SFF modular Mac Pro...?!?

VegetableStu

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  • DDR5
  • DDR5 SODIMM
  • (4-lane PCIe 4, derp) double-wide PCIe?
  • Thunderbolt 4?
  • Thunderbolt 3 with support for Thunderbolt 4?
  • "USB 3.1"
  • Firepro??? isn't it radeon pro now??
  • no storage specs??
soooooo maaaaany questions ._. it's either fake or a two years later thing
 
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Boil

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Solid front, top, & sides...

Looks like air intake is bottom front & sides perimeter, exhaust has to be out the back...

So, how is Apple managing what could be a 600 to 1000 watt total TDP in a 16.8 liter volume that should barely contain space for three dual-width PCIe cards, a large socket CPU & attending heat sink & 1200 watt PSU & fans to move air thru it all...?
 

Necere

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Air intake around the base, one big exhaust fan on the back would be my guess. They can't be using a standard motherboard - ATX is too big, mATX doesn't have the slots - so they have flexibility in terms of packaging.

Reasonable to treat this with some skepticism, but hasn't Apple said they were working on a new Mac Pro with more internal expansion like the old G5s had? This seems plausible, at least.
 

VegetableStu

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i mean the way this has so much internal expansion is great, but the specs themselves kinda smells of wishlist to me ._.

also counting PCIe lanes
  • x48 or x40: main/GPU (three x16 slots, or possibly x16/x16/x8 again)
  • x16: 4 double-thunderbolt controllers (so total 8 ports)
  • x8: two PCIe connections for NVMe
we can rearrange a few specs with "redriving a 4.0 lane into two 3.0 lanes", but that adds complexity and demands more signal integrity of the system as a whole. i'd not guess like this untill i see a server system that does this to a lot of lanes
 
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Valantar

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Those dimensions mean that full-height full-length PCIe cards will fill pretty much the entire length or height of the PC. Ports must then be on the back as there'd be no room for I/O on the top with the depicted design, meaning this can't have a top-to-bottom (Silverstone Raven style) expansion card layout. This means any bottom intake fan will be more or less blocked, or at least severely restricted, unless the PCIe slots are on top, BTX-style. This is of course possible, and would feed the CPU with cool air, but leave any but the first GPU starved for air. Apple likes to run their hardware hot, so I guess that's what they'll do and take any throttling this brings as par for the course, but it's a type of design that doesn't jive well with keeping things quiet as dual or triple GPUs would mean plenty of fast fans if things heat up, and blower fans would be the only option as heat would otherwise circulate back to the CPU cooler with nowhere else to go. They'd likely have custom fan curves for that favoring throttling over noise, but again it's a rather poor trade-off that would be entirely alleviated by perforating the front and adding intake fans there.


Then again, citing Cascade Lake-X and PCIe 4.0 puts the lie to this. Cascade Lake only supports PCIe 3.0, and while Intel does often make SKUs specifically for Apple, they're not going to do a fully custom HEDT die for Apple, no matter their volumes or cash hoard. That would simply be too expensive. DDR5 support would also require a new, custom die - and, of course, a finalized JEDEC DDR5 standard. Beyond that, stating that it has Thunderbolt 3 ports with Tunderbolt 4(???) support just underscores how fake this is.
i mean the way this has so much internal expansion is great, but the specs themselves kinda smells of wishlist to me ._.

also counting PCIe lanes
  • x48 or x40: main/GPU (three x16 slots, or possibly x16/x16/x8 again)
  • x16: 4 double-thunderbolt controllers (so total 8 ports)
  • x8: two PCIe connections for NVMe
we can rearrange a few specs with "redriving a 4.0 lane into two 3.0 lanes", but that adds complexity and demands more signal integrity of the system as a whole. i'd not guess like this untill i see a server system that does this to a lot of lanes
The I/O isn't that far off, really, as both TB3 and NVMe are likely to be run off the PCH, which IIRC has 30 lanes. If Intel sticks with their standard HSIO setup (which is unlikely to change) ~6 of these will be locked to USB (though Intel is likely to implement PCIe 3.2 support which might take away a few more), leaving ~24 PCIe lanes. This clearly won't have SATA ports, so that won't use up any, but there'll definitely be Ethernet and a 10GbE option, which takes away another 4 lanes minimum, leaving us with ~18. That's ... still not enough. But I'd be reasonably willing to bet the expansion slots would be more divided, likely x16/x8/x8, with the remaining x8 used for NVMe storage directly off the CPU, meaning 18 lanes off the PCH is sufficient for the TB3 ports.

Of course, this would mean massive bottlenecks when using muliple high-speed TB3 peripherals (such as SSDs or storage arrays, which the lack of internal storage expandability will necessitate). This would be fun to use (note: sarcasm) if it weren't such an obvious fake.
 
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VegetableStu

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also: i just noticed the guy forgot to draw a particular dimension and repeated another ._.

EDIT: wait nope that's the top view on the right ( /)_(\
 
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Boil

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where did you get that? ._.
Linked into a thread on the MacRumors forums, originally from an Imgur post, anonymous poster & no comments...

EDIT: I'm calling it. it's a render
Yeah, definitely a render of a fake booklet...

The lack of any shadow for someone holding the booklet open, even though the booklet itself is casting a shadow across both horizontal & vertical surfaces is what troubled me (aside from the issues with the computer layout & such)...
 

Boil

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This was from the October 2018 event where they announced the Space Grey Mac mini & the 3rd gen iPad Pros...



Note the cube-shaped object on the right side of the image, this was used as a sort of standing desk for demos...

I think it is a larger-than-life scale model of a forthcoming Mac Pro...

NOT the forthcoming modular Mac Pro, but a contender for an ARM-based Mac Pro...?

