How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

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Irinikus
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How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby Irinikus » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:33 am

If you're talking innovation, as far as apple is concerned, from a processing power point of view, what type of CPU would you like to see them use in their "Pro" models in order to give them the edge that they once had over PC?

While they made use of Power-PC CPU's in their old Power Mac series, they seemed to have quite an edge over the PC, which they very quickly lost when they switched to using Intel CPU's.

I understand why they switched to Intel CPU's(The laptop market), but would it not have been better for them to keep on using Power-PC CPU's for their Power/Pro series concurrently to their Intel based laptops?

The question is: Are there any Power-PC CPU's available today that could really be able to give a company such as Apple an edge over PC from a core for core performance point of view?
Especially when you consider the latest developments such as Threadripper from AMD?
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:03 am

A: stop becoming iPadized garbage and be a real goddamn operating system again.
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby Adrenaline » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:19 am

For me personally I feel like the innovations and uniqueness of Apple's laptop/desktop products ended with the Power Mac G5 Tower.

I do have to give them credit for helping to force the removal of cheap plastics from HP/Dell/etc. in their higher end laptops in favor of a nice chassis/keyboard/etc. Now I get to enjoy my Razer Blade Stealth :)
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby guardian452 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:41 am

Macbook pro with A-series processor.

PPC is dead.

Investing heavily into the workstation market is a fool's errand. Apple will do better by pushing in the low-power space where the real innovation lies, and then building out those parts to the laptop and eventually desktop form factors. The new iphone can now out-muscle the 15w macbook pro chips, leaving the fanless macbook in the dust.

The ipads already receive a -X version. Perhaps mac laptops will get a -XX version, and imacs a -XXX ? 8-)

The only hiccup in this master plan of mine is I/O, AFAIK there is no thunderbolt on an A-series and if there is PCI-E (how else do they connect storage?), there are probably not too many lanes. On an iOS device there is also a small amount of memory to deal with and the device tree is practically fixed in stone.

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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby GIJoe » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:38 am

i wouldn't want them to switch back from intel. :)
i'm not a HPC or audio- or even video-guy but in my field (3D) it has always been intel, intel aaaaand intel. well, in the post-mips era, anyway. ;)
in the environment i work in, the only PPC-macs in the facility traditionally have been in the audio department. nobody would have looked at AMD either - other than perhaps in a funny fashion - for heat and stability reasons.

in my opinion mac on intel opened up so many applications for easy porting, not to forget emulation/virtualization or - apparently important to many people though i personally have never tried - running windows directly on apple hardware - that moving to some other architecure would just be a pain.
it also made the mac pretty competitive and straight forward to compare with the PC - no need for those dorky speed test videos and the whole RISC -- CISC debate anymore. i certainly only gained an interest in the platform after their switch to intel. it's just kind of a tragedy that they have transformed themselves proper into this high street gadget fashion company since that goddamn iphone.

i said it on the trashcan mac thread: apple lacks a roadmap and a clearly communicated vision for workstations. if you only pop out a workstation randomly every few years and not even counter the rumors about the entire line's discontinuation for years then it's not going to be a good investment for those who have to commit to a platform. i don't want to know how many have regretted picking up the trashcan in the last few years. if you commit to license fees and subscription plans and regular software maintenance last thing you need is to feel like your choice of hardware is a dead end.

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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby Irinikus » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:55 am

The Trash Can was a good Mac, but you constantly find people moaning about the fact that it wasn't innovative, or no more powerful than it's PC equivalent!

The argument is: how can you produce a machine that outperformes the competition, when you're using the same hardware as the competition?

Apple chose to go for an elegant design in the "trash can", and as far as I'm concerned, that distinguished it from it's bulky, noisy PC equivalent! It's definitely one of the densest computers ever developed, when you compare it's compute power vs it's form factor!

The only gripe that I have is with Apple themselves as a company and not with the machine, as they seemingly abandoned a great design, in not offering an upgrade for the GPU side of the machine during its relevant lifespan! And for keeping dead quiet about their future plans for the Pro line.

A little bit off topic, but:

As for the iPhone x! :cry:

What's going on at the top of the screen! :shock:
And where's the home button?

Apple are extremely lucky that iOS isn't rivaled at this point, so the one and only reason that I will get one of these disappointing pieces of hardware is due to the fact that it runs iOS and not the hardware! As I absolutely can't stand Android!
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby GIJoe » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:13 am

oh i don't mind the trashcan as such at all but it's not a real workstation design just a nice compact computer. i think they don't even let you swap in a bog standard SSD and it's a single drive slot at that?

they also went with non-swappable AMD GPUs when the industry at the time was already settling on nvidia for compute tasks... at least come up with a design that can be swapped out as requirements change?

i think design was their main differentiator though. i remember deciding between various computers for a new home workstation (among them a sun, lenovo and hp Z) and the intel cheesegrater was a real contender - on price, airflow and expandability no less. what kept me from going for it was that i would have required it to run windows exclusively and had some concerns regarding that.
Last edited by GIJoe on Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby Irinikus » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:15 am

I agree with you, in that it should have been marketed as a compact desktop rather than a workstation! As it's a really cool home desktop! :D
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SUN: JavaStation-10 (Krups), XVR-4000.
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Apple: G3 Clamshell, G4 Sawtooth, G4 Quicksilver, G4 Mirror Doors, G5, Mac Pro 2013 (Trash can), 27 inch Cinema Display.
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby GIJoe » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:35 am

