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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 @09:54AM (#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?
  • by Nova Express (100383) <lawrenceperson&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:58AM (#18604157) Homepage Journal
    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.;-)

  • Re:Advantage? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tuskentower (1027678) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:03AM (#18604237)
    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 Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:10AM (#18604345) Homepage Journal

    A while back some folks (Ars Technica, I think) swapped the dualies in the Mac Pro for these new quad cores and found out that it could not only see all the cores, but also utilize them. (Though they could never get it to peg the processors, even while playing 8 high-def videos on it.)

    Mac OS X automatically sees and uses as many cores or processors that it has available. Final Cut Pro, the de facto video editing app for professionals these days, can see and use all these cores.

    Now if you want to do that on the Windows side, I won't be of much assistance.

  • by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@nospAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:14AM (#18604413)
    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.
  • No new video cards (Score:2, Interesting)

    by superangrybrit (600375) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:16AM (#18604437)
    7300 is pretty low end stuff.

    How about updated NVIDIA 8800 class video cards?
  • Re:awesome machine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimstapleton (999106) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:17AM (#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
  • Upgrades? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ab (5715) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:32AM (#18604771) Homepage
    I'd like to see Apple offer an upgrade from a 4- to an 8-processor machine too. I'm not taxing my quad at the moment, but it'd be nice to have official acknowledgment of this upgrade path. (Yeah, we could DIY, but a lot of people would feel better modding a high-end machine in an official way.)

    Even with Apple 30" displays being $1800 ($1600 higher ed) new (Dell's is cheaper now too- didn't used to be), I doubt I'd add a second one- my desk isn't big enough! I highly recommend the 30" though. It's even nicer than you'd think.

    ab
  • by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:52AM (#18605127) Journal
    The entire company is high end IT except the single HR person. It's a custom hosting/access company. There are no techs that fix your computer and customer support comes from the engineers. If you couldn't fix it yourself, you wouldn't be there.
  • Bah on minimums. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lancejjj (924211) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:57AM (#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 tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:06AM (#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.
  • Re:awesome machine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:13AM (#18605627)
    The Mac Mini is extremely crippled. The iMac has the wrong features. The Macbook has shit for a GPU just like the Mini. The options for a Mac with a decent (not great, just decent) GPU are: The iMac, the Mac Pro, and the Macbook Pro. That situation is unacceptable to many people. The Mac Pro is too big, too heavy, and is way more computer than most people need. The Macbook Pro is great, if you need a business class notebook, which is far from being everyone. The iMac, and to an even greater extent the Mac Mini, are sacrifice machines. Both are sealed boxes, in many ways just a step up from dumb terminals. Neither has the capability or the connectivity to make them truly useful to many people.

    Apple needs to rerelease the Cube. In dual and quad configurations, with a PCI express x16 slot, 1 x1 slot, 4 ram slots, Firewire 800 and USB.

  • by gsfprez (27403) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:19AM (#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.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:27AM (#18605935) Homepage Journal

    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, as others have pointed out, the only benefit to that for non-gaming purposes (and this is simply not a gaming machine - there is currently no benefit to having more than two cores in one of those) would be for using the GPUs as coprocessors.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:29AM (#18605993)

    Yes, Mac Pros are cheaper than the equivalent Dell machines. However, this is practically the only case where this is true.

    This varies depending upon the release dates and whatnot, but in general, I disagree. Apple usually wins for small form factor, with the mini almost always cheaper than Dell and anyone else, and they frequently win for pro notebooks, though not always. In fact, Apple is usually a bit more expensive for the Mac Pro line and this is an anomaly. For matching the exact same hardware and ignoring installed software, the last market study I saw put Apple at 8% more expensive than Dell, but 4% cheaper than the market on average. Of course it also put Apple far and away ahead of Dell in customer support and hardware reliability which was not accounted for in the price difference.

    The sites I've seen that compare average desktops and laptops always cheat by adding extra upgrades to Dell machines to make the prices match rather than just speccing them out exactly the same and seeing what they get.

    In general, you have to add extras to Dell machines to get them to the same functionality as Apple machines. Dell mostly sells minimal machines, while Apple is committed to the midrange, with firewire, dual monitor support, etc. in everything. Realistically, Apple does not usually lose on price, they lose on lack of variety, making it harder to find exactly what you want and usually resulting in your purchasing more than you need, to get the features you do need. This is a subtly different problem.

  • Re:Advantage? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:39AM (#18606221) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Re:awesome machine (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:51AM (#18606467)
    I didn't say "most," I said "many" There's a difference, most being a plurality, many being a "large" number less than a plurality. The "many" I refer to is the population which cries out for an xMac, or the return of the Cube.

    As for what connectivity is missing from the iMac, generally RAM capacity, The lack of any type of PCI or ExpressCard expandability. Insufficient number of either ethernet ports or USB/Firewire ports with independent controllers. Which is to say, the kinds of high bandwidth expandability that make a computer useful in the age of digital A/V connectivity.

    Your response to this is likely to be that "we", the xMac crowd, simply need to buy Mac Pros and get over it. I think this attitude is rediculously unfair. What we want is not that bizarre, in fact, its the most commonly sold type of desktop machine in the personal computing market. We want a Mac Minitower. A machine, smaller, lighter, and with less expandability than a Pro workstation, but with more than an iMac.

  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @12:51PM (#18607507)

    "640K RAM should be enough for anyone"
    "32-bit should be enough for anyone"
    "4GB limit on hard drives? Who is going to use a whole 4GB?"
    "Besides Photoshop, what software is ever going to use BOTH processors?"

    If nothing else, it would be a great machine to finally be able to run Vista!
    The capstone to those is this simple truism: "Reasonable Limits Aren't."
  • Pegging 8 cores (Score:2, Interesting)

    by luxojr (799395) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:11PM (#18607851)
    Rendering in Luxology's modo will peg all 8 cores (or 4, or whatever you have). I, for one, am grateful for more cores as the apps I use (modo in particular - XCode too) can and do use them all. If anyone wants to see all cores pegged, go grab the (unrestricted) modo eval version from Luxology's site and try yourself. Incidently, I notice that modo is also the top app on Apple's performance page for the new machines.
  • Re:a good chunk... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by camperslo (704715) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:25PM (#18609231)
    I went on Newegg and spec'd out components similar to the "entry-level" $4000 Mac Pro... for about $2000.

    Really. I call BS on this one.
    Show links to 3 GHz Quad-core Xeon Clovertown CPUs (these can be used in pairs) and a motherboard that can support a pair of them.

    Just the dual-core 3 GHz versions of the Xeon (5160) run $871 [newegg.com] each ($1742 a pair) at New Egg. It is very doubtful that you could find even a pair of the right quad-core processors alone for $2000.

    If you're not trolling, perhaps you are confused. Remember, the quad-core variant of the cheaper Core 2 Duo (qx6700 etc) can't be used in pairs.
  • Re:honest question: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by demars (232969) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:03AM (#18617029) Homepage
    OK, I'll give you an honest answer. The link you gave is peeing and moaning about how long it takes OS X to start a thread compared to other OS's, but if the thread is doing any real work, it is not going to matter if it took a few more microseconds or milliseconds to spawn it. This is a complete red herring. If you've got a real compute-bounded task that can benifit from mutliple threads, then OS X is going to do fine, the extra time it may have taken to spawn the threads will be completely trivial. Not to put too fine a point on it, if you are doing some heavy duty image processing with an application that can take advantage of multiple processors, the octo-core Mac Pro _will_ be nearly twice as fast as the quad-core Mac Pro.

    If you have an application that is spending more time spawning threads than executing the threads, then I would question the software design, but furthermore I would say that if the threads are spending so little time actually processing, then execution time is going to seem instantaneous regardless of operating system. The sole exception would have to be an application that does nothing _else_ than spawn threads.

    I don't think Apple is plannng on fixing this problem because they probably give higher priority to fixing real problems.

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