For the low, low price of $1,200, Apple is now giving buyers of its Mac Pro desktop the option of upgrading to a 3.33GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon 3500 series processor. Those interested in massive amounts of drive space can also upgrade the Mac Pro's four hard drive bays with 2TB Serial ATA drives, giving them a total of 8TB.
A handful of multimedia jobs, including music or film production, could conceivably require that degree of processing firepower. Big-budget action films, for example, routinely require dozens of terabytes' worth of disk space for their effects work.
Everyday users, though, could use that hard drive to store 218,750 songs.
Processors with speeds exceeding 3.0GHz have existed within the tech ecosystem for some time. In August 2007, Intel began offering a quad-core Xeon processor, the X5365, with a top clock speed of 3GHz, a total of 8MB of Level 2 cache and 1333MHz FSB (front-side bus). Intel's previous fastest quad-core processor, the Xeon X5355, had run at 2.66GHz.
Apple originally announced a new Mac Pro with an Intel "Nehalem" Xeon processor as part of a March 3 product rollout. The quad-core Mac Pro made its debut at $2,499, and featured one 2.66GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon 3500 series processor of L3 cache. In addition, it featured 3GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 (double data rate 3) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory), expandable to 8GB.
At the time, Apple announced an eight-core Mac Pro with a retail price of $3,299, featuring two 2.26GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon 3500 series processors. The company later added 2.66GHz and 2.93GHz processors to its eight-core options.
Despite economic doldrums that have turned consumers away from many high-priced albums, Apple has maintained strong sales of its core product lines. On Oct. 19, the company reported strong revenues of $9.87 billion and a quarterly profit of $1.67 billion.
Those sales numbers included around 3.05 million Macs, representing a 17 percent year-over-year quarterly rise from 2008. Apple's net cash hoard currently stands at roughly $31.1 billion, surpassing reserves held by Cisco Systems ($25 billion), Microsoft ($24 billion) and Google ($19 billion).