Mac Pro 2010: Gulftown or Nehalem-EX?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kerrin, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. kerrin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #1
    I’ve now read “umpteen” rumors that the Mac Pro refresh is expected any time now, like......right this second.

    All the rumors consider it a foregone conclusion that Apple will use the 6-core 32nm “Gulftown” processors.

    Comparing Gulftown processors to the Nehalem chips currently in use in today’s Mac Pros:

    Nehalem: 45nm, 4-cores, 731 million transistors, 8MB L3 cache, max memory modules 4GB, max RAM 32GB

    Gulftown: 32nm, 6-cores (50% more), 1.17 billion transistors (more than 50% more), 12MB L3 cache (50% more), max memory modules 16GB, max RAM 128GB, higher performance at equivalent clock speeds, faster memory throughput, 10Gbit Ethernet, up to 50% more power savings vs. Nehalem

    The Gulftowns are ready now, so it seems Apple no longer has “first rights” to use them before Windows PC makers -- or it’s because Apple might not use this processor at all (theory).

    Apple and Intel’s relationship was so close at one point, you’d expect them to get a joint checking account. But it’s possible that Apple’s use of the ARM design in its iPod touch, iPhone and iPad in lieu of Intel’s Atom processor may have soured the relationship (theory).

    Apple’s argument to Intel for having first crack at new processors might have gone like: Oh, our Mac Pros sell in such low numbers, there wouldn’t be supply constraints as with a high-volume PC maker (theory).

    Then I read this:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100305/tc_pcworld/inteltolauncheightcorenehalemexthismonth

    The article says Intel will release the chip “later this month [March].”

    So a 45nm, 8-core Nehalem processor is set to be released at the end of this month -- and now I’m all confused.

    Given that the Mac Pro line is refreshed about once a year, would Apple want to have a 6-core Mac Pro out for a whole year while an 8-core processor floats around in the marketplace the whole time -- possibly giving Apple a competitive disadvantage at the high-end?

    The Nehalem-EX’s specs include:
    45nm engraving process
    8-cores
    24 MB L3 cache
    2.3 billion transistors
    Though based on the Nehalem architecture, not the higher performance Gulftown architecture, Intel describes the 8-core Nehalem-EX as its “fastest processor to date”

    I suspect, however, that even with the Nehalem-EX’s 45nm engraving process and being a generation behind the Gulftown architecture, this chip will command a high price, and may be too costly for a consumer/prosumer machine like the Mac Pro. It may be too expensive for use in anything but a high-end server (theory).

    Or, because of the same things I just described, this chip will be LESS expensive than one using the newest generation Gulftown design and fabbed using the 45nm process (theory).

    With this added confusion, I need the rumor sites to get on the stick and dig up some dirt on the forthcoming Mac Pro! I know that the iPad is eclipsing almost all news about the rest of Apple’s product lines, but Pro users need information, too! :confused:
     
  2. rickvanr macrumors 68040

    rickvanr

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    #2
    That's basically what the article states. It also says its for 4 socket boards. I don't think we'll see these in the MPs, but I've been wrong before.
     
  3. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #3
    In theory it would be a great chip to use, though I'm guessing Intel made clock speed sacrifices to squeeze that much onto a die. Also, as it was said before, this processor is most likely to be obscenely expensive, and if Apple were to use it, it could only be in a BTO $10,000 Mac Pro :rolleyes:
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    Nehalem-EX is not a workstation chip - its a specially designed server CPU. As other's have said it's just not suitable for the Mac Pro for a number of reasons.
     
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #5
    An updated version of what they have now would use Xeon 3500 (Bloomfield), Xeon 3600 (Gulftown) and Xeon 5600 (Westmere EP). Maybe they will move back to DP systems only so just Westmere EP.
     
  6. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #6
    I don't know that they would sell many systems by just swapping out the chips and keeping the same price with the current low-end MP :rolleyes:
     
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #7
    Not sure what you mean. What I mean by that sentence is a move back to sub $3,000 dual processor 2.66GHz+ systems.
     
  8. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    Location:
    Denmark
    #8
    Beckton will be priced at way too much for a Mac Pro system. Gulftown would make more sense as it is also on a 32 nm lithopgrahy and much cheaper.
     
  9. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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  10. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #11
  11. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #12
    yeah i'd hate to see the price
     

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