MP 7,1 Think we'll see a dual-socket option?

fhturner

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While a 28-core CPU configuration is a crazy-powerful option that we've never had the luxury of before (and will cost more than a car), the "theoretical ultimate-ist" in me is still slightly disappointed that the new hotrod Mac Pro tower doesn't have a dual-socket option or seem to even have room for a 2nd socket in the future. In contrast, those Z8 and other workstations that Apple compares to have dual-socket options, so they can go up to 56 cores. Hate to cede the ultimate high-end config options to the competition. :)

Given how expensive the Mac Pro is to start with, and how pricey the brand-new processors are, I'm not only thinking about a 56-core arrangement (or whatever dual-socket config) as an original purchase, but also for long down the line, kinda like what many of us have done w/ dual-CPU MP4,1/5,1s by maxing out at 12 core X5680 or X5690 setups. Hell, not even using 28-core CPUs...might be nice to be able to add a second 8-core CPU later on for cheap to double your power (altho I know the Xeon Ws do not have an UPI links for multi-processor setups). That's something that would've been nice on the MP6,1 as well— yank out one D3/5/700 and put another 12-core CPU in for 24 total, now that you can get them for way less than originally priced by Apple as CTO.
 

fuchsdh

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That would require twice the engineering support. They would have mentioned dual sockets if they were happening. They aren't.

There's also the fact that dual sockets makes a lot less sense on pretty much every axis compared to the 2012 Mac Pro days. Your choice for Xeon -SP is either super-underpowered cores or eye-wateringly expensive (even for professionals) ones.
 

fhturner

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That would require twice the engineering support.
How do you mean, “support” exactly?

There's also the fact that dual sockets makes a lot less sense on pretty much every axis compared to the 2012 Mac Pro days. Your choice for Xeon -SP is either super-underpowered cores or eye-wateringly expensive (even for professionals) ones.
Can you elaborate on your points here, if you have time? I believe I understand what options there are and follow your logic, but would love to understand further. As I think I understand it, looking at the CPU options on those HP Z8s, to get multi-processor support (UPI, correct?), you either have pokey sub-2GHz CPUs, or faster ones like Xeon Silver or Gold costing several to tens of thousands of $$$. Right? Are there any other options for more than 1 CPU in a workstation?

Thx,
Fred
 

AidenShaw

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NFW.

With 28 core single socket systems, dual sockets are now exclusively server territory. Workstation applications seldom scale to very many cores. The ones that are embarrassingly parallel (like rendering) are better suited for "scale out" farms than "scale up" to multi-socket workstations or servers.

Apple has shown how incompetent it is at making servers and enterprise storage, I can't see them making another go.
 

ekwipt

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There's basically no reason now, we are going to see workstations with double at least what Apple is offering by the end of the year with Threadripper 3
 

bsbeamer

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At release, absolutely not. If this machine sells well AND those customers want even more, then maybe at some point in the future for a 7,2 or Xserve2 but it’s not at all likely. Seems these machines are tailored to “heavy” software performance (not server) and most software is going to pure core count for best performance over dual CPU optimization. Same reasons why the huge core option may still not be a great upgrade over lower core faster clock for many daily users, at least in the short period of time after release. Overtime things may get optimized better.
 

fhturner

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With 28 core single socket systems, dual sockets are now exclusively server territory. Workstation applications seldom scale to very many cores. The ones that are embarrassingly parallel (like rendering) are better suited for "scale out" farms than "scale up" to multi-socket workstations or servers.
Yeah, seems like a reasonable assessment. Even then, though, your server comments remind me of the keynote showing a rack-mount version. As you say below, no server products worth a crap coming from Apple, but if rack-mounting, that could perhaps be considered the "scale out" you're talking about. Seems like an even higher core count might be useful in that sense.

Apple has shown how incompetent it is at making servers and enterprise storage, I can't see them making another go.
You got that right. Well, at least they've shown how apathetic and wishy-washy they can be. How about rack-mounted server chassis full of iPhone XsRMaxIIIzqs??? They could REALLY get excited about that, dontcha think?? :p

At release, absolutely not.
Sorry, did not mean at release. We've got what we've got for release...28-core single-CPU max. Just was wondering if we might get an expanded option at a later time/revision...
 

deconstruct60

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While a 28-core CPU configuration is a crazy-powerful option that we've never had the luxury of before (and will cost more than a car), the "theoretical ultimate-ist" in me is still slightly disappointed that the new hotrod Mac Pro tower doesn't have a dual-socket option or seem to even have room for a 2nd socket in the future.
There is a pretty good likelihood that Intel will attempt to throw two CPU dies into a single LGA 3647 like package if they can get back on the fab shrink path again. The short term stuff that Intel is doing in "two dies" Apple probably won't follow, but over the next 2-3 years what was "two dies' is likely coming to the W line up. ( just as multiple dies as chiplets have come to AMD's line up).

In contrast, those Z8 and other workstations that Apple compares to have dual-socket options, so they can go up to 56 cores. Hate to cede the ultimate high-end config options to the competition. :)
Not with a broad set of offerings at the general base/turbo clock speed that Apple is offering and not at the same price levels ($/perf).

The only place where it might make some sense is the rack mount version. However, if that turns out to be bascially the same logic board as the desktop version (with some minor port placement tweaks) then it is highly indicate that Apple only wants to do one board for both. ( Which in turn is indicative don't want to do the dual socket one.).


Given how expensive the Mac Pro is to start with, and how pricey the brand-new processors are, I'm not only thinking about a 56-core arrangement (or whatever dual-socket config) as an original purchase, but also for long down the line, kinda like what many of us have done w/ dual-CPU MP4,1/5,1s by maxing out at 12 core X5680 or X5690 setups.
I highly doubt Apple is putting tons of effort into optimizing the path to folks buying used , Intel end-of-life CPUs into this system as an operational effort. These new systems are probably not going to make for being good fillers into the used xMac hand-me-down crowd demand fillers.

Two major paths Apple could be on. One they go back into Rip van Winkle mode. ( they sell relatively low numbers of these and then do nothing). if there never is another Mac Pro the used prices for these won't drop to 'rock bottom'. And if Intel iterates on the socket design this is a 'dead ender' socket. Again limited 'used' supply will pop up later.

Second path is that they iterate. If they get back to a 2 year cycle then this Mac will get term'ed out for support relatively close to when intel end-of-life the CPU. 10 years in these will probably be on the "obsolete" list on that path; nothing like the 'life preserver' Apple through the 4,1/5,1 over the last couple of years. What happened with the 4,1 was a fluke that probably won't get repeated. .


That's something that would've been nice on the MP6,1 as well— yank out one D3/5/700 and put another 12-core CPU in for 24 total, now that you can get them for way less than originally priced by Apple as CTO.
Dual CPUs never would have worked in the MP6,1 design space.
[doublepost=1560996503][/doublepost]
Yeah, seems like a reasonable assessment. Even then, though, your server comments remind me of the keynote showing a rack-mount version. As you say below, no server products worth a crap coming from Apple, but if rack-mounting, that could perhaps be considered the "scale out" you're talking about. Seems like an even higher core count might be useful in that sense.
Higher core count doesn't necessarily mean more CPU sockets.

https://www.nextplatform.com/2019/04/24/why-single-socket-servers-could-rule-the-future/


For the folks selling dual socket servers tossing out a dual socket "workstation" makes some sense in that can mostly reuse much of the grunt work to get the CPU , firmware and basic board going. Throw on top being a company that 'sells everything to everybody" and it is easy tick to box and throw yet another system out there.

But the movement is to fewer and fewer dual ( or >= 2 ) servers. Even Dell sees that.

Why Apple would swim upstream to a trend moving to drop multiple sockets doesn't make much sense in light of them not being a "sell everything to everybody" company. The rack system is probably going to be aimed more at virtualize mac instances rather than general usage server workloads ( MacStadium , MS Azure , etc. ) . Renting out a mac vm instance to someone who doesn't need a full time Mac Pro. Another sizable chunk will be folks who just want a workstation in a form that they can put into a box with wheels that has workstation , storage, and some industry specific do-dads. Again not particularly a server.

Few , if any, folks are going to buy the rack version to build a docker cloud infrastructure for generic VMs images. Office/workgroup file server ... not very cost effective there either. ( someone desperate to keep AFP as a deployed option maybe will throw gobs of money at this, but not cost effective.)
 

amedias

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NFW.

With 28 core single socket systems, dual sockets are now exclusively server territory. Workstation applications seldom scale to very many cores. The ones that are embarrassingly parallel (like rendering) are better suited for "scale out" farms than "scale up" to multi-socket workstations or servers.
Was what I was going to reply with, almost word for word. Most workstation workloads aren't as parallel as you think, and for things that are then compute farms are the way forward and have been for a while.

I'm not saying there is no use case for such a system but the use case for massively parallel workstations are a niche of a niche of a niche.

