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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. “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.

  4. 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.

  5. Odyssey67 said: “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).”

    Odyssey, perhaps in your line of work, more cores on a desktop is not advantageous, but in the core Mac Pro workstation market, i.e. high end 3D graphics, the more cores, the better…

    2D graphics, using apps such as Photoshop and the like, are perfectly fine on an iMac, but for 3D graphics, which is a rapidly growing market which Apple is very noticeably paying sharp attention to, the more cores the better…

    I work using modo, Lightwave, and Vue, and I mainly use modo for rendering. This is where more cores make a huge difference… when I am modelling, the extra cores do little to speed things up, but when rendering, every core counts, as each core is another thread, and the more threads, the faster the render completed. The faster a render completes, the faster my job is done. As my scenes tend to be filled with hundreds of millions of polys, use environmental lighting with an HDR image, etc., more cores makes a huge difference!

    It also would be more advantageous to have more cores in a single machine, on the same bus than to have multiple machines, with separate buses, for rendering, though when modo does add network rendering, and I do upgrade to a Mac Pro, my G5 Quad will be assigned to network rendering.

    I for one am fairly confident that Apple will release a Cloverton based “Octal” Mac Pro very soon.

  6. I hate the fact that every time we now get a new processor… we have to say ” Dell had that 2 weeks ago” or “That is EXACTLY the same chip that is in the new HP’s”.

    I love the fact that we are getting th world’s fastest processors right when they come out, but we have lost something unique… we have lost something special…. and now the only reason we can say that our machines are better, is if we are only talking about the software!

    🙁 anyway, it just bothers me a bit. I still love macs, and will never buy anything else.

  7. “For quite awhile, this will be the equivalent of having a car with 2,000 horsepower to drive to work-where you gonna use it? Wonderful to dream about, but pointless to buy.”

    People said the same thing about 1ghz Powermacs several years ago. If this is your honest opinion, you know nothing about the computer industry. New software is always pushing the limit, and draining more of our processors.

  8. Jay: “For quite awhile, this will be the equivalent of having a car with 2,000 horsepower to drive to work-where you gonna use it? Wonderful to dream about, but pointless to buy.”

    Yeah, if you haven’t the need… I do 3D graphics and need as many cores, and the faster clock speeds that I can get.

    I happen to choose Mac over Windows… FOR THE OS… but I do have the option, and if Apple were to ignore the high end workstation market, I would have little choice but to go over to the dark side.

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