MacInTouch Amazon link...

2019 Mac Pro and alternatives

One summer years ago, I had a client who had several workers in an office with (if I recall correctly) Power Mac G4's. There were three of them, I believe, and they had intermittent problems with all of them freezing up or shutting down completely. When I arrived at the office, I found that it was stiflingly hot; there were open windows, but no AC. The computers were all overheating. I went out and bought several household fans and placed them strategically in the smallish room, and it took care of their computer problems. I couldn't help the computer users, however.

And, let's remember, those 10¢ o-rings have a lot to answer for...
 


From conversations with a world-class air cooling engineer, I understand that liquid cooling is vastly superior to air cooling in terms of capacity. In fact, we discussed the 2019 Mac Pro design in some detail, and while it may work, I am not confident that it will work as well as Apple suggests and that there won't be thermal problems, particularly in open areas outside the special PCI module boxes. I hope that won't be the case, but time will tell.
I'm not sure how far back your Mac experience goes, but some of us remember Apple botching thermal engineering in the past, from the fanless original Mac, necessitating hacks like the "MacChimney" and third-party fans, to more recent thermal problems.
Ric, I recall those early days of fanless Apple computers! For the most part, I was working with the Apple //e. Didn't experience thermal problems myself, but others did. Kensington offered a nifty solution with their "System Saver" add-on fan that latched onto the side of the //e and had a pair of electric outlets built-in for peripherals. They also had a model for the original Mac series as well. Ah... memories!
 



An appropriately named website has this informative post about liquid cooling and associated issues:
HardwareAsylum said:
How to use exotic liquids with your watercooling loop
... Distilled water. That is by far the best fluid to use at least when it comes to heat capacity. Things like algae growth and corrosion can be a problem when using pure water and is why we now have specialized fluids for our PC water loops. You also shouldn’t be surprised that the primary ingredient of these coolants is distilled water due to its ability to store massive amounts of heat without a sharp rise in temperature ... what would change if you used something like vodka or beer??
 



The average 'box with slots" doesn't have a coherently designed cooling system for all the components. Various cooling systems will blow/flow air, hoping that eventually it will get caught and swept out of the box. Often, different components blow/flow air in conflicting directions.
This is definitely a problem with simple DIY cases. Sometimes it's because people don't put all their fans on in the right place, facing the right directions. Sometimes it's because the number and position of internal components causes heat-trapping vortices in the airflow.

It's worth noting that industrial air-cooled equipment (e.g. large servers and rack-mount PCs) often have plastic baffles and shrouds in various places in order to direct the airflow. Cold air will be sucked in one side (front or back), directed over specific components, and will then be blown out the other side. But I've never seen this in any aftermarket case or DIY system.
 


This is definitely a problem with simple DIY cases. Sometimes it's because people don't put all their fans on in the right place, facing the right directions. Sometimes it's because the number and position of internal components causes heat-trapping vortices in the airflow.

It's worth noting that industrial air-cooled equipment (e.g. large servers and rack-mount PCs) often have plastic baffles and shrouds in various places in order to direct the airflow. Cold air will be sucked in one side (front or back), directed over specific components, and will then be blown out the other side. But I've never seen this in any aftermarket case or DIY system.
See my post. :D
If we can get inside the darn thing, we can sometimes fix what Apple broke.
 


It's worth noting that both iMacs and Apple laptops utilize a form of liquid cooling: heat pipes (actually, it's mixed phase liquid / vapor cooling). The heat pipes transfer heat from a source (like a CPU) to a sink (like a finned radiator that a small fan blows through) to efficiently dissipate excess heat away from components. Here is the Wikipedia article on heat pipes.
 


It's worth noting that both iMacs and Apple laptops utilize a form of liquid cooling: heat pipes (actually, it's mixed phase liquid / vapor cooling). The heat pipes transfer heat from a source (like a CPU) to a sink (like a finned radiator that a small fan blows through) to efficiently dissipate excess heat away from components. Here is the Wikipedia article on heat pipes.
Thanks for the article link. They're not that uncommon on desktop systems as well. My old Shuttle XPC used this technique to keep the CPU from melting in a very crowded case.
 


