The new G5 desktops represent a major coup for Apple. Being one of the first computer manufacturers to dedicate their desktop line to 64-bit computing, months before any of the big PC makers, Apple has single-handedly placed themselves at the forefront of the computing world, with machines faster than most, if not all, current Wintel boxes. The G5’s ability to run older, 32-bit applications natively also gives it a huge advantage over Microsoft’s upcoming 64-bit operating system. The machine’s dramatic speed increase, thanks to both the 64-bit CPUs, and the redesigned system architecture, will make this new desktop line one of the most sought-after computers for processor-intensive applications. Scientific and mathematical applications, video editing software, graphic designing, visual effects and motion graphics compositing, 3D animation, and games will all benefit from the new systems’ vastly improved performance.
On a personal level, the 2.0 GHz Dual G5 Power Mac is one hell of an impressive computer. From the moment you get your hands on it and play around with the Finder, the Dual G5 makes users feel like the Mac experience, and OS X in particular, has finally become matured into the “complete computing experience”. Running OS X 10.3 on the Dual 2.0 GHz G5 desktop is the Macintosh experience the way it’s meant to be. From the hardware’s incredibly fast start-up times – about 12 seconds from pressing the Power button to being able to use the Finder – to its insanely fast memory swapping, hard drive accessing, and its super-quick response time in OS X 10.3, the new G5s are definitely the most impressive desktop computers Apple has ever released. The new case design, although bigger than previous models, is more impressive, more handy, quieter, and, well, sexier than any other Power Mac case design to date. And, although the Dual G5 is pricey, any Mac that can render my work almost nine times faster than my previous model is worth its weight in gold (and increased productivity).
As a gamer, I wholeheartedly recommend the Dual G5, equipped with the retail ATI 9800 Pro, to anyone who can afford it. If the Dual is out of your price range, any of the single processor G5s should do nicely, with a heavy leaning towards the 1.8 GHz single CPU model. Although the G5s are pricey as simple gaming machines, the fact that today’s new, triple-A games require a 700 MHz processor as a minimum configuration mean that getting your hands on a G5 now will ensure that your machine will be able to play the latest and greatest titles comfortably for a number of years to come.
As for graphics cards, the ATI 9800 Pro retail card still seems like the card to get to maximize your gaming enjoyment. According to ATI, the OEM Radeon 9800 Pro, a $300 or $350 USD built-to-order option from the Apple Store (depending on which CPU is ordered), has a lower clock speed than the retail version of the same card. The result is slower frames rates and slightly poorer performance - a hard pill to swallow considering that the retail version of the 9800 Pro is available for about the same price - as low as $341 USD - off the internet. If price is an issue, then the Dual’s stock 9600 Pro should be your second choice. Users will have to consider whether the $50 saved by ordering the NVIDIA 5200 Ultra is worth the significant decrease in performance.
PROS:The Macintosh experience the way it’s MEANT to be
Huge performance increase over previous systems
Quieter and more stylish than previous models
Front ports very handy
Internal Bluetooth adapter can’t be installed by user
Narrow channels mean installing PCI cards will be difficult for people with big hands
Large number of air holes might prove to be disastrous in households with pets