There have been some rather varied comments about Apple’s choice to go with AMD’s ATI division and its workstation-class FirePro GPU’s in the upcoming new Mac Pro. Those comments have varied from being bullish on the OpenCL API to downright skeptical due to the prevalence of NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture within the studio-level toolsets being utilized today.
Now those comments need to be properly placed within a new report published recently that suggest that AMD is working hard to gain workstation market share away from NVIDIA. AMD is making small claims of advancements, possibly moving the needle of its approximate 20 percent share (against NVIDIA’s near 80 percent share) of the workstation GPU market in the north direction.
Over at GraphicSpeak, Kathleen Maher has published an article that quotes JPR analyst Alex Herrera as stating that AMD’s FirePro placement inside the new Mac Pro–an undeniably future Apple entry into the competitive workstation market–is a positive sign for the company.
This perspective largely assumes that Apple’s new Mac Pro will be taken seriously within the larger workstation market despite its unusual overall design, sans normative PCI-express based expansion. The new Mac Pro is aimed at restoring some lost luster in the venerable product line but in addition to that it also aims to blow the doors off the competition, says sources close to Architosh. If indeed the new Mac Pro does extremely well–and perhaps even starts to redefine what workstations can or should be–both AMD and Apple will be gaining some much needed workstation market share traction. Perhaps that is why the two companies have thrown in together in the first place?
To read the excellent article by Kathleen Maher on AMD’s gains in workstation GPUs visit here.
We have heard from anonymous sources, apparently in the know on possible pricing, that the public will be surprised when the new Mac Pro arrives. One theory is that Apple is going to be very aggressive on pricing to yield the impression that its unified radical design isn’t as expensive to manufacture as others assume and that its decision to bring back manufacturing and assembly to the USA (the Mac Pro will be assembled in Texas) was a smart one.
Another theory why Apple may aggressively price this powerful machine cheaply or “out of range” of competitors is to steal back the Final Cut Pro 7 refugees who fell into welcoming arms at Avid and Adobe. Since Apple’s pro video tools push the edges of what is possible in OpenGL as well as OpenCL, perhaps we will see AMD doing some specialized integrated work with Apple for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 in updates? After all, this is the kind of work that AMD is now doing in the CAD world to win back market share in the workstation world. Again, see the Kathleen Maher article above for more on that.
Lastly, we think it is great that AMD is pushing hard to compete against NVIDIA, but the company needs to get with Apple in a big way if it is to overcome the lead in the market that NVIDIA has with its CUDA architecture.