It's worth noting that both iMacs and Apple laptops utilize a form of liquid cooling: heat pipes (actually, it's mixed phase liquid / vapor cooling). The heat pipes transfer heat from a source (like a CPU) to a sink (like a finned radiator that a small fan blows through) to efficiently dissipate excess heat away from components. Here is the Wikipedia article on heat pipes.
This sort of cooler is potentially a great thing. I had an old mini-PC build (brand name escapes me at the moment), and the Athlon II CPU used such a heat pipe / heat sink / fan combination, mounted on the rear of the machine, so all the heat generated by the CPU went directly out of the case (and not just "in the direction of the rear"). Although slow by today's standards, I do remember that cooling design and how well it worked. I would use such a design today (and maybe something like it is available for a Ryzen build).

And, yes, Apple's iMacs use such a design for their video cards, but, in the case of the iMac, it has abysmally inadequate airflow. In that 1/4" thickness quest, Ive had the engineers redirect hot air down to the bottom of the machine to reach the exterior. Guess nobody told him that heat rises, and it would have been more efficient not to fight that.
 


Err, the liquid-cooled G5s had pumps - I have several spares - and the cooling system had a clever feed and bleed port. Power Mac G5 pump system with the clever feed and bleed port
Thank you for that! It's been a while, and all I remember from that episode is being confused as to how the liquid got in there without bubbles, since there was no obvious "open" reservoir, like many liquid cooled systems use. A closed-loop system certainly makes sense from a "orient-it-any-which-way-without-leaking" perspective, but it does require a expansion device, which apparently was incorporated into the pump.

My Power Mac G5 leaked a little, but with the help of that Xlr8teyourmac article, I was able to tackle the task. I forgot about the pump — must be that old age thing. Thank you for correcting my faulty memory!
 


... Hopefully, someone can come up with an MPX module that features a fan, 8-pin molex power connectors, and other standard interfaces, that allows for a wider range of graphics or other power-hungry cards to be serviced. That would go a long way to bypass the likely egregious "Apple Tax" that I expect to see for MPX-clad graphics cards, as well the Pegasus hard drive holder - that is, should Apple allow such a thing to even see the light of day.
The MPX bay (what the module slots into) can also hold standard PCIe cards (with 8-pin power connections on the motherboard). Cards that don't have an augmentative MPX connector on them can fit into a MPX bay just fine. (The MPX connector slot is sitting there, but if the card is standard, it should stop before hitting the connector....

An MPX module that needs more than 75W of power probably just uses an MPX connector. Once the MPX module is in place, the 8-pin power connectors are more difficult to get to.

The Pegasus storage module may not have an MPX connector, because it just fills up a full-size MPX bay with "stuff" (the size is going to keep it an MPX only solution - the connector is really a secondary issue at that point). Unless there is a some thermal control feedback pin on the MPX connector ("I'm hot/cold, blow more/less air"), the storage module may not have a need for the services on the MPX connector at all.

The only upside a non-Apple graphics MPX module would have over a mainstream graphics card would be to hook to the MPX connector to feed the four DisplayPort channels for the default Thunderbolt ports. Once committed to that track, it doesn't make sense to skip the power pins that are relatively adjacent to the DisplayPort pins.

Alternative graphics solutions is going to care more about the graphics driver stack provided by Apple than the physical specifics of MPX. GPU card solutions aren't going to magically appear just because Apple uses a commodity physical form factor. A viable solution involves both hardware and software.

Apple opening up the MPX bays to use by mainstream cards with 8-pin power is a dual-edged sword. There will be more alternatives but probably fewer MPX ones without Apple funding. The MPX module prices will be higher, not so much for an "Apple Tax" as much as because of a relatively low volume of Mac Pro units sold. As the base of deployed and active systems gets bigger over time, that could change. (A short-term, volume solution probably isn't coming.) If some other vendors adopt it, then perhaps the deployed base will get larger quicker.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The only upside a non-Apple graphics MPX module would have over a mainstream graphics card would be to hook to the MPX connector to feed the four DisplayPort channels for the default Thunderbolt ports. Once committed to that track, it doesn't make sense to skip the power pins that are relatively adjacent to the DisplayPort pins.
I suspect that MPX modules may provide better cooling air flow vs. standard PCIe cards, as well.
 


Will it be possible to mount hard disk drives (hard disk drive) in the new Mac Pro? It would be very nice to be able to mount one or two HDDs inside a new Mac Pro. I would assume that HDDs cannot be mounted in the configuration as provided by Apple, but could a vendor such as OWC or Sonnet build something that would allow HDDs to be used?
 


