Originally Posted by rickag
Any ideas as to what Andy Ihnatko found so jaw dropping? I haven't seen anything from Apple that would be considered jaw dropping.
I personally find OpenCL jaw dropping. Some uninformed reporters say things like 10.6 will be 100 times faster, which are quite funny to watch but I believe it will be very impressive.
This is not some advance like auto-vectorization in Alti-vec, this is using the processors in the GPU to do intense calculations and even on the new low end 9400M, it's capable of 54 Gflops, which is double what a Core 2 Duo can do.
It's not that surprising when you think of them as 16 x 450MHz cores vs 2 x 2GHz cores.
Now yes it will be limited to certain tasks but this isn't some language that came from somewhere else, this is Apple's language developed alongside GPU manufacturers. I think they will leverage this a lot at the core level of the OS. Not for use in the OS itself (Finder etc) but in the Core APIs.
They could render text with this, PDFs, encode video or at least process intensive parts of the encoding. Right now, the hardware can handle normal tasks just fine. All machines including the high end Mac Pro struggle when it comes to raw encoding and calculations.
I would bet that every model they bring out will have a GPU that at least equals the CPU in that machine. So the low end Mini will have Core 2 Duo with 9400M. The iMac will use the core 2 quad and a mid-range Nvidia card and the Core i7 Mac Pro should come with the 9800GT with the GTX 280 as BTO. This means for the same price, you effectively get 2-3x the performance for certain tasks than if you didn't have OpenCL. I think that's impressive.
I have a suspicion that Apple could eliminate the 20" iMac and go all 24" and use the 3 mobile quad chips. This means they can share the display panel from the 24" Cinema LED and economize the inventory - it then makes sense why they didn't make a 20" model. If you look at the 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme 24" iMac, that CPU costs $851. The price of the quad 2.33GHz chip is $245.
This means that a 24" iMac with that chip would drop to:
$1799 - $606 = $1193
The current low end on the iMac line is a 20" display with 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and is priced: $1199
So to summarize, what I think they will do:
Core 2 Duo Mini, still with mobile chips but 9400M, maybe drop back to the original lower price point.
Core 2 Quad iMac, possibly 9400M on entry model and going up to a mid-range Nvidia 9 series card.
Core i7 Gainestown, possibly 8-core chips but likely dual quads, with a single quad on the lowest end and high end Nvidia 9 series cards with the pro cards too.
I'd like to see them make an entry level headless quad but this is the lineup that seems most likely to me. As I say, combine these hardware specs with OpenCL and I will be impressed. Still annoyed about the lack of the mid-range headless machine as always but I would acknowledge these as very good performance and competitive machines. I will buy a Mini for home and a Pro for work and complain that I would rather buy two middle options.
I think the iMac and Mini updates will come first given that the processors for the Pro probably aren't ready yet although there is a possibility they could organise an event some time this month and launch them all together with redesigned enclosures (the chin is definitely going if it's 24" all the way), then ship the Pro later on.
Apple are also supposed to be working on high end graphics software to replace Shake and their recent update after a number of years suggests they at least haven't forgotten about it. If there was a new Final Cut Studio that was OpenCL enabled and rendering say 4 times faster than the old Mac Pro, it would be very appealling.
This is why rumors are best to be fully detailed because the above is what I find impressive but others will always be looking for gold at the end of the rainbow instead of just stopping to admire the rainbow itself.
There doesn't need to be something that is beyond everyone's imagination. When it comes to highly parallel tasks, we will see as much as 10x increase in performance. This will destroy PC benchmarks for at least a few months.