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Desktops (Apple) Portables (Apple) Upgrades Apple

Apple Updates MacBooks and Mac Pro Desktop With Haswell, "Unified Thermal Core" 464

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the next-cube-on-drugs dept.
MojoKid writes with more detailed information on the new hardware Apple announced earlier today at WWDC "On the hardware side, Apple is updating its two MacBook Air devices; both the 11-inch and 13-inch versions will enjoy better battery life (up to 9 hours and 12 hours, respectively), thanks in no small part to having Intel's new Haswell processors inside. They'll also have 802.11ac WiFi on board. Both models have 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 or i7 (Haswell) processors, Intel HD Graphics 5000, 4GB of RAM, and has 128GB or 256GB of flash storage. Arguably the scene stealer on the desktop side of things is a completely redesigned Mac Pro. The 9.9-inch tall cylindrical computer boasts a new 'unified thermal core' which is designed to conduct heat away from the CPU and GPU while distributing it uniformly and using a single bottom-mounted intake fan. It rocks a 12-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro GPUs (standard), 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory (60GBps), and PCIe flash storage with up to 1.25GBps read speeds. The system promises 7 teraflops of graphics performance, supports 4k displays, and has a host of ports including four USB 3.0, two gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI 1.4, six Thunderbolt 2 ports that offer super-fast (20Gbps) external connectivity."
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Apple Updates MacBooks and Mac Pro Desktop With Haswell, "Unified Thermal Core"

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  • Re:So No then (Score:4, Informative)

    by tk77 (1774336) on Monday June 10, 2013 @10:51PM (#43969113)

    The system is targetted towards professional workstation use. Having rare expensive "external" devices is already common place. External enclosures for running multiple video cards for resolve systems, firewire / esata raid arrays, etc its all being done currently. Also makes it a lot easier to swap devices between systems.

    While I would like to have at least an upgradable graphics system, having everything external (for meanyway) is already a standard thing. There's only so much storage you can fit inside the system as is, and most of my graphics needs are via additional cards for cuda/opencl processing.

    Being able to swap drive arrays like I was using FW800 but with speeds greater then eSATA will be nice. Being able to just plug in an external enclosure and run cuda/opencl accelerated applications more accelerated.. and not having to worry about internal power, additional psu's, etc will be welcome.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:06PM (#43969203)

    In the one CPU config. That is, one CPU socket package, 6 or 8 cores. If you got the two CPU socket version with 12 cores, you got 8 RAM slots.

    The model pictured is one with a single CPU socket and has 4 DIMM slots. It's quite possible that the two CPU socket version of this Mac Pro will have 8 RAM slots also.

    I checked, there is no 12 core version of Xeon E5, so presumably to get the 12 cores on this one will use two packages as the last one did.

    I don't have any problems putting stuff next to cylinders. I have a coffee cup on my desk, it isn't causing any untoward issues.

    This thing has no HDDs. No amount of flash would be enough for video editors, and not even 4 internal HDDs would either. So you will use a Thunderbolt external HDD or RAID array. I just hope those get somewhat cheaper soon.

  • Re:and... (Score:2, Informative)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:10PM (#43969233)

    those 'monstrosities' allowed upgrades at least.

    I hate shiny surfaces.. they show off every scratch and fingerprint

  • e-sata is slower ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by perpenso (1613749) on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:13PM (#43969249)

    should have at least 2 build in HDD / SDD ports just one is to small for a system like that.

    There are 6 thunderbolt 2 ports.

    And why not e-sata that is free and does not eat up bandwidth like a HDD on TB will.

    Thunderbolt 2 is 6+ times faster than e-sata.

  • Re:Only 4GB of RAM? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kielistic (1273232) on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:25PM (#43969325)

    while Windows 7/8 struggles.

    While Win7x64 might struggle on less than 1 gig of RAM I can assure you it is quite happy with 4.

  • Which is done with the reboot option from within the OS, generally. The point was that most computers default to automatically sleeping in a reasonably short time and this has actually worked reliably for the last 5-10 years, so its fairly common to not actually turn a computer entirely off.

    My desktop sleeps at five watts. Parasitic draw when entirely off is 1.5 or so. That's just short of 31 kWh in a year. At my electric rates, that means leaving it asleep rather than off for an entire year would add all of $6 to my electric bill. As it's certainly not off/asleep for all that time, the real-world impact is closer to $2-3. Even with a nice SSD, boot is a 30-45 second thing where the longest part of waking from sleep is waiting for my monitors to realize what's happened and turn on.

    The cost of a smoothie every year in exchange for convenience every time I return to my computer? Yeah, worth it.

    Also, most Mac users don't dual-boot unless they're gaming. VirtualBox works just as well for 95% of uses and adds a lot of features you don't get with bare metal installs like snapshots, plus Parallels and Fusion exist for those with more specific needs who can't get away with VirtualBox. I'll agree that many serious users of Intel Macs run Windows in some form, but the dual boot versus virtualized split has been shifting more and more towards virtualized over the years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:32PM (#43969369)

    It will use the e5-2600 v2 series cpu that does indeed have 12 core variants (they have not launched yet), so I do not believe there will be a 2 cpu version otherwise I think they would have displayed it.

