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Jim W

WWDC 2019 - Mac Pro Hopes

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Keynote is this coming Monday! Its still not looking super solid, even on the rumor mill side, but I still hold out hope for a significant upgrade to Apples Pro offerings:

https://www.macrumors.com/guide/wwdc-2019-what-to-expect/

With all they're throwing into eGPU support, I have to guess that they plan a "Modular" Mac Pro to be upgradable with external modules, rather than giving users access to the gut directly like they last did with the cheesegrater Mac Pro tower. Fingers crossed.

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This new Mac Pro is insane!

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I hopped into the stream late but... be still my nerdy heart... it looks gorgeous and powerful so far.

WHEELS!

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1 minute ago, Jim W said:

WHEELS!

Must resist riding it around the office

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Some customization options this time...glad that you can use different graphics cards, and tons of PCI expansion is back. And the price $5999 for the basic model. Is it worth it?

nice Wheels though!!!

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I'm impressed with what they mentioned for video editing.  Real time rendering of effects on multiple video streams is going to be pretty cool.

They mentioned that Unreal was one of the supporting partners, so perhaps this is good new for those using Twinmotion.

The creation of IpadOS and being able to natively use an Ipad as a second touchscreen monitor for the macbook pro will a nifty addition w/o having to buy a third party app.

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Interesting to note they mentioned Maxon and more specifically Redshift (GPU render engine now owned by Maxon) which is currently NVIDIA only. 

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As a long term fan of buying macs second hand ... I am wondering if the launch of this will prompt a drop in prices for second-hand 'trash-can' mac pros, and whether there's any sense in moving from my current, refurbed 2009 Mac Pro, to one of those things.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jim W said:

‚ÄúTapping into the amazing performance of the new Mac Pro, we‚Äôre excited to develop Redshift for Metal, and we‚Äôre working with Apple to bring an optimized version to the Mac Pro for the first time by the end of the year. We‚Äôre also actively developing Metal support for Cinema 4D, which will provide our Mac users with accelerated workflows for the most complex content creation. The new Mac Pro graphics architecture is incredibly powerful and is the best system to run Cinema 4D.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ David McGavran, CEO, Maxon

 

So... I'll be the first to ask for a status update on VW and Metal.

 

On that note, when will VW's 4-core limit will be increased, and to how many cores? 8? 12? 16? 24? 28?

 

3 hours ago, Jim W said:

irritating that they effectively took credit for cooling and accessibility design thats been standard in gaming PCs for years now but I'm just so happy to see them stretch far in that direction that I'll forgive it.

 

Convection has been around since Newtown but at least we didn't have to sit through Sir Jony Ive mansplaining it to us.

 

Or Phil gaslighting us about how leaving 1micron of space between modules is "courageous" (and won't box them/us in 5 years from now).

 

3 hours ago, Jim W said:

Base specs for this thing should handle Vectorworks like a dream since it's still limited to one GPU at the moment.ÔĽŅ

 

Except that they pulled their favorite dirty trick of using 256GB storage--same as an iPhone--and a 2-year old budget-GPU in the baseline model, so guess how much those upgrades will be? Based on current pricing models, and a $1k monitor *****ing stand, I'm guessing in the magnitude of thousands, quickly turning the step-up config into a $10k build that turbos at a theoretical 4.4Ghz.

 

Isn't the point of that whole proprietary graphics contraption Apple's version of SLI, enabling 2 cards to be used as 1? Even so, I would be shocked if VW could max out even one of those 32GB cards anytime in the next 5 years (would be an excellent problem to have though).


Honestly, what I really want right now is a 2019 iMac without a screen. That would be solid for VW for the next 2 years. The Mac Pro is future-proof in it's modularity but totally over-engineered in ways that won't help us VW users. Plus, who wants to drop $10k on a machine that's still gonna get a spinning beachball of death because of all the legacy code in VW?

 

Now that the cat's out of the bag, and Apple increased the width of something--that overpriced monitor--for the first time in their history, this gives hope for the mythical 16" MacBook Pro in 2020... 

 

Edited by Mark Aceto
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2 hours ago, line-weight said:

As a long term fan of buying macs second hand ... I am wondering if the launch of this will prompt a drop in prices for second-hand 'trash-can' mac pros, and whether there's any sense in moving from my current, refurbed 2009 Mac Pro, to one of those things.

 

Yes and no.

