Gulftown 6-core CPU Insights... may be an upgrade option for Nehalem quads!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by VirtualRain, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #1
    Interesting insights on the upcoming 32nm successor to Nehalem, the Westmere based Gulftown processor (due Q1 2010)...

    This makes you wonder if it could be a drop-in replacement for the Nehalem quad. The big question is whether an EFI update would be required to support it.
     
  2. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    #2
    Not a chance. The Mac Pros do not use Core processors.
     
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Yes they do!

    The Nehalem Xeon is based on the same Core i7 technology as the normal Core2Quad processors.
     
  4. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    #5
    Key words there. Keep up.
     
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #6
    It's pretty much the same processor, so give me one reason the 6-core won't be an option for the Mac Pro.
     
  6. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #7
    I'd prefer more apps that can utilize all the cores first.
     
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #8
    Core i7 processors work in Mac Pros. The x58 chipset supports Core i9 and the upcomming Xeon 3600 and 5600 processors. The only issue is whether there needs to be a firmware update on Apple's hardware. The 2006 Mac Pros needed one to support the 5200 and 5400 series Xeons, but Apple never cared.
     
  8. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

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    #9
    Yep. Apple doesn't want to compete with Dell, Hp, Gateway and Asus i7 machines that have 8GB memory, 1TB HD and the latest video cards for $900. Apple won't build junk for less than $1K. :rolleyes:
     
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #10
    :( Apple never did a good job with firmware in terms of providing customers with after market choices. I agree that it would be wonderfull to be able to use the 52xx and 54xx Xeons. They are more energy efficient and less expensive. :(
     
  10. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #11
    Please do some reading before posting.

    Different pinnage? I haven't read that they're different, but I haven't read that they're the same, either.

    The difference between Gainestown (eight-core, not the quad-core, which isn't Gainestown) and Gulftown is palpably the same as the difference between Woodcrest and Harpertown. Those weren't compatible, so are these?
     
  11. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #12
    They are pin compatible. Thinking about it, the differences are more Woodcrest to Clovertown rather than to Harpertown.
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #13
    :D Beat me to it. :p
     
  13. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

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    #14
    I don't know if there'll be an upgrade possibility but i'm certainly looking forward to 6 and 12 core Mac Pro
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #15
    It might be possible though, as the architecture differences remind me of the 51xx parts capable of being replaced with 53xx parts on the '06 models. ;)

    Some extra cores and related cache changes, but still the same otherwise, and no firmware changes required. It seems the same in this case. :)
     
  15. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #16
    I would not be so optimistic. 51xx and 53xx are not only on the same 771 socket but also on the same 65 nm manufacturing width. I understand that the Gulftown will be on the same 1366 socket as the current Nehalems but the manufacturing width will go from 45 to 32 nm. This typically means different voltages and thus different firmware.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #17
    I understand your point, and normally would agree whole heartedly. :D

    But Intel's 32nm process (Process Eval chip) was able to run at 3.80GHz @ 1.1V (VID). The VID on the Nehalem 45nm parts is 0.8 to 1.35V. ;)
     
  17. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #18
    Then I guess its wait and see. One other critical point is the max TDP of current Gainstown CPUs. They stop at 95 W. So it is unclear at the time being if the 2009 Mac Pro could handle the 130 W TDP of a Gulftown.

    With the benefit of hindsight we know that the 80 W TDP 2006 Mac Pro was designed to accomodate the 2007 Clovertown 120 W TDP. It remains to be seen if simillar capabilities were designed into the 2009 Mac Pro.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #19
    True, but perhaps there's a bit of hope in this regard as well, as Intel produced the boards for Apple. :) Now whether the 130W TDP will come into play, there's no way to know for sure, but if Intel stuck to their own specs :)p), it should, as the DP boards can run 2x W3570's (130W each).

    As you say though, the only absolute answer will happen once Gulftown hits, and a guinea pig... err... willing test subject...is available. :p
     
  19. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #20
    You will probably see Anand scramble to fit engineering samples if there is half a chance. :D
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #21
    We can hope, and maybe help the idea along with a few emails. ;) :p
     
  21. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #22
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #23
    It's was done by Tutor, another crazy MR member. :p Anandtech also did an upgrade, but used 2.93GHz parts. Only 90W, but it at least shows it can be done, and might offer a bit of information as a "How-to". ;)

    I do recall the MP's parts were naked (no heatspreader), but some SilPad material (or similar) is all that's needed to mate between the heatsink and VR components due to the added height of the heatspreader on the retail/OEM parts. Other than that, rather straight forward. :D
     
  23. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #24
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #25
    :cool: Glad you found it. I'd relocated the thread, but didn't spend enough time on it to find that specific post, but knew I'd seen it. ;) (I made the mistake of starting at the end, and going backwards...eventually gave up looking for the best post from Tutor about it). DOH! :eek: :rolleyes: :p

    But we do know the boards can handle 2x 130W parts. :D That, combined with the 1.1VID operation of the 32nm Process Eval chip, it looks promising for the ability to upgrade without the need for a firmware update.

    Not absolute, but good omens at any rate. ;) :p
     

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