Intel today officially announced specs and a release date for its new X-series desktop processors that will include 12- to 18-core models that could find their way into future Macs. Intel plans to make 14- to 18-core processors from the lineup available starting in September, ahead of Apple’s upcoming iMac Pro slated for a December launch:

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Today, Intel is releasing the specifications for the 12- to 18-core processors: Intel® Core™ i9-7920X, Intel Core i9-7940X, Intel Core i9-7960X and the Extreme Edition Intel Core i9-7980XE processors. Announced at Computex 2017, the Intel Core X-series processor family is the most powerful, scalable and accessible high-end desktop platform1 offered by Intel, designed to deliver the performance needed to meet extreme computing demands for virtual reality (VR), content creation, gaming and overclocking.

When Apple first unveiled its new iMac Pro machine at its Worldwide Developers Conference back in June, the company said the new pro desktop would offer next-generation Intel Xeon processors up to 18 cores, but it didn’t elaborate on specific options or models that would be available.

While these new Intel processors are possible candidates for the new iMac Pro and other upcoming desktop Macs, at least one report claimed the new machine could offer server-grade Intel ‘Purley’ processors with an ARM coprocessor.

The new Mac will start at $4,999 (US) and is scheduled to begin shipping in December. The high-end 18-core model in the new X-Series family tops out at $1,999 (as pictured below):

Intel makes a point of noting that the new processors are ideal for virtual reality and gaming, which is notable for Apple and the upcoming iMac Pro and other desktop Macs as Apple is also introducing VR support in its Metal 2 Developer Kit platform alongside its upcoming macOS High Sierra release this fall.“Content creators can expect up to 20 percent better performance for VR content creation2and up to 30 percent faster 4K video editing3 over the previous generation. This means less time waiting and more time designing new worlds and experiences. Gamers and enthusiasts will experience up to 30 percent faster extreme mega-tasking for gaming4 over the previous generation.”

The new processors include the Intel® Core™ i9-7920X, Intel Core i9-7940X, Intel Core i9-7960X and the Extreme Edition Intel Core i9-7980XE. Intel will have a 12-core version of the new Intel Core X-series processor available on Aug. 28 followed by 14- to 18-core models starting September 25.


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