8-core Apple Mac Pro unveiled

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empireum
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8-core Apple Mac Pro unveiled

Post by empireum »

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8-core Mac Pro available

It's finally happened.

Apple has now unveiled the new high-end configuration of its Intel-based "Mac Pro" workstations, featuring two quad-core Xeon "Clovertown" CPUs, making up for a total of eight 64-bit cores running at 3 GHz each.

Now how would that beast perform in Final Cut Pro or Photoshop CS3? I have just started dreaming of hosting dozens of virtual machines on it using Parallels or VMware... Put 8GB or 16GB of RAM into that beast and off you go...

http://www.apple.com/macpro

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Post by Bender »

Sweet!

** Fireware buys it, then installs Windows 95 on it. ***

muahahaha!
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Post by empireum »

That would be a sweet box to run some DOS games on, wouldn't it?

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Post by ppc_digger »

empireum wrote:That would be a sweet box to run some DOS games on, wouldn't it?
Won't make a difference, DOS apps only take advantage of the first core.

I'd love to use it as a compile farm (-j17 sounds good...).

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Post by Andy »

"...and components, the über-configurable Mac Pro lets you build..."
I like their wording, "Uber"

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Post by empireum »

ppc_digger wrote:
empireum wrote:That would be a sweet box to run some DOS games on, wouldn't it?
Won't make a difference, DOS apps only take advantage of the first core.

I'd love to use it as a compile farm (-j17 sounds good...).
I know; this was a joke (it's not April 1st anymore, but anyway...) I'd run OS X and Linux on it, of course, no way MS would be gonna touch this baby if it was in my possession.

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Post by idontknow »

Call me old fashioned, but I always find one core enough. I could burn CDs, work in Word, listen to music, download stuff off Bittorent without any slow down (and my PCs aren't new). How does more than once core improve this as all the ads claim? Yes, I might even play DOS games.

Please respond with realistic senarios, playing two games at once is not realistic.

Of course I wouldn't mind owning an 8 core computer no matter what OS is installed on it.

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Post by empireum »

Okay, what about:

– surfing the internet
– listening to music
– writing in a text processor or doing image editing
– compiling something or running a 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) OS in VMware

This is a scenario I am having almost daily, and especially the last is substiantially sped up when running on two coress, or when it's running on one core alone and the other stuff is on the other. With two (or more) processors or cores, there's no slow-down (if you have enough RAM and a fast HD, that is), with one core, a scenario like the above would push the system to the limits and produce a noticable lag (in my own experience).

That's why I love my dual-core box, I can do all that stuff at once but the system does not lag.

Of course I admit that 8 cores would be a bit excessive, but I am sure that the majority of the people buying the box not just because they're geeks actually need the power. I mean, the thing is not cheap.

Or what about virtualising and thus consolidating a small array of servers on one machine? Saves space and electricity.

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Post by netman85am »

If you think about it, this could be quite possible when intel's core 2 quad processors come into mainstream.

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Post by empireum »

For now, it seems to be a bit too pricey to buy unless you really need that much processing power. But as with everything, prices will go down.

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Post by Frozenport »

I don't know if photoshop can handel more then 2 cores (that is do anything with them)...

Final Cut, If I am correct does not go over 4...

So the clocks may not be very impressive
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Post by ___ »

ppc_digger wrote:
empireum wrote:That would be a sweet box to run some DOS games on, wouldn't it?
Won't make a difference, DOS apps only take advantage of the first core.

I'd love to use it as a compile farm (-j17 sounds good...).
run 8 dos apps

when i read the title i expect 1 cpu with 8 cores, not 2 cpus

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Post by empireum »

___ wrote:run 8 dos apps

when i read the title i expect 1 cpu with 8 cores, not 2 cpus
8 DOS apps, great use for such a machine... And currently, 8-core CPUs are not available (at least not for this market).

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Post by ___ »

i know, but it said unveiled in the title so i thought it was now

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Post by empireum »

OK, then it was my fault because I used the wrong word

Turb0

Post by Turb0 »

wow 8 cores!
talk about power hungry computers!

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Post by psiren »

8 cores.... Pfft! If you can't scale up, scale out. Or in this case, if you can't make a single faster processor - make loads of processors work together.

What gets me is that nothing new is happening here. For years we've had SMP architechtures. It's just more recently it's being brought to the desktop environment. Multi-processor servers and high-end workstations being refined into multi-core single processors. The question that I've got is - how far are they going to take it? I know for a fact that IBM offer a server solution that can have up to 64 processors (because I've used it!). Will the likes of Intel develop single processors with this many cores? I doubt it - but it'll be interesting to see where they draw the line....

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Post by empireum »

Well, I think the multi-core thing is a nice touch and it's essentially bringing some of SMP's advantages to the desktop or the notebook market. I mean, the time when the processors were boasting with exploding clock speeds of >3GHz seems to have come to an end, no exploding clock speeds (or at least not increasing as fast as they were before) but multiple cores and software that knows how to benefit from them. I admit, 8 cores are maybe a bit excessive, but I bet there are applications and usage scenarios where these can be efficiently used. I don't know when this is gonna stop, but if we have 64 cores per CPU someday, maybe we'll also have an app that can use them all.

I personally consider the dual-core CPU in my notebook a vast improvement over the single-core ones, especially considering the fact I regularly do stuff where a second CPU/core can achieve significant performance improvements. I know, a 2-core notebook is not an 8/16/32-core monster, but still. I consider it the right way to go, or at least a better way than cranking the CPU frequency up until the thing smokes.

I agree, SMP/multi-processor machines are nothing new, they've been around for years, but now, this "luxury" has been made available to everyone.

If you refer to the wording I used, maybe it sounded a bit too euphoric.

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Post by Vista Ultimate R2 »

psiren wrote:The question that I've got is - how far are they going to take it?
To me even 8 cores seems pretty pointless except for a few specific uses, given that most software can't really take advantage of more than two, though I suppose if they become popular then more apps that are designed for large numbers of cores might appear. I'm sure you wouldn't notice a lot of difference most of the time between this 8 core Pro and, say, the 4 core Pro (though I doubt the 4 core Pro is ever slow at anything, so would it even be possible for the 8 core one to "feel" faster?!)
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Post by empireum »

Yep, for now, I'd say, even for cases that we might describe as "extreme", 4 cores would be enough. The 8-core one seems to be more a "proof of concept". A proof of concept you can buy if you're fortunate enough.

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Post by psiren »

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:Would it even be possible for the 8 core one to "feel" faster?
One of the limitations in the multi-processor server enviroment was cache snooping. As in, how does CPU 6 know if the memory range it wants to operate on isn't already in CPU 2's cache? (and thereby the 'copy' thats in main memory 'stale'). It was even counter productive (in some respects) to have cache enabled on the processors! IBM released cache coherency cards that made sure cached and main memory data was consistent and thereby helping to speed things up.

I'm guessing that on these newer 8-core processors that the cache for the processor is shared amongst the cores? (as in say 1MB used as collective cache as opposed to split 8 ways?)

Also, maybe more cores WOULD be useful for general Windows (particularly Vista's) operation. Core #1 can be used exclusively for explorer.exe. Core #2 can be the first 5 services. Core #3 can be the next 5 services... etc. Lol. One core per Windows process. Ha har!!! Lets see Vista give me my System performance Rating now! Betcha I still get a crap result

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Post by Vista Ultimate R2 »

psiren wrote:Core #1 can be used exclusively for explorer.exe. Core #2 can be the first 5 services. Core #3 can be the next 5 services... etc. Lol. One core per Windows process. Ha har!!! Lets see Vista give me my System performance Rating now! Betcha I still get a crap result
I hope Windows never becomes that bloated! Of course, you could still get a score of the minimum 1.0 with that CPU, as the overall score is the lowest subscore so that is the score you would get with 2x Clovertowns and some really bad integrated graphics card...My CPU (P4HT 3.4 GHz) gets 4.3 - presumably these high-end multi-core ones (Core2 etc) get much closer to the maximum, which I think is currently 5.9.
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Post by XDude »

I think we need a system program that assigns the process load equally on differerent cores, or havn't so many cores isn't useful.

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Post by Frozenport »

I think this is very important but the only way how such a program would be benificial is if it could predict the load. Furthermore, we would have to wait as different tasks are being evaluated; many processes depend on the way their preceding proccess completes (AKA evaluates).

It is very hard for the processor to determine which way to jump before the initial taks is evaulated (If... Then... cmp ... jmp ) but the tasks come very small bites (pun). For example, there may only be 10 lines per every evaluation. Therefore, many programs can not benifit from SMP ever!

Yet, there are times when information will be recieved very predicatable. For example, if we are rendering a 'g old bmp we know that these elements will always be there:

Code: Select all

Byte, Value
1-2	66 77	"BM"
3-6	Size
7-10	0000
11-14	Offset 
15-18	40000
19-22	Width
23-26	Height
27-28	10 
29-32	Actual data
33-36	Should be 0000
37-53	Something that I forget :-( 
We could assign getting each of these functions to a seperate core. Or even to tell each core to extract a proportional peice of the data - assuming its in memory (yes, this example is flawed ; but I hope you see my point )

What really needs to be done is to add certain calls so that the programer can tell the CPU that he is about to do an operation that can be effectivley divided. For example "INT 837780h" that the proceding code will follow a specific format where the operation can be subdivided into catagories that can be grouped together.

-=-=-=-
On a final note it is my personal opinion that what we need is less of those 64 CPU systems that can only use 8 CPUs (or even 1 for most of the work) but instead faster single CPUs. Companies realized that the market can be tricked into buying multiple core CPUs instead of faster ones. Many of my less computer oriented friends believed when purchasing a computer that having two cores ment adding the two speeds....
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Post by ppc_digger »

Frozenport wrote:For example "INT 837780h" that the proceding code will follow a specific format where the operation can be subdivided into catagories that can be grouped together.
A 24-bit interrupt number? I doubt it
Move seriously, though, software interrupts aren't used to communicate with the CPU, but to communicate with the OS. If someone was to implement your idea, it would probably be a regular x86 instruction.

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