The Macintel Report

Quad-core 64-bit Mac Pro and Xserve, MacBook Pro Core 2 Rumors, VMware for Macintel, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.08.08

WWDC Special Report

Apple unveiled the Mac Pro and Xserve yesterday, completing the transition from PowerPC to Intel and moving Apple into 64-bit Intel-based computing. The top-end 3 GHz MacPro offers up to twice the power of the 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5 Quad.

There are persistent rumors that the MacBook Pro will move to Core 2 CPUs later this month, and VMware has announced another solution for running multiple operating systems on the Mac. Time will tell how well it compares to Parallels Desktop, the current front runner.

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.

Apple Unveils New Mac Pro Featuring Quad 64-bit Xeon Processors

PR: At WWDC yesterday, Apple unveiled the new Mac Pro, a quad Xeon, 64-bit desktop workstation featuring two new Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3.0 GHz and a new system architecture that delivers up to twice the performance of the Power Mac G5 Quad*. With advanced performance, greater expansion, higher performance graphics options, and unprecedented customization, the newly designed Mac Pro is the ideal system for the most demanding user. The introduction of the Mac Pro marks the completion of a rapid and seamless transition for Apple, with the entire Mac family now using Intel's latest processors.

"Apple has successfully completed the transition to using Intel processors in just seven months - 210 days to be exact," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "And what better product to complete it with than the new Mac Pro, the workstation Mac users have been dreaming about."

The new Mac Pro features the new Dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 series processor based on the revolutionary Intel Core microarchitecture, delivering breakthrough performance and power efficiency. The new Mac Pro is up to twice as fast as the Power Mac G5 Quad running industry standard benchmarks and features two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3.0 GHz, each with 4 MB of shared L2 cache and independent 1.33 GHz frontside buses. With 667 MHz DDR2 fully buffered memory, the Mac Pro also boasts a 256-bit wide memory architecture for amazing bandwidth.

Mac ProWith more than 4.9 million possible configurations, the Mac Pro delivers unprecedented customization to meet even the most demanding performance, expansion and storage needs. The newly redesigned Mac Pro features an all new, direct attach storage solution for cable free, snap in installation of up to four 500 GB Serial ATA hard drives for a total of 2 TB of internal storage - the most ever on a Mac - and support for two optical drives to simultaneously read and/or write to CDs and DVDs. Every Mac Pro includes three full-length PCI Express expansion slots and one double-wide PCI Express graphics slot to support high-powered, double-wide graphics cards without sacrificing multiple slots. Providing quick and convenient access to connect the most popular external devices, the front panel of the Mac Pro includes a FireWire 800 port, a FireWire 400 port and two USB 2.0 ports with additional FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and three USB 2.0 ports on the back panel. Mac Pro also includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, optical digital input and output, analog audio input and output, and optional built-in support for AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.

Every Mac Pro comes standard with the Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT with 256 MB of video memory, providing built-in support for dual-displays and Apple's 30" Cinema HD Display. The ATI Radeon X1900 XT and the Nvidia Quadro FX 4500, both with 512 MB of video memory, are available as build to order options and provide built-in support for up to two 30" Apple Cinema HD Displays. The Quadro FX 4500 also includes a stereo 3D port to connect goggles for stereo-in-a-window applications and is ideal for the most demanding animation, special effects and scientific visualization applications. The Mac Pro supports up to four PCI Express graphics cards to drive up to eight displays at once for advanced visualization and large display walls.

The latest release of the world's most advanced operating system, Mac OS X version 10.4.7 Tiger, comes with every new Mac Pro, including Safari™, Mail, iCal and iChat AV, running natively. Tiger includes an innovative software translation technology called Rosetta that lets customers run most Mac OS X PowerPC applications seamlessly.** Intel-based Mac customers have more than 3,000 Universal applications to choose from including all of Apple's own consumer and professional applications. Universal Mac software includes versions of Xsan, a high performance, enterprise class Storage Area Network (SAN) file system and Mac OS X Server, Apple's award-winning server operating system. An updated list of Universal applications for Mac OS X is available at guide.apple.com/universal and is growing each day with hundreds of developers announcing support for Mac OS X Intel-based applications.

Apple's award-winning widescreen flat panel Cinema Displays offer the perfect match for the Mac Pro and are now more affordable than ever. The 30" Cinema HD Display with an industry-leading 2560-by-1600 pixel resolution and the 23" Cinema HD Display with a 1920-by-1200 pixel resolution, ideal for editing High Definition Television (HDTV) content, are now priced at $1,999 and $999, respectively. The 20" Cinema Display is now just $699 and offers a 1680-by-1050 pixel resolution, more than enough space to edit full size images with plenty of room for onscreen palettes.

