The Baltimore Sun: Power Mac G5’s case design ‘lacks grace and beauty’

“That loud crashing sound you heard on Monday was the sound of thousands of Mac users smashing their piggy banks needed to pre-order Apple Computer Inc.’s new Power Mac G5 towers,” writes David Zeiler for The Baltimore Sun. “Confirming weeks of increasingly frenzied rumors on Mac Web sites, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs delivered the news during his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Jobs declared the top-of-the-line model, sporting two IBM-made G5 processors running at 2 gigahertz, ‘the world’s fastest personal computer.'”

Zeiler writes, “The Power Mac G5 is a totally redesigned tower with an internal architecture crafted to take maximum advantage of the new chip’s power. While the casual Mac user may wonder what the fuss is about, the new G5 Power Mac is the machine for which pro users (as well as home users with a penchant for power) have waited for more than a year. And almost every advance in technology introduced in Apple’s pro lines eventually migrates to its consumer lines.”

“The arrival of the G5s, to start shipping on Sept. 2, should reverse the declining sales trend Apple’s pro desktop line has experienced in recent quarters. Even with the general economy still struggling, demand for these new Macs should be strong,” writes Zeiler.

Zeiler fails to appreciate the minimalist design (perfect in every way, we say) of the Power Mac G5’s case, writing, “The Power Mac G5 tower’s only negative is its case, which lacks the grace and beauty typical of Apple hardware. Some already have dubbed the machine the “cheese grater” after the aluminum screen grille on the front face. The squarish aluminum case looks more like a high-tech miniature refrigerator than a computer, and in some ways it is. No less than nine fans cool the innards of the machine, with the internal case divided into four separate cooling zones. Apparently, heat dissipation took priority in the design of the G5. So it may not win any design awards, but for the pro crowd clamoring for speed, speed — and still more speed, the Power Mac G5 delivers.”

MacDailyNews Take: The Power Mac G5’s case is perhaps Apple’s greatest triumph ever in industrial design. And those who give design awards will prove Zeiler totally wrong. The Power Mac G5 will win every design award for which it is considered.


  1. Yes, this design will be heralded soon enough. The fact you can pop off the side panel, leave the clear plastic cover in place and gawk at the work of art inside is something all these commentatros seem to be forgetting about.

    Not that it matters. The Powerbooks we’re called boring at first too, then people began to appreciate it’s design. Much like everything else Apple does it’s design is ahead of it’s time, both internally and externally.

  2. I’ve had occasion to open the side of my 867 Quicksilver and poke around in it. I appreciate the ease of access, and my knuckles appreciate the space too. From the pictures of the G5 that I’ve seen on the web, it looks like it is a much more crowded space. I hope it will be as easy to work on as the PowerMac G4s are.

  3. Well, the RAM is hidden behind the processor fans, but they’ve thought of this. The fans do not have cables attached. They plug into fixed pwer outlet directly.

    The drives should be easy to upgrade too. They supply rails to attach to the drives and then they just slide into place.

    Remember tht the iMac was dubbed the iLamp and ridiculed for its looks when it was announced. The new enclosure is not as nice to look at as a Quicksilver, but if it’s half as quiet as a current G4, then the design has been a success.

    Tryue, it may not win style awards, but it has a shot at design awards.

  4. the test is: take a look at Apple’s old desktop boxes, suddenly they begin to look a bit dated, tired, twee even. Take a look at the ‘leaked’ (so-called) designs from last week – see how ridiculously ‘old-hat’ they look compared with the real G5. Apple has not only lead-frogged the competition – it has leap-frogged its user base too! This will be seen as a hard-working yet stylish classic. It has a slight hint of industrial retro (drawing inspiration from a 1950’s valve amp, maybe), yet uses modern materials to their maximum advantange. What’s new, the new philosophy these boxes convey so sleekly, is ‘real power has no need to pretend’.

  5. It doesn’t look like a computer. Since when did Apple care if it looked like other computers ie. pc boxes. He totally misses the point Apple make beautifull things not the usual beige shit. I for one think this G5 will win many top awards. It’s design its awesome.

  6. “MacDailyNews Take” LOL, stop being such a blind Mac zealot. The case might be “simplistic, minimalistic design”… whatever, the case is UGLY and looks REALLY outdated. The holes in the front will prove to be a major problem with a lot of people, when dust, liquid and other extraneous objects make it inside the case. This is the worst design ever by Apple, Ive and co.

  7. No problem with the styling for me except why did they have to make it 3 inches taller than the than the G4s. Most of the added height seems to be in the handles. I’m gonna have a real problem getting these in my crowded server closet without sawing off those handles.

  8. To CV: I could point you to some dealers in my city if you need some new crack to smoke… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />)

    The G5 is the best looking tower Mac I’ve seen so far. Besides, if it is indeed quieter than the current generation of Tower Macs, who cares how it looks!?!?!?

  9. You were hoping for a clear plastic butterfly or something? Apple is making a statement with a design that is industrial, sleek and functional. I have a quicksilver, and it feels like a really expensive Transformer toy. Vive Aluminum, just release the second generation, I was hoping for dual 3.0ghz.

  10. I think the design is simply ugly. It looks OK from the side, but the front looks awful. One of those ‘leaked’ (er…I mean ‘faked’) cases was done better in that it put the ports on the side towards the front. If they need 9 flippin fans to cool the processors, how are they ever going to get the G5 into a powerbook? The answer is that they shouldn’t need that many fans. They should design towers using some of the same principles as laptops–(1) make them thin to reduce heat transfer length scales and (2) let the walls get hot. Geez–it doesn’t matter if the wall of your G5 tower gets really, really hot. It does matter if your laptop bottom gets really really hot. But they let the G4 laptops get hot but not the G4 case walls. Makes no sense to me. I’m sure Jonathan Ive is a real nice guy, but I’m sick of him overstating the simplicity of the Apple designs. Apple botched the G5 in a number of ways. They’re still fighting the megahertz-myth, they raised their prices instead of lowering them (hey, wasn’t the 970 chip supposed to be cheaper than the G4?), and they made an enclosure which is butt-ugly. Sorry, I’m an Apple zealot for the most part. But even I am not so blind as to think they pulled off another brilliant piece of design and engineering. The good news is that the G4’s are cheaper than ever and still booting in OS 9!

  11. From what I’ve read, the G5 probably won’t make it into the Powerbook until the 980 series is available. By that time they’re supposed to be running much cooler and be much smaller. I think that may coincide with the 3gig chips too, but I’m not sure. At any rate, the 15″ PB is going to have to be updated soon because the current inventory is just about gone, so maybe they’ll go up to 1.42 ghz?

    As for the G5 cases, personally I like them. I don’t love them, but I really like the aluminum, and I think the face will grow on me. One thing I do like about them is that they look very industrial, and I remember when the original B/W G3s came out, and the G/W G4s after that, a lot of “business” people complained because they looked too funky. I think this minimalist approach may help that out a little. But regardless, it’s all subjective, to each his own.

  12. Yeah, yeah, and the original PowerMac G3 was ugly because it had rounded plastics and COLOR! Opinions are like bung holes, everyone has one. Besides, who cares what the box looks like? With this kind of power, if it was ugly (which it ain’t to me) I’d hide the thing under my desk and rely on the beauty of OS X.

    Non-issue, nothing to see here, move along.

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