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Apple looks set to pinch all Intel's top-bin Penryns

Axis of weavil
Fri Oct 05 2007, 18:28

REMEMBER OUR Harpertown (Penryn Xeon for the laymen) review series recently, all based on a 3GHz X5472 chip?

Yeah, it is fast, but, since April's Beijing Spring IDF, Intel have been showing 3.2GHz X5482 Xeon-type and 3.33GHz extreme desktop type Penryn parts in almost all demo systems. How come there aren't more of these top bin parts now?

One answer, of course, is that, until that long-awaited B2F/BA/B3 - whatever spin of Barcelona and Phenom comes out - running at north of 2.6GHz, Intel's got little reason to actually do anything about 3GHz on Penryn, as the performance advantage is still there.

So, to get Intel back into the aggressive overdrive mode, we need AMD to speed up its schedule, very literally.

However, the high-rpm hummingbirds buzzing around Tokyo told us another reason yesterday, which sounds far more plausible to - Apple loves the Penryn. It covets both the Yorkfield Extreme for its mainstream boxes and Harpertown Xeons for the next Mac Pro. In particular, the massive memory throughput and SSE4 improvements help Mac-type apps shine more - think about an in-memory huge image manipulation task than needs both of these features.

So, the rumour says that Apple pretty much pre-booked all the amounts of top Penryn bins that could be booked for this year - especially the X548". This excludes the minimum quantities for other big vendors so that they will be able to claim at least starting to ship their stuff. Those other vendors will, in reality, mostly have to count on the "standard" Penryn speed bins, a notch or two below the top ones.

Of course, Apple could be paying a premium for this "privilege". It might also pass any such premium, multiplied by three or more, on to its unimaginably faithful flock of customers.

All is not lost. Bear in mind that, right after the 12 Nov launch of X5482, QX9650 and a few other extreme Penryns, we'll also have the "unlocked Harpertown " version for the Skulltrail dual-socket gaming monster, as well as other similar platforms that may come out from one or two Taiwanese vendors.

So, if you want your own - not Apple's iDiotised - dual socket desktop supercomputer, just grab a few of these. µ


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