Early Adopters Pick: June 2003
The world's fastest personal computer and the first with a 64-bit processor -- which means it breaks the 4 GB barrier and can use up to 8 GB of main memory.
Hailed as the fastest personal computer ever released and featuring a truly remarkable set of technological breakthroughs, Apple's Power Mac G5 M9032LL/A is clearly designed for discriminating individuals who simply won't settle for anything less than the very best. For extreme performance and unrelenting power, this, the top of the line Power Mac G5 model, is as good as it gets.
Driven by not one but two 2 GHz Power PC G5 processors, 512 MB ultra-fast PC3200 DDR SDRAM memory per processor (expandable to a gargantuan 8 GB!), and an ATI RADEON 9600 Pro graphics card with 64 MB DDR SDRAM video memory, the Power Mac G5 M9032LL/A certainly seems impressive. But those figures only begin to tell the story. For its latest desktop, Apple teamed with IBM to redesign its leading-edge CPU architecture. Accordingly, the new Power PC G5 is the world's first 64-bit processor. With two of these 2 GB powerhouses running in tandem -- each sporting an industry-leading 1 GHz frontside bus -- the Power Mac G5 M9032LL/A delivers nearly double the throughout of a single 3 GHz Pentium 4-based machine and, according to Apple, runs standard Photoshop tests at 2.2 times the speed of a single 3 GHz Pentium.
But there's more than raw power lurking inside the futuristic anodized aluminum case. For starters, Apple has compartmentalized the unit into four independent sections to direct appropriate airflow to each key component. A total of nine fans work to keep things cool, yet all are extremely low-speed. Thusly the Power Mac G5 M9032LL/A runs three times quieter than the previous Power Mac G4 enclosure.
Apple has loaded the unit with data handling features, including a monstrous 160 GB 7200 RPM hard disk and a DVD-R/CD-RW combo drive (4X DVD write speed) through which you can archive information, play and burn audio CDs, enjoy the latest movies and record home videos. To help you transfer data to and from external peripherals such as optical drives and digital camcorders and cameras, the system also sports two high-speed FireWire 400 ports, one ultra-fast FireWire 800 port, three USB 2.0 ports and two USB 1.1 ports.
Other key amenities include a convenient Apple Pro keyboard, an Apple Pro mouse, three available high-performance PCI-X slots for future expansion, and a broad array of multimedia and Internet software. Connectivity facilities include an integrated 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet port, a built-in 56K modem, and AirPort Extreme wireless support (with an AirPort Extreme card). Speakers and display are available separately.
The Apple Power Macintosh G5/2.0 DP (PCI-X), along with the Power Macintosh G5/1.6 and Power Macintosh G5 1.8, is a member of the first Mac series to use the 64-bit PowerPC 970 (G5) processor, and consequently are arguably the first "desktop" computers to use 64-bit chips. In addition to higher clock speeds, the PowerPC 970 (G5) has a "new execution core that features massively parallel computation for an unprecedented 215 in-flight instructions", and the Power Macintosh G5 uses a new system architecture as well. Together this combination results in major speed gains compared to earlier Apple systems.The Power Macintosh G5/2.0 (PCI-X) features dual 2.0 GHz PowerPC 970 (G5) processors each with an optimized AltiVec "Velocity Engine" vector processing unit and 512k level 2 on-chip cache. It shipped configured with 512 MB of 400 MHz PC3200 DDR SDRAM, a 160.0 GB (7200 RPM) Serial ATA hard drive, a 4X DVD-R/CD-RW "SuperDrive", and an ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (AGP 8X Pro) video card with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM. In addition to including FireWire "400" and "800", ADC, DVI, support for AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 1.1, the Power Macintosh G5 also introduces USB 2.0 (on the Mac) and optical digital audio in/out. Additionally, this model and the mid-range Power Macintosh G5 1.8 introduced PCI-X slots.