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MacRumors
Jul 16, 2003, 02:02 AM
MacBidouille reports (http://www.hardmac.com/niouzcontenu.php?date=2003-07-16#191) finding evidence for > 2 multiprocessor support in Panther. Oddly, including 3 processor support as well as 4 processor support.



MarkCollette
Jul 16, 2003, 03:14 AM
The G5 was designed for multiple CPUs. I fully expect 4-way systems to be available in the 2U rack mountable systems ASAP. I just wouldn't expect them to be as quiet as the PowerMac G5s.

This will probably be necessary to compete against the next round of faster Intel chips, continuing the strategy of selling dual G4s against faster P4s, to now sell quad G5s against dual P4s.

hvfsl
Jul 16, 2003, 03:19 AM
I thought programming for quad systems was harder than programming for 2, which is harder than programining for 1. I expect the quads will only be in the Xserves. Although it would be nice to see them in the PMs, but I just don't see many companies optimising their software for quads unless they are made standard accross the PM range.

cc bcc
Jul 16, 2003, 03:47 AM
Not only 2,3 and 4 cpu support, but there is also an n-CPU item. :D Now we're talking!

MarkCollette
Jul 16, 2003, 03:58 AM
Originally posted by hvfsl
I thought programming for quad systems was harder than programming for 2, which is harder than programining for 1. I expect the quads will only be in the Xserves. Although it would be nice to see them in the PMs, but I just don't see many companies optimising their software for quads unless they are made standard accross the PM range.

It's harder to design CPUs, make chipsets, and program some bits of the operating system, in the way that you suggest, for more CPUs.

But, the 970 handles more CPUs just fine, and the operating system is based off of FreeBSD, which supports many CPUs, and I assume that Apple can either make the chipset, or get someone who knows how to, to make them.

For a server, it's not an issue about the applications needing to support multiple CPUs (via multi-threading), since you tend to need to support multiple users, and thus can simply run multiple instances of the applications.

Err, long story short: there's no technical reason why this wouldn't be possible :)

ipiloot
Jul 16, 2003, 04:00 AM
THere's nowhere a sign that PPC970 supports asymmetric multiprocessing. And why should it. Afaik SMP means processors in pairs.

solvs
Jul 16, 2003, 04:42 AM
Yeah, it's kinda gotta be 2, 4, 8, etc.

But I'm sure they'd design the OS to get it working right, even if the software isn't built for it. Be nice with 90 something % increases for each CPU.

Just don't look for it anytime soon in cheaper machines. XServes, maybe.

crenz
Jul 16, 2003, 05:00 AM
Originally posted by ipiloot
THere's nowhere a sign that PPC970 supports asymmetric multiprocessing.

I wouldn't attach too much importance to this rumor. They probably just added "3 processors" to their list to make it complete, even though it doesn't seem likely to happen with the PPC970. It's a common programmer's technique.

JimNoble
Jul 16, 2003, 05:02 AM
Symmetric Multi Processing is where you have multiple [identical] CPUs all doing the same thing.

Asymmetric Multi Processing is where you have multiple CPUs with specific functions.

Both symmetric and asymmetric forms can be done with any number of processors >1.

Jim

Drinahn
Jul 16, 2003, 06:04 AM
lol, I could resist, I had to become a member to say...

woot! Could we expect Quad G5 PowerBooks tomorrow!!

ipiloot
Jul 16, 2003, 06:12 AM
Originally posted by JimNoble
Symmetric Multi Processing is where you have multiple [identical] CPUs all doing the same thing.

Asymmetric Multi Processing is where you have multiple CPUs with specific functions.

Both symmetric and asymmetric forms can be done with any number of processors >1.

Jim

Thank You.

But why isn' there any 3-processor machines available then?

crenz
Jul 16, 2003, 06:26 AM
Originally posted by Drinahn
Could we expect Quad G5 PowerBooks tomorrow!!

My auntie's friend has a brother whose postman is a cousin of the grandma of a senior engineer at Apple. This very reliable source told me of an exciting new product at Apple for kids: The iBake will be a totally new multifunctional toy for children, featuring a total of four G5 processors, overclocked to run at 2.5 GHz. Two G5's each are teamed up to power one of two black circular interfaces seen on the product whose purpose has not been determined yet. The best is that Apple manages to run those four G5's without any fan at all! Jonathan Ive commented to a selected group of reporters that "this time, we're not avoiding heat issues, we're creating them on purpose". Whatever that is supposed to mean.

The picture (stolen from Apple's secret labs) seen at

http://www.erzi.de/katalog/images/products/10690_Kochplatte-KLgr.jpg

clearly shows that a number of bluetooth accessories will be available as well since I see no wires attached. Also, there don't seem to be any mouse buttons anymore -- another innovation from Apple.

SCNR ;)

Drinahn
Jul 16, 2003, 06:27 AM
Originally posted by ipiloot
Thank You.

But why isn' there any 3-processor machines available then?

/me looks at the 3 cpu box next to him.

There are, I have a 3 cpu SPARCServer right next to me... and with a bit of expense I can make it 8 cpu, or anything in between.

bennetsaysargh
Jul 16, 2003, 07:57 AM
Originally posted by Drinahn
lol, I could resist, I had to become a member to say...

woot! Could we expect Quad G5 PowerBooks tomorrow!!

i can't wait!! lol:p
seriously, that will come evenbtually. (hundreds of years from now:p)

Mr. Anderson
Jul 16, 2003, 08:11 AM
I don't know much on the subject - but could this have to do with clustering? There has been talk about Mac G5 clusters - n-cpus.....that would make sense for this bit of text. Going with 4 CPUs in one box right now seems a bit much - especially given the current internal config of the G5.

Not that I wouldn't want to have a quad G5....;)

D

NNO-Stephen
Jul 16, 2003, 08:15 AM
only thing i could see thsi in is XServe...

jettredmont
Jul 16, 2003, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by hvfsl
I thought programming for quad systems was harder than programming for 2, which is harder than programining for 1.

Programming a single workflow application to take advantage multiple processors is harder than programming it for a single processor, yes. However, in general, if you have your code set up to handle two processors it should be next to trivial to get it to support four, eight, sixteen, etc.

