updated 09:15 am EST, Tue March 3, 2009
Nehalem Mac Pro
Apple on Tuesday morning updated the Mac Pro Mac Pro based on Intel's Nehalem architecture. The first-ever Mac to use the technology now supports triple-channel, DDR3 ECC memory and builds a memory controller directly into an updated, faster line of Xeon processors. Doing so gives about 2.4 times more memory bandwidth and reduces memory lag by about 40 percent, according to Apple. The new systems also have an updated interior that provides much easier access to RAM slots as well as space for a RAID card that doesn't require cables to link with hard drives in the four bays above.
All models also now get a 512MB GeForce GT120 video card as standard that Apple believes is about three times faster than the Radeon HD 2600 XT it replaces. The card carries both Mini DisplayPort and dual-link DVI, letting it attach both to Apple's updated Cinema Display as well as to the older 30-inch model and virtually any other DVI-equipped monitor.
In a first since the Mac Pro was released, Apple is lowering the base price and starts out the workstation line at $2,499 with a single 2.66GHz quad-core Xeon 3500 processor with 8MB of Level 3 cache, 3GB of DDR3 memory in three slots, a 640GB hard disk, built-in Bluetooth and a new 18X SuperDrive. The option of a second stock configuration is also new and at $3,299 drops the clock speed to 2.26GHz but offers two quad-core Xeon 5500 processors, each with 8MB of Level 3 cache. It also doubles the factory RAM to 6GB across six out of eight memory slots while keeping other specifications identical to the base model.
Systems can be custom-ordered with up to two 2.66GHz or 2.93GHz Xeon 5500 processors, as much as 8GB or 32GB of RAM depending on the choice of the single or dual socket systems, up to 1TB of storage in each of the hard drive bays, and either multiple GT120 video cards or a single 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4870. An internal adapter for 802.11n Wi-Fi, wireless input and the RAID card are also available.
Apple expects its new Mac Pros to ship next week and is taking orders today from the online Apple Store.