It's pretty much what everyone has expected, at WWDC 2006 early this morning, Steve Jobs released the worthy PowerMac replacement -- MacPro. Together with also newly released Xserve, Apple has finally completed the transition from PowerPC to Intel x86 processors.
Externally, there does not seem to have any major changes, i.e. the big jump between PowerMac G4 and G5. Now it sports up to two external SuperDrive, and 4 SATA drives that slide in side-ways that can be customised to up to 2Tb (4x 500Gb) of storage. It certainly looks very neat.
It guess the guts is the real change from PowerMac to MacPro. Instead of 2x dual core IBM-produced PowerPC G5, MacPro has 2x dual core Intel-made Xeon, and can be configured from 2Ghz to 3Ghz. Apple's marketing team reckon Intel Xeon is so much faster than PowerPC G5, and from the figures it seems even the low-end 2Ghz dual dual-core is faster than the 2.5Ghz PPC in number crunching (i.e. optimised sub-routines written in tight loops).
Best of all. It is already available for delivery. According to Apple Store Australia, if you opt for the default configuration it will be on your desk within 1-3 business day. Anyone remembers the long delay when PowerMac was introduced 3 years ago?
Xeon. Massive SATA RAID. Firewire 400/800. Highend graphics. Up to 16Gb of ECC memory -- MacPro is clearly marketed for the workstation market. With that in mind, it is actually not that expensive either! Still, it is out of our budget (at the moment $0 allocated buying computers). Even with the bare minimal configuration -- 2x 2Ghz dual-core Xeon, 1Gb RAM, 1x 160Gb SATA, 1x Nvidia 7300GT, 1x SuperDrive, etc -- still costs AUD$3,380.99 delivered. Again, not bad for an state of the art workstation, but not for those who just want to use Safari and iMovie.