“On Monday, Apple Computer chief potentate and executive kibitzer Steve Jobs presented Apple’s latest high-end computer system lineup, driven by the IBM PowerPC 970 processor and branded by Apple as the G5 . The systems surprised observers with speeds higher than what IBM promised when it debuted the PowerPC 970 a year ago. In fact, the hardware adds up to what Apple claims is the fastest desktop computer… But there was a little bit missing — 32 bits, actually. Jobs made much of the fact that the G5 Power Macs will be the first systems with a 64-bit chip, allowing the processor to utilize more main memory. Of course, that capability requires support from the operating system. Although Jobs showed off numerous “really cool” features in Panther, the next version of Mac OS X , there was no mention of when OS X will offer full 64-bit support. It’s all pretty cool, Steve, but where are the other bits,” asks Tiernan Ray for E-Commerce Times.
“… the fact that OS X is not there yet is plain enough if you root around in the G5 documentation posted by Apple yesterday,” Ray writes. “The white paper says the next revision of OS X before Panther, 10.2.7, ‘has been enhanced to leverage the capabilities of the 64-bit Power Mac G5.’ But it also says just below that, ‘Mac OS X takes full advantage of the 8 GB memory capacity of the Power Mac G5: It can now allocate up to 4 GB of memory per process to easily fit memory-intensive applications into RAM.’
“Now, using two separate processors to access that 8 GB of memory is impressive, but it’s not the same as having each processor access 8 GB. As Apple admits on page eight of the same brochure, maximizing the utility of 64-bit computing will require further enhancements to Panther and any OS X apps. So, for the time being, this really isn’t a 64-bit desktop computer,” Ray writes. “All in all, however, the G5 looks like a great computer at a swell price, and a nice road map for the future. I have little doubt that Apple can take Panther, or a follow-up, to the next level. In addition, PC buyers who still take it as an article of faith that Apple is always more expensive than Wintel for similar performance may have cause to reevaluate that view.”
“It would have been nice to find out yesterday just when Apple will be able to call its spiffy machine a 64-bit computer for real. Nonetheless, I’ll take a 32-bit computer dressed up like a 64-bit speed demon over a two-bit computer any day,” writes Ray.
Full article here.