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Heat concerns about the new Mac Pro's design


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Why would you upgrade a workstation. Most likely any place using this is going to have the majority of its data on a network, not on the machine itself, and they're in a position where if they actually need a faster CPU or more RAM, they're just going to buy a new machine.

 

Sure, the design of this machine would have been terrible 10 years ago, but today? Places that need a Mac workstation are going to buy it, and I doubt any of your concerns are going to be high on their list. 

 

I agree that all of these concerns are totally valid for the iMac, by the way, but not this machine.

You think concerns of upgradability on a home system is more likely than a workstation? I don't know if I agree with that. Sure, there will definitely be a lot of companies that just toss away old and buy new when necessary, but there are a LOT of people who buy Mac Pros because they are semi-professional but need the power and want to be able to upgrade without having to spend $3000+ on a whole new system. If Mac Pros were cheap, it'd be one thing, but Mac Pros are very expensive machines to consider discardable after a year or two.

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You think concerns of upgradability on a home system is more likely than a workstation? I don't know if I agree with that. Sure, there will definitely be a lot of companies that just toss away old and buy new when necessary, but there are a LOT of people who buy Mac Pros because they are semi-professional but need the power and want to be able to upgrade without having to spend $3000+ on a whole new system. If Mac Pros were cheap, it'd be one thing, but Mac Pros are very expensive machines to consider discardable after a year or two.

 

Yes, because most home users don't have a NAS, and can't afford to upgrade as often as a business that is generating income from a computer can. If you run out of space on one of those, you have to start attaching hard drives and building an octo-Mac.

 

Also, I doubt any Mac Pro is getting tossed after a year or two. You buy one of these and it probably hangs around until it dies, even if it isn't the main workstation you can use it for background computing or as a server for many, many years. Also I don't think that there are a lot of people buying Mac Pros in general... much of the market for them has been captured by the high end iMacs.

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Not every workstation owner is a 4K video editor, CAD/3D modeler or Academics researcher using Open-CL compatible applications. Many clients even don't give a **** about GPU horsepower, developpers for example.

 

I don't think many academic researchers are using workstations for opencl (or cuda) anyway. You'd in general put the cards into some shared server and run jobs from there. That's what we do with our xeon phi & cuda blades (and what all of the other academic research groups I know of do with theri machines). It'd be a complete waste of resources to give out single machines with powerful GPUs/CPUs (and affect the correctness and verifiability of results given it isn't a controlled environment at that point). It is also generally not advisable simply because workstations don't scale; where as, you can throw huge amounts of memory and many physical processors/pci-e blades on a single node of a server setup.

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I don't think many academic researchers are using workstations for opencl (or cuda) anyway. You'd in general put the cards into some shared server and run jobs from there. That's what we do with our xeon phi & cuda blades (and what all of the other academic research groups I know of do with theri machines). It'd be a complete waste of resources to give out single machines with powerful GPUs/CPUs (and affect the correctness and verifiability of results given it isn't a controlled environment at that point). It is also generally not advisable simply because workstations don't scale; where as, you can throw huge amounts of memory and many physical processors/pci-e blades on a single node of a server setup.

I do use OpenCL, using an R7950.

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I do use OpenCL, using an R7950.

 

In a workstation with a GUI + misc. applications, etc. running? I hope your work doesn't entail benchmarking HPC applications if that is the case.

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Yes, because most home users don't have a NAS, and can't afford to upgrade as often as a business that is generating income from a computer can. If you run out of space on one of those, you have to start attaching hard drives and building an octo-Mac.

 

Also, I doubt any Mac Pro is getting tossed after a year or two. You buy one of these and it probably hangs around until it dies, even if it isn't the main workstation you can use it for background computing or as a server for many, many years. Also I don't think that there are a lot of people buying Mac Pros in general... much of the market for them has been captured by the high end iMacs.

