Mac Pro discussion thread

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
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I think it's about time we started discussing this. Now... I know that most of us often wish for things that are simply not doable from some or other point of view (fastest tower ever for 99 USD, 24 processors on etc.), but what should - in your opinion - be the corner stones of the next professional Mac desktop?

I personally hope that Apple will return to a sleeker design. Since they'll probably use the Conroe (intel Core 2 Duo) or Woodcrest (intel Core 2 Duo Server/Workstation) processor(s) in these Macs (or both, depending on price points), I'd say a smaller case design would be possible to say the least. We all know that the G5 towers weren't so big because they offered that many HD and optical drive slots, but rather needed the space for the incredibly big ventilation systems etc. ;) ... Even the Developer Transition Kits, which used intel processors who ran much hotter than what Apple's going to use now, showed that the innards of such a system can (and will!) be much smaller.

But what of the graphics options? Will Apple incorporate Blu-Ray or HD-DVD options in those systems? Will they _decide_ on one technology there? Any new wireless capabilities ready for a Summer/late Summer release?

While I haven't been a desktop Mac owner since my venerable PowerMacintosh 9500/200 - and that's _some_ time ago according to apple-history.com - I'm still very much _interested_ in how and what Apple is doing on the desktop side of things. What do you think?
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
Hmmm... I'm thinking we should discuss the XServe first, as I do believe it'll get an Intel processor before the "Mac Pro." But, if you want Mac Pro first, here we go...

I'm thinking Conroe in the Mac Pro, and Woodcrest in the XServe. I'd like to see a great motherboard layout in the Mac Pro a la the PowerPC era... these new Intel motherboards are just ugly as sin. I'd also like to see a redesigned case. The "cheese grater" look was simply to keep that damn G5 cool enough so it didn't start a nuclear fire... something elegant, like the El Capitan designs of the B&W G3/Yikes! G4 machines -- not a hunk of aluminum/titanium/steel with grates for front & back.
 

fryke

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Why I (and some others) think Apple might use Woodcrest in the Mac Pro, too: Conroe is not dual processor capable, i.e. you'd need a Woodcrest to create a quad. And if Apple still wants to have a quad, Conroe's not the way to go. Also, Apple always used to compare their dual processor machines with Xeons, and Woodcrest is the Xeon replacement.

Xserve first: Could very well be. But I think the interest by the majority lies on the Mac Pro, thus this thread.
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
Well, my vote counts for 100 times the rest of the votes, so in that case, the majority is more interested in the XServe... ;) Only kidding... very true, very true.

Good point about the Woodcrest vs. Conroe w.r.t. dual-processing.
 

chadwick

Registered
They better have a quad CPU one I can order before the end of September, that's all that matters to me...

While the huge cheese grater case was a necessity because of the heat, it is a very nice case to have. It'll be interesting to see if the stick with a similiar design or not.

Did the current G5 PowerMacs have room for more than 2 HDDs? The BTO configuration options implied no, but I don't recall there being more slots available for them when I had the Intel PowerMac case either, but there was certainly physical space in the cabinet... space for more than 2 internal drives would be nice. :)
 

fryke

Moderator
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no they didn't have more space for drives. i was being sarcastic about the hugeness of the cases vs. drives you could add.
 

RGrphc2

...InSaNe...
I would like apple to release two versions of the Mac Pro, not all consumers want an iMac or Mac Mini but can't afford a Power Mac. now if they had like ~2 lines of Mac Pros ranging from $1200 to $3000+ the highend would have the Woodcrest and the midrange have the Conroe

I would love to get a Mac Pro, but not a highend, but midrange one
 

Mikuro

Crotchety UI Nitpicker
I think they'll have to go with Woodcrest, at least on the high end. Otherwise, I just don't think it will be faster than the G5 Quad. But since there's only one dual-processor G5 right now, I guess Woodcrest would only need to be on the top end of the line.

I would like to see two lines: a Tower Mac (for lack of a better name) and a Tower Mac Pro — similar to what they have with the MacBooks. The non-Pro model would be cheap — $1000 or less. This would be for people who want a cheap machine with room to grow. The lack of upgradeability in Macs keeps a lot of people from even considering buying one. The cheap tower wouldn't need to be much more powerful than the Mac Mini — they could even leave out features like Bluetooth and Airport, since they could be easily added later.

On the Pro side, I don't think we'll be seeing next-gen optical drives yet, because they're still obscenely expensive. But if they do offer one as an option, it would have to be Blu-Ray. Apple has been in the Blu-Ray camp for quite some time.

As for the physical design...I kind of like the G5. The old G3/G4 design always struck me as a little childish. I think they'll change it, but I have no idea how. I just hope they make it QUIET. They seem to care a lot about miniturization with the Mini and iMac. It seems to me like that must put more stress on the fan for cooling. If it means making it quieter, I say keep it big.
 

buzzert1

Registered
RGrphc2 said:
I would like apple to release two versions of the Mac Pro, not all consumers want an iMac or Mac Mini but can't afford a Power Mac. now if they had like ~2 lines of Mac Pros ranging from $1200 to $3000+ the highend would have the Woodcrest and the midrange have the Conroe

I would love to get a Mac Pro, but not a highend, but midrange one
I totally agree. The iMac is great of course, but there are a lot of advantages to having a tower (upgrades, any monitor you want, etc...) that the Mac Mini certainly doesn't offer. A midrange Mac Pro would be PERFECT.
 

mw84

Registered
I'd like to see the ISight as an optional extra on all Intel models (including the MacBook Pro; to make this post more relevant to the topic :)) rather than standard. The reasons? I think it looks a bit off on certain models like the IMac, it would knock a bit of money off and I already have an ISight which means next time I buy a Mac I'll have a spare £90 webcam lying around.
 

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
i'd like:

4 drive bays, i've now got 2 80gb hard drives knocking about in boxes as i don't have space in there...

2 optical drive bays. it's irritating when i'm 1/2 way through a handbrake rip and i need to wait for 45 minutes to burn a quick cd etc.

far more usb slots. i run out so quickly.

an end to the crippled low end version. i'm pissed off that i've only got 4 ram slots, and even then, i need parity ram

a silly amount of speed. the best graphics cards available to the pc world should be available to us. i mean, only in the last revision of the power mac did we finally get workstation graphics... is that silly? there's powermacs with Geforce mx's in them! Powermacs are pretty much used exclucively for as workstations, why have we got shitty gaming cards in there when we can't play that many games anyway?

also, as mentioned above, they should remember this image:
 

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Veljo

Mac Enthusiast
They need to drop the price. A lot of PC users switching over would not be content with an all-in-one design, and quite frankly the Power Mac is way too expensive, considering it doesn't even come with a monitor!
 

fryke

Moderator
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Monitors are cheap nowadays. You can get a 17" TFT (1280*1024) for not much money. PC users also already _do_ have a display, usually. I think Apple feels that with the Mac mini and the iMac, they have basically _covered_ the lower end, and that a lower end Mac Pro would only eat into the iMac sales (where there's probably more money to be made?).

I personally, however, would _like_ Apple to do what you suggest. I just sadly think they won't. On the other hand, they _could_ add a faster Mac mini model with at least the specs of the higher end MacBooks (non Pro, I mean) plus maybe a graphics card.
 

Qion

Uber Nothing
I would like to see something more radical in this installment of Pro desktops. I don't even think of the future model as being a "tower" persay, but possibly something with a completely different form factor. I'd like to see Apple really innovate on case design and integrated components. They've gone really really small, so why can't they go really really good looking? The whole differentiation between a "consumer" look and a "professional" look is a bit pretentious and petty, and I believe the line between the two should be blended. All of us would enjoy a "cool" computer.

As for components, I agree with Burns in that all the highest-end hardware in the PC world should be available in the Mac world. Apple should realize by this installment that some people get pissed when they can't upgrade their hardware properly. I would like to see a price drop in the line, at least comparable to what it would take to build a PC at the same specs.
 

hawki18

Registered
PCI X is the new main steam for video the for new 3 or 4 years just us a standard PCI X slot on the pro make it easy for people to keep the video up to date.
 

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
...and agp has been the standard for the last 5 years. but you still coudn't get a pc graphics card and expect it to work...

the ROM on a mac gfx card is roughly twice the size of a similar pc one. it needs more information for the mac.
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
hawki18, I think you're confusing PCI-X with PCIe. The two are completely different. PCI-X is a 64-bit slot, while PCIe is a PCI with a much faster transfer rate (to put it in simple terms, of course....it's too early in the morning to get into details :p).
 

MnM

Registered
Link gives a relative feel for the specs of these new chips: http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/06/05/intelcomputex/index.php?lsrc=mwtoprss

I'd say that the mac pro would have the woodcrest for the same reasons that fryke listed. Conreo will go to the iMac in its next update, and the merom will go to the macbook pro in its next update. The difference between the ibook and powerbook was huge compare to the MB and the MBP we have today. The merom will make the line between pro and non-pro more distinct.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
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I think the iMac will stay with notebook processors instead. Apple doesn't exactly _like_ the iMac to be warm and loud. The difference between a G4 iBook and a G4 PowerBook was not "huge" as you put it. And so it isn't today with the MB and the MBP. Also, I think Apple will want to keep the MacBook competitive, regardless of the MBP. They can't charge much more for the MB than competitors do, so they want the top of the line processors in the MB. Hence the Core Duo in there right now instead of a Core Solo. And just like that, Merom will make it to the MB, albeit a bit later than the MBPs come out with Merom.
 

mindbend

Registered
My personal wish list (aside from the obvious faster faster faster wishes):

1. Silence. I'm sick and tired of the jet engine fans. I want the pro machines as quiet as the iMacs. Make it happen.

2. Easy to install hard drives. Not that hard drives are particularly difficult to install, but they could be a lot easier. I'd like to see custom bays that have the power supply and PINs perfectly aligned so all you have to do is slide the drive in. I built my own such bays for external Firewire docks. Works great. I'm sure Apple could do it even better.

3. Ability to use any video card on the market, including the extreme high end.

4. Some kind of use of large nonvolatile RAM for OS booting and main application launching and other things I can't think of.
 
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