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New Intel Sandy Bridge Xeon chips available for potential Mac Pro update

Intel's new Sandy Bridge update for its Xeon line of high end CPUs is due next week, suggesting the potential for Apple to refresh the Mac Pro, which hasn't changed since the middle of 2010.

The availability of Intel's latest Xeon E5 workstation-class chips next week was reported by British site The Inquirer.



The new Xeon E5 chips incorporate the Sandy Bridge micro architecture that first appeared in MacBook Pros and iMacs early last year, followed by a mobile variant used by Apple in the MacBook Air last summer.

Apple's latest Mac Pro models currently use Intel Xeon Bloomfield or Gulftown processors based on the Nehalem and closely related Westmere microarchitectures.

Mac Pro


The latest release of OS X 10.7.3 Lion included support for AMD's high end Tahiti graphic cards, which are expected to arrive in the market around the same time as Intel's new Xeon chips.

However, people famliar with the matter have said that Apple's management, as far back as last May, were in limbo over whether to put any additional resources toward the Mac Pro product line.

Internal discussions at Apple were said to focus on the fact that sales of the high-end Mac Pro workstations have dropped off so considerably that the desktop machines are no longer particularly profitable for the company.