I'll give you the NAS or storage argument, but upgrading is about more than just disk space. Of course, like I was saying earlier, Apple wants you to upgrade externally, not internally, which is a big negative to me having wires and boxes all over the place. I dunno, I'm sure it'll sell plenty, and I'm sure plenty of people will be happy with it. I wasn't really in the market for a Mac Pro either way, I'd build my own system if I needed that power and save a lot of money, but I still just can't bring myself to like this Mac.

 

The other issue is that it leaves no Mac that is really very customizable, which I'm sure was part of Apple's goal. They work well for who they are designed for, but I'm not a fan at all. It's like they are heading back to their roots in a way, but they are going to alienate some users that way. At least it's easy to build a Hackintosh these days.

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I'll give you the NAS or storage argument, but upgrading is about more than just disk space. Of course, like I was saying earlier, Apple wants you to upgrade externally, not internally, which is a big negative to me having wires and boxes all over the place. I dunno, I'm sure it'll sell plenty, and I'm sure plenty of people will be happy with it. I wasn't really in the market for a Mac Pro either way, I'd build my own system if I needed that power and save a lot of money, but I still just can't bring myself to like this Mac.

 

The other issue is that it leaves no Mac that is really very customizable, which I'm sure was part of Apple's goal. They work well for who they are designed for, but I'm not a fan at all. It's like they are heading back to their roots in a way, but they are going to alienate some users that way. At least it's easy to build a Hackintosh these days.

 

You can't build your own Mac. Also, none of the Macs can be upgraded in any real sense. 

 

As I said, if you need a Mac workstation, these are well built machines. If you just need a fast computer, obviously there's a few thousand better options out there.

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If the heat isn't an issue the design is definitely flawed. I foresee people having to buy new mac pros because something spilled into the hole of it.

Doubles as an ashtray :)

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In a workstation with a GUI + misc. applications, etc. running? I hope your work doesn't entail benchmarking HPC applications if that is the case.

I do, regardless of what you say :)

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You can't build your own Mac. Also, none of the Macs can be upgraded in any real sense. 

 

As I said, if you need a Mac workstation, these are well built machines. If you just need a fast computer, obviously there's a few thousand better options out there.

I know, I think that's what I'm most disappointed by in the whole thing. The Mac Pro was the last Mac you could buy that was like a normal PC that could be upgraded, modified, or built like you like. With the new Mac Pro, they now have nothing. I mean, like I said, it's kind of like a going back to their roots type thing, but it's disappointing to those of us that like the flexibility. But ah well, at least they are trying something new, whether it fits me specifically or not.

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I know, I think that's what I'm most disappointed by in the whole thing. The Mac Pro was the last Mac you could buy that was like a normal PC that could be upgraded, modified, or built like you like. With the new Mac Pro, they now have nothing. I mean, like I said, it's kind of like a going back to their roots type thing, but it's disappointing to those of us that like the flexibility. But ah well, at least they are trying something new, whether it fits me specifically or not.

 

Even the old ones though, you were stuck with a very very limited selection of parts you could actually upgrade with, since Apple only has one true desktop and only released a small number of parts for it. Also I would argue that the Mac Mini is the most upgradeable, once you pop to top on it, you have access to pretty much everything, and I don't believe the CPU is soldered on (I could be wrong, I had an old one).

 

Honestly I build my own PCs, and I don't consider the processors "upgradeable" any more, CPUs last a long time and once it's actually not powerful enough, there's usually enough supporting hardware (and about two socket changes) so that it makes more sense to just get a new motherboard and processor. So yes, there's always hard drives and RAM, but the RAM can be changed out, and like I said, every business is going to have data saved on a network.

 

It does suck though that Apple won't build a desktop that isn't either a laptop in a box, an all in one, or some mondo-expensive workstation that you can't customize at all.

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Even the old ones though, you were stuck with a very very limited selection of parts you could actually upgrade with, since Apple only has one true desktop and only released a small number of parts for it. Also I would argue that the Mac Mini is the most upgradeable, once you pop to top on it, you have access to pretty much everything, and I don't believe the CPU is soldered on (I could be wrong, I had an old one).

