What about Quad Core?

Later this year Intel will be introducing pin compatible upgrades to its Core 2 and Xeon lines, except instead of two cores these processors will feature four.  Codenamed Kenstfield (Core 2) and Clovertown (Xeon), Intel's new quad-core processors will dramatically increase the amount of processing power you can have in a single system.  Given that the Mac Pro features two LGA-771 sockets, you could theoretically drop two Clovertown processors in there and you'd have an 8-core Mac Pro.

Without a doubt Apple will release a quad-core version of the Mac Pro, either by the end of this year or early next year, but are users who buy the Mac Pro today missing out?  While we're still a couple of months away from being able to test a retail Clovertown CPU in the Mac Pro, we wanted to see if the current engineering samples of the chip would work. 

We grabbed a pair of 2.4GHz Clovertown samples and tossed them in the system, and to our pleasure, they worked just fine.  Our samples used a 1066MHz FSB, although we're expecting the final chip to use a 1333MHz FSB, but the most important part of the test is that all 8 cores were detected and functional. 

We ran a handful of stability tests on the Mac Pro equipped with two Clovertowns and didn't encounter any crashes with the processors, so it would seem that Clovertown will work in the Mac Pro's motherboard.  We can't say with 100% certainty that you will be able to upgrade to Clovertown when it comes out, but so far the results are looking good. 

For the performance of Clovertown you'll have to wait a bit longer as we're not allowed to disclose it just yet, but we wanted to let you know that so far it's looking like you'll be able to upgrade your Mac Pro to 8 cores in the not too distant future.

We are expecting there to be a trade off between clock speed and number of cores with the move to Clovertown, meaning that you'll be able to find higher clocked dual core Xeons than the upcoming quad core models.  The current rumors suggest that on the desktop side, the highest clock speed quad core chip will be 2.66GHz while the fastest dual core CPU will run at 2.93GHz.  We'd expect a similar situation with Clovertown in the Xeon lineup, meaning that unless you have a way of really stressing 8 cores, you may be better off with 4 faster cores in your Mac Pro.  We definitely had a difficult time stressing 8 cores in the Mac Pro, but if you have a handful of well threaded, CPU intensive tasks then a pair of slower Clovertowns can easily outperform a pair of dual core Woodcrest based Xeons. 

Finishing the Upgrade Installing Windows XP, the Right Way


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  • Calin - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    Assuming you want a workstation capable of accessing 16GB of RAM (and using two processors), your options are a bit more reduced. There was an article on Anandtech, and the Mac Pro (the most expensive) was just a couple of hundred dollars more expensive than the sum of its components (and operating system I think). Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    Intel Xeon 5150 2.66Ghz
    1GB PC2-5300 DDR2
    250GB 7200RPM Sata-II
    16x DVDRW
    Good Looking Case
    Server Mobo
    Mac OS



    Intel Xeon 5150 2.66Ghz $729
    3x 250GB Western Digital in raid 5 $65 each = $195
    Pionere 110D = $50
    7900GT $260
    2x 1GBx2 OCZ PC2-5300 $200 each = $400
    TYAN S5370G2NR-RS Dual Socket 771 Intel 5000V SSI CEB Server Motherboard $319 supports 16GB ram
    Cool Master Stacker $154
    Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W SLI Ready $70
    Linux OS , Microsoft Windows XP Professional X64 Edition Single Pack $139


    I know what i will pick :!
  • grtgrfx - Monday, December 21, 2009 - link

    And which one will run cooler and be completely silent when you push it? Ah, the Mac will. High quality build, excellent components, superior GUI: $2,500. Peace and quiet while working: priceless. Reply
  • Nimbo - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    Anand did compare prices in its second article about Mac pro
    Mac Pro: $2499
    Dell equivalent: $3110
    Home Built: $2390
  • tuteja1986 - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    MAC PRO $2499

    Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    1GB (2 x 512MB)
    250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB (single-link DVI/dual-link DVI)
    One 16x SuperDrive
    Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    Mac OS X - U.S. English

    - not include :
    Server OSX
    Fiber Channel Cards
    Wireless Option
    Any Apple Software
    Or even Apple Care Protection Plan (APP)

    Now if your doing loads of Video Editing/encoding.. one Gigabyte ram is crap all and 1 250GB is to little...

    Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    4GB (4 x 1GB)
    500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
    One 16x SuperDrive
    Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple wireless Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    Mac OS X - U.S. English

    - not include :
    Server OSX
    Fiber Channel Cards
    Wireless Option
    Any Apple Software
    Or even Apple Care Protection Plan (APP)

    At Mac Customize they don't give you a chose of additional 250GB hard drive just 500GB Hard drive

    Now Windows/Linux PC is where it shins :

    Intel Xeon 5150 Woodcrest $729 : $1458

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb x3 $189 = $567

    HIS/Sapphire/Asus Radeon X1900XT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 CrossFire Video Card - $300-$320 could way more cheaper with rebate

    NEC/LG/Sony/Lite-on 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Beige IDE Model ND-3550A $30

    hermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Computer Case - Retail $149

    Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W SLI Ready $70

    Logitech Cordless DesktopS Keyboard Mouse $58

    Creative Sound Blaster $40

    Windows XP PRO 64bit $139

    TYAN S5370G2NR-RS Dual Socket 771 Intel 5000V SSI CEB Server Motherboard $320

    Crucial Technology 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 FB-DIMM DDR2 667 $170 x 4 = $680


  • tech010101x - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    You do realize that the Mac Pro comes with all the drive sleds... you can add the WD5000KS drives yourself later. You can also add memory yourself.

    Doing it this way... ordering the Mac Pro with 2 x 512MB RAM and 1 500GB drive costs: $3009.
    Add in the RAM you quote: 4 DIMMS at $680 + 2 WD5000KS at $189 @ = $4067
    Total difference then is a mere $256.

    You are still missing firewire 400 and 800 and firewire target disk mode.
    The power supply in the Mac Pro is much beefier.
    Windows XP 64 bit is a mess.

    And then we get to the fact that you are comparing a retail price to a non-retail price, comparing a bunch of parts to a fully assembled system, and you are leaving out the shipping issue altogether. Certainly, it is possible to pay $4,909 + tax for the Mac Pro. It is also very possible to pay far less.

    The arguments in this regard are less about Apple and more about homebuilt vs. Tier 1 vendor. You might as well be comparing against IBM Intellistations, Sun Ultra 40's, or HP xw8400's. You'd appreciate it not being a homebuilt when you have to manage many of these over time.

    A 5% discount on the base system + the extra RAM and drives added later is $3917, or $106 difference. I usually get bigger discounts than that 5% on systems like this.

    In the end, if you aren't interested in using Mac OS X at all, the Mac Pro is probably not for you. It is the complete suite... from the hardware (including the nice boot menu, target disk mode, etc), the software (Mac OS X, iLife, platform user experience, etc.), solutions integration (Xsan costs $999 vs. ADIC StorNext at $4k for SAN filesystems), on through to applications (Final Cut Studio, Shake, etc.).
  • Calin - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    Windows XP Professional supports two processors (cores) out of the box. Put a Windows 2003, and see where you get... Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    and even that "home built" price was without a case, OS, or power supply. Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    As for the OS, you could "migrate" your Windows XP - with one small problem - XP is 1-2 processors only, this configuration would have 4 cores...
    So, add another ... for Windows 2003
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    Sorry, but that's wrong. XP is 1-2 *sockets* only. XP home will work with a dual core or even quad core CPU just fine, and XP Pro works with all 2S workstation setups without difficulty. Microsoft modified the way they count CPUs when dual core first came out. Reply

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