The Macintel Report

Core 2 Paves Way for Mac Pro, Core 2 Benchmarked, Parallels Desktop Release Candidate, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.06.08

This Week's Macintel News

Intel has officially unveiled the next generation of Core processors. Core 2 (officially Core™2) will be available in notebook, desktop, and server ("extreme") versions. Speeds 1.83 GHz to 2.83 GHz initially, and Intel anticipates passing the 3 GHz mark by year-end.

Expect these to be at the core of future MacBook Pro models, the widely anticipated Power Mac replacement, and next generation Xserve computers.

Also, Intel's new chipsets that support Core 2 are dropping support for the IDE/Parallel ATA bus in favor of Serial ATA (SATA). This should spur the production of optical drives with SATA.

On the virtualization front, Parallels Desktop (formerly Parallels Workstation) has reached release candidate status.

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review.

Core 2 News

Other News

Core 2 News

Intel Finalizes Core 2 Specifications

HardMac's Lionel reports:

"Intel has finalized the specifications of the forthcoming desktop-dedicated Core 2 CPUs; that should quickly find its place in the future iMacIntel revision, or even in a PowerMac-replacing model (or MacDesk or Mac).

"All models will have a 1066 MHz quad-pumped FSB (266x4), except the entry-level model clocked at 1.6 GHz with a 800 MHz FSB. Other models includes: 1.6, 1.86 and 2.13 GHz clock CPUs all featuring 2 MB of shared L2 cache, while the higher end models, 2.4 and 2.66 GHz, will sport doubled L2 cache (4 MB)."

Link: Core 2: Intel Finalizes Specifications

Core 2 Paves Way for Mac Pro

Macworld UK's James Niccolai reports:

"Intel has launched a new chipset for desktop computers today, which will work with forthcoming new processors that are likely to feature in Apple's next-generation pro desktops.

"The P965 Express chipset, formerly code-named Broadwater, will work with Intel's new Core 2 Duo desktop processor, also known as Conroe, which is due to go on sale next month. The chipset has started shipping in volume to PC makers already, Intel said....

"Conroe will be 40 per cent faster than Intel's best desktop chip today, but consume 40 per cent less power, he said. The Merom notebook chip will offer 20 per cent better performance and about the same battery life. Woodcrest, the server chip, will offer an 80 per cent lift in performance but use 35 per cent less power, according to Chandrasekher."

Link: Intel Unveils Mac Pro Speed Increases

Accelerated Intel Roadmaps Spur New Mac Speculation

eWeek's Daniel Drew Turner reports:

"For the first time, talk about new Intel processors is raising the pulses of editors at Mac-centric Web sites.

"This is a major change from the years when Apple Computer's Macintosh computers were powered by PowerPC chips from Freescale Semiconductor and IBM. In those days Mac sites downplayed advances made by Intel-but no more."

Link: Accelerated Intel Roadmaps Spur New Mac Speculation

Intel Tips Core 2 Duo Launch Plans, Phases Out IDE

ExtremeTech's Mark Hachman writes:

"Intel is expected to disclose on Tuesday its launch plans surrounding its next-generation Core 2 microprocessors, as well as a new low-voltage Core Duo chip that will be featured in thin-and-light notebooks from Dell and HP.

"Of longer-term importance, however, will be the introduction of the Intel P965 or "Broadwater" chipset, which marks the end of older parallel ATA disk drives and IDE storage within the PC."

Link: Intel Tips Core 2 Duo Launch Plans, Phases Out IDE

Benchmarking Conroe: First Look at Core 2 Extreme

ExtremeTech's Loyd Case reports:

"Intel's new Core 2 CPUs are probably the most anticipated processors yet to ship since AMD's first Athlon 64. In many ways, Intel's new desktop CPUs, set to launch in July, are the most important CPU products for the company since the original P6 processor in 1993. Intel has been promising lower power utilization and greater performance.

