Apple has released a new version of its Apple Workgroup Cluster.

"Thanks to qualified, integrated components and easy-to-use management tools, the Apple Workgroup Cluster has everything you need to get up and running quickly. Add cluster-aware commercial applications, such as iNquiry, gridMathematica or the MATLAB Distributed Computing Engine, or develop your own custom applications using Xcode. You'll soon discover the fastest and most affordable path to cluster computing," the company reveals.

The upgrade adds third-party applications and a new switch and the cluster now starts with eight processors.

It ships with an Xserve G5, Apple Remote Desktop, Xcode and Mac OS X 10.4 Server.

The research solutions bundle also adds Foundry EdgeIron switches, Xrack PRO2 or APC VX racks, APC Smart-UPS, and power and ethernet cables.

Customer testimonials on Apple's website point out the simplicity of Apple's affordably-priced solution.

"The hardest part of the installation was finding a screwdriver," said Michael Chute of the US Naval Medical Research Center. "Within two or three hours, we had the whole machine up and interconnected," said Doctor Michael Barmada of the University of Pittsburgh.

Apple believes that because it ships a complete solution at the same time as ensuring it can be easily assembled even by a non-computer technician, it offers researchers an easy route to research.

Apple has case studies and other information on Workgroup Cluster implementations available online.

Price on this solution is unavailable.