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For Vectorworks and CPU rendering the MacPro is totally overequipped. ECC-Ram doesn't do anything in Vectorworks. More than a single graphics card doesn't help either. Without needing ECC-Ram, you can also do without the expensive Xeon processors. A threadripper provides the same performance for much less money.
Unfortunately the same motherboard is built into all MacPro. In the basic version this is hopelessly overpriced, because it is made for hardware up to 50'000$. So in the basic version simply too much performance remains unused.
We Vectorworks users also have some special requirements. Who doesn't render, is well served with a gaming PC with Profi SSD, and who renders needs Gaming RAM/GPU and Profi CPU/SSD.  Neither of these is served with the new Mac Pro, despite its modular design.

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With Apple, concern for price is just out the window. At this point, it's a heavy price you pay for macOS, but it still has it's staunch fans. It's hard to justify it specifically for Vectorworks since it works cross platform, but for people whose software or ecosystem is completely Mac, this fills the need of "I just can get enough out of an iMac" which has been the problem for Macs for some time. There was NO high end option that you didn't have to overspend on for included mobility or slimness. Now this entry is definitely upmarket and ultra high end, but to be fair they did have a huge hole in that segment.

 

The main issue I'm happy looks to be solved is thermal throttling. iMacs and MBPs all had that issue and I'm glad to see they took it seriously. 

 

As for secondhand Mac pros, I suspect a lot of the 2009-era cheesegraters and 2013 trashcan models will become available but the price may not drop very much. I DO predict however that now that a new Pro is available, macOS will start dropping support for the older models much sooner.

 

I would have liked to see some more reasonable 2999- level price points and configurations for it too, but now they have a platform that it's possible in. I guarantee that fancy rollcage, (WHEELS!) fans and machined facing isn't more than $600 on it's own, so they could decide to put more mortal silicone in there if they wanted to after this initial rollout. They only have policy stopping them now.

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The thing that puts me off getting an iMac is the non-upgradeability, rather than the performance.

 

I'm willing to spend a bit more on a computer if I know that it's going to last me a good few years. But also, it's just less hassle to upgrade certain parts when you need to, rather than engaging in the whole process of research and everything else that comes with getting a new machine. For some time I happily used mac minis for this reason.

 

All this means that probably the 'sensible' option for me is to go over to PC. But I don't really want to have to get a grip on a whole new operating system. I am my own IT manager - but want to spend as little time in that role as possible - and can only just keep things in hand with macs at the moment. I'll pay a premium not to have to change OS... up to a point.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, line-weight said:

All this means that probably the 'sensible' option for me is to go over to PC. But I don't really want to have to get a grip on a whole new operating system. I am my own IT manager - but want to spend as little time in that role as possible - and can only just keep things in hand with macs at theÔĽŅ moment. I'll pay a premium not to have to change OS... up to a point

 

I personally prefer macOS as a daily driver as well. It's got some annoying bits, but quicklook and expose are still hard to really match even with third party extensions on Windows. 

 

I will say that OTHER than the annoying autoupdates, Windows 10 is quite well worked out now. I was a big Windows 7 proponent for a long time as I hated 8, but 10 has finally started down the path of improving things again. It's not a terrible time to switch, or to get a mid-range machine in the meantime and learn it slowly. I'd say the main considerations are cloud storage and account syncing solutions before a transition is made. 

EDIT: Forgot I found this little gem the other day, not AS good as Apple's quicklook, but its 90% of what I want it for on Windows: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/quicklook/9nv4bs3l1h4s?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

Edited by Jim W
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20 hours ago, JuanP said:

Is it worth it?

 

What I'd like to know is whether Vectorworks thinks they're worth it to run their Vectorworks Cloud Services. I suspect not.

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Just now, Christiaan said:

 

What I'd like to know is whether Vectorworks thinks they're worth it to run their Vectorworks Cloud Services. I suspect not.


Vectorworks isn't allowed to, sadly. Cloud processes require creating a virtualized instance of the OS, and macOS does not allow that, even on it's own hardware.¬†ūüė쬆All¬†Cloud Services instances are Windows because of this. That will hopefully change someday but last I heard it was up to Apple.

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1 hour ago, Jim W said:

EDIT: Forgot I found this little gem the other day, not AS good as Apple's quicklook, but its 90% of what I want it for on Windows: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/quicklook/9nv4bs3l1h4s?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

 

I have it, it is great and a huge help against missing macOS feature pain in Windows.

