Ivy Bridge Xeons soon?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pacman7331, May 11, 2012.

  1. pacman7331 macrumors regular


    Apr 5, 2006
  2. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    hmm i thought the ivy bridge cpus weren't coming til next year considering that the sandy bridge ones just got released in march
  3. G4DP macrumors 65816

    Mar 28, 2007
    Not the right ones, the Xeons Apple would use are next year.
  4. Flood123 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2009
    Living Stateside
    Sandy Bridge Xeons were just released. These are the CPUs likely to be in a mac pro refresh this year if they don't kill the mac pro all together. Next year would be the Ivy Bridge Xeon.
  5. 24Frames macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    The Ivy Bridge E5-1200 Series are all Uniprocessor, so it is unlikely that Apple would use these, as most Mac Pros are Dual Processor.

    However, the Sandy Bridge E5-2400 series, slated for release on Monday 14th May look interesting, and I can see no reason why Apple couldn't use them.
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Because they aren't for workstations, but for servers. It would also mean the dual processor line being weaker than the single processor. It will be E5-1600s and 2600s.
  8. 24Frames macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2012
  9. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Have benchmarks really shown these outperforming the recent Sandy Bridge E cpus?

    Edit: I mean suggested, not shown. I realize they're not launched yet. I'm just not sure you're going to see these Ivy versions make the dual Sandies look bad.
  10. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Quite unlikely. The $4K computers are not very likely to outsell the $3K ones. Econ 101. Fewer folks can afford them so they don't sell in the same volume. The graph may be a bit skewed right now only because the single package models are largely kneecapped with W3500 (Westmere) implementations. What is there is a higher pressing need for are the E5-1600's to "right the ship". They do need a 'uniprocessor' (single package ) model. However, they need one not hobbled with limited PCI-e lanes and 1/2 the memory bandwidth.

    It is only if Thunderbolt is more important than bandwidth would the E3's be more appropriate because there is display port on the motherboard. That 100% aligns with TB design requirements.

    If the want to pass up the advantages of the E5-2600 series perhaps

    have 24 PCI-e lanes versus 40 per package.
    have 3 memory controllers versus 4 ( 1/4 bandwidth reduction)
    loose a QPI link in dual package set up ( 1/2 bandwidth reduction )
    are about 100 MHz slower.
    use a different socket than he E5-1600 series


    But hey... the 2400 packages are about $50-80 cheaper. Apple could sell the Mac Pro at 2600 prices and just pocket the extra profit. Apple probably won't use the extra DIMM slots that the 2600 supports but that's about the only "match" to design choices Apple has made in the past on previous Mac Pros.

    Cost cutting on boxes that don't push performance to the limit is the only reason for the 2400 line up. ( severs with limited number of PCI-e slots 2-3 and limited RAM). They are workstation oriented offerings.
    They probably will also "work" on sever Blade designs where there aren't many slots anyway and thermal envelopes are tighter.

    It is also extremely doubtful E5-2400 are going to ship in greater quantities than E5-2600 already are any time soon. If getting volume E5-1600 packages is part of the problem the socket mismatch doesn't really help long term.
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Pick the "right" benchmark they will. Single threaded & mostly fits in cache, the basic GHz advantage the Ivy Bridge E3's will have (since capped at 4 cores and can clock much higher) will blow right past the dual E5 2600 (or 2400). But if that is the primary workload, that user probably shouldn't buy at dual E5 in the first place.

    Similarly, benchmarks which are primarily about how quickly can shovel the work to a single "high end" GPU.

    The E3 v2 will run from 3.2-3.7 GHz and on the upper end Turbo up into the 4GHz range.


    It is doubtful Apple would using any E5-2600 whose base rate crosses the 3.0 barrier and more likely in the 2.4-2.6 base range and Turbo ranges that look like the E3's base (but around 300-400MHz lower. Some 3's but mostly high 2's. ).

    You'll have 300-400% more cores with the dual E5 set up though. So for software that scales on cores and RAM .... it won't be close.