Whether that will change as software catches up with the core counts that are now becoming viable on the desktop is another matter, but by the time they do the CPU landscape may/will have changed again.
 

Slash-2CPU

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No. Not ever again.

A dual Xeon Scalable system with 12 RAM slots, 7-8 PCIe slots, and 2 Xeon Scalable CPUs with clock rates similar to what the single-socket 7,1 has would be a very large system. It would also be close to $15-20k starting price to have that high clock speed.
 
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MisterAndrew

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Yeah not going to happen. The processors they chose are single-socket. Maybe if they get enough demand for a Mac Pro Server with dual Scalable processors, but I agree it would be extremely expensive.

"The new Intel Xeon W processors are based on the Intel Xeon Scalable processor microarchitecture, but designed into a cost-optimized one-socket form factor specifically for professional workstations."

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/docs/processors/xeon/ultimate-workstation-performance.html
 

jscipione

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Mar 27, 2017
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The trashcan Mac Pro answered this question back in 2013, and the answer is no. Apple does not feel that dual sockets are justified anymore and with up to 28 cores on a single socket I can't say that I blame them. The workstation Xeons they are using have higher clock speeds than the metallic server variants and they sacrifice dual processor support.
 
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danwells

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The Xeon Scalable processors are around three times as expensive as an otherwise similar (same socket, core count, cache and actually (slightly) higher clock speed) Xeon W. When the current Z8 came out, the scalables were the only game in town, so HP threw in the extra socket, which isn't expensive in and of itself - the expensive part is the CPU to fill it. By the time of the Mac Pro, it was clear that LGA 3647 Xeon W is the way to go for workstations (the next Z8 will almost certainly be Xeon W as well), because the tiny edge cases for the extra socket(s) aren't worth everyone paying 3x for CPUs for.

If Intel has any interest in dual-CPU workstations, they'll release a line of dual-capable Xeons (without >2 CPU capabilities)with a reasonable premium (125-150%, not 300%). The high end Xeon Scalable chips are actually 8-way capable, and nobody needs that outside of servers and cost no object supercomputers...
 

fhturner

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If Intel has any interest in dual-CPU workstations, they'll release a line of dual-capable Xeons (without >2 CPU capabilities)with a reasonable premium (125-150%, not 300%). The high end Xeon Scalable chips are actually 8-way capable, and nobody needs that outside of servers and cost no object supercomputers...
Yeah, a dual-only option would be cool, IMO, simply because it saves one from having to purchase an insanely expensive, high-core-count single CPU either at the outset or down the road. With 2 sockets, you could purchase something like a MP2019 equivalent of the 2x quad-core 2.26GHz Mac Pro 2009 (IOW, cheapest dual socket) initially, knowing that you could swap out CPUs w/ some mid-range units later to get performance close to the 20-something core options (w/o springing for the maximum dollar single 28-core pricing).

Obviously, Apple isn't really going to care if I have the ability to do less expensive upgrading after a few years of ownership, but to me, that does factor in to the expandability and upgradability of the system...which is what Mac Pro is and should be about.
 
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sirio76

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By looking at the way this thing is designed it’s preety clear that they have left room for a second CPU just in case. I’m not saying a dual CPU option is coming anytime soon since is not really needed for most tasks, but there’s definitely room for that, maybe for the rackmount version.
 

deconstruct60

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By looking at the way this thing is designed it’s preety clear that they have left room for a second CPU just in case. I’m not saying a dual CPU option is coming anytime soon since is not really needed for most tasks, but there’s definitely room for that, maybe for the rackmount version.
No, there really isn't room for a second CPU. Unless were going to strip the DIMM slots away from the first CPU there is no room for another set of DIMMs. Furthermore if go to the flip side of the logic board of CPU 1 the space is emptied due to heat dissipation. CPU 1's DIMMS again are not providing space for that.
That space "empty" in the Mac Pro because it is a waste heat dumping ground. There is really no "room" for much there that has any substantive TDP. That is why it is empty of "more stuff" , but it is serving a purpose.

The rack mount version is quite likely going to use a very similar cooling solution so it isn't going to change much. Probably pretty close (if not exactly ) the same board minus some edge connections for the power and top/front Thunderbolt ports. Apple is hghly unlikely to do another whole board just for rack-mount (versus mainly just another container derivative) .
 
