The Mac Pro expansion dilemma

“The current Mac Pro is a powerful beast, with a decent level of expandability. You can add PCI peripheral cards, extra hard drives, plenty of RAM, even an extra optical drive. What’s not to like?” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl.

“As with a car maker building a limited production luxury or sporty vehicle, the Mac Pro should represent the pinnacle of Mac technology,” Steinberg writes. “The new Mac Pro, with its smooth and curvy lines, certainly comes across as a halo product. But internal expansion is limited to an apparently removable Flash drive and four memory slots. For the rest, you have to depend on external expansion… With six Thunderbolt 2 ports, certainly there’s plenty of space to add stuff to the 2013 Mac Pro, assuming you can find the peripherals you want.”

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Steinberg writes, “One survey claims that 80% of Mac Pro users never upgrade their computers beyond changing RAM or replacing the hard drive. So why spend money for a larger chassis that goes unused? But for those who do need to upgrade or expand their Mac Pro’s capabilities, an expansion box ought to be a suitable replacement, and I’m assuming one with PCI slots and hard drive bays. For those who need that capability, you’d only need to connect two cables, one for Thunderbolt, the other to the power strip. It’s even possible, I suppose, for Apple to create an elegant solution when the Mac Pro is released.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on Monday:

Who’s to say Apple or third parties won’t have stackable 6.6-inch diameter “expansion discs” that offer external drives, etc. that match and fit right underneath your Mac Pro and provide neat cord management solutions as well?

Think outside the box.

Related articles:
What professional Mac users think of Apple’s new Mac Pro – June 18, 2013
Apple’s new Mac Pro: Does internal expandability really matter? – June 17, 2013
Developer secretly tested new Mac Pro – sight unseen – for weeks inside Apple’s top-secret lab – June 14, 2013
Dvorak: A standing O for Apple’s new Mac Pro – June 11, 2013
Apple’s new Mac Pro would rank as the 8th most powerful supercomputer on planet Earth in 2003 – June 10, 2013
Up close and personal with Apple’s new ‘jet engine’ Mac Pro – June 10, 2013
With new Mac Pro, Apple gives sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop – June 10, 2013

74 Comments

  1. I simply don’t want to have more than one box on or under my desk. Apple or anybody else should build a ring to put over the new MacPro, a ring of hard drives.

    Better one big tower like the old MacPro than two smaller items. Because professional computing is not a question of space under my desk, but of hard drive space.

    However, I would love the new technics of the new MacPro under the old hood. That would give room for 8 hard drive expansion bays. The more the better.

    As usual now the video editors may agree, the others may not.

    1. “I simply don’t want to have more than one box on or under my desk.”

      People seem to forget that this new Mac Pro is 1/8 the size of the old one – you’ll have plenty of room under your desk for an expansion box, IF IT’S NEEDED.

      I bought an iMac because I like the all-in-one solution, however even I have an external RAID box connected through Firewire sitting under my desk.

      For most professionals the SIX Thunderbolt 2 connectors will be more than enough for expansion, when they need it. Furthermore, storage can be moved out of the room leaving you with a much quieter work area. Which is extremely valuable to most of Apple’s professional users.

      1. The problem is that as Mac Pro customers, we’re all different (different needs > different solutions).

        For example, high end video guys who use the current 16x PCIe slots with Über GPUs are going to **lose** performance capability, because TB2 has 1/4 the bandwidth.

        Similarly, those who fill the internal 3.5″ bays with 4TB drives (such as myself) are doing to be “Okay” with external expansion … well, except that it is going to cost us roughly an extra $1000 or so (per seat)….and it isn’t tax deductible for any of us Prosumer customers (I’ve read the IRS Tax Laws).

        And for ‘moving the storage out of the room’? The new Mac Pro only has Gigabit Ethernet, not 10Gig, which is slower than SATA-1. Since the Mac Pro is really about performance, this interface simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

        So we’re off to buy Fibre Channel to remote the storage, and it also costs more in TB form than a PCIe card; figure +$400 per node.

        No, you can’t do this with TB today, because current Copper TB cables are 3m (10ft) max length and Optical TB cables have been promised, but (a) haven’t started to ship yet; (b) are BEHIND SCHEDULE from their promised dates; and (c) will be much more expensive than the copper TBs. From the professionals’ perspective, this is risk.

        Insofar as “smaller on the desk”, sure it can be a factor for some; YMMV. For example, one of my Mac Pro setups is desktop in a 6×6 cubical, but utilizing the dead space in the corner and hidden behind its dual 27″ LCDs. This makes its large size a complete non-factor.

        FWIW, I did consider an iMac last year on another one of my setups … but its higher cost of TB-based external storage to compensate vs the 2012 Mac Pro’s internal bays made the latter the better value. That advantage is now gone for the 2013 Mac Pro. For example, a pair of WD 3TB Red internals is $300, whereas the TB 2-bay box with 2x3TB is $600. Similarly, 4 x 1TB internals is $400, versus $1100 for a Promise R4 TB external of the same capacity…but probably aren’t WD Blacks.

        And the list goes on and on, when you really get down into the weeds of building up a capable system. Considering that the real “Savings” for Apple was a couple of internal SATA and PCIe interfaces and a larger enclosure to have more empty airspace inside of it, what Apple deleted was at best a $200 expense to them … that’s less than the cost of any ONE of the externalized TB expansions I’ve detailed above.

        Oh, and finally: do take a look at what Apple’s track record has been for keeping on the forefront of high performance video cards, as well as for providing subsequent performance upgrades of said video cards to their prior Mac Pro customers.

        The bottom line is that even my 30+ years of enthusiasm for Apple gets tempered by fiscal realities…and no amount of of apologetic “think outside the box” mantras from the MDN Editors is going to change that. Apple has made flops before and while we can all hope that this isn’t another one, we won’t really know until the marketplace speaks.

        So while the ‘Jury remains Out’, about all I can say is that I definitely made the right choice in buying a 2012 Mac Pro for *my* needs instead of waiting for this one, which is unfortunate.

        -hh

        1. You make excellent points. The configurability of the 2010-2012 models as it is today is still solid, and will be for several years for most pro (and prosumer users. Throughput and storage criteria with these models can cover so many usage scenarios. The FibreChannel and Thunderbolt alternative to look at is miniSAS solutions connected to the 2012 Mac Pro. It’s proven tech, it’s faster than still-in-development. Thunderbolt, and much less expensive than Fibre Channel. And just recently we are seeing some solid video card choices from AMD and Nvidia.

    2. As a video editor, I have seldom used internal drives for media storage, as the ability to move my work from one machine to another has always been a requirement. Also, as mentioned in the article, I have never needed to expand my MacPro beyond adding RAM.
      So I look forward to upgrading to the new hardware as soon asa my company sees fit to do so.

      What’s more is I don’t see why expansion has to happen all in one box.

      Like with external harddrives, we find an advantage in being able to take your “expansions” with you from one machine to another with plug and play simplicity.

    3. I am a video editor, and honestly I don’t see the fuss in this new Mac Pro. Every editing bay I have ever worked in already had 2 to 3 external hard drives hooked in. And there might have been 2 hard drives hooked in internally, but probably not. No one ever had more than 2 video cards as far as I could tell. I would have loved for there to have been the ability to have 2 processors in there as well, but oh well, this thing can still do better than any mac before it and it will be amazingly quiet. I like the expansion option, and I think others will as well. What does this smaller mac pro give you? A more portable powerful machine. The ability to have more control over what parts are used with the machine (due to things being external). Easier to diagnose problems due to things being external. My only concerns are really, cant have 2 processors, only AMD videos cards, and not taking advantage of new PCIe slots if you have more than 2 video cards…but these are small concerns for me…as a video editor.

      1. It seems there are three types of video editors here.
        -The light use home or event video maker.
        -The large production house, with multiple suites.
        -The heavy use, independent producer.

        The new MacPro will probably be fine for the first two groups… but not for the third.

        My present MacPro has all hard drive slots filled (booting from an SSD in one), both optical slots have blu-ray burners, a PCIe raid card going to 9 external hard drives in 2 eSATA cases, 2 PCIe slots filled with a Blackmagic Designs Decklink card, all ram slots filled, Firewire going out to additional storage drives, DVD burner, and DV/HDV decks… and I’m considering USB3 for the last PCIe slot.

        I don’t care about space, I have plenty of space in a 3 bay, rack mount edit console. I could add more boxes.

        What I do care about is having to buy extra expansion units (which may, or may not be developed) that will give me slower response with my (recently purchased) Decklink card and eSATA raids.
        Sure I could throw everything out, and start over with a new MacPro, and Thunderbolt this-and-that (if and when the TB options are available)… but at what cost?
        This isn’t a rich man’s hobby. I’m trying to make some profit here.

    4. Oh bullshit. What you cry babies forget is that, to get the power of the 2013 Mac Pro in 2003, you required over 3000 rack mounted Macs costing over $8 MILLION.

      Now you get that power in a single unit in a form factor 87% smaller than the previous model with a price tag likely under $6 Thousand.

      The “I want, I want” complainers aren’t the power users they think they are. If they were they’d be making more than enough to justify this computer, no matter what they may have to do to expand it.

      1. Unfortunately, the system ‘horsepower’ isn’t what the controversy is really about, but expansion capability.

        For example, that rack of 3000 G5 PowerMacs from a decade ago had the capability for 6000 internal hard drives….and if we were to update that comparison to the 2012 Mac Pro, it would be 12,000 drives …although some would use the optical bays and suggest it should be 18,000.

        So assuming we didn’t have real worth TB limitations to contend with, how much would it cost to add that amount of expansion capability to a 2013 Mac Pro?

        Well, for 12,000 … its $1.8 million (& 18K would be $2.7M)

        This ‘dilemma’ is simply about how we customers are assessing Apple’s decisions and the trade-offs that it creates for us.

        Apple’s higher end consumers’ needs typically require that the core system be tailored with accessories to support their specific IT requirements.

        For example on storage, larger houses may already be running on Fibre Channel to connect to big/fast server racks and the impact is relatively minor: just the higher cost of a fibre channel adaptor box.

        However, in smaller businesses, the solution may have been kept local at the node and internal on the Mac Pro, so the same change results in a bigger impact….and it isn’t as generously wealthy as one would like to believe: for example, go do research on how much the prices on ‘Stock’ photography have CRASHED in the past decade. Digital was a huge huge huge disruption, and content which used to be considered a million dollar portfolio is now worth $50K … if you’re lucky.

        -hh

        1. IMHO I believe Apple’s decision to not put a lot of drive bays in this thing may have included something like this: Smaller scale users can get USB3 and Thunderbolt stand alone drives at fairly low cost. Most of them would probably already have the external drives anyway, so they’d just move them to the new machine. Large scale users likely would be doing collaborative work and shared external drives are already there. So what percentage of their customers would need multiple internal drive bays for an individual user that doesn’t already have external storage in place? The answer is probably that it’s not a huge percentage of their customers. Yes, for sure there will be some users upset by not being able to load up a single box with multiple RAID. For sure , it is very expensive to get multiple disk hardware RAID Thunderbolt external capability. It probably always will be because the number of individual users need both the speed and the capacity isn’t large enough, and the result is very high prices. But individual users can get Thunderbolt 1 externals at 3 TB each for around $300. There are no Thunderbolt 2 devices yet that I know of.

          1. And if you don’t need the speed of Thunderbolt, and all you want is massive storage, if you don’t already have it, the investment to get is pretty small, and not a whole lot more than buying extra internals.

          2. You make some good points – it does look to be a calculated risk that Apple is assuming that storage needs are either going to be ‘Big Enterprise’ (eg Fibre Channel racks), or not necessarily all that demanding (single spindle, such as on USB). The ramifications are that it is going to be the quasi-independent small guy who is going to get reamed, particularly since he’s also the profile who will fill his empty internal bays first.

            Similarly, while USB3 is a ‘good thing’ for not-too-demanding storage at a good price point, that good price point also canabalizes purchases away from Thunderbolt, which is why even with your ‘3TB for $300’ observation, since a consumer-grade 3TB that it represents only retails for $150, this means there’s a $150 ‘TB Tax’ for a notionally empty case.

            BTW, Seagate’s 3TB “FreeAgent” USB3 drives _still_ have a flawed driver on a Mac Pro … once they go to sleep, they won’t wake back up.

            -hh

            1. I agree. Some people are getting a bit of a shaft. And getting the highest speeds available externally will always be a huge tax. Hopefully, the available SDD capacity grows quickly, and their price deflates even quicker than it has. It wouldn’t be inconceivable that in the not too distant future, multiple GB USB3 flash drives will become available and you can just fill up the USB3 ports with them.

    5. If you don’t want more than one box under the desk, then just get the Mac Pro – It’s a capable computer even without 8 internal hard drives. If you want to use 8 hard drives at once, get an external RAID device like normal person, and stop crying about how “terrible” it is to have two smaller boxes under your desk instead of one big one. Sheesh! What a completely ridiculous thing to complain about.

      1. 6TB in a Pegasus is $1600 on TB, whereas a pair of 3TB’s taking up two internal bays in an old Mac Pro costs $300.

        I won’t complain if I can charge this $1300 difference to *your* credit card…

        …so please provide your CC number, or kindly reassess your opinion.

        -hh

  2. The new Pro is tiny compared to the old one…plenty of room on the desk to expand however and whatever you wish. Someone is always gonna cry. Most pro’s are gonna write off your tools anyhow, so get some new external tools to fit your needs.

  3. What’s to say, what’s to say? That says nothing. What’s to say they don’t? We don’t know anything. I’d like to put a good spin on it too, but I’m concerned.

    The truth is that the large case didn’t bother anyone who was a professional, just home users with more money to spend on it than a true need, for bragging rights.

    I’m waiting to replace my 2009 model. Without knowing what may become available, I’m figuratively biting my fingernails to the bone.

    We don’t even know, though I suspect not, whether there will be a two CPU version. Those 12 “cores” could include the 6 virtual cores, which aren’t the same thing.

    And pricing will be an issue, even for pros, if we need to buy expensive external pci expansion cases and drive towers that we haven’t needed to buy. And, by the way, is this pci 2 or 3. That isn’t clear either.

    1. Thanks for speaking for every pro on the planet with “the truth”. The truth is, you have no idea what you’re talking about. The old mac pros are giant and hot. I can add 2-3 extra seats in my office if I get rid of the current machines. And hopefully I won’t have to run AC full blast all year. I will be insanely happy to phase those out over the next couple years. I use pcie slots for hdmi out and pcie ssd (and I normally rip out my stock graphics cards and replace) and fiber. It seems Apple has taken care of some these things with the new machine.
      I have no problems with saving money on electricity and space, and I’m sure most other “pros” would agree, large shops, small shops and home users alike. BTW working from small offices or home offices doesn’t make you less of a “pro” any more than working in a giant sweatshop automatically gives you the “pro” title.

    1. It’s going to be a while:
      • Cost – less than a $0.10 per GB for platter-based drives. SSDs prices have declined, on the capacities that are available to about $1.00 plus or minus. This does impact decisions even the pros must make, No?

      • Capacity – For SSDs the largest is 960GB. Flash availability and engineering for larger capacity drives will take quite a bit of time to develop, and start with high prices to recoup development cost

  4. The whole point of Thunderbolt, you could have RACKS and RACKS of PCI slots. At 20Gbs, that’s faster than any PCI slot is capable of.

    Does anyone remember the TI 99? It’s slots was a whole secondary cassis, and completely optional.

    1. You’ll want to double-check the PCI specs. 16 lanes of PCIe 3 gives you a data rate of 15.75 GB/s. That’s 126 Gb/s, over 6x the per-channel capacity of even Thunderbolt 2.

      And Thunderbolt only uses *4* lanes of *PCIe 2*. It comes nowhere near the maximum speed of a fully internal card that can access all 16 lanes of a PCIe 3 slot.

      1. Thank you for correcting the idiots who don’t understand the actual data and numbers.

        External TB2 expansion is never going to be as fast as a direct PCIe-3 connection. AND to point out another topic and article all together…current gen NVidia GPU’s are clocking 30Gb/s from host to device and device to host testing with CUDA acceleration (current 650 line in the MacBook Pro’s now). So NO! the external TB2 PCIe-3 chassis to house an external GPU is not going to deliver, when this new Mac Pro comes out, the performance of directly integrated GPU’s now. So in 10-12 months when the Fire Pro cards shipping in the new Mac Pro are outpaced all the true media pro’a that buy into it will be screwed. The new Mac Pro is not what people were waiting for. It’s a beauty to stare at but unless the price point at launch is $1399-$1699 it will not be worth it to those other 20 percent from the survey.

          1. In an earlier article comment, my take on it is that it’s not practical.

            Although GPU cards can share workload (nVidia calls their version Scalable Link Interface or SLI), the CPU still only talks directly to a master card, which distributes graphics processing load onto the slave cards. So you’d *still* need a fat data pipe between a single card and the CPU.