On the other hand, multiple single-threaded applications also work smashingly well in an n-processor system ...

DeusOmnis
Jul 16, 2003, 10:02 AM
one word.. w00t!!!!!!!11111oneoneone

Pete_Hoover
Jul 16, 2003, 10:13 AM
I don;t think apple would make a 4 processor Pmac. Imagine having to pay $6000.00 entry-level for a 4 processor pmac.

bousozoku
Jul 16, 2003, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
I don't know much on the subject - but could this have to do with clustering? There has been talk about Mac G5 clusters - n-cpus.....that would make sense for this bit of text. Going with 4 CPUs in one box right now seems a bit much - especially given the current internal config of the G5.

Not that I wouldn't want to have a quad G5....;)

D

Anything is possible and clustering, in some form, is supposed to be part of Panther.

Most servers and big machines have had support for large numbers of processors for quite a while. I've worked with an IBM iSeries model 840 which had 24 PowerPC processors.

The efficiency of the operating system needs to improve though, if Apple will sell the processors as add-ons at some point. Hopefully, Darwin has been improved to exploit any processor's power in multiple processor configurations.

iLilana
Jul 16, 2003, 10:32 AM
maybe this is for some kind of integrated clustering feature like appleseed. I thought I read something about that somewhere...


hmm a little late on that post:o

KingArthur
Jul 16, 2003, 10:38 AM
I remember reading a long time ago when MacOS X came out that it had support for up to 32 processors. Is this still the case or not?!

Next, with the new ability for certain Apple programs to share resources over a network for processing, it is possible we will see this application before >2 XServes/PMacs.

iLilana
Jul 16, 2003, 10:49 AM
maybe this is for some kind of integrated clustering feature like appleseed. I thought I read something about that somewhere...

zigzag
Jul 16, 2003, 01:09 PM
found this on my own during the first few days.

cubist
Jul 16, 2003, 01:53 PM
Three CPUs is the most they could fit in the new 19" AluBook.

Sun Baked
Jul 16, 2003, 02:33 PM
Dual processors are probably the limit for the current U3 chip (think of all the pins on the darn memory controller for a 3 or 4 CPUs). Remember the pin/trace counts go up with each CPU, they're no longer shared.

To scale beyond a couple CPUs may require a NUMA architecture, RIO or HT fabric switch, etc.

tpjunkie
Jul 16, 2003, 03:22 PM
I don;t think apple would make a 4 processor Pmac. Imagine having to pay $6000.00 entry-level for a 4 processor pmac

If its got 4 processors, it ain't an entry level mac- it would be a midlevel workstation, and that isnt an unfair price

Pete_Hoover
Jul 16, 2003, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by tpjunkie
If its got 4 processors, it ain't an entry level mac- it would be a midlevel workstation, and that isnt an unfair price

I know alot of people can't afford it(duh). I was simply stating that the entry level of the four-processor variety of Powermacs would be that expensive. I did not specifically state that these four processor pmacs would be the entry-level for the whole powermac line. Sorry you misunderstood me. :)

PowerBook User
Jul 16, 2003, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by crenz
My auntie's friend has a brother whose postman is a cousin of the grandma of a senior engineer at Apple. This very reliable source told me of an exciting new product at Apple for kids: The iBake will be a totally new multifunctional toy for children, featuring a total of four G5 processors, overclocked to run at 2.5 GHz. Two G5's each are teamed up to power one of two black circular interfaces seen on the product whose purpose has not been determined yet. The best is that Apple manages to run those four G5's without any fan at all! Jonathan Ive commented to a selected group of reporters that "this time, we're not avoiding heat issues, we're creating them on purpose". Whatever that is supposed to mean.

The picture (stolen from Apple's secret labs) seen at

http://www.erzi.de/katalog/images/products/10690_Kochplatte-KLgr.jpg

clearly shows that a number of bluetooth accessories will be available as well since I see no wires attached. Also, there don't seem to be any mouse buttons anymore -- another innovation from Apple.

SCNR ;)
Cool! Now we can cook dinner on our Mac as we use it!:D

PowerBook User
Jul 16, 2003, 06:34 PM
It will be intersting to see the configurations of the next Xserves. We just might end up with a quad processor version (although I wouldn't count on it). Even just adding a G5 to the Xserves would really improve performance.

nuckinfutz
Jul 17, 2003, 12:41 AM
I'm not suprised to see support in the OS for n Processors. There's an assumption that we're talking "Physical" Processors but in 5 years we'll be using "Physical" Processors split into "Logical" CPUs.

Someday soon you will have a Dual Processor machine that has two cores per processor and Multithreading to each core for the equivalent to an Octo CPU system. The OS will need to be able to handle this and schedule threads accordingly.

I'm reading that Sun is working on future processors with 4 cores and multithreading to each core. Hows a 32CPU "Logical" system sound? Sounds pretty yummy to me. The beauty to is you keep the packaging low and to the applications...they never know the difference.

ddtlm
Jul 17, 2003, 01:58 AM
tpjunkie:

$6000 for a quad G5 sure is unfair, for Apple! It would need a complex custom memory controller (imagine 4 FSB's and 4 channels of RAM on one chip), and complex custom motherboard (imagine supporting all the lines for above mentioned chip), and it would have to deal with the effects of being a small-volume item. Very expensive.

G5's are not suited to affordable quad-CPU machines IMHO. Opteron does better because the CPUs each have a manageable number of pins and there is no separate memory controller. Xeon is less costly to go 4-way, but also a lot slower with a 4-way shared FSB.

ffakr
Jul 17, 2003, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Pete_Hoover
I don;t think apple would make a 4 processor Pmac. Imagine having to pay $6000.00 entry-level for a 4 processor pmac.
that's not a very good argument.
YOUR REAL argument is 'who will pay $6000 for a Mac'. That makes sense considering the current personal computer market.
The real questions you should be asking are, do people pay $6000 for computers, and is $6000 a good price for a very fast unix box??

The answer is a resounding yes to both of those questions.
I have researchers in this building who would buy these like hotcakes if they only cost $6000. It's a much better deal than this $99,000 four cpu Sun workstation (http://store.sun.com/catalog/doc/BrowsePage.jhtml?cid=94991) or even this $18,000 Dell quad xeon 2.5GHz server without an Operating System (http://www.dell.com/us/en/biz/products/model_pedge_1_pedge_6600.htm)
(I had to pick a Dell server because they don't make quad processor workstations. the server had 4 mid-power Xeons, 512MB of memory, no raid, one 15K 18GB hard drive and a scsi card for the drive, 1 CDR/DVD combo drive, and NO OS because it would be Redhat or a very expensive Windows Server license and I didn't want to make the Dell more expensive just to bolster my point)

ddtlm
Jul 17, 2003, 10:32 AM
ffakr:

Yeah I would have bought a $6000 quad G5 the day it became available. :) Probably a lot of people would. This coming from a guy who decided not to get a dual G5 for $3000.

Now wandering off topic, speaking to noone in particular...

Apple could actually have done a quad-G5 semi-affordably if they had designed the dual-G5 memory controller chip with a fast hypertransport (or similar) connection that would go unused in the duals, but would allow two such memory controllers to be linked to make a quad. However this extra complexity would increase average memory latency for the quad, so it would be somewhat slower at single-CPU tasks than duals or singles. Most companies doing quad-CPU machines have large-cache chips to put in them to offset that memory slowdown, for example all Opterons are 1MB L2, Xeon MP's all have at least 1MB L3, and other companies like Sun have chips with 8MB L2's each.

Rincewind42
Jul 17, 2003, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by ddtlm
$6000 for a quad G5 sure is unfair, for Apple! It would need a complex custom memory controller (imagine 4 FSB's and 4 channels of RAM on one chip), and complex custom motherboard (imagine supporting all the lines for above mentioned chip), and it would have to deal with the effects of being a small-volume item. Very expensive.

I think you may be over engineering a bit. You could do a 4xG5 system and the only chip you'd have to change would be the U3 controller to have pin outs for 2 more CPUs and internal logic to route to two more CPUs. You wouldn't need to change the pin outs to the memory system. I don't imagine this would be cheap, but between this redesigned U3 and 2 more G5 CPUs I would expect this to come in around $1K retail. Now if you want to throw in a quad-channel memory controller (4 RAM chips per upgrade) then that would increase the cost also, but probably not to the tune of another $2K.

So I think that if Apple really wanted to do a 4 way G5 system they could do it for four to five thousand. The third and fourth CPUs almost certainly wouldn't give as much bang for the buck as the second one, but when you need more speed you need more speed. Should Apple actually build such a system, I doubt that they would build it expecting it to be a small volume item, and even if you can just compare to the Xserve - it is also a small volume item but completes in the same space as the PowerMac and at similar prices.

Rincewind42
Jul 17, 2003, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by KingArthur
I remember reading a long time ago when MacOS X came out that it had support for up to 32 processors. Is this still the case or not?!

Ah, you speak of support in the kernal for up to 32 processors. I suspect this hasn't changed (but don't remember how to verify that either) but this article just mentions some strings found for the "About This Mac" dialog, which references the practical number of CPUs that Apple may support. Of course, what I don't understand is why there isn't a string for single CPU and for n-CPU boxes rather than seperate strings for each number of CPUs :confused:

ffakr
Jul 17, 2003, 01:18 PM
This is basically a rehash of the old xstation rumor.

Personally, I'd guess that Apple isn't ready for a quad proc machine anytime soon. I think it could become a reality in the future, but not now. It does fit in with their market moves though.

Right now, Apple has just announced the G5, but it isn't even shipping yet. It is the number 1 seller at store.apple.com.
Now is not the time to release another product that will, in effect, constrain the supply of G5 chips.
Strategically, the next G5 machine (IMHO) will be and should be the xServe. Personally (no evidence) I feel that the xServe will either ship right after the G5s make it to customers hands... or it will be announced and ship with Panther Server.
I'm leaning tword the first possibility.

That rounds out Apple's product line for a while. Legacy desktop G4s (mainly for edu), G5s, and a new powerful server with large memory support (and rev'ed notebooks in calendar q3, 7457s?)

Once these product lines fall in and are selling, then it's time for 'one more thing'.

The G5 is wicked fast (I've used them :-)
but there are a lot of areas where wicked fast isn't enough... where you can never be fast enough. Look to the areas that Apple is trying to seriously court... sciences (especially life sciences) and film. Scientists can always find something to do with more CPU power (and they often get fat grants to blow on hardware).... and video houses never have enough power. I think a 'workstation class' machine would be a good fit here. They have the OS. They have the architecture. They can blow the competition out of the water on price/performance (opteron possibly excluded). This type of machine would compete with a single cpu Itanium on price and it would destroy it on performance.

I'm totally guessing that mid-august, the first G5s will show up on doorsteps (ok, a little insight from inside apple on this one). I think the duals will arrive right around the end of August.. the very end. I think xServe G5 will be announced in September and ship shortly afterward if not immediately... by the end of Sept in any case. I see the 1.6GHz legacy board dumped in October and the full desktop line refreshed. If IBM is really cranking on the chips, they may go dual across the board and speed bump, but they will likely want a single in the low end if the G4 tower is killed by that time. All duals are feasible since the 970 cpus seem to be cheaper than G4s, but they may want to keep the low end as cheap as possible.

If all this happened, I think the existing products would sell well and keep everyone essentially happy... but there would still be a market for 4 processor, high bandwidth boxes with monster computational capabilities. That market is low volume but high margin (very high margin right now). I could see Apple releasing something like an xStation later in Q4 as an addition to the product line. I could envision a market for a sub $10,000 quad processor workstation class machine. With the inherent high bandwidth design of the G5 from top to bottom, it would perform MUCH better than a cluster of 2 dual processor machines and it would allow people to do some amazing things from their desktop, like film effects and complex simulations that you would currently need a cluster to model.
so, I'll guess a quad 2.4or 2.6 GHz 970 box by the end of the year? Low end price of.... i don't know... $8K just to make people take it seriously. Fully pimped out, over $20K

Bring it on Apple.

nichrome
Jul 17, 2003, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Rincewind42
what I don't understand is why there isn't a string for single CPU and for n-CPU boxes rather than seperate strings for each number of CPUs :confused: 1. There are string items for specific CPU counts because some configurations are commonly referred to using words as opposed to numbers. It's more sensible to say "dual G4" than "2x G4", since there is a commonly used and short word (dual) that accurately depicts what the configuration is. If Apple only had strings for "1 chip" and "n chips" setups, the About box wouldn't be able to say "Dual". It would say "2 x".

