What is with those new Intel's i9 and i7 chips?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hajime, May 30, 2017.

  1. hajime macrumors 68040

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    Jul 23, 2007
    #1
    I know that they have many cores. So what? As far as I know, the software side is still behind. Sure, having 2-4 cores are nice and there are a few programs that can take advantage of multi-core systems. Do most of the software these days take advantage of more than 10 cores? I think having higher clock speed is better. Do you think the new Core i7 X-series chips will be on the new MBP coming up next week?
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    Well the i7 X-series are desktop CPUs, so unless you want 2 minute battery life and your lap boiled alive, they won't be coming to the MBPs. ;) If you mean the mobile Xeons then that's not likely either as performance for those aren't that great and comparatively falter in single core.

    You're right about the balance between hardware and software. Many Apple Pro applications take advantage of multicore, such as LPX and FCPX, so it would be able to utilise the power. However with OpenCL and especially Metal, a dGPU is far more beneficial.

    Whilst it's mostly a good move to have more choice for consumers, it's a slightly surprising move from Intel. At those kinds of prices and niche uses to actually justify that amount of horsepower, you'd likely be looking at a dual Xeon setup anyway (the i-series never used to be dual socket compatible, though not sure if that's changed with the x-series). So it seems to be a little redundant, but hey, it's people's money to spend how they want.

    Generally more is better but macOS' memory management and software/hardware optimisation is second to none, so you don't need to keep throwing updated hardware at the OS just to keep it running close to how it should be. As such you can be reassured that if that CPU was added into a Mac product, the OS and bespoke Pro Apps would support it and utilise it effectively.
     
  3. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #3
    I'm hoping if Apple do use these it's on a different class of Mac desktop. There's plenty of enthusiasts out there who sit between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro in terms of their requirements who wouldn't dream of buying an iMac. I ended up buying an x99 PC so I could have a lot of RAM for my VM lab - i.e. more than the 64GB supported by regular i7.

    I agree these will be desktop chips only because of the power requirements, but it would be great to see Apple actually make a machine that was all about it's capabilities and future expansion rather than how cool it looks (when nothing is plugged into it).
     
  4. hajime thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jul 23, 2007
    #4
    I used to have a HP Z workstation with dual XEON, 64GB RAM, a high-end GPU and 12-16cores. I did not see any noticeable differences in performance compared with my 2014 rMBP 15". I was running Windows 7 Professional and SolidWorks on both machines.
     
  5. kohlson macrumors 65816

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #5
    First take: this is a roadmap announcement, essentially saying we've still got some things you'll want someday. Most probably to keep people from thinking "AMD." But what was announced were 140watt chips - not something that will go in a laptop. Also, the highest core-count chips did not have base speeds in the table. In the past, adding cores meant lowering the processor speeds overall. Also, these were i7/9 chips, not Xeons. In the past, Xeon meant "server," which meant 24x7 workloads, and multiple sockets.
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oct 26, 2009
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    Oregon
    #6
    I've never been impressed by Xeons in workstations. In the early '00's I had an $8000 Dell workstation with a Xeon processor and a personal Dell Dimension desktop computer, same vintage, with a Pentium 4. About $1500. The Dimension was slightly faster. More recently I had a HP Z workstation with a Xeon processor that doing embedded program compilation was half the speed of a 5 year old(er) Mac mini.

    Leave the Xeons for servers!
     
  7. JamesPDX Suspended

    JamesPDX

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    Aug 26, 2014
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    USA
    #7
    What do you think about the Xeons in the 2012 and 2013 Mac Pro units?
     
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oct 26, 2009
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    Oregon
    #8
    For certain applications like FCP that can use many cores, the Mac Pro could make sense but only in configurations with more than 4 cores. Otherwise an iMac will outperform. In single core benchmarks, the iMac is always faster. As cool as the black trashcan or the cheesegrater are, I've never considered buying one.
     
  9. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #9
    These many-core CPUs make sense for a VM-lab.

    You could probably simulate a small version of Twitter on such a thing.

    Or maybe if you have a huge XCode-project?

    I looked at the MacPro before I bought my 2012 Mini in 2014 - but it would have been such a waste for what I do.
     
  10. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #10
    The 18 core i9 does make a lot of sense for a redesigned iMac as opposed to a Xeon e3.
    You are looking at 36 threads and 4 memory channels for performance above the low end Xeon e3 and most of the e5 range.
    The only thing you won't have is the ecc ram, but that is not necessary when optane persistant ram comes in next year for use as ramdisk cache at vastly improved rates over m2 SSDs.
    When that makes its way to the 2018 desktop macs, I'll update my desktop.

    I will be happy if the 2017 MBP goes to 32 GB ram.
     
  11. kohlson macrumors 65816

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #11
    My experience in these things is a few years old, but as I recall a big challenge with lots of cores is getting them the data they need such that they aren't idle most of the time. (At the time, avg CPU utilization for a Unix servers was in the high teens.) It's not just a function of more/faster memory and more/faster I/O lanes. For memory, a big issue at the time was geography. That is, while any core can access any memory, you want memory for a core to be collocated - not requesting memory from diagonally across the motherboard. Affinity is part of the answer, but things get messy with parallel processing. Of course, non of this works without and OS that knows what it's doing, or an app that knows how to work with such an OS. Many apps still don't take full advantage of multiple cores, which is why the single-threaded benchmarks are still important.
     
  12. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    .. London ..
    #12
    As someone said, the thing about workstations and big iron isn't their speed. it's their I/O. Up to quite recently, a desktop would have a few GB or TB of local storage. A workstation or minicomputer would be able to have quadrabytes of local storage and far more RAM.

    It's like having 100 people or 100 tons of stuff to transport. Which is better - a large coach / large artic lorry or a flash sportster 2-seater? The sports car is far faster and cheaper, the coach / artic is slower and more expensive, but it shifts far, far more stuff in the same amount of time and is built to keep on going, year after year.
     
  13. r03dz macrumors member

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    Aug 5, 2014
    #13
    Again, they're made for a specific purpose. But, people commonly buy overkill processors because they believe they'd need all the power they have to offer. They usually don't.
     
  14. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #14
    So you're not keen on the new iMac Pro then ? ;)
     

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