First benchmark tests of Apple’s new Power Mac G5 dual-core machines

“We have compared the new G5 DualCore 2.0GHz and 2.3GHz with a old watercooled G5 dual 2.5GHz. The dual 2.5GHz was equipped with a GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics card, not standard equipment. The DualCore 2.0 had a two-drive RAID-0 volume so the disk test is better than normal,” Mats Björnström reports for 99Mac.

“The Power Macintosh G5 is better than ever and this is likely the last major update that we will see before the transition to Intel- processors. Apple has polished the details and the new processors gives some extra power. Because the exterior is largely [unchanged] this feels more like a “speedbump” even if the processor-switch is more significant than that,” Björnström reports. “Performance-wise, one Dual Core processor doesn’t make for a large difference compared to two old G5 processors. We predict that the new Quad 2.5GHz Powermac will make for a performance increase of 70% or more.”

Full article with benchmark results here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple introduces Power Mac G5 Quad and Power Mac G5 Dual – October 19, 2005

50 Comments

  1. Has Apple transitioned the entire Varsity team to the Intel transition, leaving these PPC baby steps for the JV team to learn on?

    While I am glad to see some speed bumps, I am in general underwhelmed by Apple’s developments here. The dual core chip has been available to Apple for some time. Why are we getting it just now? Likewise, why so minimal a performance boost for the PowerBooks which people continue to clammor for?

    It saddens me that with all the tallent at Apple, and all the new found revenues from the iPod side of the house, they have not put (what appears for the last 12 months anyhow) much effort into the Pro Line.

    MDN word: century

  2. Me:
    I think the reason Apple had to wait to launch the dual-cores is that they were waiting for IBM to get the production runs going to support the demand.
    At least that’s what we were told.

    Does anyone know why there isn’t a change in the processors for the Powerbooks?

  3. No, I guess a dual-core running at 10% lower clock speed than a dual processor wouldn’t make for a large difference. Well… Duh! No offense there Mats, but what would you really think you were gonna see? The new ones have a bigger cache and a slower clock, so it’s a wash. When you get your hands on a Quad, then I’ll go read TFA. While you’re at it, stack it up against the best Windows machine you can find. That would be interesting too.

    BTW, on Apple’s site they have plenty of comparisons to the older G5s. It’s in a pdf somewhere there. The charts show anywhere from 22 to 70% speed increase, depending on the tests.

    One thing that puzzles me… Mats says they compared it to the old water-cooled G5s. Does this imply that the new ones are not water-cooled? I haven’t seen anything on Apple’s site that says one way or the other.

  4. <We predict that the new Quad 2.5GHz Powermac will make for a performance increase of 70% or more.”>

    Generally, Apple upgrades its CPUs about every 6 months, and as the article intimates, this could be the last PPC upgrade of the “Pro” line we see.

    Six months from now is April. Stretching this CPU for another 3 months takes us to July, the month Apples says we will see the first Intels in CONSUMER CPUs.

    I’m convinced Apple is going to surprise at MWSF and announce consumer MacTels shipping in February. That would make Intel based PMs and PBs a natural in July.

    Now if these latest PPC PMs are indeed 70% faster than the CPUs they replace, what will the Intel PMs look like? I’m thinking all the power necessary to do video editing, H.264 encoding/decoding will be available on all Mac products by back to school 2006.

  5. I don’t get something: Are we to believe that this update will essentially be the LAST update to the PowerMacs until the switch to Intel?

    That’s not scheduled to happen until nearly TWO YEARS from now!

    I mean, what else could they do to improve them?

    We probably won’t see anything change at MacWorld in January, so, are we hoping for another “improvement” in the middle of next year?

    Or do we have to really wait until June 2007 for the Intel beasts?

  6. me:

    You might be correct in your assertion, but remember Apple is moving to the Intel platform. So, the question I have for you is, “what did you expect?”

    This is still progress for this architecture, once on a new platform entirely, my expectations will be much higher over a period like we’ve been through of only a few upgrades. Again, to be expected, though.

    Also, it’s no secret that iPod sales are now driving Apple’s bottom line making it a perfect time to change Mac’s architecture. Mac sales should come in at a higher level (as expected by analysts) once the transition to Intel processors is completed.