The Mac Pro is shipping now with the standard prebuilt configuration, including two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors and priced at $2,499, through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 20" Cinema Display, 23" Cinema HD Display and the 30" Cinema HD Display are available through the Apple Store, at Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $699, $999 and $1,999, respectively.

The Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of $2,499, includes:

  • two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors;
  • 1 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC memory expandable up to 16 GB;
  • Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT with 256 MB of GDDR2 SDRAM;
  • 250 GB Serial ATA (3 Gb/s) hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 16x SuperDrive™ with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express slots: one double-wide graphics slot and three full-length expansion slots; and
  • ships with Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

In addition to the standard configuration, the Mac Pro offers more than 4.9 million build-to-order options including: two 2.0 GHz or 3.0 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors; up to 16 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC memory; up to four 500 GB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm; up to two 16x SuperDrives with double-layer support; ATI Radeon X1900 XT and Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics cards, both with 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM; AirPort Extreme module, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR module; Apple USB Modem; Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple wireless Mighty Mouse; Mac OS X Server Tiger; Apple Xsan; and Apple Fibre Channel PCI Express Card. Complete build-to-order options and pricing are available online.

Apple Introduces Xserve with Quad 64-bit Xeon Processors

PR: At WWDC yesterday, Apple announced the new Xserve, a quad Xeon, 64-bit server featuring Mac OS X Server Tiger on two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3.0 GHz, resulting in performance that is over five times that of its predecessor.* With an industry-leading high bandwidth server architecture that includes PCI Express, independent 1.33 GHz front side buses with 4 MB of shared L2 cache, and fully buffered DIMMs (FB-DIMMs), the new Xserve delivers up to four times the I/O bandwidth, up to three times the memory bandwidth and twice the storage bandwidth of the Xserve G5. The new Xserve is Apple's most customizable server yet with dozens of options, including faster processors, larger hard drives and dual power supplies. With over one million possible build to order configurations, the Intel-based Xserve delivers unbeatable flexibility, manageability and price performance that make it ideal for everything from creative workgroups to scientific computing.

Xserve Intel

"Xserve has always been the perfect server for Mac workgroups and now it will run over five times faster for the same breakthrough price," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With new Intel processors, a redesigned hardware architecture, and an unlimited Tiger Server client access license, no one can offer better price performance and manageability in a 1U server."

Configurable with two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running either 2.0, 2.66 or 3.0 GHz, the new Xserve supports up to 32 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory with twice the capacity and three times the bandwidth of the Xserve G5. Two eight-lane PCI Express expansion slots provide up to 2 GB/s of throughput each to support the next generation of fibre channel, networking and graphics cards. Apple delivers industry-leading storage flexibility with support for up to three 3 Gb/s SATA or SAS drives that can achieve an unrivaled 2.25 TB of hot-plug storage in a 1U server while advanced thermal management capabilities take advantage of the low power of the Intel processors, running as low as 65W.

Apple has made the system even easier to manage with quick deployment rails for rack mounting, a new lights out management system that lets administrators control the hardware from a remote location and by including Apple's Server Monitor software and Remote Desktop agent.

The new Xserve ships with internal graphics that can drive up to a 23 inch Cinema Display as well as industry standard VGA devices and offers an ATI Radeon X1300 256 MB PCI Express graphics card for professional graphics and video applications as a build to order option.

The Intel-based Xserve will be the first system to ship with a preinstalled unlimited client edition of Tiger Server software that is optimized to run on Intel-based systems. Tiger Server integrates over 100 leading open source projects and standards-based software applications with easy-to-use management tools that make it easy to deploy for Mac, Windows and Linux clients.

Apple offers a choice of world-class services and support programs for Xserve including AppleCare Premium Service that offers four-hour on-site response and 24x7 technical support. For self servicing customers, Apple offers complete Service Parts Kits to address the majority of potential field problems.

Pricing & Availability

The new Xserve is scheduled to be available in October 2006 through the Apple Store and Apple Authorized Resellers. The Xserve base configuration includes two 2.0 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors with 1 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM RAM, a single 80 GB 3 Gb/s SATA Apple Drive Module, dual Gigabit Ethernet onboard, internal graphics, three FireWire 800 and two USB 2.0 ports, and an unlimited client license of Mac OS X Server version 10.4 Tiger for a suggested retail price of $2,999. Build to order options and accessories include dual 2.66 or 3.0 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors; up to 32 GB of 667 MHz FB-DIMM RAM; 80 GB and 750 GB 7200 rpm 3 Gb/s SATA or 73 GB and 300 GB 15,000 rpm SAS Apple Drive Modules; ATI Radeon X1300 graphics card with 256 MB SDRAM; Combo or SuperDrive™; and 650W redundant power supply.

