by June 30, 2004 0 comments



This powerful desktop comes with truly droolable specs. It features dual 2.0-GHz PowerPC G5 processors (based on IBM’s POWER4 core), 512 MB RAM, an AGP 8X-based ATI Radeon 9600 Pro graphics card with 64 MB DDR SDRAM, 160 GB SATA HDD, DVD-writer and Gigabit LAN. For expansion, it has three 64-bit PCI-X slots, which can also accommodate the normal 32-bit PCI cards, and one free drive bay for an additional
HDD. 

It comes with several system advances, to enhance performance. First, the front-side bus speed is 1 GHz offering 8 GB per sec system bandwidth to each processor, similar to the latest Athlon 64 FX-53 CPU. The Pentium and Xeon processors offer a maximum bandwidth of 6.4 GB per sec. Second, the input/output subsystem is connected to the system controller by HyperTransport links, which are point-to-point links and offer better bandwidth than conventional shared bus links. The system can support up to 8 GB of dual channel DDR-400 RAM with the maximum CPU-memory bandwidth being 6.4 GB per sec. 32-bit systems cannot access more than 4 GB RAM due to technical limitations.

The G5 has both USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 ports at the machine’s front and rear side. Plus, it has optical as well as analog digital audio in/out ports. There are jacks for the headphone, external AirPort (802.11g wireless) antenna and Bluetooth dongle. Like the previous G4s it also has a one-button mouse, which may be inconvenient for users who shift from Windows-based machines. But you may get used to pressing the Control key along with mouse click to obtain the right-click functionality. You can also replace it with a USB-based standard two or three-button mouse.

The design
The machine has nine cooling fans (the PowerPC G5 processors generate a lot of heat). It still doesn’t create noise, thanks to the intelligent engineering behind the designing of its cabinet. The cabinet is divided into four discrete self-contained cooling zones, each having its own fans. The machine draws air in through the holes in the front panel and passes it over to its other components. When a particular section becomes hot, then only the fan for that area runs faster. 

The machine’s body is made of anodized aluminum which enhances its looks. Plus, it comes with a widescreen 20” LCD monitor that has excellent display quality.

The soft side
The G5 comes with Mac OS X 10.3, codenamed Panther, which gives good performance and stability. The GUI is called Aqua, which is visually very appealing and highly responsive. The G5 allows you to run both 32 and 64-bit applications, natively in hardware without emulation, thereby preventing any compromise in performance. The OS is bundled with lots of goodies as well. For one, it has what’s called the iLife bundle that includes iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto and iTunes. iDVD can create menu-driven DVDs out of photos, movies and music. iMovie lets you turn your digital and non-digital photos and music into movies. iPhoto manages your digital photos and lets you import them from a variety of sources, such as digital cameras, organize them into albums, share them in print, via e-mail and over the Web. And iTunes is one of the best music jukeboxes plus the leading online music store service available. 

These software combine both the ease of use required by a home user and the features and power needed by a professional. Other software that comes with G5 include QuickTime Broadcaster, an encoding software for delivering live video, online; Art Directors Toolkit, useful for graphic and Web designers to search through thousands of color swatches, view characters and keyboard equivalents of fonts; GraphicConverter, an all-purpose image-editing program that can work with various image formats; and the Classic OS 9 for running older apps that haven’t been upgraded to OS X. OmniGraffle, diagramming and charting software, and OmniOutliner, idea organizer software, are also included. Besides all this, G5 has all the standard stuff that an OS should have.

The bottom line: The G5 has excellent system architecture, features and looks, and provides great performance. It’s a dream machine for any desktop user, but only those willing to spend that extra bit on their life style can afford it. Those looking for a graphics workstation will definitely find it an attractive offer, as for that market, the price and specs are just right. The machine comes with three-years’ warranty and includes free Mac OS upgrades during this
period.

Anoop Mangla

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