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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > The upcoming Gulftown/Westmere Mac Pro

The upcoming Gulftown/Westmere Mac Pro
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Simon
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Nov 28, 2009, 01:12 PM
 
So first rumors regarding the next Mac Pro have started popping up.

Intel Core i9 (Gulftown) - 6 cores, 32 nm: hands-on review (article removed)
Hardmac.com: First Test for the Forthcoming Intel 6-Core Xeon

A dual Gulftown Core i9 Mac Pro would offer 12 physical and 24 logical cores. Not only have early benchmarks shown that the six-core Core i9 beats the fastest current quad-core Xeons by about 50%, the 32nm process has lowered power requirements significantly. Such a Mac Pro coupled with Snow Leopard should easily restore the performance gap to the new iMac.

Core i9 is expected early 2010. Quite possibly the Mac Pro will launch just shortly before. It wouldn't be the first time Intel introduces a new Xeon on the Mac Pro.

     
mduell
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Nov 28, 2009, 01:29 PM
 
Official release is Q2, but with the i7 iMac so close to the single socket Mac Pro and Apple's low volume demands I think they'll push Intel for some early parts.
     
bearcatrp
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Nov 29, 2009, 01:49 AM
 
If Apple prices this like they did the current mac pro's, were probably looking at 4-7 grand for dual 6 core. Seems apple is pricing the mac pro's out of regular users price range. Guess I'll stick with refurbs.
2010 Mac Mini, 32GB iPod Touch, 2 Apple TV (1)
Home built 12 core 2.93 Westmere PC (almost half the cost of MP) Win7 64.
     
Simon  (op)
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Nov 29, 2009, 04:07 AM
 
Bearcatrp, I'll second the refurb idea. It's a great way to lower the price of a new Mac.

The current price scheme would actually work better with Gulftown. A single Gulftown MP still offers a whole lot more than an iMac (+2 physical cores, +4 logical cores, better memory bus bandwidth, etc.). But right now with the i7 iMac going for $2199 the low-end MP is an even bigger joke than it was when it came out.

I'd like to see one low-end MP (single Gulftown) priced roughly where the iMac line ends (~$2k) and one high-end (dual Gulftown) box at about ~$3k.

I see the MP's expansion and the iMac's screen as roughly equal value. So if a MP costs no more than an similarly performing iMac I'd consider that a fairly balanced lineup.
     
Simon  (op)
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Nov 30, 2009, 04:08 AM
 
It's not really surprising, but Gulftown's two extra cores only increase performance if you can actually make use of them. Tasks with four or less threads like some games hardly see an improvement over Core i7 Bloomfield.

However, power management for Gulftown is much improved. Tested in the same case and with the same cooling under load Gulftown ran 7C below i7 Bloomfield. At idle it was still 2C lower.

Gulftown samples have been overclocked from the nominal 2.8 GHz all the way to 4.3 GHz.


[click for link]
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 1, 2009, 05:26 AM
 
I doubt Apple will include USB3 with the next MP in early 2010, but by then there should at least be PCIe cards for it. Looking forward to seeing first USB3 benchmarks done on a Mac Pro.

http://forums.macnn.com/57/consumer-...rward-to-usb3/
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 3, 2009, 04:08 AM
 
Yesterday, while thinking about the new MP, I was wondering about how to optimize some code here if we actually get 24 logical cores (dual Gulftown). I started thinking about how many apps will actually really be able to put that many cores to good use. A short while later I saw this.

Electronista: Intel demos 48 core SCC
HardMac.com: Intel to demonstrate a 48 core CPU


Only 125W under load. 25W at idle.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 3, 2009 at 04:15 AM. )
     
Veltliner
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Dec 4, 2009, 01:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The current price scheme would actually work better with Gulftown. A single Gulftown MP still offers a whole lot more than an iMac (+2 physical cores, +4 logical cores, better memory bus bandwidth, etc.). But right now with the i7 iMac going for $2199 the low-end MP is an even bigger joke than it was when it came out.
We both, and others, talked about the expiration date of the current low-end Mac Pro. But who would have thought that this date was to come so soon.
     
Veltliner
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Dec 4, 2009, 01:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post

I'd like to see one low-end MP (single Gulftown) priced roughly where the iMac line ends (~$2k) and one high-end (dual Gulftown) box at about ~$3k.

I see the MP's expansion and the iMac's screen as roughly equal value. So if a MP costs no more than an similarly performing iMac I'd consider that a fairly balanced lineup.
Yeah, I'd like to see that, too.

But I guess we'll see things that we won't like: entry level model at $2800, and the dual 6-core at around $4000.

Of course I hope I'm wrong. A $2000 MacPro with 6 cores (and hopefully) no RAM ceiling would just be great.

Apple will probably not only create a new performance gap between iMac and MacPro, but also keep the price gap.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 4, 2009, 04:40 AM
 
I can see how Apple could think of asking $3.5k for a dual Gulftown box. Sure, 24 logical cores, tons of memory, etc. you can charge for that. How much with the current state of the economy is another issue.

I guess what I object to most is the price gap on the low end. Effectively it forces desktop buyers to buy a box with basically zero expansion capabilities. If you consider how Apple like to be all green nowadays it strikes me as somewhat ridiculous that their actual strategy sees you buying a new iMac every other year.

I don't think the MP needs to compete in price with a Dell. But considering its Apple's only true desktop it should extend down to roughly $2k IMHO. At least in some configuration. Refurbs might be able to fill the void, but last time around that definitely wasn't the case (and due to FB-DIMMs probably not advisable either).
     
RedStar
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Dec 4, 2009, 04:25 PM
 
Small bump for the Mac Pros today:

This morning, Apple quietly announced a speed bump for the Mac Pro, as well as new storage options for both the Mac Pro and the Xserve. For the quad-core Mac Pro (but not the eight-core model), you can now order a 3.33 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor. This is an amazing CPU, with 8 MB of fully shared L3 cache, Hyper-Threading technology, an integrated memory controller, and Turbo Boost for short bursts of speed up to 3.6 GHz.

The article is slightly incorrect as the 8 core model also has the Nehalem

Mac Pro gets a speed bump, Xserve has new storage options
     
Eug
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Dec 4, 2009, 04:35 PM
 
$3700 for a quad 3.33 GHz Mac Pro, and that's with only 3 GB RAM and a 640 GB hard drive. Wow. Or should I say "Ouch!". The 3.33 GHz is not available for the 8-core Mac Pro either. BTW, they $550 each for every extra 2 TB hard drive.

Note that Phil the Schill had previously said the Apple holiday lineup was already "set". Perhaps the Mac Pro doesn't count as a holiday machine?

P.S. This doesn't bode well for an early Gulftown launch.
( Last edited by Eug; Dec 4, 2009 at 04:42 PM. )
     
RedStar
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Dec 4, 2009, 04:40 PM
 
I ordered an i7 iMac the day after Thanksgiving and I was seriously worried a new Mac Pro would come out for less money with more power.

This makes me rest easy.

Like someone commented on TUAW - Why didn't they just put an i7 in a Mac Pro case and bottom out the price. I would have snapped that up in a heartbeat.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 4, 2009, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
$3700 for a quad 3.33 GHz Mac Pro, and that's with only 3 GB RAM and a 640 GB hard drive. Wow. Or should I say "Ouch!". The 3.33 GHz is not available for the 8-core Mac Pro either. BTW, they $550 each for every extra 2 TB hard drive.

Note that Phil the Schill had previously said the Apple holiday lineup was already "set". Perhaps the Mac Pro doesn't count as a holiday machine?

P.S. This doesn't bode well for an early Gulftown launch.
It might not; but it might also mean Apple's shifting inventory and getting rid of the old models with a simple CPU drop-in before the end of the fiscal quarter.

And then shipping a redesigned board in the next...?
     
mduell
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Dec 4, 2009, 05:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by RedStar View Post
Like someone commented on TUAW - Why didn't they just put an i7 in a Mac Pro case and bottom out the price. I would have snapped that up in a heartbeat.
This way is more profitable.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 5, 2009, 04:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
P.S. This doesn't bode well for an early Gulftown launch.
I have the same concern.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 5, 2009, 04:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by RedStar View Post
Like someone commented on TUAW - Why didn't they just put an i7 in a Mac Pro case and bottom out the price. I would have snapped that up in a heartbeat.
On the high end they can't. Bloomfield doesn't do SMP. It's the same story ever since Apple launched the MP.

