New Intel Sandy Bridge Xeon chips to arrive next week for potential Mac Pro refresh

Next week, Intel is going to roll out a new Sandy Bridge update for its Xeon line of high-end chipsets. The release can potentially see Apple make some changes to the Mac Pro, which hasn’t been refreshed since mid-2010. The availability of the company’s latest-gen Xeon E5 workstation-class processors was claimed by British website The Inquirer. Though Apple asked the source not to announce benchmarks until next week, the site was allowed to share images of the working system and Sandy Bridge E chips.

  1. Celemourn says:

    Any word on the pricing? With the decline of the desktop and workstation it might finally behoove Apple to lower the entry price a bit.

  2. G_Warren says:

    It would be nice if they would at least announce if they were going to continue this line. My 2007 Mac Pro is no longer supported by Mountain Lion. I would love to buy a new one but refuse to spend $3000 on 2010 technology. At least announce your plans so folks can figure out what their next steps are. iMac does not do it for me, I need RAM and multiple hard drives.

  3. Aurora says:

    I personally think Apple would be making a big mistake not offering their Pro customers and upgrade path to Sandy Bridge Xeon. There are a lot of creative professionals in Music, Video, Graphics, etc. that would likely migrate to PC platforms…

  4. lexicon says:

    The Mac Pro is really outdated technology for a workstation. I’d much rather see Apple take something line Sandy Bridge E and make a thoroughly modern and forward looking desktop computer. The Mac Pro was the right approach ten years ago but it isn’t the product to base the next ten years of development upon.

    So yeah I hope Apple uses this chip, I just hope that it is in a modern implementation that completely leverages the technology they have available these days. Oh and please do it at a reasonable price point.

  5. $mic says:

    One might figure that with Apple’s profitability they could afford to carry one piece of hardware that doesn’t make a huge profit. I’d sure hate to see the Mac Pro line die, although I don’t have much use for one since the top-of-the-line iMac is enough for me. It’s just that the Mac Pro seems like such a wonderful design. I suppose that isn’t enough reason to keep the Mac Pro around if not enough people are buying it. What a shame if Apple discontinues it. Now that Apple is getting into the enterprise, it might have some chance of getting better sales.

  6. imihoonia says:

    It really is sad that people can’t see past the last ten years to imagine what a workstation could be. Especially when the market is ripe for something new and more suitable to today’s common usage patterns.

  7. Ed says:

    Apple must continue the Mac Pro line. It’s that simple.

  8. Stoo says:

    The Mac Pro’s may not be profitable by themselves, but the people who do buy them are the same people who create the Apps and Content that drives the sales of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.

  9. Web says:

    If you look at what Apple has been doing for the past 3 or 4 years, you can see that they are going for more of a distinguishing look and feel. I also think that Apple isn’t dumb and understands that the needs of its pro users are expandibility, power, and longevity. This is why I think that they will leverage Thunderbolt for more than just an external connection. I think it is finally time for a truly modular computer that can be upgraded on the fly by just adding or replacing a “module”. Need a faster graphics card, replace that module’s innards. Need more processor power, ADD another processor core.

    If there is any company on this planet that could do this, it would be Apple.

  10. Xian says:

    We can only hope Junkyard’s Modular Cube ‘Workstation/desktop/Lego Render Farm’ fantasy comes true.

    Will they STILL use the same case after 10 years? I dunno..maybe even jack up the entry price for quad core to drive unit sales…

    They can always increase margins by keep the same components they have now…(the parts are now so old they can get rebates from suppliers…)

  11. Wally says:

    It would be great if Apple would at least offer an upgrade to the newest motherboard/chipset if they do not go forth with new Mac Pro machines. I would be interested in upgrading my Mac Pro which is a dual Quad 2.26GHz (8 core). The physical machine is perfect, why toss it? Upgrade it!

  12. Coach says:

    For people who think laptops will completely replace Mac Pros, do you actually enjoy listening to your fans running loudly at full speed when doing CPU intensive tasks like video encoding? The Mac Mini is not so quiet either at full saturation. Yet the Mac Pro remains quiet when doing the same tasks and more.

  13. DrBoar says:

    Exactly. I use a MacBook Pro when I need to be portable, and as an auxiliary machine to my Mac Pro, which I will always use for 99% of my HD video encoding/editing, color correction, and motion graphics. The MBP gets hot and loud when I have to do such things on it, while the Mac Pro silently and dutifully handles it with ease. I bought the most recent model in summer/fall 2010, and it still feels brand new.

    I’m all for a smaller form factor/new design, but they need to have a product of equal power be the upgrade. Hell, the iPod classic is still around because it’s the only iPod with that kind of storage. I’d like to think the Mac Pro will live on in a similar vein…

    and… if Apple decides to just do what it has to do and axe the line, I hope there’s at least a month or two grace period before it’s discontinued, much like they did with the XServe. But… I just don’t want to think about that.

  14. Proud says:

    I applaude this news; I really feel for the fans of the Mac Pro and Classic iPod–they’ve (I guess this includes me…) been left in limbo for quite some time!

  15. Scrip says:

    Its nice to see news about real computers. It almost feels like apple doesn’t care about professionals and is instead focusing on the iOS toys.

  16. Bogie says:

    I currently own a 2006 Mac Pro that is obviously starting to get a bit old. I have thought I might be able to get a year or two more out of it, but that’s a stretch. Needless to say, I am pretty interested in a new Mac Pro being released, especially as I am still a student and could utilize a student discount.

