Tag Archives: intel

New Intel Xeon processors could be heading for the next Mac Pro

If Intel’s roadmap is any sign, Apple may soon be readying an upgrade for the Mac Pro. The professional machine, Apple’s most expensive device, was redesigned last year. When it was released in the fall, the computer saw shipping delays due to extreme demand.

The new Intel processors, nicknamed “Grantley”, are significant upgrades over the current generation Xeon E5 V2 chips that are currently used in the Mac Pro. The new chip is expected to ship en mass to computer manufacturers like Apple in September. 

While the chip comes with a higher thermal rating than the current processor, it’s unclear what affect that would have on the heating structure and capabilities of the uniquely designed Mac Pro. The Mac Pro uses a cylindrical design that forces heat produced by the machine towards the top of the tower.

Mac Pro internals via flickr / pahudson

The processors will come in several variants, ranging from a 4-core 3.5/3.7 GHz to a 18-core processor which is much less likely to see use in an Apple product. Previously, the biggest processor Apple has included in a Mac Pro was 12-cores in the last generation Mac Pro that maintained the classic cheese grater design. The current Mac Pro can be upgraded to an 8-core 3.0 GHz Xeon Processor (v2). 

Other signs for a newly upgraded Mac Pro have been appearing as well. The graphics cards that are used in the current Mac Pro have recently been updated by AMD. The new cards, named the W7000, the W8000, and the W9000 roughly equate to Apple’s current use of the D300, D500 and D700. Apple’s designs are customized specifically for the Mac Pro; the new designs are used on the Windows platform.

The new graphics cards are said to feature 40% more stream processors, making it faster to render 4K video in real time, as well as improved clock speeds for the VRAM. There isn’t any word on the thermal rating, which could be a factor in Apple’s decision on the next gen Intel chips.


Other than the rumors listed above, there have been no rumors as to when Apple could announce this new Mac Pro upgrade. If tradition holds, the announcement will be made sometime in the fall, and probably in a press release. Apple has a habit of announcing minor spec upgrades through press releases, reserving the stage for the larger upgrades and redesigns.

With the new Intel chip expected out in September, it is entirely possible that the Mac Pro gets upgraded near or at the October Apple Event, which is highly expected to be focused on the iWatch and new iPads.

Intel releases details on possible next gen MacBook chips

Monday, Intel detailed the next generation chips that could be headed for the next iterations of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The chipset, named Broadwell, comes out of Intel’s next generation fabricating process which outputs chips at 14-nanometer. That means that Intel can create chips that are both more powerful and more battery efficient. In this case there is also the added benefit of lower heat generation, which means computers like the MacBook Air can rely less on fans.

Benefits of Broadwell

In addition to the added power that is expected with a new Intel chip release, these new Broadwell chips will allow Apple to make slimmer laptops. According to the chipset’s design specifications, the chips have a thermal design point that is two times less than the previous generation. Bypassing the technical aspect of that, it basically means that these chips run about two times cooler than the pervious Intel chipset.

Currently the MacBook Air is one of the thinnest notebooks on the market. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, remains much thicker. With the inclusion of these new chips, that could change.


The added power and battery benefits of these new Broadwell chips may finally allow Apple to release a retina-equipped MacBook Air. The previous Intel Chips had neither the power nor the battery savings needed in order to run a computer with a retina screen. Apple’s Retina MacBook Pros use the higher-end Intel processors, and have much bigger batteries.

There have been rumors of a 12 inch Apple MacBook that is similar to the MacBook Air in design, but contains a larger battery and a retina display.


Like most Intel chips that come off a new fabricating process, the Broadwell chip family has been constantly delayed. Part of the announcement today detailed the release schedule for the new chips. Intel says that computers containing the lower-end, battery saving processors will be out by the end of this year.

Looking at Apple’s release cycle, this announcement may have come too late to see any new Macs with these processors this year. Apple traditionally updates its MacBooks in the fall at its October event or in June at WWDC. If Apple does choose to release new hardware using Broadwell, it’s likely that any major refreshes don’t appear until sometime in 2015.

The chipset family includes several different chips. The only one that will be ready for release this year is the Core M processor. Unfortunately, that will be too small for any Apple laptop, as it only runs at 5 watts, not the 15 that runs in Apple’s MacBook Air line. The larger chips that contain the power Apple would need for the rumored 12 inch retina MacBook are slated for early 2015, making it much more likely that Apple will have to wait to release new hardware equipped with the latest Intel chipset.