New Mac Pros to Include 6-Core Xeon Processor

Apple's latest iMac Core i7 processor can outperform the current crop of Mac Pro models, but the rumor mill thinks that will change with new pro-level Macs that sport Intel's Xeon Gulftown processor. The Gulftown chip will include six cores, and the Mac pro will allegedly use a dual-core version of the processor for 12 cores per machine, according to Hardmac.

PCLab posted performance results for the Gultown chip, called i9, but later pulled the data at Intel's request. According to the site, the i9 is set to launch in the first quarter of 2010.

The i9 uses a 32nm manufacturing process and will apparently offer a 50 percent performance improvement compared to quad core versions of Xeon processors at equivalent chip speeds. It will also use 50 percent less power in idle mode and 10 percent less power when running at peak levels.

Apple isn't confirming whether or not it plans to use the i9 in new Mac Pro models, but it seems reasonable since the chip would create a clear performance distinction between the company's pro and consumer computers.