It should come as little surprise, what with the well-publicized iPad preorder sale starting today, but the Apple Store has been taken down for updating. Apple's new tablet kicks off at $499 and is expected to go on sale at 8.30am EST; of course, Apple could surprise us and add a few more updates into the mixture as well. Recent rumors have tipped an updated Mac Pro desktop, using Intel's new Core i7-980 Gulftown processor.
Further details on Intel's upcoming hexacore Xeon processors have emerged, suggesting that the chips will form their own flagship line rather than replacing the existing quadcore processors. Hardmac has heard that the hexacore chips will initially be in short supply - kicking off with the 3.33GHz Core i7-980X in March 2010 - and will be expensive, too; $999 for the i7-980X.
Remember all the talk of a hexacore Apple Mac Pro refresh back in October? Apple were tipped to have secured exclusivity of Intel's upcoming top-spec Core i7 processor, with a significant system update - up to 128GB of memory, for one thing - suggested. According to Hardmac's sources, the fateful launch date is in fact March 16th, with the potent desktop using the new Intel Xeon Core i7-980X processor.
The six-core Core i7-980X clocks in at 3.33GHz, though thanks to Intel's TurboBoost system it can be safely overclocked to 3.6GHz. Hardmac reckon that the slightly slower version of the processor, the Core i7-970X clocked at 3.2GHz, won't arrive until later on.
The first half of 2010 could see six-core processors dropping from both Intel and AMD, according to leaky sources at motherboard manufacturers, with both the Intel Gulftown and AMD Thuban ranges hitting desktop computers. The hexacore CPU deluge will begin with Intel's Core i7-980X, rumored to be on the pricey side at an estimated $1,000+ per chip in March 2010, and be followed by three AMD Phenom II X6 1000T processors in May 2010.
Details of Intel's upcoming 6-core/12-thread Xeon (Gulftown) processor - and the CPU tipped to appear in the upcoming Apple Mac Pro refresh - have leaked, and while original predictions were that the hexacore chip would be branded the Core i9, it now seems that it will slot into the Core i7 Extreme range with an "X" suffix. First to the base will be the Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, running at 3.33GHz.
Apple have quietly updated their Mac Pro desktop systems, adding a new processor option together with greater storage. Buyers looking for the most powerful Mac Pro around are now able to specify a 3.33GHz Intel Xeon quad-core CPU, which is a whopping $1,200 on top of the regular machine. The new CPU joins the existing entry-level 2.66GHz Xeon and 2.93GHz Xeon, the latter of which is a $400 option.
As for the storage tweak, there's now a 2TB SATA 3Gb/s 7,200rpm hard-drive option, priced at $350, in addition to the previous 640GB and 1TB drives on offer. The new 2TB drive has 32GB of cache, and is also available on the Apple Xserve server.
It's not yet possible to specify two of the 3.33GHz Xeon processors in Apple's 8-core Mac Pro, which still only offers 2.26GHz, 2.66GHz and 2.93GHz options. Apple have been tipped to release a 6-core, 12-thread Xeon (Gulftown) processor (built on 32nm processes and with 12MB of shared cache) in early 2010.
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.