Leaked sample of Intel's Broadwell-EP Xeon E5 chip may hint at Mac Pro specs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
A leaked engineering sample claimed to be from Intel's upcoming Broadwell-EP Xeon family could hint at future specifications for the Mac Pro, which was last updated in Dec. 2013.

A Broadwell-EP processor, via ServerTheHome
A Broadwell-EP processor, via ServerTheHome


The chip was posted for sale at Chinese site Taobao for 15,500 yuan, or about $2,415, according to WCCF Tech. The vendor posted alleged benchmarks indicating that the processor is a 20-core/40-thread Xeon E5-2698 V4 clocked at 2.1 gigahertz. The cores are said to boost up to 3.5 gigahertz, and offer a combined 50 megabytes of L3 cache. Memory speed is identified as 2,400 megahertz, faster than the 2,133/1,866-megahertz on present Xeons.

The current E5-2698 V3, by contrast, has 16 cores, 40 megabytes of cache space, and a 2.3/3.6-gigahertz clock speed. In CineBench, the leaked chip scored 4980 points in a multi-threaded test -- handily beating its predecessor.




The 2013 Mac Pro offers a choice of quad-, 6-, 8-, or 12-core Xeon E5 processors with clock speeds ranging between 2.7 and 3.7 gigahertz, inverse to the number of cores. No model has more than 30 megabytes of L3 cache.

The Xeon E5 V4 series is due to ship in the first half of 2016, and support configurations up to 22 cores. It's unknown what ranges Apple might offer in a new Mac Pro, if any, but Intel should also be offering scaled-back Broadwell-E chips ranging from 6 to 10 cores.

The Mac Pro is Apple's most powerful computer, aimed at professionals in high-end video and 3D graphics, but has taken a backseat in terms of the company's priorities. The product is one of Apple's few not in an annual update cycle, other examples being iPods and the Mac mini.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,148member
    This generation Xeon plus TB3 plus some yet unknown pair of AMD GPGPU would make a nice bump for a two year upgrade cycle, but Mac Pro will never have the upgrade cycles of Mac Book Pro's or iMac; the market isn't large enough to justify it.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 34
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    tmay said:
    This generation Xeon plus TB3 plus some yet unknown pair of AMD GPGPU would make a nice bump for a two year upgrade cycle, but Mac Pro will never have the upgrade cycles of Mac Book Pro's or iMac; the market isn't large enough to justify it.
    Exactly. People don't understand the difficulty in putting a new processor in a socket. Even with robotics, that is an incredibly delicate operation. :smiley: 

    Kidding of course....

    Yes, the amount of money Apple makes on professional users isn't enough for them to give two turds about that market. Professionals users don't like to buy expensive deposable computers every couple of years and that is what butters Apple's bread these days.

    -kpluck
  • Reply 3 of 34
    Xeon processors in the 2000-2999 range are for dual processor motherboards.

    Because the MacPro is inherently single processor the next update should have a 1xxx in the model number.

    Also, the article states the E5-2698 is a 20 core-40 thread CPU.  The test chart shows that model number as a 40 core-80 thread CPU.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    I take that back.  While the 2000 range CPUs are designed for dual processor motherboards, it looks like the 12 core Mac Pro uses the E5-2697.  

    The 4-8 core Mac Pros use the 1xxx range processors.
    hmm
  • Reply 5 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,148member
    I take that back.  While the 2000 range CPUs are designed for dual processor motherboards, it looks like the 12 core Mac Pro uses the E5-2697.  

    The 4-8 core Mac Pros use the 1xxx range processors.
    I think that Apple chooses the 2xxx as they have QPI instead of a frontside bus for memory that the 1xxx has, but QPI would also be an advantage for GPGPU's I would think.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    4fx4fx Posts: 258member
    kpluck said:
    tmay said:
    Mac Pro will never have the upgrade cycles of Mac Book Pro's or iMac; the market isn't large enough to justify it.

    Yes, the amount of money Apple makes on professional users isn't enough for them to give two turds about that market. Professionals users don't like to buy expensive deposable computers every couple of years and that is what butters Apple's bread these days.
    Using both of these reasonings, Apple should just dump the Mac Pro and probably the Mac entirely.

