WWDC: Apple announces Mac Pro

Apple on Monday announced the Mac Pro, a new professional desktop computer that replaces its line of Power Mac machines. The Mac Pro completes the company’s transition to Intel chips across its line of desktop and laptop machines. The standard Mac Pro configuration is priced at $2,499, build to order options will be available as well.

The Mac Pro will sport Intel’s Dual-Core 64-bit Xeon 5100 series processor, also known as “Woodcrest,” running at speeds of up to 3 GHz with 4 MB of shared L2 cache. Each microprocessor will have independent 1.33GHz Front Side Buses (FSB), with 21 gigabyte per second (GB/s) processor bandwidth. The processors are fed by four-channel, 256-bit 667MHZ fully-buffered memory, up to 16GB—twice as wide as the memory bus in a G5 and faster.

“It’s an amazing processor to put in our products, but in every Mac Pro we’re going to put two of them,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

The Mac Pro will support up to four 500GB Serial ATA hard drives for up to 2 terabytes (TB) of internal storage, as well as dual optical drive bays to simoultaneously read or write CDs and DVDs. The new drive bays snap into place. All new Mac Pros come with three full-length PCI Express expansion slots and one double-wide PCI Express graphics slot. The machines also include two USB 2.0, one FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 ports on the front, as well as additional FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and three USB 2.0 ports on the back panel.

The Mac Pro comes standard with the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT video card with 256MB of video memory, providing built-in support for dual-displays and Apple’s 30-inch Cinema HD Display. The ATI Radeon X1900 XT and the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500, both with 512MB of video memory, are available as build to order options and provide built-in support for up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays. The Quadro FX 4500 also includes a stereo 3D port to connect goggles for stereo- in-a-window applications and is ideal for the most demanding animation, special effects and scientific visualization applications. Up to four PCI Express graphics cards to drive up to eight displays at once for advanced visualization and large display walls.

The standard Mac Pro configuration is shipping today, featuring two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors1GB of 667MHz memory, 250GB storage, Nvidia GeForce 7300GT graphics with 256MB VRAM and a 16x SuperDrive optical drive, as well as an Apple Mighty Mouse and keyboard, priced at $2,499.

The company notes that 4.9 million possible Build to order options are available, including configurations with two 2.0 GHz or 3.0 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors; up to 16GB of 667 MHz DDR2 fully-buffered ECC memory; up to four 500GB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm; up to two 16x SuperDrives with double-layer support; ATI Radeon X1900 XT and NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 graphics cards, both with 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM; AirPort Extreme module, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR module; Apple USB Modem; Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple wireless Mighty Mouse; Mac OS X Server Tiger; Apple Xsan; and Apple Fibre Channel PCI Express Card.

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