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Apple's new 12-core Mac Pro now available to order

Unveiled last month but previously unavailable to purchase, Apple's new Mac Pro desktop with up to 12 processing cores is now available and ships in 7 to 10 business days.

The upgraded desktop is available in three standard options: a quad-core 2.8GHz Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor with 3GB of RAM for $2,499; an 8-core machine with two 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Xeon "Westmere" processors and 6GB of RAM for $3,499; or a 12-core system with two 2.66GHz 6-core Intel Xeon "Westmere" processors and 6GB of RAM for $4,999. All of the available standard models ship in 7 to 10 business days.

Apple unveiled the machines in late July, but they were not yet available for customers to purchase. At the time the company said the hardware would simply be available in August, without providing a specific date.

With the latest Intel Xeon processors and up to 12 processing cores, the latest Mac Pros are up to 50 percent faster than their predecessors. They also exclusively come with ATI powered graphics, with the Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory standard, and an upgrade option for the even faster Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

For the first time, Mac Pro customers have the option to order a 512GB SSD for the ultimate in reliability and lightning fast performance. With the ability to install up to four SSD drives in the system's internal drive bays, the new Mac Pro can provide ultra high-speed disk bandwidth and random disk performance, two times faster than the average performance of a standard disk drive.

Also announced in late July but still unavailable to purchase is the new 27-inch LED Cinema Display. The hardware, which sports a 2,560-by-1,440 pixel resolution and 60 percent more screen real estate than the previous 24-inch model, is set to ship in September for $999.