  7. Anyone notice all of their comparison benchmarks are to their prior G5 offerings? The big question is how the top of the line benchmarks against the current top of the line AMD and Intel offerings?
    Will they publish it or just conveniently forget it so they don’t tweak their new best bud Intel?
    Hopefully, xlr8yourmac.com or someone else will publish soon enough.

  8. The lack of quad processors (and a clock decrease) across the board shows that IBM is not getting a lot of these out of the factory. Intel isn’t having any easy time these days either. It makes me wonder if we are reaching a limit in our technology.

  9. Hi “me”

    Has the dual core chip REALLY been available for Apple? Yes, IBM released it, but can they deliver in sufficient numbers?
    And after the released it, and Apple got it, they needed to start testing the cpu in their machines and design the motherboard and … TESTS TAKES TIME! and we dont want products with bugs and errors to be released prematurely do we?

    Powerbooks are not faster because the G4 cpu is at the end of it’s life. The G4 started at 350? Mhz and now it runs 1700? MHz. Thats pretty impressive, but… G4 can not get much more faster. Sure, there is a 2000 MHz version, but putting it into a Powerbook that has thermal constrains has not been possible. Sure you can force it into the case, but then
    1) the blower would run ALL THE FUCKING TIME, like a cheap PC.
    2) the battery would last 10 minutes.
    3) The case would be thicker to have space for the bigger blowers.

    I dont want any of those drawbacks, so i will accept a small cpu performance.

    About all that tallent and all those resources… THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE STEVE JOB. And i think Steve Job has his fingers on all kinds of projects, so he cant get sufficient time to direct the developing projects, and thus they dont always progress as we hope they would.

    JonB

  10. Two years (from WWDC) was meant to be a VERY conservative estimate so as not to disappoint anyone. Here’s how it’ll probably end up really going down…

    Mac mini, iMac and iBook: 1st half 2006
    PowerBook and Power Mac: 2nd half 2006

  11. matrix1 says: “I think the reason Apple had to wait to launch the dual-cores is that they were waiting for IBM to get the production runs going to support the demand. At least that’s what we were told. Does anyone know why there isn’t a change in the processors for the Powerbooks?”

    IBM’s production isn’t the issue. They’ve had this CPU available since the fall. I think Apple hoped not to go back to IBM for anything once the Macintel transition was decided upon, but the combination of falling PM sales, and a clearly upgraded CPU being available, forced their hand.

    The Powerbooks weren’t changed for exactly the same reason they didn’t want to change the G5 – they really don’t want the performance increases to dilute their claim that PPC couldn’t make the grade anymore – that the Macintel transistion was made for performance reasons. As the quad CPU G5 will soon make abundantly clear when it’s tested, performance is their forte. But it’s one thing to endure the line of questioning that inevitably will crop up about that with a pro line upgrade. But can you imagine what the iMac would have been like with one of these dual core CPUs in it? Or a PB with even just a dual core G4?

    People would be saying loud and clear, “What’s the point of switching again?”

    The answer is that Intel has hardware DRM, and Apple needs it if it wants access to the Hollywood studio’s vast library of movies and video. Apple wants that access because they want to re-capture lightning in a bottle, by doing with video what they’ve done with audio. It’s a noble cause on it’s face, but my opinion is that when you start compromising the ultimate greatness of your products (i.e. x86 is not better than PPC, and Intel does not even make the best x86 CPUs – AMD does) for any extraneous goal, then you are essentially making a Faustian Bargain. One that will probably bite you in the ass – somehow, someway – further on down the line.

    The Eagles once sung “I could be wrong, but I’m not” – and that’s sort of how I feel here. I really want to be full of shit about all this. I just don’t think I am.

    Oh well, we’ll just have to see how it all pans out. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  12. One last thing –

    The article says: “As we open the side door we can clearly see why there still is no Powerbook G5 – the processor heat sink is huge and it’s clear that Apple have worked hard on the cooling problem with the new Powermacs.”

    Just as the dual core G5 has been available since the spring, so too has a low power, though single core, version of the 970FX. While the power consumption numbers (about 25watts) were still a little above the G4, it certainly would have been possible to design a Powerbook around it. Even easier an iMac.

    Had Apple stuck with them, it would have been easy to forsee IBM transitioning the whole 970 line – dual cores and all – to this low power version. That would have made it especially easy to make a PM without all the HiVAC plumbing we see today.

    So again – this isn’t a question of PPC’s, or even IBM’s, limitations. It’s more evidence that Apple wanted to got to Intel for other reasons.

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