Intel's official announcement of the first in its line of second-generation Core 2 chips will mean change among performance PCs. But what does it mean for Apple and its growing band of merry followers?

Firstly, it appears that Apple will take massive quantities of the new Penryn line of chips including the next-gen Xeon server silicon (set to debut alongside the Core 2 Extreme on 12 November).

Extreme Mac Pro

These Xeon chips will, predictably, end up in the Mac Pro. Rumours suggest these will include a 3.2GHz X5482 model. Originally codenamed Harpertown, these chips will also boast SSE4 and L2 cache enhancements of the QX9650 Core 2 Extreme and its mainstream counterparts.

Rumours have also been circling for some time that Apple will have first dibs on the top performing variants of the new chips.

As well as the MacPro refresh, the MacBook Pro series is also to get refreshed with the new Core 2 Duo line. We'll know more about these processors next month but they'll most likely be 2.6GHz and 2.5GHz chips offering 6MB of L2 cache, compared to the 3MB of L2 cache found on current MacBook Pro processors.

Better battery life

As with all the Penryn chips, they'll be based on the 45nm manufacturing process. That will give better performance for much lower energy consumption. Intel is using new materials in the Penryn line for even better efficiency. Of course, with laptops, that means better battery life.

Apple's MacPros already use Santa Rosa, the latest generation mobile chipset that's also the foundation of Centrino PC laptops.