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Intel's first quad-core chips to arrive this year

post #1 of 57
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Intel Corp. this week said it's bumping up the release of its quad-core desktop and server chips to the fourth quarter of this year from their previous target date of early 2007.

"We notified customers that we're pulling in both a desktop and server of the first quad-core processors into the fourth quarter of this year from the first half of 2007," Intel chief executive Paul Otellini said during the company's earnings call on Wednesday.

The chips, code-named Kentsfield (desktop) and Clovertown (server), were announced by Intel execs at dates earlier this year and are candidates to appear in future revisions of Apple's Mac product lines.

In February, Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner said the company planned to roll out Clovertown -- its first quad-core chip -- by early 2007. Kentsfield was announced with a similar roll-out date during the company's semiannual developers conference the following month.

Also on Wednesday, Otellini confirmed reports that Intel is pushing ahead the release of another chip, its Core 2 Duo notebook processor formerly code-named Merom.

According to Otellini, Merom is due to launch in a few weeks. The chip is expected to closely follow the release of its desktop counterpart, Conroe, which is currently in production ahead of its July 27th launch.

According to DigiTimes, Intel plans for over 50 percent of its notebook processor shipments in the first quarter of 2007 to be Merom chips, making its 64-bit dual-core model the mainstream for the notebook market.
post #2 of 57
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post #3 of 57
I guess we will find out in a couple of weeks which chips are going into which computers. I can see the XServe getting "Clovertown", the iMac getting "Conroe", the MacBook Pro getting "Merom", and the MacBook and Mac mini keeping "Yonah". Power Macs are a little tougher to guess because it seems like "Woodcrest" and "Kentsfield" will be coming out at the same time instead of about 6 months apart.
post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by troberts
I guess we will find out in a couple of weeks which chips are going into which computers. I can see the XServe getting "Clovertown", the iMac getting "Conroe", the MacBook Pro getting "Merom", and the MacBook and Mac mini keeping "Yonah". Power Macs are a little tougher to guess because it seems like "Woodcrest" and "Kentsfield" will be coming out at the same time instead of about 6 months apart.

Yeah, I think you're right. But I only see the Kentsfield in the very top of the line Mac Pro system because of a price per chip deal. Think boards and chips, and to put two chips in, that thing would be very very expensive. Projections on the dual-Woodcrest system already put it at around $3000, I would assume the Kentsfield up that price another $1000.
post #5 of 57
I really hope we don't see Apple go for Core 2 Quad over two Xeons, though I guess time will tell. If they go with 2 Quad Xeons, then we'll likely see more liquid cooling, which I'm also not bullish on (plus ye gads the cost).

If anything I hope this will just drive the cost of Xeon 7xxx down for Apple.

The quad Xeon is better off than the Quad Core (I don't have the codenames memorized if you haven't noticed by now) memory wise, but I don't think either near will live up to the potential of 4 core on one die or a 4 core package with adequate memory bandwidth. The very apps that would be most likely to actually use 4-8 cores will be the same ones that will be likely to be starved for data.
post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
, then we'll likely see more liquid cooling, which I'm also not bullish on (plus ye gads the cost).


Aren't we heading in this direction anyway? Hard to believe that quad and octo core chips will arrive with tdp of 35 watts.
post #7 of 57
Yeah, Kentsfield/Cloverton is 80-130W.
post #8 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by wmf
Yeah, Kentsfield/Cloverton is 80-130W.

Hell that's what the Quad G5 is likely cranking out. I think Apple goes with Woodcrest and Conroe Mac Pros and then takes a look at Cloverton/Kentsfield next year.

I'm all for adding as many cores as feasible.
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post #9 of 57
now excuse me if i am wrong (because chip technology is hardly my forte) but could this mean that there are 8-core dual quad core mac pros out before long WITHOUT any software to even take advantage of dual core?
post #10 of 57
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by troberts
Power Macs are a little tougher to guess because it seems like "Woodcrest" and "Kentsfield" will be coming out at the same time instead of about 6 months apart.


No they are not coming out at the same time. Woodcrest is shipping, and most definitely in production in Mac Pro's right now. Clovertown will be in the later half (very end) of the year.
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post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
I'm all for adding as many cores as feasible.

Agreed, but at the same time the Core 2 Quads will but a lot of extra bucket for not much extra bang; maybe the xeons will be better but I'm not holding my breath.
post #13 of 57
It looks like Intel is going to offer more desktop CPU lines than Apple has desktop lines that can use them.

Does Apple split it's towers into two lineups?

According to Wikipedia, neither Kentsfield nor Clovertown will be multiprocessor-capable. Tigerton will be the MP-capable version of Clovertown:

Quote:
* Woodcrest, first eighth-generation server and workstation chip, 65 nm, dual-core, 4 MiB L2 cache (Released on June 26, 2006)

* Clovertown, quad-core MCM, consists of two Woodcrests, with 2 × 4 MiB L2

* Tigerton, quad-core MCM. MP-capable version of Clovertown.

* Harpertown, either a dual-core, 45 nm shrink of Woodcrest, or an eight-core, 45 nm MCM with 12 MiB L2

* Dunnington, four to thirty-two cores, successor to Tigerton

Anyways, how about this Mac Pro lineup. It's a bit large for Apple, but smaller than that of any other Wintel box maker. Three Mac Pros; Dual, Quad, and Octo; two models each. The Octo will be announced at MWSF '07.

MiniTower
$1599 2.33 GHz Dual Mac Pro - Conroe single CPU
$1899 2.66 GHz Dual Mac Pro - Conroe single CPU

Tower
$2399 2.66 GHz Quad Mac Pro - Woodcrest dual CPU
$2799 3.00 GHz Quad Mac Pro - Woodcrest dual CPU

MegaTower
$3499 2.66 GHz Octo Mac Pro - Tigerton dual CPU
$3999 3.00 GHz Octo Mac Pro - Tigerton dual CPU

Remember that compact motherboard reportedly being worked on by Intel and Apple? Well maybe Apple is planning on two different towers, one for Conroe, and one for dual Woodcrests. A single Conroe CPU needs so much less power and cooling capacity than a dual Woodcrest that it would be cheaper for Apple to make two different mobos.

For Conroe, use a MiniTower design that is perhaps half the size of the current Powermacs - but not so small that Apple has to buy expensive miniaturized components. Build it out of plastic, not brushed aluminum. Use a single optical drive bay, a single empty PCI slot (of course with a real video card slot), room for two HDs, and nothing more. The key word for the MiniTower is PRICE; Apple saves on the tower design and components, and prices it to go.

Will the MiniTower cannibalize iMac sales? Perhaps, but if Apple keeps the component costs down and maintains a profit margin the same or larger than that of the iMac, will it matter? More likely the MiniTower will cannibalize Mini sales, but Apple must have pretty thin margins on the Mini, so this may not be a bad thing. Lure them into the store with the Mini, and sell them the MiniTower. Best of all, the MiniTower gives Wintel users a the option to switch into a Mac just like their Wintel. It meets the desires of the typical Wintel apologist: upgradability, expandability, and the techie "geek" factor.

Woodcrest will use a standard tower design, aluminum like the current tower with subtle modifications. Include two optical drive bays, four HD bays, and four open PCI slots.

Tigerton will require a "MegaTower," a beastly hunk of processing power that will sound like a 747 on takeoff, and will likely dedicate half it's internal volume towards cooling its eight motherfucking cores. Give it everything the Woodcrest tower has, but add hardware RAID support. It will need a striped RAID setup to keep up with its eight cores. This MegaTower will be built with bad-ass black anodized aluminum. It will stand on four non-anodized brushed aluminum pillars that run up each corner to the very top. An Apple logo on each side will glow blue when the machine is on.

The MegaTower will be the Vista killer: it will turn in benchmarks insanely faster than any tigerton-based Wintel, because of Leopard's superior multithreading capability. PC Gamerz will sell their cars to own a $4K MegaTower loaded with RAM and a bitchin' video card. Apple will once again rule the computing universe.
post #14 of 57
Nice stuff JYD. I enjoyed that. Say I'm all for dual Tigerton based Mac Pros. I'm hoping Apple can toss in some 4gig Fibre Channel ports as well or 10g Fibre for HPC cluster solutions.
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post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg
According to Wikipedia, neither Kentsfield nor Clovertown will be multiprocessor-capable. Tigerton will be the MP-capable version of Clovertown:

Wikipedia is got to be in error. Clovertown is designed to work in the Bensley platform which supports two sockets. See TechReport article. Of course Kentfield is designed to fit Conroe motherboards and is not MP-capable.

post #16 of 57
Uh, when did we enter world-as-myth? Have I been reading too much Heinlein?