On the low end they don't want to. Bottom line is that's a consumer tower. Lower margins for Apple. Less sexy. As attractive as it may be to many geeks, Apple hates it. Hence no dice.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 5, 2009, 04:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
It might not; but it might also mean Apple's shifting inventory and getting rid of the old models with a simple CPU drop-in before the end of the fiscal quarter.
For that to work the CPU drop-in would have to be attractive. In price or in features. The features (read 14% clock increase) are meh and the price is ludicrous.

I'm still looking for a good explanation for what happened yesterday. What exactly was this update supposed to achieve?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 5, 2009, 04:52 AM
 
December is, at least over here, the month where a lot of Mac Pros are bought - for tax reasons.

Might as well help push people over the edge, if they're on the fence about what to blow their taxable income on.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 5, 2009, 05:03 AM
 
But again, how is *that* suppoed to push people over the edge? Nobody has been holding back on a MP purchase thinking, "if only it had a few percent more clock!". Nobody.
     
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Dec 5, 2009, 11:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
But again, how is *that* suppoed to push people over the edge?
It landed on a slow Friday, and it managed to get people talking about the MP - I don't know how many times I saw this very minor piece of news on various sites. All publicity is good publicity and all that. Rationally, it makes no sense at all - that model must be the silliest Apple has launched in quite a while.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 6, 2009, 11:14 AM
 
All publicity is good publicity? Sure, but the reason people don't buy the MP isn't because they don't know about it. And it's not like Apple wouldn't be aware of how to get it to sell. I seriously wonder if they simply don't care how many units they (don't) sell.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 14, 2009, 02:49 PM
 
Now one of these would go very well with the new MP. Nvidia GTX380 vs ATI HD5970.

GeForce 300 to outpace dual Radeons? | Electronista
     
Veltliner
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Now one of these would go very well with the new MP. Nvidia GTX380 vs ATI HD5970.

GeForce 300 to outpace dual Radeons? | Electronista
Nice toy for someone working on 3ds max or something like it.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:54 AM
 
Looks like this thread will soon need its title edited. Intel is apparently going to retain the i7 moniker for Gulftown (Westmere desktop) and instead use an X suffix (like i7-980X). The Xeon versions will obviously continue to use their own naming.

HardMac: Details concerning the Xeon processors with 6 cores



     
P
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Dec 15, 2009, 11:44 AM
 
I think Intel marketing is just messing with us.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
mduell
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Dec 15, 2009, 01:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Nice toy for someone working on 3ds max or something like it.
Wouldn't someone in 3ds Max want a Quadro instead of a gaming card?
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 15, 2009, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Looks like this thread will soon need its title edited.
A few hours later it's already fixinated. Speedy mods! Thanks.
     
Todd Madson
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Dec 17, 2009, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Wouldn't someone in 3ds Max want a Quadro instead of a gaming card?
I've wondered about this myself. It seems the lines between gaming video cards and workstation video cards is blurring somewhat.

They both have a need for similar things but different aspects of that similar thing.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 23, 2009, 04:03 AM
 
Fudzilla - Gulftown Core i7 980X to start selling in March

130W for Core i7 980X. Apple only uses Xeons with that kind of TDP in single-CPU Mac Pros.
     
Bwa
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Dec 27, 2009, 08:48 PM
 
Although I have a Mac Pro at my home office desk and love Apple stuff, I recently bought HP i7 desktops for my engineering employees. $1250 for a tower with 9 GB of RAM (expandable to 24 GB, I believe), 4 cores + hyperthreading, 1 TB hard drive. And the performance is incredible--far beyond what I've seen on my last-gen 2.8 ghz Mac Pro for the wordloads we do. For a third of the price. Apple really needs to lower prices. For sales guys, we're buying $4000 HP laptops with 16 GB of RAM, i7 processors, and 2x160 SSDs to demo our code in the field. Sadly, a $4000 MacBook Pro is 8 GB of RAM and 2 cores, 1x256 SSD.

I've long thought Apple stuff was priced well, but there's some big holes here they need to fill.
     
Veltliner
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Dec 30, 2009, 12:57 AM
 
Let's hope Apple gives us a break and prices well.

