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Apple Businesses

Apple Ships 8-Core MacPro 628

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the way-more-cores-than-the-earth dept.
ivan1024 writes "The Apple website is announcing the availability of an 8-core Mac Pro. The machine will ship with two 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 processors. Older models with the Dual-Core chips remain available. Base model with two 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xeon processors start at $3997, (albeit with unacceptably minimal RAM or HD space; fully spec'd with dual 30" monitors and tons o' RAM/HD still over $10K... bummer)"
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Apple Ships 8-Core MacPro

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  • Advantage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by martin_b1sh0p (673005) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:54AM (#18604083)
    Not trolling, as this does sound awesome, but in reality how many applications out there really take advantage of these nifty multi-processor computers?
    • Re:Advantage? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:56AM (#18604111) Homepage
      Um video editing, composting effects, CGI, 3d rendering, etc....

      that is what hose computers are designed for. Apple pretty much owns video and TV production now.
      • I thought TV/Video production was still in the hands of IRIX and Linux?

        Never really understood the latter being there.
        • Re:Advantage? (Score:5, Informative)

          by kalidasa (577403) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:05AM (#18604251) Journal
          The front end is usually Avid or Apple software - and the Apple software only runs on OS X, and the Avid software can run on OS X. Linux boxes are often used for rendering farms. IRIX? Didn't SGI just discontinue IRIX?
          • Didn't know it was discontinued. Still, discontinued thigns often last quite a while after the fact.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by OrangeTide (124937)
            Didn't they use Amigas for the first season of Babylon 5? I think that was about the same time that Commodore was in its death spiral and the Amiga 4000 was [one of] the last platforms that would ever be released.
      • a good chunk... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Animaether (411575)
        ...but they hardly own it. For one, they're still missing a killer 3D app. Yes, Maya is on the Mac - but you'll be hard-pressed to find many companies using Maya on said Mac. Nevermind that it's not an Apple app (unlike Shake (by acquisition), FCP, Logic Pro (by acquisition) etc.) If Autodesk hadn't grabbed it up, I would have expected Apple to do so.

        Similarly, for editing/post, there's a ton of flint/flame/inferno/etc./etc. out there which are nowhere near Apple.

        And that's completely ignoring everythin
        • by ProfessionalCookie (673314) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:05AM (#18605425) Journal

          flint/flame/inferno/etc./etc
          ...All we ever got was a little Spark *sniff*
        • by Faust7 (314817) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:33AM (#18606091) Homepage
          Yes, Maya is on the Mac - but you'll be hard-pressed to find many companies using Maya on said Mac.

          http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:pfgF8E0i5C8J:w ww.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm%3FNewsID%3D14619+ macworld+maya+mac+sales+autodesk&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd= 1&gl=us [72.14.209.104]

          20% of Maya sales are the Mac version, according to Autodesk. (Google cache since Macworld UK is apparently down.)

        • Re:a good chunk... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:23AM (#18607029) Homepage
          Most productions studios I deal with (5 in michigan and chicago) all have transitioned away from AVID to apple/Final Cut. Production speed and quality went way up, Costs went way down.

          Avid is great but they are way behind because they are not moving fast enough. If you are still shooting on antique Betacam or digiBeta I can see using Avid or a Sony Digi suite. but most are over on DV as you get damn near same as digibeta off of a good DV camera and lenses. And once you hit that DV world all that special hardware that makes avid king becomes irrelevant.

          I can replace a single Avid suite with 3 FCP suites for the same price. Kids are coming out of college with FCP experience and preference and only minimal Avid exposure and typically older avid exposure.

          I have seen guys whip out a 30 second spot from encode to final in 1/4th the time it takes on an Avid using FCP.

          don't get me wrong, I love avid, I cut my teeth on it. But it's becoming more and more a FCP world every day.
      • by xouumalperxe (815707) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:13AM (#18604393)

        composting effects
        Hmmm... Didn't know macs were into manure these days.
      • by wass (72082) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:55AM (#18606543)
        hat is what hose computers are designed for.


        Hose computers are great, especially when you connect them up to a series of tubes.

    • by Andy_R (114137)
      As long as Adobe Creative Suite 3 takes advantage (which it ought to), these will sell like hot cakes to designers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tuskentower (1027678)
      If you build it, they will come
      It's a chicken and an egg problem. If you don't have a system like this then no one will write software for it. Besides, we're already going dual and quad core on our desktops.
    • by igotmybfg (525391)
      Realtime raytracing, anyone?
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:07AM (#18604293)
      I would say that Apple (not Dell) finally put out a machine capable of running Vista. [dodges flying chair]
    • Re:Advantage? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:02AM (#18605367) Homepage Journal
      Playing World of WarCraft of course!

