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Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013

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Chris Lehmann
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 21, 2013 at 3:48:12 pm

Interesting. As some of the comments on the site point out, this benchmark doesn't factor in the GPUs. Since Apple has obviously intended this as a FCPX machine, the CPU performance is much less important than it used to be.

I don't think Apple is attempting to position this as a number-crunching server for scientific and industrial use, as a lot of that market has moved on to Linux based systems.


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Gary Huff
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 21, 2013 at 7:32:58 pm

But you can add more powerful GPUs to the Mac Pro, essentially closing the gap even on that.


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:40:50 am

So someone claims they have tested the CPU that is probably going to be one of the CPUs used in the new Mac Pro. "Claims" because this source has not been officially confirmed. "Probably" because this is an educated guess. And to be fair: if this test were indeed official I certainly would not call it a "speed test of the MacPro 2013", but merely a test of the CPU that will possibly be used in it.

I think we will have to wait for real performance tests until anyone actually has his hands on this machine. Anything else is mere speculation.

On the other hand there are also people who have the capabilities to put "tests" like this into a more realistic perspective, like this reaction from Kyle Russel (Business Insider):

"The new Mac Pro is also extremely power-lopsided: it will initially max out at 12 cores (almost certainly this exact CPU), which is upper-midrange by Xeon standards, but it comes with a ridiculous amount of GPU power. This is overkill to just be about future desktop Retina Displays — clearly, Apple’s pushing for pro and scientific apps to shift more of the heavy lifting to OpenCL. If they succeed, the new Mac Pro will probably crush everything else in its price range (and the rest of the Mac lineup)."



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Gary Huff
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 22, 2013 at 1:23:18 pm

[Ronny Courtens] "o someone claims they have tested the CPU that is probably going to be one of the CPUs used in the new Mac Pro. "Claims" because this source has not been officially confirmed. "Probably" because this is an educated guess. And to be fair: if this test were indeed official I certainly would not call it a "speed test of the MacPro 2013", but merely a test of the CPU that will possibly be used in it."

It's not quite that someone is "claiming" it...apparently it's results that were transmitted back to Geekbench's servers, and someone noticed that the system identifiers indicated it was more than likely the new Mac Pro (including the fact that Geekbench was being run on a custom build of Mavericks).


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 22, 2013 at 5:01:27 pm

Gary you are correct, my bad. This does not alter the fact that calling this a "speed test for the new MacPro" is rather short-sighted as it only shows figures about the presumed CPU. The comparative figures confirm however that CPU speed is indeed slowly reaching its limits and porting processor tasks to the GPU is the way to go. So real performance tests will only be possible once the new MacPro is actually here.



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Gary Huff
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 22, 2013 at 5:16:28 pm

[Ronny Courtens] "So real performance tests will only be possible once the new MacPro is actually here."

I agree, but I also think that, if the CPU isn't performing more significantly than the one in the current Mac Pro, and given that you can always upgrade your GPU (Mountain Lion supports a significant number of new graphics cards, even though you don't get any picture without a Mac-based card until you get to the desktop), I'm sure you can significantly close any gap between the two, performance-wise.


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Christian Schumacher
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 23, 2013 at 1:43:51 am

[Gary Huff] "I'm sure you can significantly close any gap between the two, performance-wise."

Today the current Mac Pro can be loaded with two (supported) nVidias Quadro K5000 (without any additional power) and that will add 8GB of VRAM. Let alone 96 GB of RAM (and more on next OS) So, I don't think it is a simple coincidence that both nVIdia and AMD are releasing video cards engineered for this "old" machine as of lately. There are tens of thousands of Mac Pro machines that will keep on running and steaming a lot more time they initially would. And who knows what else one could cram in a today's Mac Pro in the near future, considering one could choose from multiple different PC GPUS as well. Here's an interesting link about this topic that I caught: http://www.marco.org/2013/06/20/new-mac-pro-geekbench


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 23, 2013 at 7:35:41 am

Very interesting points made here. Thank you for the clarifications.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 25, 2013 at 1:50:24 pm

[Ronny Courtens] "The comparative figures confirm however that CPU speed is indeed slowly reaching its limits and porting processor tasks to the GPU is the way to go."

I respectfully disagree.

The figures show that single-threaded CPU performance is plateauing. Why? Current CPU design aims for speed by getting more cores doing more things in parallel, not fewer cores doing more things in series. This is actually exactly the same way that GPUs seek performance. No matter whether developers choose to target CPUs or GPUs, the current answer for more speed is parallel computing.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 25, 2013 at 7:19:23 pm

You have a point there, Walter. I should have said "single threaded CPU speed is reaching its limits" and we agree parallel computing is the way to go. Obviously that's also the way Apple is going with this machine. That's why I resent the title "speed tests of the new MacPro" while this is merely a benchmark test of the supposed CPU, not of the complete system.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 25, 2013 at 8:05:33 pm

[Ronny Courtens] "we agree parallel computing is the way to go. Obviously that's also the way Apple is going with this machine. That's why I resent the title "speed tests of the new MacPro" while this is merely a benchmark test of the supposed CPU, not of the complete system."

We agree there.

I'll add that for most of us here, any synthetic benchmark like GeekBench is useless. Comparing GeekBench numbers doesn't necessarily translate into noticeable performance gains with a specific application like FCPX.

Editorial applications in particular may be difficult to benchmark with a single score because NLEs can bang on different subsystems (storage for file I/O, CPU for compression/decompression, GPU for effects). Different editors may have totally different needs from each of these subsystems, so trying to meaningfully reduce the performance profile to a single number is probably futile.

On the other hand, for some specific users, these numbers can be a meaningful indicator of performance. Many 3D renderers are (at least for the time being) CPU-based, and a GeekBench CPU score may be a valid tool for comparing systems. (Personally, I'd prefer CINEBENCH, as it's a real-world rendering benchmark, not a purely synthetic computational test, but that's a separate matter.)

This Mac Pro cannot be the absolute speed champ. On CPU-specific tasks, it'll get clobbered by PC systems which have two processors where this has one. On GPU-specific tasks, it'll get clobbered by PC systems which have four GPUs where this has two. On storage-specific tasks, it's matched or exceeded by PCs equipped with similar flash PCIe storage systems.

That's not to say it won't be a good machine overall, or that it won't be competitive in terms of performance/cost -- especially on price competitiveness, that remains to be seen. It will lag serious performance PCs by design, but it will be the fastest Mac ever and I think we can very reasonably expect this machine will be the fastest (supported) FCPX/M5 system.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 25, 2013 at 10:08:24 pm

Well, I think we entirely agree on every point. After all it's not about having the fastest machine in benchmarks, it's about having the best equipment you can get for your particular workflow. And I have no doubt that FCPX and the coming family of X pro apps will truly fly on this Mac.



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Chris Harlan
Re: Early Speed Tets of MacPro 2013
on Jun 26, 2013 at 3:33:10 am

[Walter Soyka] "That's not to say it won't be a good machine overall, or that it won't be competitive in terms of performance/cost -- especially on price competitiveness, that remains to be seen."

This is what I really wonder about this machine and its ultimate viability. I find it attractive, and for the right price I'd buy one. It strikes me, though, that its design might put it in a no man's land of not quite enough power but a little too expensive to be of any interest to anyone other than an FCPX user. I really am curious about how they'll price it. It will be quite the balancing act.


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Paul Dickin
Re: Early Speed Test of MacPro 2013
on Jun 26, 2013 at 10:23:22 am

Hi
Does this reason for only one CPU stand up to scrutiny?

Quote:
I suspect the real reason is that Apple still {can't be bothered|can't figure out how} to add NUMA (non-uniform memory access) support to OS X. The existing 2-socket Mac Pros have been crippled by the interleaved-mode NUMA. (which, interestingly enough, is even hardcoded in the firmware, so when running OSes that support NUMA on a Mac Pro, you can't benefit from that support, presumably so the benchmarks don't shine a bad light on OS X - of course it's blindingly obvious when compared to a same-spec workstation from HP, Dell, etc.)

...with PCIe 3, the controller for the bus is now in the CPU, which means that if you have two GPUs, you'll start to see GPU affinity problems as well.
I've seen this with linux and nvidia cards, with two CPUs we would get a maximum CPU->GPU transfer of around 7-8gigs, take out a CPU and it'd bump up to 10-13.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5923300

Quote:
This gets worse under the i7/newer Xeon architecture as each PCIe card is also associated with a different CPU. So if you have a program on the wrong CPU trying to talk to the GPU, you'll see diminished performance. One commentator noted an almost 30% speed loss in GPU performance with a dual CPU machine vs. a single CPU machine.
...this might provide some insight on why Apple might be willing to sacrifice dual CPU configurations if it could net them at least better GPU and memory performance.
Apple could have possibly recoded Mach to support a more robust NUMA implementation, but think of the risk that could introduce, and the small number of dual processor Mac users out there. Probably wasn't worth the stability risk.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1601942



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