At its WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) yesterday, Apple launched the Mac Pro, its Intel-processor-based workstation for professional users. The Mac Pro costs from £1,699 inc VAT.

Announced during Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote, the Mac Pro runs the Xeon (Woodcrest) processor from Intel. This makes it twice as fast as any preceeding Power Mac, according to the company. It offers a shared 4MB L2 cache.

The Mac Pro is a quad Xeon processor-driven 64bit desktop workstation with two new Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3GHz. A new system architecture that delivers up to twice the performance of the Power Mac G5 Quad.

Apple promises advanced performance, greater expansion, higher performance graphics options and unprecedented customisation in its new system.

The newly redesigned Mac Pro features an all new, direct attach storage solution for cable free, snap in installation of up to four 500GB Serial ATA hard drives for a total of 2TB (terabytes) of internal storage - the most ever on a Mac. There's also support for two optical drives to simultaneously read and/or write to CDs and DVDs.

The design includes three full-length PCI Express expansion slots and one double-wide PCI Express graphics slot to support high-powered, double-wide graphics cards. The front panel of the Mac Pro includes a FireWire 800 port, a FireWire 400 port and two USB 2.0 ports with additional FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and three USB 2.0 ports on the back panel. Mac Pro includes dual Gigabit ethernet ports, optical digital input and output, analogue audio input and output, and optional built-in support for AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.

Graphic performance is provided by the nVidia GeForce 7300 GT with 256MB of video memory, providing built-in support for dual-displays and Apple’s 30in Cinema HD (high-definition) display. The ATI Radeon X1900 XT and the nVidia Quadro FX 4500, both with 512MB of video memory, are available as build-to-order options and provide built-in support for up to two 30in Apple Cinema HD Displays. The Quadro FX 4500 includes a stereo 3D port to connect goggles for stereo-in-a-window applications. The Mac Pro supports up to four PCI Express graphics cards to drive up to eight displays at once for advanced visualisation and large display walls.