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Mac Pro Turns 16?

September 9, 2011 - Dave Hecei
The current Macintosh lineup has all been revamped to include newer Intel processors and the latest in high-speed I/O called Thunderbolt. All except for the Mac daddy, the Mac Pro tower. This is eventually going to happen, but not until the end of the year, or close to it.

As I write this, we are just getting into September. Intel has just announced shipping dates on their latest workstation class processors the E5-2600 series. These are Xeon chips based on the latest Intel series codenamed Sandy Bridge. The new E5 processors vary from quad-core up to eight-core. Yes, I said eight.

Of course you know what that means. Putting two eight-core processors in a Mac Pro will give you a workstation with 16 processors. The current top-of-the-line Mac Pro has only 12. The new 8-core Xeon processor is also an HT model, meaning that it has 16 threads. This means that with two of these in a Mac Pro tower, OS X will think it has 32 processors. Can we say ‘FAST’.

A new Mac Pro tower has not been announced yet. This is all just rumor, or maybe an educated guess. The new E5-26xx series Xeons from Intel are set to ship starting in November. Apple does seem to get new chips from Intel sooner than their scheduled release so a new Mac Pro tower would likely hit the street before the end of the year.

Since a Sandy Bridge Mac Pro hasn’t even been announced, pricing will also be guesswork. The current 12-core Pro has a starting price of only $4999. It would make sense that Apple would try to keep this price for a 16-core model. We can always hope that Apple might be able to beat this price. I know I can’t afford $5k for a new desktop.


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