It's been a while since we've seen a significant refresh to Apple's Mac Pro desktop range, and so a rumor regarding what overwhelming components the company might slot inside is certainly timely. According to Hardmac's sources, Apple intend to outfit the Mac Pro with a 6-core, 12-thread Intel Xeon (Gulftown) processor, built on 32nm processes and with 12MB of shared cache. The hexacore CPUs will be accompanied by up to 128GB of RAM and a 10Gbit/s ethernet port.
That will be thanks to a newly modified, custom mainboard with support for 8GB and 16GB memory modules. Early testing of the CPUs, at least, have indicated that the hexacore Xeon requires less power than a current-gen quadcore Xeon of the same 2.4GHz clock-speed.
The source continues with the possibility that Apple could have a temporary exclusive on the new Intel chips, with the refreshed Mac Pro arriving in early 2010 while the hexacore Xeon wouldn't go into mass production until Q2 2010. No word on whether the physical design will get a tweak or not, but we can't imagine Apple allowing such a significant internal upgrade to go by without at least some polishing of the casing.