Mac Pro that was announced

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Mac Pro that was announced

Post by tea for two »

Also in SoS news section.
https://www.soundonsound.com/news/apple ... -macs-wwdc

Tinterweb chatter from some quarters before the announcement was of a Modular Mac Pro.
That would have self contained MacPro units of CpuGpuRamStorage that are just plug and play.
So could populate the tower with say 4 such MacPro units.
Also redundancy built in similar to servers where if one MacPro unit failed could continue as before, whilst just replacing the failed MacPro unit.

I was looking forward to such a Modular Mac Pro to be wowed by it. If it happens will be quite something.

MacinTosh Pro announced is a trifle tosh lol in comparison to what was envisaged.
Wonder whether this was is just a stop gap for Apple to transition fully to ApSili. Whilst still designing testing the envisaged Modular Mac Pro for release in 2024.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by MarkOne »

I'm not sure why anyone would buy this over the M2 Studio Ultra

If you fully spec up a Mac Studio Ultra it's £9K, if you fully spec up a Mac Pro it's £12K. (£12.5K if you want it in a rack case) and apart from the internal PCIe slots, the specs are identical

Three grand seems a lot for some empty PCIe slots.

Given the SoC nature of the M series processors, RAM is not something you can update, and I'm not sure what you'd do in the architecture to add user upgradable RAM and not compromise the performance.

I agree that upgradable storage should be a bit of a no brainer (After all going from 1TB to 8TB on the motherboard is £2200! But it doesn't look like that's an option looking at the specs.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by Luke W »

MarkOne wrote: Thu Jun 08, 2023 12:06 pm I'm not sure why anyone would buy this over the M2 Studio Ultra

If you fully spec up a Mac Studio Ultra it's £9K, if you fully spec up a Mac Pro it's £12K. (£12.5K if you want it in a rack case) and apart from the internal PCIe slots, the specs are identical

I'd say that the PCIe slots will be the reason. They'll be a selling point for places that want to load a machine up with HDX cards without adding an external enclosure, for example.

I agree that the price jump is steep, but it's unlikely to be an issue for the sort of facilities that the machine is aimed at.

MarkOne wrote: Thu Jun 08, 2023 12:06 pm I agree that upgradable storage should be a bit of a no brainer (After all going from 1TB to 8TB on the motherboard is £2200! But it doesn't look like that's an option looking at the specs.

PCIe cards loaded up with NVMe devices will probably be the route most people would take there, I'd imagine. It's certainly the approach I'll be taking if/when I need more storage on my PC.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by muzines »

MarkOne wrote: Thu Jun 08, 2023 12:06 pm I'm not sure why anyone would buy this over the M2 Studio Ultra

Charlie Clouser (the movie composer) wrote some words elsewhere about this, as he was considering these machines. The main advantages were for ProTools you can bung in a load of HDX cards, and you can also pack in cards full of SSDs into the slots, so you can have a powerhouse machine with a huge amount of storage and I/O in one unit, no cables, all self-contained etc, and all slotted into your rack.

Whereas with a Mac Studio, you'd end up having to connect multiple standalone drives and drive bays, external audio interfaces and so on, in a much more sprawling system of individual units etc. You can also pack the Mac Pros with hard drives, or use various PCI cards for the people that need them.

But these machines are expensive, and really for specialised needs, and don't offer any big advantages in terms of core compute power. If you're not sure why you'd need one over a Studio, then you don't need one. :)

The Studios are really now the powerful Mac for the typical pro/creative user, and make the most sense for the majority of those people - and are significantly cheaper too.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

There was going to be an Extreme edition of the M2, but the manufacturing costs were too much to make it economically viable.

Considering the size of the Pro, it seems like you'd have to have a very particular niche to go for it over the Studio.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by muzines »

johnny h wrote: Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:27 pm There was going to be an Extreme edition of the M2, but the manufacturing costs were too much to make it economically viable.

I'm not sure that we know the reason why the quad-die SOC hasn't shipped is for manufacturing cost reasons - that seems to me more like speculation, unless you've seen some well-sourced reporting I haven't. There could be quite a few other reasons. After all, they don't need to produce these in mass numbers if it was destined for the Mac Pro, and they could raise the price by $2k/$4K/whatever easily enough if the Mac Pro was really going to be twice as powerful as the Ultra. It's not like people needing the Mac Pro are particularly price sensitive - it's mostly going to be things like post-houses and commercial environments that need the power/speed and that money is nothing for them compared to the returns of speeding up production.

As far as I'm aware, all we know is that Apple hasn't shipped a quad-SOC yet, for their own reasons, be it technical, manufacturing, cost or marketing reasons - or some combination of those things.

johnny h wrote: Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:27 pmConsidering the size of the Pro, it seems like you'd have to have a very particular niche to go for it over the Studio.