            You also can’t just divide up data and send them to external cards each with its own dedicated TB port. In SLI the master GPU does this, because part of its job is to take that specialized processing off the CPU, and sync the data to/from the slave cards.

            *In theory* it might be possible, but it would take up too much CPU power, slow down too much due to synchronization data overhead (and the more cards you put in SLI, the more CPU and sync overhead, so there’s diminishing returns), and R&D would demand the end product be *very* expensive.

            On top of that, there’d still be no point in any of the individual cards in the SLI setup being any faster than what was available in 2010, anything faster is bottlenecked by TB2’s 20 Gb/s speeds.

        1. I would guess that Apple has or soon will release the specs to 3rd parties to make GPU upgrades. And with the design tools these days, they could get a new design to production in under 10-12 months. The key is whether there’s enough demand for the cards in that time frame. Apple put quite a bit of horsepower into this box for graphics capability, and that power probably satisfies a significant portion of the customer base. It’ll be interesting to see if and when new cards become available. You’re absolutely right though. Putting graphics expansion in an external housing would be a loser. Putting drives outside makes sense. You could theoretically transfer an entire high def movie across the Thunderbolt 2 in a few seconds, but we’ll have to see what real transfer speeds can be achieved and at what cost for a storage peripheral.

          1. Apple may … or may not … share the design requirements. In any case, the bigger concern here is longer term:
            (a) if the thermal envelope TDP has no design margin to spare, then any to-be-determined future GPU card which puts out more heat is a no-go.

            (b) Ditto for if there’s not margins for additional physical room for a slight change (increase) in GPU card size.

            What the general implications are of the above is that we’re not going to see any new suitable GPU cards until the core chip technologies improve enough to permit a shrink…if we assume a classical Intel Tic-Tok cycle, that’s ~3 years leadtime.

            Overall, the nonstandard look-n-feel of these new GPU cards makes it more likely for the consumer to be reliant on Apple as their sole provider of GPUs … and as I’ve already said, Apple has a poor track record of keeping up in the front of the performance race. My hunch is that the 2013 GPU will still be the default GPU in 2015.

            -hh

            1. All good points. I wouldn’t think Apple would withhold their hardware design requirements for the graphics cards. They wouldn’t be a huge profit item for them, so it would make sense to keep the 3rd party designers involved with Apple hardware. They’ve had a good track record of this dating all the way back to accelerator cards for the 68xxx series machines. Guess we’ll have to see if the demand for higher performance GPUs outpaces the development period for new devices. Lack of new GPU chips affects all machines though. But you’re right, if a new design chipset arrives and it won’t fit in this machine, the Mac Pro will be at a disadvantage.the thermal considerations are critical as you said. But hey…crank up that fan with a program like FanControl and live with a bigger whoosh. It’ll be interesting to see how long this machine’s graphics capability keeps the power users happy. Of course, guys that need machines that are the state-of-the-art of electronics technology must lead frustrating lives. There’s always a whole lot more choices for a whole lot less money when you don’t need the absolute fastest stuff.

  5. The biggest issue with the external expansion is the availability and cost of the additional units. Sonnet has a PCI expansion that will cost ~$750. Hard drive enclosures are available and will vary in cost with complexity (raid etc) but should not be a problem.
    It’s not like Apple even provide many adaptors. A search on the website for thunderbolt connectors brought up 2 cables, an ethernet adaptor, a firewire adaptor and belkin’s express dock.
    How about Apple putting some adaptors so that the professional can use the existing expansion boxes?

  6. There is a real quandry in that some people use a MacPro as a powerful car and others as a Mack Truck, as Tflint above intimated.

    Up to now Apple was providing a big empty MacPro with a huge powersupply and box that users rarely filled with ‘extras’.

    Apple looks like they are responding to the customer base and the inevitable downsizing of electronic components and have thus designed the basic small core computing unit that can have virtually unlimited expansion for the power user.

    1. In my mind they are building a truck scenario that works really well, but in a slightly different way. The new Mac Pro is the cab of the truck, with an amazing engine. The trailer of the truck (expansion) can be set up to be as big or small as needed. The key is that you have to be able to make a cab that can pull anything you can attach to it. BUT. . . trying to get it to pull old technology would be like chaining a truck to a tree, something going to break.

      1. I like the “Cab w/Trailers” analogy … to extend it, the new Mac Pro may have a sexy engine, but its transmission gearing isn’t suited for hauling a heavy load of trailers.

        And because the trailer hitch is a “Thunderbolt” style, the Fibre Channel trailer costs 30% more, the hard drive trailers cost 100% more, and the flatcar “Expansion Cases”for PCIe cards cost $700 each…and can’t run 16x cards at their full native speed.

        All in all, the IT solution becomes increasingly expensive the more that one’s computing needs fall “Outside of the Tube”.

        …and it is because Apple deleted roughly $200 worth (retail, not their real cost) of 30ft cargo box (internal expansion).

        -hh

  7. Did you just ask humans to think outside the box? You know that falls on deaf ears! He works at (scroll up, find name of publication, ask if that’s a real name) “Tech Night Owl!” They don’t make, innovate or make life better at all! How could they understand the magical genius of the Mac Pro? It will replace my iMacs.

    1. If I’m reading you correctly, please tell me you’re not that ignorant. If I’m not, then my apology.

      Gene is a long, long time Mac user/consultant/commentator, Mac/tech author, and an all around good guy. Unlike many, he’s not an Apple fanboy. His stuff gets reported here because he’s held in high esteem by knowledgable people, even if he’s not agreed with… although I don’t see MDN’s take as being in disagreement.

    2. Gene Steinberg is a vocal and long-time Mac guy – the article he wrote is a POSITIVE one. read it again please.
      Because Gene is a smart guy, he usually puts Pros and Cons, which can confuse…

  8. Its what I visualised years ago that big old beast we have now just wont cut it into the future of computing it will gain more users than it will lose especially if the modular approach to adding ‘externals’ is properly imposed.

  9. Take a deep, cleansing breath and relax. Jony Ive is on the case, NPI. He’ll have the major say on how the expansion “unit” will look, and we can bet it’ll be functional *and* elegant.

  10. Steinberg writes, “With six Thunderbolt 2 ports, certainly there’s plenty of space to add stuff to the 2013 Mac Pro, assuming you can find the peripherals you want. Well, the magazine in question complains about the lack of Thunderbolt 2 products, not realizing that Apple will be the first PC maker to deliver a box with such ports, that it won’t be released until later this year, and it will clearly take a little time for third party companies to get with the program.”

    Then Steinberg (like most MDN fanatics) goes on to tell everyone that magically peripheral manufacturers will support Mac Pro users’ every Thunderbolt need. Then why the hell are TB peripheral pickings STILL slim and expensive, YEARS after Apple launched the interface on its top-selling Macs?

    Here’s a small clue: 90% of the worlds computers use USB3 or earlier connectivity. Understanding that USB3 is inferior in performance, that doesn’t change the fact that peripheral makers are primarily concerned with profit, and therefore have prioritized development of USB3. More likely than not, the bridge solution for most users will rely heavily on the slower USB3 connectivity due to lack of Thunderbolt devices that support pro needs.

    It is a stupid assumption to believe that comprehensive Thunderbolt options will be ready to go when the new Mac hits stores. How long has it been since Apple killed the 30-pin dock connector in favor of Lightning? How many Lighting accessories are available, and at what price, compared to the old Dock connector?

    1. “… peripheral makers … prioritized development of USB3…”

      Don’t think so. Excepting drivers, peripheral makers don’t developed squat as far as connectivity hardware is concerned. They use the technology, but Intel developed USB… along with Thunderbolt (with some help from Apple).

      And there’s nothing “magical” about makers building TB products. It will happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day. TB is not as expensive as a lot of people make out.

      1. Another thing as regards pricing of TB devices… it’s the device makers gouging customers.

        A similar situation happen with FireWire HDs, even the actual FW connection cost was only a dollar… which declined over time, even though price differential between FW + USB vs. USB-only HDs didn’t.

      2. you are correct … should read “prioritized development of USB devices”.

        the point still holds: while we’d all love TB to answer all our needs, it doesn’t yet, because no current Mac Pro user has any Thunderbolt equipment whatsoever, and there’s little hope that all the legacy PCI and SATA devices will be replaced by TB peripherals overnight. All we can do is wait to see what peripheral makers do. Apple would be wise to announce an expansion chassis themselves to push 3rd party makers to get on the ball, but again, no news from Apple is not good news.

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