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Apple's Processor Options for Early 2012 Mac Pro Begin to Firm Up

Last week, we noted that Apple is unlikely to update its Mac Pro line until early next year at the soonest, as Intel's Sandy Bridge E processors intended as the successors to the current Mac Pro chips have been delayed until the first quarter of 2012.

Newly-released pricing information from CPU World now offers a bit more data to help analyze which of the new E5-2600 and E5-1600 series Xeon processors Apple is likely to use in the next-generation Mac Pro models.


Apple's current dual-processor Mac Pro lineup utilizes Intel's "Westmere" processor family, with the E5620, X5650, and X5670 as options. Intel launched those processors last year priced at $387, $996, and $1440 respectively. With pricing for the upcoming E5-2600 series having been revealed, it certainly does appear that Apple will be able to use the $406 6-core 2.0 GHz E5-2620 in its low-end dual-processor configuration at or near the current $3499 pricing.

At the mid range, which is currently priced at $4999, the 8-core 2.0 GHz E5-2650 comes in $110 higher than the current E5650, a $220 difference when both processors are accounted for. Apple's options may be limited on this model, however, as stepping down in price would force Apple all the way down to the E5-2640 at $884, a 6-core chip running at 2.5 GHz.

The high end of Apple's dual-processor Mac Pro is also a bit murky, with each 8-core 2.6 GHz E5-2670 processor coming in at $1552, over $110 higher than the processors used in the current $5999 Mac Pro. Consequently, Apple could elect to instead use the 8-core 2.4 GHz E5-2665 processor, which is scheduled to carry a $1440 price tag at launch, sacrificing 200 MHz of clock speed to maintain pricing.

As for the lower-end single-processor Mac Pro configurations, Apple is likely to utilize Intel's E5-1600 series processor line, also scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2012. Pricing on those chips was revealed last month, with the forthcoming quad-core 3.6 GHz E5-1620 ($294) and 6-core 3.2 GHz E5-1650 ($583) slotting nicely into the existing low- and mid-range pricing. At the high end of the single-processor line, however, Apple may have to bump up to the E5-1660 at $1080. The E5-1660 carries the same 6-core, 3.3 GHz specs as on the current high-end single-processor model, but offers higher turbo multipliers and L3 cache.

Related roundup: Mac Pro

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago

Uhhhh... i already have a dual 2.5ghz G5. I want something with higher clock speed. Doesnt Alienware sell an overclocked like 6ghz machine!? Also.. this sucks because we HAVE to buy a new Mac before the end of the year (tax reasons) so I'm gonna have to get the current $3499 machine.


I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but...
* Your dual 2.5GHz G5 barely holds a candle to my MBP 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo from 2006.
* Your dual 2.5GHz G5 gets smoked by my MBP 2.66GHz Core i7 (dual core) from 2010. SMOKED.

I really hope you're being sarcastic about clock speeds...
Rating: 13 Positives
35 months ago

Uhhhh... i already have a dual 2.5ghz G5. I want something with higher clock speed.


:confused: Your machine is like, 8 years old. Virtually any new Mac Pro will run circles around it.
Rating: 13 Positives
35 months ago

Uhhhh... i already have a dual 2.5ghz G5. I want something with higher clock speed. Doesnt Alienware sell an overclocked like 6ghz machine!? Also.. this sucks because we HAVE to buy a new Mac before the end of the year (tax reasons) so I'm gonna have to get the current $3499 machine.


Ah, the good ol' Megahertz Myth. You can't possibly think a dual 2.5 G5 will be faster than even the current gen mac pro, it just doesn't work that way. They used to sell pentium 4 processors at 3.0GHz+, and I'd bet that a core 2 duo would toast that at 1.6GHz
Rating: 11 Positives
35 months ago

Uhhhh... i already have a dual 2.5ghz G5. I want something with higher clock speed. Doesnt Alienware sell an overclocked like 6ghz machine!? Also.. this sucks because we HAVE to buy a new Mac before the end of the year (tax reasons) so I'm gonna have to get the current $3499 machine.


Have you seen a comparison of your computer to the current models? You're talking ancient technology that's significantly slower. Remember, clock speed is meaningless outside comparing otherwise identical processors.

jW
Rating: 10 Positives
35 months ago
Dear Tim Cook,

Would Apple please offer an affordable i7 tower computer.
One that could be built to order like any other computer.

Thank you.

Regards,

Your fellow Alabamian, Bubba Satori.
Rating: 9 Positives
35 months ago

Uhhhh... i already have a dual 2.5ghz G5. I want something with higher clock speed. Doesnt Alienware sell an overclocked like 6ghz machine!? Also.. this sucks because we HAVE to buy a new Mac before the end of the year (tax reasons) so I'm gonna have to get the current $3499 machine.


You seems not to understand current CPU technology.
Rating: 9 Positives
35 months ago
Although the Mac Pro looks like a nice machine to have, it still seem crazy to me to drop 4-5k on a machine that will be outperformed by a MacBook Pro or iMac a year or a year and a half later for a fraction of the price.

And that's not even considering the MBP and iMac both come with keyboard, mouse or trackpad, monitor and speakers.

I see it as you're not really paying for the power, but for having that power 1/1.5 year in advance. And it seems like people buying Mac Pros don't upgrade every year, a lot of them plan to keep theirs for like 5 years, so it doesn't make sense to me.

For the same price, you could buy the best iMac every year and resell it, and you would end up:
1) Having a more powerful machine on average
2) Paying less
3) Always having a warranty
4) Getting the cool new stuff first (Thunderbolt, 27" IPS display, FaceTime HD...)

So unless you work requires you to have power that can't be achieved with a high-end iMac/MBP right now, and that you also upgrade/change your Mac Pro every 2 years or less, I see no point in buying it.

Am I missing something?
Rating: 9 Positives
35 months ago
It's good to hear more tangible news about the Pro line. I know there are many pros anxious for the next rev.
Rating: 8 Positives
35 months ago
Need a new Mac Pro soon. I hope it's not long before they release the long awaited update.
Rating: 8 Positives
35 months ago

Yea.. I know our G5 wont hold a candle to the current machines, but I'm just wondering why megahertz havent gone up. Moores law and all


Who cares about MHz, when each cycle does at least twice the work. Just to give you an example, my 2.66 GHz Core i7 is about twice the speed of my 2.33 GHz when doing handbrake compressions. I'm pretty sure Moore's law is more about number of transistors than it is about clock speeds.
Rating: 7 Positives

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