But seriously, good call the the non-MP nature of Cloverton; which I think makes both Cloverton and Kentwood loosing propositions from a performance standpoint, though likely a bit cheaper in a complete system.
[edit: thanks for the clarification MWSwami, though that CPU bus is disappointing]

Wasn't the small form factor motherboard design mooted some time ago as an abandoned strategy? I mean obviously that in and of itself could be FUD to protect the Steve's plans, but, eh. I don't think we have any solid reason to speculate there will be a mini-Tower (I doubt it, much as I'd like one). Also, Apple would be ecstatic if a mini-Tower cannibalized mini sales. I'm sure it's no secret that Apple tries to push for a strong pro to consumer ratio in their sales.

Also, re timing I suspect we'll see Woodcrest at the top of the line, to be replaced with Tigerton when it eventually gets released. Also, RAID will have little bearing on feeding eight cores. The biggest bottleneck will be the split caches being fed by a single memory bus in most instances, though it's not untennable to believe that Intel would have increased the bus for Tigerton; the 45mm die shrink will be more important however as we'll see a cache bump alongside it and likely more in the way of optimization.

So Leopard's going to have überthreading of some kind? You have this on recoord? I wouldn't count on one OS or the other having across the board speed advantages now that we are on the same hardware.

As a side note, what's the signaling limitation on 10GB Ethernet? Or do they get around the signaling window with a full duplex requirement? I never really expected to see 10GB on copper, to be honest.
post #17 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by mwswami
Wikipedia is got to be in error. Clovertown is designed to work in the Bensley platform which supports two sockets. See TechReport article. Of course Kentfield is designed to fit Conroe motherboards and is not MP-capable.

Cool, thanks for the correction. I was a little surprised by the Wiki info myself, but I don't keep up to date with Intel CPUs so I wasn't sure.

This is the first time Wiki has made a liar out of me. Guess it won't be the last.
post #18 of 57
I think the new dual quad core Mac systems should be call "Octel" as in octal but with an intel slant.

Mac Pro Octel

Sounds cool.

"Oh you have a Dell mmmmm nice......I have an Octel!!!" - Ultimate snob value.

post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by jonnyboy
now excuse me if i am wrong (because chip technology is hardly my forte) but could this mean that there are 8-core dual quad core mac pros out before long WITHOUT any software to even take advantage of dual core?

Ever used a multi-core or multi-cpu Mac? OS X runs smoooooooth, multitasking is slick, and essentially all is right with the world.

Only a certain other OS stinks at multi-core/processor optimisation, and I'm not talking about OS 9.

My hat off to the Dawg by the way. Fantastic ... um fantasy. You summed up the windows apologist "but what fun is there without your elbows inside the computer?" crowd. They need a lego box to make themselves feel like they're in control. Chances of Apple finally releasing one ... well ... maybe on par with those glowing blue logos on the Mac Pimp Supreme.

How about 4 processor Tigerton in a scale model of the Manhattan cube? Limited edition, comes with "original" Photoshopped Empire Strikes Back art and SIGNED by BOTH Steves! Damn, I'm beginning to sell myself on that one...

Anyway, whatever does happen for real, here's a toast to Intel - who ever thought they could surpass themselves like this and shame IBM, Motorola and now AMD too all in less than a year? Makes the endlessly late upgrades of the PPC era seem like an old nightmare. Superb!
post #20 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
So Leopard's going to have überthreading of some kind? You have this on recoord? I wouldn't count on one OS or the other having across the board speed advantages now that we are on the same hardware.

Of course the poster doesn't have it on record... no one's saying anything about Leopard on record. But considering how horrible 10.4 and earlier are at threading, it's not rocket science to presume that Apple is putting some serious development money in it. Hopefully they'll catch up to and leapfrog the other OSes with the work in Leopard.
post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by mwswami
Wikipedia is got to be in error. Clovertown is designed to work in the Bensley platform which supports two sockets. See TechReport article. Of course Kentfield is designed to fit Conroe motherboards and is not MP-capable.

I think it shows that Wikipedia shouldn't be a sole source. To be sure of anything, I try to confirm with as many disparate sources as reasonably possible.

I think it's nice that the diagram shows that the dual-processor-package systems will have a dedicated bus for each processor package.
post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by baranovich
"Introducing the new Mac Pro OCTO shipping January 2007"

hehe, The Mac Pro OCHO
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post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by wmf
Yeah, Kentsfield/Cloverton is 80-130W.

Anyone else remember about hearin lower power consumption and heat production? I know these are more powerful chips, but I was expecting power consumption to go down...I guess these are desktop/high performance chips.
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post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by dmwogan
Anyone else remember about hearin lower power consumption and heat production? I know these are more powerful chips, but I was expecting power consumption to go down...I guess these are desktop/high performance chips.

It did go down compared to Pent Ds. That power envelope(kentsfield/cloverton) is probably comparable to dual core opterons.
post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by dmwogan
Anyone else remember about hearin lower power consumption and heat production? I know these are more powerful chips, but I was expecting power consumption to go down...I guess these are desktop/high performance chips.

I think you have to keep in mind that generation of quad core is not much different than two Woodcrest dies stitched together in one package, and that this is a very high performance chip. The Kentsfield will probably be badged as an Extreme Edition, and those have a somewhat higher power rating than the standard desktop chip.
post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
I think you have to keep in mind that generation of quad core is not much different than two Woodcrest dies stitched together in one package, and that this is a very high performance chip. The Kentsfield will probably be badged as an Extreme Edition, and those have a somewhat higher power rating than the standard desktop chip.

Yes, I believe Kentfield is going to be released as a "Core 2 Extreme" edition processor with unit price of at least $1299. It will still be cheaper (and faster) than AMD's 4x4 offering.

The 4x4 might trump intel in graphics capability if NVidia can put multiple graphics cards (SLI) directly on the HyperTransport bus instead of PCI-Express.
post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg
MiniTower
$1599 2.33 GHz Dual Mac Pro - Conroe single CPU
$1899 2.66 GHz Dual Mac Pro - Conroe single CPU

Tower
$2399 2.66 GHz Quad Mac Pro - Woodcrest dual CPU
$2799 3.00 GHz Quad Mac Pro - Woodcrest dual CPU

MegaTower
$3499 2.66 GHz Octo Mac Pro - Tigerton dual CPU
$3999 3.00 GHz Octo Mac Pro - Tigerton dual CPU

Well Dawg, I don't know about all that, but splitting the line in two is already a good idea.

--------------------August '06------------ January '07
Mini Tower 1: $1499 --- DC 2.40GHz Conroe --- DC 2.66GHz Conroe
Mini Tower 2: $1999 --- DC 2.66GHz Conroe --- DC 2.93GHz Conroe
Mini Tower 3: $2499 --- DC 2.93GHz Conroe --- QC 2.66GHz Kentsfield
Big Tower 1: $2999 --- DDC 2.66GHz Woody --- DDC 3.00GHz Woody
Big Tower 2: $3499 --- DDC 3.00GHz Woody --- DQC 3.00GHz CloverTown
post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
Of course the poster doesn't have it on record... no one's saying anything about Leopard on record. But considering how horrible 10.4 and earlier are at threading, it's not rocket science to presume that Apple is putting some serious development money in it. Hopefully they'll catch up to and leapfrog the other OSes with the work in Leopard.

Well I was joking about that, obviously I thought. I expect somewhere close to 0 improvement in threading. Apple went through and pretty thoroughly retuned threading performance for 10.4, so I don't expect their tuning priorities to have changed to database performance this go around. I realize there was some hubbub on the web but largely it was coming from people that didn't fully understand what they were looking at, and changed over time. Can't expect them to have a solid perspective.
post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by dmwogan
hehe, The Mac Pro OCHO

...or Mac80s.

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post #30 of 57
I don't know how a lot of other software works, but I own a dual core 2 Ghz G5 and I have graphics and rendering software that is not optimized for multiple cores, however I am able to maximize my system by setting up seperate user accounts and using fast user switching.

I just set one image to render, switch over to a different account and set another image to render, and I have both cores running at full speed, churning out two different renders at the same time.

If I went to quad or octo cores, for my software that isn't optimized for it, I could just setup four to eight user accounts on the system and get all the cores working that way.

Has anyone else tried this and been successful with their software?
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post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by dmwogan
Anyone else remember about hearin lower power consumption and heat production? I know these are more powerful chips, but I was expecting power consumption to go down...I guess these are desktop/high performance chips.

It was less power consumption in relation to the performance (performance per watt), not necessarily less power consumption.
post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by G520incher
Has anyone else tried this and been successful with their software?

I would say it'd probably be a lot easier to transition to software that does support multiple cores, especially for 3-D work. Likely cheaper in the long run too, if you balance your time sorting the users and problems it creates vs. the software cost.

Otherwise just buy a few minis instead of a tower and connect them to NAS and a KVM switch.
post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
I would say it'd probably be a lot easier to transition to software that does support multiple cores, especially for 3-D work.

I totally agree, however I use Bryce for a lot of my stuff and to date it hasn't been optimized for multiple cores or processors, (mostly because it moved to a windows application only for the most part....still upset about that...lol) so this has been an effective workaround.

I also use several apps that take full advantage of my hardware and would much prefer that option in the future.
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post #34 of 57
Won't Bryce output meshes for use in other renderers? If so that'd let you offload to likely a better renderer that was faster because it used multiple cores. A pity what's happened to Bryce really, over the years, but at least it hasn't been completely abandoned yet.
post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
Of course the poster doesn't have it on record... no one's saying anything about Leopard on record. But considering how horrible 10.4 and earlier are at threading, it's not rocket science to presume that Apple is putting some serious development money in it. Hopefully they'll catch up to and leapfrog the other OSes with the work in Leopard.

I'm curious why you say MacOS X is "horrible at threading". What are you basing that conclusion on?
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post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
I'm curious why you say MacOS X is "horrible at threading". What are you basing that conclusion on?

I have seen at least one reference that supports this comparing MySQL performance on G5, Xeon, and Opteron. The article is a year old but it does talk about Tiger.
post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by mwswami
I have seen at least one reference that supports this comparing MySQL performance on G5, Xeon, and Opteron. The article is a year old but it does talk about Tiger.

Try reading this: http://ridiculousfish.com/blog/?p=17
post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally posted by gregmightdothat
Try reading this: http://ridiculousfish.com/blog/?p=17

Thanks for the link. I also found the follow up from AnandTech as well.

Doing a quick study, I couldn't reach any conclusion as to why the benchmarks showed Mac OS X to be slow. One theory was that use of F_FULLFSYNC on Mac OS X made MySQL run slower but there were two counter arguments to that - 1) AnandTech points out that they used MyISAM which doesn't have any source code reference to F_FULLSYNC and 2) most of the tests are read only which requires, locking perhaps, but no Syncing.

Thread creation performance is usually not an issue - threads are usually pooled. So other threading issues like lock granularity have to looked at. So question is does Mac OS X do a good job implementing thread safe calls to its APIs?

Within a couple of months i will be able to draw my own conclusions when I have Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X running on the same Mac Pro hardware and I can benchmark my own stuff.
post #39 of 57
I suspected that that was the source of the "MacOS X sucks at threading" comment. Complete hogwash -- they were just guessing at the source of the slower MacOS X performance, and guessing about performance is worse than trying to predict the weather. The information provided by the Apple file system guy is far more believeable, and if I had to choose I would rather have my data correct than faster. The counter arguments may disprove the flush theory, but they do not prove the "sucks at threading" guess and until somebody really digs in and does due diligence on that one we're not going to know. Certainly I have so far seen no problems with MacOS X's threading support, and it actually seems to be quite good (especially in Tiger since the kernel funnels are significantly reduced). I've had nightmare problems with the various flavors of Windows and their scheduling algorithms, and while I have considerably less experience with MacOS X at that level I have seen no sign of similar problems.
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post #40 of 57
I don't see the point of having more than 2 cores.

It seems to me that the only reason to do this is to avoid upgrading processor speeds.. just add another core and theoretical processing power goes up, right?

When doing things that can only run on one core, my dual 2.5Ghz G5 wouldn't be any slower than a quad, penta, or eleventybillion core machine.

I mean, I'm all for it, but many tasks aren't threaded and some will never be.

What am I going to do? Trans-code 4 DVDs at once?

I'm waiting for a dual core 5ghz before I upgrade. Benchmark programs are fine and dandy, but the real world calls for something a bit more practical.
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