2. There actually is a "n chips" string item later on in the strings file.

bryanc
Jul 17, 2003, 01:48 PM
Speaking as a life scientist who just got a grant, I have to respond to this

Originally posted by ffakr

The G5 is wicked fast (I've used them :-)
but there are a lot of areas where wicked fast isn't enough... where you can never be fast enough. Look to the areas that Apple is trying to seriously court... sciences (especially life sciences) and film. Scientists can always find something to do with more CPU power (and they often get fat grants to blow on hardware)

You're absolutely correct that there are applications where we'll be bottlenecked on CPU speed for the foreseeable future, and that life scientists are positively drooling over the G5s. But I do have to reign in your speculation that many life scientists get 'fat grants' to blow on hardware. Every lab I've ever worked in has been constrained primarily by cash, and one of the first places people try to save money is in the computers they buy.

I've worked in several labs that switched from Macs to PCs not because people wanted to, but because we had to save a few bucks (and show the accountants that we were doing everything we could to do things as inexpensively as possible). I'm currently in a lab were we've held onto our Macs, but we're running beige G3s from 1996 (which, incidentally, run OS X just fine if you're not in a hurry).

We've been planning on upgrading our computers for a long time, and now that our money has come through, we'll probably get at least one new system. But I doubt that we'll be able to afford a G5 for the lab.

However, I agree with the rest of your analysis, and certainly some of the better-funded labs (esp. in industry) will be buying G5s as fast as Apple can make them.

Cheers

crenz
Jul 17, 2003, 02:37 PM
Originally posted by ffakr
but there would still be a market for 4 processor, high bandwidth boxes with monster computational capabilities

Not sure. For video editing and rendering, a Dual 2-3 GHz should be nice for most applications. Once you go beyond that, clustering becomes attractive rather quickly -- especially for life science and movie rendering. Have a somewhat fast workstation for the preview (or the simpler tasks), then let your 20-30 node Linux cluster take care of the real thing.
A quad-G5 probably would be beyond €6000,- (the dual G5 costs €3200+ in the German store). You could get one Linux cluster node for about €500.

ffakr
Jul 17, 2003, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by bryanc
But I do have to reign in your speculation that many life scientists get 'fat grants' to blow on hardware. Every lab I've ever worked in has been constrained primarily by cash, and one of the first places people try to save money is in the computers they buy.

I actually wasn't refering specifically to _life_ scientists in this regard. Just to researchers at institutions with some name recognition.
I support machines at a fairly prestigious University and we have some researchers who pretty much get every NSF grant they ask for. Others just don't have the touch and they are still using Powermac 7200/75s. On one hand, some researchers intentionally buy desktop systems over $5000 to avoid paying a support overhead on them (too complicated to explain), while others can't replace 6 year old computers.

This was an unfair generalization as all generalizations tend to be :D
I should have said that enough of them get those big fat grants to provide a market.

A quad-G5 probably would be beyond €6000,- (the dual G5 costs €3200+ in the German store). You could get one Linux cluster node for about €500.
you do pay a premium for Apple stuff in Europe and you could build a cluster node for cheap in europe for cheap... but you'll end up with a cheap node if you only spent 500 eur. I could build a system for roughly $500 usd, but it would be a biege box that wouldn't come close to comparing with a dual 2GHz G5 in performance. Your $500 node certainly wouldn't be a dual processor box.

One thing to remember is, the dual G5 uses less total power (at the plug) than the previous G4s. quite a bit less. A quad processor G5 would likely use less than a typical dual proc x86 computer.

There are several advantages to a 4 way 970 box over other solutions (and absolute low price isn't one of them).
* high bandwidth between 4 fast cpus and their associated sub-systems. You skirt the latency issues present in clusters, especially budget ones with 4 single processor boxes on a 100Mbit network
* relatively low enviornmental load. Run one, or many without upgrading your power and cooling. In my office, I keep the air running for the computers. If we go through with rehabing our server room for the proposed clusters, we need to pull new 220v lines in and we need to add a new 8-12 ton cooler to the room (with all PPC hardware, requirements would be quite a bit smaller and cheaper)

Sure, you might get more power out of a dozen $500 barebones athlon rigs in a cluster (for some tasks) but your maintenance (physical), administration, setup, and environmental costs will be significantly higher.
In other tasks, the ultra low latency and ultra high bandwidth of a quad processor G5 system could outweigh the potential benefits of a dozen fairly descrete computational nodes.

I was trying to stress these points earlier but I didn't do a good job.

crenz
Jul 17, 2003, 03:21 PM
ffakr, I agree that there might be a market for a quad-G5; however, the market is sandwiched between "what a Dual G5 can handle well" and "what a quad-G5 can't handle and must be handled by a bigger workstation/cluster". That market might be not too big... OTOH, a quad-G5 might be competition for e.g. Sun workstations.

As for clusters vs. single machine: That really depends on the application. For computationally expensive tasks that don't handle much data, you could set up a cluster of net-booting diskless nodes. Another advantage of the cluster is dynamic reconfiguration. If one node fails, you can easily replace it. If your quad-G5 fails...

I agree on the environmental issues, though; it is easier to have one machine in terms of cooling, power etc.

jaedreth
Jul 17, 2003, 09:05 PM
(I hate IE, I just lost my entire post because I hit cancel to log into an unrelated site... Yes, I'm at work so I'm on XP, not my beloved 10.2 and Safari.)

A Quad G5 is possible. Would need 2 main system controllers. I would like to see 2 AGP 8x slots on this machine, one on each system controller's bus, 3 PCI-X slots on each bus, 5 DDR RAM slots on each system controller bus, the HDs on one bus, the Optical drives on the other, one channel for the IO on each bus.