Indeed.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by S.Crow »

Presumably, you can use PCIe to U.2 or U.3 adapters, which will give you access to large enterprise SSDs which can be surprisingly cheap.
So save £2,200 by going for the base SSD versus the 8TB internal, then add internal Samsung drives:

7.68TB = £530 (PCIe 4).
12.8TB = £720 (PCIe 3).
Adapters ~£30

So if you need a lot of fast storage, the tower quickly starts to make sense.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

muzines wrote: Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:51 pm
johnny h wrote: Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:27 pm There was going to be an Extreme edition of the M2, but the manufacturing costs were too much to make it economically viable.

I'm not sure that we know the reason why the quad-die SOC hasn't shipped is for manufacturing cost reasons - that seems to me more like speculation, unless you've seen some well-sourced reporting I haven't. There could be quite a few other reasons. After all, they don't need to produce these in mass numbers if it was destined for the Mac Pro, and they could raise the price by $2k/$4K/whatever easily enough if the Mac Pro was really going to be twice as powerful as the Ultra.

In the quantities top of the range Mac Pros are sold, 4k is really a drop in the ocean to cover development costs. Certainly the Mac Pro can handle significantly more power and heat than the Ultra uses.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by merlyn »

Apple failed. It happens. I was quite interested in this to see how the fruity ones would eat their cake and have it. Eating the cake being high performance, and having the cake being low power. They couldn't do it.

There's six slots on a Mac Pro. 2 are x16 and 4 are x8. Each NVMe M.2 drive uses 4 lanes so that's 16 NVMe drives. But a Mac Pro isn't the step up in power that it used to be, when Pros were getting into the realms of server power using Xeon chips.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by tea for two »

FWIW Maxtech my go to for Mac comparison testings
compared latest
M2 Ultra Pro tower. Of which 24 Cores cpu starts at £7199 with 60 Cores gpu.
Vs previous
Intel Xeon Pro tower. Of which top spec 28 Cores Xeon is £13799k refurb currently.

Using this 2022 Logic Pro benchmark.
https://music-prod.com/logic-pro-benchmarks/

6min21 Logic Pro test.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bvWN5Uk37 ... VjaA%3D%3D

At 51% cpu usage M2 Ultra 24 Cores : 320 instances of this Logic benchmark.
At 100% cpu usage 28 Cores Xeon : 386 instances of this Logic benchmark according to the list on the above benchmark site.
Maxtech's own at 100% cpu usage 12 Cores Xeon : 215 instances of this Logic benchmark.
At 100% cpu usage M1 Ultra 20 Cores : 311 instances of this Logic benchmark according to the list on the above benchmark site.

My own 2017 i5 3.5Ghz imac : just 37 instances of this Logic benchmark.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

merlyn wrote: Sun Jun 18, 2023 11:00 pm Apple failed. It happens. I was quite interested in this to see how the fruity ones would eat their cake and have it. Eating the cake being high performance, and having the cake being low power. They couldn't do it.

They did a pretty good job and have the most efficient high performance computers on the market.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by merlyn »

I was specifically referring to the M2 Extreme or whatever they were going to call the chip suitable for a Mac Pro in the old sense of "Mac Pro, more power than you'll ever need", which Apple didn't pull off.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by tea for two »

tea for two wrote: Wed Jun 28, 2023 10:45 am Using this 2022 Logic Pro benchmark.
https://music-prod.com/logic-pro-benchmarks/

My own 2017 i5 3.5Ghz imac : just 37 instances of this Logic benchmark.

Some of my projects of just 8-16tracks were taking quite a spinning rainbow wheel during playback on my nvme usbC 3.2 crucial x8.
I upgraded to 2017 imac27 i5 3.5Ghz this march from my previous 2013 27inch i5 3.2Ghz thinking that I wouldn't get such a long spinning rainbow wheel.

So after the measley 37 instances of this 2022 Logic Pro benchmark test on my 2017 imac, I just got a 2019 6core 3Ghz i5 imac 21.5 (with heavily cracked 4k screen, it's how I can afford to get it).
No more spinning rainbow wheel hooraaah lol also now 66 instances of this 2022 Logic Pro benchmark test.
Still approx 1/2 of M1 Air 110 instances. Then to get over 300 instances on M Ultra is just mental.

Impressed my once owned Mac Pro 5.1 12 Cores got 114 instances according to the list on this Logic Pro 2022 benchmark site.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

merlyn wrote: Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:17 pm I was specifically referring to the M2 Extreme or whatever they were going to call the chip suitable for a Mac Pro in the old sense of "Mac Pro, more power than you'll ever need", which Apple didn't pull off.

The new Mac Pro can 22 streams of 8k video.

The old Mac Pro with 2k afterburner card could do 3.

So yeah, perhaps if you’re doing 22 streams of 8k video and you’re desperately trying to stream 23, you’ll be cursing “Damn you Apple, you lied!”
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by muzines »

An Apple engineer from Apple's Mx chip team said in private feedback to my fave tech-nerd podcast the quad-die "Extreme" chip was shelved during the M1 development process - basically, they deemed it too much effort, for too little a market.

Given they are working on the M5-generation chips internally, we're not going to see a quad-die Extreme chip for quite some time.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by Luke W »

Statements like "more X than you'll ever need" will always end up being met with someone who does, in fact, need more of that thing. But I think it's fair to say the current line-up of machines are more than capable enough for the overwhelming majority of users, especially in the audio world.