      Did you ever see how amazing WoW looks on a 30" display?

      angel'o'sphere
    • by noewun (591275) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:07AM (#18605483) Journal
      Are you kidding? I will finally be able to use Word, with check-spelling-as-you-type on, and not have a lag between pressing the key and the character appearing on the screen!
  • While I do think this machine is awesome, and would love to have one... I am just wondering what applications out there would take full advantage of having 8 cores and 2 processors in the machine? I am sure NASA or some physics departments at some random university could, but what else? Anyone have any examples of what such a powerful computer could be used for business wise? I'm sure it would cut down the application issues I deal with on older mal-formed code I work on everyday to try to enhance... lol
    • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:02AM (#18604217) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, Apple's totally missing the boat. If only they made some sort of "mini" Mac for consumers, or a Mac notebook. They could call that a Mac Book or something.

      • Yeah right. Keep dreaming...
      • Re:awesome machine (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jimstapleton (999106) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:17AM (#18604481) Journal
        Um, he was wondering what markets this targeted, not complaining that something less powerful and less expensive wasn't available. Such a response is rather nasty and uncalled for given it isn't even relevant to the gp.

        It is a reasonable question. The general answer is a lot of niche markets, but not many general markets.
        - Video/multimedia editing at real time or faster than real time
        - Raytracing/3D image generation
        - High-end data analysis (quite good for most sciences)
        - Financial/Business data analysis
      • by dafz1 (604262)
        Mac Book? That's a stupid name. Nobody would buy a notebook called a Mac Book.

        Powerbook, that's a name people would like!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Gr8Apes (679165)
      Pretty much any heavy developer work can benefit from such a system. When you're running databases, messaging applications, appservers, webservers, clients, etc, it can add processes quickly, not to mention the DB alone could use all 8 cores.
    • by Yetihehe (971185)
      For example for render farms or graphics workstations, or anything that requires tons of processing power, preferably on one machine than networked solution. Many graphicians would like it if photoshop would support it. (Pov-Ray already does).
  • by k2enemy (555744) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:58AM (#18604149)
    I was really hoping there would be price drops on the quad core configurations. Or at least upgraded video cards.
    • by Andy_R (114137)
      No sign of the expected Cinema Displays with iSight built in either. Apple discontinued their add-on iSight camera back in December, so MacPro users have no official way of using iChat's video capabilities without using a 3rd party webcam or trawling eBay for an old unit.
  • IIRC, Neither Dell nor HP have yet shipped duel-3GHz quad core desktop machines, which means that Apple officially makes the fastest Intel desktop PC in the world.

    As a longtime mac user, I must admit that it feels inordinately good to say that.;-)

    • by dsginter (104154) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:13AM (#18604379)
      duel-3GHz

      Actually, Intel hasn't yet shipped the Quattro Quad Core Core 2 Dueling Dualist Duo - that is coming later this month.

      Apple is using the Core 2 Quad in this box (which lacks the swashbuckling extensions).
    • by brunascle (994197)
      well if you want an ultra-fast PC you dont look to Dell or HP generally, you look at the boutique vendors or build your own. but, yes, i dont konw of any pre-built with dual quad core.

      they made an odd choice for video cards, though. you get three choices, none of which are top of the line: NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT, ATI Radeon X1900 XT, NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500. the boutique PC vendors have been using nVidia's top of the line 8800 series cards, often two of them in SLI, for months now.

      so the apple wins hands down
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ivan256 (17499)
        This isn't really a gaming machine. It's a Mac, after all. The Quadro FX 4500 is pretty near top of the line for a 3D workstation. I'm surprised they don't offer a Quadro FX 5600 though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)
          This isn't really a gaming machine. It's a Mac, after all.

          So all this about how you can install Windows on it and dual-boot is what? Marketing? Because if I were to list the reasons I'd want to boot to Windows, which I wouldn't want to do regularly, then gaming would be it. That is the only time I turn off everything else that's running to free up both CPU time and bandwidth to turn it into a single-task machine. Any other "must-have" application I'd do my damndest to replace, emulate, virtualize or minimiz
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ivan256 (17499)

            If there's one thing left I feel suck with a Mac, is that I can't decide I need better framerates and drop in a stock graphics card. If I were to get a Mac, it'd have to replace my top Windows machine fully. It doesn't really have anything to do with Mac pricing but that I just can't keep two top of the line rigs, one for gaming and one for everything else. Let me stick a high-end GPU in a Mac Pro and you got it.

            It seems you are under the mistaken impression that you can't drop any old modern nVidia PCI-E

            • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:12PM (#18608967) Homepage
              t seems you are under the mistaken impression that you can't drop any old modern nVidia PCI-E video card in a Mac.

              Considering I find half a kazillion posts about said video cards not working under OS X, and the few that do need to use some beta driver from here [macvidia.com] and any new graphics cards will be a hit-or-miss thing too because the PC cards lack EFI support, yes I'm under that "mistaken impression". If you got any sources to back up your claims, I'd love to see them.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:58AM (#18604163) Journal
    Even w/ the G5 series, I was able to spec' out and buy my own RAM (2GB of PC 3200) for a lot less than Apple charges per GB of their 'blessed' stuff. 2-1/2 years later, everything is chugging along just fine (I'm typing this missive on the very same machine). I'm not sure if the vidcard's BIOS has changed since the Intel switch, but I suspect that someone has already figured out if one can simply get a std. PC vidcard or not and simply go with that (you could in the G5's, but it required a BIOS flash first).

    While most Mac folks would think it anathema to do it, I've always had no probs with getting a Mac w/ only the CPU strength I want, then buffing out the hardware specs everywhere else once I got it home - saves tons of cash that way.

    /P

    • by Pope (17780)
      Dude, the G5s didn't use DDR2 ECC DIMMS, so the price per Meg is higher than the bog-standard PC3200 DIMMS our G5s use anyway! Hell, I've been buying 3rd party memory, hard and optical drives, etc. since the days of my G4, 7 years ago. Still have that G4, and use it almost daily for audio work.

      Buy globally, upgrade locally! :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SlamMan (221834)
      Lots of Mac users do that. Apple has historically overcharged for RAM. They've gotten a bit better about HDs, but Crucial (or other vendor of choice) can just about always beat Apple's prices for memory.
  • Quick Mac Buying Tip (Score:4, Informative)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:59AM (#18604171) Homepage Journal

    Never buy anything from Apple that you can't install yourself. For the Mac Pro, Apple charges $700 for 4GB (4x1GB) of RAM. You can get the same amount of RAM from DealRam [dealnews.com] for $500. The same goes for hard drives. Apple charges you $329 for a 500GB SATA drive, which you can get from NewEgg for around $200. [newegg.com] Granted, these aren't covered by your warranty, but they often have a manufacturer's warranty

    I've often though the lack of user serviceable parts in the Mac Mini was designed to sell more RAM at Apple's hugely inflated prices.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Funny the 4 mac minis i own i have upgraded all the ram myself. Maybe its just you who cannot seem to figure out how to upgrade the ram. I mean there are wholes site on the internet devoted to this. BTW...I can buy ram cheaper online then from dell. What is your point?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Remeber the Pros, like the XServes, take ECC RAM. No matter who you buy it from, it isn't cheap. Apple's price for the Pro isn't much more than (~$140 at this point), than decent third-party RAM. (4 1GB ECC from Crucial is $560, 2x2GB is $840) The HD's may be more comparable, but check access time, cache size, and warranty.

      The only hard part about upgrading the RAM in a mini is not panicking at the plastic-popping sounds you get when you crack the case. Two sharpened putty knives (or lab spatulas), a
      • by tm2b (42473) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:01AM (#18605339) Journal

        The mini is designed like apple's DRM; it prevents the casual tinkerer from getting inside of it, voiding their warranty, then having a fit on the phone.
        Getting pretty tired of this lie. Opening the mini's case (to install memory) does not void the warranty. [macworld.com]
      • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:06AM (#18605455)

        Remeber the Pros, like the XServes, take ECC RAM. No matter who you buy it from, it isn't cheap. Apple's price for the Pro isn't much more than (~$140 at this point), than decent third-party RAM. (4 1GB ECC from Crucial is $560, 2x2GB is $840) The HD's may be more comparable, but check access time, cache size, and warranty.


        Not just ECC DDR-SDRAM, but FB-DIMM. The latter's even harder to get since it's only used for Intel's Xeon line of processors (which the Mac Pro and xServe use, and any workstation or server with multiple physical CPUs (not cores)).

        When I purchased my Mac Pro, Apple's RAM was very close to the price of FB-DIMMs locally and not too much more online - it was worth it buying Apple's stuff, have it all installed and having Apple actually being forced to fix it should it cause kernel panics and stuff. Plus, Apple's RAM has larger heatsinks - I think Crucials do too (if you ask for them). I saw a memory test somewhere the revealed the memory can run hot, and you get a number of correctable ECC errors. But if your RAM has the larger Apple-recommended heatsinks on them, the ECC errors drop to zero.

        But yes, FB-DIMMs are also why the Xeon platform's memory numbers aren't that great due to their higher latency - for raw memory-intensive stuff, a regular desktop Core2 processor will run rings around a Xeon Core2, even though the latter may have much faster RAM.
    • by carambola5 (456983) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:07AM (#18605493) Homepage
      Here's another tip.

      Look at Apple's "Select Developer Membership." At the base configuration, the difference between (ADC Select Membership + Mac Pro w/ discount) and (Mac Pro w/o discount) is $1... in favor of the membership. Bumping up the Mac Pro to the 8-core version yields $300 savings (ie: $800 savings - $500 membership). Plus you get everything that comes with the membership, including the Leopard Early Start Kit and two free tech support incidents.

      If you're a student, the membership price drops from $500 to $100, though you're only allowed to use the hardware discount once ever, whereas the Select Membership lets you buy hardware with the discount once per year (at a price of $500/year).
  • by badfish99 (826052) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:59AM (#18604175)
    Since Apple have now fixed Boot Camp so that you can run Vista, this new hardware will help with the Vista performance problems.
  • I'm rather disappointed in this. There were rumors that they'd put a top-of-the-line ATI video card with Crossfire in the 8-core machines (http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=2492) .

    Yes it's a workstation. Yes, it's not meant for games. But putting those cards in it would give Apple a significant salvo to fire into the boutique camp. I know a number of gamers who would buy them (outside the video card the machine is awesome).

    8-core? Nice. But Apple, enough is enough: put a premium video card in
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'm rather disappointed in this. There were rumors that they'd put a top-of-the-line ATI video card with Crossfire in the 8-core machines

      But with the popularity of boot camp, they instead elected to go with a card that had working windows and linux drivers.

      I want a MBP pretty bad, but I specifically will not purchase anything with ATI graphics. I gave them another chance after years of avoiding them (Radon 9600XT) and it turned out they STILL can't write drivers worth one tenth of one shit.

      On top of that

  • 7300 is pretty low end stuff.

    How about updated NVIDIA 8800 class video cards?
  • by ThirdPrize (938147) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:22AM (#18604571) Homepage
    that would be some sort of freak of nature. I wouldn't eat it.
  • USA only? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:30AM (#18604741) Homepage Journal
    No sign of 8-core machines in the UK Apple Store [apple.com]. Just a glitch or are we going to have to wait a bit longer over here? Lets hope Apple doesn't make us wait as long for their 8-core machine as Sony did for theirs (the PS3).
  • by LoudMusic (199347) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:45AM (#18604989)

    "The Apple website is announcing the availability of an 8-core Mac Pro. The machine will ship with two 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 processors. Older models with the Dual-Core chips remain available. Base model with two 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xeon processors start at $3997, (albeit with unacceptably minimal RAM or HD space; fully spec'd with dual 30" monitors and tons o' RAM/HD still over $10K... bummer)"
    I know I'm redundant on this one but ...

    You've got $3,600 in displays alone - that's more than 1/3 of the price. Also, Apple is notorious for overpricing hard drives and memory. Buy the fastest CPUs and get everything else from someone else, including the displays (get'em from Dell), and you'll save 20%+.
  • Bah on minimums. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lancejjj (924211) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:57AM (#18605261) Homepage

    Base model with two 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xeon processors start at $3997, (albeit with unacceptably minimal RAM or HD space;
    To me, a great minimum would be zero RAM and zero HDD. Then I could populate it with what I like.

    But I think I see Apple's desire to sell an operational machine - it'd be hard to support a machine if it is untestable in the store - in other words, there are a lot of idiots out there who can still manage to screw up RAM and HDD purchasing and installation, and when the do screw up, they're likely to blame anyone else other than themselves.

    Then again, my needs aren't really impacted by the "unacceptably minimal" 250 GB single disk and 1 GB of RAM - my world is CPU bound - loads of RAM and disk do not solve my problems where I work.
  • by gsfprez (27403) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:19AM (#18605745)
    refurb. Saved a ton. Bought it for video editing for a small business and a local ministry.

    Toward the end of the year, if its still too slow, i can always throw down on some of the quad core chips. They're around $1200 right now on Newegg.

    But so far, its not the processors that are slowing me down - its the hard drives and the 2 gigs of ram.

    If you're buying the 8 core box, and you're NOT buying a SATA raid w/card to go with it, you're pissing in the wind... because you'll NEVER keep the processors busy enough..

    encoding h.264 right now is taxing the 3 drive array inside my box, not the computing bits.

    I'm sure that with the release of Final Cut Suite 6 - we'll hopefully get some 3D graphics - finally - and maybe we'll even get shake with the Uber package if we're lucky.

    THEN we'll see.

    but right now, i have literally thrown dozens of needlessly complex stuff at Motion 2, and i can't get the CPUs to bog down.

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