Why Apple does not make a faster, single processor Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hajime, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    I built a PC recently using an Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16 GHz) and DDR3 RAM. Under automatic OC, it completed a task twice as fast as my SR MBP (2.4 GHz) running Vista. Given that not many applications are taking advantages on 8-cores these days, anybody knows why Apple does not make a faster, single CPU MacPro?
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You mean the xMac? They don't care, pure and simple.

    The iMac is their desktop, the Mac Pro is their workstation.
  3. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2008
    I would say that since announcing Snow Leopard and Grand Central Apple's strategy is to bet on multicore processors being the future. They are partnered with Intel who recently said that programmers need to start thinking about writing programs for dozens if not hundreds of processors.

    Now we just have to wait for the software to catch up with the hardware.
  4. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Because its a pro machine aimed at professionals who need as much power as they can get. Professionals usually have more than £1000 for a machine.
  5. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    because multi-core is the future

    it's cheaper to make 2x3.0 GHz Quads than it is to make a single 6.0GHz Quad

    so long as software developers catch on to the fact that they have to develop for multi-cores, we'll be all good....not to mention grand central in snow leopard...

    hopefully software will move to being more core-count friendly...
  6. nickane macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    Apple brought back the single processor Pro recently but it still costs more than many would hope. The computer you are envisaging would have to be a new computer altogether, since the computer you built uses a desktop class processor on a motherboard demanding desktop-class ram. The mac pro uses Xeons which need FB-DIMMs and both cost far more than their consumer equivalents.

    Such a computer is dubbed the xMac and whilst many of us want them, most apple fans will tell you that it goes against Jobsy's agenda of making small locked-down systems rife with built-in obsolescence that you can't upgrade your way out of (each fitting neatly into a simple stratified product line that sells you a lifestyle solution according to your pricepoint, thanks to which apple can dictate to you what it is you need). That said, the situation has gotten a lot worse since the Power Mac days when you could get a tower for $1500, and so the gap in the product line has gotten wider of late. Many of us still dare to dream.
  7. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    Its much more cheaper and feasible for Apple to purchase and make multicore macs rather than putting in one of those brutally expensive 'xtreme' intel processors!:)
  8. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    As a graphic designer, I used to always buy the pro towers. Powermac G4, Powermac G5. And that was mainly for longevity reasons. With the PCI slots, I was able to upgrade and add USB ports and swap out video cards.

    However, with the Mac Pro, Apple released a machine with more power than someone like me needs. The price premium didn't really justify the longevity claim.

    Secondly, with Intel's multi-core processors, mobile computing has gotten a lot more powerful. I currently use an iMac and a MBP for my design work. And both are sufficient for my needs. The drawback is that I can't really add cards and upgrade the machines outside of upping the RAM.

    I agree - the future is multi-core. And the iMac is perfect for a mid-range pro machine these days.
  9. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    I'm not sure that software at the moment is optimized for mutli core processors - or atleast not as much as it could be.

    As such filling up your machine with RAM is probably one of the best ways of improving performance over processor speed.
  10. tsice19 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    There is definitely a gap in the product line, but it enough to make a professional spend that much more on a Mac Pro.

    They'd rather have too much power than not enough power.

    And if your not a professional, then you just end up buying an iMac.
  11. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    My thoughts exactly dude! :)
  12. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    I heard about the advice from Intel to developers. However, most current applications do not take advantage on multi-core (especially 8 cores) systems. Until such highly multi-thread programs are widely available, I would rather Apple offers a MacPro with one 3.2GHz Quad-Core Xeon or an Extreme CPU. As far as I heard, a higher clock, less core system runs most applications faster than a lower clock, 8-core system. Isn't it a waste to buy a 8-core system at this time? iMac is nice but there is no option for a matte screen.
  13. Jak3 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    An application that uses multiple cores to enhance performance:

    3DMark 06 and onwards IIRC...

    Quads running at the same speed as Duos kick their scores in the teeth...:(

    Applications that normal people use...sorry can't think of any...:rolleyes:
  14. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Apple used to sell single CPU machines faster than the multi CPU machines, and they used to sell lower end CPUs faster than the top end CPUs.

