New Mac Pro in 2019

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  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by Blinny: The #1 danger with this machine and their stated approach is if the think "Pros are people who use Apple Final Cut Pro and Logic and Adobe Photoshop — let's go talk to them" and once again leave 3D-centric apps and workflows out of the main feedback loop. Hopefully they're not doing that. I'm giving benefit of the doubt they're not that stupid this time.

Read the article on the Pro Workflow Team building the new Mac Pro. It suggests they're mindful of that issue and are testing a wide range of pro software.
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/a...d-by-workflows/

“We’ve been focusing on visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production, as well,” says Ternus. “And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS, is it in the drivers, is it in the application, is it in the silicon, and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by Blinny: • There's no chance the main CPU on this thing will be anything but Intel. This whole move to Apple proprietary CPUs will take 5+ years and they're just starting to lay the foundations now. OS, software... everything has to change to make that work. Not to mention the minor task of releasing those Apple CPUs in a series of real consumer Macs (first) and proving that they hold up under general long-term use. They haven't even built a prorotype yet. ; ) All Macs may eventually run on Apple CPUs, but that won't happen anytime soon.

• The #1 danger with this machine and their stated approach is if the think "Pros are people who use Apple Final Cut Pro and Logic and Adobe Photoshop — let's go talk to them" and once again leave 3D-centric apps and workflows out of the main feedback loop. Hopefully they're not doing that. I'm giving benefit of the doubt they're not that stupid this time.

• Credit to Apple for providing a substantive update on what they're doing and when. THAT... is progress. By itself. A little communication goes a long way in situations like this.

Apple is most definitely going to be using their own chips in their computers...and beginning pretty soon. That's been all over the media. I agree that their 'pro products' will likely continue to feature an Intel CPU...but I'll stick w/my hunch that they might ship Intel Plus 'x'. 
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  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by IceCaveMan: Apple is most definitely going to be using their own chips in their computers...and beginning pretty soon. That's been all over the media. I agree that their 'pro products' will likely continue to feature an Intel CPU...but I'll stick w/my hunch that they might ship Intel Plus 'x'. 


Way back, Apple claimed that their Motorola CPUs were 15% faster than a Pentium CPU based on 1 Photoshop benchmark, and went on to advertise newer PowerPC CPUs as "Supercomputers" or somesuch on their stylish website.

Macs are bog-ordinary Intel PCs running a different OS. They way Apple is going, they are never going to deliver a Pro machine that is even an inch faster than a powerful PC.

But they are - once again - going to deliver a Pro machine that is way more expensive than an equivalent PC Workstation because it has a logo of an Apple with a bite taken out of it on its casing.

This comes from the geniuses who claimed back in the day that a round 1 button mouse is an innovation.

And the geniuses who claimed that having stylus input to go with a touchscreen tablet or phone is a bad idea.

And the geniuses who never managed to get Quicktime player running at acceptable speed on Windows PCs.

And the geniuses who felt that people want smaller touchscreen phones when Samsung was selling craploads of larger phablet type phones.

There is one thing Apple has done right in the last 2 decades though - their ProRes professional video CODEC is decent when paired with a realtime encoder chip.
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by IceCaveMan: Apple is most definitely going to be using their own chips in their computers...and beginning pretty soon. That's been all over the media. I agree that their 'pro products' will likely continue to feature an Intel CPU...but I'll stick w/my hunch that they might ship Intel Plus 'x'. 
Not the main CPU. They will start using their own custom "enclave" chips similar to what they did with iMac Pro, but that's not what I'm referring to.

I'm talking about replacing the main Intel CPU for their Macs. That's not happening for 3 years at a minimum. For starters, they don't have a finished CPU design or fabrication facility (theirs or third party) capable of manufacturing it yet. Consider the fact that if they had BOTH of those things TODAY, it would probably take a year+ just for finished product to start rolling off the line at a high volume. Fabricating CPUs that meet all quality standard is hard enough, doing it in high volume, for a first-time entrant in the market is really tough.

Add to that the OS still has to go through a major conversion, and app devs need both that converted OS AND hardware running the non-existent CPUs in order to update their own apps (which will take a long time in many cases).

I don't doubt it will happen, only that it will happen anytime soon. There's way too much groundwork yet to be laid to even be talking about it. This switch would be as big or bigger than the one going from PPC to Intel back in the day. It's going to take a major effort, even from a company as resourceful as Apple. Moreover, if Intel decides they want to cut Apple a better deal on their chips and/or improves their own pace of updates, this whole concept of Apple CPUs might go away. Apple hasn't written anything in stone.

Last edited by Blinny : 1 Week Ago at 09:21 PM.
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by Anthony Thorne: Read the article on the Pro Workflow Team building the new Mac Pro. It suggests they're mindful of that issue and are testing a wide range of pro software.
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/a...d-by-workflows/

“We’ve been focusing on visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production, as well,” says Ternus. “And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS, is it in the drivers, is it in the application, is it in the silicon, and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”

Good stuff. Thanks for posting that.
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by skeebertus:
There is one thing Apple has done right in the last 2 decades though - their ProRes professional video CODEC is decent when paired with a realtime encoder chip.

Totally right, Apple has the largest market cap in the world because of the release of this codec(at least in your parallel universe). 
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  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by Blinny: Not the main CPU. They will start using their own custom "enclave" chips similar to what they did with iMac Pro, but that's not what I'm referring to.

I'm talking about replacing the main Intel CPU for their Macs. That's not happening for 3 years at a minimum. For starters, they don't have a finished CPU design or fabrication facility (theirs or third party) capable of manufacturing it yet. Consider the fact that if they had BOTH of those things TODAY, it would probably take a year+ just for finished product to start rolling off the line at a high volume. Fabricating CPUs that meet all quality standard is hard enough, doing it in high volume, for a first-time entrant in the market is really tough.

Add to that the OS still has to go through a major conversion, and app devs need both that converted OS AND hardware running the non-existent CPUs in order to update their own apps (which will take a long time in many cases).

I don't doubt it will happen, only that it will happen anytime soon. There's way too much groundwork yet to be laid to even be talking about it. This switch would be as big or bigger than the one going from PPC to Intel back in the day. It's going to take a major effort, even from a company as resourceful as Apple. Moreover, if Intel decides they want to cut Apple a better deal on their chips and/or improves their own pace of updates, this whole concept of Apple CPUs might go away. Apple hasn't written anything in stone.
Apple actually has everything that you say they don't: 

OS recompile: it has been widely rumoured that Apple has been recompiling each new version of OS X for the ARM architecture for a while now, just as they did with intel before the last transition. The dev tools situation is much better than it was at that point, and recompiling for ARM will be much easier on third-party devs than it was then.

CPU Design: They have what is widely considered to be the most talented and innovative CPU design team in the world at the moment, lead by Johny Srouji. (Here's an older article)

Fabrication: they are have been using Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) to fab their own designs since 2010. TSMC is considered to have the most advanced process technology at the moment, but this changes frequently.

Performance: Apple's A11, found in their most recent phones, outperforms the low-end Macbook Pro Intel i5 processor. Its about twice as fast as any other mobile processor. It does this while power and frequency constrained because it has to sip battery in a phone. 

So, even with the current design, Apple could release a competitive low-end laptop based on their own design. And the battery life would be phenomenal.

Imagine this team turned toward performance, rather than battery life. They could ramp up frequency and power draw, add cores, and create a viable performance chip.

I have no idea whether any of this is going to happen, but I think it is highly plausible that it might happen for Apple's mobile Macs. And it could happen relatively soon. It remains to be seen whether any of this comes to pass, but the advances of Apple's chip team is one of the most unacknowledged stories in tech right now.
 
  1 Week Ago
Just for fun I also want to publish my bet:

-------------------------------------------------

they had a fantastic workstation design. But they consider this to be to normal and not exclusive enough. so.

they will take
intel CPUs
mainly amd grafics,
and weld it into some sort of easy exchange rack. each component (SSD, GPUs) put into a casing that can easy be put or slided together.
they will say that it is for performance, but it will mainly be there to "protect" them from the possibility to put in standard  stuff.

anyway it will look fantastic, will be very expensive but also super fast.
If they get rid of problems in their operating system they even will be faster in some benchmarks. thats good for marketing. "look mac is 30% faster when copying single frames around" (I would like it )

so it will be fast and competitive. they will say, that they will release nvidia cards and that they will keep the system updated by releasing new hardware modules  when new technology gets accessible.

well and that exactly what I do not believe. It would be the first time that apple really managed to keep up with development after a product was released. It is not in their interest. they want to sell a new workstation after 3 to 5 years.

so it will be fast, sexy and modular

but it will also be just interesting in the right moment when it comes out, and it will be much less upgradable then they will try to tell you. 

------------------

Thats my bet on the new Mac pro. I just put it here, so that I can look it up in approximately 1,5 years

Jops
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by NWoolridge: Apple actually has everything that you say they don't: ....

Not to be argumentative but you're getting ahead of yourself. Let's take these in order:

Quote: OS recompile: it has been widely rumoured that Apple has been recompiling each new version of OS X for the ARM architecture for a while now, just as they did with intel before the last transition

A lot of things get "widely rumored" that turn out to not be true or only half-true with Apple stuff. The people I know with Dev Accts at Apple, have not seen anything analogous to a "branched" version of the OS that runs on Apple CPUs. It might exist, but we can't make that assumption based on rumors. Generally, many Apple rumors are a network of self-reinforcing "tech media" people that just feed off each other. The more plausible something sounds to them the more they post it. That said, let's pretend for the moment this is a finsihed thing (the OS conversion).


Quote: CPU Design: They have what is widely considered to be the most talented and innovative CPU design team in the world

And? Not the same thing as a finished desktop CPU design (not talking about something like a MacBook Air — talking about something that would run in a high-end MBP, iMac, Mac Pro). They may well be working on such a design right now, but even if they started a year ago (for argument sake), we're still not close to seeing a finished product. Moreover, you can't reasonably equate iOS CPUs with the type Intel and AMD make. Sort of like equating a Cessna prop plane with a Gulfstream V because they both have control surfaces, instrumentation, and operational methods that all work on the same principles. One is far more complex and powerful and will get you where you're going — all else being equal — much quicker.



Quote: Fabrication: they are have been using Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) to fab their own designs since 2010. TSMC is considered to have the most advanced process technology at the moment, but this changes frequently.

And? Again, not the same thjing as a fabrication plant designed to build Intel- or AMD-style CPUs. Often, brand new CPU designs (i.e. ones not closely based on some prior design for which there is already a proven manufacturing process), require new fabrication facilities or non-trivial facility upgrades. The former seems much more likely to me from both a logistical and business standpoint. They're going to want one or more purpose-built facilities for these new lines of CPU.  It usually takes a couple years to build a new chip fab and then another year to bring it online to full production.

Taking that a step further and tying back to my previous comment above, That same complex design is also far more challenging to manufacture in volume, so that any flaws that might cause "fatal errors" during use, are avoided. Volume is a big challenge in the CPU business. It's not uncommon for Intel or others to take a year or more to ramp up production of a new CPU design, to the point where they can reliably produce them. Especially if that's on a new or modified process (very likely the case with any new line of CPUs Apple makes). 

 I'm NOT saying it'll never happen, or even though it won't happen in the next 5 years, I'm just saying we're not in a place where new Apple desktop CPUs are going to be rolling off a line in the near-future (or "pretty soon" as another poster put it). Unless we consider 2020-2021 "near future / pretty soon." Even there, you're still a way from the finish line, in terms of walking into an Apple store and picking up a new Mac Pro with Apple CPUs in it.


Quote: Performance: Apple's A11, found in their most recent phones, outperforms the low-end Macbook Pro Intel i5 processor. Its about twice as fast as any other mobile processor. It does this while power and frequency constrained because it has to sip battery in a phone.

... for sure  the top-line iOS processors today are way more powerful than just a few years ago, but they're still not at the level of an i7, i9, Xeon for the kinds of computing done all day long on a MBPs, iMacs, Mac Pro. With both OS and especially apps, you're not comparing the same things. Your point about clock frequency and battery consumption is fair and relevant though. So you might be right in the sense that they can borrow from this A11 design and create a workable CPU, especially for MacBooks and MacBook Airs. But it's still a leap to "competes in performance with top-end i7 / i9 / Xeon." We're not there yet unless Apple is way better than I think they are at hiding things and enforcing a true code of silence among thousands of people required to make this CPU thing a reality. Look at how many iPhone leaks there are from Apple's Chinese partners (for example).


Quote: Even with the current design, Apple could release a competitive low-end laptop based on their own design. And the battery life would be phenomenal.

I am willing to concede they're closer to this objective (maybe a couple years to a released product) than "we have a legit CPU that can work in a high-end Mac" objective. And in some sense this is a stepping stone to getting there IMO. Before Apple can put their own CPU in a MBPs, iMacs, Mac Pro, they would first have to put a simpler design in a simpler machine and prove to customers it's fast enough and robust enough (running something akin to macOS and macOS apps) to use as the basis for an even more advanced family of processors, for Apple's more advanced computer line.

All this boils down to complexity and time. We're not disagreeing that Apple has the resources (human and otherwise), the will, or the partnerships to make this happen... only that it's not close to happening soon (where MBPs / iMac / Mac Pro are concerned). IMO. I could be totally insane.
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by Blinny: A lot of things get "widely rumored" that turn out to not be true or only half-true with Apple stuff. The people I know with Dev Accts at Apple, have not seen anything analogous to a "branched" version of the OS that runs on Apple CPUs....
And? Not the same thing as a finished desktop CPU design (not talking about something like a MacBook Air — talking about something that would run in a high-end MBP, iMac, Mac Pro). ...
...Again, not the same thjing as a fabrication plant designed to build Intel- or AMD-style CPUs. Often, brand new CPU designs (i.e. ones not closely based on some prior design for which there is already a proven manufacturing process), require new fabrication facilities or non-trivial facility upgrades....Taking that a step further and tying back to my previous comment above, That same complex design is also far more challenging to manufacture in volume, so that any flaws that might cause "fatal errors" during use, are avoided. Volume is a big challenge in the CPU business. It's not uncommon for Intel or others to take a year or more to ramp up production of a new CPU design, to the point where they can reliably produce them....
 I'm NOT saying it'll never happen, or even though it won't happen in the next 5 years...
... for sure  the top-line iOS processors today are way more powerful than just a few years ago, but they're still not at the level of an i7, i9, Xeon for the kinds of computing done all day long on a MBPs, iMacs, Mac Pro. ...
.....only that it's not close to happening soon (where MBPs / iMac / Mac Pro are concerned). IMO. I could be totally insane. ..
I don't want to be too contentious, because I think at core we would agree: I actually don't want ARM-core Macs, and I especially don't want high-end ARM-core Macs, because for a variety of reasons I think that Apple should make the Mac Pro a highly compatible machine, with as little incentive for pros to leave the platform as possible. But they are plausible, and plausible in the relatively near-term.

I'll certainly concede that rumours are just that. Any project Apple has for building an ARM-OS X would be an extremely closely kept secret. But it would be foolish to think that they haven't experimented with it, especially when they have clearly stated their preference for owning and controlling the technology they use.

But many of your assertions don't hold up:

- Apple already has a multi-year track record of significant yearly processor improvements (with additional .5 year improvements for iPads). The ramp of their improvements over the last 7 years completely shames AMD and Intel (and Qualcomm).

- Chip fabrication is moving to a services model. Even Intel is contracting out its fabrication. There is no need to build dedicated fabs for particular chips; TSMC, Samsung, or Global Foundries advance their fabs regularly, and chip designers can quickly take advantage of the latest processes. Its not like the early 2000s, when chip makers had to make multi-billion dollar investments for their own fabs.

- Recent ARM CPUs are not very different from any other CPU design, except for the fact that they use a different ISA, and they make tradeoffs in the direction of efficiency and low power usage. And the performance is much closer than you think. Lets look at the Geekbench scores for a typical recent i7 chip:
                                       Single-Core Score Multi-Core Score 
Intel Core i7-8700K.              5932                              25816
A11                                         4311                              10611

Both are 6-core chips, but the A11 has 2 high-power and 4 low-power cores. The i7 is running at 3.7 GHZ (not overclocked). The A11 is running at 2.3 GHZ. Single-core performance scales linearly with frequency, so if it were possible to ramp up the A11 to 3.7 GHZ, it would score 6935 in single core. If (big if, but indulge me here) we imagine a hypothetical 6-core ARM chip with 6 high-power cores, the multicore score would be 30181 (using the same multicore efficiency of the i7).

So, the A series chips are in the ballpark, and arguably the efficiency of their core design (without the legacy of x86 ISA cruft) might allow for performance level designs with little work beyond scaling frequency and the creation of quad-, hex-, or octo-core models. Apple has already shown they can do this, since the "x" variants of the A series chips (used in iPads) usually have symmetric tri- or quad-core designs. 

Unfortunately, Intel's missed deadlines, cancelled plans, and other missteps and process improvement problems over the last few years have made this a more likely move by Apple.

Last edited by NWoolridge : 1 Week Ago at 07:17 PM.
 
  1 Week Ago
...and just an added note on the scale of CPU shipments:

- Intel, global PC CPU shipments in 2017:  ~ 210 million (80% of the PC market of 262 million)

- Apple, global CPU shipments (iPhones + iPads) in 2017: 256 million

edit: to clarify that the Apple total was also for a single year. Little acknowledged: Apple now ships more CPUs than Intel. 

Last edited by NWoolridge : 1 Week Ago at 02:56 PM.
 
  1 Week Ago
You can certainly make those arguments (this has some subjectivity / guesswork involved because no one really knows the directions Apple would take with their designs). I won't belabor it further either except to say I don't think we can use synthetic benchmarks and the assumption of linear scaling on the clockspeed side, to assume that Apple is sort of "already there" in terms of design.

We'll agree to disagree on the chip fab thing. The biggest reason Apple would do this CPU switch, is to reduce reliance on third parties; the pain point here is Intel missing their own deadlines and roadmaps and causing a "ripple delay" to Apple's and everyone else's hardware. If they only outsourced the manufacturing, they're not reducing their risk of getting delayed on account of third parties; they would instead shift their reliance from Intel to TSMC, Samsung, or whoever — none of those players can guarantee the volume Apple wants year in and year out, in addition to their iDevice chips. If Apple wants control, they're going to want complete control. From buying the raw materials to having their own fab, built to their own specs. Not dissimilar to their new spaceship campus, their own data centers, etc.

And FWIW I don't want them to do this either in the sense that it's yet another painful transition developers will have to make "because reasons." Unless they make it very easy for devs to port existing apps to the new system with minimal re-writing, and unless they have the ability to "reinvigorate" Moore's Law with regular doubling of the CPUs' clock speed every 18 months, don't fix what isn't broken. The delays that hurt Apple in CPU-land, hurt all the other PC makers the same way, on the same timeline. In fact, probably worse in some cases because Apple is often the first to take delivery of new high-end chips, when it matches up with their hardware cycle.

I suppose also the Spectre and Meltdown stuff could've scared Apple past the point where they decided for security reasons they need to do this, but whatever the case the trick will be to limit disruption to the healthy developer ecosystem they've created. Personally though the first time I heard this I thought, "this is Apple pressuring Intel to do better and give them better prices until they actually are doing better." Because for better or worse, Apple a could easily make good on the threat to go it on their own.

Last edited by Blinny : 1 Week Ago at 06:29 PM.
 
  1 Week Ago
Some more food for thought.

One of the reasons I gave up with apple laptops (Ive used mbp for the past decade for my portable machines) Was the utter unrepairability of the last machine I had. If the keyboard breaks on a new machine, it will cost you £100's to replace as the keyboard is rivetted with 100 rivets to the chassis. If the battery goes you have to try to unglue it. The ram is soldered in, the heat system is un-serviceable. In comparison my XPS laptop which is more or less the same size and weight has upgradable ram, servicable heatpipes, upgradable standard m.2 ssds, easy to swap out keyboard and battery.

And now, it seems you cannot even buy spare parts to do simple repairs like the screen. Im curious to see how locked down they manage to make the new pro machine.

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  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by skeebertus: Way back, Apple claimed that their Motorola CPUs were 15% faster than a Pentium CPU based on 1 Photoshop benchmark, and went on to advertise newer PowerPC CPUs as "Supercomputers" or somesuch on their stylish website.

Macs are bog-ordinary Intel PCs running a different OS. They way Apple is going, they are never going to deliver a Pro machine that is even an inch faster than a powerful PC.

But they are - once again - going to deliver a Pro machine that is way more expensive than an equivalent PC Workstation because it has a logo of an Apple with a bite taken out of it on its casing.

This comes from the geniuses who claimed back in the day that a round 1 button mouse is an innovation.

And the geniuses who claimed that having stylus input to go with a touchscreen tablet or phone is a bad idea.

And the geniuses who never managed to get Quicktime player running at acceptable speed on Windows PCs.

And the geniuses who felt that people want smaller touchscreen phones when Samsung was selling craploads of larger phablet type phones.

There is one thing Apple has done right in the last 2 decades though - their ProRes professional video CODEC is decent when paired with a realtime encoder chip.

Agreed on almost everything but the part that Apple have done right. It's the user experience. OS X beats Windows hands down on that. I was forced to switch to the PC world because of Apple's inability to deliver a professional solution for my needs --and I probably won't be coming back.  But do I miss the MacOS...
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by imashination: Some more food for thought.

One of the reasons I gave up with apple laptops (Ive used mbp for the past decade for my portable machines) Was the utter unrepairability of the last machine I had. If the keyboard breaks on a new machine, it will cost you £100's to replace as the keyboard is rivetted with 100 rivets to the chassis. If the battery goes you have to try to unglue it. The ram is soldered in, the heat system is un-serviceable. In comparison my XPS laptop which is more or less the same size and weight has upgradable ram, servicable heatpipes, upgradable standard m.2 ssds, easy to swap out keyboard and battery.

And now, it seems you cannot even buy spare parts to do simple repairs like the screen. Im curious to see how locked down they manage to make the new pro machine.



That YouTube guy was crazy  if he thought he was going to get service after disassembling the iMac Pro. It's basically impossible to do that without Apple knowing that you did it, and it's a violation of the warranty terms. I don't know all the latest specific clauses per part, but there are certain things you can and can't do in terms of disassembly, if you want to maintain your warranty status. Doing a complete tear-down like you see on this guys' channel or  iFixit (the best of the tear-down resources IMO if you're looking to upgrade stuff yourself), is not one of the things Apple allows for. At least not last I heard. They don't have a sense of humor about this stuff.

As for the next Mac Pro, how stringent they are about warranty and DIY stuff is going to depend on how the word "modular" ends up being defined. If Modular means something akin to what the old Mac Pros were, where you can take off the side and add / remove all sorts of stuff — not just drives but cooling fans and cables and the like — then I would assume there will be a lot we can do to upgrade it without voiding the warranty. If on the other hand Apple's idea of "modular" ends up being literal, self-contained Apple-baked modules that you "plug into" a larger housing, but without having any access to what's inside the modules... and the way they offer "choice" is to sell a whole bunch of different module kits... then I suspect the warranty will be a lot like current iMacs and MacBooks. If you open it and start taking stuff apart, you're taking a big chance Apple will void your warranty.

At which point I buy a PC. Aside from an upgradeable CPU and GPU, the #1 thing I want is the ability to upgrade stuff myself. If they force me to buy a bunch of boxes to stuff into a larger box, game over. I will go direct to Puget and won't think twice about it.

Last edited by Blinny : 1 Week Ago at 06:52 PM.
 
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