Irinikus wrote:The argument is: how can you produce a machine that outperformes the competition, when you're using the same hardware as the competition?!


i think that'll be near impossible anyway unless your design is radically different and vastly superior at the same time since the bottleneck will always be developers. as i am on both PC and mac i can compare builds for the different platforms for some of the tools i use and the mac one is usually weaker/slower/less stable. no wonder if they develop for PC first due to market share.
the exception to that rule are those apps that have been developed first for the mac and make use of certain mac-specific libraries and whatnot. then it's a matter of time before the PC version comes out on top (again, due to market share).

and if the hardware turned out so radically different then it would probably suffer from lack of software availability and only really show it's strength in some rather obscure niche. why do i have to think of the comparisons made between the octane and the pentium 2/3 now. ;)

last really outlandish hardware design for workstation use that was kind of due to end up in retail product that i can think of was the CELL processor. i am not sure what happened to that after they put the sucky cut down version of that into the Playstation 3 but since i was working in the field at the time i do recall that developers really hated it and that for years it was a nightmare to port to (unlike the xbox 360 which was the bog standard design and prefered by most programmers (the ones not wearing UNIX or Carmack tshirts)).

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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby jan-jaap » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:28 am

If you want a proper workstation, look no further than the new HP Z8: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09 ... re-3tb-z8/

up to 56 cores (112 threads)
up to 3TB RAM
up to 3 graphics cards
... and pretty much everything else you can dream of.

I don't expect Apple create anything even remotely competitive with that (in terms of sheer brute computer performance).

I just don't like the case. The older Z series (800/820/840) looked better. And of course there are not many non-server workloads that will scale to > 100 threads. There are few things that will max out my 12 core (24 threads) Z600 already.
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby guardian452 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:19 pm

Irinikus wrote:As for the iPhone x! :cry:

What's going on at the top of the screen! :shock:


These are both screenshots from apple.com, your questions and more can be answered there...
Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 3.14.06 PM.png

Irinikus wrote:And where's the home button?
Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 3.13.03 PM.png



Too bad I just got an iphone 7 a few months ago. Ah well. If you want a home button, and don't want Face ID, then I can wholly recommend it, or an iphone 8. I'm much more excited about having cellular on an apple watch (not to mention GPS and something faster than a paperclip, CPU wise, like the last time I tried one).

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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:01 pm

Yes, if I were in the market for an Intel workstation, I think I'd probably strongly consider the Z8 too. So much of my old software doesn't work on modern macOS that there's really no advantage to sticking with it anymore.
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:32 pm

PPC is not dead. Just low end PPC CPUs, as OpenPOWER and POWER9 are doing quite well.
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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby guardian452 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:20 pm

Dead to apple, at least. They would never go back to PPC, and they wouldn't go further upmarket to a POWER9, either.

I still predict an A-series mac if intel can't keep up. What needed to happen for the ppc-x86 transition was emulation of ppc code faster than native. I'm not so sure the requirements are as stringent this time, the move could be reasonable on energy savings alone.

And even for a coal-powered tower, reduced power consumption means you can pack in more chips.

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Re: How can Apple reclaim its dominance over PC-based workstations?

Unread postby Irinikus » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:12 pm

jan-jaap wrote:If you want a proper workstation, look no further than the new HP Z8: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09 ... re-3tb-z8/

up to 56 cores (112 threads)
up to 3TB RAM
up to 3 graphics cards
... and pretty much everything else you can dream of.


Now that's a proper machine!

It also seems to have a pretty small form factor if you consider what's in there!
:Onyx2:Quad R14K 500MHz, IR3, DG5-8 :Tezro:Quad R16K 700MHz, 8MB, V12, DCD, DM3 :Octane2:Dual R14K 600MHz, PCI Card Cage, V12 :320:Dual 1GHz PIII
:O2:R12K 400MHz, DCD :Indigo:R4400SC 150MHz, ELAN :Indigo2:R4400SC 200MHz, Extreme :Indy:R4400SC 200MHz, XZ :Indy:R5000SC 150MHz, 24Bit XL.
SUN: JavaStation-10 (Krups), XVR-4000.
DEC: AlphaStation 255/300MHz.
Cray: Cray1: Memory Module, Cray2: Memory Module (complete stack of eight boards) and a power supply module, Cray3: ECL Module.
Apple: G3 Clamshell, G4 Sawtooth, G4 Quicksilver, G4 Mirror Doors, G5, Mac Pro 2013 (Trash can), 27 inch Cinema Display.
IBM: 486 DX-4 100MHz, 32Mb RAM, Creative Soundblaster 16-Bit, 1.44 Mb Disk drive, Creative 4X CD-ROM, 520Mb HDD.
Alienware: Aurora 7500.
Gaming Rig: Coolermaster Cosmos II, Coolermaster Ultimate 1100W Power supply, Asus Rampage III extreme, I7 980X, Corsair H100, 24Gb Corsair Dominator DDR3, EVGA GTX Titan X Super Clocked Edition, OCZ revodrive 3 x2 240gb, Velociraptor 600GB, Corsair 128GB SSD, Creative X-fi Fatality Pro.


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