I'll admit that when I saw the new Pro announcement, I was expecting a larger gap in terms of specs compared to the Studio. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here with all of the models.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by IAA »

Quite agree Luke. My M1 Max studio just lets me forget about the computer it’s very liberating and inspirational because whatever I want to open or edit, it just happens. I never experienced this so completely with my i7 iMac. It was worth the transition pain for me.

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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by merlyn »

There's this thing called Moore's law you might have heard of.

To be clear: a Mac Pro is now a Mac Studio with PCIe slots. Spin that how you like, but that's the reality.

When the M1 came out there was speculation that using what could be thought on as a phone chip on steroids was an indication that Apple would abandon the Pro segment. That is what has happened.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by muzines »

merlyn wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 8:13 pm When the M1 came out there was speculation that using what could be thought on as a phone chip on steroids was an indication that Apple would abandon the Pro segment. That is what has happened.

I'm not sure there's a good argument that Apple have "abandoned" the pro segment. There are more, and better/more powerful pro machines than the Mac lineup as ever seen. And if they had abandoned the "pro" users who want to put ProTools HDX cards into their machines, or huge SSD cards, or put their machines in a rack - the Mac Pro wouldn't exist at all.

The main backsliding has been in the amount of RAM the Mac Pro can address, due to where they are in their new technology platform. That may or may not be a factor, depending on what kind of use those machines would get.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

merlyn wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 8:13 pm There's this thing called Moore's law you might have heard of.

To be clear: a Mac Pro is now a Mac Studio with PCIe slots. Spin that how you like, but that's the reality.

When the M1 came out there was speculation that using what could be thought on as a phone chip on steroids was an indication that Apple would abandon the Pro segment. That is what has happened.

Absolutely. When they were using "proper" chips like Intel and AMD they could do a whopping 3 streams of 8k video (as long as you added the 2k accelerator card).

With these useless phone chips they can only manage 22. Only 7.3 times faster? A total, useless failure!
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by merlyn »

It's not that. There is always a generation on generation gain. That's Moore's law, if you bothered to click the link. The fact is that a Mac Pro used to be a huge step up in power from other Macs available. I thought it was a nice piece of engineering, if stupidly expensive. It was possible to configure everything, RAM, number of cores ...

That is now not the case. 'Good enough' wasn't how Mac Pros used to be described.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

merlyn wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 9:20 pm It's not that. There is always a generation on generation gain. That's Moore's law, if you bothered to click the link. The fact is that a Mac Pro used to be a huge step up in power from other Macs available. I thought it was a nice piece of engineering, if stupidly expensive. It was possible to configure everything, RAM, number of cores ...

That is now not the case. 'Good enough' wasn't how Mac Pros used to be described.

Moore's law is Moore's law whether I click the link or not.

You can't offer upgradable ram with a SOC configuration. It's not how they work. Do keep up.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by merlyn »

johnny h wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 9:44 pm ... You can't offer upgradable ram with a SOC configuration. ...

QED.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by S.Crow »

merlyn wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 9:48 pm
johnny h wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 9:44 pm ... You can't offer upgradable ram with a SOC configuration. ...

QED.

The RAM chips are attached to the same packaging as the SoC but aren’t incorporated directly into the SoC.
They will very likely have been fabricated on a much larger and cheaper node than the SoC by one of the RAM manufacturers.
This sort of multi chip design that uses different fabrication nodes is getting common.
AMD have been using it with some of their Ryzen chips and Intel are doing the same this year.
Neither are doing it with RAM though, at least not with consumer chips.

Server chips already use HBM memory on the same packaging as the SoC whilst also supporting massive amount of external memory via RAM sticks.
I highly doubt that there’s a technical reason why Apple couldn’t also support RAM sticks with their own designs.
The expense and resources needed for creating this, purely for a top tier chip only available in the Pro, does seem excessive.
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Re: Mac Pro that was announced

Post by johnny h »

S.Crow wrote: Sat Jul 22, 2023 1:21 am
merlyn wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 9:48 pm
johnny h wrote: Fri Jul 21, 2023 9:44 pm ... You can't offer upgradable ram with a SOC configuration. ...

QED.

The RAM chips are attached to the same packaging as the SoC but aren’t incorporated directly into the SoC.
They will very likely have been fabricated on a much larger and cheaper node than the SoC by one of the RAM manufacturers.
This sort of multi chip design that uses different fabrication nodes is getting common.
AMD have been using it with some of their Ryzen chips and Intel are doing the same this year.
Neither are doing it with RAM though, at least not with consumer chips.

Server chips already use HBM memory on the same packaging as the SoC whilst also supporting massive amount of external memory via RAM sticks.
I highly doubt that there’s a technical reason why Apple couldn’t also support RAM sticks with their own designs.
The expense and resources needed for creating this, purely for a top tier chip only available in the Pro, does seem excessive.

External memory was never going to be part of Apple Silicon. The only feasible development for the Mac Pro over the Studio was the M2 Extreme but the potential market was deemed too small to justify the development costs. Perhaps this will change in the future.
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