Also if each bus controller and subcontroller has links to its "partner", one bus could take up the slack for another. It might be easier to see what I'm describing if you were to look at http://www.apple.com/powermac/architecture.html .

The computer would not be as easy to service as the G5, and it would probably be quite a bit wider, but its target market would be for high end workstation use, eg. competition for SGI's, would be great for gaming, scientific uses, and a cluster XServe configuration could be made if they stripped out all non-essential features. However, I wouldn't expect such a machine until we're using a true 64 bit OS instead of a 32 bit OS with 64 bit hooks to the hardware and translation of 32 bit code via 42 bit translation.

So, is it possible? Yes. Would the machine rock? Yes. Would it be bought? Heck yes. Will Apple make it? Don't think so, which makes me very sad. :(

jaedreth
Jul 17, 2003, 09:21 PM
Ok, that frownie at the subject was unintentional. :(

There was a lot more info in the post I lost, so since I just remembered it, I'll post it again...

For such an XServe cluster as mentioned in my last post, they could take out all the things a cluster really doesn't need.

1) Why have ethernet cards in a cluster box if it's connection is a fibre channel?
2) Is Firewire really necessary on a cluster? Each cluster should all be completely controllable from a main XServe server that is decked out with such features.
3) The HD on such a cluster doesn't have to be large at all, and only one would be needed, thanks to XRaid.
4) If OS X Server were a mature enough operating system, and could configure clusters simply by plugging them in, including restore, initialize, and install functions over the network, an optical drive would not be needed on the cluster machine.
5) Graphics card? Why would a cluster need a display connected?

Again, if Apple realized that they should sell clusters assuming that no one in their right mind would use them for anything else *other* than clustering, they could make far more powerful clusters without any unneeded features, and actually make them cheaper than regular XServe boxes.

But again, that's assuming one thing... Apple Intelligence. Infer as you will.

Also, the main reason why XServes are not seeing more migration is that it is not a serious enough Unix server. Apple needs to do what it takes to get OS X Server (server only) certified as POSIX compliant. Also, Apple needs the option in the OS to use all the wonderful OS X server features, even if they must be turned on in the OS X GUI, to be able to switch to a non-console (which gets interrupted console reports on your shell) TUI login, and the ability to log in purely into an X11 environment, no OS X overhead at all. Eg. login: >x11 and >shell.

I work for a company that makes extensive use of unix servers, and there is no way that XServe or OS X could do what we currently do with our servers. It's not mature enough as a unix operating system. So I can't in all honestly suggest anyone leave their current servers for XServe unless they plan to only use the GUI.

Jaedreth

WM.
Jul 18, 2003, 01:37 AM
Originally posted by ffakr

One thing to remember is, the dual G5 uses less total power (at the plug) than the previous G4s.
Apple doesn't provide real, in-use power consumption specs, but certainly the G5 power supplies are rated for a much greater load than the G4s. www.apple.com/powermac/specs.html sez: "Maximum current: 6.5A (low-voltage range) or 7.5A (high-voltage range)"

I think that's backwards, but in any case we're talking about something like 840 W max (yeah, yeah, power factor, but it should be in the ballpark). The older MDD power supplies were rated for 400 watts, and the FW 800 and MDD-replacement ones were 360. So we're talking about maximum power consumption of more than double that of the G4s.

OTOH, the G5 has to supply up to 75 (?) watts for the AGP slot (which the G4 doesn't), and maybe there are other things designed into the PS that wouldn't be used in a stock configuration...but I think each 2 GHz processor uses almost 100 W...

FWIW
WM

WM.
Jul 18, 2003, 01:40 AM
Originally posted by jaedreth
However, I wouldn't expect such a machine until we're using a true 64 bit OS instead of a 32 bit OS with 64 bit hooks to the hardware and translation of 32 bit code via 42 bit translation.

??????????????

Please explain. :)

Thanks
WM

WM.
Jul 18, 2003, 01:53 AM
Originally posted by jaedreth
For such an XServe cluster as mentioned in my last post, they could take out all the things a cluster really doesn't need.

1) Why have ethernet cards in a cluster box if it's connection is a fibre channel?
2) Is Firewire really necessary on a cluster? Each cluster should all be completely controllable from a main XServe server that is decked out with such features.
3) The HD on such a cluster doesn't have to be large at all, and only one would be needed, thanks to XRaid.
4) If OS X Server were a mature enough operating system, and could configure clusters simply by plugging them in, including restore, initialize, and install functions over the network, an optical drive would not be needed on the cluster machine.
5) Graphics card? Why would a cluster need a display connected?

Again, if Apple realized that they should sell clusters assuming that no one in their right mind would use them for anything else *other* than clustering, they could make far more powerful clusters without any unneeded features, and actually make them cheaper than regular XServe boxes.

But again, that's assuming one thing... Apple Intelligence. Infer as you will.
But the Xserve Cluster Node has many of those features (#3-5) already, and the lower price.

Also, the main reason why XServes are not seeing more migration is that it is not a serious enough Unix server. Apple needs to do what it takes to get OS X Server (server only) certified as POSIX compliant. Also, Apple needs the option in the OS to use all the wonderful OS X server features, even if they must be turned on in the OS X GUI, to be able to switch to a non-console (which gets interrupted console reports on your shell) TUI login, and the ability to log in purely into an X11 environment, no OS X overhead at all. Eg. login: >x11 and >shell.
I'm not sure what a TUI is. If it stands for "terminal interface", isn't that what >console (or holding down cmd-S during boot) gets you? As for X11...well, if you don't need the OS X GUI, why not just install Linux on your Xserve?

My confusion knows no bounds. :) What are "interrupted console reports"? And I'm confused by "Apple needs the option in the OS to use all the wonderful OS X server features...to switch to a non-console [dunno what that is either]". Maybe I'm interpreting your commas the wrong way...even so, I'd appreciate it if you'd clarify a bit.

Finally, you say that you referred to an Xserve cluster in your previous post, but I only see two posts of yours in this thread, and in the other one you only mention the possible 4-CPU machine. So I'll need some clarification on that too.

