Rumor has Apple hoarding supply of new 3.2GHz Xeons

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Apple is hoping to net the better part of Intel's high-end Penryn-based Xeon microprocessor when they launch next month, according to questionable reports based out of Japan.

The Inquirer, whose Apple-related track record is debatable, is citing sources in Tokyo who say the Mac maker has "pre-booked" the majority of Intel's upcoming 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon processors for the next-generation of its Mac Pro workstations.

The 45-nanometer chips, code-named "Harpertown," are indeed amongst the successors to those used in the existing Mac Pro. Pricing leaked out of Intel in August would have them fetching well over $1000 each, however, making for some pricey Apple desktops given that each Mac Pro would require two of these chips. It would also require that Apple update the Mac Pro's underlying architecture to accommodate a 1600MHz front-side bus.

Apple's modern day equivalent to such a system would be its custom-configuded 8-Core Mac Pro, which employs two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Clovertown" processors running on a 1333MHz front-side bus and retailing for $4000. The report suggests that Apple anticipates selling so many of these niche machines, that other PC manufacturers like Dell and HP would barely have enough supply of the 3.2GHz chips to announce availability of rival offerings.

Where the Inquirer's report really becomes suspect  is in its further claim that Apple is also craving tons of Intel's upcoming Yorkfield Extreme chips for its "mainstream boxes." Unfortunately, Apple's mainstream boxes are its iMacs, which are based on mobile chips, and Yorkfield is the successor to the Core 2 Quad (Kentsfield), which is based on a chip family Apple has never used.  

That being said, Intel earlier this year confirmed that it was supplying Apple with exclusive allotments of the aforementioned 3GHz quad-core "Clovertown" chips for the Mac Pro several months ahead of other system builders. Therefore, the claims regarding "Harpertown" cannot be completely ruled out.

According to the "Harpertown" related information accidentally leaked by Intel in August, the chips are slated to launch November 11th.