 

Honestly I build my own PCs, and I don't consider the processors "upgradeable" any more, CPUs last a long time and once it's actually not powerful enough, there's usually enough supporting hardware (and about two socket changes) so that it makes more sense to just get a new motherboard and processor. So yes, there's always hard drives and RAM, but the RAM can be changed out, and like I said, every business is going to have data saved on a network.

 

It does suck though that Apple won't build a desktop that isn't either a laptop in a box, an all in one, or some mondo-expensive workstation that you can't customize at all.

 

Actually, the Mac Pro is just as up-gradable as a desktop.  I put a standard PC GTX 680 card in mine and it works just great.  With that alone, I am able to play games at very high or max at 2560x1440 resolution.  The processor (6-core Xeon) is going to last you for a very long time.  Large amounts of ECC ram too.  

 

I also put third party SSDs in mine and it works just as well as a standard PC desktop.

 

If you upgrade your ram, people recommend getting the sticks off Newegg.  There are also people that upgrade their processors too.

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Actually, the Mac Pro is just as up-gradable as a desktop.  I put a standard PC GTX 680 card in mine and it works just great.  With that alone, I am able to play games at very high or max at 2560x1440 resolution.  The processor (6-core Xeon) is going to last you for a very long time.  Large amounts of ECC ram too.  

 

I also put third party SSDs in mine and it works just as well as a standard PC desktop.

 

If you upgrade your ram, people recommend getting the sticks off Newegg.  There are also people that upgrade their processors too.

 

I know Macs had trim support issues with various 3rd party SSDs in the past (required passing command line switches to even enable it during boot and then the system wouldn't be necessarily stable once you did that), so are you sure your SSD is functioning as it should? Apple's first party SSDs worked fine though.

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I had the chance to crack one of these beauties open today. Some observations:

The level of engineering that has gone into it is second to none. This isn't a midi case with stuff chucked in - comparing it to a standard computer case is like comparing the build quality of a Ford and a Rolls Royce. It's exceptionally solid, and feels very much like a premium product.

First off - it's tiny. FAR smaller than the photos would have you believe. You could probably fit about 8 of them inside the old Mac Pro.

As for the cooling - it's great. We ran some pretty intensive stuff on it to test it, and it was barely warm. There's a noticeable flow of warm air around the vents, but that's to be expected. As for the soda thing, unless you're holding your coke can at arms length up in the air, you're not going to get it wet. It's no more/less resilient than any other machine.

And for repairability - it's one of the nicest machine's I've ever pulled apart. It's like lego. It has been engineered in such a way that it's almost a piece of beauty inside. That's one of the things that I've always loved about Apple. 99.99% of people who touch this machine will never see the insides, yet the insides are almost as gorgeous as the outsides.

Last week I would have looked at the price and gone "heh it's a nice spec, but it's a lot of $$$ for the spec you get". Now I look on it and think "that's a lot of engineering skill for the $$$".

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Actually, the Mac Pro is just as up-gradable as a desktop.  I put a standard PC GTX 680 card in mine and it works just great.  With that alone, I am able to play games at very high or max at 2560x1440 resolution.  The processor (6-core Xeon) is going to last you for a very long time.  Large amounts of ECC ram too.  

 

I also put third party SSDs in mine and it works just as well as a standard PC desktop.

 

If you upgrade your ram, people recommend getting the sticks off Newegg.  There are also people that upgrade their processors too.

 

Yes, you can put a 680 in because someone made a Mac edition 680. All the same, you're limited to graphic cards that are supported in OSX, and you can never replaced the motherboard and CPU but keep everything else like you can in a BYO PC.

 

As I said, it's upgradeable enough, but it's not limitless like a BYOPC.

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Yes, you can put a 680 in because someone made a Mac edition 680. All the same, you're limited to graphic cards that are supported in OSX, and you can never replaced the motherboard and CPU but keep everything else like you can in a BYO PC.

