Intel, Nvidia show off next-gen silicon potentially bound for Apple's future Macs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Computing industry observers got a glimpse of the future from two processor makers on Tuesday, as Nvidia revealed its GPU product roadmap and Intel showed off benchmarks of the forthcoming "Haswell" microarchitecture.

nvidia


Speaking at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the company's 2016 release, dubbed Volta, will leverage stacked DRAM technology to deliver 1 terabyte per second of memory bandwidth, according to Forbes. Nvidia didn't provide a firm price tag or release date, aside from a 2016 window, at the event.

"Volta is going to solve one of the biggest challenges facing GPUs today," Huang said, "which is access to memory bandwidth. We never seem to have enough."

Volta will be able to reach these speeds by stacking DRAM on top of the GPU, with a silica substrate separating them. By then drilling through the silicon, Nvidia connects the two layers. The result is a GPU capable of moving the equivalent of a full Blu-Ray disc in 1/50th of a second. By comparison, the company's current high-end graphics card, "The Titan," can handle about 288GB per second, a bit more than a quarter of Volta's projected capability.

Meanwhile, Tom's Hardware recently acquired an early sample of Intel's upcoming Core i7-4770K Haswell chip and put the silicon through its paces. They found Haswell to boast significant improvements over existing Sandy Bridge-based processors in floating point performance, as well as Integer tests.

haswell1


Other performance measures, such as an OpenCL-enabled workload in Photoshop CS6 or compressing a 1.3GB folder of mixed files in WinZip, showed Haswell slightly outperforming its predecessor, a result attributed to additional EUs, more bandwidth, and higher IPC.

haswell2


The Haswell architecture, according to a document leaked late last year, is expected to show up in iMacs later in 2013. On the high end, the Core i7-4770K processor will run at a base frequency of 3.5GHz, with 8MB of memory.

The 2013 Haswell lineup includes a total of six "standard power" desktop processors, with two of them being more powerful Core i7 models. Also listed are eight "low power" processors that include three Core i7 variations.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 112
    zoffdinozoffdino Posts: 192member
    Let's hope that Apple comes out with a Haswell-equipped Mac Pro with unbuffered RAM, Thunderbolt, USB 3 and a lower price tag than what they are offering now. Oh, having more GPU selections would be good. Graphic designers, photographers, audio/video specialists don't need every bit as correct as scientists require.
  • Reply 2 of 112
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    zoffdino wrote: »
    Let's hope that Apple comes out with a Haswell-equipped Mac Pro with unbuffered RAM, Thunderbolt, USB 3 and a lower price tag than what they are offering now. Oh, having more GPU selections would be good. Graphic designers, photographers, audio/video specialists don't need every bit as correct as scientists require.

    I think you're out of luck with unbuffered RAM.
  • Reply 3 of 112
    65c81665c816 Posts: 133member
    What's the benefit of unbuffered ram?
  • Reply 4 of 112

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I think you're out of luck with unbuffered RAM.


     


    And the price... I would love to see us return to the days of sub $2000 Mac Pro (at that time, PowerMac), but I'm not holding my breath.


     


    I love the iMac, minus the tangled mess of wires you have if you have a few external hard drives, media reader, etc. Also, I would much rather have two 22" screens vs. one 27" screen.

  • Reply 5 of 112
    tailstails Posts: 35member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post



    Let's hope that Apple comes out with a Haswell-equipped Mac Pro with unbuffered RAM, Thunderbolt, USB 3 and a lower price tag than what they are offering now. Oh, having more GPU selections would be good. Graphic designers, photographers, audio/video specialists don't need every bit as correct as scientists require.


    Haswell Xeons will probably be released in 2015. Never expect the newest generation of chips in Mac Pro's. They'll always hit portables and regular desktops first.

  • Reply 6 of 112
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    65c816 wrote: »
    What's the benefit of unbuffered ram?

    Less expensive RAM and accompanying logic board are the biggest benefits. Unbuffered (non-ECC) RAM may also have better performance than ECC RAM due to the removal of the error correction. Error correction sounds like a good thing but you have plenty of other ways to verify data integrity. If we're talking about a server or workstation it can make sense but not so much for a consumer system.
  • Reply 7 of 112
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,140member


    Let's hope Apple does not screw up again with the iMac refresh, if they do it could mean we have to wait until the end of 2014 for an update. As for me my 2010 iMac will be due for a refresh at the end of the year, if they release a new model I'll pre-order straight away.

  • Reply 8 of 112
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Less expensive RAM and accompanying logic board are the biggest benefits. Unbuffered (non-ECC) RAM may also have better performance than ECC RAM due to the removal of the error correction. Error correction sounds like a good thing but you have plenty of other ways to verify data integrity. If we're talking about a server or workstation it can make sense but not so much for a consumer system.

    True. But when did the Mac Pro become a consumer system? (zoffdino was referring specifically to the Mac Pro).

    The Mac Pro is a high end workstation - and unbuffered RAM is a fairly standard feature at that level. And if they drop it, we'll get even more whining about how it's not a real workstation.
  • Reply 9 of 112
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jragosta wrote: »
    True. But when did the Mac Pro become a consumer system? (zoffdino was referring specifically to the Mac Pro).

    The Mac Pro is a high end workstation - and unbuffered RAM is a fairly standard feature at that level. And if they drop it, we'll get even more whining about how it's not a real workstation.

    I have no idea why you'd have a "but" to disagree with what I wrote when I clearly responded to zoffidino that I think unbuffered RAM is unlikely in the next Mac Pro and concluded my comment to 65C816, which you quoted by saying that buffered RAM is used for workstations.
  • Reply 10 of 112
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    Sounds like a big yawn to me.  Great for gamers (a fading breed) and no one else really.  I certainly wouldn't hold off buying a computer waiting for this. 

  • Reply 11 of 112
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    Sounds like a big yawn to me.  Great for gamers (a fading breed) and no one else really.  I certainly wouldn't hold off buying a computer waiting for this. 

    For average users, that has been true for years. Even a low end system has more power than most users need - which is a major factor in declining PC sales.

    Computer developments today are mostly for the very small group of people who push their systems to the limit. For everyone else, it's just not that big a deal.
  • Reply 12 of 112
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Sounds like a big yawn to me.  Great for gamers (a fading breed) and no one else really.  I certainly wouldn't hold off buying a computer waiting for this. 



    It could make the Mac Mini quite a bit better (due to the HD4600 integrated graphics). Better integrated graphics are a reason for non-geeks to care about new Intel chips.

  • Reply 13 of 112
    eauviveeauvive Posts: 237member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Sounds like a big yawn to me.  Great for gamers (a fading breed) and no one else really.  I certainly wouldn't hold off buying a computer waiting for this. 



     


    I’m waiting for Haswell because of the new FMA instructions (addition and multiplication both in a single cycle). But, you’re right, that’s a CS whim.

  • Reply 14 of 112
    zoffdinozoffdino Posts: 192member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Sounds like a big yawn to me.  Great for gamers (a fading breed) and no one else really.  I certainly wouldn't hold off buying a computer waiting for this. 



     


    More than gamers. Think about scientists who need to run physics simulation, or video editor who needs to cut the latest feature film. There are people who need desktop towers, with their expandability, and massive amount of RAM and HDD, etc.


     



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I have no idea why you'd have a "but" to disagree with what I wrote when I clearly responded to zoffidino that I think unbuffered RAM is unlikely in the next Mac Pro and concluded my comment to 65C816, which you quoted by saying that buffered RAM is used for workstations.


     



    What I meant was that a workstation with unbuffered RAM would be suitable for some usage scenarios. As a video editor, I can easily live with a few bad pixels in a 1080p rendering if that means I can save hundreds off a tower (multiply that by 6). Since the kind of error ECC corrects for are random memory error, I will get different bad pixels on the next frame. Movies run too fast for you to recognize that there are few bad pixels out there so I’m totally okay with that. Combine the lower cost of non-ECC RAM with non-ECC CPUs and you can have decent savings right, with slight speed advantage to boost. ECC is a feature for those who need them. It is not a prerequisite for a workstation. In fact, both Dell and HP offer non-ECC workstations in their lineups. Not that I use them, but sometimes I feel envious of my clients who have them for their production staffs.

  • Reply 15 of 112
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    For average users, that has been true for years. Even a low end system has more power than most users need - which is a major factor in declining PC sales.



    Computer developments today are mostly for the very small group of people who push their systems to the limit. For everyone else, it's just not that big a deal.


     


    Yeah, but I would argue that this *needn't* be the case and that while the computer has enough "power" for the average user, their experience could certainly be improved in many ways.  It's been known for a long time now that the gaming industry "drives" the improvements in chip technology, but this just means that the type of improvements we get are aimed at the needs of that group.  


     


    The average user's experience could be vastly improved by focussing on other things like concurrent execution and multi-processing, but that wouldn't help games at all, so nothing is ever really done about that.  I mean even on a multi-core Mac Pro with the best graphic cards and gigs and gigs of memory, it can still basically only do one intensive task at a time.  Sometimes I think it's funny when I'm importing some shows into iTunes and the whole computer just dies for a minute or two while it does it.  It's hardly any different to when I was using my IBM XT and waiting for a print job to execute all those years ago.  


     


    The average computer user shouldn't have to experience these kinds of waits (especially on what is essentially a background task), but no one has ever devoted serious resources to solving those kind of problems.  Instead it's always … "better graphics!"  As a life long computer user that doesn't give a crap about gaming, I find it annoying. 

  • Reply 16 of 112
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post


     


    More than gamers. Think about scientists who need to run physics simulation, or video editor who needs to cut the latest feature film. There are people who need desktop towers, with their expandability, and massive amount of RAM and HDD, etc. ...



     


    Well I have a giant Mac Pro with Gigs and Gigs of RAM and a super fast video card but I don't play games.  


     


    What I mean is that there are still improvements that would help me and could make my computer faster and more useful, but they aren't related to … "better graphics!"

  • Reply 17 of 112
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post

    …unbuffered RAM…


     


    It's a workstation. Unless they decide to make the next one cater to no one professional, that's a dream.






    Oh, having more GPU selections would be good.



     


    THIS is a dream no matter what they make. If they turn the Mac Pro into a mainframe, you can bet there will be two GPUs. Maybe not even that. And maybe not even removable at all.





    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

    Great for gamers (a growing breed)…


     


    Fixed.

  • Reply 18 of 112
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    Well I have a giant Mac Pro with Gigs and Gigs of RAM and a super fast video card but I don't play games.  

    What I mean is that there are still improvements that would help me and could make my computer faster and more useful, but they aren't related to … "better graphics!"

    If your tasks use OpenCL, then a faster graphics card would help.
  • Reply 19 of 112
    davidadavida Posts: 57member

    Quote:


    The 2013 Haswell lineup includes a total of six "standard power" desktop processors, with two of them being more powerful Core i7 models.



    Unfortunately, Apple doesn't sell mid-range 'desktop' machines. Everything is either built with low-power laptop parts, or Xeons in the Mac Pro.

  • Reply 20 of 112
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by davida View Post

    Unfortunately, Apple doesn't sell mid-range 'desktop' machines. Everything is either built with low-power laptop parts, or Xeons in the Mac Pro.


     


    Yep, let's just go ahead and ignore that iMac, shall we? image

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