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Mac Pro to get exclusive on six-core, 32nm Xeons?

updated 11:00 pm EDT, Wed October 14, 2009

Apple may get early use of Gulftown Xeon

Apple may have a temporary exclusive on Intel's fastest workstation Xeons early next year, a purported leak argues tonight. An unnamed source says Apple is readying a Mac Pro based on the Xeon version of Intel's Gulftown six-core architecture and that the Mac builder would have a short exclusive for the processors, launching its own workstations in the winter while everyone else would have to wait until the spring. What configurations would ship aren't known by the MacBidouille tipster.

It's believed the mainboard for Gulftown systems would have added feature support, however, including 10-gigabit Ethernet (versus one gigabit today) and official support for 8GB and even 16GB memory sticks. A Mac Pro with the eight slots of the present-day design would support up to 128GB of RAM versus just 32GB using 4GB sticks.

Gulftown depends on Intel's 32 nanometer Westmere process to increase the complexity of the processor without necessarily affecting its size or power output. In addition to the extra two cores beyond most current Xeons, the Xeon design will support Hyperthreading and therefore address as many as 12 program threads at once. The amount of Level 2 cache should jump from 8MB to 12MB to reflect the extra amount of data moving between the added cores.

While unconfirmed, Apple has had a history of using Intel's latest Xeons ahead of others, such as exclusive access to a 3.06GHz Xeon for several weeks before competitors could use it.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +3

    Nice

    Sounds great. Now how about a simple dual core version for $1,500?

  1. rtamesis

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2000

    0

    Push the envelope

    Why couldn't Apple go with IBM's bleeding edge Tukwila chips instead, which is supposed to be released in Q1 2010?

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    -6

    Any chance of Apple building a...

    dual six-core version. I sure wish I could afford something like that just to say I owned one. Surely it would be plenty useful for at least five years. Apple sure makes beautiful Mac Pros. When Apple gets those exclusive processor deals, I wonder if they're able to sell a considerable number of them. A few weeks processor exclusivity doesn't seem like much of an deal considering from what I've heard that people could just wait and get them in a Windows PC computer for half the price of what Apple charges. I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard such stories.

  1. lolcat789

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    +2

    All of these big numbers

    And the price is somehow more inflated than any of it. For that price one could likely purchase a Fermi based chip and likely outperfrom the Mac Pro many times over.

    Really, apple, you need to drop the price on these.

  1. Chopper3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +3

    To answer your various comments

    WiseWeasel - Intel haven't released a dual-core only Xeon since the x52xx series, which was years ago and which run hotter and use more power than a modern quad-core x55xx/x56xx series chip - it would also be only very slightly cheaper, if at all. I guess what you really mean is "can't Apple create a core-2-duo or i7-based system with expansion slots - which is a good but tangental question.

    rtamesis - Intel will be making the Tukwila, not IBM - they're late delivering it and the x56xx chips are known to already beat the Tukwila in >95% of benchmarks - Intel's 2011 Sandy Bridge chips will also gain many of the Itanium RAS features, making the Tukwila an even less appealing option.

    iphonerulez - 'Gulftown' Xeons ARE dual-processor capable and Apple will be building dual-processor six-core MPs.

    loclcat789 - Fermi will indeed be SIGNIFICANTLY faster than any GPCPU...at certain very specific jobs - it offers nothing of benefit to most operating systems or applications.

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005

    0

    riddle me this

    Is this the tick or the tock on the 32nm chips from Intel? As in, is it the introduction of 32nm for the MacPro or their refinement on throughput?

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +2

    Why bother?

    This is all pointless marketing c***! I have an eight-core machine whose cores sit idle most of the time. Until there is a fundamental shift in approaches to OS and programming that actually exploit the virtue of massive multiple cores, it's no more valuable a prospect than the "megahertz myth". Remember that one from few years back: Apple's "super-computer" guarded by tanks?

  1. paulc

    Junior Member

    Joined: Aug 2000

    0

    Multi-Core

    The way I look at it, I agree, 8 cores are only useful for doing very few specific tasks (video rendering being the principal one). So right now, I think the smarter choice is a faster 4 core over a slower 8 core.

    My guess would be it will be much the same come 2010 and these chips. Just guessing, but a 3.0G single CPU 6 core may actually cost a lot less to buy then a dual 2.3G dual CPU 12 core machine.

    Not to mention there needs to be some significant "other" things aside from cores or getting a (early 2009) 4 core 3.0G machine may get more affordable as such new machines are introed.

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