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Details on Intel's potential Mac Pro 6-core i7 processor leaked

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Intel's forthcoming "Gulftown" 32nm, six-core processor will be known as the Core i7-980X and could be a part of new Mac Pro systems from Apple in early 2010.

Contrary to earlier reports, the new processors will not adopt the Core i9 name, and will allegedly keep the Core i7 title, according to leaked information relayed by Hardmac, the English-language version of French Apple site MacBidouille. The new processor, code-named "Gulftown" will fall under the i7 "Extreme Edition" category, the first of which will be the i7-980X.

The alleged roadmap from Intel shows that the processor will clock in at 3.33GHz. That chip is expected to arrive in March 2010, but in the past, Apple has reached exclusive agreements with Intel to be the first to carry its new processors.

Previous reports have suggested Apple is testing the new Xeon chip, based on the Gulftown architecture, in its Mac Pro desktop. The new, upgraded processor features more horsepower and lower power consumption, and will be the first dual-socket, six-core processor for Intel.

The new 32 nanometer chips have 12MB of L3 cache, and six cores with 12 threads for each CPU. Apple usually doubles the processors in its high-end professional workstations, so it's possible the new Mac Pro system could have a total of 12 cores and 24 threads. The new hardware could be released sometime in the first quarter of 2010.



The last major refresh to the Mac Pro equipped it with its Nehalem Xeon processors, with a high-end eight-core Mac Pro offering two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 chips. Earlier this month, Apple quietly upgraded that to a potential maximum 2.93GHz eight-core system.

post #2 of 48
Woot I will wait till then to replace my old quad G5
post #3 of 48
Well. Just bought a Mac Pro. Should have waited.
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post #4 of 48
Can someone explain what "dual-socket" means? Does this mean a redesigned motherboard and case?
post #5 of 48
Pretty!!

But I don't think apple will drop the Xeon branding for their Mac Pros. After all, this is supposed to be a professional workstation and not just a gammer's computer.

By the way, I think this CPU alone will be around 90% of the power of two Xeon 5464 which where in the 2008 Mac Pro. Now imagine how fast a pair of them would be
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pja View Post

Can someone explain what "dual-socket" means? Does this mean a redesigned motherboard and case?

It means that there is two sockets on the motherboard. This let you put two CPUs on one board and roughly double the computing power; just like dual-core did to single CPUs.
post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pja View Post

Can someone explain what "dual-socket" means? Does this mean a redesigned motherboard and case?

Dual socket means the motherboard has two cpu sockets, something the top end mac pros have always had. So no it doesn't mean that you will get a new case. You can hope though. The existing motherboards should be able to accept these processors, but that doesn't rule out a new motherboard... especially if lightpeak makes its debut.
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post #8 of 48
I'll be interesting to see the performance benchmarks for these 12-core machines. There's some interesting research out there that suggests anything past 8 cores actually has a negative impact on overall performance. I hope it's proven wrong in real-world tests though.
post #9 of 48
Note that most of the stories on this are not about the Xeon version of the chip, but rathe rthe "extreme" desktop version. Apple will need to use a Xeon version in order to put two of them in a Mac Pro. And you can bet that two 6 core 3+ GHz chips are going to be EXTREMELY expensive. We're not talking about moving the entire Mac Pro lineup to 6 core chips. We're probably talking about keeping the same base configurations that exist today, and just adding this as a very pricey BTO option.

Basically, so long as AMD continues to lag behind the Nehalem architecture, Intel has no reason to release these new chips at lower prices. I suspect that the 8 core, 2.26 GHz Nehalem Mac Pro released in March 2009 was the best deal on a Mac Pro that we are likely to see for some time (glad I picked mine up when I did).
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Intel's forthcoming "Gulftown" 32nm, six-core processor will be known as the Core i7-980X and could be a part of new Mac Pro systems from Apple in early 2010.

This doesn't really make sense. Apple has historically used Xeon chips in the Mac Pros, not desktop chips, so we'd expect to see them using something like the X58*0 chips listed here, not something binned as an "i7-Extreme Edition."
post #11 of 48
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Originally Posted by jenkman91 View Post

DOWN WITH AT&T!!!!
( I am not a troll, I am just trying to spread the word)

Are you hoping to prove iPhone users are the problem?
post #12 of 48
The latest "high-end" Mac Pro is an 8-core 2.93 GHz, not 2.26.
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I'll be interesting to see the performance benchmarks for these 12-core machines. There's some interesting research out there that suggests anything past 8 cores actually has a negative impact on overall performance. I hope it's proven wrong in real-world tests though.