    The benchmarks where the E3 does well are better addressed by the E5-1600 offerings both on price and performance perspectives. But again won't totally dominate. High end E3 will likely pass entry E5-1620 on single core drag races and single GPU pipeline stuffing exercises.
  12. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I didn't know about that. Your descriptions are just amazing.
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The E3 12x5 versions have the integrated GPU turned on. They cost about $15-20 more. However, if that solves the "straightforward and low cost way to hook up TB" problem, it is more than worth it if that is highest priority design feature.

    If Apple built a smaller box with one slot to take a regular GPU card that display output would go out the card's edge; just like it does now for the Mac Pro. The entry versions could be sold with nothing in the slot. (if not GPU bound, the HD 4000 integrated graphics is fine.)

    The problem is that the E3 also isn't going to drive a multiple slot PCI-e solution without some heavy duty PCI-e switches added. There are only 20 lanes. If TB soaks up 4. That leaves just 16 .... which is a normal higher end GPU card. However, that is probably fine for users who just want one GPU card.

    They could do a two (or three) PCI-e slot box but would be in a "Need to rob Peter to pay Paul" situation where there is really only 8 (or less) lanes worth of bandwidth available for concurrent workloads on each slot. (e.g. a high end GPU card and a dual 10GbE interface or 8x RAID card. ).

    The mainstream desktop market gets away with the bandwidth hobbled PCI-e slots because most users don't heavily leverage it.

    The only additional issue for Apple is how the price this so as to not impact iMac (at the $2,000 border) but still have enough additional value proposition to draw enough customers. It would be a "Mac Pro lite" or "Mac Pro Thunderbolt" but it really wouldn't be a Mac Pro. (at least in the same class the Mac Pro has been. )

    I don't think the Mac Pro needs Thunderbolt because it addresses problems the Mac Pro doesn't have ( PCI-e expansion -- slots and multiple video output -- GPU card sockets ).
  14. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The GPU keeps being leveraged in more areas, but you're correct in that integrated would most likely be fine for things that aren't heavily reliant on it. I haven't checked if Intel came through on OpenCL support there.

    Wasn't it switching to PCIe 3.0? They should be able to run it over fewer lanes like that, or am I missing something in the way it works?

    They have retailed machines at $2000 before. The earlier mac pros started at $2300, but I agree they've tried to keep it from cutting into the imac. Right now the base mac pro doesn't offer a lot of value compared to what it did historically. It wouldn't be so bad if they could get one of the cheapest 6 cores into the base model, but I don't think that will happen as it costs more than the one currently in use there.

    We had a discussion about this a while back. You responded with an essay about dongle farms hanging off the back of macs :D. The primary advantage I'd see is for people who work on location part of the time. It would allow recent thunderbolt type peripherals to be shared between mac pro when in the office and macbook pro when away. It's most likely a small market, but obviously the major criticism of the mac pro on here is that the whole line represents a small market. The only thing that annoys me is the speculative sales figures.
  15. deconstruct60, May 12, 2012
    Last edited: May 12, 2012

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    OpenCL 1.1 come with Ivy Bridge's HD4000. ( OpenCL 1.2 is most recent version. We will have to wait for Haswell update but probably on track). It will probably work OK for very limited size problems. The "Last Level" cache is 8MB, but will be easy to overwhelm the two memory controllers in the package if the x86 are also concurrently making large requests of the same RAM. It is shared but the adresses aren't really shared so there will be copying.

    They are OpenGL 3.0 which brings them into line with OS X's advancement along that line too.

    Conceptually yes. if some users just need to "run in place" in terms of bandwidth usage. Two GPU cards in two 8x v3.0 slots will see the same bandwidth as two GPU cards in two 16x v2.0 slots. This runs in conflict with the first point above though. If transferring a relatively large amount of single/double float data to GPU card for number crunching then this doubles transfer times.

    If chasing gamers (and perhaps those with very high SAN I/O cards ) then a configuration that splits the 16 lanes is a better fit. There is already evidence that games are partially tweaked to deal with split 8x v2.0 bandwidth constraints now (i.e., are optimized to this lowest common denominator class of machines). If looking to exploit GP-GPU then it doesn't. Again it is a design priority issue.

    The cheapest appropriate six core is the E5-1650 ($583). The trade-off here is that for the "limited core, GHz chasers" it is more expensive and slower than the 1620 ($294). The other disconnect though is that currently the 6 core is $3699. By introducing a 6 core middle ("better") offering 6 cores would drop to the mid price; $2899 . [ assuming they stick with same pricing increments.] That is a $800 drop and below the $3,000 price barrier. More than a few customers are going to see that as a value proposition increase.