    All this did was lead to consumer confusion, and salesmen saying that the machine with the higher MHz CPU being able to run applications faster. :rolleyes:

    Which of course wasn't true ... and it took searching databases to figure out which machine was faster for a certain app. Some Apps ran faster, but not all -- all depended on the application and what you did with the machine which can be confusing. :confused:

    After all this confusion Apple simplified things, so that the top end CPUs got the fastest clock rate -- and single CPU machines clocked in lower than multi-CPU machines.

    Not the best solution, but it removed the MHz myth from the equation and simplified marketing.
  15. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    Just curious, when software is written to run on Mac OS/Leopard/Tiger (forget panther coz they are the first core2DUO) how many cores are they set to take advantage? is there such thing in the programming of software?
  16. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Panther was never Intel.

    It depends on the software. I think that HandBrake can use at least 8 cores, but CS3 uses less, for example.
  17. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    Apple won't have a 4-core Mac Pro clocking higher than an 8-core Mac Pro because they want both clock speed as well as core count going up as price goes up.

    This is also why we may not see quad-core iMacs or MacBook Pros until 2010.
  18. himansk macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2006
    Its a chicken and egg problem. Cant see the developers seriously addressing multiple cores in their applications unless there are enough multicore systems on the market to justify the increase in costs. Pushing multi core systems to the consumers is one way of advancing the collective technology, while it does not harm the consumers as they get increased longevity out of their systems due to the multiple cores.
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    You don't "set the number of cores" for an application. It doesn't work like that.

    An application can create as many threads as it likes (within reason, but the operating system has no problems if you create hundred), and each one of these threads can use one core when it has work to do. It is the job of the programmer to distribute work to different threads. If you type "posix threads" into Google you will get plenty of information how this is done.

    Distributing work to threads is not easy, that's why programmers who can do it are paid good salaries. Future versions of MacOS X will have more functionality built in to make this easy.

    However, professionals buying these eight core machines usually run more than one application. If you run eight applications that each can use only one core, then all eight cores will be fully used. We had one poster here recently whose Mac Pro had been running for over one month with all eight cores running at 100 percent all the time.
  20. Vaphoron macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2004
    Count me in as another person who really doesn't need all that power but I really need the PCIe slots. I'd buy a new Mac Pro tomorrow if they had one for $1500.
  21. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I would love to see Apple discontinue the MacMini (or make it cheaper) so that they could add a single processor (with dual core) desktop below $1000. I really would love a MacPro, but there is no way I would spend over $2800 on one.
  22. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Anybody knows why Apple does not offer a MacPro with one 3.2GHz Quad-Core Xeon? This option
    is doable as the chip is available. Applications that I run do not take advantage of 8 cores.
    By the way, how many cores do Leopard and the 64-bit version of Vista Ultimate use?
  23. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Find yourself an Intel price list (they are all available on the web if you do a bit of googling), and compare the price of a 3.2 GHz chip with the price of two 2.8 GHz chips. That will give you a hint. Then consider that you are _not_ the typical customer for the Mac Pro. The typical customer has these eight cores doing work, in some cases 24/7 for weeks at a time.
  24. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    But Apple is a big customer. They should get more discount than an individual person. The Intel price lists on the net are probably for those who buy in small quantities (perhaps only one cpu). Is there a list for big customers?
  25. jeremyrader macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Sounds like a good idea. In fact, volume discounts are pretty common in most industries. Unfortunately, it seems AMD will file a lawsuit every time Intel offers anyone a discount for any reason. I'm exaggerating, of course...

    I guarantee Apple is not paying full market price for Intel's processors. But I also guarantee they are paying more than other computer makers who are adopting the full platforms. Winning Apple as a customer was huge for Intel, and they don't want to disappoint; there are other, non-monetary perks included in the deal, I'm sure.

    As for the op question, it's been sufficiently answered: a Mac Pro is not just an expensive beige box, much like an earthmover is not just an expensive Corvette.

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