I cant see how multiple cores can be bad. We have GPUs and Supercomputers sporting a lot more than 8-cores. Any limitation seems to be from our OS and apps at this point.

Im going to go out on a limb and say that a 2xSex-core Mac Pro will be impressive in benchmarks, yet not impressive enough to warrant the price for most people. Call me crazy!
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post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I cant see how multiple cores can be bad. We have GPUs and Supercomputers sporting a lot more than 8-cores. Any limitation seems to be from our OS and apps at this point.

Im going to go out on a limb and say that a 2xSex-core Mac Pro will be impressive in benchmarks, yet not impressive enough to warrant the price for most people. Call me crazy!

Anyone who wonders why you need more than 8 cores has never worked with "real" HD footage in a large project in Final Cut. If there is a lot of rendering to be done... even 8 cores can takes hours to render minutes of footage.
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by KawazoeMasahiro View Post

Pretty!!

But I don't think apple will drop the Xeon branding for their Mac Pros. After all, this is supposed to be a professional workstation and not just a gammer's computer.

By the way, I think this CPU alone will be around 90% of the power of two Xeon 5464 which where in the 2008 Mac Pro. Now imagine how fast a pair of them would be

Its intel's decision, not Apple's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jukes View Post

This doesn't really make sense. Apple has historically used Xeon chips in the Mac Pros, not desktop chips, so we'd expect to see them using something like the X58*0 chips listed here, not something binned as an "i7-Extreme Edition."

Xeon and Core are brandings, nothing more. The only difference right now between a xeon 3500 bloomfield and a core i7 bloomfield is that ECC memory support is disabled. If they were to ditch the xeon branding, and use core I7-900 for high end single socket cpus and i9 for multi- socket cpus, intel could probably save some money having to give two different names to the same chips.
post #16 of 48
The top-end Mac Pro configuration is an eight-core 2.93 GHz, that was announced early in 2009. The single processor, quad-core Mac Pro was silently upgraded with a 3.33 GHz option last month.
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Its intel's decision, not Apple's.

Well, it does take two to tango. And it's the market's decision whether to pay a premium price for an early stepping that may be the subject of significant errata.
post #18 of 48
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Originally Posted by jenkman91 View Post

DOWN WITH AT&T!!!!

Iphone USERS, HELP BRING AT&T'S NETWORK TO ITS KNEES THIS FRIDAY AT
12:00pm PST... IF YOU HAVE AN iPhone RUN THE MOST DATA INTENSIVE APP
YOU HAVE OVER THE 3G NETWORK FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN... REMEMBER, ITS
THIS FRIDAY AT 12:00pm PST, 3:00pm EASTERN

HELP SPREAD THE WORD!


( I am not a troll, I am just trying to spread the word)

Quit being a troll AND a jerk. All you're going to do is flood the network for the rest of us.
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post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Xeon and Core are brandings, nothing more.

I'm not sure what your point is. Do you expect to see something binned as an i7 EE in a Mac Pro?
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I'll be interesting to see the performance benchmarks for these 12-core machines. There's some interesting research out there that suggests anything past 8 cores actually has a negative impact on overall performance. I hope it's proven wrong in real-world tests though.

I think it's inevitable that performance will be hampered and this IMO is primarily due to limited memory bandwidth and latency issues once we move to 8+ cores and there's also the software inefficiencis.

Thankfully Intel has been working dilligently to improve multithreading capabilities in not only their CPU but also their development tools with Intel Thread Building Blocks. They've also helped with memory bandwidth with their Quick Path Interconnects

Apple will continue to push Grand Central Dispatch and my hope is that most developers are onboard with GCD optimized software after 10.7.

Sandy Bridge is going to bring 8-core per socket so we're going to see 16 core 32 thread CPU in 2011. We'd better have the bus bandwidth and software smarts to keep as many cores fed as possible.
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post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can’t see how multiple cores can be bad. We have GPUs and Supercomputers sporting a lot more than 8-cores. Any limitation seems to be from our OS and apps at this point.

Other things being equal, i.e. assuming that the OS/apps can handle multiple cores properly, it depends on the task. In order to benefit from multiple cores/threads the job needs to be sliced-and-diced, the pieces processed separately, then the results reassembled in a meaningful way. For that to be effective the individual elements need to be minimally interdependent. If they're not then it's ineffective to process them separately.