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AidenShaw

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No, there really isn't room for a second CPU. Unless were going to strip the DIMM slots away from the first CPU there is no room for another set of DIMMs. Furthermore if go to the flip side of the logic board of CPU 1 the space is emptied due to heat dissipation. CPU 1's DIMMS again are not providing space for that.
That space "empty" in the Mac Pro because it is a waste heat dumping ground. There is really no "room" for much there that has any substantive TDP. That is why it is empty of "more stuff" , but it is serving a purpose.

The rack mount version is quite likely going to use a very similar cooling solution so it isn't going to change much. Probably pretty close (if not exactly ) the same board minus some edge connections for the power and top/front Thunderbolt ports. Apple is hghly unlikely to do another whole board just for rack-mount (versus mainly just another container derivative) .
Think inside the box.

The big guys put quad socket systems in boxes smaller than the 7,1. A dual socket 7,1 wouldn't need to use the same motherboard layout or even the same internal layout.

If Apple can't make a dual socket system in the same frame, they've designed themselves into another corner.
 

deconstruct60

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Think inside the box.

The big guys put quad socket systems in boxes smaller than the 7,1. A dual socket 7,1 wouldn't need to use the same motherboard layout or even the same internal layout.
They also don't put in as many slots as the 7,1 either. Apple dumped space on the PCI-e cards that lots of folks yelped about. There is a trade-off for that. ( And there is substantive spacing between half the slots ; 4 double wides and then another 4 . ) . Basically at the cap for a standard wall socket power supply ( so there is no another 100's of Watts to get there either).

The number of Quad socketed systems deployed deskside to users is what percentage of the overall market ?

If Apple can't make a dual socket system in the same frame, they've designed themselves into another corner.
It isn't about 'can't' and more about numbers ( "want" ). This new Mac Pro is already smaller in unit volume than the older ones. Yet another board would be yet another even smaller sliver. Apple isn't going to jump into a sizably shrinking marketing.

Go back to the article linked in at post #10 above. Even the Windows server folks can see the writing on the wall. That's a larger market for which it will take longer for that corner case to shrink out, but that too is coming to most of that market too . Multiple dies are mainly going into packages; not sockets over 2-5 years.

They also aren't making a 3-4 slot system either with a lower price point. That also isn't really a "can't" and more so not trying to be everything to everbody.

P.S. A substantively high portion of the "dual socket" advocacy of the dual slots in the 2009-2012 systems for over DIMM slots. This Mac Pro address that without bumping the socket count. So Apple carved out a sizable subset of the old dual socket crowd with move. Yes they are leaving some folks out but it is relatively small ( and the current tech trends will making it even smaller over the next 2-5 years if Apple does substantive upgrades to the current chassis and basic layout over that time period. ).

Skating to where things are going isn't a corner.
 
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sirio76

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Ther's plenty of room for everithing, just need mild modification. The MOBO is almost perfetly square so you can rotate that 90° in order to get proper cooling. They will obviously do that anyway otherwise they wont get decent cooling. The space on the side of the actual CPU is already almost empty on both side of the MOBO, just skeep the SATA ports and a couple PCIe slot, then use a larger CPU cooler to cover the dual socket. On the opposite side of the MOBO ther's room for 24 DIMM.
I've done this mod in a couple minutes so I can imagine that Apple can easily do better than this.
The point is not if components doesn't fit, it's a 4U case so ther's tons of space, the question is if Apple will do that. I don't think it will right now but looking at the way they designed the system they leave plenty of options for future configuration, including a dual CPU.
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danwells

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Intel's pricing anomaly means that buying two CPUs that add up to a given power is almost always going to be more expensive than a single, more powerful CPU (now). Back in the 4.1/5.1 days, they offered dual-capable CPUs at about a 30% premium over a comparable single-only CPU. Now, that premium is closer to 200-300% (to be fair, the current ones aren't merely dual-capable, they're up to 8-way capable).

The only "merely dual-capable" CPUs Intel currently offers feature either really low core counts (4,6), very low clock speeds or both. They aren't horribly expensive, but they offer no advantages for workstation tasks...

Under pressure from AMD, Intel could offer either dual-capable CPUs without 8-way capabilities, socketed dual-die CPUs or both at reasonable prices. Apple is betting on dual dies in a single socket, with their very high power availability...
 

Pro7913

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Sep 28, 2019
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Here's the problem. Xeon-W does not support dual CPU configuration. Which means it's IMPOSSIBLE to have a dual CPU. Even Xeon-D and E do not support dual CPU configuration too. Only Xeon SP supports multiple sockets and they are meant for servers ONLY and not for a workstation.


AMD also does not support dual CPU configuration for Threadripper. EPYC is a direct competitor to Xeon SP, not Xeon W.