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SFF modular Mac Pro...?!?

Boil

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Nov 11, 2015
851
693
Maybe the reason TR3 dropped off the roadmap at the recent AMD earnings report is because Apple has an exclusive with it for the modular Mac Pro...?!?
 

Boil

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Nov 11, 2015
851
693
oookay maybe drop the kool aid for a bit ._.
MORE KOOL-AID...!!!

This was from a speculation article about a month or so before WWDC 2013...



Ditch the front I/O & have a TouchID power button behind the Apple logo...

Processors: 7nm Zen 2 Ryzen Threadripper 3
  • 3990WX 64C/128T, 3.5GHZ/4.2GHz, 250W
  • 3970WX 48C/96T, 3.5GHZ/4.2GHz, 250W
  • 3950X 32C/64T, 3.7GHz/4.4GHz, 180W
  • 3920X 24C/48T, 3.7GHz/4.4GHz, 180W
Memory: Quad-channel, ECC DDR4, eight DIMM slots, maximum 512GB BTO, 64GB standard (4 @ 16GB DIMMs), user serviceable

Samsung A-die DIMMS, high-speed, low-latency, high-density, up to 64GB sticks

Storage: T2 (T3?) with dual Apple-proprietary SSDs in RAID, ~4GB/s read and write, 2 TB standard, up to 8 TB BTO

Graphics: PCIe 4.0, two triple-width slots (x16, x16), one double-width slot (x8)
  • AMD Radeon VII, 7nm Vega 20, 60CU, 16GB HBM2
  • AMD Radeon RX 3090X, 7nm Navi 20, 64CU, 8GB GDDR6 (available Q2 2020)
  • AMD Radeon RX 3080X, 7nm Navi 10, 56CU, 8GB GDDR6
  • AMD Radeon RX 3070X, 7nm Navi 10, 48CU, 8GB GDDR6
2.5-width slots give dual-width GPUs room to breathe
x8 dual-width slot for the 12G SDI 8K video I/O folks, or a wicked fast NVMe-based RAID card

Ports: four TB3 / USB-C, four USB-A, dual 10Gb Ethernet, one 3.5mm headphone jack

The above could be in the middle chassis, but if it could all be crammed into the far right chassis (without thermal throttling issues), that would be great...

Oh yeah, and if we could get that in Space Grey...? Thanks, Tim...!
 

Boil

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Nov 11, 2015
851
693
@Necere

Would you look over these notes & tell me if you think this would be feasible...?!?

2019 modular Mac Pro

7.7" cubed, but with the same vertical curved corners as the Mac mini (of which we are sharing the width & depth dimensions), appropriately sized feet to match the proportions of the chassis while still providing appropriate breathing room for bottom intake fan.

A quick video for insight into the PSU...


So, with that view of the layout on the Space Grey Mac mini, we move to the 7.7" Cube modular Mac Pro version...

Take the same PSU concept, make it go all the way up in the 7.7" tall (excluding feet) chassis. That should allow about 6x the volume for the PSU than in the mini. The mini PSU is 120W, hopefully Apple can do a 750W PSU...?

So now we have three of the 'interior walls' flat, but one still has those pesky curved corners (the one across from the PSU). What to do...? Storage...! Four 2.5" SSDs (two stacks of two SSDs) should not be an issue. That 'flattens out' the fourth 'interior wall'.

So on the inside of the front of the chassis, there will be a backplane with four daughtercard slots, all arraigned vertically.


First daughtercard next to the PSU is the main daughtercard, Threadripper 3 as outlined in above post, but only the two 180W versions (24C/48T & 32C/64T) with copper vapor chamber heatsink & four SO-DIMM slots (RAM slots located below PCH heat sink), & T2 chip with two (Apple-proprietary) NVMe SSDs; heatsink fins & RAM oriented vertically. Let's say the package 'stack' (daughtercard PCB / socket / CPU / vapor chamber heatsink) is 60mm thick, 140mm tall, & as wide as possible. Smaller copper vapor chamber heat sink on PCH as well. T2 / SSDs located on backside of PCB.

The next two daughtercard slots would be PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, for (Apple-proprietary) GPUs, more copper vapor chamber heat sinks with vertically oriented fins. Let's say these package 'stacks' are 30mm thick, with the heat sinks 140mm tall & as wide as possible.

GPU options (again, these are all going to be Apple-proprietary, not drop-in industry standard PCIe GPUs), all these have internal pass-thru (via the backplane) from GPU to rear TB3 / USB-C I/O.

Radeon RX 3090X (7nm Navi 20, 64CU , 16GB GDDR6, 225W, available Q1 2020)
Radeon RX 3080X (7nm Navi 10, 56CU , 8GB GDDR6, 190W)
Radeon RX 3070X (7nm Navi 10, 48CU , 8GB GDDR6, 160W)

Final daughtercard is the rear I/O card, this will be a 10mm thick package; four TB3 / USB-C ports, four USB-A ports, two 10Gb Ethernet ports, one 3.5mm headphone jack. If Apple has some nice ultra-high speed backplane action, this could allow I/O to be upgraded in the future!

Two Apple-specific (one can hope) Noctua Chromax NF-A14x25 PWM fans , one on the bottom as intake & the other on the top as exhaust. Fans 'smart-controlled' by inputs from a myriad of temp sensors.

