Intel X79 Info Leaked - Insights into I/O on Sandy Bridge Mac Pros?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by VirtualRain, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    This leaked information on the X79 chipset should provide some insights into what to expect with a Sandy Bridge refresh of the Mac Pro either late this year or early next...

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    Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-x79-roadmap-leaked/11762.html#ixzz1IICW6Bmh

    The number of SATA(3) ports is interesting, if not hard to believe. SAS support is also interesting although less relevant to enthusiasts these days in light of SSDs. However, these added ports could be the catalyst for a chassis redesign to accommodate more internal drives.

    If the RAID capabilities of this chipset are true, it will definitely put a damper on the aftermarket RAID card market place. Let's just hope that Apple supports using the chipset RAID features (something they haven't in the past).

    Notable omissions are Thunderbolt, USB3, and PCIe3. However, I'm sure the next Mac Pro will include Thunderbolt via an extra chip.
     
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    UK
    #2
    8GB/s bandwidth for the SATA ports? Oy boy! SSD RAID here we go!
    The current systems have 660MB/s. How pathetic. :D

    I'm so glad I didn't jump for the 2010 Mac Pro. Those Sandy Bridge things will probably be a massive upgrade.
     
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #3
    They've combined the ICH into the chipset, so the ability to support RAID functions isn't a surprise at all really (think R versions, = RAID). But it's nowhere near as fast or robust (think recovery features), as a proper hardware RAID card.

    As per PCIe 3.0, I have to presume that they don't expect any such devices in the near future (we've not even maxed out PCIe 2.0 yet anyway), and it saves on costs as well, so that's not really a suprise (saddening, but not a surprise).

    TB requires a separate chip, and Intel's holding up on USB 3.0 to give it a chance at adoption, so no surprise there either.

    The SATA ports will be nice. As per SAS, that's a nice addition for the enterprise market, which is what this chip is actually aimed at (head on anyway).
     
  4. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    What do you make of the "e" for "enterprise" appended to the RST in these slides? Is that new? I wonder what it implies? Perhaps some enhanced RAID 5 support with dedicated logic for parity calculations or even recovery operations? Any thoughts?
     
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #5
    Though e for enterprise makes sense to me (LGA2011 will be enterprise parts), the second (X79 slide image, not the roadmap), E is stated to mean Enthusiast.

    But I also expect this chipset to be used with the LGA1356 parts (Socket B2) due out as well (serve as both performance desktops and workstations; separation is ECC Enabled or Disabled as it has been since Nehalem). They can cut costs this way (one chip that supports 2x sockets). BTW, they could call the consumer versions either different numbers under i7 (would add further confusion IMO, but quite possible), or use i8 for them, with the workstation versions remaining under the Xeon moniker.

    Assuming my thinking matches theirs, calling it an Enthusiast part is valid, as it will be used with those parts as well.
     
  6. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #6
    Perhaps you missed what I was saying... For the first time that I'm aware, Intel has dubbed their chipset RAID technology as RSTe (Rapid Storage Tchnology Enterprise) where the "e" and "enterprise" are new additions to this moniker. See slide 2. It makes me wonder what new chipset RAID capabilities might have warranted the new branding.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #7
    But isn't that what Intel aims at with their naming systems? :p

    As usual, nanofrog pretty much said everything worth saying. It's a bit weird though that according to rumors, Panther Point will support PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.0 and it is meant for consumers. Where are the good ol' times that high-end parts got these new technologies first?
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #8
    Certainly seems that way, doesn't it. ;) :D

    Actually if it made sense, a lot more users may cease buying more CPU than they need, thus make a noticable dent in their bottom line. So they keep it confusion on purpose. :eek: :p

    It's due to release later (gives them more time to get the design sorted properly), and may also coincide with the spin down of another product using a smaller die process.

    Both of these have significant cost implications (time = money, and the enterprise stuff is more complex, which needs more time to get right). Combining parts (i.e. chipset + separate ICH into a single part) and producing them on smaller die processes make production cheaper for Intel.

    Since the consumer parts aren't as complex (read smaller design due to lower complexity), they can be produced faster, and may not need to be on the smallest die size possible to get sufficient parts per wafer to be profitable.
     

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