Imagine the Mac mini, 7.7" W x 7.7" D... Now make a similar chassis, but make it 7.7" H as well...

Same proprietary PSU, same horizontal footprint, but taller & more power...

I/O along lower rear of chassis, rear exhaust above the I/O...

I/O is eight TB3 / USB-C ports, dual 10Gb Ethernet ports, & a 3.5mm headphone jack...

Backplane vertically oriented at the front of the chassis, four vertically oriented daughtercards mounted 90 degrees to backplane...

Each daughtercard has four ARM APUs, 64GB RAM, & 2TB SSD...

Total of sixteen APUs, 256GB RAM, & 8TB SSD for a fully loaded chassis...

* * * FURTHER THOUGHTS * * *

Rather than the PSU along one side & the backplane along the front, Apple could do PSU to the bottom & backplane (horizontally oriented) above that, daughtercards till at 90 degrees to backplane & vertically oriented... Rear I/O is still to lower back of chassis...

Air intake would be from all four sides, with a single 180mm x 25mm exhaust fan up top...

The all four sides intake is accomplished by an open framework underchassis & a HomePod-esque outer covering...

;^p
 
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Valantar

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where did you get that? ._.

EDIT: I'm calling it. it's a render
Agreed. Even if they went to some pretty significant lengths to make it look "real"/believable (the "dust" on the booklet is a nice touch), the grain is far too even across the image for an actual photo, and as mentioned above, holding the booklet open like that - even with some sort of wire or other tool - would create a shadow. And yes, that could be removed in post, but if they did that they'd also remove the dust. Besides, the black bakcground is far too even for even a studio photo. Oh, not to mention that a photo like this would be taken in an extremely brightly lit studio with multiple flashes at as low ISO as possible - there wouldn't be noticeable noise/grain in the image, let alone this much. And I very much doubt Apple would add noise to their product images for aesthetic reasons.

Also, from a print layout point of view, it's highly unlikely they'd place product images on the inside of the cover like this - that would in all likelihood be left blank, with the first page (the one with the three case images) likely only containing the Apple logo and "Designed by Apple in California", or at least a monolithic view of the PC with the same text. It's extremely unlikely that Apple would break with design conventions like this, as it makes for an unpleasant reading experience.

... not to mention that the top in this render clearly has large vents, while the top in the previous render is a blank sheet of metal.

Then there's the outlines around the images:

Look at the bottom/right edge of the monitor and the frontal case images. All have clear contrasting outlines.

Sure, these might be down to jpg artefacting, but they're too even for that IMO. This looks very much like an artifact from a design being pasted onto a background it didn't originally have, and isn't something that would survive the printing process.

Then there's the lack of a PCIe retention mechanism (which would likely be hidden by clever lighting in an Apple render for aesthetic reasons, but not invisible like here) and the fact that the PCIe slots are clearly only single slots.
 
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Valantar

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This was from the October 2018 event where they announced the Space Grey Mac mini & the 3rd gen iPad Pros...



Note the cube-shaped object on the right side of the image, this was used as a sort of standing desk for demos...

I think it is a larger-than-life scale model of a forthcoming Mac Pro...

NOT the forthcoming modular Mac Pro, but a contender for an ARM-based Mac Pro...?

Imagine the Mac mini, 7.7" W x 7.7" D... Now make a similar chassis, but make it 7.7" H as well...

Same proprietary PSU, same horizontal footprint, but taller & more power...

I/O along lower rear of chassis, rear exhaust above the I/O...

I/O is eight TB3 / USB-C ports, dual 10Gb Ethernet ports, & a 3.5mm headphone jack...

Backplane vertically oriented at the front of the chassis, four vertically oriented daughtercards mounted 90 degrees to backplane...

Each daughtercard has four ARM APUs, 64GB RAM, & 2TB SSD...

Total of sixteen APUs, 256GB RAM, & 8TB SSD for a fully loaded chassis...

* * * FURTHER THOUGHTS * * *

Rather than the PSU along one side & the backplane along the front, Apple could do PSU to the bottom & backplane (horizontally oriented) above that, daughtercards till at 90 degrees to backplane & vertically oriented... Rear I/O is still to lower back of chassis...

Air intake would be from all four sides, with a single 180mm x 25mm exhaust fan up top...

The all four sides intake is accomplished by an open framework underchassis & a HomePod-esque outer covering...

;^p
Or, you know, we could apply Ockham's razor and call a prop desk a prop desk and not some multi-year product design foreshadowing easter-egg. Apple likes square-ish designs with rounded corners and dark greys. It stands to reason that they'd use this aesthetic for an on-stage demo table so that it would blend in when not in use. We have zero idea how their design language will evolve until they have ARM hardware (and software!) even remotely powerful enough to challenge X86-based solutions. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
 
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Boil

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Or, you know, we could apply Ockham's razor and call a prop desk a prop desk and not some multi-year product design foreshadowing easter-egg. Apple likes square-ish designs with rounded corners and dark greys. It stands to reason that they'd use this aesthetic for an on-stage demo table so that it would blend in when not in use. We have zero idea how their design language will evolve until they have ARM hardware (and software!) even remotely powerful enough to challenge X86-based solutions. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
How dare you deny me my fever dreams...!!!
 
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VegetableStu

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i'd say wait for WWDC, but even so the rumors point only to Apple still being undecided on whether to introduce any detail on the MMP ._.
 

Boil

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i'd say wait for WWDC, but even so the rumors point only to Apple still being undecided on whether to introduce any detail on the MMP ._.

Well, they missed the third annual Mea Culpa in April, so I am hoping for a WWDC preview at least; much like they announced the incumbent 2013 Cylindrical Mac Pro at WWDC, they can preview its replacement to us at the same conference...