Very plausible the Next Mac Pro to be based on Intel X99 instead C60X

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Mago, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. Mago, Jun 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015

    Mago macrumors 68020

    Aug 16, 2011
    Beyond the Thunderdome
    Consider it just Specultaion

    Intel X99 seems the perfect choice for the Mac Pro form factor instead C60x (read C602, C603... C608).

    X99 support ECC and NON ECC DDR4 and Quad Channel (as the Mac Pro requires), provides 14 USB3 ports, NVMe storage comptatibility (faster than m.2), 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes (the Mac Pro requires 32 for GPU, this leaves 8 lines for 2xThunderbolt 3 heads, each head comprises 2 phisical ports ) plus 8 PCIe 2.0 Lines (good for 2 more Thunderbolt 2 heads), do not provides vPro (who cares?), and bursn only 6.5W (1.5W less).

    Interesting the X99 platform, supports core i7 upto 8 cores (on the mac pro form factor we only could hope on 6 cores version due TDP of 130W) on Non ECC DDR4, and Xeon E5v3 Upto 18 cores, which includes the E5-2690v3 with 12 at same TDP as the current 12 core xeon on the nMac Pro (and 400$ cheaper), also switching to X99 will save some bucks on the Motherboard, requiring less complementary chips (besides the X99 is cheaper than C60x).

    Notorious, the X99 opens the possibility to an more mundane Gamer-Aimed Mac Pro with core i7 (and surely Radeon R9-395x2), whithou requiring to develop an different motherboard and keeping the same thermal core.

    I'm convinced at least the next Mac Pro will be on X99 and Xeon/AMD Dx10 GPUs, but Apple could sell quick an lesser "pro" Mac pro on with i7-Radeon 300 series gpu.
  2. Mago thread starter macrumors 68020

    Aug 16, 2011
    Beyond the Thunderdome
  3. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    This is fundamentally flawed start is what kicks off the trip down the rabbit hole into Wonderland alternative reality that isn't likely at all.

    The C60x chips are for E5 v1 and v2 ( Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge). The Mac Pro already has a E5 v2 chip (and 602 chipset). Why would Apple release another Mac Pro with same almost going on 2 years old chip? The C60x chips are just wrong at this point in time. The C610 series set is extremely more likely.

    Guess what? the X99 and C610 are basically the same thing with some minor differences.

    " ... Intel® C610 Series Chipset and Intel® X99 Chipset Platform Controller Hub (PCH) datasheet " ... "

    Not particularly surprising since the Core i7 x9xx CPU packages are done as a derivative design of the E5 line up. Same socket and same mask in for the lower end of the E5 line up with some features flipped on/off along with some binning to provide the desired market segmentation.

    The ECC support is basically there because the C610 need it. The actual RAM is hooked to the CPU package.

    Let's look at a Core i7 4690X to see if it supports ECC.

    No. Only 64GB and no ECC on that spec sheet at about a $1K price. So without a CPU with ECC support there is no ECC the X99 is going to touch. What is allowed here is an odd ball configuration where can mix and match chipset with CPU it is not suppose to be paired with. It will "happen to work" but Apple is extremely unlikely to go with a configuration that will "happen to work". Apple will pair up what Intel would strongly like for them to pair up.

    Actually no, only six.

    Apple is extremely unlikley to put anything past the number of ports the chipset supports on the edge of the device. Quite often in Mac designs, this is a subset of the max number.

    Guess what? The C610 has that too. No differentiation at all.

    40 v3 lanes are on the CPU package not the chipset and once again there is no differentiation at all.

    The current Mac Pro burns up all of its 8 v2.0 lanes on I/O.

    2 GbE
    1 Wifi/Bluetooth
    1 USB 3.0
    4 PCIe SSD

    There is no room for any TB v2 controllers at all. There won't be with a C610/X99 either. Marginally might pick up a x1 lane because USB 3.0 is in the chipset. Pragmatically probably haven't picked up anything as the internal chipset USB 3.0 and likely even faster PCIe SSD will throttle the DMI connection to the CPU in high bandwidth concurrent usage. The X99 buys nothing differentiating here.

