Apple has announced an upgraded version of its Mac Pro workstation, which includes two of Intel's new Xeon 5400 quad-core chips in 2.8GHz or 3.2GHz versions.

The new Mac Pro features the latest quad-core Intel Xeon 5400 series processors based on the recently-developed 45nm Intel Core microarchitecture running up to 3.2 GHz, each with 12MB of L2 cache per processor for increased performance and power efficiency. Apple says that the combination of a new high-bandwidth hardware architecture, dual-independent 1,600MHz front side buses and up to 32GB of 800MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory gives the new Mac Pro up to a 61 per cent increase in memory throughput.

The standard configuration of the Mac Pro offers an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card with 256MB RAM. The Mac Pro includes a PCI Express 2.0 graphics slot that delivers up to double the bandwidth compared to the previous generation, and supports boards such as nVidia's GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB RAM, or the Quadro FX 5600 workstation-class board with 1.5GB RAM. With support for up to four graphics cards, the new Mac Pro can drive up to eight 30-inch displays at once for advanced visualisation and large display walls.

The Mac Pro has four internal hard drive bays with direct-attach, cable-free installation of four 1TB Serial ATA hard drives, totaling 4TB of internal storage and support for two SuperDrives. External devices can be connected using the Mac Pro's five USB 2.0, two FireWire 400, and two FireWire 800 ports. The workstation also features optical and analogue audio in and out, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and a headphone jack.

The workstation runs Mac OS X 10.5, aka Leopard. Leopard offers more than 300 new features and introduces a brand new desktop with Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock; a redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs; and more.

The new ultra-thin aluminum Apple Keyboard now ships with every Mac Pro and built-in Bluetooth 2.0 makes it easy to reduce cable clutter with the optional Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Wireless Mouse.

The new Mac Pro is shipping today. The standard 8-core Mac Pro costs £1,488 plus VAT and includes two 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors with dual-independent 1600 MHz front side buses; 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 ECC fully-buffered DIMM memory, expandable up to 32GB; anATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card with 256MB of GDDR3 memory; a 320GB Serial ATA 3Gbps hard drive running at 7200rpm; 16x SuperDrive™ with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW); two PCI Express 2.0 slots and two PCI Express slots; Bluetooth 2.0+EDR; and ships with Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse.

In addition to the standard configuration, the Mac Pro offers numerous build-to-order options including: one 2.8GHz, two 3.0GHz, or two 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors; up to 32GB of 800 MHz DDR2 fully-buffered ECC memory; up to four 1TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200rpm or up to four 300GB SAS drives running at 15000 rpm; Mac Pro RAID card; up to two 16x SuperDrives with double-layer support; nVida GeForce 8800 GT or nVidia Quadro FX 5600 graphics cards; AirPort Extreme 802.11n; Apple USB Modem; Apple wireless Aluminium Keyboard; Apple wireless Mighty Mouse; and Mac OS X Server Leopard.