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Is a 5 GHz iMac coming for next Christmas? AMD has the goods, Apple may bite

Will Apple be tempted to shift to AMD if a new GHz race emerges between the two main chip producers?

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It’s temping to think that Intel’s Haswell is a bigger update than it really is for Apple’s Macs. No doubt, the new architecture does make big improvements in the areas of power consumption–perfect for Apple’s MacBook needs, including the Air.

But Haswell isn’t such a big deal for the desktop outside of its benefits for graphics. It has been referred to as more of a mobile-focused architecture. On top of Intel’s latest Haswell news and this week’s WWDC, AMD had some news of its own. The company recently announced a 5 GHz desktop CPU.

I’ll Take One AMD with that iMac Please

Since Apple shifted to x86 the Cupertino company hasn’t taken AMD up on any of its x86 chip offerings.  That may be too bad because later this year the next rush on the desktop may be for 5 GHz+ boxes. This week AMD announced the FX-9590 and FX-9370 CPUs.

These chips are based on a 32nm SOI process and the first model mentioned (9590) will have a maximum Turbo clock of 5 GHz. The latter model maxes at 4.7 GHz. They are based on the Vishera architecture, an architecture that allows over-clocking too–something us Mac users will never experience for sure.

01 - AMD gets to 5 GHz on the desktop ahead of Intel. This could spark some significant market share gains if marketed well.

01 – AMD gets to 5 GHz on the desktop ahead of Intel. This could spark some significant market share gains if marketed well.

The FX-9000 series CPUs will be available in OEM packaged computers this summer and will be 8-core processors featuring AMD’s Turbo Core 3.0 technology.

Semantics Issue with Bragging Rights?

“First-ever 5 GHz Processor” may be stretching it for AMD, however. IBM’s Power6 has been at 5 GHz for many years now. Since AMD has done good by providing the work for FirePro in the next Mac Pro we will give them a pass for this tech industry faux pas.

More correctly AMD will be the first to produce a x86 5 GHz processor to ship in widely available personal computers.

This milestone may spark a new GHz war between AMD and Intel. It certainly gives AMD some clear marketing firepower that older PC users will clearly understand. As for Apple? Whether it will ship in a future iMac anytime in the future is anyone’s best guess.