New Mac Pro gets Nehlam quad-core CPU

The new range of Apple's desktop computer shows a remarkable new processor has been included in the Mac Pro, but the iMac and Mac mini retains its Core 2 Duo CPU.

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Apple has announced that the Mac Pro now ships with a single or dual 2.66 Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehlam" processor, with a 2.93GHz optional upgrade.

The Quad-Core Intel Xeon Nehlam is the sucessor to the Quad Core processor, and the professional grade equivalent of the Intel i7 processor.

According to Apple, the Quad Core Xeon Nehlam processor has the following features:

* 8MB of fully shared L3 cache per processor, which boosts performance by keeping data and instructions in a fast-access cache that is available to all four processor cores.

* An integrated memory controller, which allows faster access to data stored in memory by significantly increasing memory bandwidth and reducing memory latency by up to 40%.

* Turbo Boost, a dynamic performance technology that automatically speeds up the cores in use when other cores aren’t needed.

* Hyper-Threading technology allows two threads to run simultaneously on each processor core, providing eight virtual cores for increased performance.

Much of this technology is shared with Intel's i7 processor, and the new Quad Core Xeon shares the same architecture as Intel's i7 variant.

The news that the iMac will retain Apple's Core 2 Duo processor range comes as a disappointment to those looking for a significant iMac upgrade. One Macworld poster called David said: "Old Core2Duo's for just under £1,000, what planet are they on?"

Many users were hoping that Apple would incorporate Intel's new i7 chip into the iMac range. It is assumed that this would have required a redesign to the iMac casing, and the iMac retains Apple's current form.

The Mac mini also sports the Core 2 Duo processor, although the upgrade may be more significant here because of the faster Nvidia 9400m graphics processor.

All the new Macs now ship with faster DDR3 memory

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