Apple partner Virginia Tech has quietly upgraded its G5-based supercomputer to deploy Xserve models running at 2.3GHz, USA Today reports.

"These aren't your run-of-the-mill Macs; each sports a 2.3 GHz IBM PowerPC 970 processor, which isn't available to the Little People," the report claims.

If correct, this suggests Apple will introduce new Xserve G5s running at the new speed in future. USA Today also reveals the supercomputer (recently pushed into fourth place in the Top500 list by IBM) to be currently in use by the Department of Defence, for virtual nuclear explosion tests.

The report describes the set-up of the machine, the water-based cooling system and the massive power requirements of the deployment.

On the supercomputer's operating system, the reporter asks: "What kind of interface does a supercomputer have? What operating system?"

Assistant professor of computer science, Srinidhi Varadarajan, confirms its Mac OS X. - but with the graphical interface turned off, "so you have a nice command line".

A report on AppleInsider confirms the news, adding that the 2.3GHz version of the Xserve was "made available exclusively to Virginia Tech".