Saturday, March 28, 2009

Intel 8

Apple yesterday announced significant updates to their Mac Pro and Xserve lines featuring Intel’s “Harpertown” processor–but what’s in a name?

Intel’s quad-core Xeon 5400-series “Harpertown” processors run at up to 3.2GHz and are based on the new 45-nm Intel Core microarchitecture. The new chips are known for high performance and energy efficiency.

Apple’s previous Mac Pros were equipped with either a) two dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 “Woodcrest” processors running at 2.0, 2.66, or 3.0GHz, or b) two quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 “Clovertown” processors running 3.0GHz in an “8-core” configuration. More on the whole Xeon family is here.

The biggest benefit over the previous generation Xeons are Harpertown’s 64-bit 1.6GHz dual independent frontside buses (up from 1.33GHz). These buses deliver processor bandwidth up to 25.6GB per second (up from 21.3GB/s). Then there’s 12MB per processor of L2 cache with 6MB shared between pairs of processor cores (up from 8MB per with 4MB shared).

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