Sorry, and thanks in advance
WM

(edits: removed first part of quote to make post slightly less massive and fixed tag mix-up)

Analog Kid
Jul 18, 2003, 04:28 AM
Originally posted by nuckinfutz
I'm not suprised to see support in the OS for n Processors. There's an assumption that we're talking "Physical" Processors but in 5 years we'll be using "Physical" Processors split into "Logical" CPUs.


I think you nailed it Nuck.

980 is SMT and is supposed to be out in the next year-- dual 980s will look like 4 logical processors...

They've just tooled Panther to be ready for the new CPUs.

XP treats "hyperthreaded" Pentiums as dual processors (real nightmare if your license is per CPU, by the way). OS X is probably going to do the same.

jhj
Jul 18, 2003, 01:29 PM
Macbidouille was actually talking about Jaguar and not Panther.

Jaguar capable de gιrer plus de 2 processeurs;)

ffakr
Jul 18, 2003, 01:39 PM
Originally posted by WM.
So we're talking about maximum power consumption of more than double that of the G4s.

OTOH, the G5 has to supply up to 75 (?) watts for the AGP slot (which the G4 doesn't), and maybe there are other things designed into the PS that wouldn't be used in a stock configuration...but I think each 2 GHz processor uses almost 100 W...
Apple discussed this at WWDC. They said the new G5 uses, on average, much less power(current) than the MD G4. I believe they said half but I don't recall the numbers.

In average use, the system clocks the G5s down when they are not under load. I _believe_ they said the dual 2GH clocks down to around 1.2GHz when taking naps (not going to sleep). It is, however, lower powered even when it is running full bore.

As far as 100W/cpu, not even close. The Athlon isn't even that hot, and the massive Itanium2 is only slightly hotter (125watts).
For the 2GHz G5, think south of 50watts max per cpu. Power consumption goes down rapidly as frequency decreases too. When the G5 is running scaled back, you should expect something slightly over 10watts per cpu.

ffakr
Jul 18, 2003, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by jaedreth
1) Why have ethernet cards in a cluster box if it's connection is a fibre channel? [/i]
FC isn't a prefered method of connecting cluster nodes. Most people opt for ethernet (MUCH cheaper, but fast enough for many clusters), or they go for something like Myrinet which is really expensive but the latency is hyper low, like a few nano-seconds.
2) Is Firewire really necessary on a cluster? Each cluster should all be completely controllable from a main XServe server that is decked out with such features.
yes.
Firewire on the xserve has many features. It allow you to setup/rebuild server images with a drive/ipod. It allows you to put an entire xServer into a firewire disk mode so you can copy images onto it. It allows you a VERY CHEAP IP-over-a-chainable-bus... so you can have a 400Mbit backend IP network (usually used by controller to manage end nodes in small clusters)
3) The HD on such a cluster doesn't have to be large at all, and only one would be needed, thanks to XRaid.
There isn't a real advantage to shipping a smaller hard drive since 40gb is really the smallest in production and they don't cost much less than 60gb models. Apple probably more than makes up the cost difference by not having to inventory yet another part.
4) If OS X Server were a mature enough operating system, and could configure clusters simply by plugging them in, including restore, initialize, and install functions over the network, an optical drive would not be needed on the cluster machine.
Apple provide a million and one ways to set up a cluster node without using an optical drive. The ones I can remember quickly: fw target disk mode, config script from ldap server (with dhcp), ipod or other fw drive with config script, simply netbooting an image...
BTW, xserve cluster node DOESN'T ship with an optical drive.
5) Graphics card? Why would a cluster need a display connected?
it doesn't, and you can setup a whole rack of cluster nodes without ever hooking up a monitor, mouse, or keyboard to the xserve. BTW... the cluster node DOESN'T have a video card.

Again, if Apple realized that they should sell clusters assuming that no one in their right mind would use them for anything else *other* than clustering, they could make far more powerful clusters without any unneeded features, and actually make them cheaper than regular XServe boxes.
they ARE cheaper than the regular XServe nodes. The dual proc cluster node is the same price as the single processor xServe. The dual cluster is around $1000 cheaper than the dual xserve.

But again, that's assuming one thing... Apple Intelligence. Infer as you will.

are you sure it's Apple's intelligence you need to assume? Perhaps you need to research the subject more. :wink:

Also, the main reason why XServes are not seeing more migration is that it is not a serious enough Unix server. Apple needs to do what it takes to get OS X Server (server only) certified as POSIX compliant.
Do you know what is required to certify an OS POSIX compliant? The spec is thousands of pages long and it requires an intensive review and a big chunk of change.
Right now, Apple provides one major update per year and many more incremental updates in the same period. If Apple insisted on POSIX compliance, they would be able to provide a minor update ever year and a couple major ones per decade.
A lot of Unices that are considered heavy weights (like the *BSD family) do not, to the best of my knowledge, hold posix compliance... yet they are reviered in IT shops around the world.

[i]
Also, Apple needs the option in the OS to use all the wonderful OS X server features,..... I work for a company that makes extensive use of unix servers, and there is no way that XServe or OS X could do what we currently do with our servers. It's not mature enough as a unix operating system. So I can't in all honestly suggest anyone leave their current servers for XServe unless they plan to only use the GUI.

I've snipped a lot of your specifics for brevity. If I understand what you're saying, OS X can currently do all of these things.
OS X can do just about everything out of the box that other Unices can. I'm running Panther Server and this one OS could replace every unix infrastructure box on my current campus and every infrastructure box at my last campus (I work at a major university with a HUGE unix/linux installed base)
Panther server offers, out of the box:

postfix mail
mysql database
dhcp with MAC address tables
apache w/ php, perl... preconfigured
JBOSS j2ee application server
webmail with ssl
a list server
Kerberos KDC
LDAP server (with support for passthru, replication...)
remote console server (ARD)
smb, cifs, nfs, atalk file server (with working file locking)
Active Directory integration, in the box, no schema modifications needed
.... and probably a ton of stuff I'm forgetting... I'm doing this from memory


Perhaps you should at least refer to this http://www.apple.com/xserve/specs.html for some basic info on apple's server.

ffakr
Jul 18, 2003, 02:10 PM
x

WM.
Jul 18, 2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by ffakr
Apple discussed this at WWDC. They said the new G5 uses, on average, much less power(current) than the MD G4. I believe they said half but I don't recall the numbers.
Aha! You've got inside information! :)

I guess this is always the danger of posting on these kinds of forums--one can read all the publicly available info (the online specs, the developer note, etc.) and assume that they know as much as anyone else, but there's always the possibility of someone with inside info.

