Apple to fire up Penryn-based Mac Pros

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
For the second time in as many years, Mac maker Apple Inc. is awaiting the official nod from chip supplier Intel Corp. before announcing a brawny update to its Mac Pro workstations aimed at media professionals.



The new systems will represent the first architectural overhaul to the Mac Pro family since Apple introduced the Intel-based Power Mac successor at its August 2006 Worldwide Developers Conference. They'll also be amongst the first machines from any PC manufacturer to employ chips from Intel's upcoming Penryn family of 45-nanometer (nm) microprocessors -- specifically the upcoming Hi-k Xeons, which will be available in dual- and quad-core variants for workstations with front-side bus speeds of either 1333MHz or 1600MHz.



Confirming reports filed by the Inquirer earlier this month, people familiar with the matter say the new Mac Pro line lineup will top out with an 8-core configuration that employs two top-of-the-line quad-core "Harpertown" chips. The top-bin Xeons, which offer the faster 1600MHz bus and 12MB of L2 cache, will start trickling in around mid-November at speeds of up to 3.2GHz.



Apple, for its part, is ready to rock-and-roll with the new 45-nm Macs whenever Intel can deliver enough of those top-bin chips to trigger a manufacturing ramp. People familiar with the situation say Apple's end of the hardware is essentially complete, with builds having made their final pass through engineering earlier this fall. Availability now hinges on the Intel's capacity to deliver quantities of the new 45-nm Xeons, they say.



Long-time AppleInsider readers will recall a nearly identical situation facing the Mac Pro last October. At the time, AppleInsider reported on Apple's plans to release its first-ever 8-core system -- a Mac Pro sporting two quad-core Xeon "Clovertown" chips. Like Harpertown, the first Clovertown processors were slated for a mid-November release and (again) Apple's end of the hardware was similarly completed well in advance. The 8-core Mac didn't debut for another five months, however, as Apple held out for an exclusive 3.0GHz variant of the Clovertown chip while it waited patiently forÂ*Adobe to pull the trigger on its Intel-native Creative Suite 3.0 (CS3) software. Following the release of CS3 in late-March, Apple in April finally rolled out the 8-Core Clovertown Mac Pro.



With a warm reception to CS3 amongst creative professionals helping to drive sales of Apple's professional workstations in recent months, things are likely to play out much quicker this time around. The new 8-core Harpertown Mac Pro should debut anytime after mid-November and almost certainly by Macworld Expo in January.



Speed improvements made possible by Intel's new 45-nm architecture are likely to compel large corporations to consider updating to the Penryn-based workstations. Speaking at Intel's Beijing developer forum earlier this year, Intel senior VP Pat Gelsinger said Harpertown Xeons will offer an approximate 45 percent speed increase for bandwidth-intensive applications compared to the Clovertown Xeon chips available in today's Mac Pros.







Still, there is some slight uncertainty regarding precisely which Intel processor models will be used to progress the entry-level quad-core Mac Pros, which employ two dual-core Xeons rather than two quad-core processors. The multiprocessor, dual-core counterpart to Harpertown is "Wolfdale," which will be made available in models that support varying front-side bus speeds.



A 3.16GHz low-power Wolfdale will operate on systems with a 1333MHz bus, while "normal" 1.86GHzÂ* and 3.33GHz models will work on machines with bus speeds of 1066MHz and 1333MHz, respectively. In addition, Intel also plans a 3.4GHz Wolfdale that runs on a 1600MHz bus like Harpertown. However this chip is somewhat pricey, with a suggested wholesale cost similar to that of the 3.2GHz quad-core Harpertowns bound for theÂ*8-core Mac Pro. Therefore, it would seem incredibly unlikely that Apple would adopt the chip for the Mac Pro, as the 8-core Harpertown Mac Pro is expected to cost upwards of $4,000 itself.



This raises the possibility that Apple's Penryn-based Mac Pro line will include models with varying bus speeds. This is not out of the ordinary, however, and was similarly the case back in October of 2005 when Apple unveiled its Power Mac G5 Quad and Power Mac G5 Dual. Â*At the time, however, the system bus was automatically tied to clock speed rather than the controlling factor itself.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 398
    rolorolo Posts: 686member
    Worldwide is one word.
  • Reply 2 of 398
    dr_lhadr_lha Posts: 236member
    Of course I just got my new Mac Pro, and now they're going to release a new models. Of course I knew full well this would happen, but couldn't pursuade my IT guy to hold off on the purchase for a few months. Sigh... at least I got the $10 Leopard upgrade.
  • Reply 3 of 398
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,426member
    They sure as hell better be upgrading those graphics cards. Especially the the stock card. Paying 2.5k for a machine that ships with a $50 128bit card is insanity. The chips are plenty fast. The biggest lacking part are the graphics cards.
  • Reply 4 of 398
    gugygugy Posts: 794member
    please!!!!!!!!



    DO IT APPLE, DO IT!!!



    I need to upgrade my G5 and sell while I have Applecare. I can still get a fair price for it. Plus, I do not want to miss the year tax deductions! Sorry for my selfish reasons.
  • Reply 5 of 398
    Thank you so much for the photograph and the details. I'll be buying the 3.2GHz 8 core as soon as it ships.



    Sure glad it's finally coming to market with Leopard on board. Perfect marriage of hardware and software. Me so happy! We have 1438 posts on this subject over at MacRumors.
  • Reply 6 of 398
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    This raises the possibility that Apple's Penryn-based Mac Pro line will include models with varying bus speeds. This is not out of the ordinary, however, and was similarly the case back in October of 2005 when Apple unveiled its Power Mac G5 Quad and Power Mac G5 Dual. *At the time, however, the system bus was automatically tied to clock speed rather than the controlling factor itself.



    Actually, just about every tier of every revision of the G5 Macs had its own bus speed, from the original 2003 PMG5 to the final versions in the late 2005 models. I think the bus on a G5 was half it's core clock speed for the Power Macs, and a third its core clock on the iMacs.
  • Reply 7 of 398
    We are looking to get an Xserve + XRAID soon, and I'd like to avoid getting the end of the cycle on one of these devices.
  • Reply 8 of 398
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    It is quite extraordinary what a difference moving to Intel has made to Apple. You wonder why they didn't do it before.



    Apart from the 24" iMacs they don't seem to have put a foot wrong since.
  • Reply 9 of 398
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post


    Of course I just got my new Mac Pro, and now they're going to release a new models. Of course I knew full well this would happen, but couldn't pursuade my IT guy to hold off on the purchase for a few months. Sigh... at least I got the $10 Leopard upgrade.



    LOL, buy a $4000 computer, and somehow, getting Leopard for $10 rather than $129 is important to you?
  • Reply 10 of 398
    A $1,000 Mac, please??? Hello?
  • Reply 11 of 398
    I'd also like to get my hands on one of those Penryn 3.2 dual quads. I sincerely hope it's going to run a 1600 MHz FSB. The bus speeds of the current models seriously restricted throughput of the current dual quad models. It just wasn't worth the premium over the dual 2-core models. With the huge 12 MB cache and 1600 MHz FSB this new model should crank out some serious numbers.



    Apple is still going to get shorted on graphics cards. Most likely second tier leftovers. I guess not until Intel goes into the graphics card business will the Mac Pros get a fair shake with top-of-the-line graphics cards. Maybe Apple doesn't really care since the company doesn't promote gaming on their Mac Pros.



    I guess $5000 will get a decently equipped dual quad with extra memory and graphics upgrade. If Apple's share price goes to $190, my future dual-quad will be completely paid for courtesy of Apple.
  • Reply 12 of 398
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Multimedia View Post


    Thank you so much for the photograph and the details.



    Isn't that just a standard Mac Pro guts-shot with logos photoshopped into the CPU heat sink cover?
  • Reply 13 of 398
    Figures. I had to buy a new Mac Pro, so I can get hired for this upcoming job. Looks like i will be selling mine in a few months.
  • Reply 14 of 398
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    I wonder if it will be redesigned and what GPUs it will ship with. It would be really lame if nice new CPUs came and no GPU updates. If they've perfected the technical design, I guess there's not many places to go with it.
  • Reply 15 of 398
    But which gpu? The 'heavy hitters' from Ati and Nvidia aren't going to ship until Q1 '08?



    That leaves us with the 8800GTX? GT?



    Hmmm.



    And...for the love of god....a more affordable quad range under neath. Please....gawd.....mercy...



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 16 of 398
    Quote:

    They sure as hell better be upgrading those graphics cards. Especially the the stock card. Paying 2.5k for a machine that ships with a $50 128bit card is insanity. The chips are plenty fast. The biggest lacking part are the graphics cards.



    Insanity.



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 17 of 398
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,426member
    Or... Gasp... ATI 2900xt /cry
  • Reply 18 of 398
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Any word on Xserve getting these bad boy chips?
  • Reply 19 of 398
    Apple, take a hint:



    The gap between iMac and Mac Pro is so huge you could fit two product lines and semi truck in there.



    Really there isn't a good reason not to make an xMac/MacPro Mini/Mac Plus? (aside form your monetary greed, aparently). Intel's CPU offerings include a wide range of processors between those in the iMac and those in the Mac Pro. For prosumers, the iMac is too weak, has crappy graphics an NO EXPANDABILITY, meanwhile the MacPro is a waste for doing anything less than video-editing, 3D rendering and Photoshop filtering, simultaneously. Call it hyperbole if you want, but the main idea is still true. We aren't all either "idiot consumers" or professionals. Ergo, we need a computer that can fit our needs. Desktop-class processor, video card, a PCI slot or two, extra HDD bay, extra optical bay.



    It's not too much to ask so for the love of Trogdor, just do it.



    Oh yeah, "please."



    -Clive
  • Reply 20 of 398
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,830member
    What's impressive here is that the redesign is said to be complete, yet there's no word on upgrades (eSATA ports?) or Styling (Black and Aluminium?) or the Cinema Display situation.



    Apple's getting too good at compartmentalizing this stuff.
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