Will it be possible to mount hard disk drives (hard disk drive) in the new Mac Pro? It would be very nice to be able to mount one or two HDDs inside a new Mac Pro. I would assume that HDDs cannot be mounted in the configuration as provided by Apple, but could a vendor such as OWC or Sonnet build something that would allow HDDs to be used?
Short answer: yes.
Apple’s Mac Pro Technical Specifications lists, under Storage:
  • Promise Pegasus R4i 32TB RAID MPX Module Kit
  • Promise Pegasus J2i
Promise has a web page for those things.
Promise Technology said:
  • R4i: 4x swappable modules with 7200rpm SATA HDDs
  • J2i: 1x 7200rpm SATA hard disk drive, preformatted; Add a 2nd hard disk drive
Pricing unknown. It doesn't look like you will be able to buy these without disk(s).

I do not recall any announcements of similar hardware from any other vendor.
 


Will it be possible to mount hard disk drives (hard disk drive) in the new Mac Pro? It would be very nice to be able to mount one or two HDDs inside a new Mac Pro. I would assume that HDDs cannot be mounted in the configuration as provided by Apple, but could a vendor such as OWC or Sonnet build something that would allow HDDs to be used?
I have valued having internal storage in my Mac Pros for a long time, but I don't intend to run spinners in the new one. I have slowly been transitioning to solid state. I still maintain about 30 spinners - including four in the last Mac Pro that runs full time and will continue to do so for as long as I can source parts. The new one, though, I'm going to provision with NVMe blades on PCIe cards. I'll keep spinners in external Thunderbolt enclosures.
 


  • Promise Pegasus R4i 32TB RAID MPX Module Kit
  • Promise Pegasus J2i
The R4 is a 4-disk MPX Module, shipped as a RAID5. It’s a clean design and seems to feature lots of screw holes to hold it securely.

The J2 snaps / screws into the motherboard behind the CPU (top right corner of motherboard pics on Apple web site). It can hold up to two disks. I’m not a fan of the latter, because it will likely impact air flow across the CPU.

Promise being Promise, neither rig is ever likely to ever ship diskless (unless it’s used). I wouldn’t mind if the Promise premium weren’t as profitable as it is.

Worse, neither mounting option allows hot-swap replacements of bad disks. Both modules have to be 100% removed from the computer enclosure.

I would stick to something external.
 


The MPX bay (what the module slots into) can also hold standard PCIe cards (with 8-pin power connections on the motherboard). Cards that don't have an augmentative MPX connector on them can fit into a MPX bay just fine. (The MPX connector slot is sitting there, but if the card is standard, it should stop before hitting the connector.... An MPX module that needs more than 75W of power probably just uses an MPX connector. Once the MPX module is in place, the 8-pin power connectors are more difficult to get to.
I note that the MPX modules can draw up to 500W per Apple, but the 8-pin connectors are limited to 300W (each? — the wording is ambiguous).

Thank you for pointing out that Apple actually provides 8-pin power connectors, since I didn’t see them on the images that Apple is hosting right now. Presumably, they’re built into the power supply down below?

Anyhow, my worry with MPX is that we have yet another AppleISM on our hands, an enclosure designed to solve an Apple “problem” and not something that leads to an industry standard.

We’ve been down these paths before with predictable results.... Hardware manufacturers have to spread their R&D, tooling, etc across a low volume with predictable results re price, product diversity, and performance.

A standardized MPX module [that supports] any graphics card could actually be a very worthwhile product to bring out, i.e. allowing Apple and manufacturers to enjoy economies of scale.
 


... The J2 snaps / screws into the motherboard behind the CPU (top right corner of motherboard pics on Apple web site). It can hold up to two disks. I’m not a fan of the latter, because it will likely impact air flow across the CPU.
Not quite. The J2 screws into the Mac Pro's "space frame", not the motherboard. If you look at the picture of the J2 on the Promise website, there is a flange with two screw holes on the top of the assembly. That's where you screw it into the space frame. There are some pictures on the Apple page for the Mac Pro. If you look at the section that starts off "A foundation for creation" and then the first picture on the left below that paragraph, you'll see the spot on the space frame where you can unscrew the stub that is in the spot and then mount the J2 onto that connection point. The SATA connectors are down below that placement (so won't need long cabling). Similarly, on the "overview" page where the animation reveals the case coming off, you can see that the retension bar for the cards and the CPU radiator have similar mount points on the frame in the "front" half of the system.

It also won't impact air flow across the CPU much. The case fan is on the other side of the CPU, blowing the air at the J2. That is more the issue. The J2 is going to ingest CPU-heated air. If your CPU is kicking off 165W, then downstream is where that 165W is going. The moderate offset that Apple has done is to make the CPU radiator large, spread over a large volume. If the J2's cross section is out of the way of a decent percentage of that flow, then there will be a reduction, but still non-trivial.

The blunt 'face' of the drives mounted in the J2 will cause turbulence downstream, but above low-moderate fan air velocities, there won't be much back-scatter to travel all the way back to the CPU radiator. The flow of air will knock that back. Slot 8 and 7 (and maybe 6) heating due to flow congestion is probably a bigger issue than what makes it back to the CPU radiator.

I would expect someone to come out with a frame for 2.5" drives (two or maybe four, coupled to a lightweight port replicator). The airflow profile to two 2.5" drives is way less than for two 3.5" drives.
Promise being Promise, neither rig is ever likely to ever ship diskless (unless it’s used). I wouldn’t mind if the Promise premium weren’t as profitable as it is.
The J2 is a relatively simple mechanical mount point. Promise will get a "roll out" advance, because the physical dimensions are not commonly known, but once the Mac Pro ships and lots of folks have one, making a metal frame to fit into that slot won't be a "moonshot" project. No RAID chip. It is basically a metal bracket with some screw holes. They'll sell it with a disk for some margin. Perhaps the disks will be selected to better fit that thermal zone (or that is their story). However, they aren't going to get much market "first mover" advantage here long term.
Worse, neither mounting option allows hot-swap replacements of bad disks. Both modules have to be 100% removed from the computer enclosure.
Which is primarily a property of the enclosure. There are no "drive slots" on the enclosure.

Both the J2 and R4 have trade-offs for having internal hard disk drives. The R4 soaks up a ton of space — 4 slot widths (two double-wides). If you don't need the slots, then fine, but if you do, then probably best to trade those out (can easily get four hard drives' worth of bandwidth from something like Thunderbolt, but you're not going to get two x16 slot worth of bandwidth that way).

The J2 placement will probably cut down on drive service life incrementally. Drives won't fry instantly, but 3-4 years in that context probably won't do as well as better-cooled drives.

I wouldn't use J2 for "inside system" Time Machine sole backup over a long term (besides being inside the system itself as a backup location being a problem). That being a solution used by more than few folks, I can see why Apple went the J2 provisioning route, though.
I would stick to something external.
I think Apple's base expectation is that hard disk drives are external. They have allowed for some options, but they don't have high design priority.
 


Thank you for pointing out that Apple actually provides 8-pin power connectors, since I didn’t see them on the images that Apple is hosting right now. Presumably, they’re built into the power supply down below?
They are there, as plain as day, as long as already know what you are looking at. :-)
On Apple's Mac Pro overview page, if you go to the section where they talk about the eight PCI Express slots and point out the 'half length', 'single width', and 'double wide' slots, toward the left-hand side of that image, you'll see three rectangles (two larger ones and one relatively smaller one). Each rectangle has a white triangle with an exclamation point inside of it. Those are all horizontally mounted power connectors. The smaller one is a supplementary 6-pin. The other two are dual 8-pin.

However, in the pictures with the MPX modules and Afterburner card inserted, you can't see any of them (occluded from view). There aren't any pictures of the "half width" 580X MPX module. Those may not quite completely cover up the 8-pin connectors (at least in one of the MPX bays).

If you try to stuff the maximum number of large, standard cards into the system, and use those horizontally mounted points, then it is probably a challenge in cable management. The path to four "big" GPUs is easiest through MPX modules.

The power supply basically rolls out all power through the logic board, from what I've seen so far (pictures and the augmented reality views).
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Sadly, while the 2013 Mac Pro was assembled in Austin, Texas, it looks like the new for 2019 Mac Pro will be assembled in China.
The Wall Street Journal said:
Apple Moves Mac Pro Production to China
Apple Inc. ... is manufacturing its new Mac Pro computer in China, according to people familiar with its plans, shifting abroad production of what had been its only major device assembled in the U.S. as trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing.

