This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2007-04-09 at 2:33 p.m.
The permanent URL for this article is: http://tidbits.com/article/8941
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Apple Introduces Eight-Core Mac Pros

by Jeff Carlson

For those who have been waiting for new Mac desktops to land, Apple has one message: eight is great. Last week the company added an 8-core Intel Xeon processor configuration to the Mac Pro [1]. The 8-core Mac Pro relies on two "Clovertown" 3.0 GHz quad-core Xeon 5300 series processors, available as a custom option when assembling a system at the online Apple Store for $1,500 more than the default configuration of a pair of dual-core Xeons. Each processor features 8 MB of L2 cache (16 MB total), 128-bit SSE3 vector engine, and 64-bit data paths and registers. Otherwise, the specifications [2] for the Mac Pro remain essentially the same as the quad-core configurations that are still available, including up to 3 TB of internal storage (increased from 2 TB thanks to Apple selling 750 GB drives), up to 16 GB of RAM, and a 16x SuperDrive with double-layer support.

If you're wondering what difference eight cores makes to performance, you're not alone. Apple has not updated its benchmark listings [3] for the new configuration, and the company didn't even issue a press release for the new Mac Pro. Macworld quotes an Apple spokesperson [4] as saying that the new option for the Mac Pro gives software developers a platform from which they can prepare their applications for a future when eight-core technology is more prevalent. Our question: Is this really a custom Mac for Adobe's development team to ensure that the CPU-hungry Photoshop and friends will be able to chow down on eight cores in a forthcoming major update to the Mac Pro?

[1]: http://www.apple.com/macpro/
[2]: http://www.apple.com/macpro/specs.html
[3]: http://www.apple.com/macpro/performance.html
[4]: http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/04/04/eightcore/