Octo-Core ‘Clovertown’ Apple Mac Pro units on the way?

“A new Xeon processor that quietly began shipping from Intel Corp. this month could find its way into a model of Apple Computer’s forthcoming 8-core professional desktop systems,” AppleInsider reports. “The new 2.0GHz quad-core ‘Clovertown’ chip has been officially dubbed the Xeon E5335 by Intel, filling the gap between the chipmaker’s existing 2.33 GHz Xeon E5345 and 1.86 GHz Xeon E5320 offerings.”

AppleInsider reports, “Like the 2.33GHz Xeon E5345 and the 2.66GHz Xeon E5355 introduced last month, the latest member of the Clovertown family features 8MB of L2 cache and operates on a 1333MHz front-side bus — making it drop-in compatible with Apple’s existing Mac Pro professional desktop architecture.”

“People familiar with the subject have said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company holds plans to release of new version of its Mac Pro desktop that will pack two quad-core Xeon chips for a total of 8-cores of raw processing power,” AppleInsider reports.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Early debut for new Intel quad-core Xeon chip – December 12, 2006
Unofficial eight-core Apple Mac Pro benchmarks – November 15, 2006
Intel launches quad-core processors – November 15, 2006
RUMOR: Apple prepping monster eight-core Xeon ‘Clovertown’ Mac Pro – October 26, 2006
Intel pledges 80-core processor within five years – September 26, 2006
AnandTech upgrades and tests Octo-Core ‘Clovertown’ Apple Mac Pro – September 13, 2006

29 Comments

  1. Based on the fact that few, if any, software titles out there (even professional grade) are able to fully take advantage of 4 core workstation systems; and since further saturating the already overburdened MacPro’s FSB with double the cores makes no sense either, I’ll ‘go out on a limb’ here and say that Clovertown won’t be showing up on an OEM MacPro (upgraders, feel free to void warranties at will).

    However, there is a product that could have the software support, even if the FSB issue would stiull remain, and that’s XServe. In fact, with the 4 core Clovertown’s speed being lower (2Ghz) than the fastest dual core Woodcrests currently in XServe (2.66-3Ghz), the problem of over heating an XServe by doubling the cores is also minimized.

    There are probably as-many-or-more dedictated server tasks (and software) that benefit from more cores running at slower clockspeeds – even with the constrained FSB – as there are those that are happy with the higher single threaded performance of a faster clocked Woodcrest. ‘Server people’ would be willing to pay the expected premium for the former as well. Meanwhile, for a workstation/desktop, more cores is simply overkill right now – the small jump in performance is not worth the extra money spent.

    Of course, Apple could offer a Clovertown MacPro just to grab some bragging rights, but that would be a waste of what will undoubtedly be scarce supplies of that CPU. If they’re going to build anything with it, it would make more sense to put it into something that will actually sell consistently and make some money.

    A 1U 8-core server that’s actually affordable could be a special offering – a real coupe for Apple. An 8 core MacPro is an adolescent indulgence.
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  2. Everyone thinks it will go into the top-end model first… Why can’t Apple offer the low-end Mac Pro model with a SINGLE quad-core Xeon? Since it’s 2.0 GHz, it would replace the current DUAL dual-core 2.0 GHz Mac Pro. The 2.66 GHz and 3.0 GHz Mac Pro models can stay DUAL dual-core to take advantage of the faster clock speed, and perhaps those models can get a speed bump if faster dual-core Xeons existing. The low end model will benefit from lower cost of production (hopefully) due to only having one chip and less cooling hardware.

    Except maybe in the XServe, an “octo” core Mac seems like a bit of overkill right now.

  3. How can speed improvements ever be considered overkill? Over priced maybe, but not overkill; faster is always better. Every second I have to wait for something is a second wasted. Lay it on me Apple! And put them in a MacBook Pro while you’re at it.

    It will be curious to see how Leopard might take advantage of multi-core systems. I’m betting Apple will be years ahead of Microsoft in this regard. In fact, they true benefit of Leopard may be it’s advanced support for multi-core chips.

  4. Man, it’s unbelievable. In a short 18 months, Intel has release at least 4 major product lines. All applicable for the Mac line.

    Compared that to 2 years ago with IBM and Moto going nowhere with their CPUs.

    Yes it will take longer for the software to catch up with the CPU improvements but the devs won’t update the SW until there are machines to run them.

  5. Yes, 8 cores at 3 GHz would certainly be faster than 4 cores at 3 GHz, though NOT twice as fast due to system and software limitations. However, the quad-core Xeon is “only” at 2 GHz. So considering the limitations in hardware and software that make 8 cores less efficient than 4, would 8 cores at 2 GHz be that much faster than 4 cores at 3 GHz (or faster than 3 GHz if newer chips are now available)?

    I think Apple will stick to 4 cores running at the fastest available speed (for the high end Mac Pro), at least for the first half of 2007. WWDC 2007 would be a good time to release the Octo Mac Pro. Leopard will be out, the remaining “pro” apps will have gone Universal (hopefully), and Intel will probably have 3 GHz quad-core chips by that time.

  6. “Intel will probably have 3 GHz quad-core chips by that time.”

    “speed being lower (2Ghz) than the fastest dual core Woodcrests currently in XServe (2.66-3Ghz),”

    “, the quad-core Xeon is “only” at 2 GHz. “

    Dell is already selling 2.66GHz dual processor quad core machines.

    “Man, it’s unbelievable. In a short 18 months, Intel has release at least 4 major product lines. All applicable for the Mac line.”

    Welcome to the WinTel world. Newer and faster processors coming along every few months is certainly an unremarkable occurrence.

    “I’m betting Apple will be years ahead of Microsoft in this regard”

    You’d have to go back a long way in history to find a version of either Windows or Mac OS without SMP support.

    “Of course, Apple could offer a Clovertown MacPro just to grab some bragging rights, “

    What, to brag that they’d just matched Dell? They need to do this to even keep up.

    The standard PC model is Intel announces that a processor is shipping, same day all major vendors announce models that support it. Apple needs to get to the point where it can do that too.

  7. The problem with increasing the number of cores over the coming years and achieving the promise of greater performance is essentially one of learning to do concurrent programming right. This is going to be THE grand challenge for computer science and computer design in the coming decades.

    I would love to see a discussion of the advance of computer languages, programming tools and some benchmarks, but there has been little discussion — but some — that I can find on the subject.

    My interest is in scientific computing and those sorts of problems are usually massively parallel. So are applications that are image or graphics based. We need tools to get at the promised computing power. If we had some decent tools, the Mac Pro would sell a lot more units.

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