And does not give us another ridiculous 4-core with low RAM ceiling that is obsolete within months (the new i7 27" iMac is faster than the 4-core).
     
olePigeon
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Dec 30, 2009, 01:39 AM
 
This was one of my concerns with Apple switching to Intel. I don't know how long Apple can justify the prices of their computers; and with Intel churning out new chips every few months, Apple's struggling to keep up.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 30, 2009, 08:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
And does not give us another ridiculous 4-core with low RAM ceiling that is obsolete within months (the new i7 27" iMac is faster than the 4-core).
It would actually be a ridiculous 6-core with low RAM ceiling that's obsolete within months.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 30, 2009 at 08:55 AM. )
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 30, 2009, 09:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
This was one of my concerns with Apple switching to Intel. I don't know how long Apple can justify the prices of their computers; and with Intel churning out new chips every few months, Apple's struggling to keep up.
Many were concerned about that. But as we know Apple is making more money than ever. And they manage to sell only one real desktop: the MP at an awesome high price. The dirty secret is that bottom line is it's working for them. And that in turn means that people who'd like a real desktop Mac get shafted pushed towards PCs.

Unless desktops become very important, Apple starts losing money, or they want to attract some serious market share, none of this will have to change.

The real solution for the OS X aficionado might just be a Hackintosh. Uncomfortable as that may be.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 30, 2009, 09:39 AM
 
That's not an option for anybody who actually needs to work with the machine.

No support = no purchase.
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 30, 2009, 09:46 AM
 
I fully agree. Some people will be pushed away from OS X entirely and go Linux or Windows.
     
Veltliner
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Jan 1, 2010, 12:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I fully agree. Some people will be pushed away from OS X entirely and go Linux or Windows.
I see that, too.

Now that Apple has lost the Vista Bonus and Windows 7 is actually good software, Apple has to step it up to provide a workstation that's worth its price.

It's not only the cheesecake 4-core. Generally people think that, in comparison to the 2008 Mac Pros, the 2009 Mac Pros were not a good deal at all and heavily overpriced.

What I'd like to see is a great 2010 Mac Pro that is a really fast, top notch workstation.

Or there will be ads by Microsoft making fun of Apple. And starting another switching campaign.

The PC world is also catching up with service. Not sure if it's true, but I heard that Dell has extended its basic warranty to house calls, where they come to you to fix a broken machine.
     
shabbasuraj
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Jan 1, 2010, 04:07 AM
 
After the iSlate is released... I think Apple will have officially FORGOTTEN about the MacPro line.

The Pro line of computers is so infrequently updated... I have always thought that Pro Users would demand the most current hardware... and thus demand faster updates.... so Apple would do so... but they don't/

Sux.

Also the prices of these things are really getting high...........
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shabbasuraj
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Jan 1, 2010, 04:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
This was one of my concerns with Apple switching to Intel. I don't know how long Apple can justify the prices of their computers; and with Intel churning out new chips every few months, Apple's struggling to keep up.
Agreed.. with the switch to Intel... I was hoping for frequent updates.. with frequent price reductions..................


FAIL.
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mduell
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Jan 1, 2010, 04:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by shabbasuraj View Post
After the iSlate is released... I think Apple will have officially FORGOTTEN about the MacPro line.

The Pro line of computers is so infrequently updated... I have always thought that Pro Users would demand the most current hardware... and thus demand faster updates.... so Apple would do so... but they don't/

Also the prices of these things are really getting high...........
Apple is keeping pace with Intel's new chip releases as appropriate for the hardware Apple sells. And PowerPC chips were pretty cheap (wholesale) compared to Intel's price premium.

Originally Posted by shabbasuraj View Post
Agreed.. with the switch to Intel... I was hoping for frequent updates.. with frequent price reductions..................
They're updating as often as Intel is releasing, but they're not following the price driftdowns.
     
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Jan 1, 2010, 06:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
It's not only the cheesecake 4-core. Generally people think that, in comparison to the 2008 Mac Pros, the 2009 Mac Pros were not a good deal at all and heavily overpriced.
The 8-core wasn't a bad deal from Apple's side - Intel knew how fast the first Nehalems were, and they charged accordingly. I don't think everyone on this forum has realised what a monster Nehalem is compared to Conroe on server tasks. The thing about the quadcore is that it didn't use the same CPU as the octocore - it used what was essentially a Core i7 (+support for ECC memory), what Intel calls the Xeon 3500 series. They cost far less than the Xeon 5500 series in the top model, and apple simply decided to pocket the difference. They could never have done that given any sort of competition in the market.

Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
What I'd like to see is a great 2010 Mac Pro that is a really fast, top notch workstation.
Nono, the 8-core is top notch. What we need is something cheaper. As much as I like this Core i7 iMac, I still find it insane that the next reasonable step up is a $3300 machine with lower clocks and a far slower GPU.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 3, 2010, 05:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
The 8-core wasn't a bad deal from Apple's side - Intel knew how fast the first Nehalems were, and they charged accordingly. I don't think everyone on this forum has realised what a monster Nehalem is compared to Conroe on server tasks. The thing about the quadcore is that it didn't use the same CPU as the octocore - it used what was essentially a Core i7 (+support for ECC memory), what Intel calls the Xeon 3500 series. They cost far less than the Xeon 5500 series in the top model, and apple simply decided to pocket the difference. They could never have done that given any sort of competition in the market.
That was an evil thing to do. I really hope we won't get any of this for 2010.

I really need a workstation. The iMacs, as good looking they are, just don't give me what I want.

If it weren't so difficult to do it well, I'd put a hackintosh together myself.

Originally Posted by P View Post
Nono, the 8-core is top notch. What we need is something cheaper. As much as I like this Core i7 iMac, I still find it insane that the next reasonable step up is a $3300 machine with lower clocks and a far slower GPU.
That's the chorus everywhere among Apple users: we want a better deal.

I'm ready to pay more for a Mac than for a PC. But Apple has crossed a line.

As I said, with Vista gone and Windows 7 being a good competitor, the rules of competition make it very likely that we will see a better deal in 2010.

The current entry-level real Mac Pro is at $3300. And this doesn't even include basic things you need like WiFi card. And it still has a lowly consumer graphics card in it. So it's actually more like $3700.

I'd say the entry level dual six-core should be around $2500. If you add a better graphics card and WiFi you'll hit $3000 anyway.

I mean, Dell has a Mac Pro equivalent on the market (I think it's called the 5500, a professional grade workstation) with an nVidia Quadro. And this for considerably less than a Mac Pro with its cheesecake graphics card. This shows there is a lot of give in the Mac Pro pricing.
     
Simon  (op)
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Jan 3, 2010, 09:46 AM
 
Can you guys move the EFI-X discussion to a dedicated thread? My thread here is about Gulftown/Westmere MPs, not about implementations of EFI-X.
     
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Jan 3, 2010, 12:28 PM
 
I'm with Simon for a couple of reasons. First, this thread is already kind of cluttered with branched discussions that aren't completely on topic so, being easily confused, I'm having to put some extra effort into following the potentials of the new MPs. Second, I want to hear more about how EFI-X will be different from the current EFI, and it's hard to keep two topics straight.

If one of you that's discussing EFI will start a new thread, I'll move the EFI posts there... If you're interested in keeping that discussion going, that is.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Jan 3, 2010, 04:09 PM
 


I've moved the Hackintosh / EFI-X discussion to it's own thread.
     
mduell
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Jan 3, 2010, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
I'd say the entry level dual six-core should be around $2500. If you add a better graphics card and WiFi you'll hit $3000 anyway.

I mean, Dell has a Mac Pro equivalent on the market (I think it's called the 5500, a professional grade workstation) with an nVidia Quadro. And this for considerably less than a Mac Pro with its cheesecake graphics card. This shows there is a lot of give in the Mac Pro pricing.
I expect the entry level to be dual 4 core at best, not dual 6 core. The 6 core chips will come in at about the same clockrate/price combinations as the current quads.

Note that Quadro is a whole family of cards, including cheap ones with crap performance. The value of Quadro is stability and ISV support.
     
Simon  (op)
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Jan 3, 2010, 07:32 PM
 
$2500 is ok for the MP entry-level if the specs aren't too lousy. But a $2500 entry-level MP certainly won't be dual six cores. Most probably six physical cores (12 logical cores).
     
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Jan 3, 2010, 08:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The value of Quadro is stability and ISV support.
And drivers. Apparently nVidia is making them themselves again.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 3, 2010, 11:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I expect the entry level to be dual 4 core at best, not dual 6 core. The 6 core chips will come in at about the same clockrate/price combinations as the current quads.

Note that Quadro is a whole family of cards, including cheap ones with crap performance. The value of Quadro is stability and ISV support.
Dual four core as an entry level Mac Pro, and not a single 6-core. Sounds like a good idea.

I noticed when I googled the Quadro that there's a wide variety of cards called "Quadro" going pretty far down. That's all for the PC universe.

What I am astonished that for the Mac there is only one Quadro available - an absolute high end card with 1,5 GB video RAM and it costs around $1650.
     
 
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