Multiple cores work well for tasks like 3D rendering or for video processing. Video compression on the other hand also requires continuous analysis of frame-to-frame differences, so subdividing the job isn't as effective.

That's why when we see benchmark results of multi-core Macs the results can be all over the place, depending on the nature of the particular test. For some people a higher clock speed may be better than more cores, for others not.
post #22 of 48
So when can I start seeing this or even quad-core in my regular Macbook Pro?
post #23 of 48
But will it run Crysis?
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

But will it run Crysis?

Not yet...maybe December 22nd 2012
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post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

especially if lightpeak makes its debut.

Mmmmm.... Light Peak. But I think it's too soon. I have nothing to base that on, I just think it is.

- Jasen.
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I think it's inevitable that performance will be hampered and this IMO is primarily due to limited memory bandwidth and latency issues once we move to 8+ cores and there's also the software inefficiencis.

Thankfully Intel has been working dilligently to improve multithreading capabilities in not only their CPU but also their development tools with Intel Thread Building Blocks. They've also helped with memory bandwidth with their Quick Path Interconnects

Apple will continue to push Grand Central Dispatch and my hope is that most developers are onboard with GCD optimized software after 10.7.

Sandy Bridge is going to bring 8-core per socket so we're going to see 16 core 32 thread CPU in 2011. We'd better have the bus bandwidth and software smarts to keep as many cores fed as possible.

And Larabee will take over the GPGPU market.
post #27 of 48
And it still won't be able to animate smoothly 2 dashboard widgets with a freaking GTX 285. That's some criminally negligent programming at Apple.

Running OS X on these is such a waste of perfectly good hardware.

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Mac Pro, 8 Core, 32 GB RAM, nVidia GTX 285 1 GB, 2 TB storage, 240 GB OWC Mercury Extreme SSD, 30'' Cinema Display, 27'' iMac, 24'' iMac, 17'' MBP, 13'' MBP, 32 GB iPhone 4, 64 GB iPad 3

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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by iphonedeveloperthailand View Post

Well. Just bought a Mac Pro. Should have waited.

Can you ever really win? If you buy something between refreshes, the new one comes out the next week. If you are an early adopter, you have to deal with a bug or two until updates come out.
post #29 of 48
I will probably get one of these. after I wait a bit to make sure there aren't any major problems...
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post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debian Dog View Post

Woot I will wait till then to replace my old quad G5

Heh, woot, woot,
I'm waiting to replace my (very capable) old dual 2ghz G5.

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post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Not yet...maybe December 22nd 2012

Why would want to play that old game then where we all play us army at home.
post #32 of 48
Finally, a reason to buy a Mac Pro instead of an iMac i7.
post #33 of 48
I can't wait to run Adobe Illustrator on one of these...

and watch it peg 1 CPU, while 11 sit idle.

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post #34 of 48
Sorry, I was too lazy to dig up the link earlier. Here it is.

Not conclusive but certainly interesting reading. And yes, the problem is memory bandwidth.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debian Dog View Post

Anyone who wonders why you need more than 8 cores has never worked with "real" HD footage in a large project in Final Cut. If there is a lot of rendering to be done... even 8 cores can takes hours to render minutes of footage.

I second that. There's nothing like sending a long HD project to Compressor and having to wait 20 hours to two days for all of the rendering to be done. Same with Color.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

And it still won't be able to animate smoothly 2 dashboard widgets with a freaking GTX 285. That's some criminally negligent programming at Apple.

Running OS X on these is such a waste of perfectly good hardware.

What else should you run?

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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

But will it run Crysis?

what can run CRYSIS by the way ??
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post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeputyRob View Post

Quit being a troll AND a jerk. All you're going to do is flood the network for the rest of us.

is that you TS ??
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post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

And it still won't be able to animate smoothly 2 dashboard widgets with a freaking GTX 285. That's some criminally negligent programming at Apple.

Running OS X on these is such a waste of perfectly good hardware.

If that animates smoothly on the MacBook Pro I have I guess it should do the same on Mac Pro with GTX 285 graphics.
post #40 of 48
There will be a Xeon-branded version of this. Several Xeon versions, actually, for 1, 2, and 4+ socket systems. They all use the same silicon dies, just with different parts enabled/disabled. They will range in price from "Very Expensive" to "Holy Sh*t"
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