    If Apple waits until very late 2015 to pick up TB v3 then the number of TB ports will likely go down; not up. Those 4 ports will have at least as much aggregate bandwidth as the 6 in the current one does.

    Delusional. You are basically handcuffing the Xeon E5 to the v2 options which are years old. There are new options now. There will be even newer options early in 2016 when E5 v4 arrives.

    The E5 1600 v3 options are available now and cover the same 8 cores and TDP range.

    The larger E5 v3 family covers a even broader range of core counts.

    For example the E5 Xeon 1660 v3

    About $1K price. 8 cores ( 2 more than 4960X, tradeoff is slower core count ) , Faster max RAM speeds , more possible max RAM ( which leverages more banks than Apple will use, so a tie at 4 DIMM slots ) ,

    And a more complicated inventory since the parts aren't shared across models are well. The X99 has stuff that doesn't matter for Mac Pro. ( Intel hardware raid. tons of SATA ports , ) If need to buy C610 chips for higher end E5 2600 v3 models it is far more simplier to buy the same C610 PCH chipsest for the X5 1600 v3 which have much of the same coverage at the Core i7 x9xx series at the roughtly the same price point. x9xx is not substantially cheaper.

    Apple will probably have core i7 Radeon 300 series iMacs in the Fall. A "100" series chipset too.... doesn't that make for better tech spec porn than a "99" one?[/QUOTE]
  4. Mago, Jun 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015

    Mago thread starter macrumors 68020

    Aug 16, 2011
    Beyond the Thunderdome
    I must remeber you the point is the Mac Pro moving to X99, C610 is covered among the options (read 602, 60..., of course this series includes the C610).

    Sir, you dissapoints me, cleary I pointed out that i7 on X99 dont support ECC memory, its well known (as on the revious generation X79 you have to use an Xeon o these chipset to enable ECC memory, for ECCis mandatory both PCH and CPU to handle ECC, the purpose of an X99 based Mac Pro isnt to enable you mixing comonents, but to provide you an common platform for both Xeon and i7 solutions tailored a Professional or enthusiast, w/o need to develop specific motheboards for each market.

    Six are enough, and actually isn't the first time Apple uses all the ports from the Chipset, closes example is the Mac Mini Late'14 with its 4 USB3 uses all provided.

    The point is't if the C610 have or not have what X99 has, but if the X99 its enough for a new Mac Pro, the X99 has the advantage it's cheaper and also supports i7 (despite those Haswell-E i7's are Xeon derived, they are Enthusiast CPUs not Workstations CPU, X99 allows to choose from both and cover more markets.

    Again, point to favor x99, not required an C610 for an new MAc Pro...

    ... but I remeber you whiouth the PCH enabling the I/O your cpu could have 80 lines, if the PCH only manages 40, you only have 40 availables.

    TB3 hooks on PCIe v3.0 lanes, Alpine Ridge requires 2 or 4 PCIe v3 lines depending how many headers, those 4 lines are available (from the 40 lines PCIe v3.0 minus 32 on GPUs minus 4 on NVMe SSD).

    So with X99 the mac pro still can provide TB3/USB-C ports alongside TB2/USB3 ports.

    ahh, you should read what means NVMe, and why is far superior than PCIe-SSD.

    X99 can handle concurrently 4 TB3 and 6 TB2, of course its unlikely all those ports to be active at the same time, I didn't make the Maths buth I thiks the X99's DMA controller still have enough bandwidth bor all this load..

    Wrong, 6 core Core i7-5930K sells for 550$, 8 Core 5960X sells for 999. of course the 5960X exceed the MacPro TDP, but an six core 5930K its an bargain compared with similar Xeon, but Xeon are Xeon amd i7 are i7, dont mix apples and peaches, i7 is for Enthusuast/Gamers and Xeon are for Workstations Pro's.

