Apple rumoured to launch six-core Mac Pro’s next week

Intel set to launch six-core Xeon’s on the 16th

RUMOURS HAVE BEEN circulating for a while now that Apple is getting ready to refresh its range of Mac Pro computers and it looks like we’re getting close. However, it seems like this Apple refresh will happen at the same time Intel is making its new six-core CPU’s ready. Coincidence? We think not.

The Apple rumour is a strange one though, as multiple sources, with the latest one being ZDNet, have suggested that Apple is going to go for the Core i7 980X which seems like a very unlikely choice considering that it’s a uniprocessor. The Mac Pros are all fitted with a pair of CPU sockets and there’s no upgrade path from a Core i7 980X if  you want to add a second CPU. Although six cores and twelve threads makes the 980X quite a beefy processor on its own, we can’t see Apple re-designing the entire Mac Pro range because of it.

Instead we’d expect Apple to use Intel’s new Gulftown Xeon processors (the Core i7 980X shares the same CPU core), which just happen to also be scheduled to launch on the 16th. Intel will be serving up the Xeon L5640, X5650, X5660, X5670 and X5680, all of which are six-core processors. The new Xeon processors will range in speed between 2667MHz and 3333MHz – not including the low power L5640, which is clocked at 2267MHz – and we’d expect Apple to offer a choice of at least a couple of these new models.

Apple is currently offering quad-core models in its Mac Pros, although we might get to see a refresh here too, as Intel is also launching a range of quad-core Xeon’s based on the Gulftown 32nm architecture. However, we’ll have to wait until next week to see if the rumours prove to be true. Don’t expect there to be a big launch event, instead this is likely to be a matter of the Apple store shutting for a few hours and re-opening with the new models on offer.S|A

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