    HOWEVER.

    I wonder what the future for the Mac Pro is and whether I will be able to upgrade my machine in 3+ years. The main reason to pay the premium for a Mac Pro is upgradability, expandability, and being able to use the monitors that I have instead of being forced to buy one with an iMac. What happens if Apple decides that they no longer want to make Mac Pros and all of a sudden I won’t be able to upgrade the graphics card to extend the life of my machine? If I was unable to upgrade the graphics card in the machine that I have now, it wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long.

  17. bunge says:

    Oh boy, here we go…

  18. Ed says:

    Not going to happen with Ivy Bridge and integrated USB3 around the corner.

  19. Hero says:

    wrong. Ivy Bridge CPUs suitable for the Mac Pro is still well over a year away

  20. Barbara says:

    Two technologies that Mac Pro customers won’t be overly concerned with. Ivy Bridge is more of a player in the mobile space and USB 3 takes a back seat to Thunderbolt in storage speed and latency.

  21. AsLan says:

    Thank the lord. Time to buy my first Mac Pro. My 2002 Power Mac G4 is still chugging along, but can’t really keep up with modern scientific computing anymore. Also, Tiger’s getting a little old. Switching back and forth between Lion and Tiger gets annoying.

  22. IQ78 says:

    Can’t wait to finally upgrade from my 2006 Mac Pro.

  23. ColanderOfDeath says:

    Obviously I’m still more than happy with my 2010 model … I’d take a new gpu though. :)

  24. KANE says:

    Please open the Mac Pro to the full world of Nvidia GPUs (and AMD for that matter). That would be the best update ever :)

  25. The Pie Man says:

    If they do release, I can only imagine how many they are going to sell! People are going crazy over these, and with fear of this maybe being the last mac pro I think nearly everyone who has been on the edge is going to order.

  26. ilogic says:

    I for one hope it is true that the Mac Pro will get an update. My have been chugging along for over two years now, and they are great machines.

  27. The General says:

    Dear Apple,

    Maybe you wouldn’t have to “question” the continuing existence of the Mac Pro line if you would supply your customers with an update more than once every two (and counting) years. Pro users want speed, and lots of it. You’re not really delivering on your end of the bargain lately.

    Oh, and how about also ditching this Mac-only graphics card BS and figuring out a way of letting us put any standard PC graphics card in our Mac Pro? You’re making a gazillion dollars on iOS devices now; you don’t need to continue milking your pro customers with outdated graphics cards priced at a premium.

  28. MsNly says:

    My faith in God is strong Apple give us the Mac Pro or I’ll have to end this miserable existence.

  29. 2 cents says:

    Apple would be foolish not to provide top-of-line hardware to iOS and OS X developers, most of whom are very interested in a possible new Mac Pro. Simply put, Apple needs both product lines: Macs for developers (i.e. “trucks”) and iOS devices for mass consumption (i.e. “cars / motorcycles”).

  30. solipsism says:

    Can I just get a Mac Pro priced like an i7 iMac without the 27″ screen?
    Seriously. Take $1000 off for the 27″ screen and sell me a brand new quad Mac Pro for $1200.

  31. Michael says:

    No other confirming rumors though… Yet.

    I hope Apple doesn’t dissolve it’s professional support. There’s something intrinsically beneficial to the company’s integrity; they shouldn’t forget where they’ve come from.

  32. Multimedia says:

    We had to buy a new computer before the end of the year so we got a Dual 4 core Mac Pro refurbished and saved a couple hundred bucks. Works like a champ.

  33. job says:

    A lot of people will have eat a lot of words about Apple abandoning the Mac Pro line.

  34. Samnuva says:

    Since I don’t personally own a Mac Pro, nobody else needs one.

  35. Akac says:

    I’ve long been a fan (and owner) of these machines… the longevity factor was built-in with upgrades available through the life of the computer. My current 8 core (2 x 4 core Intel Xeon) has served me well for 4 years, and really doesn’t yet seem out of synch with my wife’s i7 iMac. But I’d like to think I could still buy a ‘monster’ Mac in a year or so.

  36. Monk says:

    I wonder what machines Apple’s design and engineering teams use? My guess is Mac Pros. For all those predicting the end of the Mac Pro, can you imagine Apple having Hackintoshes on view in their offices? The current Mac Pro doesn’t need a re-design, the case is fantastic and since the Intel switch they are quiet machines. All Apple has to do is keep up with processor updates, RAM and bus speeds and occasionally add any new interfaces that may arrive (Thunderbolt for example). That kind of maintenance of a product line would probably be cheaper than what Apple spends in a year on flights to Korea for the iPad product manager. ;-)

  37. Artman says:

    I am hanging on to my 2008 Mac Pro. By far the best Mac I have ever owned. I have upgraded everything that I can upgrade in it, and now I am pondering weather to spend the money on a new video card. Personally, I think Apple will announce yet one more model. Having the ability to upgrade video cards is simply to important for 3D creation. With software like Maya, modo, Lightwave, Rhino already ether out or in beta, Apple would disservice this segment if it would not release a new model.

  38. lostkiwi says:

    Steve Jobs when he came back in 1997 focused the Mac into a quadrant that had laptop/desktop and consumer/pro. If Apple moves away from the Mac Pro then what will fill the desktop/pro space of that quadrant? Or is Apple moving away from the quadrant strategy for the Mac?

    Personally I hope Apple continues to offer a solution for the desktop/pro space quadrant – Mac Pro or something new!

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