Core i7 (Nehalem) Based MacBook Pros Possible in Q4 2009?

Tom's Hardware reports on Intel's plans to offer their first Core i7 (Nehalem) mobile processors by the fourth quarter of 2009. These 32 nm Arrandale processors will be suitable for notebook designs, and Tom's Hardware speculates that we'll see these in Apple's notebooks:

It is highly probable that Apple will base new MacBook and MacBook Por units on 32nm Arrandale Core i7's. With 2 cores and able to process 4 threads, the new MacBook models will be able to save even more power, thanks to the smaller fabrication process as well as optimized processor features.

Apple's MacBooks and MacBook Pros, however, were last updated in October with the latest 45 nm Penryn processors. So the very next Apple notebook updates will likely come prior to the release of these processors.

The 32 nm process also represents a die-shrink over existing 45 nm-based Intel chips. The new 32 nm process is said to offer an estimated 22 percent performance boost according to Mark Bohr, an Intel senior fellow.

Intel is also expected to transition their desktop processors to the 32 nm design in the same timeframe, but Apple has yet to take advantage of Intel's "desktop"-class processors. Instead, Apple has used Intel's mobile (Mac Mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac) and server (Mac Pro, Xserve) processors exclusively.

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