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AromaKat

The Price is Right: Mac Pro - Steve Jobs Figure Prize

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12 core xeon e5 processor retails for $2,700. The 6 core retails for 1k. So... I would guess price of 6 core + $1,700 .

 

My question is whether they are backpeddling on the initial release.. When they said 12 core did they mean a hyperthreaded 6 core?

 

doood, that would suck BIG time

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At least they didn't just change the dollar to a pound sign, but that's about £700 extra than the conversion. But now they're small enough to sneak through customs! Haha

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Its interesting that they went solely with ATI. I wonder if ATI cut them a very favourable deal because of the exclusivity - an attempt to stunt the growth of CUDA. Apple traditionally don't like proprietory technologies though anyway (except their own of course).

 

Its also noticeably video-centric with the double-GPU's on every model. Audio pro's get a quiet machine, but waste money on a GPU they don't need. This is actually more of a niche product than the old Mac Pro, but it's probably the 'coolest' niche for Apple to associate themselves with.

 

I can see how its a where-the-puck-is-going product, and I'm sure it'll be very responsive. Huge CPU render speed increases seem unlikely (?) in the base model, and expensive in the 8 or 12 cores. But I can see both local PC or online render farms being a substitute for many.

 

Personally I will probably wait for v.2, and maybe upgrade my current 2009 Mac Pro with a PCIe SSD card in the meantime.

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No way. They'd catch too much flak for such a deceptive claim.

 

Yeah, Mario pointed out that the 6 core version has a "configurable up to 12 core" option in the description. I didn't see it there.

 

Again you lot haven't paid attention or don't understand it: This machine combined with Mavericks has been made for OpenCL and Adobe products will also support OpenCL. Also, OpenGL has vastly improved. Preliminary reports have already almost doubled OpenGL performance on existing mac under Mavericks, imagine what happens if all hard- & software is up to date.

 

If you think you can build this for less money then you'd be wrong. The memory subsystem + Mavericks + the Dual GPU is what gives this machine it's power. You can't build this as of yet. Why render using CPU's why the actual OS is focused on OpenCL?

 

Be patient, you'll see. This new direction is a very smart strategy with actual performance gains in application responsiveness.

 

 

It seems they have built an OpenCL API / library for developers, (much like what CUDA is / did) so we will see more and more use of it, but that is more of a task Adobe would need to carry out - not Apple. If Adobe can use the gpu to render via OpenCL, then it would work on all platforms no matter the OS. I don't think the OS can, on its own, just send rendering to the gpu. Applications can use it, sure. Video playback etc... But to say the OS can now magically use the GPU instead of the CPU I feel is a bit flawed - and Apple's choice of using extremely misleading specifications to market this thing isn't helping.

 

Open GL type increases aren't of much significance to me. I have been a-okay in that world for years now.

 

Any links to details how OpenCL will increase renders in AE or C4D? Even the keynote specified interface responsiveness and video playback which doesn't have much to do with render times. I can't find any indications that it would help anywhere beyond interface responsiveness. Its basically just another channel for Adobe to utilize the gpu, right next to cuda - which has nothing to do with renders.

 

I understand how they are going more into a shared cpu / gpu route, but I'm just feeling this is a first toe-dip into more of a world your describing with OSX 11. ie: more of a real GPU computing experience. Not quite there, but now I'm curious what OS XI (?) will bring. I think Mavericks's sole purpose is to get developers start using OpenCL more so we can actually enjoy gpu renders.

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Such a curious machine. Here's a serious question, feel free to point and laugh at my lack of knowledge. Say I went out and bought one tomorrow, magically it appeared in a shop. I plug it in, ooh look how small it is. Great, I can get that extra square foot of floor space I wasn't missing.

 

Now - what software can I install, today, that actually uses that second graphics card? If I've got two monitors, do I get better performance by driving each one off its own card? Is it just FCPX, or can any Adobe apps use any of that second card at all? Some obscure renderers and benchmarks seem to be the only takers I can see.

 

Unless they just stuck it in there to make it all nice and symmetricalised. :)

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Such a curious machine. Here's a serious question, feel free to point and laugh at my lack of knowledge. Say I went out and bought one tomorrow, magically it appeared in a shop. I plug it in, ooh look how small it is. Great, I can get that extra square foot of floor space I wasn't missing.

