The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

You're viewing an article in TMO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site:
It's No Longer A Rumor: The Aluminum-Clad Power Mac G5 Is Here - [Updated]

It's No Longer A Rumor: The Aluminum-Clad Power Mac G5 Is Here - [Updated]

by , 5:30 PM EDT, June 23rd, 2003

Rumors and speculation have abounded for months, but it's finally here. At today's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Steve Jobs announced what we'd all been waiting for: The PowerMac G5. Sporting one or two 64-bit G5 processors running at 1.6-2.0 GHz on up to a 1GHz bus, support for up to 8GB of 400MHz DDR SDRAM, an 8X AGP Pro slot filled with a GeForceFX 5200 or a Radeon 9600 Pro, Serial ATA technology, a 4X SuperDrive and three PCI or PCI-X slots all in an all-new aluminum enclosure, the new model is a large step up from its predecessor. From Apple's press release:

Apple today unleashed the world's fastest* personal computer ? the Power Mac G5 ? featuring the world's first 64-bit desktop processor and the industry's first 1 GHz front-side bus. Powered by the revolutionary PowerPC G5 processor designed by IBM and Apple, the Power Mac G5 is the first personal computer to utilize 64-bit processing technology for unprecedented memory expansion (up to 8GB) and advanced 64-bit computation, while running existing 32-bit applications natively.

Delivering the industry's highest system bandwidth, the Power Mac G5 line offers dual 2.0 GHz PowerPC G5 processors, each with an independent 1 GHz front-side bus, for an astounding 16 GBps of bandwidth. The line also features the industry's highest bandwidth memory (400 MHz 128-bit DDR SDRAM with throughput up to 6.4 GBps); the industry's fastest PCI interface available on a desktop (133 MHz PCI-X); and cutting-edge AGP 8X Pro graphics capabilities, all within a stunning new professional aluminum enclosure featuring innovative computer-controlled cooling for quiet operation.

The PowerPC G5 processor is a result of the strategic relationship between Apple and IBM. At frequencies up to 2 GHz, the PowerPC G5 introduces 64-bit processing technology to desktop computing, while also running 32-bit applications natively. The PowerPC G5 processor architecture is based on a completely new execution core that features massively parallel computation for an unprecedented 215 in-flight instructions, full symmetric multi-processing, two double precision floating point units and an optimized Velocity Engine. The PowerPC G5 chips are fabricated in IBM's $3 billion state-of-the-art semiconductor facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.

The new Power Mac G5 is the world's fastest personal computer based on SPEC CPU 2000 benchmark results and leading professional application performance tests when compared against 3.0 GHz Pentium 4-based systems and 3.06 GHz Dual Xeon-based systems:

  • In the SPEC CPU 2000 independent testing comparing the Power Mac G5 against leading 3.0 GHz Pentium 4-based systems and 3.06 GHz Dual Xeon-based systems, the Power Mac G5 won three out of four key benchmark tests. All tests were run with the same industry standard GCC 3.3 compiler to insure a fair comparison;
  • Single processor tests results show the Power Mac G5 an impressive 21 percent faster than the 3.0 GHz Pentium 4-based PC on SPECfp_base2000, which measures single processor floating point performance, and 10 percent slower on SPECint_base2000, which measures single processor integer performance; and
  • Dual processor tests results, which determine the fastest personal computer since dual processor systems are faster than single processor systems, are a clean sweep with the Power Mac G5 beating the 3.06 GHz Dual Xeon workstations by an incredible 41 percent on SPECfp_rate_base2000, which measures the total floating point throughput of the system, and edging out the same system by three percent on SPECint_rate_base2000, which measures total integer computation throughput.

In addition to outperforming Pentium 4- and Dual Xeon-based systems in industry-standard benchmarks, the Power Mac G5 ran significantly faster than Pentium 4 and Dual Xeon-based systems on performance tests of the most popular applications for creative professionals:

  • On a test of 45 commonly used actions, Adobe Photoshop ran twice as fast on the Power Mac G5 than on 3.06 GHz Dual Xeon workstations;
  • Logic Audio on the Power Mac G5 can play nearly 40 percent more tracks with reverbs applied than Cubase SX running on a 3.06 GHz Dual Xeon workstation; and
  • Genentech Blast runs up to five times faster on a Power Mac G5 than on a 3.06 GHz Dual Xeon workstation.