(There are still a lot more lacks of course)

 

 

3 hours ago, Jim W said:

With Apple, concern for price is just out the window. At this point, it's a heavy price you pay for macOS,

 

Pro Mac Pro is out of reach of the majority of previous typical Mac Pro users.

But if Pro Mac Pro doesn't get abandoned again in the near future, macOS will

evolve and 3D Apps broadly support Metal - Mac Minis, iMacs, Macbooks -

with eGPU might justify macOS as a viable 3D Platform though.

 

But we will see that in a few years only.

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9 minutes ago, Jim W said:

Vectorworks isn't allowed to, sadly. Cloud processes require creating a virtualized instance of the OS, and macOS does not allow that, even on it's own hardware.¬†ūüė쬆All¬†Cloud Services instances are Windows because of this. That will hopefully change someday but last I heard it was up to Apple.

 

Ah I see. "Even on it's own hardware" seems bonkers. What are they scared of?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jim W said:

I would have liked to see some more reasonable 2999- level price points and configurations for it too

 

Exactly.

 

The CPU is socketed, so I wish they had a placeholder throwaway option. It's absolutely beyond me--yet so completely inline with Apple nonsense--that they refuse to work with NVIDIA and also insist on using Intel CPU's. Why not just go all-in on AMD? Probably because of some 10-year deal Tim Apple made with Intel 7 years ago... 

 

The storage is modular, so we could bring our own... on top of the 6k base price.

 

@JuanP it's probably too soon to tease VW 2020 but:

  1. What's the current multi-core limit? Is it still 4 cores?
  2. Is there a plan to use Metal? Netmetshek-owned Maxxon/Cinema, Redshift, Epic/Unreal/TwinMotion, and VW competitors like AutoDesk are onboard... 
  3. I've never pushed VW beyond 12GB of VRAM--any updates to the VGM that will make use of 32GB or more?
  4. How's the project of revising legacy code coming along? Is there a target completion date?

After dropping $9k on an iMac Pro, and watching the spinning beach ball of death (VW 2018), I'm not eager to drop $10k on a Mac Pro, and get that same sinking feeling of buyer's remorse in the pit of my stomach. That said, VW 2019 made huge strides to improve that, so fingers crossed for VW 2020... 

 

giphy.gif

Edited by Mark Aceto

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I'm glad this Mac Pro came out for the video people, it will be an amazing tool for them. ¬†It also finally puts to rest the rumors of the Apple Car since this computer costs more than a nicely equipped vehicle with it's optional wheels¬†ūüôā

It also tells me that if I need a workstation for my needs, I should just pop for a nicely configured IMac Pro now at under $7000.  I'm guessing one will easily serve me for 5-6 years for my vectorworks, video, and photo editing needs.  That's an acceptable price for lifespan and performance for my needs.  I'm using a late 2015 Macbook Pro right now on a 70,000 square meter 1 GB site model referencing in 20 other 3D building models and it works smoothly, except for rendering a viewport with artistic effects.  I can't imagine having to work on anything more complicated and expect the software will eventually catch up to the hardware capabilities.

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Posted (edited)

@rgcn Do you mean Insane in a good way, or crazy in terms of price and design!

 

As an apple user and HUGE fanatic for over 20 years I am quite shocked by the price hikes, and don't know if any of my hundreds of architectural clients (I teach Vectorworks Professionally) would be able to justify such a huge expense, especially once you start to "Up Spec with SSD, RAM and GPU's" You could easily spend more money than a decent car or holiday of a lifetime would cost (for you and your family) so you really have to justify the time and money the investment would save!

 

 It almost feel like its a strange dream (nightmare) where we just went back 10 years in the past and created another G5 tower type computer which was large enough to be upgradable and had decent cooling to run properly. ( I have 3 sitting redundant in my office) Then you find yourself 10 years in the future in terms of pricing and Apple have morphed into a high end computer jewellery company like Rolex developing OP products for the rich! Don't even get me started on the £999 monitor stand! The best thing about this has been the hilarious Cheesegrater memes.

 

Anyway, thats my personal view (and future jealousy of anyone how gets one as they do look awesomely specced), and I would love to know what everyone else things or is it just me that things Apple lost the plot on this one?

Edited by JRA-Vectorworks-CAD
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