So...! All that. packed into a 7.5 liter volume (not including feet).

Am I crazy, or might this be a viable SFF personal desktop workstation...?!?

Imagine what kind of Performance Per Liter score a 32C/64T CPU & two Radeon RX 3090X GPUs can achieve...!
 

Valantar

Master of Cramming
Jan 20, 2018
419
247
@Necere

Would you look over these notes & tell me if you think this would be feasible...?!?

2019 modular Mac Pro

7.7" cubed, but with the same vertical curved corners as the Mac mini (of which we are sharing the width & depth dimensions), appropriately sized feet to match the proportions of the chassis while still providing appropriate breathing room for bottom intake fan.

A quick video for insight into the PSU...


So, with that view of the layout on the Space Grey Mac mini, we move to the 7.7" Cube modular Mac Pro version...

Take the same PSU concept, make it go all the way up in the 7.7" tall (excluding feet) chassis. That should allow about 6x the volume for the PSU than in the mini. The mini PSU is 120W, hopefully Apple can do a 750W PSU...?

So now we have three of the 'interior walls' flat, but one still has those pesky curved corners (the one across from the PSU). What to do...? Storage...! Four 2.5" SSDs (two stacks of two SSDs) should not be an issue. That 'flattens out' the fourth 'interior wall'.

So on the inside of the front of the chassis, there will be a backplane with four daughtercard slots, all arraigned vertically.


First daughtercard next to the PSU is the main daughtercard, Threadripper 3 as outlined in above post, but only the two 180W versions (24C/48T & 32C/64T) with copper vapor chamber heatsink & four SO-DIMM slots (RAM slots located below PCH heat sink), & T2 chip with two (Apple-proprietary) NVMe SSDs; heatsink fins & RAM oriented vertically. Let's say the package 'stack' (daughtercard PCB / socket / CPU / vapor chamber heatsink) is 60mm thick, 140mm tall, & as wide as possible. Smaller copper vapor chamber heat sink on PCH as well. T2 / SSDs located on backside of PCB.

The next two daughtercard slots would be PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, for (Apple-proprietary) GPUs, more copper vapor chamber heat sinks with vertically oriented fins. Let's say these package 'stacks' are 30mm thick, with the heat sinks 140mm tall & as wide as possible.

GPU options (again, these are all going to be Apple-proprietary, not drop-in industry standard PCIe GPUs), all these have internal pass-thru (via the backplane) from GPU to rear TB3 / USB-C I/O.

Radeon RX 3090X (7nm Navi 20, 64CU , 16GB GDDR6, 225W, available Q1 2020)
Radeon RX 3080X (7nm Navi 10, 56CU , 8GB GDDR6, 190W)
Radeon RX 3070X (7nm Navi 10, 48CU , 8GB GDDR6, 160W)

Final daughtercard is the rear I/O card, this will be a 10mm thick package; four TB3 / USB-C ports, four USB-A ports, two 10Gb Ethernet ports, one 3.5mm headphone jack. If Apple has some nice ultra-high speed backplane action, this could allow I/O to be upgraded in the future!

Two Apple-specific (one can hope) Noctua Chromax NF-A14x25 PWM fans , one on the bottom as intake & the other on the top as exhaust. Fans 'smart-controlled' by inputs from a myriad of temp sensors.

So...! All that. packed into a 7.5 liter volume (not including feet).

Am I crazy, or might this be a viable SFF personal desktop workstation...?!?

Imagine what kind of Performance Per Liter score a 32C/64T CPU & two Radeon RX 3090X GPUs can achieve...!
What you're describing is the trashcan Mac Pro v2.0. It's not modular whatsoever in any way that the trashcan isn't already. Proprietary GPUs? Just four SODIMM slots? That's exactly what the pros hate about that design. If Apple released this, there'd be an uproar.

Then there's the issues:
  • The smallest feasible cooler for TR4 with an acceptable noise profile is the Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3. It's 125mm tall. With a vapor chamber you could probably shorten that somewhat, but you'd lose thermal transfer as you'll have nothing transferring heat perpendicular to the socket, just spreading it out to a larger area. The ends of the fins wouldn't do much. So you'd need more fan power than the dual 92mm fans on the NH-U9. Unless you want it to throttle massively, of course.
  • 140mm fans mounted far away from a fin stack won't provide sufficient airflow through a dense, server-style vapor chamber cooler.
  • There wouldn't be room for dual GPUs with discrete coolers in there no matter what. That's why Apple went for a central cooling "engine" in the trashcan. It's the best solution when there are several heat sources spread out like that.
  • In that kind of volume, any multi-GPU setup would choke. A 750W PSU suggests dual <250W GPUs, but there's no way you'd be able to cool that without throttling or screaming fans in a volume that small. The design you're sketching out would be smaller than Zotac's 1080 Ti mini - and that has dual axial fans pointing straight into the fin stack.
  • Apple isn't switching to Ryzen any time soon. Even if they're at odds with Intel, AMD's laptop solutions can't replace Intel's yet, and Apple won't invest in an expensive transition to AMD as a short-term solution when they reportedly are working on their own ARM-based chips.
  • The GPUs you're listing are based on entirely unconfirmed rumors. What's the point? At this points it's all make-believe.