Complementing its computational power, the Power Mac G5 provides leading-edge expansion with dual 1.5 Gbps serial ATA interfaces; the industry's fastest PCI interface available on a desktop with a 133 MHz and two 100 MHz, 64-bit PCI-X slots; and AGP 8X Pro graphics capable of supporting the power and thermal demands of high-end professional graphics cards. The Power Mac G5 comes standard with either the NVIDIA GeForceFX 5200 or the ATI Radeon 9600 Pro graphics card. As a build-to-order option for unprecedented 3D design, visualization and gaming, the Power Mac G5 line also features the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro ? a workstation-class graphics card featuring per pixel and vertex shaders, and providing an astonishing fill rate of 3 billion textured pixels/second.

The Power Mac G5 delivers industry-leading connectivity and high-performance I/O for creative professionals with Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, two FireWire 400 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, dual display support, optical digital audio input and output, analog audio input and output and a headphone jack. The system also supports 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme wireless networking and is Bluetooth ready for wireless connections to a host of Bluetooth-enabled peripherals.

The Power Mac G5 features a stunning new anodized aluminum alloy enclosure, designed to meet the needs of the most demanding professionals. The new enclosure is built around four independently controlled thermal zones for advanced airflow management, with fans in each zone that are individually controlled based on a sophisticated combination of thermal and power monitoring, resulting in the Power Mac G5 running two times quieter than the previous Power Mac G4. The G5 enclosure also features an easy-to-open access panel allowing quick access to internal components for tool-less installation of memory, hard drives, optical drives or an AirPort Extreme card. Front and rear handles allow professionals to rapidly and safely move Power Mac G5s when and where they need them, and front-mounted FireWire, USB2, and headphone ports provide convenient access for popular peripherals.

The new Power Macs will begin shipping in August, with prices ranging from $1,999 for a single 1.6 GHz G5 to $2,999 for a dual 2.0 GHz G5. You can find more information about the new systems at Apple's Web site. The systems are available for order now through the Apple Store.

Also note that the previous US$1499 OS X only 1GHz Power Mac G4 has been replaced by a US1299 OS 9/X 1.25GHz Power Mac G4, with a dual 1.25GHz at $1599.

The Mac Observer Spin:

These are serious machines, and the numbers Apple is putting up are more than impressive. While we would like to have seen pricing on the low end come in lower, the company has a lot of technology and money in these units. The reality is that Apple probably can't sell these models for less, while maintaining margins. That's something the knee-jerk "Apple should sell Macs for US$500" crowd doesn't get.

Fortunately, Apple continues to offer the PowerMac G4 configuration starting at only US$1,299. That's a great compromise for a low-end professional desktop, and helps contrast the value in the G5. In our original Spin, as noted below in the comments, we had called for just such an offer, having missed the change at the Apple Store. This should disarm the "Macs cost too much" crowd.

The reality is that Apple will likely not be able to meet demand for these new models even at the prices they are charging, making that pricing a smart move from a profit-standpoint, and Apple needs to profit.

Recent Headlines - Updated October 21st

Tue,2:59 PM
Chuck La Tournous and Chris Breen to Speak at NJMUG’s 30th Anniversary Tuesday
2:24 PM
Don’t Upgrade to Yosemite or iOS 8.1 Before You Read This Column
2:06 PM
TMO Daily Observations: 2014-10-21
12:29 PM
How Apple Pay Mitigates Breach Fatigue
10:50 AM
How to Enable Apple’s SMS Relay on your Mac or iPad
9:43 AM
Apple Earnings Smackdown Ranks Analyst Predictions
Mon,9:52 PM
Apple Q4 Earnings Sliced And Diced
8:21 PM
Apple Q4 MacBook Sales Hit Record Breaking Numbers, Jump 25 Percent
7:45 PM
Here’s What Apple Wants to Achieve With Apple Pay
7:33 PM
How Apple’s Tim Cook Explained Away Poor iPad Sales
6:31 PM
Apple Store App Update Adds Apple Pay Support
5:59 PM
China Holds Huge Potential for Apple with First Time iPhone Buyers
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!