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Not to be overlooked amid the glitz and shuffle of Apple’s major WWDC announcements, Apple has also added some great tweaks to its Mac Pro line.
Apple has now outfitted its standard top end Mac Pro model with two 2.4GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5645 processors for 12 total cores instead of 8. This configuration also includes 12GB (six 2GB DIMMs) of 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM and a 7200 rpm 1TB Serial ATA (3Gb/s) hard drive. The muscle-bound 12-core version also supports Hyper-Threading and includes 12MB of fully shared L3 cache per processor. With Turbo Boost running, the speed of the E5645 processors is up to 2.67GHz. Although the change may seem minor to current owners of the Mac Pro, those thinking of purchasing one should be aware that we are talking about serious processing power here.
If you want to scale down your Apple budget, consider the 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon W3565 model, which runs at 3.46GHz using Turbo Boost, and is also capable of Hyper Threading for up to eight virtual cores with an L3 cache of 8MB. It comes with 6GB (three 2GB DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM and a 7200 rpm 1TB Serial ATA hard drive. But more importantly, the unit costs $1300 less than the powered up 12 core Mac Pro.
Both come with ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 memory PCI Express 2.0 graphics card, which sports two Mini DisplayPorts and a dual-link DVI port.
There’s also a server edition, which comes configured thusly: One 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Xeon processor, 8GB (four 2GB DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM of memory, two 1TB Serial ATA hard drives, and the ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 memory.
All units come with an 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) and built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology, along with three open full-length PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots with mechanical support for 16-lane cards. The quad-core and 12-core include OS X and iLife ’11. The server comes with OS X Server and iLife ’11.
There are other options available which make the unit even more attractive. Adding solid state drives is one option—up to four 512GB drives that encode video up to 2.5x faster –along with drive-bay expansion that lets you add HDD storage (1-4 slots that hold 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA drives, for a total of 8TB of optional storage), an additional Radeon HD 5770 or upgraded ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB GDDR5 video card, and another 18x SuperDrive. Yum.
If you are looking for that trademark oomph in your Mac Pro, you will be happy to know that you are still getting a computer that can handle your toughest applications and hardiest software with speed. For a first time buyer, this Mac is still a pro.