Core Solo is a Core Duo in Disguise!

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's discussion forums have an interesting take on the "Core Solo" in the mini - it identifies itself as a Core Duo, and Intel does not make a 1.5 gHz Core Solo.



Plus, Intel had previously said that the Core Solo would not be available until some time after the Core Duo.



Here is the link to the Apple Discussions thread:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread....94389&tstart=0



If the thread has been removed when you try and get it, I made a PDF copy of the thread here:



http://www.johnnylundy.com/CoreSoloThread.pdf



Finding out where the second core is disabled, if in fact that is what is happening, will be interesting.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    More likely these are Core Duos that failed to pass certification, and one core is simply dead.



    Sort of the same way that clocking of chips is done by testing batches to see at what point they start failing, and selling them at the next lowest speed rating.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    More likely these are Core Duos that failed to pass certification, and one core is simply dead.



    Sort of the same way that clocking of chips is done by testing batches to see at what point they start failing, and selling them at the next lowest speed rating.




    That's what I initially thought, but how to explain it identifying itself as a Duo? I know next to nothing about Intel chips, but if a Celeron is a P4 with the cache disabled, does it identify itself as a Celeron or as a P4? I wonder if there is a difference when the chip is "binned" as failing a speed or component test, as compared to when a component is intentionally disabled.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    fishafisha Posts: 126member
    discussion forum seems to be mucked up for me at the moment.







    I cant see it being the OS controlling it - they surely would have frigged the About this computer part to make it say solo if they had gone to the trouble of making the OS disable a core.



    I cant see it being Intel - if its identifying itself as a dual core - it likely is. Speaking from personal experience, i bought a Pentium2 266 processor years ago. A year or so later when looking more closely at the serial range the CPU was saying it was, it turned out to be a 400Mhz CPU - just sold as a 266. Cranked upto 400Mhz saw no issues.





    If a higher dual core plugs in and works as dual core, then i i cant see it being the motherboard either - since the upgrade never implied changing any jumpers during the swap.



    To me, this leaves only the bios. Maybe something in the bios is simply saying : For processor x make disable 1 core and run at a reduced bus mulitplier speed.









    certainly is very interesting all the same. Maybe it'll turn out to be one of the Apple upgrades that Apple never confirms ( like the speed bumped minis of before )
  • Reply 4 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    That's what I initially thought, but how to explain it identifying itself as a Duo? I know next to nothing about Intel chips, but if a Celeron is a P4 with the cache disabled, does it identify itself as a Celeron or as a P4? I wonder if there is a difference when the chip is "binned" as failing a speed or component test, as compared to when a component is intentionally disabled.



    AFAIK, the Solo is a different die - smaller. That would mean that a true, honest to god Duo with one working core would functionally be the same as a Solo, but not *BE* a Solo when reporting itself. Make sense? *shrug*
  • Reply 5 of 11
    danosaurdanosaur Posts: 258member
    So do you think Apple is doing this to keep iMac sales high?



    Do you not think that's unethical?
  • Reply 6 of 11
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Danosaur

    Do you not think that's unethical?



    It's not unethical to charge less for a dumbed-down product that performs as advertised.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Danosaur

    So do you think Apple is doing this to keep iMac sales high?



    Do you not think that's unethical?








    Um, if it is what I think it is, a Duo with only one functioning core, then it is precisely what it was sold as - a single core CPU.



    Where's the unethical bit?
  • Reply 8 of 11
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,430moderator
    I don't think they'd disable one core deliberately. They still have to make money on it and I'm sure the CPUs are the most expensive part of the Intel Mini.



    They also can't be broken or Apple wouldn't have a reliable supply chain.



    My guess is that the name Core Duo is merely a name to symbolise the family of processors the chip belongs to.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    All CPUs are broken. That's how they ship.



    No, seriously.



    You know how they determine if a chip is a 1.2GHz, 1.4GHz, etc?



    They take a bunch of chips. They select a couple randomly. They start them out clocked at the lowest rating for that class of chip, then they ramp them up. When they fail (and they will), they throttle it back one level, and ship the whole bunch as that speed.



    Some will be faster.



    Some will fail.



    All chips ship with flaws - there is so much redundant circuitry in a modern chip for error correction and the like it isn't funny.



    So *Intel*, not Apple, may be simply selecting the Core Duo chips with one dead core and selling them as Core Solos. I would. It's how most chips are sold anyway.



    ie, the chips are exactly what Apple, and the consumer, is buying. No bad supply chain, no deception. Just chip fab business as usual.



    Of course, this *could* just be a bug in the reporting of the CPU type. *shrug*
  • Reply 10 of 11
    caboosecaboose Posts: 15member
    I seen a screenshot of the system profiler on the mini and it said core solo, but the about this mac box does say core duo



    I think its just the OS not identifying the corret name in the about this Mac box
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