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  • 1,000 days since the last Mac Pro update

  • Walter Soyka

    September 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    In case you haven’t seen Juan Salvo’s observation yet, the Mac Pro line was last updated 1,000 days ago. Here’s a little screenshot from MacRumors showing the number of days between each of the releases:

    Walter Soyka
    Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
    Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
    @keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

  • Michael Gissing

    September 14, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Looks like it has become inversely proportional to Mac OS updates. During that time I’ve had two motherboard updates and three graphics card updates and only one OS update.

  • Michael Phillips

    September 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    And around that time, the iPhone 5c and 5s were announced if you want to compare it to other Apple revenue streams.
    A nice interactive timeline for iPhone: https://time.com/2934526/apple-iphone-timeline/

    Would be interesting to see a timeline of all Apple products aligned together.

    Michael

  • Warren Eig

    September 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    And I just had to buy a used 2012 Mac Pro tower as my previous Mac Pro gave up the ghost….

    Warren Eig
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  • David Mathis

    September 14, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Way too long.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qqeVM0tGRo4

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  • Tim Wilson

    September 14, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I always loved that spot. 🙂

    It begs the question I raised in the Apple Event thread — do we in fact need another Mac from Apple? Why? Sure, faster, but no matter what they do, somebody’s ALWAYS want faster.

    Of course, nobody who cares about peak performance is using a Mac anyway, and Apple hasn’t even pretended to aspire to peak status since those hilarious Super Computer ads, where the whole concept was played for a (very clever) joke. Talk about a classic punchline!

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    If anything, the lesson that Apple appears to be trying to teach is to get out of the habit of thinking we need something new or different.

    “If we thought you needed it, we’d give it to you. Ergo, if we don’t give it to you, you don’t need it.”

  • Andrew Kimery

    September 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    [Tim Wilson] “Apple hasn’t even pretended to aspire to peak status since those hilarious Super Computer ads,”

    Don’t forget at the G5 Mac Pro headline, “Apple Unleashes the World’s Fastest Personal Computer—the Power Mac G5”
    https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2003/06/23Apple-Unleashes-the-Worlds-Fastest-Personal-Computer-the-Power-Mac-G5.html

  • Joe Marler

    September 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    [Tim Wilson] “do we in fact need another Mac from Apple? Why? Sure, faster, but no matter what they do, somebody’s ALWAYS want faster…Of course, nobody who cares about peak performance is using a Mac anyway, and Apple hasn’t even pretended to aspire to peak status since those hilarious Super Computer ads,”

    That 1999 ad dated from the RISC vs CISC era when having a non-Intel CPU was perceived as faster, better, etc. The PowerMac G4 had a theoretical Linpack peak of about 1 gigaflop, which the 1999 ad mentions (“one billion calculations per second”). That was probably at least 2x the performance of the then-fastest Pentium III, but that is floating point which is less often used in most workloads.

    Considering integer workloads which are more typical of many commercial apps, even historically Intel wasn’t that far behind. This was because RISC had lower code density which caused the knock-on effect of higher bus bandwidth to achieve the same real-world performance as CISC. It also caused lower hit ratios in the various CPU and data caches, so larger more expensive caches were required to produce the same instruction hit ratio.

    Then as decreasing feature size inexorably increased fabrication cost (now close to $10 billion per plant), it became more about capital investment and fabrication prowess than CPU architecture.

    But the G4 and G5 were definitely fast in real-world apps of the day, as can be seen from these old Bearfeats benchmarks: https://barefeats.com/pentium4.html

    It only made sense for Apple to capitalize on that in their 1999 ads. But that wasn’t because Apple somehow cared more about performance then vs today, rather they had (for better or worse) wedded themselves to a RISC CPU architecture which temporarily delivered better performance than similar Intel CPUs. When that advantage dwindled they transitioned (yet again) their CPU architecture to Intel and are fortunate to have survived that.

    Today essentially everyone is using the same CPU families in desktop machines. Those are vastly faster than the so-called G4 supercomputer which did about 1 gigaflop. The Intel Xeon E5 2687W v4 does about 1078 Linpack gigaflops, or over 1,000 times faster. The biggest Xeon has 22 cores. Maybe Apple will something similar in the updated nMP.

    However even with such extreme performance available, you can’t economically go any faster using the available parts. IOW even though the Power8 CPU exists, there is realistically no alternative to Intel on the high-end desktop. That said, most people who have edited a lot of 4k could use a lot more performance than the current nMP provides. But it’s less about who is fastest than providing adequate performance for increasingly challenging workloads.

    People on Premiere can always go to Windows. For FCPX they are stuck with Apple, so in that sense an updated nMP is vitally important. A top-spec iMac 27 is just not comfortably fast when editing and applying effects to large amounts of 4k, even using FCPX and even using proxy. If an updated nMP does not materialize that will drive users off the Mac which means away from FCPX. You could argue it’s not worth it to Apple financially but that’s like arguing the Corvette is not worth it to GM based on annual sales. There is a halo effect beyond the actual unit and dollar sales.

  • Darren Roark

    September 16, 2016 at 4:27 am

    [Joe Marler] “People on Premiere can always go to Windows. For FCPX they are stuck with Apple, so in that sense an updated nMP is vitally important. “

    Agreed, but a Mac Pro refresh of any significance has only really been possible since April as that’s when all the new GPUs came out that were a large enough leap forward.

    All the chipmakers are slowing down cycles by a big margin.

  • Michael Hancock

    September 16, 2016 at 10:47 am

    [Darren Roark] “but a Mac Pro refresh of any significance has only really been possible since April as that’s when all the new GPUs came out that were a large enough leap forward. “

    But this is also because Apple decided to redesign the MacPro so you couldn’t swap out the graphics cards when new ones came on the market that were considerably better (like the handful of cards nVidia has released). So their inability to update with any significant leap forward is entirely of their own design.

    —————-
    Michael Hancock
    Editor

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