    If Apple is reliable on something lately is on not providing big specifications jumps, besides modest clock speed updates, its very likely the CPUs on the updated Mac to be the closest siblings on Haswell-E to the 2013 mac pro choices (ivi-bridge), only thing I could spect is Apple dismissing the 4 core Xeon option, sure will start from 6 core xeon to 12, maybe upto 14, never 18 or 20 cores.

    Early 2016 Xeon (no delay from intel) will not see an mac pro until mid 2017, Apple's practice.

    FYI Xeon E5-2600v3 family is supported by X99, just read at this super micro motherboard specifications:

    So debunked friend, Apple saves a lot of money going on X99 while keeps an optimal solution for the Mac Pro, saves on inventory since an single PCH handles the entire line of Xeon/i7 producs, a single motherboard for all Mac Pros, also those on E5-2600v3 ans those hypotetical on i7-5930K's.

    My debunked Friend, FYI the iMac thermals cant handle Haswell-E, 100 series chipset are for broadwell lga1151 cpu's an updated Retina iMac on Broadwell is inminent at year's end but not on the range of performance of the i7-5930 (4 core vs 6 cores).

    Whatever with or whitout i7 choices the next Mac pro will be based on X99 platform.
  5. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    They would never do anything like that. *cough*Mac Pro 2012*cough*

    Don't disagree with you, but when I read that sentence a smile crept across my face.
  6. Umbongo, Jun 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015

    Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Utterly irrelevant to a system builder like Apple with the margins they run. One of the reasons Workstation boards are more expensive is due to a smaller consumer market that expects a higher quality of after sales care and stability. Do you honestly think a completely custom logic board will be significantly different in price because Apple choose X99 parts rather than C612? Have you looked at what makes up those chipsets? You can't go look at the retail prices of boards when one market is super competitive and another isn't.

    So does C612.

    The ignorance abounds here. Did you even click his link?,82930,82765,82766

    E5-1650 V3 is the same as the i7-5930K, except 100MHz more turbo and supports RDIMMs. E5-1660 V3 is the same as the i7-5960X. They are even all unlocked for overclocking. There is no performance difference. i7s are for enthusiasts/gamers and Xeons workstations because Intel market them that way after sellers asked for it in the mid 2000s. There have never been performance or optimisation differences on UP Xeons versions of consumer models.

    You, like many before you since 2009, seem to think that an i7 consumer option is cheaper for Apple to produce, when this is not the case for a company in Apple's situation with supply and manufacturing. This has been shown time and time again for 6 years now.

    The ONLY thing to be gained with consumer CPUs is Apple could offer 6 cores for less due to the i7-5820K, but that is missing PCI-E lanes and Apple don't care because it would make no difference to overall sales as if you want 6 cores you will pay either way and are unlikely to be put off paying $1400 more than a PC compared to a $1,100.
  7. lowendlinux, Jun 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015

    lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    NVMe still connects via PCIe and will still require 4 lanes. NVMe is inevitable in the new MP because the portables have already changed.
  8. Mago thread starter macrumors 68020

    Aug 16, 2011
    Beyond the Thunderdome
    I disagree you about total cost on C612 solution VS X99 for the Mac Pro.

    First, X99 besides prefectly fits the Mac Pro needs, its produced on bigger quantities than most C-series (exept maybe those targeted to server farms).

    You have an good point about E5-1650 V3 vs i7-5930 price vs features, on an X99 motherboard wins the E5-1650v3, on C612 has not much sense to put an i7 due bigger cost an C612 motherboard.

    The point still plausible, an X99 based Mac Pro still plausible, despite if do not includes i7/R9-390X (which would enable apple to sell an cheaper mac pro due savings on NON-ECC memory and the GPUs)
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The 2012 Mac Pro was still a MP 5,1. It wasn't new. Apple tried to slap a 'new' sticker on it in the Apple Store but the black lash was rather swift and Apple just dropped it. Implicit in the "another Mac Pro" was doing some design work that spanned past a tweaked firmware, minor CPU speed bumps, and some price reductions. Pragmatically that is just the "same" Mac Pro with modifications.