    I highly doubt Apple is going shave $289 out of its margins to push the 1650 at 1620 prices. The other huge problem is that there are only 3 E5 1600 offerings. If Apple is committed to doing a "good, better, best" line up then there aren't three 6 core offerings to peddle. You will probably have to wait for Ivy BRidge E5 1600's which may get an 8 core at the top, so the bottom entry may also bump to 6 without loosing too much base clock speed (e.g., slides back to 3.2GHz but still tops out at 3.8 or 3.9 in Turbo).
    I suspect you have the same 4,6,6 offering but substantively speed bumped.

    Substantially increasing the TB devices hanging outside of a Mac Pro (or Mac Pro lite ) is what would increase the dongle farms. My point was that most likely many Mac Pro users would probably leverage PCI-e cards and connectivity they already have and reduce the amount of external boxes hanging outside their box that would incur with more TB usage.

    In many cases, the TB device is just an intermediary to a set of legacy plug(s). The Mac Pro already has cards with connect to those plugs. For example, here are six products ATTO is rolling out:



    Every single one of those involves plugging in non-Thunderbolt cable(s) which Mac Pro's take now (either on Mac Pro's edge or on a PCI-e card edge). For those who already have those connections with PCI-e cards, they can likely just move that card to a new Mac Pro even if it doesn't have Thunderbolt. [ A "Mac Pro lite" would be a different story since slots were being dramatically cut back. ]

    Of the TB devices on the market the large majority of them have sockets to other older cables on them. It is actually the minority of devices that solely have one or two TB connectors (and possible power connector ) on them.
    If toss the "corner case" of RAID card + SATA drives integrated TB boxes the count drops to practically zero. Even Blackmagic's heavily TB weighted Cinema Camera doesn't fit that "is only connector" model:


    It has SDI out also. And the storage drive is removable.

    5% (double up crowd) of even 10% (over estimation of Mac Pro share) isn't even 1%.

    For more sense IMHO would be something like

    Mac Pro lite w/Thunderbolt $1900-2500
    Mac Pro single package (no Thunderbolt) $2600-3600
    Mac Pro dual package (with Thunderbolt) $3700-6000

    than to saddle the whole line-up with TB. The "lite" version would have no 4x slots ( only the 1-2 slots discussed above) so would "need" TB for smaller card like expansion. The dual package version has 80 PCI-e lanes should could plug a embedded GPU (like the daughter card that goes into a iMac) into the model with enough lanes.

    If Intel eventually (Haswell timeframe ?) adds a small iGPU to the E5 class offerings then the others would join the Thunderbolt club. Similarly if Haswell slightly cranked up the PCI-e line count to 48 then a embedded GPU could be added to motherboards with minimal problems to align with TB design expectations.

    Frankly more folks who need to buy a "Mac Pro + MacBook Pro" combo are going to go with the "lite" version anyway because it is more cost effective. They will use the money shaved off the full Mac Pro price to help buy (or pay off) the laptop.
  16. cosmicjoke macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Cross compatibility over the whole Mac line seems like a no brainer to me... The Mac Pro doesn't live alone on a mountain, most of us/our colleagues own some sort of mobile product too like a MBP so of course we'd want our peripherals to be interchangeable..
  17. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I mentioned it as a possibility this generation because most cards still don't seem to fully saturate x16 on PCIe 2.0. Perhaps for GP-GPU use, this would make less sense. I'm never sure where to locate enough information on some of these topics.

    I can never tell what Apple will do, but I suspect you are right. Pre - 2009-2010 era, the cpus were much higher in cost. Regarding the price of 6 cores cpus, it really depends on how they calculate. Those were at least $1000 initially. I think Amazon was asking $1100 when they debuted on the W3680. They later dropped to $600, but the updated (but similar) i7 980x version remained around $1000. We'll see if they're based on current cpu costs or launch costs. In the case of the mac pros, I expect Apple may just plug in whatever 6 core at the same price point, but putting it in something sub $3k would help bump the differentiation in raw number crunching power from the imac.