 

Now - what software can I install, today, that actually uses that second graphics card? If I've got two monitors, do I get better performance by driving each one off its own card? Is it just FCPX, or can any Adobe apps use any of that second card at all? Some obscure renderers and benchmarks seem to be the only takers I can see.

 

Here is my experience with GPU processing....

 

We took on a few projects that involved heavy smoke effects and ended up using Turbulence 4D. T4D has gpu processing capabilities for the sims, so after getting sick of waiting around for an hour each sim, mostly just to see how wrong it was, we got a few GTX Titans and GTX 680s.

 

In figuring out how to optimize the setups, (sli vs non-sli, etc), we learned that GPU processing can utilize the cores across multiple GPUs together BUT NOT the combined ram. We were still limited by the size of the ram on a single card. Now... this whole shared ram thing they were talking about in the keynote has me a little confused.. I think they were only referring to embedded graphics / APUs, but they could have meant that their GPUs can now reach across and access system memory. I'm really not too sure and why I am a bit peeved at how much they distort the real facts for the wonder daze from people who don't know better. So when they say "12 gigabytes of vRAM" I automatically assume its a useable 6GB within a single application. Again.... this whole memory thing could have somehow bridged based on this memory thing they are talking about (although I do think the memory thing only applies to integrated graphics), but that is my experience.

 

In their first unveiling, they were touting a lot of background rendering stuff in FCP. With the above in mind, I currently assume that you would have one GPU powering your work / interface / whatever, and another dedicated to processing and background tasks. Mostly transparent and in the background though, of course. I think thats how its going to work for the most part. It is possible to dedicate a card to each display, which I think is required here for editing of 4K.

 

In TFD, we choose which video card to use for dedicated processing, and which to use for the monitors. If you have 2 cards SLIed, and a third crap card to power your monitors, the two SLIed can work together for twice the power, but only with the amount of RAM available on one. I don't think these are going to be SLIed or whatever the ATI equivalent is called soley because of the background rendering stuff they were mentioning before.

 

FCPX will likely be an excellent example of how they envision the internal workflow to go, but I'm sure it will take some time for other software companies to utilize them as efficiently.

 

*edit: I should note that the Vram limitation mentioned is not T4D specific - it applies to everything using the multiple SLIed cards.

Edited by AromaKat

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All technicalities aside, I'm am moderately excited by the possibility that this thing could throw out less heat.

 

Between my dual 27" cinema displays and the tower, at the end of a long day I'm pretty much sweating it out in my shorts and t-shirt from all that hot air...

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So after looking over all these specs, and cinebench marks from that same hardware on PCs, this new 12 core mac pro looks just as fast as my current dual 6 core 2010 mac pro when it comes to C4D. Am I missing something?

 

So before we all go buy PCs that actually are twice as fast as what I'm currently using, what other options are there? Adding a bunch of mac minis and team rendering? or..?

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No... NOT TEAM RENDERER! John -- we tried that yesterday on the first actual job and it frankly blows. There are so many problems and limitations to it that in a real production environment it is IMO just not a feasible option. Also for slightly more than cost of mac mini, you can get a small form factor PC that is almost as fast at rendering as your current 12core mac. Hit me up if you want details. :ph34r:

 

 

Aromokat -- Very interesting to see about the TFD usage and video card comparison. Thanks for the info on your experience.

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So after looking over all these specs, and cinebench marks from that same hardware on PCs, this new 12 core mac pro looks just as fast as my current dual 6 core 2010 mac pro when it comes to C4D. Am I missing something?

 

Nope, you aren't missing anything.

 

The new xeon e3 / e5s are focused on less power consumption, less heat, and more cores - not for speed - but rather for virtualization in a server environment. If you are trying to power and cool a server room, these new xeons are awesome. If you are using them for a workstation..... there is no point whatsoever unless you are trying to get 2-4 processors. But since the mac is only using one proc, the only reason I can figure xeon being used is for marketing purposes - different from the i7s in iMacs.

 

Cinebench on a $500, lightly overclocked 3930k hyperthreaded 6 core pretty much matches the $2,700 12 core xeon. A $1k GTX titan is equal to a $3k FirePro.

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???

 

ECC ram?

 

Another example of stuff that is not new, not special, and has nothing to do with the stuff we do. But somehow people are starting to think it is all of the above.

 

 

*memory is supposed to be somewhat shielded from surrounding electromagnetic resonance. I'm guessing that they had to put ECC in there because the form factor was fuxing with the data of the ram chips.

Edited by AromaKat

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Your understanding of the 'why' with regards to hardware is rather limited. ECC is not new, the choice in Xeon's combined with ECC is not a marketing decision. The CPU/chipset/RAM/motherboard combo is based on the best fit with regards to demographic.

 

This also happens to include scientific & server/'mainframe' use. The consequence is that everyone buying a Mac Pro will get this hardware to keep the product line-up small & distinct instead of offering 30 varieties of workstation & 90 varieties of consumer products as the competition does.

 

Stop thinking everything must be 'new' and stop comparing consumer products or DIY kit to turnkey workstations. Spec one out at Dell, Boxx or HP and see how much it costs using the same hardware. The notion that a hardware company that even does its own content creation software has no clue about what it's doing is rather silly.

 

Expensive compared to my Hackintosh? Yes. Compared to other off the shelves workstations? No. Silly useless technology? Hardly.

 

The SSD performance alone would only be closely matched by a RAID 0 SSD that has twice the failure rate so you'd have to add another one for redundancy. That's €600-€800 right there already.

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Just too cool things off, this is where I am coming from. I'm trying really, really hard to not be perceived as the 'windows guy' in an OS flame war. Being the hardware geek I am, my intention is purely to help people here make informed descisions and look beyond the infamous 'distortion fied'. Clearly, there is mass confusion in regard to the hardware. Not many people follow hardware stuff and only know the buzz, but I happen to thouroughly enjoy following hardware tech and building machines for very specific use-cases (aka - thinking of the 'why'). I don't feel anything I have said here is outside of that intent, but may seem a little irritated after someone incorrectly rebuttles a fact pointed out using regurgetated and incomplete keynote buzzwords since its precisely the type of confusion I'm trying to help out with.

 

If the primary concern is OS.... awesome. Go for it. I love the OS as much as anyone else. But to me, that is precisely the only decision here. If working within an environment that requires boxed solutions such as dell, hp, and apple, and your employer only upgrades PCs every 3-5 years, I agree... Apple is the way to go.

 

Aaaand... just to piss on the fire:

 

These days, I don't know a single person who takes their Apple's content creation software seriously. Nobody in my circles uses FCP X and every shop still rocking FCP 7 has long sworn off FCP X. They might still go mac, but they are turning to either Avid or Premiere. Honestly, I was most dissapointed by them not scrapping FCP X and making a more current FCP 7ish software.

 

The system SSD is fast, but since work isn't carried out upon the system drive, its a moot point unless working within a project folder on the desktop is standard operating procedure. I'm eyeing a PCI flash drive for use as a cache drive, becuase that makes more sense for me and my use case. Media is stored on a NAS, like most places, which I guess this thing can only access at a limited speed over 1gbe without using an external thunderbold adapter thing of some type.

 

 

 

*Edited the strike-through to avoid confusion

Edited by AromaKat

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If this is true, one of the major knocks against this machine would be a non issue. I think the chances of Apple offering their own graphics upgrade are about the same as Jesus showing up to install it for you, but it would be nice if they left the door open for expandability. After all, the mid life graphics card upgrade is a time honored tradition among Mac Pro users.

 

 

http://9to5mac.com/2013/10/25/graphics-card-on-new-mac-pro-could-be-upgradeable/

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As a non hardware geek it is pretty hard to tell what's what.

I've used Apple for a long time now so am definitely inclined to stick with it although I don't want to be a sucker and pay waaay over the odds. A little over the odds is fine.

What I need to know is, will it be a good machine for C4D primarily and AE/Adobe stuff? (As a personal/freelance machine)

Unfortunately I realise there's not necessarily a straightforward answer and it seems to get people a bit riled up. Also there seem to be a few unanswered questions (eg. price) so I think I'll just wait and see how people actually find using them.

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What I need to know is, will it be a good machine for C4D primarily and AE/Adobe stuff? (As a personal/freelance machine)

 

Yes, no question about it, AE and C4D will run dandy. I don't mean to sound riled up, or to be claiming otherwise.

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