The Macintel Report

Core 2 Performance Coming to the Mac, Intel Version of Darwin Closed, IBM's 500 GHz Chip, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.06.29

This Week's Macintel News

ExtremeTech has a performance preview of Intel's new Core 2 CPUs, which we can expect to see in Apple's next generation of computers. Fully expect to see Intel-based Power Mac and Xserve replacements demonstrated with "Leopard" (Mac OS X 10.5) at the Worldwide Developers Conference, August 7-11.

The Core 2 CPUs bring 64-bit computing, more power than the current Core line, and improved energy efficiency. Don't be surprised if the MacBook Pro goes Core 2 in the near future, perhaps in July.

InfoWorld's Tim Yager is upset with Apple for closing Darwin for Intel. Formerly the open source core of Mac OS X, the Intel version of Darwin is no longer being made available. This should thwart hackers from pirating OS X and selling it on non-Apple hardware. Yager's concern is that power users will no longer be able to tweak performance for their specific needs, but there's no reason Apple or an independent developer can't develop tools to perform those tweaks with no need to provide Darwin for Intel source code.

On the CPU front, Intel is looking ahead to multicore CPUs with as many as 10 core, IBM has run a chip at 500 GHz by dropping its temperature near absolute zero, and Intel is now making more 65nm chips than 90nm ones.

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.

Macintel News

Tech News

Macintel News

Coming Soon to the Mac: Woodcrest, Conroe, Merom

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"Intel used an event in San Francisco yesterday to launch their new server chip code-named 'Woodcrest.' (The official name 'Dual Core Xeon' is not nearly as cool, but I digress.) According to Intel the new chips are optimized for low power consumption and provide more performance in key benchmarks - 35 percent less power consumption while providing 80 percent more performance than prior chips....

"Other interesting chips in Intel's pipeline:

"Conroe is Intel's first Core processor for desktop machines....

"Merom is Intel's next-generation notebook chip. A 64-bit processor with multiple cores and 2-4 MB of cache...."

Link: Coming Soon to a Mac Near You: Woodcrest, Conroe and Merom

Core 2 Duo Performance Preview

ExtremeTech's Jason Cross reports:

"It would be the understatement of the year to say that Intel's next-generation CPU architecture, known as the 'Core' microarchitecture and shipping in the desktop chip 'Conroe' and notebook chip 'Merom' is greatly anticipated. PC enthusiasts looking to upgrade have been holding off for weeks on the prospects that these new chips would be substantially faster and more energy efficient than anything else on the market today.

"We got the chance to head down to Santa Clara and test the desktop chip, known as Core 2 Duo, under Intel's supervision. Just as we did when we tested the Core 2 Extreme last month, we performed a series of benchmarks on machines set up by Intel. So don't consider this a review. That will have to wait for the official launch, when we'll have a slew of benchmarks run our own way on systems we built ourselves. Still, this is a pretty exciting peek at what kind of performance we can expect when the chips go on sale."

Link: Core 2 Duo Performance Update

Apple Closes Door on Intel Version of Darwin

InfoWorld's Tom Yager reports:

"Apple is in the unique position of losing hardware sales to software pirates. It faces the risk of cloned Macs being distributed in foreign markets where intellectual property protection is weak. I empathize. Still, there are ways to address the piracy issue without stripping the critical and defining quality of openness from OS X.

"Thanks to pirates, or rather the fear of them, the Intel edition of Apple's OS X is now a proprietary operating system.

"Mac developers and power users no longer have the freedom to alter, rebuild and replace the OS X kernel from source code. Stripped of openness, it no longer possesses the quality that elevated Linux to its status as the second most popular commercial OS."

Link: Apple Slams Door on Intel Version of OS X

Fink Binary Distribution 0.8.1 Supports PowerPC, Intel

PR: The Fink project is proud to announce the availability of a new binary distribution, version 0.8.1 for Intel and PowerPC.

Over 1,900 precompiled packages for PowerPC and 1,700 for the Intel platform have been made available. Including new precompiled packages for KDE, GNOME and many popular scientific applications.

Improved documentation from the Fink website including translations into French, Japanese and simplified Chinese.

Fink is free, licensed under the GPL.

This is a general public availability release for PowerPC and Intel Macintosh computer. Fink urges you to observe that the Intel platform is still considered "beta" quality, and a number of packages (particularly packages in the "unstable" tree) either do not compile, or compile but do not run. Work to improve this situation is ongoing.

To download the binary installer please visit:

http://www.finkproject.org/download/index.php

Current Fink users should use fink to upgrade their installation. People running 0.8.0 are strongly urged to upgrade their installation to benefit from the many bug fixes in 0.8.1

With this new release to better support both platforms that Apple now offers, Fink has taken yet another step to improve the service to its community.

In-depth documentation on various topics can be acquired from:

http://www.finkproject.org/doc/index.php

The Fink project would like to thank all the Contributors, Package maintainers and long-term developers as well as the users for downloading the prior release 0.8.0 almost 280_000 times. Without the steady support of the community this project would have not been and will not be successful.

First time Fink users should also observe the information provided at:

http://www.finkproject.org/doc/bundled/usage.php

Tech News

Intel's Plans Go Way Beyond Dual-core CPUs

eWeek's John G. Spooner reports:

"Intel is about to deliver the opening salvo in a wave of multicore processors that could ultimately lead to chips with scores of cores.

"The chip maker will begin the rollout of its Core Microarchitecture - new chip circuitry that emphasizes power efficiency - June 26 with the arrival of the dual-core 'Woodcrest' Xeon 5100-series server chip. But Intel researchers said June 15 that they have already seen results with projects associated with their Tera-scale Computing effort to explore processors containing tens or even hundreds of cores.

"Intel has already implied that it is aiming for processors with more than 10 processor cores by the end of the decade. However, Tera-scale chips would look and act differently. They would be built from numerous relatively simple general-purpose IA (Intel Architecture) x86 processor cores - with the potential to include specialized cores for some jobs-to boost performance by dividing up jobs and running them in parallel."

Link: Intel Abuzz Over Core-Mania

IBM Pushes Supercooled Chip to 500 GHz

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Boffins from IBM and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) have produced what they claim is the world's fastest silicon chip thanks to what must be the acme of overclocking. The researchers reached a clock speed of 500 GHz by reducing its temperature to just 4.5° above absolute zero."

Link: IBM Overclocks Chip to 500 GHz

Intel Punching Out More 65nm than 90nm Chips

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel has opened its third 65nm, 300mm-wafer processor production facility, the result of an upgrade made to its Leixlip, Ireland plant, the chip giant said yesterday. More than half of the CPUs the company is now producing are 65nm parts, it added.

"The $2bn factory is in volume production. Dubbed Fab 24-2, it joins Intel's other 65nm fabs, Fab 12 in Arizona and Fab D1D in Oregon. Fab 24-2 has been punching out 65nm CPUs for three months while Intel ramped up production to full output. That production ramped helped push 65nm production beyond 90nm output levels."

Link: Intel Punching Out More 65nm than 90nm Chips

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