 

As I said, it's upgradeable enough, but it's not limitless like a BYOPC.

We didn't dig that far into it - but the CPU is probably socketed and can be upgraded.

The old Mac Pro CPUs were socketed, as are the (old) iMacs (dunno about the new ones).

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Yes, you can put a 680 in because someone made a Mac edition 680. All the same, you're limited to graphic cards that are supported in OSX, and you can never replaced the motherboard and CPU but keep everything else like you can in a BYO PC.

 

As I said, it's upgradeable enough, but it's not limitless like a BYOPC.

 

No, it supports the 5xx and 6xx series.  I think it supports some 7xx cards out of the box.  And no, not mac editions either.  It supports standard PC AMD cards too I believe.  Out of the box.

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No, it supports the 5xx and 6xx series.  I think it supports some 7xx cards out of the box.  And no, not mac editions either.  It supports standard PC AMD cards too I believe.  Out of the box.

From experience, cards without Apple's vbios will work, but you won't get a video signal until you get to the login screen.

That's how it used to be anyway - it's been a couple of years since I've messed with graphics cards in a Mac Pro.

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From experience, cards without Apple's vbios will work, but you won't get a video signal until you get to the login screen.

That's how it used to be anyway - it's been a couple of years since I've messed with graphics cards in a Mac Pro.

 

Yeah that is right, you see a black screen until the OS loads.  You can flash the card if you want to.  All I am saying is OS X supports these out of the box.  I don't even need to download a NVIDIA driver for it to work.

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Last Apple genius I spoke with wanted to charge me $35 to replace a screw, and said Apple had to be the one to put the screw in.

Typical Apple control freakery at work again, I see... Seriously though you've got nothing to worry about. Bringing the thread back on topic away from the innovative argument, the design is correct. Heat rises, so having a fan pulling air upwards is the correct way to go. Look at the Xbox One and 360S, Their heatsinks are on top, with the fan pulling hot air up out of the vent in the natural "heat rise" way. You lose most body heat through the top of your head.

 

That's why Microsoft say they work best horizontal, and not vertical. Look at the 360's before the S. They had fans pulling hot air out the back, where inside the console the heat would be trying to rise away from the heatsink out the top of the console.

 

It's simple science, and I've explained it here for you, so this thread should be closed. To close the Innovative argument, Apple are "innovative", as they take existing tech and modify it, slapping their badge on it to claim it as theirs, like they did Siri, but they're not "inventive", where they actually invent stuff. The Japanese invent stuff, for the Chinese to counterfeit, and Apple to use Chinese Foxconn staff as slave labour at 12p a day wages. They're unethical, that's for sure. Most of the tech you'll find in Chinese branded IC chips is probably a copied Japanese invention.

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Typical Apple control freakery at work again, I see... Seriously though you've got nothing to worry about. Bringing the thread back on topic away from the innovative argument, the design is correct. Heat rises, so having a fan pulling air upwards is the correct way to go. Look at the Xbox One and 360S, Their heatsinks are on top, with the fan pulling hot air up out of the vent in the natural "heat rise" way. You lose most body heat through the top of your head.

Problem is, they have to book it in if they attempt any repairs. If they take it out back, put a screw in and somehow your data gets corrupted - you wouldn't have signed paperwork saying they're not responsible.

It's not that he doesn't want to put a screw in for you without charging, it's that they have to get paperwork for any repair, no matter how small, in case anything goes wrong.

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Problem is, they have to book it in if they attempt any repairs. If they take it out back, put a screw in and somehow your data gets corrupted - you wouldn't have signed paperwork saying they're not responsible.

It's not that he doesn't want to put a screw in for you without charging, it's that they have to get paperwork for any repair, no matter how small, in case anything goes wrong.

 

That was the whole reason I became a self employed service technician 26 years ago. I won't pay personally, or charge my customers, outrageous manufacturer prices for repairs, or any of their red tape policy crap. It's like Citroen charging

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