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Old May 20th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #16
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

John, tower sales are in decline. This is not specific to Apple. It's not tower vs laptop so much as the advances in cpu gpu power relative to cooling needed for example.

My 2011 15" MBP quad i7 can outperform many things my 2008 dual quad (8 core) Xeon MacPro.

HP just came out with a Xeon based All in One (like an iMac).

Thunderbolt is basically 4xPCIe brought out externally . . . and with greater flexibility.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a Xeon based system with multiple Thunderbolt ports coming from Apple. An iMacPro? A large server shaped device (super mini?) a few rack units thick?

What we may need is Xeon based power with 16xPCIe for the GPU. That does not have to be in a tower form factor and personally I doubt it will be coming from Apple.

Gone will be (IMHO) the two internal 4xPCIe slots, two of the HD slots, optical drive. Remaining, I hope, the two 16xPCIe, two internal drives (one may be SSD system boot), Xeon processors. You have a much smaller case with that.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 05:24 PM   #17
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

If you don't need to change to a very specific graphics card to add on cards like Red Rocket or RAID controller, then you probably don't need a tower. iMacs are getting to be more powerful than workstations were just a couple of years ago, and will suit a lot of people's needs very well with a smaller footprint.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 10:55 PM   #18
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

Arnie, RedRocket doesn't need a tower.

Sonnet Fuels On-Location RED® Workflow By Connecting Red Rocket™ to Thunderbolt™-Technology Enabled MacBook® Pro
Sonnet - News & Media

Both Sonnet and Magma are doing PCIe to Thunderbolt expansion chassis.

There's also Thunderbolt to Fibre Channel
SANLink - Fibre Channel adapter using Thunderbolt Technology

RAID Controllers? Thunderbolt there too.
http://attotech.com/products/categor...id=15&catid=17

MacPros have never been a big seller and with Thunderbolt providing 4xPCIe on every other Mac, there's even less reason to buy a tower.

I'd like to see Xeon processors though and some will need 16xPCIe for GPUs. If Apple can provide that in any other form factor, the tower is done.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 07:59 AM   #19
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

I really like the SANlink...I could use that!
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Old May 21st, 2012, 01:46 PM   #20
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Craig: You're correct. (I'm just resisting)

Like the book, "You Are What You Were When" says, that is what I am. And I'm resisting change.

Having grown up with punched cards and Fortran, the Commodore 64 for which I wrote a bunch of programs for, a 286-6 which was turbo-ed to a "12" (wow, that was fast!), a 13" color (yup, color!) monitor, and an all component stereo system(s) (went through quite a few), I am what I was when.

You're very correct about what you say (more power and capability in a smaller space, etc.) but I just can't help it. I like components. Well built ones. Taking the cover/side panel off a Mac Pro is like lifting the hood on a V-12 Jaguar. It's beautiful. It's a masterpiece. I like it. I really like it.

The other thing I like about components is they tend to be easier to upgrade, easier to diagnose problems with, easier to repair, etc. With stereo systems one could easily add tape decks (remember, I was what I were, when), CD players, and, not to forget, turntables. With the iMac, for example, I've seen people lugging their iMacs to the Genius Bar at the Apple store, sometimes covered with a black plastic garbage bag, and it looks like a pain.

Sure, the Mac Pro has been a decreasing piece of the profit pie but there are other considerations. Or, at least, there should be. Apple spends a lot of money on their Apple stores and it's all about image. The Mac Pro provides an image too, and they shouldn't forget that. It could be somewhat akin to Mercedes, Porche, Farrarri, etc., sponsoring cars in races. Sure, the Mac Pro isn't a one-off state-of-the-art machine, but never the less, there is an image there.

Plus, I can't help it. In case I didn't say it earlier, I like it.

You're correct, but it's painful to hear it.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 11:57 AM   #21
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

A new rack mountable MacPro would be great for me. The advantages of 8, 12 or 16 cores are measurable for certain work. The present MacPro is a work of art, inside and out, and I would hate to lose it to an iMac although I recommend and install those for clients all the time. iMacs are great as well and extremely capable machines despite the extremely limited internal upgrades.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 09:51 PM   #22
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

Craig: I think that a 4x expansion chassis over thunderbolt will suit some peoples needs fairly well. But there will also be some people who need more slots & more bandwidth.