    Edit: the 6 core mentioned is shipping today at a price point that's basically in line with the launch price of the 3.2ghz nehalem that is in the mac pro today. It's just a matter of what Apple feels a sufficient number of people will pay.

    You said it again:D.
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    No. It is the suite of games/3D apps commonly used on "enthusiast " tech sites and magazines don't saturate x8 on PCIe 2.0. The benchmarks on highly complex 3D apps ( e.g., AutoCAD with some huge vertex count along with a very high number of textures ) aren't so clear.

    They don't have to saturate x16 just x10 worth of bandwidth well make these x8 set-up throttle the output. "Can't saturate 16 so 8 is OK" is a bit overboard.

    Many of the upper end gamers are aimed at SLI/Crossfire set up where 50% of the workload is split over different cards. It is OK to reduce the bandwidth to the individual cards because the workload is being split also. The cards set up a seperate back-channel network to make up for all of the lost overall bandwidth.
  19. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    And the current Mac Pro's and previous Power Macs had ExpressCard / PCIMIA slots built-in? No. Even in the overall PC market, tower's typically have ECard/PCIMIA slots? No. There is such as thing as being OCD about consistency for consistency sake.

    There other Macs don't have PCI-e slots. So perhaps they should drop them from the Mac Pro to make them 100% consistent? If all of the Macs have all of the same features then it is going to be really hard to differentiate them.

    Apple may come up with a solution that optionally puts it in. For example, a custom card that has a iMac's GPU + VRAM set-up along with a TB controller that plugs into a proprietary slot (with 8-16 lanes + 4 lanes + power for both). That's one way could reuse motherboard and offer option along with dual package set up when there was enough lanes to support this. HOwever, at this stage to make it mandatory on both single and dual package Mac Pro's would be misguided. If given the choice of "one less slot" or a TB socket I think the large majority of the core market Mac Pro users would vote for the slot.
  20. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    ^^ Makes good points. Only caveat is the TB display. They may include it just so you can use the "intended" display connector. Too confusing for general consumers otherwise.
  21. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    This was a thought that I also had reading this thread. Presently, Apple is selling two LCD displays ... with/without TB ... at the same size & price point.

    From a manufacturing standpoint, the only reason to keep the old display around is for possible sales to old legacy (pre-TB) Macs ... and to sell to the current Mac Pro. Since a large percentage of Mac buyers are probably buying 3rd Party displays anyway, it only makes sense for Apple to add TB to all new Mac Pros so as to then be able to discontinue the older (redundant) LCD display.

  22. Whargoul macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    "Soon" as in 2013.
  23. 24Frames macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    This is a non reason, because there was no reason not to include HDMI and DisplayPort on the 27-inch TB display in addition to TB, which would have removed the need to carry stock of two displays. The inclusion of more connectivity would have opened up a larger market. To me this is one example of Apple being completely stupid.

    Another example of complete stupidity is removing access to ~/Library in Lion when one of their own Applications, "Logic Pro" requires that users are able to access that folder.

    Don't get me wrong, Apple are usually brilliant, but when they screw up they do it big time!
  24. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Access has not been removed. It's just been hidden. Users can still access the folder and all applications can still access the folder. To see the folder in Finder you just need use the go to folder feature or hold down option when clicking on the "Go" menu item in Finder's file menu.
  25. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    I understand your point, but that's unfortunately looking at a display with the eyes of a technologist and knowing what is feasible/easy...whereas Apple's perspective is one of a minimalist, which means one (1) port is all that should be needed.

    Agreed, since this discussion reminds me of a beef I had with a 2009 Mac Pro where I had bought it with a pair of Apple's 24" LCD displayes (which use the mini display port (MDP) plug):

    Got the gear in and went to hook it up ... only to discover that that the Mac Pro's video card - - advertised as being able to drive a pair of displays -- had one MDP out and one DVI out, and the Apple displays only had MDP, so there was no way to hook up the second display without going out and buying a second video card...

    Granted, MDP-to-DVI adaptors exist, but I was looking for the reverse: a DVI-to-MDP. Apple has no solution and the aftermarket did eventually come up with one (long after I bought the second video card), but they're not cheap: checking today, they still cost in the $100+ range.


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