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Apple adds 3.33GHz quad-core Mac Pro, 2TB hard drive upgrades

Apple has outfitted its Mac Pro desktop machines with a new 3.33GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon upgrade option, at a cost of $1,200, as well as 2TB hard drives for the Mac Pro and Xserve

The new, faster processor for the Mac Pro is offered in addition to the basic 2.66GHz quad-core, and the 2.93GHz Intel Xeon, which costs an extra $400. The new "Nehalem" Xeon processor-equipped Mac Pros debuted in March. They feature an updated system architecture that delivers twice the performance of the previous model, and start at a price that was $300 lower than its predecessor.

The 2.66GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro starts at $2,499, while the 8-core system with two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors starts at $3,299. For comparison, adding two 2.93 GHz quad-core processors to the 8-core Mac Pro costs an additional $2,600.

Recent reports have suggested that Intel's new 6-core "Gulftown" processor could be headed to the Mac Pro in a future upgrade. The new Xeon processor is said to be nearly 50 percent faster than the current quad-core Xeons, while also using 50 percent less power.

Apple is also rumored to have short-term exclusive use of Intel's forthcoming i9 processor. The previous two Mac Pro lines also had similar exclusive arrangements with the chip maker.

Hundreds of dollars in savings on the Mac Pro line can be found in AppleInsider's Mac Pricing Guide:

Apple has also quietly introduced a 2TB option for the Mac Pro line, at a cost of $550 each, for a total potential capacity of 8TB. The hard drives are also available for the Xserve line of servers, which can now handle up to 6TB of internal storage.

Apple's Nehalem-based Xeon Xserves were introduced in April. They deliver an 89 percent improvement in performance per watt, and up to twice the overall performance of the previous models. Previously, the systems could be configured with up to 3TB of internal storage.