But that's not what this thread is about. It's about a specific product that Apple has been synonymous with for DECADES. 3 years of crappy products out of 30 years of good products is about the time when people start asking "is this just a blip, or is this the new normal?". And again, with any other vendor, we'd have communication. We could email their support, and they could send a sales knob out, and they'd tell us. Apple don't do any of that any more. They used to, but now it's just silence.

    So back to your recommendation - let's move. Sure, I can move. I'll need a few hundred high powered Windows workstations, I'll need to change all my software licensing, I'll need a tonne of management tools, and I'll need to retrain both my production and technical staff. Certainly not impossible (I've done it before, and I can do it again). But, what happens if, say, 12 months into this change (because it'll take a couple of years to change - see my second sentence in this post) suddenly Apple drop a brand new, highly modular, fantastically specced Mac Pro? That one product negates all our issues, and it's happy days.

    So here's us, trying to figure out which gamble to take in the absence of any concrete fact. We've got the chief Apple marketing droid telling us "hey, in 2018, all your Mac Pro issues will be solved". And we've got 3 years of shitty Mac Pros before that, and 3 decades of good Mac Pro equipment before that.

    Do we take the gamble, and switch? Do we take the gamble and stay? Keep in mind if the gamble pays off, we save millions. If the gamble fails, we lose millions. Would you make a multi million dollar question lightly? I sure has hell wouldn't.

    Yes, I'm unhappy right now. Yes, emotionally, I want to switch right now. No, I'm not sure if I'd bet a million bucks on that answer. That needs more than 2 minutes thought on the matter.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  4. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I've spoken to three major studios in the last month in my industry who have all admitted to using Hackintosh hardware. There's a good chance that 80% or more of the movies and TV shows we watch are made in part on Hackintosh hardware.

    The demand for better pro-grade hardware appears to be growing by the day.
     
  5. Hater

    Hater Member

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    No it doesn't.

    Nor do aftermarket SSD's.

    There was a big deal on that in 2008 or so.
     
  6. wolfie81

    wolfie81 Member

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    Im not surprised about hackintosh. Lets be honest, Nvidia's latest support for Pascal drivers on Mac isn't for the old cheese grater Pro computers, but for the hackintoshes out there. Users know it, Nvidia knows it, Apple knows it.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Yeah, quite hilarious when the latest Nvidia cards require a macOS version that won't run on anything but new form factors that can't even take a PCI-E card directly.

    Not very subtle at all.
     
  8. alexc

    alexc Member

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    I think Sierra is still supported on 2010 and 2012 refresh models.

    But yeah, the point stands: it's the hackintosh market, no question.
     
  9. Alfonzo

    Alfonzo Member

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    Seems they talked a heap about the new iMac Pro last night at the WWDC17 conference. Elvis, have you had a chance to take a look yet? I'm really curious what you think about how this isn't the dedicated box - rather an all-in-one unit - I would have thought that alone would be quite a restrictive move in some workplace environments. The grunt looks like it might be there though?

    https://www.apple.com/au/imac-pro/
     
  10. holdennutta

    holdennutta Member

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    Looks okay if you spec if up strongly at purchase.

    No user replaceable RAM is a bit shit on a computer with a $4,999US starting point. But given you can spec 128gb at purchase you should be okay as long as you choose correctly.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Lots of discussion at work about this today.

    Pros:
    * 128GB RAM max
    * N-base T networking (1/2.5/5gbit on copper ethernet, need Cat5e for 2.5, Cat6 for 5gbps)
    * Apparently also multi-PHY so it'll do 10-base-T over the same interface (need Cat6a)?

    Cons:
    * All-in-one
    * No PCI-E slots
    * No SFP+ fibre interfaces
    * Radeon graphics
    * RAM is OK today, will be a bottleneck soon if new models don't come out quickly enough
    * Not available until December
    * US$5K base price, US$10K fully specced

    The last point especially is a sticky one. For the same dollar cost we can roll out Windows PCs that will also do Adobe/AVID work (literally all we use macOS for - we're 90% Linux except where we need these two vendors) with higher specs for half the price. That means we could roll out 2-for-1 Windows PCs for the same dollar cost with the same performance benefit to our artists and operators (probably more, with Adobe's love of CUDA and Nvidia).

    And yeah, not here until December. By then we'll see PC price drops that make the $10K+ top end price even harder to swallow.

    I get that Apple don't innovate. They're all about refining what's already popular for the consumer market. And that's all well and good, but the professional market values speed as the new benchmark for success. Things are moving more quickly today than ever, and Apple are stuck in a 2000-era market with 1990s pricing, and it's not working for the high end of town.

    Specific to our business, we'll likely see a phasing out of Apple hardware. There might be a few legacy use cases, but these will likely be appliance-style silos of work. When it comes to getting teams of our creatives and professionals working together on larger projects, Apple just simply don't offer us anything of value right now, and their roadmap for the next year is just as bleak.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  12. miicah

    miicah Member

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    Do you even have the cards themselves in the workstations? I would have thought from reading your posts you'd have CUDA farms?
     
