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James Mulryan
New Mac Pro i7 (nehalem)compression speed boost
on Oct 5, 2008 at 4:48:00 am

Thinking a whole new processor will be debuting soon. Any estimates on how much faster this rig will be verses the current Mac Pro 8 cores? Contemplating buying a 2.8 now, noticing prices falling, indicating possible new unit soon. Also wondering if new software will have to come onto the scene to take advantage of this new chip design.
Here is a link to a discussion about the Nehalem:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1736971&tstart=60

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, struggling with a Macbook Pro 2.4.



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Daniel Low
Re: New Mac Pro i7 (nehalem)compression speed boost
on Oct 5, 2008 at 1:51:16 pm

IMHO wait for Snow Leopard, or at the very least for more in-depth details about it before speculating on new processors. For all we know 10.6 could breathe a whole new life on your existing box.

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James May
Re: New Mac Pro i7 (nehalem)compression speed boost
on Oct 11, 2008 at 8:45:24 pm

Although the main aim of Snow Leopard is to make it a slimmer, leaner OS, I don't think you will see much difference in performance on your current system. It will still take x seconds to encode and mp3 for example because that is down to CPU speed.
From all the benchamrks I have seen i7 is up to 30% faster (depending on the task) than the current Core 2 CPUs.

I think new i7 Mac Pros will be along soon-ish as the i7 processors go on sale in November also the Mac Pro is overdue a refresh...
http://www.rhythmac.com/history/macpro

Basically if you can wait, do, but it might be up to 3 months before you see the new ones.



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Daniel Low
Re: New Mac Pro i7 (nehalem)compression speed boost
on Oct 11, 2008 at 11:32:22 pm

I think you will see a performance boost with a 'current' system, as 10.6 will bring a brand new, re-written version of Quicktime amongst many other things, and apart from anything else there's a massive speed up of stuff in safari running on current hardware. Have a look at Apple.com. What I was really getting at howver is that whatever processors are in macs at the time 10.6 ships will see the most dramatic speed boost.

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Please post back saying what solved your problem. It could help others, and saying 'thanks' is free!


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James May
Re: New Mac Pro i7 (nehalem)compression speed boost
on Oct 11, 2008 at 11:52:23 pm

Snow Leopard is due in 2009, so it's still quite a wait for an OS that will make your 2.4GHz MBP 'feel' faster, but when it comes down to actual processing power, it won't make any difference. If you want to buy a 2.8 GHz 8 core system, then you obvisouly care about getting as much power as possible. So to answer the original question...
Here are the clock for clock performance comparisions for i7 and Core 2 CPUs... (encoding an a video on a quad 2.66GHz system was 44% faster with an i7 CPU)
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3326&p=6
So as I said, if you can wait, do, as the i7 an impressive processor.

The other question was will it need new software to take advantage...
The i7 uses the X86-64 instruction set (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86-64), which is the same as the Core 2, so because it doesn't implement any new instructions, then no, new software won't be required to take advantage of the large performance increase this CPU will have over previous generations.

:-)



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James May
Re: New Mac Pro i7 (nehalem)compression speed boost
on Oct 12, 2008 at 12:00:46 am

FTA: "We've been told to expect a 20 - 30% overall advantage over Penryn and it looks like Intel is on track to delivering just that in Q4. At 2.66GHz, Nehalem is already faster than the fastest 3.2GHz Penryns on the market today. At 3.2GHz, I'd feel comfortable calling it baby Skulltrail in all but the most heavily threaded benchmarks. This thing is fast and this is on a very early platform, keep in mind that Nehalem doesn't launch until Q4 of this year."
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3326&p=9



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