Apple’s 64-bit iMac G5 much faster than 32-bit iMac G4 predecessor

Apple recently unveiled the new iMac G5, featuring the high-performance G5 processor and a totally new design that integrates the entire computer right into the flat panel display. The iMac G5 packs a complete computer system into a mere two inches of depth – the world’s thinnest desktop computer. The new line offers 17- or 20-inch active matrix widescreen LCDs and G5 processors running up to 1.8 GHz starting at just $1,299. What many reports seem to miss or just barely mention is that Apple’s iMac G5 is a 64-bit consumer system!

The new iMac G5 features the breakthrough performance of the PowerPC G5 processor, as well as numerous system performance improvements designed to help consumers turbocharge their digital lifestyle applications. The 17-inch models come with either a 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs, or a 1.6 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a Combo drive for watching DVD movies and burning CDs. The 20-inch model has a 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a SuperDrive. With a completely redesigned system architecture, the new iMac G5 now offers up to a 600 MHz front-side bus, 400 MHz DDR memory expandable to 2GB, AGP 8X graphics and 7200 rpm Serial ATA drives up to 250GB. The new iMac G5 comes standard with high-performance NVIDIA graphics with dedicated video memory for outstanding graphics performance and realistic game play.

Compared with the previous iMac (1.25 GHz PowerPC G4), iMac G5 plays 71% more simultaneous software instrument tracks in GarageBand. So play an alien pad and a cathedral organ at the same time – iMac G5 laughs at such complex tasks and comes back for more. Take Photoshop filters – iMac G5 plows through a 45-filter function test more than 55% faster than a G4-based iMac. Even more impressively, the iMac G5 renders your Final Cut Express 2 indie DV movies nearly 70% more quickly.

The PowerPC architecture was designed from the beginning for both 32- and 64-bit processing. That means the Power Mac G5 can run everything you run today, with no performance penalty. Contrast that with the competition, where switching to 64-bit computing will mean costly expenditures for 64-bit software or running a 32-bit operating system in a slow emulation mode. That


  1. It looks like the middle one is the better value.Great performance for a little money.No bugs,viruses and spyware to worry about.All you need to add is a airport station and card and you are good to go.

  2. First, everyone needs to be aware (definitely Apple’s marketing department’s fault!) that the G5 in the lowly home computer called iMac is a full 64-bit processor, as is the rest of the G5 chipset design.

    I really tried. I did. But the closest I could get to buying a 64-bit (Xenon) Dell system similar to the 17″, 1.8 Ghz, iMac Specs was a Dell Precision Workstation 470 with a 17″ LCD monitor for $2,083. A similar iMac would be $1,574. I had to add extra memory to the iMac to make them equal.

    Not only is the iMac $500 less, but it is also 23.5 lbs less (18.5 lbs vs 42 lbs, not including Dell 17″ monitor).

    Initially, the Dell seems to be faster at 3.0 Ghz Xenon vs iMac 1.8 Ghz G5, but if you surf around the web, you’ll find out hat the benchmarks are very close to each other regardless of clock speeds. This is due in part to the G5 being capable of performing more instructions per cycle.

    In short, Apple fails to inform the general population that the iMac is powered by a CPU that the PC world thinks of as a Server or Workstation class processor. Imagine completely tossing out all of the Pentium 4 based computers and using just the Xenon Workstations as home computers. Now, reduce their weight by half and place them in a thin case attached to the back of a high quality LCD monitor. THIS is what Apple had done… and no one noticed this huge leap in home desktop power, design and price.

    The new iMac ain’t nothin’ like the other computers at Best buy. Go shopping for Xenon-based computers, “Workstations”, and then you’ll be in the G5 iMac league.

  3. I’m certainly glad to hear the Apple finally released the iMac G5, but the jury’s still out on whether I plan to buy it. It’s a very attractive system, but in order to keep the price point, it seems that Apple may have cut quite a few corners.

