Originally posted by Joe_the_dragon
Woodcrest needs FB-DIMMs
Apple needs a $1500 singe duel core with good video system to compete with dell and others.
Amd 4X4 can use ddr2 non ecc and SLI with NVIDIA chip set / cross fire with a ATI one.
And when quad-core core come out amd 4x4 will let you have 2 of them and they will not be choked up like Intel ones that are 2 duel cores on one cpu linked by a FSB.
1) In theory, Apple could (if they wanted to) hack together a "normal" memory controller for the Mac Pros and leave the FB-DIMMs to the XServe. It'd be annoying, but cheaper and not killer performance-wise.
2) It looks like you're an AMD fan. Like it or not, Conroe dominates an X2 or FX one-on-one. But two X2s could (probably) beat a single Woodcrest (which is basically a Conroe at heart) at 2.0 or 2.33 GHz. Thus my point is that Apple wants to position the Mac Pros as competing with Precision workstations (which they'll destroy on price) and 4x4 (which they'll destroy performance-wise, for now), not XPS & co. on the low end (which'll pretty much rule the single-socket roost).
If a Mac Pro at $2000 gets you a 2.0 GHz Quad, it'll beat a 2.4GHz 4x4 (based on Conroe vs. FX benchmarks) for the same price. It'll be the cheapest Quad on the workstation market (by a mile), hurting Dell (who has 30-40 percent workstation mark-ups to cover for single-digit margins on $400 boxes).
If a Mac Pro at $2000 gets you a 2.66 GHz Conroe, it'll look over-priced next to the "same-spec" XPS at $1500-1600 (which'll also have SLI or Crossfire BTO). It'll also mean a different Motherboard (which is a SKU issue for Apple, a relatively low-volume company).
If a Mac Pro at $2000 gets you any sort of single Woodcrest, it'll be underperforming compared to XPS and 4x4 (2.0 GHz or 2.33 GHz WC) or it'll be more expensive than a 2.0 GHz Quad (2.66 GHz WC).
I think I just covered all the options for the low-end Mac Pro, and based on all the Conroe and Woodcrest chips, the only set-up that my analysis (which may be flawed) shows as being practical and impressive spec-wise is 2.0 Quad. It has a margin of about 15% at that price, but my analysis works for any price in the ballpark of $1800-$2200.
Note that for the purpose of this discussion, I've been defining "low-end Mac Pro" as the replacement for the current low-end Powermac ($2000), not a possible $1400-1800 "Mac Cube"/"xMac"/"Mac".