So the Mac Pro was announced, and as feared by some, it turned out to be a small sealed box. Well, the cylinder part came out of nowhere. But since Apple just teased it we’re still in the dark about everything but price and a few top end spec details. The CPU appears to be a Xeon E5-2697 v2 (going by this Geekbench result), a $3,000 part, and the dual GPUs seem to match up closely to dual FirePro W9000s, which are around $3,600 each…or the consumer equivalent, Radeon 7970s at around $400 each. Whatever the case, the top end will be expensive as hell. Everything below that is still a big question mark, but here’s some wild hopeful guesses!
Assuming they use an LGA 2011 socket board across the line, the possible options are the E5-1600 and 2600 v2 (Ivy Bridge) lines. 1600 specs haven’t been leaked yet, but here are the current models for reference:
|Xeon E5-1620||4||3.6 GHz||10 MB||$294|
|Xeon E5-1650||6||3.2 GHz||12 MB||$583|
|Xeon E5-1660||6||3.3 GHz||15 MB||$1,080|
I highlighted the 1650 there because it seems like the best option for a low end part. From a basic appearance standpoint, it’s clocked about as high as the highest end iMac but has two more cores, and pricing wise it’s reasonable (albeit pricing will go up a bit for v2). I used those same criteria to select a few from the leaked 2600 v2 lineup (provided by CPU World):
|Xeon E5-2603 v2||4||1.8 GHz||10 MB||$231.62|
|Xeon E5-2609 v2||4||2.5 GHz||10 MB||$337.03|
|Xeon E5-2637 v2||4||3.5 GHz||15 MB||$1,140.99|
|Xeon E5-2620 v2||6||2.1 GHz||15 MB||$464.48|
|Xeon E5-2630 v2||6||2.6 GHz||15 MB||$660?|
|Xeon E5-2630L v2||6||2.4 GHz||15 MB||$701.01|
|Xeon E5-2643 v2||6||3.5 GHz||25 MB||$1,013?|
|Xeon E5-2640 v2||8||2.0 GHz||20 MB||$1,013.54|
|Xeon E5-2650 v2||8||2.6 GHz||20 MB||$1,335.85|
|Xeon E5-2667 v2||8||3.3 GHz||25 MB||$2,320.64|
|Xeon E5-2687W v2||8||3.4 GHz||20 MB||$2,414.35|
|Xeon E5-2650L v2||10||1.7 GHz||25 MB||$1,395.91|
|Xeon E5-2660 v2||10||2.2 GHz||25 MB||$1,590.78|
|Xeon E5-2670 v2||10||2.5 GHz||25 MB||$1,780?|
|Xeon E5-2680 v2||10||2.8 GHz||25 MB||$1,943.93|
|Xeon E5-2690 v2||10||3.0 GHz||25 MB||$2,355.52|
|Xeon E5-2695 v2||12||2.4 GHz||30 MB||$2,675.39|
|Xeon E5-2697 v2||12||2.7 GHz||30 MB||$2,949.69|
Took a few guesses at the blank prices based on current model prices and relative increases for other parts. Anyway if they don’t use a 1600 series chip, the 2630 seems like a reasonable low end, even though the clock will be lower than the iMac. Either way the 2643 could be a BTO upgrade from that.
Everything else gets a bit murky as you go up in price with the tradeoffs and differences lessen between each. If there’s an 8 core model, the 2650 at $1335 seems like the only reasonable one due to the price and speed. Then if that’s in the lineup, if they want to keep a similar price spread going up, the next model up would be a 10 core, either the 2.5 or 2.8 GHz parts (2670, 2680) around $1,700-2,000, with perhaps the 3 GHz 2690 as a BTO upgrade. Then at the very top would be the 12 core parts at the $texas price point.
As for the GPUs, if there’s not much crazy customization involved, the likely candidates are the FirePro W series. From what Apple has said, the Mac Pro has six outputs and supports 4K resolution, and the W series is the only one that fits those criteria (albeit with dual GPUs in most cases). A little price/performance comparison chart, and for reference, the Radeons they’re based on:
Specs from AMD, Wikipedia; Pricing from Newegg
The W600 doesn’t seem likely, if only because performance is apparently low enough that AMD doesn’t even bother publishing them, it’s essentially just meant to be used for multi display digital signage. On the other end of the spectrum, the W8000 and W9000 appear to be shoo-ins, particularly because the equivalent Radeons happen to show up as those FirePros in OS X Mavericks.
It’s the W5000 and W7000 that are the biggest question marks, I don’t think anyone has tested the equivalent Radeons in Mavericks, so the closest thing to a clue is the extra Radeon drivers that showed up in 10.8.3, which has the HD 7870 (W7000) but not 7850 (W5000)…albeit strangely enough it has the 7750 (W600), go figure. There are some Mac retail cards so the 10.8.3 support may be related to that rather than any real clues.
They’re low or midrange cards I guess, especially in light of the double precision performance, but they’re significantly more affordable (at least in FirePro form) and appear decent performers otherwise. Plus doubling them up gives more leeway in performance, although OS X doesn’t have CrossFire support so hell if I know what’s happening there. Hopefully Mavericks or the Mac Pro itself has it some implementation to take advantage of all the power.
Anyway now that the data is out of the way, my hope for the low end is a Xeon E5-1650 v2 (6 core, ~3.2 GHz, ~12MB L3), and dual FirePro W7000s…assuming they have good deal with AMD to get something more akin to Radeon pricing. Not that Apple will pass on that savings, but I’m calling it “my hope” for a reason.
The rest, who knows. Here’s a BS semi hopeful (and perhaps loosely realistic?) table for the hell of it:
|Light Speed||E5-1650 v2||6||3.2 GHz||W7000||8 GB||256 GB||$2,499|
|Ridiculous Speed||E5-2670 v2||10||2.5 GHz||W8000||16 GB||512 GB||$3,999|
|Ludicrous Speed||E5-2695 v2||12||2.4 GHz||W8000||32 GB||768 GB||$5,499|
And don’t forget the ample CPU, GPU, RAM, and SSD upgrade options for each model!