"We've described the Core 2 architecture back in March. The Core 2 microarchitecture gives us some clues as to why performance might be better. Conroe is a four-wide architecture, so can issue four instructions per clock, as opposed to the three-wide used in NetBurst and Athlon 64 architectures. The Core 2 will also contain a full 128-bit wide SSE (Streaming SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) Extensions) engine that can execute one SIMD instruction per clock. The Extreme and higher-end mainstream desktop CPUs will offer 4 MB of shared L2 cache. Finally, the use of micro-ops and macro-ops fusion, which can combine certain types of instructions as they come into the pipeline, enhances performance.

"But the architecture has a much shorter pipeline than the current Pentium D's - 14 versus 31 stages. That suggests that overall clock frequencies will be lower. Can the new features overcome the clock rate disparities? We'll take a look at that in a moment. However, let's take a look at what Intel plans to ship this year."

Link: Benchmarking Conroe: First Look at Core 2 Extreme

Intel Core 2 Duo Performance Preview

The Register's Lars-Göran Nilsson reports:

"Last week, Intel gathered the European press in Munich for a sneak peek at its the Core 2 Duo chip - a.k.a. 'Conroe'. Reg Hardware was there. We were limited to running a set of preinstalled benchmarks on the systems provided so this isn't a conclusive performance review of what Core 2 Duo is capable of...

"Nonetheless, the numbers are very impressive, but let's start with a look at what's on offer and why you should consider moving to the Core 2 Duo platform. Intel is touting Core 2 Duo as a power-efficient processor that also offers better performance than the Pentium 4 and Pentium D chips.

"Intel was keen to highlight some of the new functions of the Core 2 Duo processors. First of all there will be versions with either 2 or 4 MB of shared cache - or Intel Advanced Smart Cache, if you're into marketing wording. The two cores have to "fight" between themselves for cache allocation, and Intel claimed this technique delivered the best performance in their simulations.

"One of the most important features is what Intel refers to as Wide Dynamic Execution, which allows for more data to be processed per clock cycle compared to previous generation of products. The Core 2 Duo processors can processes four full instructions per clock cycle, compared to the NetBurst architecture's three....

"Smart Memory Access has been designed to lower memory latency and improve data access...."

Link: Intel Core 2 Duo Performance Preview

Intel Forks 'Merom' Mobile CPU

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel's 'Merom' dual-core mobile chip will ship in two forms, one with 2 MB of L2 cache, the other with 4 MB. Unlike 'Conroe', however, the smaller-cache parts will get their own model number sequence, it has emerged.

"Merom will ship in August under the Core 2 Duo brand. According to a DailyTech report, the 2 MB version will ship as the 1.83 GHz T5600. Three 4 MB parts are set to ship next quarter: the 2 GHz T7200, the 2.16 GHz T7400 and the 2.33 GHz T7600. All four processors support a 667 MHz frontside bus."

Link: Intel Forks 'Merom' Mobile CPU

Apple Pushing Intel in New Directions

IDG News Service's Sumner Lemon reports:

"One year after Apple Computer announced plans to use Intel processors in its computers, Apple is pushing the world's largest chip maker into new directions, a top executive said Monday.

"'They push us to think about things that we may not always think about,' said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group....

"Apple's view of how the computer market will evolve has influenced Intel's product roadmap, Chandrasekher said. That impact will be felt over the long term, rather than showing up soon, he said.

"Chandrasekher declined to give specific examples of how Apple had influenced the roadmap."

Link: Apple Pushing Intel in New Directions

Intel Rolls Out P965/ICH8 Chipset

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Computex 2006 Intel has officially launched its first 'Broadwater' chipset, the P965 Express, pitched at the upcoming Core 2 Duo dual-core processor - a.k.a. 'Conroe' operating on a 1066 MHz frontside bus.