  13. aokman

    aokman Member

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    Certainly a sexy beast that iMac Pro, with USB-C loaded up. Will be interesting to see what VEGA brings to the table. Unfortunately we aren't going to see NVIDIA in a Mac until NVIDIA lets go of CUDA.
     
  14. [KEi]SoVeReIgN

    [KEi]SoVeReIgN Member

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    Bodes well for a new Mac Pro replacement, at least Apple are taking real performance a bit more seriously.

    Price wise it's a ridiculous step up market for the iMac, but i'd argue you would struggle to do much better from other vendors like for like.

    More interesting than all of that is Apple's official support of eGPUs. That's huge.
     
  15. Sphinx2000

    Sphinx2000 Member

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    When money is of no consequence.. :\
     
  16. giles666

    giles666 Member

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    I assuem Nvidia could support Metal on their cards if they wanted to?
     
  17. aokman

    aokman Member

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    Most of Apples OSX apps rely on openCL and it takes an insanely fast NVIDIA card just to match a midrange AMD card without CUDA. FCPx and compressor is a prime example of this.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Nope. We have renders and sims that thrash swap on our 128GB RAM render nodes. There's no way we can squeeze those down on to video cards with a mere 12GB of video RAM.

    Until someone makes a GPGPU hardware option that can offer at least 64GB RAM, they're not too useful for final visual effects. That's even more of an issue now that 4K and 8K are gaining prevalence.

    The most cost effective final rendering solution is still general purpose x86, especially as they just keep cramming more and more cores on those things.

    It's not Apple anyone gives a shit about in the CUDA vs OpenCL space. It's Adobe.

    Again, FCPx is a distant memory. Nobody serious is using that (not even Apple themselves internally - I can verify that). The issue is that for most creative shops, Mac is the "Adobe platform" (we jokingly call it "AdobeOS"), and Adobe are still stuck on CUDA.

    Literally every other vendor has moved on - most to Vulkan now. Adobe are dragging their feet here, and it's Adobe that most people are turning to Mac for in the first place. Apple are doing little to assist there - between hardware that's doube the price of a PC and missing infrastructure that a primary vendor needs (even if it is out of date) is rapidly pushing people into Microsoft's arms, even for places that dislike Microsoft software (like us).
     
  19. Zardoz

    Zardoz Member

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    128GB RAM seems to be a nice amount to top out at. I love the fact that it has an integrated 5K display. I love the LG one (bought it when it was available at discount) and it's glorious. I also have a 5K iMac at work which I love. The OS scales nicely to 5K.

    The ethernet *is* 10GBASE-T with cat6a required for >55m cable runs. Anything longer on legacy cable, and you will want NBASE-T gear at either end such as the Cisco 3850 or 3560CX multigigabit switches. I've run 100m of cat5e at 5G without issues.

    Some people, especially the creatives, love their workspaces to have a certain style. This system doesn't *look* like a workstation and space grey looks absolutely stunning. I haven't lusted after an Apple product so much since the G4/G5 days with the cinema displays.

    Another pro is the ability to run two 5K displays side-by-side, which makes a great ergonomic setup (I run two 24" IPS panels side by side my iMac) -and- you've still got Thunderbolt/USB-C 3.1 10Gbps ports for peripherals.

    And.. fingers crossed that the network/SMB stack in High Sierra is optimised for 10G.. I'm struggling with TB2-based NICs with SMB right now on macOS.

    And.. that up-to-4TB of 3GB/sec read/write SSD storage. That, plus 10GbE, makes this a great integrated solution for editing 4K video.

    Lack of PCI-E can be a challenge, but if you're dropping that much coin on a workstation, then thunderbolt 3 storage solutions won't kill you. Expansion chassis are supported, so you can put things in such as 10GbE cards if you need SFP+ (or look at the Promise adapter which is a TB2 device). SFP+ fibre interfaces are addressed through TB peripherals. Radeon graphics is a drawback for CUDA-optimised applications but depending on how High Sierra's eGPU support pans out, there may be a solution for NVIDIA GPUs.

    I'm curious to understand the teardown from this system. The memory from Apple's images on their website, suggests the memory modules are not soldered to the motherboard, so they should be removable with some effort.

    Lack of upgradability for memory and disk is distressing. Given the cost - and spec - of this system, I'd expect a run of five years minimum, unless my strategy is to quickly sell off systems and purchase new. This is what bugs me the most out of an otherwise stunning, amazingly beautiful system that I really, really want in my life.
     
  20. aokman

    aokman Member

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    There is no technical reason why Apple cant use NVIDIA, NVIDIA are more than willing, their cards use less power and produce less heat, it is simply because Apple will not incorporate CUDA.

    Yes we all know you are super pro and don't deal with FCPx but many people still do and Apple build their machines to run their software 1st... not Adobe's. Apple want seamless integration into their OS and don't wan't 3rd party API's.

    Its all short term stuff anyway, sooner or later Apple will ditch Intel and NVIDIA / AMD completely and run their own silicon.

    https://9to5mac.com/2017/05/10/hackintosh-amd-rx-480-vs-nvidia-1080-ti-final-cut-pro-x/

    God I would love one if I had a ton of money to throw away but I would rather spend it on cameras, that space grey though... Surely the 5K cinema display cant be far off now, these machines are just begging for it with USB-C.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017

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