What "Snow Leopard" will mean for the Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacONE, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. MacONE macrumors newbie

    MacONE

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    Jun 10, 2008
    #1
    Recently at the WWDC, Apple announced that they would give a preview of Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard". Later, that day Apple posted a description of some of the features that are planned for 10.6. One of the features mentioned is Grand Central. Grand Central is describes as support for multi-core systems. The feature is focused on more cores rather than faster clock speeds. The feature is also may help developers create programs to utilize multi-core systems. After reading this, I began to think to myself. How many cores will some of Apple's Pro machines have in the future. Currently the mac pro has a standard of 8 cores. My main questions is, how many cores may we see in the future. Certainly the number may be endless, but will developers and programmers be able to create programs and applications that will utilize all of this potential power? Currently there are not really and applications for the Mac Pro that utilize all 8 cores, except for some serious video rendering. Maybe Grand Central will allow developers to create new applications that will allow for better distribution over all the cores. With this new feature, will the amount of cores be limited only by the manufactures of them? Hopefully some of this information will be released along with Mac OS X 10.6.
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    Aug 13, 2006
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    #2
    Summation of first post:

    HandBrake on Snow Leopard with dual-layer Blu-ray movie in Mac Pro.

    Estimated time to rip at full quality: six minutes.

    If the core utilization and management system is as good as Apple claims it will be, the FIRST Mac Pro will turn out to be faster than the fastest Windows computer in the world on Snow Leopard's release in 2009. So...

    What does that say about the Nehalem Mac Pro?
     
  3. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    Seattle, WA
    #3
    Nehalem workstation chips will be offered in both four and eight-core versions early in their production run, so we should see both octo and hexadeco configurations.
     
  4. BobF4321 macrumors member

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    Jul 2, 2007
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    Ottawa, Canada
    #4
    Does anybody have more details on what Grand Central actually does? Presumably it makes it easier for app developers to get a multithreaded application to run on more cores simultaneously, but how will this differ from the current situation in Leopard?
    (sure would be nice if Activity Monitor showed how many cores each application is using)
     
  5. fernmeister macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    #5
    Logic Pro lets you see core usage and seems to utilise the cores quite well. However, a number of plugins and samplers, like Kontakt, don't currently work well in multicore mode. That, together with the RAM limitations, really holds back Logic users from maximising the potential of their Mac Pros. Anything Snow Leopard does to improve this situation will be an immediate gain for users.

    As far as cores and the future. 4 and 8 core will be common soon enough on iMacs and Mac pros will go to 16 cores before the end of the decade at the minimum.
     
  6. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    #6
    Hopefully details will emerge over the next few days at WWDC.
     
  7. Michael73 macrumors 65816

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    Feb 27, 2007
    #7
    I was thinking about improved multi-core usage as well and I wonder...even if a program can theoretically make use of multiple cores, do they even need them? If someone was using Safari, how much benefit would someone actually see if it was optimized for multi-core support?
     
  8. kabunaru Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    #8
    I think we will see 16, 32, 64 cores and so on from there. Technology keeps moving forward. Yes, Snow Leopard will be more efficient at managing cores but when do more cores come out, who knows?
     
  9. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    Mar 17, 2005
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    London, UK
    #9
    It won't make much of a difference for low power users. Web browsing won't go any faster. Word won't go any faster. The difference is with processor intensive applications. Complex photoshop transformations, movie rendering, scientific simulation software. Personally, I work on the latter of those and I crave an easy way to parallelise. Right now OpenMP does a pretty good job on shared memory machines but the kind of stuff I'm working on requires clusters and so I'm forced to 'use' MPI. With the recent focus of consumer processors to be multi-core, I'm hoping clusters will go the way of the dodo.
     
  10. krye macrumors 68000

    krye

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  11. BobF4321 macrumors member

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    Ottawa, Canada
    #11
    Some (most?) threads can't run concurrently because they are waiting for other threads... this depends on the nature of the code. Right now I have Firefox running with 36 threads, Safari with 10 threads, Mail with 33 threads, VMWare Fusion with 10 threads, Skype with 28 threads, etc.... 471 threads for the whole system. I gotta believe that a lot of these can run in parallel, and potentially improve interactive response time. However, with my 8-core Mac Pro I rarely see a slowdown that isn't network related (unless I'm converting videos).
     
  12. OddThomas macrumors regular

    OddThomas

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    Grapevine, TX
    #12
    Yo Bob,

    What are you using to get the thread count?
     
  13. BobF4321 macrumors member

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    #13
    Activity Monitor (add the column in the view menu)
     
  14. OddThomas macrumors regular

    OddThomas

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    Apr 21, 2008
    Location:
    Grapevine, TX
    #14
    boy am i stupid..

    yes i see it there.. column was small so said 'Thr' :D cool. thanks.
     
  15. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #15
    Well, I hope grand central works as they say. As with most multicore systems, the biggest bottleneck is the data bus between threads. A lot of the times you'll see threads waiting for data to crunch while another thread is using it. The new coolthreads servers from sun (T1/2000 I think they are) are supposed to eliminate that issue too allowing for better parallel processing.

    Personally, I think unless the OS takes care of it like Sun and the Apple has there would never be a reason to have a system with 8+ cores for the average user.

    Fingers crossed that snow leopard being intel only is just a myth or a developer preview only kind of thing because I am getting my PowerMac G5 tomorrow. Would be nice to able to get the most out of the dual processors.
     
  16. tuxtpenguin macrumors regular

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    May 19, 2007
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    TX
    #16
    I would love to see core utilization in an OS. I hope this works very well.
     

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