Also, now that I think about it, another part of the G5 power supply that would be barely used during normal operation is the fan supply. I mean, the PS has to support all the fans running at full speed all the time, if necessary, even though the vast majority of the time they might be running at 1/4 speed or whatever.

In average use, the system clocks the G5s down when they are not under load. I _believe_ they said the dual 2GH clocks down to around 1.2GHz when taking naps (not going to sleep).
The developer note has this to say:The following processor states are defined:
Run: The system is running at maximum processing capacity with all processors running at full speed.
Idle: The system is idling; this is the default state. All clocks are running and the system can return to running code within a few nanoseconds. If the system has no work to do, it will be in idle mode.So I assume that the processors clock down to 1.2 when they're idling?

It is, however, lower powered even when it is running full bore.

As far as 100W/cpu, not even close.
I think I got that from some article or forum post on this site; I guess I could try to find it. It didn't seem like the most credible number I've ever seen, but until your post it was the only one I'd seen about the G5.

The Athlon isn't even that hot, and the massive Itanium2 is only slightly hotter (125watts).
For the 2GHz G5, think south of 50watts max per cpu. Power consumption goes down rapidly as frequency decreases too. When the G5 is running scaled back, you should expect something slightly over 10watts per cpu.
Yeah, "13 W @ 1.2 GHz" (or whatever) seems to float around the forums a lot; I think it came from an IBM document around the Microprocessor Forum.

Thanks for clearing all that up.

WM

ffakr
Jul 18, 2003, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by WM.
The developer note has this to say:So I assume that the processors clock down to 1.2 when they're idling?[/i]
that sounds about right. I got the details about clocking down from a second hand perspective. I was listening to an engineer in the G5 performance lab... but that sounds about right.[i]Thanks for clearing all that up.
NP.

I get the feeling I come across like a prick in a lot of posts. I'm really just a pussycat... but I can't stand FUD, and my other posts are usually pretty dry.
I figured I'd take this opportunity to appologize if I offend anyone. :D

WM.
Jul 18, 2003, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by ffakr
I get the feeling I come across like a prick in a lot of posts. I'm really just a pussycat... but I can't stand FUD, and my other posts are usually pretty dry.
I figured I'd take this opportunity to appologize if I offend anyone. :D
Yeah, me too--amen to all of that. If you're referring to your response to "jaedreth", I guess I'd like to say the same thing about mine. I just don't get a good vibe from him/her. I think we both picked up on it.

If you're referring to your response to my post(s), well, you certainly didn't come across as a prick to me. :)

WM

MacRAND
Jul 19, 2003, 03:08 AM
Rehash:

Panther is designed to handle multiple CPUs - duals, quads, "n" up to 64

Apple and IBM could be associated to develop and manufacture computers with n processors, where n could go to as high as 64 G5!
The project is internally named "Dark Star".

"N" processor computers beyond Dual or Quad are more likely to be xServe

IBM bought and possesses the technology to cluster almost limitless numbers of CPUs, which it might share with or license to Apple.

New $3-billion IBM plant in NY is currently experiencing under-use of its capacity to handle PPC demands by Apple and others for existing chip designs (PPC) as well as specialized chips made for Nvidia and others.

My concern in expecting Apple to design and manufacturer a larger box for a quad-G5 is that it does not sound economically feasible, especially since considerable engineering has already been put into the design of air flow for cooling individual and dual G5 chips, which Apple tells us is "software contolled" by OS X Panther. (Apparently part of the reason for abandoning OS 9.2.2, which would require a substantial re-write).

At $3000 per high-end box, two duals could equal a $6000 quad with double the RAM slots, hard drives, ports, etc. if connectabilty as a cluster can be solved.

Query: iCluster? ;)

Is Panther designed to handle CLUSTERS of Macs?

What else in terms of hardware or software (Panther / P server) do G5 dual 2GHz boxes need beyond 100/1000 Ethernet, FW800/400, and Fiber Optic connectivity to CLUSTER and to minimize latency problems?

Can G5 Macs be run in a Cluster as easily as being set up in Target FireWire mode?

Wouldn't it make a lot of sense to buy a half dozen or so G5 dual 2+GHz Macs for use during the day by individuals as a workstation (video edit stations; math / science processing in a student lab, etc.), and then form a cluster for heavy rendering or processing massive mathmatical calculations after hours?

Isn't the economy of off-the-shelf duals even with video boards, ports, PCI slots, and hard drives more economically reasonable and feasible as dual-purpose units - if they could be used to form a cluster for cooperative computations when needed?

Wouldn't dual-purpose G5s effectively bridge the gap from pure individual Macs and the high-end xServes with 8 to 64 G5 chips running $12,000 to $50,000?

And wouldn't duality of use of off-the-shelf units be an easier sell for grants instead of having to justify a one time large investment in limited purpose high-end equipment?

Isn't the incorporation of individual CPUs into a cluster more flexible? Like, purchasing
6 G5 dual 2.0 GHz during this fiscal year, and another
6 G5 dual 3.2 GHz units during the following fiscal year, etc., which all work well in an expanding cluster?

Wouldn't a staggered purchase plan over time avoid expensive obsolesence, especially when compared to a large single unit purchase?

So the question posed is - what would it take for Apple to make Panther and existing G5s work together for large clusters?
Is Panther or Panther Server with multiple G5s enough?

If not, why not?

Having read all the posts on this, there are obviously enough MacGeniuses teckies contributing to this thread to figure this out and explaint it to the rest of us MacDummies.

