Apple has quietly added a few components to its Mac Pro which could make the fastest x86 compatible workstation in the world although prospective customers are likely to be paying well over the odds for the privilege of owning one of those quasi supercomputers.
There's a 3.33GHz Intel Quad Core Nehalem based Xeon processor, the W5590, that will add a whopping £960 to the final bill of the workstation.
That's a 50 percent increase compared to the £1899 price tag of the base unit but still less than the £1200 price tag that some UK based retailers will charge you.
This option is currently only available on the single socket version of the Mac pro - not for dual socket Mac Pro - and no other mainstream manufacturers - HP, Dell or others - appear to be stocking the said SKU.
Users will also be able to upgrade the workstation's 640GB hard disk drive to a 2TB model for £280 while adding a second 2TB hard disk drive will cost £440. In comparison, a 2TB Hitachi hard disk drive costs £125 including delivery at Ebuyer.
The same hard drive will also be available for the Apple Xserve server. Apple is expected to flog the 6-core, 12-thread Gulftown Xeon processor as early as Q1 2010 which offers the tantalising prospect of a 24-thread dual socket monster.
It is quite ironic that one of the fastest x86 computers on the planet is a Mac-based one but there we have it. For the princely sum of around £10,000, you should be able to get a 3.33GHz monster with a staggering 8TB storage capacity and enough firepower to rip through Photoshop and whatever you throw at it.