The tech giant has tapped contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the people said. Quanta’s facility is close to other Apple suppliers across Asia, making it possible for Apple to achieve lower shipping costs than if it shipped components to the U.S.
Looks like there's been an about-face:
Reuters said:
Apple to make new Mac Pro PCs in U.S. after some tariff exemptions
Apple Inc. said on Monday it will make new Mac Pro desktop computers at its Austin, Texas facility, following some relief on tariffs by the U.S. government.
... The new Mac Pro desktop became a political flashpoint earlier this year when the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was moving production to China.
 


The New Mac Pro... Now Made in the USA.
Apple said:
Apple’s new Mac Pro to be made in Texas
As part of its commitment to US economic growth, Apple today confirmed that its newly redesigned Mac Pro will be manufactured in Austin, Texas. This latest generation Mac Pro, which was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June, will begin production soon at the same Austin facility where Mac Pro has been made since 2013.
... The US manufacturing of Mac Pro is made possible following a federal product exclusion Apple is receiving for certain necessary components. The value of American-made components in the new Mac Pro is 2.5 times greater than in Apple’s previous generation Mac Pro.
What this also means is that none have been built to date. Will it be 2020 before we actually get to see a model on display?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
What this also means is that none have been built to date. Will it be 2020 before we actually get to see a model on display?
I wonder if we’ll get pricing details by 2020. I’m really curious about those 28-core CPUs, massive memory configurations, storage options, MPX modules et al.
 



I wonder if Apple learned its lessons with the trash can Mac Pro edition and stopped using non-standard screws and other junk in the latest edition. That would considerably ease manufacturing domestically. Alternatively, perhaps some of the tariff exemptions that Apple secured revolve around said fasteners and other bits and bobs to make the industrial designers happy.
Apple said:
The value of American-made components in the new Mac Pro is 2.5 times greater than in Apple’s previous generation Mac Pro.
That Apple statement is kind of meaningless without getting a bit more specific. For example, if the CPU was previously sourced from a fab abroad and is now sourced domestically, that would drastically change the ratio. The new case is also likely much more expensive to manufacture than the trash can, due to the greater number and mass of parts - the honeycombed front and back, etc.

Anyhow, all this points to Apple adapting to unpredictable federal executive branch domestic and international trade policy.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
That Apple statement is kind of meaningless without getting a bit more specific. For example, if the CPU was previously sourced from a fab abroad and is now sourced domestically, that would drastically change the ratio.
Exactly. And a 28-core Xeon CPU is a gigantic expense, for example, and Intel maintains billion-dollar manufacturing plants ("fabs") in the U.S. (as well as elsewhere), though I couldn't quickly determine where Intel's Xeon CPUs for Apple are being manufactured.

Interesting info:
 


That Apple statement is kind of meaningless without getting a bit more specific. ...
Apple said:
The value of American-made components in the new Mac Pro is 2.5 times greater than in Apple’s previous generation Mac Pro.
Apple may be putting a politically beneficial spin on its upcoming announcement of price increases for the new Mac Pro. Apple's statement appears to refer to the absolute, not fractional, value of the components. The design of the new Mac Pro bears little resemblance to the previous generation; the same is likely to be true of the price. The current Mac Pro starts at $3,000. If the low end of the new Mac Pro sells for more than $7,500, it could have a lower fraction of US-made parts than currently, and Apple's claim would still be true. The high end currently sells for $4,000. By the same calculation, the break point for the high end of the new Mac Pro is $10,000.

If the prices for the new Mac Pros exceed $7,500 - 10,000, the fraction of American-made components could be less than 2.5 times the fraction of American-made components in the current Mac Pro, while the value of American-made components is more than 2.5 times the value of American-made components in the current Mac Pro.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's an update from Mark Gurman on this three-ring tariff circus:
Forbes said:
Apple Is Denied Tariff Relief on Five Mac Pro Parts After Staying in Texas
Apple Inc. won’t be exempted from tariffs on five Chinese-made components for the upcoming Mac Pro computer, even after the company announced it was keeping some assembly operations in the U.S.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office denied Apple’s request for relief from 25% tariffs on the much-discussed optional wheels for Apple’s Mac Pro, a circuit board for managing input and output ports, power adapter, charging cable and a cooling system for the computer’s processor.

The decisions, posted Monday, come about a week after Apple announced it would make new Mac Pro computers at a plant in Austin, Texas -- which it’s operated since 2013 -- after originally considering shifting production to China like its other products.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Info and speculation, FYI:
The Verge said:
Apple’s Mac Pro clears FCC, hinting at imminent launch
When Apple announced its redesigned Mac Pro this June, the company didn’t give a release date more specific than “this fall” — but the powerful new computer has just shown up in FCC filings, which could indicate an imminent launch.
... Another interesting tidbit found in filings is that some Mac Pros may be assembled in China.
... Update, 5:17 PM ET: Added Tim Cook’s double-down on Austin, Texas during today’s Q4 earnings call.
 


