Apple Puts Eight Cores in Mac Pros

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Apple has rolled out its latest "speed bump," this time enhanceing its top-of-the-line Mac Pro desktop computers with an option to have two quad-core Intel Xeon "Clovertown" processors on board, upping the processor core total to eight for the system’s high-end configuration.

Apple is still offering quad-core versions of the Mac Pro, sporting two 2.6 or 3.0 GHz Intel Dual-Core Xeon 5100 processors. But the top dog now comes with two 3.0 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 processors, each sporting 8 MB of L2 cache (each core pair on each CPU shares 4 MB), dual 1.33 GHz 64-bit independent front-side buses, and Intel’s 128-bit SSE3 vector engine. And the Mac Pro, of course, maintains the same impressive list of specifications as when the systems debuted last August, including 8 DIMM slots supporting up to 16 GB of RAM, support for up to eight displays, 3 TB of storage, optional Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless connectivity, two FireWire 800 ports, two FireWire 400 ports, five USB 2.0 ports (and two USB 1.1 ports for peripherals, just for fun), 16× double-layer DVD burner and a second open optical drive bay.

If you’re the sort of person who sees an immediate use for an eight-core Xeon behemoth—and many of Apple’s media-creating customers are—the pricing information on these is probably irrelevant: in many cases, the computers are merely a peripheral to pro-level outboard gear. But mere mortals might be interested to know that eight-core Mac Pro configurations start at $3,799 with 1 GB of RAm and a 250 GB hard drive; start tricking the system out with a decent amount of RAM and high-end video and you easily get into the $5,000 range before adding more storage, software, or one of Apple’s fancy displays. We suppose the good news is that from here on out, these systems will only get cheaper!

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