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iMac Pro with Xeon coming (Rumor)


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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 08:14 PM

Apple is rumored to be including Xeon E3 processors in their "iMac Pro" coming this fall.

https://www.macrumor...d-late-october/

Personally, I'm not very impressed with the decision. The only tangible benefit that the Xeon E3 CPUs are going to bring is ECC memory, which only benefits a very small subsection of the pro-market. It will still be a 4c/8t CPU, same as the existing i7 option in the current iMac, meaning it won't actually be much more powerful (like 5-10% tops).

A Ryzen R7 1700 would have made a lot more sense, as it has lower thermals and power consumption, while also having vastly better productivity performance due to it being an 8c/16t CPU (50-100% better productivity performance over the 4 core i7's).
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#2 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 12:04 AM

Well, the last word of the topic title says it all. :) Rumours are usually pretty accurate a few weeks from launch, but 6 months before it's definitely not reliable and not worth its weight in pixels.

#3 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:12 AM

I think even if they were previously going to put Xeon in an iMac, which was a likely scenario IMO should they have killed the Mac Pro off, I don't think they are going to now.

I think we will see an effort by Apple to make these computers (desktops) easier to buy for consumers, and give more options for pro's. But with a desktop workstation now in the works (punpunpun) It just doesn't warrant the complexity it would bring to the iMac's pro choices.

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#4 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:12 AM

Its just Apple scrambling to turn their sinking ship around before the 2019 Mac Pro.
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#5 elowel

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 06:30 AM

The Surface Studio is getting pretty positive press, so I'd think any iMac revamp would be with the primary goal of affirming the system's dominance amongst whatever Apple consider the primary market for the iMac is.

#6 Tetsuya

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 12:04 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 06 April 2017 - 08:14 PM, said:

Apple is rumored to be including Xeon E3 processors in their "iMac Pro" coming this fall.

https://www.macrumor...d-late-october/

Personally, I'm not very impressed with the decision. The only tangible benefit that the Xeon E3 CPUs are going to bring is ECC memory, which only benefits a very small subsection of the pro-market. It will still be a 4c/8t CPU, same as the existing i7 option in the current iMac, meaning it won't actually be much more powerful (like 5-10% tops).

A Ryzen R7 1700 would have made a lot more sense, as it has lower thermals and power consumption, while also having vastly better productivity performance due to it being an 8c/16t CPU (50-100% better productivity performance over the 4 core i7's).

You aren't going to see Ryzen any time soon.  Apple has too good of a deal with Intel (they get the chips at VASTLY reduced prices).  And they get first pick.  Then there's also having to support more than one architecture in OSX again, which theyve finally gotten away from, so i'm not sure theyd be eager to re-expand their "have to su pport all this different crap" team.

#7 mattw

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:10 AM

Interesting times as I don't yet know if the iMac Pro might be the machine for me or if the full Pro will be necessary - assuming either aren't priced out of range.

I don't mind how many cores really but for me to spend the money and upgrade I do want to see better performance in BOTH single core and multicore tasks not just with first whilst taking a hit in the later.

I assume there are some good reasons but I really don't know why all memory isn't ECC by now across the board - how can better reliability not be worth it?

The main question is what happens with GPUs as that seems to be the area where there is the most improvement from a performance perspective - CPU improvements mainly are all about getting better power saving for battery powered devices it seems.
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#8 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 12:59 PM

View Postmattw, on 17 April 2017 - 07:10 AM, said:

I assume there are some good reasons but I really don't know why all memory isn't ECC by now across the board - how can better reliability not be worth it?

Reliability of non ECC RAM is good enough for 99.9% of users, so ECC RAM is not worth the 30% cost premium for them.

#9 Tetsuya

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 06:01 PM

It can also cause some latency, IIRC.

#10 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 09:12 PM

View Postmattw, on 17 April 2017 - 07:10 AM, said:

The main question is what happens with GPUs as that seems to be the area where there is the most improvement from a performance perspective - CPU improvements mainly are all about getting better power saving for battery powered devices it seems.

Very interested to see what happens here. It looks like Apple had some sort of plan with the iMac to give 'Pro' users more options, I feel like this has to be an overhaul of either GPU options or value for money. Tradition would see them likely just put M400 series AMD cards in, of which the fastest seems not much of an improvment over what the iMac can currently offer.

But Apple surprised me with Fusion Drive 5 years ago, I wonder if they've thought about some innovation to pack desktop cards into their higher end iMac's?

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#11 Tetsuya

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 09:23 PM

View PostAussieMacGamer, on 17 April 2017 - 09:12 PM, said:


But Apple surprised me with Fusion Drive 5 years ago, I wonder if they've thought about some innovation to pack desktop cards into their higher end iMac's?

They dont even need to do any innovation.  

nVidias 10-series lineup, there is no "M" variant - the desktop cards are full-fat desktop class GPUs.  Same number of CUDA cores in most cases (the GTX 1070 actually has more on mobile, but a slightly lower clock speed, but they perform identically), same clock speeds.  

They could easily fit all the way up to the GTX 1070 in the current iMac chasis with no thermal issues at all.  Probably the 1080 as well, honestly.  It might not boost high like it does in well ventilated PC, but even at stock clocks it's a serious powerhouse.

#12 mattw

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:07 AM

My thoughts with EEC memory are that it is still a good idea and the price would drop if it became standard on all computers. Unfortunately many good tech never becomes mainstream due to cost and so we can get stuck with 2nd best.
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#13 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:44 AM

View PostTetsuya, on 17 April 2017 - 09:23 PM, said:

They dont even need to do any innovation.  

There's always an opportunity for 'innovation' with Apple...

I wonder if there's any issues still with nVidia and Thunderbolt video output? In order to match the only other Thunderbolt 3 Mac with a dGPU the hypothetical computer needs to be able to:



Quote

Simultaneously support(s) full native resolution on the built-in display in millions of colours and:
  • Up to two displays with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz in over a billion colours
  • Up to four displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz in over a billion colours

with the 5k displays each being delivered over a single T3 port. My understanding is that the m400 series Radeon (lmao) AMD* were capable of doing that, a potential factor ruling out use of Nvidia chips in the Mbp at least.

Although irrespective of this, I feel like profit margins are a bigger concern for Apple than compatibility.

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    #14 Tetsuya

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    Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:31 PM

    There are a bunch of PC laptops that can drive 5k displays that all use nVidia 10-series chips.  I dont think that's an issue.  (Type-C connector TB3 ports)

    #15 Janichsan

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    Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:06 AM

    View PostTetsuya, on 20 April 2017 - 03:31 PM, said:

    There are a bunch of PC laptops that can drive 5k displays that all use nVidia 10-series chips.  I dont think that's an issue.  (Type-C connector TB3 ports)
    They can drive one 5k display, but not two (at the same time as the internal display).

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    #16 AussieMacGamer

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    Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:47 AM

    yeah what he said

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    #17 Tetsuya

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    Posted 21 April 2017 - 03:03 PM

    Seems to be an issue only for laptops, though.  For an iMac Pro, it wouldn't be an issue, as the nVidia hardware itself is more than capable of driving the displays.

    #18 Sneaky Snake

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    Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:34 PM

    The argument for the Nvidia chips makes sense, assuming that AMD doesn't have an ace up their sleeve with Vega, but I feel like Apple will with AMD GPU's for the same reason they are going with Intel CPUs - it is what they know/have deals in place for.

    An iMac Pro with a R7 1700 CPU and GTX 1070/1080 would run circles both computationally and graphically around a quad-core Xeon with an R485M, while operating at the same or less thermal/power limit.
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    #19 AussieMacGamer

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    Posted 21 April 2017 - 07:11 PM

    View PostSneaky Snake, on 21 April 2017 - 04:34 PM, said:

    The argument for the Nvidia chips makes sense, assuming that AMD doesn't have an ace up their sleeve with Vega, but I feel like Apple will with AMD GPU's for the same reason they are going with Intel CPUs - it is what they know/have deals in place for.

    Apple has a now decade old partnership with Intel. They helped them make the switch to x86, the partnership runs a bit deeper than anything Apple has had with AMD/Nvidia thus far. Apple aren't going to switch CPU's on a whim as they have GPU's, time and time again. The trend here is that AMD graphics have been far cheaper than Nvidia, even for consumers, for a number of generations now.

    I think even before this hypothetical Mac Pro 180º, Apple would likely have abandoned the Xeon altogether. It just didn't seem to be a portion of the market they valued all that much. Something in the past few months has made them change their mind, and I think Marco Arment's on the money here:

    Marco Arment said:

    Just as macOS’ versatility allows iOS to remain lightweight, the ability of the rest of the Mac lineup to be more aggressive, minimalist, and forward-looking depends on the Mac Pro to cover everyone whose needs don’t fit into them.5 The Mac Pro must be the catch-all at the high end: anytime someone says the iMac or MacBook Pro isn’t something enough for them, the solution should be the Mac Pro.

    I think the backlash from the new Macbook Pro really highlighted this for Apple at an executive level (heads in the clouds). I think the best iMac prosumers will get out of this will be one that has something closer to desktop level graphics, other than that I can't see them changing it in any other significant way (would be nice if they put a DP 1.3 port in and bring back TDM :P )

    View PostTetsuya, on 21 April 2017 - 03:03 PM, said:

    Seems to be an issue only for laptops, though.  For an iMac Pro, it wouldn't be an issue, as the nVidia hardware itself is more than capable of driving the displays.

    That's if they do what we want, and put desktop cards in... and i'm still very skeptical of that.

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    #20 Tetsuya

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    Posted 21 April 2017 - 08:12 PM

    View PostAussieMacGamer, on 21 April 2017 - 07:11 PM, said:


    That's if they do what we want, and put desktop cards in... and i'm still very skeptical of that.

    I think my point is/was that there's no divider in nVidia's lineup now.  Their entire lineup up to the GTX 1070 can fit in laptop thermal envelopes with no issue, so could easily fit in the iMac, and they crush the dogpoop out of anything AMDoa has produced.  Even if they just went with a GTX 1050Ti, it will crush anything but the highest-end AMD part.  And it's cheap.