Using a RAID attached directly over Thunderbolt should be more than fast enough for most users, but trying to run a Red Rocket & a RAID controller & a capture card all over the same TB connection will simply not be enough bandwidth for some users- admittedly a pretty small number of us, though.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 08:16 AM   #23
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

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Originally Posted by Arnie Schlissel View Post
Using a RAID attached directly over Thunderbolt should be more than fast enough for most users, but trying to run a Red Rocket & a RAID controller & a capture card all over the same TB connection will simply not be enough bandwidth for some users- admittedly a pretty small number of us, though.
Have you tested this? While I haven't seen that specific combo, I've read a lot of daisy chain tests. Basically Thunderbolt doesn't slow down in most cases. It's certainly possible to saturate but, unlike other daisy chain ports, the bandwidth in the pipes are pretty fat.

I think there may be some misconception about what's going on in a Thunderbolt port. Each port is two separate bi-direction channels on one cable. That's 10gb in each direction in each channel.
One cable is carrying 10gb down one channel, 10gb down the second channel, 10gb up one channel, 10gb up the second channel. Total is 40gb.

The devices you daisy chain are across two separate channels and each has 10gb down and 10gb back.
In other words, 2 TB ports gives you more expansion and than 2 4xPCIe slots.
If Apple were to make a 4 TB port box, that would be far more expandability than 4 4xPCIe slots.

Given that many Thunderbolt devices are end of chain, that would limit those devices to one per TB port though. Most Hard Drives and Apple's monitor are pass through though. You could easily have a monitor, a hard drive, a video I/O on a single TB port. From what I've read, the monitor may tie up most of one channel though. I've read that people have put two monitors on one TB cable though (assuming the GPU can handle it).

and this
AREA | IBC 2011 : RED's new Thunderbolt-enabled workflow
The thing that excited me the most was when Ted demonstrated RedCine-X running on a 15" MacBook Pro, with the R3D files playing off a Thunderbolt LaCIE Little Big DIsk, pumped through a RED Rocket card sitting in Sonnet's new Thunderbolt expansion chassis.

RedRocket is just one device in the chain and it works fine.

You may want to read about these tests as well
Thunderbolt: How devices affect each other on a daisy chain | Macworld

I'll add that new Thunderbolt controller chips were released about three weeks ago so the new Macs coming will be even better. I suspect this is why we haven't seen the new Macs yet. It takes some time between release, manufacture, channels to fill to Tim Cook's satisfaction.

See things like this Press Release from mLogic
mLogic Introduces mLink R Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis for RED Rocket Cards | Reuters
specifically designed to enable RED Rocket workflows on portable computers with Thunderbolt connectivity such as the MacBook® Pro. mLink R features a small and sleek chassis tailored to the RED Rocket card and provides two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining of up to six high-speed Thunderbolt peripherals.


Thunderbolt expansion beats PCIe dedicated slots.
When Thunderbolt goes full optical it'll be able to replace 16xPCIe as well.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #24
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Re: Craig: You're correct. (I'm just resisting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
Apple spends a lot of money on their Apple stores and it's all about image. .
Just to pick up this one point: Apple's retail stores aren't only about image - they're financially extremely successful (over $1Bn in margin in the last reported quarter, which was about 10% of total profit). Apparently, in the USA at least, they lead the retail sector in sales per square foot. So, in addition to their strategic value (pulling in new Apple buyers and widening their reach to consumers), the retail outlets are a profitable business in their own right.

As far as I can see, none of Apple's product lines or channels are run only for image - they're all expected to turn a margin.

None of which invalidates your other points about replaceabilty of components and such (I've just had to replace a 2006 24" iMac because the graphics card has issues). It's just that it seems as if Apple will refresh the Pro line only if it can make money out of it.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 09:21 AM   #25
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

As to "image" and the retail stores, Apple Stores generate more profit per square foot than any other retail store today. I can't point to the articles but I've read this in many financial articles pertaining to retail.

When we talk about the demise of the MacPro we must realize that they are still available and there's always one (just one) on display in every Apple Retail Store (that I know of and I've visited a few). At this point it's not because they're generating significant revenue though. Tim Cook is a "supply chain / channel master" from every business account I've read. The channel is open for a reason.

As to replaceability of components, my concern is that Apple may have learned to move away from that which may be unfortunate for us (or maybe not). One thing that drives iOS sales is the large number of people who move to newer models every year or two. Meanwhile I (and others) upgraded their MacPro GPUs for FCPX compatibility. Apple doesn't make as much money when they sell a system you keep running 4-6 by component replacement. When you consider the cost and margin on a MacPro plus the component upgrades to extend its life, one might guess that adds to issue of low sales. My own guess is Apple may well move to less replaceable components as they want you to buy a new box in three years, not a new GPU.

For me, as a business, my concern it ROI on my purchase. I can deal with computer replacement if the box serves my needs and the new boxes have a good value proposition. Thunderbolt certainly allows me to keep adding peripherals. The next big change will be one Intel moves to Optical Thunderbolt and the Pros who need the speed (adding GPUs for demanding applications) will move. BTW it is this theory that leads me to think Apple may have a more "modular" approach to the high end computers. It'll have a lower point entry and you'll add what you need through Thunderbolt. Of course when you get a new box, you can just move all that stuff over to the new machine.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 12:34 AM   #26
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AAPL: 47% Gross PROFIT Margin!

One would assume, then, that the gross profit and net profit on the Mac Pro must be as high as they can get it. If the assumption is true, then the profit margin may be a contributing factor to the high retail price for the Mac Pro?

To quote Craig Seeman:
BTW it is this theory that leads me to think Apple may have a more "modular" approach to the high end computers. It'll have a lower point entry and you'll add what you need through Thunderbolt. Of course when you get a new box, you can just move all that stuff over to the new machine.

This feature might make it worthwhile to pay the higher price for a new Mac Pro.

One rumor I read several months ago was that Apple might come out with a rack-mountable Mac Pro. If this is true, then daisy-chaining some together could be really helpful.

Several years ago a large number of Macs were daisy chained together somehow to create a large super computer. I don't remember the details.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #27
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
One would assume, then, that the gross profit and net profit on the Mac Pro must be as high as they can get it. If the assumption is true, then the profit margin may be a contributing factor to the high retail price for the Mac Pro?
There's a negative spiral in play here - as iMacs get more powerful, they start to take some of the sales that, in earlier times, would have gone to Mac Pros. Mac Pro market shrinks, sales (and thus production) volumes shrink, unit costs rise and so, to maintain a price point, margins have to shrink.

I can see two other possible factors at play here, affecting (negatively) Mac Pro volumes:

- Time was, if you weren't using specialist kit (e.g. Avid) you used a Mac for video and graphics. Now there are Windows solutions that work well enough to be commercially significant, and they'll have taken some of the Mac Pro market.

- All-in-ones and laptops have now become so powerful and well configured that, for some, having absolutely the most powerful desktop around isn't the critical issue any more. It's more around having the right storage and connectivity to move the stuff around. If I have very fast and reliable external storage, I may not need those internal drive bays. If I have a high speed network, and core i5 or i7 in my all-in-one or laptop, maybe I have all the processing power I need.

There will always be some people who need (or want) the ability to customise and to replace components - and some who just need every bit of horsepower they can get. But I think the size of that group is shrinking.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 02:50 AM   #28
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

Nick, you might be alluding to but not specifically mentioning Thunderbolt. With Sonnet, Magma, mLogic, you can now add PCIe cards from the MacBookAir on up. MacPros aren't specifically needed for expansion. That's another thing that eats into MacPro sales. Consider that the top iMac has two Thunderbolt ports and devices can be daisy chained. My own hope is four Thunderbolt ports given the number of end of chain devices. I'd still like to see a Xeon and dual processor option and 16xPCIe (or two) to change GPUs. There's really no reason for a tower though. There's certainly not much of a market for it. That market is going to shrink a lot more with Thunderbolt.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 02:18 AM   #29
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

Craig - yes Thunderbolt was where I was going. No idea why I didn't just say so :).
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Old June 13th, 2012, 09:29 AM   #30
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Re: New Mac choice for FCPX?

It appears that the new iMacs might not be out until 2013, and that the "real" upgrade to the Mac Pros will be in the same kind of timeframe.
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