If things progress as expected, the next Mac Pro won’t have any problem competing with high end iMacs for the speed crown amongst Apple machines.  HardMac (via MacRumors) profiles the next generation Intel “Gulftown” Core i9 processors which they expect to see in high end Mac Pros in early 2010.  The processor’s benchmarks were “released early” by PCLAB.pl. 

The skinny is this: The smaller 32nm process die and 50% more transistors allows the processors to operate 50% faster while using 10-50% less power:

First figures indicate that this CPU is very promising. At equivalent clock speed, it is 50% faster than the corresponding quad core Xeon for parallel tasks. Despite having 50% more transistors, the CPU strongly benefits from 32-nm engraving as it drains 50% less power in idle mode and 10% less in full loading mode.

How do you arrive at 24 processors from six cores?  With a dual-chip configuration (12 real cores) and threading available on these chips which enables each core (24) to function as two, you get two dozen logical cores to work with.

Current Mac Pros top out at dual 2.93Ghz quad core Intel Xeon processors.  Snow Leopard’s Grand Central Dispatch technology should allow the Mac OS to take full advantage of many cores (both real and virtual via threading) offered by the new Core i9 line of processors.

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