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Apple plans turbocharged Mac Pro speedster

Intel Gulftown chips to provide the horsepower

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The Mac Pro is the Big Mac, with up to two Nehalem processors and 32GB of RAM producing great graphics processing performance.

But it's a pussy compared to what might be coming. Early next year we could see a 12-core Mac with 128GB RAM that just screams: a Mega Mac, if you will.

A Mac website reports that Apple will launch a Mac Pro using Intel's Gulftown CPU in early 2010, months before general availability of that chip.

Currently Mac Pros use one or two Nehalem CPUs, 4-core Xeon 5500s, with up to 32GB of RAM.

Nehalem is built with a 45nm process. This is currently transitioning to Westmere, a 32nm process, and Gulftown is a six-core Xeon, or Core i9 in Intel's rebranding, built on the Westmere process.

It is said to feature integrated graphics, a new virtualisation engine and encryption support, with first ships occurring early next year. Generally it's expected that workstation and server suppliers would be introducing Gulftown products from the second quarter of 2010 onwards.

The scuttlebut is that Apple will introduce earlier, in the first quarter. It will reveal a new Mac Pro range with one or two Gulftowns, meaning 12 or 24 threads, up to 128GB of RAM - a 4x increase - through using new 8 or 16GB RAM modules and 10Gb/s Ethernet support. ®

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