Apple Unveils 8-core Mac Pro Ahead of Macworld Expo [Updated]

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Apple announced the immediate availability of the new Mac Pro with eight processor cores on Tuesday a full week ahead of CEO Steve Jobsis keynote presentation at Macworld Expo 2008 in San Francisco. The eight core Mac tower sports two of Intelis new 45 nanometer Quad-Core Xeon 5400 processors running at up to 3.2GHz.


Appleis new 8-core Mac Pro

The new Mac Pro includes 12MB of L2 cache per processor and dual independent 1600MHz front side busses, indicating that the tower is using Intelis Harpertown chips instead of the Penryn model.

It also comes with up to 32GB of 800MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory, an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT video card with 256MB of memory, a PCI Express 2.0 graphics card slot that supports the latest video cards from NVIDEA, and supports four graphics cards to drive up to eight 30-inch Cinema Displays.

The eight core Mac includes four internal hard drive bays with direct-attach cable-free connectors that support up to 1TB hard drives, it can support two SuperDrives, and it also includes an option for 15,000 RPM SAS drives with RAID 5 support and 250MB/s I/O performance. It also ships with five USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 400 and two FireWire 800 ports, optical and analog audio in and out, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, a headphone jack, built-in Bluetooth 2.0, the new aluminum Apple Keyboard, and Mac OS X 10.5 pre-installed.

The standard configuration includes two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, 2GB of RAM, a 7200 RPM 320GB Serial ATA hard drive, and 16x SuperDrive for US$2,799. Build-to-order options include one 2.8GHz, two 3.0GHz, or two 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, up to four 1TB SATA hard drives, up to four 300GB SAS hard drives, a Mac Pro RAID card, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 graphics cards, AirPort Extreme 802.11n, Apple USB Modem, Apple wireless Aluminum Keyboard, Apple wireless Mighty Mouse, and Mac OS X Server Leopard.

Apple typically holds new product announcements for Macworld Expo, especially when the release date is only days ahead of the event. The unexpected early Mac Pro update could mean that Apple has even bigger surprises in store for next weekis keynote -- some that may require the horse power that the new eight core Mac Pro provides.

[This article has been updated with additional information about the Mac Pro processor.]

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