  • Re:So No then (Score:5, Informative)

    by macwhiz (134202) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:10AM (#43969581)
    Given that Thunderbolt carries not only the equivalent of a PCIe x4 connection, but also a DisplayPort connection... and that the new Mac Pro has six Thunderbolt 2 connections... it's obvious that the HDMI port is there as a convenience for those who would otherwise bitch about having to buy a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort/DVI/HDMI/VGA cable. Since Apple has advertised the unit as supporting three 4K displays out of the box, obviously at least three of those Thunderbolt 2 ports can be used for DisplayPort video.
  • Re:So No then (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:13AM (#43969587)

    The shorter answer would be no. Its not expandable, an incompatible rare expensive *external* interface is simply not a solution.

    Yes, it is, and you're apparently ignorant of the fact that workstations already rely on this concept and have for years. Not only that, but they tend to use far less compatible interfaces that are far more expensive than Thunderbolt. External expansion is already in common use in the workstation crowd and is considered perfectly acceptable as a means of expansion. All Apple is doing is making it the primary means of expanding their machine, rather than an optional one, and they're doing it over a rather common interface, relatively speaking, which should help to bring the practice more into the mainstream.

    I'll agree that there is uncertainty whether or not Thunderbolt 2 will be sufficient for these purposes, but dismissing it simply on the grounds that it's an external interface and is thus not a solution is just demonstrating that you're clueless about the sorts of hardware already being employed by the people that this machine is aimed at.

  • Re:So No then (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:19AM (#43969629)

    the fact it only has one real display connection and it is only hdmi 1.4 puts this firmly into bragging-rights consumer level hardware for me. I have my doubts about the thunderbolt connected displays. Also, cramming a bunch of workstation 'laptop' hardware into a cylinder isn't worth the price premium.

    *sigh* I'll feed the troll.

    You do realize that the HDMI port is actually the least capable display interface on the machine? And not just because the Thunderbolt ports can be used for both data and display. Specifically, they can be used to drive higher-res displays than HDMI, which Apple demonstrated during the keynote when they showed a workstation set up with three 4K displays being driven by a Mac Pro: something that HDMI is incapable of doing currently, let alone your laptop.

  • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:05AM (#43969843)

    On external arrays? No probably not. Not unless you are talking SAS/FC arrays. iSCSI would be an option, but not on a Mac since they don't support it. Firewire and USB are too slow. Yes I realize Thunderbolt is faster, it is also brand new and not in existing Mac Pros, it isn't what people use.

    Most of the video editing stations I've encountered use internal disk arrays. External drivers are used just for acquisition. I'm sure if you talk really high end you'll start going to some external setup to hold more drives, but that isn't the norm. You can pack a lot of drives in a normal tower, most people seem to do that.

    In terms of RAM slots numbers matter because it does dictate cost and capacity. Like say it is using RDIMMs. Ok well with 16GB modules your cost is $160ish per stick. Not bad, provided 64GB of RAM will do it. Want 128GB? There are 32GB sticks... for about $1100 each. It takes a massive jump to go to that density. Now if it uses UDIMMs then you are talking a max of 8GB per stick, that's all there is right now, so 32GB max.

    That's why a system with a lot of RAM slots is often desired, even if you aren't going max RAM capacity. Our VM servers can technically take 768GB of RAM, but we won't ever do that because it would cost like $26k. However we wanted that many RAM slots because we can do 384GB for under $4k which is reasonable. So more slots are useful, they can get you RAM for less money.

    My best? It is 16-32GB max. The 1866MHz speaks to UDIMM RAM (I've never seen 1866 RDIMMs), which means 32GB max no matter what because there aren't bigger sticks right now (and probably won't be, too many electrical issues without a register). It also might end up being 16GB, because as you push speeds, doing 32GB gets hard. Though I dunno, the memory controller on Hawell might have an easier time with that.

    In terms of the liquid thing, this is a real concern. Should you avoid spilling on shit? Sure but accidents happen. Everyone I know likes to have a beverage at their desk while they work. With a normal case, a spill on it (which I have seen happen) is unlikely to be a problem. With an open top, it is likely to short out the system.

  • Re:What the hell? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:09AM (#43969859)

    Where I work we have > 500 Apple systems, a dedicated team of support staff and an update server behind the firewall. More than half of the executive leadership has MacBook Airs and 27 in displays sitting on their desks, iPads in hand and we get iPhone 5s as a provisioned mobile device. Oh and our revenue is counted with a capital B. I'm certain we're not the only Fortune 500 company with a similar setup, IBM consultants always seem to drop by carrying their MacBook Pros.

  • Re:So No then (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:10AM (#43969869) Homepage

    I wouldn't really call a Xeon or Dual AMD FirePro GPUs "Laptop Hardware", however putting them in a barely serviceable enclosure surely is laptop-esque.

