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.
The 32nm chip has 12MB of cache and supports both Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost. Apple already offer a 3.33GHz processor on the Mac Pro; however that’s a quadcore Xeon chip rather than the six cores in the new i7-980X Extreme.
The presumption is that Apple and Intel will negotiate some sort of early-access or temporary exclusivity deal, that will see the Core i7-980X Extreme show up in the Mac Pro workstation a few weeks ahead the regular March 2010 launch. In fact, it’s expected that Apple will offer at least one SKU with two of these processors, adding up to a total of 12 cores and 24 threads.