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Apple Unveils 8-Core Xeon-Based Mac Pro

The price may seem high at first glance, but not so much when compared with a similarly priced Dell Precision.

Apple on Wednesday introduced an 8-core, Intel Xeon-based Mac Pro that won't appeal to people on a tight budget.

Starting at $3,997, the new machine includes two 3.0-GHz Quad Core Xeon 5300 series processors with a total of 16 Mbytes of Level 2 cache, and a 1.33-GHz front side bus. Apple is still offering the Mac Pro with two Dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 series processors with clock speed options of 2.0 GHz, 2.66 GHz, or 3.0 GHz. The older machine starts at $2,499.

The 8-core model's basic configuration includes 1 Gbyte of RAM, a 250-Gbyte hard drive, an Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card, and no display. People in need of such a powerful machine would likely want more memory and a larger hard drive, so the out-the-door-price is likely to be higher. Such high-end workstations often are used in 3-D modeling, animation, and scientific applications.

The cost of the new Apple Mac Pro, however, is less than a similarly equipped PC from Dell. A Dell Precision workstation with two Quad-Core Intel Xeon X5355 2.66-GHz processors would start at $4,652. The computer also would come with 1 Gbyte of memory, but only an 80-Gbyte hard drive. A 250-Gbyte hard drive would cost an additional $90. The computer comes with a 19-inch UltraSharp 1907FP flat panel display.

In addition to the new Mac Pro, Apple lowered the prices for its Cinema displays. A 20-inch monitor sells for $599, a 23-inch for $899, and a 30-inch for $1,799. Previous pricing was $699, $999, and $1,999, respectively. By comparison, a Dell 20-inch UltraSharp flat panel sells for $384, a 24-inch for $629, and a 30-inch for $1,499.

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