Six-Core Mac Pro in Early 2010?
image via ZDnet
Apple is testing Intel's as-yet unreleased hexacore "Gulftown" processor - reported to be 22% faster
than the current Core i7 Xeon - according to the French site MacBidouille.com
. Since the unit is said to be compatible with the current Mac Pro motherboard used with the "Nehalem" Xeon processor, it's believed that the high-end desktop is slated for the upgrade, possibly as soon as the beginning of next year.
What's more, MacBidouille's source indicates that Apple will have exclusive use of the new chip when it's released, making the future Mac Pro - temporarily at least - a power leader in the industry.
The chip is based on Intel's "Westmere
" microarchitecture - a 32nm die shrink of the 45 nm "Nehalem" architecture - and actually has a total of 12 cores: six physical and six virtual. It's reported to share the Nehalem's 130W thermal design point and have 12MB of Level 3 cache. Gulftown will feature QuickPath Interconnect with 25.6 GB/s processor-to-processor bandwidth, and will support tri-channel memory. The fact that it will fit the LGA 1366 socket on existing X58 motherboards will likely make it popular with power-hungry users of the current "Nehalem" Core i7 chip.
Though there has been no announcement as yet from Intel, the chip is widely rumored
to be called Core i9.
The report also asserts that the new Mac Pro's motherboard will be fitted with a 10Gbit/second Ethernet port and will support 8GB and 16GB RAM modules, giving it a potential max of 128GB of physical memory.