Rumour: 32nm Xeon a timed Apple exclusive

October 16, 2009 // 10:37 a.m.

Tags: #32nm-xeon #apple #apple-exclusive #gulftown #gulftown-xeon #intel #intel-exclusive #mac #mac-pro #mac-pro-xeon #westmere #westmere-xeon #xeon

It would appear that Apple will be getting its hands on Intel's latest and greatest Xeon chips before the rest of the world's OEMs if a rumour from an unnamed source is accurate.

As reported over on French-language site MacBidouille (translated) - via Electronista - the word on the street is that Apple has been granted a time-limited exclusive right to build a Mac Pro system based around the new Xeon chips built on the Gulftown architecture, due early next year.

Although PC manufacturers would be granted supplies of the 32nm-based chips after a while, it would give Apple a temporary lead in the high-end workstation market. The six-core chips - which support Intel's Hyperthreading technology in order to simultaneously execute twelve separate threads per processor - are likely to feature 12MB of L2 cache without increasing the power usage over current quad-core Xeon chips.

The as-yet unconfirmed top-end Mac Pro allegedly features some neat hardware to match with its exclusive processor: a 10Gb Ethernet port - ten times faster than on the current Mac Pro line - and support for 8GB and 16GB DIMMs, which potentially means that a system could be specified direct from Apple with up to 128GB of RAM.

With the un-named tipster claiming that Apple could be looking to launch as early as the start of next year, it would steal a definite march on the PC market as Intel is not planning to make the new Xeon processors available to other customers until the second quarter of 2010.

Do you believe that Intel is harming its PC-friendly reputation with this timed exclusive deal, or will it take Apple at least that long to work out how to deal with 12 logical processors? Will you believe reports of a 10-gig-E equipped Mac Pro when you see it in the flesh? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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