    It looks pretty serviceable to me... take the cover off, and the hardware is all accessible, arranged around the perimeter. I'm probably missing something obvious, though...

  • No not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:26AM (#43969937)

    In terms of opening, it depends on the case. There are some very easy no-tools PC cases out there. All Dell servers, for example, are just a lever to open (I mention them since we buy a lot).

    However that aside easy of upgradeability isn't about how easy you can get the side off, I mean really if a thumb screw vexes you, you are being silly. It is about component availability and this has always been a massive Mac problem. Things like custom powersupplies, custom video card BIOSes, that sort of thing, and of course fuck-all available from Apple. When you get a PC, particularly a high end one, you've got all kinds of options. With a good manufacturer, they will sell you the stuff, as well as your ability to get it aftermarket. Like with a Dell workstation Dell will sell you, after the fact, addon processors, memory, GPUs, HDDs, SSDs, RAID controllers, HBAs, network adapters, power supplies, and so on for your system. All of them come with full warranty support though Dell, of course.

    They don't have what you want, or don't have it for a good price? No problem, you can get it all aftermarket. Nothing special needed, buy the regular stuff from any vendor.

    You can really upgrade the hell out of a PC, and keep doing it, if you want. I haven't bought a new desktop in like 8 years, yet it is still very much top of the line. What happens is I just replace components as needed. I get a new GPU every 18ish months, new HDDs if I run out of space or if something is faster enough to catch my interest (like my SSD), a new audio card when I see one with features I want, a new motherboard/CPU every 2ish years, new RAM if the motherboard needs it, new PSU should power requirements change (hasn't happened) and a new case never because I like mine. So even when the core, the CPU and motherboard, get upgraded it isn't a new system. I can keep the case, PSU, GPU, sound card, drives, and all that jazz.

    Now I'm not saying this is how people should do it, but that is a demonstration of what real upgradeability means. It is the ability to upgrade any component when a new one comes out more or less, and to do so with anything as much as needed. Not the ability to take the case off and put in more RAM.

    In terms of network storage I suppose... But what? OS-X can't act as an iSCSI initiator so you can't use any of the nice high end iSCSI arrays (like an Equallogic) or something. No 10gig so no FCoE. Apple doesn't make storage arrays and nothing else seems to support AFP. So... You buy a Windows server and use CIFS? Last I tried, CIFS performance wasn't great on the Mac, but whatever.

    Macs really aren't that well designed for network storage on account of not having anything out there for them. I mean generally for network storage you either want a NAS that speaks the protocol your OS likes, and for OS-X that's AFP which is not popular, or for higher performance/lower latency you hook up using iSCSI or FCoE. iSCSI is real popular because gig (and bonded gig) are options and you can run it over your regular network, even over the Internet if necessary. Most OSes (Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris, VMWare) can act as initiators and talk to an iSCSI target (most of them can be targets too if you want), but not OS-X, it has no iSCSI support.

    I mean they'll talk to a CIFS share if you are just looking for a place to put stuff, but given the lack of space I presume you are talking about networked storage in a high performance capacity, using it online like local storage. That really only works well with high performance stuff and that they do not seem to have.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:40AM (#43969989)

    Apple shipping Intel CPUs in models/versions/speeds unavailable to other vendors is not unusual - there's been quite a few times when Intel has cut them a 6 month lead on the rest of the industry ( which kind of makes sense as Apple embeds VLSI engineers at Intel in these situations, and buys in unit quantities of a small number of speed bins that are net much larger single orders than any other single Intel customer) eg 3.2 GHZ Xeon availability, or ULV Macbook Air CPU - neither of which was an available part from Intel for 6-12 months after Apple was shipping them.

  • Re:and... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @02:02AM (#43970055)

    Did you really not know?

    Are you really so lazy that you stopped reading after the first sentence? Because you apparently missed the fact that I explicitly mentioned Hackintoshes in the very next sentence of my post. And I also spent a paragraph talking about why building your own machine simply isn't a viable option. But if you didn't even make it to sentence #2, I'm not holding out much hope that you made it to the final paragraph, which was where I discussed that topic.

    Kudos on the excellent knee-jerk reaction, however. ;)

  • Re:and... (Score:3, Informative)

    by james_a_craig (798098) <slashdotNO@SPAMjamiecraig.com> on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @02:07AM (#43970073)

    Sure, but for businesses, that relies on a very precarious licensing situation, and is basically unsupportable.

  • Re:So No then (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @06:48AM (#43971099) Homepage

    HDMI 1.4 (released in 2009) is capable of driving 4k displays.

    Up to 30 Hz, which is fine for high resolution stills and 24p movies but I'd never run my computer on anything less than 60 Hz as games and other high FPS content would look horrible. HDMI 2.0 should be right around the corner to bring it up to speed with DisplayPort 1.2 and Thunderbolt 2.0 - even if screens are still thousands of dollars and 4K content still very rare.

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