    On the other hand, the Mac was nearly Apple's entire business in the not-too-distant past. So you can't tell me they can't devote the resources if they wanted to. Sure, it's small compared to the iPhone, but that doesn't make it unimportant.

    With that said, ever since Apple nixed the Xserve RAID, I've had a bad feeling about the demise of the pro Apple market. If you look at the number of pro products they have cut or sidelined in the last 8 years, it's pretty staggering. The Xserve and Xserve RAID, nearly their entire Pro media software (Shake, Soundtrack Pro, Aperature, etc) relegating the Mac Pro to a "hobby", not updating their stand alone monitors, making the server tools an app and leaving them buggy...

    This is a very bad track record. It clearly shows they have no commitment to the professional market. And even worse, I believe it's a sign that the Mac will be sidelined in its entirety at some point in the future. What I don't understand is the short-sightedness of this paradigm shift. Don't they want iOS apps to be made on Macs (including the media within the app)? If for only that reason, you would think they would make it a bigger priority.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    rcfarcfa Posts: 714member
    Many companies do not understand the importance of unprofitable products to their ecosystem.
    WordPerfect vs. MS-Word was the epic battle of text processing software in the past.
    WordPerfect ran on every platform: VAX/VMS, NeXT, Mac, MS-DOS, AmigaOS, IBM mainframes, CP/M, etc. it was the one platform that could make a heterogeneous computing infrastructure document compatible, and the company thrived.
    Then some MBA bean counters came along with phrases like "profit center" and "focusing on core businesses" and "maximizing shareholder value" and they cut all the product lines which as a self contained unit weren't profitable enough.
    By the time they were done cutting, they cut what made WordPerfect unique, and handed the advantage to Microsoft:
    Once you couldn't use WordPerfect to tie together platforms anymore and you were relegated to more or less use PCs and Macs, MS-Word and its integration with MS-Office became more valuable: people were forced to give up one type of integration, and discovered another instead, and WordPerfect was history.

    Apple is still alive and well, very well actually. But they cut off the growth path for their users.
    No decent server software or hardware (and no ability to run their software on third party hardware), cutting their pro-level software, dumbing down of OS X, closing down iOS even on pro devices like an iPad Pro (putting users data at the mercy of trust in Apple and the US government and making it impossible to fix issues arising from bugs, the existence of which is not part of the usage scenario of iOS despite the fact that neither iOS nor its apps are bug free), etc.

    Eventually, these chickens will come home to roost, and if Apple doesn't change its course, it won't be a pretty picture when that happens.

    As inferior as M$ is, the company is going more in the right direction under the current leadership than Apple; although both are making mistakes (albeit it different ones).

    It'll be an interesting ride, only one thing is sure: users will get thoroughly screwed in the process.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,179moderator

    the article states the E5-2698 is a 20 core-40 thread CPU.  The test chart shows that model number as a 40 core-80 thread CPU.
    The chart shows dual processor configurations so the top one with 40-core is a dual 20-core E5-2698v4. These processors are very expensive. Here's the last generation:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA75M3GF8986
    http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Xeon-E5-2698-Hexadeca-core-Processor/dp/B00PDD1QES

    The top dual processor model in the chart would be about $7-8k just for the CPUs and then another $2k for the rest of the computer. Apple's top CPU option is $3500 for the 12-core E5-2697v2, which is ~$2700 in retail stores:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116925 v2 = 12-core Mac Pro 2013
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117470 v3 = 14-core 2014 chip

    It's likely that the next Mac Pro will use the same model in v4 so not the E5-2698v4 but E5-2697v4. 18-core/36-thread 45MB cache:





    The performance gain looks like it matches the core count increase so 18/12 = 50% faster than the 2013 model. The Cinebench score of 4980 would be dual CPU so single would be 2490. Current 12-core MP is 1533. 50% faster = 2300, just under this 20-core chip. The base price for that performance would be $6500.

    Obviously they could make a dual processor version if they wanted to but it would cost a minimum of $10k and hardly anybody would buy one so it's understandable why they don't bother offering that.

    I expect AMD R9 GPUs up to 2x performance up to 12-16GB memory, DDR4 memory up to 512GB, Apple offering 64GB, maybe 128GB, up to the E5-2697v4 single CPU 50% faster than the old model. Up to 1.5-2TB SSD, 2-3x performance.

    It would be nice to have TB3 support, which would mean USB C ports, 10Gbps ethernet, 5K external displays, 40Gbps per port but this is still Broadwell so we'll see. I doubt TB2 is really holding anyone back so they would get away with using it for another iteration but it's not good having their highest-end machine without a Retina display. It would be nice if they made a 21:9 5K display. Some Mac Pro owners use two displays but 21:9 lets you use a single display like a dual display.



    Marques Brownlee uses dual 4K 31.5" displays with his Mac Pro:



    If Apple made one the same height as a normal 27" Thunderbolt display but widened it 25% on each side with a resolution of say 5120x2194, that would be low enough to work over TB2, possibly even at 10-bit. Running it at 75% scale would give 2x 1080p workspace and usable with MBPs and iMacs.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 9 of 34
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,194member
    They should probably do something about the major issues that some 3rd party gear is causing with the Mac Pros before they bother with updating specs. Unless the updates are the solution.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,235member
    MacPro's where I can't pick my GPU are worthless to me.  

    Bring on the xMac :(
  • Reply 11 of 34
    docno42 said:
    Bring on the xMac :(

    It’ll be 2050 before you give this nonsense up, won’t it?
  • Reply 12 of 34
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,179moderator
    docno42 said:
    MacPro's where I can't pick my GPU are worthless to me.  

    You can't pick the CPU vendor either. You can't buy a Mac Pro with ARM, PPC or AMD CPUs. The problem isn't the lack of choice because if they went with NVidia, nobody would be complaining. The sore point is CUDA and this is the fault of software developers.

    Apple provided a framework for developers to use that supports AMD CPUs, AMD GPUs, Intel CPUs, Intel GPUs, ARM CPUs, PowerVR GPUs, Mali GPUs, Adreno GPUs, PPC CPUs, NVidia GPUs.
    NVidia provided a framework that works only on NVidia GPUs.

    Developers have used NVidia's framework, which is silly because Intel has about 70% marketshare in GPUs and AMD ones cost a lot less than NVidia's. Some developers have gotten on board, Apple doesn't use CUDA, Adobe only uses it a little, BlackMagic uses OpenCL. Adobe uses NVidia in part because NVidia provides their own software. AMD has done an equivalent recently but notice they don't limit it to their own platform and they tested on a Mac Pro with D700s:

    http://developer.amd.com/community/blog/2015/08/14/amd-firerays-library/

    "FireRays works on a variety of platforms and operating systems: a CPU, a GPU, and a dual GPU setup."

    This is something Adobe can integrate into their software.

    Apple could offer an NVidia option but I think they'd want to price them above AMD's, which top out at $1k. Maybe they can have a dual 6GB 980Ti option for $1500. Most buyers will go for the AMD options but it would be there for people who can't live without CUDA support.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,575member
    It is interesting that people don't grasp the importance of the power (as in watts) operating point of these chips or processors in general.   Basically at 145 watts the give you an increase of 4 cores.   That is a lot of cores at the same power point and in lower end chips ought to lead to much higher single core performance.  

    Of of course people don't understand the deifference between a Mac Book CPU and one in the MBA so I'm not convinced they will see these chips as the huge upgrade they are.  That of course is if we even get an upgrade with these chips.   

    For Apple a compelling upgrade would mean the move to new technologies across the board.  It looks like TB3, DDR4 and a host of other goodies is missing from the platform.   Then again who really knows since Intel and Apple buddies up on TB3 there isn't a lot of prerelease info commonly available.  
  • Reply 14 of 34
    I would love TB3. I'm using a 4k monitor now, but 2x 4k monitors would be sick!
  • Reply 15 of 34
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,575member
    docno42 said:
    Bring on the xMac :(

    It’ll be 2050 before you give this nonsense up, won’t it?
    Being a big advocate of the XMac concept, I don't want to let the idea go completely.   These days though I'd be satisfied with a Mac Pro remake that houses a desktop processor and a mainstream GPU.     That would certainly be good for a few years of sales until they get to around 7 nm.  7 nm should lead to rather powerful GPU's built into the SOC.    I'm really thinking they could do such a machine right now in a tower about half the size of the Mac Pro.  Thinks about a machine with a power budget of 100 watts.  

    Yeah i know "Apple will never" however I can still dream of a more rational desktop line up.  
    docno42
  • Reply 16 of 34
    wizard69 said:
    docno42 said:
    Bring on the xMac

    It’ll be 2050 before you give this nonsense up, won’t it?
    Being a big advocate of the XMac concept, I don't want to let the idea go completely.   These days though I'd be satisfied with a Mac Pro remake that houses a desktop processor and a mainstream GPU.     That would certainly be good for a few years of sales until they get to around 7 nm.  7 nm should lead to rather powerful GPU's built into the SOC.    I'm really thinking they could do such a machine right now in a tower about half the size of the Mac Pro.  Thinks about a machine with a power budget of 100 watts.  

    Yeah i know "Apple will never" however I can still dream of a more rational desktop line up.  
    Desktops are dinosaurs and Apple hates dinosaurs. Repeat this out loud every time you feel the urge to fantasize about their lineup.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 17 of 34
    SpamSandwich said:
    Desktops are dinosaurs and Apple hates dinosaurs. Repeat this out loud every time you feel the urge to fantasize about their lineup.

    I'm still certain that the MacBook line will die off and that the future of Apple is the iPad and desktop computers.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,575member
    wizard69 said:
    docno42 said:
    Bring on the xMac

    It’ll be 2050 before you give this nonsense up, won’t it?
    Being a big advocate of the XMac concept, I don't want to let the idea go completely.   These days though I'd be satisfied with a Mac Pro remake that houses a desktop processor and a mainstream GPU.     That would certainly be good for a few years of sales until they get to around 7 nm.  7 nm should lead to rather powerful GPU's built into the SOC.    I'm really thinking they could do such a machine right now in a tower about half the size of the Mac Pro.  Thinks about a machine with a power budget of 100 watts.  

    Yeah i know "Apple will never" however I can still dream of a more rational desktop line up.  
    Desktops are dinosaurs and Apple hates dinosaurs. Repeat this out loud every time you feel the urge to fantasize about their lineup.
    Desktops will always have a niche to fill.     Apples problem is to have the right hardware to fill those niches.   
    docno42
  • Reply 19 of 34
    The newly announced E3 1200 v5 chips would be a better choice for a lower-end MacPro config.  They're based off the newer Skylake architecture, they are designed to run in single-socket configurations (like the Mac Pro), they support Hyperthreading, they're faster and even more power-efficient than the Broadwell parts.  They're also inexpensive with tray pricing in the mid$200 to mid$300 range.
    Couple big limitations which prevent them from being used across the whole MacPro config range though.  They only come in quad core configs.  They only support up to 20 lanes of PCIe 3.0 [might limit dual-GPU options].

    Now that the E3 V5 chips are out though, I suspect the E5 V5 chips will be following soon.

    Because Apple hasn't released anything yet, and because they have to work within the thermal constraints of the current form, I suspect we won't see an upgrade until all the next-gen parts are lined up:
    V5 Xeons [E3 and E5 only if they're pin-compatible.. probably won't be though so E5s] w/ DDR4 support
    AMD Arctic Islands or Nvidia Pascal GPUs with stacked VRAM [both promise die-shrinks & much higher performance/watt]

    I hope that's not the case, because waiting on the new GPUs would probably push the refresh out till 2Q 2016.

    P.S.  To those griping about AMD over Nvidia GPUs.. they're probably not aware that Nvidia compromised floating point performance with the Maxwell GPUs.  They have dismal Double-Precision Floating point performance.  
    This is why Nvidia is still using the old Kepler chip for their HPC Tesla card.  They've only just released Maxwell Teslas in the past couple weeks and they are marketed specifically for Deep Learning algorithms, where low precision [16&32bit FP] is preferred.  
    For DP-Float performance, a consumer AMD R9 card will give you twice the performance as a Maxwell Tesla for a quarter of the price and at lower power consumption.
    For Apple, with their embrace of OpenCL over Cuda.. ATI/AMD is a better choice right now.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    SpamSandwich said:
    Desktops are dinosaurs and Apple hates dinosaurs. Repeat this out loud every time you feel the urge to fantasize about their lineup.

    I'm still certain that the MacBook line will die off and that the future of Apple is the iPad and desktop computers.
    I agree. The WatchOS is just a low bandwidth test for seperate interface and processing devices.
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