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by Mike Zazaian October 27, 2006 - 10:46am, 5 Comments

Apple's MacPro Desktop

Insiders suggest that Apple will drop two of Intel’s quad-core Clovertown processors into an upcoming Mac Pro desktop model, marking the first commercially available eight-core consumer powerhouse.

As reported at AppleInsider, Steve Jobs and his band of merry engineers are planning an eight-core Mac Pro for release sometime between mid-November and the end of the 2006. The new Octo-core Mac Pro is alleged to use Intel’s as-of-yet-unavailable quad-core Xeon 5300 processors, known otherwise as Clovertown.

An upgrade to the Clovertown chips won’t require any modification of the current quad-core Mac Pro lineup, however. Testers at Anandtech got their hands on some Clovertown chips back in September, and swapped them out for the Core 2 Duo that were already under the hood of their Mac Pro test rig. As the dual-core chips use the same front side bus and cache as their quad-core variants, the MacPro recognized all eight cores in the chips, even showing the relative stress and usage of each core on OSX’s CPU monitor interface

Anandtech even ran some benchmarks with the eight-core Mac Pro, but was unable to release the results of the test due to the fact that the Clovertown chips had been received from Intel for testing purposes only, and was contractually obligated to stay quiet. That said, they did note that the benchmarks results were inspiring, as one would expect from a computer powered by eight cores worth of the world’s most powerful consumer computing platform.

While Intel will release several flavors of Clovertown processors in the coming months, only two of the chips available at launch will match up with the 1333MHz, 64-bit dual frontside buses and 8MB of Level 2 cache that Mac Pro packs under the hood. The higher end of these, namely the Xeon X5355 clocks at 2.66GHz per core and will be available initially only in lots of 1000 for $1172 apiece. The lower-end but still hefty Xeon E5345 clocks at a more modest 2.33GHz per core, but with an equally modest price tag of $851 at launch. The lower price will make the E5345 an ideal candidate for the eight-core Mac Pro lineup, especially as those prices drop within the first few months after Intel releases the chips.

Via AppleInsider