"As expected, the P965 supports dual-channel 800 MHz DDR 2 SDRAM with bandwidth-optimising Fast Memory Access (FMA) technology, which can reorder memory access commands to ensure the bus is used as efficiently as possible."

Link: Intel Rolls Out P965/ICH8 Chipset

Other News

The Mac Versus a PC: Has the Difference Vanished?

Gene Steinberg, the Mac Night Owl, writes:

"In writing about the problems Microsoft is facing in finishing up Windows Vista, some of you have mistaken this for a Mac zealots versus PC zealots issue. But that's not true. Vista's troubled development process is well known, and when people recognized as Windows experts find serious issues with stability, performance and the user interface, it's reasonable to predict that there's trouble ahead."

Link: The Mac Versus a PC: Has the Difference Vanished?

A Step-by-Step Guide to a Pitfall-Free Installation of Windows XP on a Mac

MacCompanion's Ted Bade reports:

"Running Boot Camp is an effort to make it a bit easier to run Apple's Boot Camp assistant application to install Windows XP on your Intel based Mac. While Running Boot Camp is a fun document to read, it essentially reiterates the content of Apple's own document, though it acts to support the reader in a friendlier manner.

"This booklet is a 37 page PDF you can buy from O'Reilly.com. Conceptually, these mini books can be a great idea, getting information from experienced people to the consumer very quickly. If you are willing to print it, you can have it with you as you perform the process."

Link: Running Boot Camp - A Step-by-Step Guide to a Pitfall-Free Installation of Windows XP on a Mac

Release Candidate of Parallels Desktop for Mac

PR: The newly renamed Parallels Desktop for Mac (formerly Parallels Workstation) is not simply a "dual-boot" solution; rather, is an easy to use virtual machine which allows users to run Windows and other OSes in virtual containers directly on Mac OS X desktop. Use Windows applications without losing the functionality of your Mac - no rebooting required.

What's New in Parallels Desktop for Mac RC?

  • New look and feel
  • Improved performance and stability
  • Better and broader USB support
  • Improved Shared Folder tool
  • Better networking in virtual machines
  • Better sound support
  • Improved full screen mode
  • Resolved Suspend/Resume issues
  • Uninstaller introduced
  • National keyboards mapping issues have been fixed
  • Red "Power Off" button now always acts like Power Off
  • Blue "Pause" button now always acts like Suspend
  • The "Pause" button was moved to the VM menu

Parallels Desktop 2.2.1842.7 for Mac OS X offers users a number of important features, including:

Broad OS Support:

Use any version of Windows (3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, Me, 2000, NT, XP, 2003), any Linux distribution, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, or MS-DOS in secure virtual machines running alongside Mac OS X.

Great Performance:

Driven by full support for dual-core processors and Intel Virtualization Technology (included in almost every new Intel-powered Mac), virtual machines created using Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta6 offer near-native performance and rock-solid stability.

Unmatched Ease of Use:

Download the program and install it with a single click. Build a virtual machine in seconds using helpful wizards. Configure virtual machines using a simple web-inspired interface.

Works on any Intel-powered Mac:

Any Intel Powered Macintosh running OS X 10.4.4 or higher is compatible with Parallels Workstation 2.1.

NB: Please update Parallels Tools for guest Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 installed in previous betas! To do so boot guest OS and click on menu VM->Install Parallels Tools.

New in version 2.2.1842.7:

  • New look and feel
  • Improved performance and stability
  • Better and broader USB support
  • Improved Shared Folder tool
  • Better networking in virtual machines
  • Better sound support
  • Improved full screen mode
  • Resolved Suspend/Resume issues
  • Uninstaller introduced

Preorder Parallels Desktop for Mac Now for $39.99 and save $10 off the regular retail price

Participate in this important Beta program! Get your copy of Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta6 for Mac OS X now.

Share your thoughts, suggestions, and technical issues with the Parallels Development Team via online support form.

Link: Parallels Desktop for Mac

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