To the surprise of exactly no one, Apple announced an update to its Mac Pro workstation PC this morning, moving to eight CPU cores via two, 3.0GHz quad-core Intel Xeon processors. This upgrade doubles the number of processing threads from Apple's available flagship desktop. Pricing for the eight-core model begins at $3,997, although you can still get a quad-core Mac Pro for less. And as usual, Apple is taking orders immediately, with its Web site listing a 3-5 day shipping window.
If you'd like a preview of how an eight-core Mac might perform, check out this "unofficial" eight-core Apple post that we did at the end of last year. Intel had a older quad-core Xeon chip that was compatible with the Mac Pro's motherboard, so we swapped in two of them and ran a few multicore benchmarks. As you might suspect, eight cores are indeed better than four, provided you use software that will put all of the cores to work. The chips we tested were only 2.66GHz models, so expect the real eight-core Mac Pro and its 3.0GHz Xeons to perform even better.