Apple launches 12-core Mac Pro

Apple has reopened the online store after an hour or two of outage to reveal pretty much what everyone was expecting.

The Mac Pro range of desktop workstations has had a bump to Intel's latest six core Xeon processors - and if your wallet is healthy enough, you can have two of them crammed into Apple's beautiful aluminium case for a total of twelve cores.

Not surprisingly, Apple is touting the new twelve-core beast as the fastest Mac ever.

“The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and configurable Mac we’ve ever made,” said a clearly overexcited Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With up to 12 cores, the new Mac Pro outperforms our previous top-of-the-line system by up to 50 per cent, and with over a billion possible configurations, our customers can create exactly the system they want.”

The new systems feature an integrated memory controller for greater memory bandwidth and reduced memory latency; Turbo Boost to dynamically increase processor speeds up to 3.6GHz; and Hyper-Threading to create up to 24 virtual cores. The Mac Pro now comes with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory, and customers can configure-to-order the even faster ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

It's no surprise that Apple has moved up to Intel's 3.3GHz Hexacore architecture, but few predicted that Apple would include a 512GB SSD in the refresh. Apple's super stable OSX already has enviable boot times and installing the operating system on a solid state drive could knock the competition into a cocked hat.

In fact, you can install up to four additional SSDs in the machines slot-in drive bays if your budget will allow.

The Mac Pro now includes a single dual DVI port and two Mini DisplayPorts which in theory means you can hook up four monitors without having to buy additional graphics cards.

The new machines will be available with more build-to-order options than you can shake a stick at, and if you want a fully loaded 12-core model rammed with ram and SSDs we'd recommend you start applying for mortgages right now. Prices haven't been announced as yet but we don't think you'll get much change from six grand.