    Sadly when Apple spent some of its valuable marketing resources trying to dissolve the megahertz myth, they were totally right. Processor speed is not the end-all-be-all of computer performance, though it helps. Neither is processor *TYPE*, though it helps. Would it surprise you to learn that a well-configured 17″ PowerBook runs faster than an iMac G5 on the average? This may or may not be true, but I encourage you to run your own tests using XBench or your benchmarking program of choice. You may be surprised at the results.

    There is simply no way Apple could allow their consumer system to outrun their pro systems, so some things have to be scaled back. Most notably is probably the cache (take a look at System Profiler to get your own numbers). Any benchmarking program will tell you that a 1.6 Ghz PowerMac G5 will eat every iMac in the lineup alive. Yes, the word “Power” is currency at Apple.

    I say this not to dissuade you from buying the new iMac G5 but just to encourage you to do your research before buying. Regardless of the processor name, this is still a consumer-grade system. It won’t scream, but it will perform very nicely for your daily needs and save some desk space.

  4. I think the value is definitely there. I paid the same amount for my iMac three or so years ago ($1,499) and look at what you get today for the same price as a 450 mhz G3 machine with 64 MB RAM, DVD-ROM/CD-ROM (No CDR) was back then.
    If I had the extra dough, I’d pony it up for this new iMac. I mean, c’mon, you get a G5! How cool is that? For many home users, this sucker is a no-brainer.

  5. nplastic, you idiot. The iMac G5 has the same L2 cache as the PowerMac G5. In fact, the iMac G5 has faster memory than the PowerMac G5 1.6GHz model that is now discontinued (DDR400 vs DDR333). As far as L3 catch on the G4’s, the iMac G5 does not need an L3 cache as its RAM is FASTER than the L3 cache of the G4 models. HELLO.

  6. Um, guys, exactly where are you getting your performance benchmarks? Both the author of the article and the comments above from nplastic, to wit, ” Would it surprise you to learn that a well-configured 17″ PowerBook runs faster than an iMac G5 on the average?” urge me to say, PROVE IT, DAMNIT!

    I’m sick and tired of baseless heresy posted on Internet message boards and from assertions of bloated, self-important pundits. The comments of nplastic are a perfect case in point. I know of no tests conducted independently on the new iMac G5, no independent benchmarks. I doubt that nplastic has ever seen a G5 iMac in the wild, yet he appears to know more than the rest of us. Since the public debut of the new iMac G5 last week, I have read countless articles and posts critiquing something they have have not seen much less tested. But as we all know, if you read it on the Internet, it MUST be true, such as the man who woke up in an ice-filled bathtub with his kidneys missing.


    My apologies for the rant here, but please take all this with a grain of salt. Think, people, think! Until we see real empirical tests performed on the new iMac G5, just about everything we read is baseless. I’m as excited about Apple’s new creation as the rest of us, and I have every reason to believe it will be a big step forward. But show us some facts upon which we can make logical decisions. And to those of you eager to spew assumptions or inaccurate conclusions, please don’t waste your energy. The people who worked their butts off at Apple to create the new iMac for us deserve that much at least.

    There. I feel better now.

  7. Yes it’s all very impressive, but if only they’d offered a better graphics card – just as an option.

    I’d pay up to 200 � more for a 20- inch iMac with better graphics.

  8. A really good deal would be for Apple to increase base RAM to 512 MG, increase frontside bus to 800 MHz (1.6 GHz G5) and 900 MHz (1.8 GHz G5), and provide ATI Radeon XT graphics card with 128 MB SDRAM.

  9. The link does work. It pulls up the store in iTunes.

    The iMac G5 is one fantastic machine IMHO. Yes, sacrifices have been made, like the video, but I wonder whether the graphics were scaled down for cooling reasons. Those top end Radeons kick out serious heat.

    Also on the system bus front, with only a single G5, can anyone answer me whether throttling back the bus speed to 600MHz is going to create a bottleneck, or does the fact it is still 50% faster than the RAM mean a faster bus wouldn’t help much anyway?

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