Today, 99mac got the chance to have a closer look at Power Macintosh G5, and at that document it with a camera to give all the readers a possibility to form an opinion on the new model.
Apple Sweden and MacSupport trixed and fixed and suddenly a Power Macintosh G5 was in place for testing. The machine we tested was the top model with dual PowerPC G5 2Ghz and 2GB RAM.
- Power Macintosh G5 is arguably bigger than earlier models, actually a full 20 inches tall, which by pure conincidence is an inch to big to fit in a standard 19" rack.
- Power Macintosh G5 gives a more competent and industrial impression than the soft and plastic G4. The case is molded in one piece of aluminum and has a combination of wavy lines and somewhat sharp corners inside the case. The quality of detail is fascinating, I dare say that no computer has been so well built and designed into the tiniest detail. This is the Global or Porsche of the computer world.
- We open the case and are greated by a big windscreen made from plexi glass or translucent plastic. The windscreen is in place to control the flow of cooling air through the computer. A total of nine fans are supposed to be in the computer, but we were only able to find eight at our inspection. Without the windscreen the computer can't be turned on, it would probably combust without the proper amount of cooling air. However, running the computer without the side piece of the case - a way to impress other computer users. (thoughts drift to the Ferrari 360 Modena, which has a hud made from glass)
- On the inside the two G5 processors and their heat sinks are entirely dominant. There's no question as to where the processors are located. A huge mother board is pretty sparsely populated and covers the bottom of the computer. I an AGP slot is and ATI Radeon 9600 Pro and there are three free PCI slots. A total of 8 memory slots for DDR PC3200 memory is available and must be filled in pairs - the computer uses so called memory interleaving which requires 2 of the same memory in the two memory banks.
- The heat sinks for the G5 processors are HUGE and our spontaneous impression is that it will be a while until a solution for the Xserve and Powerbook has been found. If it takes 9 fans and heat sinks the size of milk cartons in the Power Macintosh G5, one wonders how it would be possible to have this in a 2.5" Powerbook?
- There is only one slot for an optical unit and Apple delivers a 4x Superdrive with all Power Macintosh G5. A stylish solution is the aluminum door which disappears downwards when the tray opens. Perfect for trimming your nails? We tried it and the resistance from my fingers makes the door stop.
- Power Macintosh G5 is delivered with a Serial-ATA hard drive, an new standard which gives up to 150MB/sec, somewhat more than the earlier ATA/133. The biggest difference is that Serial-ATA uses a significantly smaller and more flexible cables which doesn't stop the important airflow in the computer. There is only one free slot for an extra hard drive in the G5. The harddrive is slipped into place and uses special hard drive screws as a cradle. Apple shows off by mounting these extra screws in a tiny stand inside the computer by the free slot - no risk of losing a small plastic bag of screws!
- On the front of the computer is a Firewire 400 and a USB2 sockets for easy access. During our showing the keyboard was connected to the USB2 socket on the front of the computer.
- On the back side there are sockets for (from top to bottom) Airport, Bluetooth, optical in and out for sound, regular earphone socket, microphone, 2xUSB2, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, 10/100/1000Mbit Ethernet, and modem. The graphics card has double outlets with one DVI and one ADC-connection.
- Since the case is made from aluminum, both Airport and Bluetooth must be mounted externally, otherwise the reception would suffer (you can recognize that from the first generation of Titanium Powerbook G4's). That has been solved with two plastic sticks which are easily mounted on the back side. A big Airport mushroom and a small Bluetooth stick look funny when mounted. Guess whether they will be a hit on the extra parts lists?
- The sound volume is surprisingly low! At startup the whole set of fans start rumbling for a second, but then it is completely silent. I actually ask Lars-Åke Björk at Apple if the computer is even on! To my ears it is completely silent but of course you can hear a subtle whine if you put your ear to the computer. Impressing according to me! Someone has been listening the the criticism about the rumble of the G4's.
- So, is the computer fast? Apple shows the same performance tests Steve Jobs did during the keynote and it really does fly through both Final Cut 4 and Photoshop. Right now the work of optimizing both Mac OS X and a heap of applications for G5 and 64-bit operations. The machine we tested had Mac OS X 10.2.7 installed and Apple says that when 10.3 Panther is released, performance will increase even more through more optimizations.
- Seeing as how our machine is a prototype and that optimizations of both hardware and software is still going on, we are not allowed to publish test results and comparisons with the G4 machines yet. Spontaneously the computer feels really fast in OS X and the few applications we have been able to test.
- In a few weeks the first production example will arrive at 99mac and we will then release performance tests of popular applications.
BIG THANKS to MacSupport and Apple Sweden for your cooperation with 99mac.com!
Have a closer look at 60 G5 pictures in our picture gallery: