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Desktops (Apple) Portables (Apple) Upgrades Apple

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

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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  • Tassels (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 10, 2013 @10:11PM (#43968825)

    I wonder the fan is powerful enough for tassels

  • What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by putaro ( 235078 ) on Monday June 10, 2013 @10:35PM (#43968993) Journal

    I wanted to like the new Mac Pro but it makes no sense to me.

    Internal FLASH only - that's fine for a MacBook Air, but aren't the target users for this video editors?
    Limited RAM - only 4 ram slots. The old one had 8.
    Cylindrical - Great, now nothing fits next to it
    Exhaust from the top - Can't put anything on top and if you spill a drink on it, it goes straight into the machine.

    What are the pluses to this design? Hopefully it runs quiet but beyond that???

    This is the new Cube. I wonder if this will be the final Mac Pro - "Well, nobody bought it so it's obvious there's no market here..."

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

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday June 10, 2013 @10:44PM (#43969053)
    Only 4 GB of RAM for the Air? Even your bottom-barrel throwaway laptop from Walmart tends to have at least 4 GB of RAM, let alone a laptop you're going to be paying $1K for.
  • Re:and... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Monday June 10, 2013 @10:52PM (#43969125) Homepage

    It's still a PC.

    Innovative board and case designs though.

  • Re:Not Upgradeable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WCLPeter ( 202497 ) on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:43PM (#43969425) Homepage

    In all the years I've been building computers I can name only twice where I ever had the opportunity to upgrade; once with an old 466 when I went from a DX2-50 to a DX4-100; another time when I upgraded a K6-2 333 to a K6-2 500. Most of the time when it came time to "upgrade" there had been so many changes to the bus types, socket types, memory types, etc... it was just easier to start over from scratch than try to pick an upgrade from a narrow list of parts which often cost a fortune, while often only giving a moderate speed boost, because they were now considered "specialty" equipment for an obsolete architecture.

    Granted, there are people who will insist that they've been able to upgrade their systems multiple times - but I'm not talking about those compulsive types who need the newest graphics card every other week. Most people I've talked to will buy a machine and keep it for 2-4 years before thinking its time buy a new one, by then everything has changed and the existing machine is mostly obsolete and so they have to start new.

  • Re:and... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 10, 2013 @11:54PM (#43969483)

    If you're going all the way back to Mac LC, it'd be unfair not to mention the likes of Centris 650/PowerMac 7100 and Quadra 900, which were painful to upgrade. Or the original Macintosh, which could not be upgraded at all. (You could upgrade RAM of the Mac Plus, which had the same case as the original Mac, but not without risking frying yourself with the exposed CRT.)

    Besides, the LC was such a slow piece of junk that it was basically useless without an upgrade. ;-p

    That said, the Mac boxes I bought for myself--Centris 610/PowerMac 6100 and the beige G3 desktop--were quite a bit easier to deal with than any consumer PC case. I don't know about the pro-grade PCs vs Mac Pro, since I've never owned either.

  • Not Haswell Mac Pro (Score:4, Interesting)

    by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:02AM (#43969533)

    Haswell Xeon E5s don't ship until next year. This would be an Ivy Bridge Xeon E5, unless Apple is going to be super super special.

  • Re:So No then (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:13AM (#43969593)

    Bonus points if the external housing is shaped like a previous-generation Mac Pro, and has a cylindrical hole inside to fit the new Mac Pro.

  • Re:Not Upgradeable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:26AM (#43969657)

    As a guy currently dragging his old Mac Pro into the modern computer era, let me say this: Apple would have found a way to make it incompatible anyways. There are so many just-slightly-nonstandard things they have, that any significant upgrade is made a hundred times more difficult.

    First are the obvious ones. Nonstandard motherboard layout. The whole case layout in general, which requires a lot of stuff be removed just to access anything beyond the drives, video card and RAM. No legacy PCI ports.

    Then come the subtle incompatibilities. Only certain video cards have OS X drivers, and only an elite, overpriced few have firmware that lets them work in the BIOS/EFI stage. I have to keep the original card around just in case I ever need it. Then the hard drive caddies only work with full 3.5" drives, or with 3.5" -> 2.5" adapters that perfectly mimic a 3.5" drive (I believe a Velociraptor IcePak will work; I use a cheaper plastic one since heat isn't an issue for SSDs). There's also a custom "mini-PCIe power" port, used to provide power to PCIe cards.