MacBook Pro to Go Core 2 Duo This Month?

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Expect Apple to upgrade its MacBook Pro to include Intel's mobile Core 2 Duo microprocessor - better known by its codename, 'Merom' - at the end of the month or early September, Mac buyers have been told...."

Apple Goes All Intel All the Time

The Register's Ashlee Vance reports:

"The great Intel sellout is now complete with Apple today revealing the new Mac Pro workstation.

"The Mac Pro runs on a pair of Intel's latest dual-core Xeon server processors, giving it plenty of horsepower to handle the clunky Safari browser. The box offers up twice the performance of older IBM chip-based Power Mac G5s. Apple's black-shirted crusader Steve Jobs revealed the system to customers at the company's developer conference in San Francisco.

"'Today the Power Mac is going to fade into history,' Jobs said, going on to describe the Mac Pro as a 'beautiful machine.'"

Windows on Mac: Boot Camp vs. Parallels Desktop

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Almost as soon as Intel-based Macs were available to buy, clever coders were trying to figure out how to run Windows XP on them. Mac OS X not good enough for you, guys? Well, in some cases no, it's not. Mac OS X may be the better product - discuss... - but Windows has access to far more software applications and hardware toys that the Apple operating system does. From gamers to software developers to business users, there are solid reasons why a Mac user might want to run the 'other' operating system....

"But there's a basic question that needs to be answered before we can all enjoy tinkering with alternative operating systems on or Macs: how is this duality to be achieved? Both Windows and Mac OS X access hardware resources in different ways, so there's no way literally to turn a Mac into a PC. You can't format the hard drive and install Windows on top of it. There have been hacks to make this possible and to allow an Intel-based Mac to play host two both Mac OS X and Windows, and they've been followed up by more commercial tools. This month, Apple updated its offering, Boot Camp, while a small company called Parallels released the final version of its own Windows-on-Mac tool...."

VMware Announces New Product for Macintel OS X Users

PR: Intel-based Macs will be able to simultaneously run Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and NetWare

VMware, Inc., the global leader in software for industry-standard virtualized desktops and servers, today announced a new product that will enable Intel-based Macs to run x86 operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, NetWare, and Solaris, in virtual machines at the same time as Mac OS X. VMware will demo the product today during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2006 in San Francisco.

"We are excited to bring our desktop platform product to Apple Macs. The demand for this has been unbelievable and it is clearly front and center for Mac users," said Diane Greene, president of VMware. "VMware is in the business of providing the most advanced and robust virtualization platforms as well as phenomenal add-on functionality that leverages our virtualization platform. This announcement brings our desktop platform and add-on capabilities to Mac users, and it will allow them to run a wide variety of operating systems without rebooting. Mac users who also use the PC will be able to use this product to consolidate onto the Mac."

The new Mac product is based on VMware's robust and advanced virtualization technology, shipping for more than seven years and used by more than four million people today. Moving forward, virtual machines created with any of VMware's products will run on Intel-based Macs and, similarly, non-Mac OS X virtual machines created with the new product will run on the latest versions of other VMware platform products.

In addition, Mac users will be able to leverage more than 250 virtual appliances for solutions such as security, load balancing, collaboration, databases, development, communications and business applications that are available for download from VMware Technology Network (VMTN) at www.vmtn.net . Virtual appliances are prebuilt, preconfigured and ready-to-run software applications, all packaged within virtual machines that can be run using VMware virtualization products, including VMware Player and VMware Server which are both available for free download at www.vmware.com/download/

The beta release of this product is expected to be available later this year. Interested parties will be able to sign up for early access online.

ATTO Supports Mac Pro, Xserve

PR: ATTO Technology, Inc., a global leader of storage connectivity and infrastructure solutions for data-intensive computing environments, announces support for the Apple Macintosh® next generation Intel Server architecture for its complete line of SCSI, Fibre Channel, and SAS Host and RAID adapters.

ATTO ExpressPCI SCSI adapters, Celerity Fibre Channel adapters, and ExpressSAS RAID adapters are the only PCI Express (PCIe) adapters available today that support Mac OS X on the Intel platform. As members of the Intel Storage Community and Managed Developers Program, ATTO worked closely with Intel to design our host adapters to take advantage of the innovative performance of the 64-bit dual-core Intel® Xeon® Processor and achieve immediate market delivery.

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