January 22, 2013

Future MacPro, Part II

Design exploration what a future MacPro might look like. Part II

Some of you have seen my Modular Mac Pro design Concept post.
Now, let's take a look how power-efficient CPU's will change design of a MacPro.

There's been a lot of talk of Apple ditching Intel for ARM.
I think Apple will switch, and many others will follow.

ARM Advantages:

  • optimized for performance/watt
  • power-efficient
  • cooler
  • fully scalable
  • smaller
  • cheaper
  • custom CPU design

What does it mean?

  • significantly smaller enclosure
  • increase computing power by adding more CPUs
  • increase & tweak important performance (custom Chip design)
  • cheaper CPUs - higher profit
  • smaller, lighter, quieter, cooler (less heat), "Greener" (Environment)

Size comparison with current MacPro
W x D x H - 230mm x 280mm x 220mm

Aluminum enclosure with removable side panel
3/4 View Perspective

Front View
Slide up/down front door to access USB3 & Thunderbolt ports

Back View
USB3, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, Optical In & Out, Mic, Speaker, Power ports + 3 PCI slots

Folding Snap & Lock Handle

Additional disk storage - external Thunderbolt enclosures
Removable side panel & Slide out Tray
4 HDD, 6 RAM slots, 3 PCI slots

Version 1a

Custom Apple designed ARM CPU  A10

2 CPUs on a Daughterboard Card.
Each Processor has 4 cores for a total 8 cores per Card.
4 Cards for a maximum of 8 CPUs (32 Cores).

CPU Daughterboard Card
2 Processors on Card 4 Cores each. Total of 8 Cores per Card

Heat Sink Cross Section
Up to 4 Cards - total of 8 CPUs (32 Cores)

MacPro ARM CPU Workstation with Tray Out
Total of 8 CPUs (32 Cores) + 6 Memory Slots

Version 1b

How about Intel Inside?

Maybe Intel can come up with super efficient Haswell Xeon CPU
2 Xenon CPUs can fit in the Heat Sink

It's impossible to ignore Intel. They are working on energy efficient CPUs.

Is it possible to put Haswell or Broadwell Xeons in such a small enclosure?
Liquid cooling, maybe.
Intel will do their best to keep Apple happy.

Version 2

Custom Apple designed ARM CPU  A10

Combined CPU & RAM Module. 
CPU Daughterboard Card comes with 2 CPUs and integrated 16GB RAM.
6 Cards for a maximum of 12 CPUs (48 Cores) and 96GB RAM

Second Version of CPU Daughterboard Card
2 CPUs on Card (4 Cores each) with 16GB embedded RAM. Total of 8 Cores per Card

MacPro Workstation with 6 Daughterboard Card Slots
Total of 12 CPUs (48 Cores) + 96 GB RAM

Alternative aluminium enclosure

Darker aluminum enclosure
Anodized Aluminium Color (same as iPhone 5)

MacPro Cube

If Apple creates custom GPU (shorter, less heat), enclosure
dimensions could shrink even more. 

MacPro Cube with a footprint of a Mac Mini.  200mm x 200mm x 200mm Cube.
This will be ideal "Made in USA" Apple Computer.

Apple Mac Pro Cube
Apple Mac Pro Cube
with custom (smaller) GPU, 200mm Cube


I'm sure there are dozen other companies interested in creating their own ARM based PCs.
Just to name few:
  • Microsoft - Windows 8 
  • Amazon - Linux 
  • NVIDIA - Linux 
  • AMD - Linux / Windows 8 
  • Google - Chrome OS (Linux) if they are serious about Chrome OS 
  • Samsung - Linux / Windows 8 / desktop Tizen OS???
  • Oracle / Sun - Solaris
  • Intel - Linux / Windows, certainly not using ARM CPUs 
+ all the other PC makers: Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, etc.

other companies interested in creating their own ARM based PCs, competition

This is my vision of the next MacPro. Tell me what you think.

Next project: iPhone 6 & cheap iPhone.
You can follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/PeterZ3

Peter Zigich

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