    In the debate about design work for an X99 alternative for "another" Mac Pro, a new board design for the C612 is just as an "another" Mac Pro as X99 would be. Revising the backplane I/O circuit board design and using a C60x doesn't make sense. Since Apple went with the "dead end" (end of tick/tock cycle) E5 v2 CPU/chipset, in the 2013 Mac Pro there are no speed bumps to pick up.

    The "why" of the MP 2012 was to serve as a placeholder until Apple could get its act together. If Apple needed to "speed bump" the MP 2013 then speed bumped GPUs would be far more likely. At this point I doubt they will.
  10. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    This theory has gobs of holes.

    1. The "volume chipsets are always cheaper... " assumption. Last generation Patsburg prices....

    C602 $54
    C604 $61
    x79 $74
    C608 $88

    Sure, the x79 is $14 cheaper than the C608 ( which Apple wouldn't use in a million years in a nMP ). The C602 is $20 cheaper than the x79.

    It is a bit muddled in the Wellsburg as there are only two and Intel is mum on x99

    C612 $54
    x99 N/A

    Two points though. If Apple was OK with a $54 C602 it is hard to imagine why they wouldn't be OK with a $54 C612. Apple would probably be happier with a C611 which dumps the SATA ports or at least kills off the Intel RST/RAID stuff they are never going to use. The x99 doesn't kill a large block of the unneeded stuff so price break to switch isn't clear at all. The C612 price isn't a blocker.

    Given the former price levels that the x79 was at even if the x99 got a price drop, it is unlikely it dropped much further than $20. The mainstream version needed to fall $20 just to get to parity with the current nMP's chipset. It wouldn't have dropped the current Mac Pro. If the "top end" of the C610 version is $54 the x99 shouldn't cost more. But is it something like $14 cheaper on top of that? Probably not. $7 ( like the C604-C602 gap)? Maybe. On a $2000 system is a 0.35% change going to radically change overall system price? No.

    These are the buy in lots of 1,000 prices. Bulk buys probably do get better prices, but that is the reason they'd want to do a volume buy of one chipset. Splitting off the lower end chipset doesn't buy much if reducing the volume buy of both low and high. The trigger for volume discounts of the x99 are probably higher. A vendor isn't a "prime time player" unless they buy in bigger numbers. So, Apple splitting its buy is just a "rob Peter to pay Paul" exercise if going to use two different chipsets.

    2. "produced in bigger quantities". It is extremely likely these are produced on the same foundry with the same die mask. The feature difference is in binning, feature setting when placed in the package , and Intel market segmentation. The volume of both contributes to the low price of both because they are essentially joined at the hip when it comes to production (e.g., last generation's price where C602 is lowest ).

    This simplified Wellsburg series with x99 and only one C610 series (so far ) is suggestive they are all the more joined at the hip than the last iteration. Apple could scoop up every x99/C610 that fails SATA tests. If Intel just labels those as C611, Apple would buy the lot if they were going to ship a E5 v3/v4 Mac Pro.

    Possible? Yes. Plausible (as in seemingly probable )? No. There is no giant overall system cost savings in Apple pricing by avoiding ECC RAM. That is just a myth. The Core i7's ( x9xx ) cost about just as much as the Xeon E5 1600's. The chipsets are about the same (and have been lower ).
  11. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Just to follow on from deconstruct60s response to this, as he didn't cover the GPUs..

    Apple have purchased a custom solution from AMD using consumer GPUs, branded as workstation cards, and AMD supply better drivers than consumer cards for Windows, but not as strong as their real workstation cards. Apple likely paid no more than they would have had they said they wanted to use the Radeon branding. It's all branding and benefits both companies due to AMD's low market share and Apple's desire to see this as a "real" workstation when compared to those by HP, Dell, Lenovo etc.

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