As noted here back in August, the French HardMac site released information from their sources that indicated Apple had been testing the next generation Intel "Gulftown" Core i9 processors. Recently, a Polish website released results from tests of the new processor before quickly taking them down. HardMac reports that the tests had showed that the six-core processor running at 2.8 GHz - with 50% more transistors than the top-of-the-line quad-core processors used in the new iMac 27" - operates 50% faster while using 10-50% less power:
First figures indicate that this CPU is very promising. At equivalent clock speed, it is 50% faster than the corresponding quad core Xeon for parallel tasks. Despite having 50% more transistors, the CPU strongly benefits from 32-nm engraving as it drains 50% less power in idle mode and 10% less in full loading mode.
HardMac's anonymous sources maintain that the Apple will have exclusive use of the new chip when it is released in the early part of next year, most likely in a new Mac Pro model. A dual-Core i7 Mac- with two hexacore processors on the motherboard and each core functioning as two using threading - would be the first mass-market PC with 24 logical cores. The top of the current Mac Pro line sports dual 2.93 Ghz quad-core Intel Xeon processors.
Apple's Grand Central Dispatch technology - released in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - was specifically designed to allow programs written for the Mac to take full advantage of many cores. When the new Core i9 line of processors is released, it will provide a good opportunity to compare performance of Mac programs versus their PC and Linux/Unix equivalents.
image via PCLab.pl