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What’s coming for the Apple Mac Pro?

Several clients and readers have asked me what about a revision to the Mac Pro, because it has been some time since the last introduction.

I think the time is past for a “speed” bump of the Apple Mac Pro (eg to a top speed of 3.2GHz using current chips). So be it, since I can swivel my chair between my 8-core 2.93GHz Mac Pro and my quad-core 2.66GHz Mac Pro and hardly tell the difference.

Of much more interest is the next revision of the Nehalem processor, the “Westmere” architecture using a 32nm “process shrink” instead of the current 45nm used for Nehalem. This means lower power usage and (probably) higher clock speeds. The chips will be suitable for two and four chip servers...16-core Mac Pro anyone? (seems unlikely that Apple would do this).

Perhaps more interesting for some is the likely appearance of a quad-core MacBook Pro, perhaps putting the “Pro” back into the line. But a quad-core MacBook Pro would be crippled without the ability to install 16GB memory and ideally two hard drives or SSDs, standard. If those three things happen, and Apple restores the ExpressCard slot or adds eSATA port(s), then the MacBook Pro might be a truly viable desktop replacement. I expect Apple will choose form over function though.


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