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Apple announces Harpertown-powered Mac Pros

By  Jan 10, 2008

Topics: Apple

One week in advance of Macworld 2008, Apple announced upgrades to its line of high-end desktop machines, the Mac Pros.

The new machines are among the first by any manufacturer to use Intel's new version of the Xeon processor nicknamed "Harpertown." Boasting four CPU cores, it is designed for use in servers. Most models of the new Mac Pros use two of these chips, for a total of 8 processing units, whereas only the most expensive model of the previous Mac Pro line offered dual quad-core chips. Available CPUs run at 2.8, 3.0, and 3.2 GHz (up from 2.0, 2.66, and 3.0 GHz). The standard model, with dual 2.8 GHz chips, lists for $2,799 (but choosing the single-chip option shaves $500 off that price).

Apple has also beefed up the graphics card offerings, providing an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT cards a standard equipment, with the NVidia GeForce 8800 GT and Quadro FX 5600 cards as extra-cost options. Many hard-core gamers will be disappointed to learn that the new machines are not capable of combining the processing power of two video cards to create a single output (as is possible with the NVidia Scalable Link Interface [SLI], for example). The 16-lane PCI Express expansion slot dedicated to graphics has been upgraded to PCI Express 2.0.

Standard RAM has been bumped to 2 GB from 1GB, and the stock SATA hard drive has gone from 250 GB to 320 GB. The box will now support terabyte-sized drives in all four hard drive bays, making it possible to stuff the thing with a total of 4 terabytes of storage.

Other features, including USB and FireWire ports, audio in and out ports, optical drive, and networking connections, remain the same as in previous models. The enclosure, too, remains unchanged.

And for the seriously geeky crowd, Apple announced new Xserves, which also use dual Harpertown CPUs. They start at $2,999, which includes an Unlimited-Client version of Leopard Server.