Originally Posted by solipsism
One's inability to currently understand something does not mean that there is no way to explain it. You keep stating that these chips are EXACTLY the same in price and construction, except for ECC, but you have shown us no proof that these Nehalem Xeons, which aren't even officially out yet, are the same. The last I read, the prices for the chips were going up dramatically.
The fact that Ben, and a couple of others are saying that the chips are all the same doesn't make them so.
I've already explained that most of the i7's have a slower QPI than do the Xeons. 4.8 QT/s as opposed to 6.4 QT/s. Only the 3.2 GHz i7 975 has a QPI of that speed, and that one costs $999 in bin pricing as opposed to the $562 of the 950 and below.
They are now, after I brought it up, also pooh poohing the power draw of these chips, even though power draw has always been an issue for PowerMacs with G5's, and the newer Mac Pros.
In fact, the significantly lower power draw of these chips has allowed the new interior design, which makes the accessibility to the chips themselves much easier, rather than having them buried under massive shielding as before.
We're talking about 80w for the Xeons up to the E5540 at 2.53 GHz, and 95W up to the X570 2.93.
The other differences are the memory speeds themselves. The requirement at standard voltages and bus timings for the i7 chips is DDR3 800 all the way through the top 975 model, though with slightly different timings for that model you can go to 1066. All the others are limited to 800, unless you want to go to enthusiasts boards, and play around with all this, which often limits the life of the system,
But the lower E series Xeons run with 1066, and the higher X series that Apple also uses can use 1333 at standard timings, though for some reason (likely cost) Apple is using 1066 right now.
So there are significant differences which will show performance improvements, though mostly with applications that require a fair amount of memory access.
I'm being accused of not understanding these chips, because they see only the ECC difference, which no "real" workstation buyer would do without, which is why these computers they keep touting as equal to the Mac Pro are just cheap home machines, and don't compete at all.
But, it's they who don't understand this technology, because they don't know enough to go beyond the simple fact of how many QPI links there are to find out just what they really do, and how fast they can do it, among other things, such as how the lower power benefits the overall design of the machine.
They just want cheaper machines, and are looking for some excuse to find to show that other companies produce the same machine, but charge much less for it, when this isn't even close to being true.
They have what I call in cases like this, "determined ignorance".