    Then come the dangerous ones. Apple seems fond of using standard connectors in non-standard ways. For instance, the front USB panel? That's connected to the mainboard using a SATA connector. Just don't try to plug a hard drive into it. Same for the case fans - they're four-pin, but they don't use PWM for speed control (I believe they use analog voltage instead). Which also means that Windows (should you boot into it) does not get any control over the fan speeds, or even visibility.

    Finally are the downright confusing ones. On mine, there are two unused SATA ports on the motherboard, hidden behind the front fans. They're labeled "ODD_SATA", hinting that they were planning to use SATA-based optical drives instead of IDE. I thought I could just use them for additional hard drives, but nope - they somehow only work in OS X. Don't ask me how, but they managed to make it happen. I've given up and just ordered a RAID card.

    So yeah, don't think for a moment that the only thing standing between the new Mac Pro and any non-trivial upgrades is the form factor. The thing standing in the way is Apple.

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

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:41AM (#43969729) Homepage

    Internal FLASH only - that's fine for a MacBook Air, but aren't the target users for this video editors?

    Real video editors are doing the actual work on external drives/arrays anyway. I don't think it's as big an issue as you're making it sound.

    Limited RAM - only 4 ram slots. The old one had 8.

    I think you have a point, but at the same time, shouldn't the real question be the maximum RAM capacity and RAM performance, and not the number of slots?

    Exhaust from the top - Can't put anything on top and if you spill a drink on it, it goes straight into the machine.

    So maybe don't pour your coffee into it?

    Depending on the price point, I suspect this thing might be successful. What annoys me more is that I've wanted Apple to build something like this for a while (i.e. a larger and more powerful Mac mini), but aiming more for gamers than professional workstations. Apple has kept their monitor-less computers segmented between "low-power desktop productivity" and "high-power professional workstation", but neither is really suitable for "cost-effective mid-range enthusiast/gaming". They should take this design and put a Core i7 and a NVIDIA GTX card. Then they should allow you, if you choose, to plug it into a TV and run an Apple-TV-like interface that would also let you launch games.

  • by neoshroom ( 324937 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:36AM (#43969981)
    Yes, the Mac Pro's used to be rather upgradable. I upgraded my drives many, many times and it was much easier than any PC and I upgraded my video card by buying a standard Windows video card and flashing it to work with Mac.

    While the new Mac Pro looks great, but I'm a little worried about expandability in this regard with the Mac Pro. I mean, I guess with dual GPU's you might not really want to upgrade the video card, as it would get quite expensive and they probably perform great to begin with. I can see not needing a CD-ROM. The only thing I use mine for ever currently is ripping music CDs to lossless. However, you are definitely going to want to add hard drives and popping on four thunderbolt connected drives, the same amount of slots as the Mac Pro had before, is going to get ugly fast.

    What they really should do is offer a second version of the same case as another product, with a power supply and four or five hard drive slots. It should as an option automatically put them in a RAID and even include wifi so it becomes a NAS. Then you can just have two of these things connected together locally via thunderbolt or separately over wifi or LAN instead of a mess of external drives.
  • Re:No not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chris_martin ( 115358 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:37AM (#43970781)

    I have a 10G Ethernet card on my iMac via an external Thunderbolt PCIe expansion chassis. So, OS X can use 10G.
    I have a third party software iSCSI Initiator installed, so OS X can use iSCSI.
    You fail to mention NFS, which OS X supports natively.

    Aside from CPU upgradability, the 6 Thunderbolt ports means that this particular Mac Pro is the single most expandable Mac on the planet.
    You can add a TON of PCIe expansion boxes to give you a ton of slots as needed, including additional graphics cards, RAID cards, etc.
    Since everything is external, you also don't need to worry about upgrading the internal PS of the Pro or worry about cooling needs of the computer itself.
    Yes, it'll mean that everything is external, but it also means that everything is "pay as you grow" and keeps the computer itself nice and small and hopefully less expensive (we shall see).

    No, it's not for everyone, but it is an interesting design and it is expandable.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser