Desktop Discussion for 08/09

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 60
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    If Apple builds a desktop, it won't have any PCIe slots. It'll have a discrete GPU, but not an upgradeable one on a card. Apple would never jeopardize Mac Pro sales by giving a cheaper machine expansion slots.



    I can see a desktop CPU, 1-2 hard drive bays, one slot-loading optical drive. Apple could easily sell it for under a grand. As low as $500 if it has a plastic case instead of aluminum and an integrated graphics option. Of course they would never sell it so cheap.



    I disagree on the PCIe point. I think having one would be acceptable if only to make it easy to upsell a better video card at the BTO store.
  • Reply 22 of 60
    ssassa Posts: 47member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    It's not just bad video it's the weak cpu and slow HD in the mini.



    The harder to open case then all other desktops is a other thing.



    The g4 mini had good video for it's time. But apple also had a desktop starting at $1200 - $1500 at the same time.



    Heck, upgrading the RAM is easier on some of the laptops than the Mac Mini and that is a real feat, considering that there are some laptops that are a real pain to upgrade.



    I would definitely agree with the weak CPU comment. The Mac Mini was OK 14 months ago for the niche it is intended to serve, but there are a lot of people who would buy a more powerful standalone Mac even if it were slightly larger than the current Mac Mini.
  • Reply 23 of 60
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    No one should be so confident that Apple will continue on the same path wrt their offerings. How many times have they changed their products up and thrown out curve balls that no one expected? Just when you think you know what they're going to do next or you think you can prognosticate their future line-up, you get totally blown away with the unexpected.
  • Reply 24 of 60
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Here are some tests with the new Core i7 processors and specs.



    I think it's conceivable that Apple will stop using the Xeon brand for their workstations if these processors perform this well. They can lower prices, and still keep their margins up. The memory bandwidth looks fast, but apparently the X58 chipset supports up to 24GB of memory, below the 32GB limit the Mac Pro currently supports. I think, however, this would be fine for almost all uses.
  • Reply 25 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    Here are some tests with the new Core i7 processors and specs.



    I think it's conceivable that Apple will stop using the Xeon brand for their workstations if these processors perform this well. They can lower prices, and still keep their margins up. The memory bandwidth looks fast, but apparently the X58 chipset supports up to 24GB of memory, below the 32GB limit the Mac Pro currently supports. I think, however, this would be fine for almost all uses.



    I don't think that apple will stop useing dual cpu mac pro systems.



    They may use the dual cpu desktop ver useing a cut down x58 / skulltrail 2 based board.
  • Reply 26 of 60
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    I don't think that apple will stop useing dual cpu mac pro systems.



    They may use the dual cpu desktop ver useing a cut down x58 / skulltrail 2 based board.



    I was under the impression that the Tylersburg chipset would allow you to have a dual processor set up (8 cores total):



  • Reply 27 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I was under the impression that the Tylersburg chipset would allow you to have a dual processor set up (8 cores total):



    Like the graphic shows:

    - single cpu + ONE QPI link I/O hub (X58) = desktop (high-end)

    - dual cpus + TWO QPI links I/O hub (Tylersburg-EP) = server/workstation



    As you can also see in the graphic, server/workstation cpus have TWO QPI links allowing them to communicate directly. That's what makes the Xeon cpus much more expensive that their Core i7 (desktop) counterparts, the RAM/QPI link speed also.



    Core i7 920 2.66GHz 1066 RAM $284, Xeon X5550 2.66GHz 1333 RAM $958 (+$678)

    Core i7 940 2.93GHz 1066 RAM $562, Xeon X5570 2.93GHz 1333 RAM $1386 (+$824)

    Core i7 965 3.20GHz 1333 RAM $999, Xeon W5580 3.20GHz 1333 RAM $1600 (+$601)



    If Apple chooses to build the Mac Pro around a dual-cpu motherboard, it will be either more expensive than the current one, and/or will go down in clock speed: the current harpertown 2.8GHz costs $797, while a nehalem xeon E5540 2.53GHz 1066 RAM will cost $744.



    It is not easy to guess what Apple will do with that many possibilities/potential price points.
  • Reply 28 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    Like the graphic shows:

    - single cpu + ONE QPI link I/O hub (X58) = desktop (high-end)

    - dual cpus + TWO QPI links I/O hub (Tylersburg-EP) = server/workstation



    As you can also see in the graphic, server/workstation cpus have TWO QPI links allowing them to communicate directly. That's what makes the Xeon cpus much more expensive that their Core i7 (desktop) counterparts, the RAM/QPI link speed also.



    Core i7 920 2.66GHz 1066 RAM $284, Xeon X5550 2.66GHz 1333 RAM $958 (+$678)

    Core i7 940 2.93GHz 1066 RAM $562, Xeon X5570 2.93GHz 1333 RAM $1386 (+$824)

    Core i7 965 3.20GHz 1333 RAM $999, Xeon W5580 3.20GHz 1333 RAM $1600 (+$601)



    If Apple chooses to build the Mac Pro around a dual-cpu motherboard, it will be either more expensive than the current one, and/or will go down in clock speed: the current harpertown 2.8GHz costs $797, while a nehalem xeon E5540 2.53GHz 1066 RAM will cost $744.



    It is not easy to guess what Apple will do with that many possibilities/potential price points.



    When does anyone expect Apple to integrate either of Intel's Core i7 920, 945, 965 CPUs (and their required motherboard architectures and chipsets) into shipping desktop products? I mean, what's the soonest anyone here thinks it could happen? I assume these chips will be reserved for MacPro towers. I imagine they will be expensive. Do most here agree that the new Core i7 chips would be the basis of any "new" MacPro tower?
  • Reply 29 of 60
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,841member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 460FILMS View Post


    When does anyone expect Apple to integrate either of Intel's Core i7 920, 945, 965 CPUs (and their required motherboard architectures and chipsets) into shipping desktop products? I mean, what's the soonest anyone here thinks it could happen? I assume these chips will be reserved for MacPro towers. I imagine it will be expensive.



    I expect Apple to continue their tradition of not using any of Intel's "desktop" chips. The Mac Pro will stay Xeon and will move to the new "Core i7"-based Xeons (listed by mjteix above) next year, hopefully at MWSF.
  • Reply 30 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 460FILMS View Post


    When does anyone expect Apple to integrate either of Intel's Core i7 920, 945, 965 CPUs (and their required motherboard architectures and chipsets) into shipping desktop products? I mean, what's the soonest anyone here thinks it could happen? I assume these chips will be reserved for MacPro towers. I imagine they will be expensive. Do most here agree that the new Core i7 chips would be the basis of any "new" MacPro tower?



    Like Mr.H said, Apple will probably release the new Mac Pro in Q1 2009, depending of the state of the inventory and the availability of the platform they choose to used.



    The desktop Core i7 cpus and the X58 chipset will be officially launched on Nov. 17, and many preproduction samples have been already available (hence all the test articles this week). These cpus have a TDP of 130W, so a tower design is required. Those cpus are less expensive than the current high-end desktop quads in Intel's line-up, but the motherboard is more expensive to manufacture.



    The server/workstation cpus/chipset are rumored for early 2009. The TDP of the cpus varies from 65W to 130W, nothing special here. These cpus will be "slightly" more expensive than the current Xeons (at similar clock) but are also much more powerful. The motherboard will also be more expensive to manufacture.



    Some people think the Core i7/X58 is a good enough platform for the Mac Pro (it also allows for less expensive models), other think that Apple will keep the dual-cpu concept for the Mac Pro, that means more expensive models at similar clocks (but again much more powerful computers). Optimists think that Apple could release 2 versions: single cpu models and dual-cpu models... I would like that...
  • Reply 31 of 60
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    Like Mr.H said, Apple will probably release the new Mac Pro in Q1 2009, depending of the state of the inventory and the availability of the platform they choose to used.



    The desktop Core i7 cpus and the X58 chipset will be officially launched on Nov. 17, and many preproduction samples have been already available (hence all the test articles this week). These cpus have a TDP of 130W, so a tower design is required. Those cpus are less expensive than the current high-end desktop quads in Intel's line-up, but the motherboard is more expensive to manufacture.



    The server/workstation cpus/chipset are rumored for early 2009. The TDP of the cpus varies from 65W to 130W, nothing special here. These cpus will be "slightly" more expensive than the current Xeons (at similar clock) but are also much more powerful. The motherboard will also be more expensive to manufacture.



    If it because most of these motherboards are 8 layer PCB's or are the components more expensive? From what I've read the X58 and derivatives are smaller and simpler in that they don't have memory controllers (these are on the processor themselves). If it's just the higher quality PCB then I don't see the motherboards being that much more expensive to manufacture.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    Some people think the Core i7/X58 is a good enough platform for the Mac Pro (it also allows for less expensive models), other think that Apple will keep the dual-cpu concept for the Mac Pro, that means more expensive models at similar clocks (but again much more powerful computers). Optimists think that Apple could release 2 versions: single cpu models and dual-cpu models... I would like that...



    I'm a bit confused; do the Xeon versions of Nehalem require a different IOH (the x58)? This article isn't exactly clear on it. I'm curious if the socket is the same. It seems to be the case.
  • Reply 32 of 60
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    http://www.nehalemnews.com/2008/04/nehalem-faq.html



    Actually the single & dual x58 do use the same socket, LGA1366. The quad processor(not core) version does need a LGA1567 socket. That's a lot of pins/pads!



    So it appears there are 4 x58 chipsets:



    Tylersburg-24S – 24 PCIe lanes, 1x QuickPath Link

    Tylersburg-24D – 24 PCIe lanes, 2x QuickPath Links

    Tylersburg-36S – 36 PCIe lanes, 1x QuickPath Link

    Tylersburg-36D – 36 PCIe lanes, 2x QuickPath Links



    The Mac Pro would likely use the 36D.
  • Reply 33 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    http://www.nehalemnews.com/2008/04/nehalem-faq.html



    Actually the single & dual x58 do use the same socket, LGA1366. The quad processor(not core) version does need a LGA1567 socket. That's a lot of pins/pads!



    So it appears there are 4 x58 chipsets:



    Tylersburg-24S ? 24 PCIe lanes, 1x QuickPath Link

    Tylersburg-24D ? 24 PCIe lanes, 2x QuickPath Links

    Tylersburg-36S ? 36 PCIe lanes, 1x QuickPath Link

    Tylersburg-36D ? 36 PCIe lanes, 2x QuickPath Links



    The Mac Pro would likely use the 36D.



    That's right. 24D or 36D for the Mac Pro since some PCIe lanes are also available from the ICH10 and that the Mac Pro will probably won't offer 12 PCIe slots or QUAD SLI/Crossfire...



    FWIW, I'm including the "latest" roadmap for Nehalem, so people can figure out what could come and when...



    Bloomfield (Core i7) _____ Gainestown _____ Mont. Refresh ___ Clarksfield ________________ Auburndale

    High-End Desktop ___ Server/Workstation ___ Notebooks ___ Mobile quads _______________ Mobile duals

    not used by Apple ____ Mac Pro/XServe ____ MB/MBP refresh ___ iMac? ___________________ Nehalem MB/MBP
  • Reply 34 of 60
    Will these new chips in Mac Pro increase the cost, and by much? Is it worth waiting for the update to the Mac Pro in January?
  • Reply 35 of 60
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,807moderator
    I have a feeling they will go for server components again mainly for status. From older benchmarks, there isn't much real-world advantage to Xeon over the Core 2 chips but the cost is higher.



    Here are some recent benchmarks of the Core i7:



    http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/...39047-8,00.htm



    "In numerous tests, the 2.4GHz Core i7 920 is a better proposition at $284 (~£179) than Intel's previous fastest processor, the Core 2 Extreme QX9775, at around £1,000."



    My worry is that Apple will stick to their high pricing and PC manufacturers will go for these cheap but clearly very powerful chips and although the Mac Pro will better the performance, PCs will come in at a fraction of the cost and be deemed good enough for the job just like they are now with the Core 2 Quad, which is what Psystar use.



    You can buy a quad core PC for £500 now but you can't get a quad core Mac under £1400 and the PC will reach 80-90% of the performance. All the consumer machines use laptop chips which aren't quad core yet and won't be for a while.



    A single quad Core i7 with a higher Nvidia card than the 8800GT for round £1000-1200 would sell extremely well. But we always hope they'll do this and all they do is keep the high end high and the low end low keeping their phoney line between 'pro' and non-pro.
  • Reply 36 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I have a feeling they will go for server components again mainly for status. From older benchmarks, there isn't much real-world advantage to Xeon over the Core 2 chips but the cost is higher.



    No, there's no benefit of Xeon over Core 2, except that you can use two of them (or more) in one machine. One can only assume that Apple will keep the Mac Pro a dual-processor machine.
  • Reply 37 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    No, there's no benefit of Xeon over Core 2, except that you can use two of them (or more) in one machine. One can only assume that Apple will keep the Mac Pro a dual-processor machine.



    And that would probably mean high prices than current ones since the nehalem Xeon will be more expensive than the harpertown at the same clock (but nehalem will be more powerful).



    I already gave some examples of the new prices, here they are again:



    Intel Workstation & Server Processors 2009 (Xeon)Tylersburg

    Processor Speed Cache TDP Memory Sockets Platform Price

    W5580 3.20GHz 8MB 130W 1333MHz 2 Workstation $1600 vs $1279 for the 3.20GHz Harpertown

    X5570 2.93GHz 8MB _95W 1333MHz 2 ___Server___ $1386 vs $1022 for the 3.00GHz Harpertown

    X5560 2.80GHz 8MB _95W 1333MHz 2 ___Server___ $1172 vs $797 for the 2.80GHz Harpertown

    X5550 2.66GHz 8MB _95W 1333MHz 2 ___Server___ $958

    E5540 2.53GHz 8MB _80W 1066MHz 2 ___Server___ $744 -? vs $797 for the 2.80GHz Harpertown



    I don't think Apple will go as low as the 2.53GHz model just to be able to achieve the current price/cost. So I guess they will start the new Mac Pro with 2x2.66GHz cpus for about $2999, and probably $2299 for a single cpu version...
  • Reply 38 of 60
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,807moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    No, there's no benefit of Xeon over Core 2, except that you can use two of them (or more) in one machine. One can only assume that Apple will keep the Mac Pro a dual-processor machine.



    Sure but as joe_the_dragon mentioned, there are dual processor desktop chipsets like the Skulltrail (now the Dual Socket Extreme Desktop):



    http://www.pcworld.com/article/14261...t_extreme.html

    http://hothardware.com/News/Intel_Sk...rd_Sneak_Peek/



    "the platform is built around an Intel server-class motherboard tweaked for the enthusiast market. It also features dual 45nm quad-core processors for a total of eight cores, and because the Skulltrail mobo is outfitted with a pair of NVIDIA-built chips, it would support SLI as well."



    http://pchardwareblips.com/story/cor...in_early_2009/



    It's expensive though so probably not worth switching from Xeons for price reasons but if they get a cheaper mobo capable of dual processor support, it would help. Apple isn't the type of company who goes after bargain chipsets though and Nvidia won't help either as they aren't making QPI chipsets.



    Here's a Tylersburg with Gainestown and the possibility for 288GB Ram, Apple would use this just for the sound-bite:



    http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquir...-largely-happy



    I think they'll have to keep a single quad on the low end so there isn't just a big jump between the iMac and Mac Pro. The top end dual 3GHz iMac would go to an 8-core 2.66GHz or something for very little extra. But the impression you get from the way the Mac Pro is advertised, it's like they don't want you to go for the single quad, which makes me wonder if they'll push for 8-cores across the board.



    It's kinda stupid really because they say Mac Pro from £1749 when you can actually buy one for just £1429. Why do they advertise the middle option for the Mac Pro and the lowest options for the others? Who cares if the lowest one is just 4-core?



    They seem to think that pros all need 8 cores and everybody else just needs 2.
  • Reply 39 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    And that would probably mean high prices than current ones since the nehalem Xeon will be more expensive than the harpertown at the same clock (but nehalem will be more powerful)



    Thanks for the price comparison. Would the extra power of the nehalem really be worth the extra money? Maybe it's worth waiting for them to change the Mac Pro and buy the existing model then?
  • Reply 40 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Sure but as joe_the_dragon mentioned, there are dual processor desktop chipsets like the Skulltrail (now the Dual Socket Extreme Desktop):



    http://www.pcworld.com/article/14261...t_extreme.html

    http://hothardware.com/News/Intel_Sk...rd_Sneak_Peek/



    "the platform is built around an Intel server-class motherboard tweaked for the enthusiast market. It also features dual 45nm quad-core processors for a total of eight cores, and because the Skulltrail mobo is outfitted with a pair of NVIDIA-built chips, it would support SLI as well."







    They seem to think that pros all need 8 cores and everybody else just needs 2.



    Dual socket extreme desktop is in fact xeon based, rebranded Xeon cpus for the extreme enthousiast market. The fact is that if you want an efficient dual cpu system you have to go with cpus that have dual qpi links and a chipset that has dual qpi links (in order to have everything linked together). Dual qpi links in Intel's catalog are server/workstation cpus: the expensive ones. You cannot built a Dual socket extreme desktop using regular Core i7 cpus (920/940/965 models), you have to use the 5500 series cpus and a Tylersburg XXD chipset. The rest is just marketing.



    I agree that Apple should start offering quad-core computers under $2,000. It is ridiculous to have only dual-core and (essentially) octo-core computers.
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