“With the Mac Pro performance issues resolved and some more time with the system under our belts, we’re able to bring you the final part in our Mac Pro coverage. This time we’re focusing on upgrading the memory and CPUs in the Mac Pro, as well as looking at its performance as a PC running Windows XP,” Anand Lal Shimpi writes for AnandTech. “As a high end Xeon based machine that can run both Mac OS X and Windows XP, the Mac Pro has the potential to be the power user’s dream. Today our task is to find out just how upgradable this machine is and how well it runs XP, if it can truly be your only system if you’re a Mac and PC user.”
“Later this year Intel will be introducing pin compatible upgrades to its Core 2 and Xeon lines, except instead of two cores these processors will feature four. Codenamed Kenstfield (Core 2) and Clovertown (Xeon), Intel’s new quad-core processors will dramatically increase the amount of processing power you can have in a single system. Given that the Mac Pro features two LGA-771 sockets, you could theoretically drop two Clovertown processors in there and you’d have an 8-core Mac Pro,” Lal Shimpi writes.
“Without a doubt Apple will release a quad-core version of the Mac Pro, either by the end of this year or early next year, but are users who buy the Mac Pro today missing out? While we’re still a couple of months away from being able to test a retail Clovertown CPU in the Mac Pro, we wanted to see if the current engineering samples of the chip would work,” Lal Shimpi writes.
“We grabbed a pair of 2.4GHz Clovertown samples and tossed them in the system, and to our pleasure, they worked just fine. Our samples used a 1066MHz FSB, although we’re expecting the final chip to use a 1333MHz FSB, but the most important part of the test is that all 8 cores were detected and functional,” Lal Shimpi writes.
Lal Shimpi writes, “The upgrade path offered by the Mac Pro is particularly interesting, not because Macs weren’t upgradable in the past (since they were) but because upgrades have never been so readily available. And based on our initial testing, it’s looking like you’ll be able to drop in a pair of Clovertowns and make the move from four to eight cores in the Mac Pro by the year’s end. The combination of excellent OS X performance, good Windows XP performance and a more interesting CPU upgrade path than any prior Mac makes the Mac Pro particularly interesting. While many were worried that Apple’s move to Intel would make the Mac more generic, it has simply made the Mac Pro more versatile and desirable.”
Full (comprehensive as usual) article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “loki capret” and “Lee” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: Mac Pro Octo-Core. For when you absolutely, positively have to sequence the entire human genome before lunch.