What are the practical possibilities?:confused:

Ballresin
Jul 19, 2003, 09:01 PM
Actually, the 970 can be produced in quad-core fashion, with dual processors. That way you can actually get 8 processors in there. I don't know if Panther supports the Dual Quad-Core 970 though. IBM originally had the 970 at 8 cores, they cut it down for price.

ffakr
Jul 19, 2003, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by Ballresin
Actually, the 970 can be produced in quad-core fashion, with dual processors. That way you can actually get 8 processors in there. I don't know if Panther supports the Dual Quad-Core 970 though. IBM originally had the 970 at 8 cores, they cut it down for price.
I'm curious as to what your sources are.

By all appearances, IBM designed the 970 for Apple. The Altivec looks like it was slapped onto a stripped down Power4 core. 8 core processors are not what Apple is looking for.

From everything I've seen, the 970 was always designed to be a stripped down version of Power4... not a chip that was 4x or more larger than a dual core Power4.

ffakr
Jul 20, 2003, 12:13 AM
Originally posted by MacRAND
At $3000 per high-end box, two duals could equal a $6000 quad with double the RAM slots, hard drives, ports, etc. if connectabilty as a cluster can be solved.

It may or may not equal a quad processor box. The main difference between two duals and one quad is the bandwidth and latency. If you do work that can be broken into discrete sections, then clusters are the way to go... but if your work is multi-threaded where the threads depend on each others result, you'd be better off running them on one big box if possible.

Is Panther designed to handle CLUSTERS of Macs?
Panther does not provide out of the box. You're looking for 'flip a switch and we're clustering' (so am I) but it isn't there yet. I've heard 'off the record' that Apple's doing some pretty damn cool stuff in this area but I don't have details.

What else in terms of hardware or software (Panther / P server) do G5 dual 2GHz boxes need beyond 100/1000 Ethernet, FW800/400, and Fiber Optic connectivity to CLUSTER and to minimize latency problems?

Can G5 Macs be run in a Cluster as easily as being set up in Target FireWire mode?

You can build clusters with G5s or xServes with the built in hardware. GigE or even 100BT is often enough of a fabric for a cluster, though there are third party high speed and low latency options for mac clusters (like myrinet), but the cost A LOT)
FW Target Disk mode turns a box into a big hard drive. This isn't what you want for a cluster. It's all about storage and not about processing power.

Wouldn't it make a lot of sense to buy a half dozen or so G5 dual 2+GHz Macs for use during the day by individuals as a workstation (video edit stations; math / science processing in a student lab, etc.), and then form a cluster for heavy rendering or processing massive mathmatical calculations after hours?

it would for a lot of situations, but not for others. If you need a fast connection between the boxes you'd be better off with a rack of 1U boxes on GigE copper.
What you are talking about was done in the past on NeXT boxes but that type of functionality is only useful in certain situations. There are plenty of instances where you want more nodes or where you need this power during the day. When you are looking for high computational densities, you want 1U rack servers or blades... not desktop cases.

Wouldn't dual-purpose G5s effectively bridge the gap from pure individual Macs and the high-end xServes with 8 to 64 G5 chips running $12,000 to $50,000?

Isn't the incorporation of individual CPUs into a cluster more flexible? Like, purchasing
6 G5 dual 2.0 GHz during this fiscal year, and another
6 G5 dual 3.2 GHz units during the following fiscal year, etc., which all work well in an expanding cluster?

Wouldn't a staggered purchase plan over time avoid expensive obsolesence, especially when compared to a large single unit purchase?
few things here...
some things run better on big smp boxes than on clusters... Databases are a good example, bad for clusters, good for big iron.
Also, it is sometimes very beneficial to have a well balanced cluster. You don't want a thread on a fast node waiting for data from a slow node. If this happens a lot, your performance will degrade considerably.

So the question posed is - what would it take for Apple to make Panther and existing G5s work together for large clusters?
Is Panther or Panther Server with multiple G5s enough?

For a good cluster, you need powerful nodes, a robust OS (preferably one that is easy to remotely manage, or manage with a lot of automation). You also need some software architecture to actually handle the clustering. In the old NeXT days, there was an application that would build clusters from NeXT workstations. One box would find the other nodes and spool off threads to them.
Apple doesn't have this... yet. I've been told they are doing cool things along these lines though.
Apple, at this point, is telling users to look to other solutions. Sun's grid solution is available on OS X. Some applications also have built in clustering architectures (usually client/server in nature). GridMathematica and Shake work this way.

:)

MrMacMan
Jul 20, 2003, 12:17 AM
I hope there is more then 2 processors support.

Clustering would only happen if panther has muti processor support so clustering is impossible without it.

WM.
Jul 20, 2003, 12:44 AM
Originally posted by ffakr
Some applications also have built in clustering architectures (usually client/server in nature). GridMathematica and Shake work this way.
And Xcode.

I think. :)

WM

ffakr
Jul 20, 2003, 09:11 PM
Originally posted by MrMacman
I hope there is more then 2 processors support.

Clustering would only happen if panther has muti processor support so clustering is impossible without it.

I assume that, by 'multiprocessor support' in panther, you are saying that the kernel must have multiprocessor support (which it has).

You can, however, have a cluster of single processor machines (p4) running kernels that are compiled for single processor operations. The Kernel's job is to run as the shim between processes and the hardware.. it only manages the local hardware though.

Strictly speaking, clustering is more than possible on OS X right now. Apple had a session on clustering at WWDC.
Right now, there is no support for 'out of the box' clustering... that is you can't flip a switch on a bunch of OS X boxes to enable the execution of threads that are spawned from a master node on the newtwork. This may happen one day, but not right now. It would be very cool if Apple could pull it off. You run a multi-threaded application and it spawns a new thread for every 'cluster node' that your machine finds on the network.

There are a lot of clustering options available though. You can run something like Sun's Grid software on OS X. This is a framework for clustering. You can also run a cluster aware application. These applications usually have a client/server architecture where you install the clients on multiple nodes and they contact the master server for work units. Grid mathematica, xCode, Shake work this way.

iEric
Jul 21, 2003, 10:45 AM
OooooOoOOOoOooooooOoOO....I wished I had an option to put in 3 G4s in mine :)
But i guess two is good enough. :rolleyes: