Mac Pro Update With 6-Core Xeon Gulftown Processors Due Soon? [Updated]

Hardmac reports that Intel's new 6-core Core i7-980X is due to become widely available in March, leading to speculation that Apple may once again be able to gain early access to the new processors and release updated Mac Pro models as early as later this month.

The name of this hexacore CPU is now know, Core i7-980X, another cheaper (and slower) model should also be available, Core i7-970. According to difference sources, this new CPU should become available in March. So, if Apple and Intel are still engaged in a tight partnership, Apple might have the exclusivity of such CPU (as for the Nehalem Xeon) for a couple of days or weeks.

Hardmac has been keeping a close eye on upcoming Mac Pro revisions using the new processors, reporting in mid-October that Apple was likely to gain temporary exclusive access to the six-core processors as it did last year for the Nehalem Xeon processors. Preliminary performance numbers for the new high-end processor surfaced in late November, with additional technical details appearing soon after.

Update: Doubts have arisen as to whether Apple would utilize the upcoming Core i7 processors in its Mac Pro models when Intel is set to release new server-class 5600-series Xeon processors at the same time. The Xeon processors will similarly be available in six-core configurations and are part of the same Gulftown family. Regardless of which chips do appear in the next-generation Mac Pro, however, the similar release timelines and Apple's history of temporary exclusivity for the processors used in its Mac Pros likely mean that an update is due in the near future.

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