Apple promised the new Mac Pro would be available in the fall of 2019. Fall technically runs from September 23 to December 22 this calendar year. Buried in today's MacBook Pro announcement was the following tidbit at the very end, almost as an afterthought.
Apple said:
Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR
Today, Apple also announced that the all-new Mac Pro, the world’s best pro desktop, and Apple Pro Display XDR, the world’s best pro display, will be available in December. Designed for maximum performance, expansion and configurability, Mac Pro features workstation-class Xeon processors up to 28 cores, a high-performance memory system with a massive 1.5TB capacity, eight PCIe expansion slots and a graphics architecture featuring the world’s most powerful graphics card. Pro Display XDR features a 32-inch Retina 6K display with P3 wide and 10-bit color, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a superwide viewing angle, all at a breakthrough price point.
 


Apple promised the new Mac Pro would be available in the fall of 2019. Fall technically runs from September 23 to December 22 this calendar year. Buried in today's MacBook Pro announcement was the following tidbit at the very end, almost as an afterthought.
If memory serves, the Late 2013 Mac Pro became available for order on December 21, 2013, and if you blinked, you missed it – existing production was booked solid, and by December 31, the machine was back-ordered until the end of January, 2014. As I recall, the first one we ordered, sometime in January, 2014, didn't arrive until early March of that year because of a constraint somewhere in the supply chain, and the pile-up of orders.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
If memory serves, the Late 2013 Mac Pro became available for order on December 21, 2013, and if you blinked, you missed it – existing production was booked solid, and by December 31, the machine was back-ordered until the end of January, 2014.
Of course, the Late 2019 Mac Pro "Hollywood" model starts, stripped down, at twice the price of the Late 2013 "trash can" Mac Pro, which may factor into demand, but supply could certainly be an issue this time, too. Catalina is another factor - will the Late 2019 Mac Pro require it and fail to run macOS Mojave? (Also, will it run Linux, unlike new MacBook Pros?)
 


If memory serves, the Late 2013 Mac Pro became available for order on December 21, 2013, and if you blinked, you missed it – existing production was booked solid, and by December 31, the machine was back-ordered until the end of January, 2014. As I recall, the first one we ordered, sometime in January, 2014, didn't arrive until early March of that year because of a constraint somewhere in the supply chain, and the pile-up of orders.
It was December 19, but otherwise, yes, if you blinked, you missed it. I placed my order at ~1:45 am. When an Apple sales rep I had talked to emailed me at 7:40 that morning, they were already out to February. Mine shipped the morning of 12/3/13 and arrived 1/6/14.
 






Is it possible to directly connect SATA drives without the Pegasus?
I looks like it might be possible, as the connectors are standard - but how you'd mount the drive might be tricky, as the Promise carrier (which holds two 3.5" drives) looks custom for the Mac Pro. Doubtless someone will make an alternative one?
 


Is it possible to directly connect SATA drives without the Pegasus?
Yes, but some caveats. The J2i is both a drive bracket to be mounted in the Mac Pro and an 8TB drive. Can you connect a SATA drive to the Mac Pro without a drive bracket? Pragmatically, no. You'd need someone else's drive bracket.
For comparison:
Western Digital 8TB Ultrastar DC HC320 SATA hard disk drive - 7200 RPM Class, SATA 6 Gb/s, 256MB Cache, 3.5" - $207 on Amazon.
So if you take the $400 and subtract $207, it is about a $200 bracket. Promise is probably using a Toshiba enterprise drive (Toshiba 8TB Hard Disk Drive), so we can nudge that price up a bit).

The other issue is that Promise pre-formats these drives to HFS+. (Whether they do any burn-in testing isn't explicit but it is more than the completely unformatted drive typically gets.)

Also need some right-length cables, so they don't get mixed up with the CPU heatsink.

That is still a bracket price that is going to attract competitors. I'm sure someone will do it cheaper later just by being driveless. But putting cheaper drives in there to hit lower price points could be a problem long term. It is not the usual thermal environment for a drive that most systems provision - basically downstream from the CPU heat, instead of the other way around.
 


Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts