Apple quietly updated their Mac Pro lineup last Friday and the Octo Core 2.93 is now absent. This is the machine I purchased in July 2009 that has been pretty much nothing but trouble since it was installed.
As I've noted on this blog recently, there is a bad issue with the Intel Hartwell chip that runs the ethernet ports that causes the Mac Pro to disconnect from our ethernet SAN multiple times per day. We also have difficulties reconnecting to the SAN multiple times per day. Our other 5 workstations don't have these issues with the SAN and none of them are the 2.93.
We're also getting AJA Video Output Plug-In errors with Final Cut Pro just disappearing multiple times per day on this machine. Our other 5 workstations are not showing this issue.
Now Apple has discontinued the product after a short run, but the other two Mac Pros are still there, but they have been updated with new specs I was told by one of my vendors. It's circumstantial but this leads me to believe the 2.93 was a true lemon and Apple needed to get it off the market. Not sure where that leaves me but I'm going to be making some phone calls tomorrow.
2.93 is still available as an upgrade. Still checking the specs inside the machine. Making some calls today.
As we have discovered with worsening problems over the past 6 months, Apple has a very serious problem with their latest Mac Pro machines running the Intel "hartwell" chip on the ethernet ports. With bi-directional traffic to / from our ethernet based SAN, we can predict that our latest Mac Pro, the 2.93 Nehelam quad core machine, will disconnect from our SAN 8 times out of 10. The problem has been worsening and so far Apple has zero answers to the problem. Even Snow Leopard does not address this issue.
If you have any machine prior to the 2.93 Quad Core machine, you should be ok. We have three other Macs that all run on the SAN with no issues. It's only this machine and I have been told the problem is being repeated on other Mac Pros with this same "Hartwell" chip.
So if you're a heavy user of ethernet networking and especially looking at / using ethernet based SAN like we do, check with your networking folks before you purchase any new Mac Pros. To say we're disappointed with Apple right now is an understatement. Pay $6,000 for a new machine and find out it won't perform to the same specs as 2 and 3 year old computers.
Well, as an update the previous posts about our Final Share SAN, yesterday we installed a new Ethernet card to bypass the new Mac Pro ports altogether, but unfortunately ran into another snag. Final Cut Pro won't even launch with the card in the machine. No clue why at the moment. My guess is some sort of a conflict with one of the other cards that are in there and for whatever reason, FCP is just throwing up when it tries to launch.
So more head scratching and sleuthing for the guys to see what's causing the conflict. Their suggestion was to re-install FCP, but I'm not doing that right now in the middle of all this production and especially since FCP runs perfectly fine with the card removed.
So for the moment, we're dealing with the SAN disconnects and moving on with the edit.