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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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;” />

  4. 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.

  5. I think which product line gets upgraded to Intel will very much depend on which processor class becomes available first. The new generation of Intel processors are scheduled for release at the end of H1 2006. I know Intel have said that they are ahead of schedule, but having seen how IBM’s problem with ramp up of production, it wouldn’t surprise me if things get mixed around a bit.

    If Intel come out with a lower powered mid performance chip, then the PB may get it first. That is in real need of a performance boost. If the high powered chips are easier to fab initially maybe it will be the powermacs.

    If Apple get hold of cheap chips for the mini that could get released. I would imagine that Apple would need some high performance chips for the iMac, since the current offerings are too shabby.

    My question is this – won’t Apple want their flagship computers, like the PB or PM to have the new chips first? Or are they going to be realistic, and put them in the consumer offerings since they can sell more machines that way.

  6. “IBM’s production isn’t the issue. They’ve had this CPU available since the fall [spring]. 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.”

    Odyssey67,

    Firstly, Apple announced that they would continue to roll out PPC products up until the Intel transition, so the comment above doesn’t wash.

    Secondly, I won’t discredit your DRM conspiricy theory, but, don’t you think if Apple wanted DRM and IBM/Freescale products, they would have just worked with IBM/Freescale to do hardware DRM? I can’t imagine that Intel is the only hardware DRM game in town.

  7. “IBM’s production isn’t the issue. They’ve had this CPU available since the [spring]. 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.”

    IBM officially announced the PowerPC 970MP in July, which is pretty late for “spring”, at least on my calendar. So, from IBM making the chip available to Apple building a machine around it took three months.

    “Just as the dual core G5 has been available since the spring, so too has a low power […] 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.”

    Hey, did you notice? Apple’s releasing a thinner iMac! I wonder what kind of chip is in there…

  8. I know people here don’t completely understand hardware, so this might be not understood… BUT.

    processor speed is not the only thing which make a computer go fast.
    instead of fretting that you are not getting your 3Ghz puppy, consider these REAL speed increases.

    WE are now PCIe based, and DDR2 533.
    what this mean is that we have much greater bus bandwidth in Graphics and Memory subsystems.
    These 2 changes are MUCH more important for Apple’s core markets then the processor changes.
    (which are also misunderstood, as a dual core processor is faster then 2 processors of the same speeds in the same machine due to reduced bus latency)
    Furthermore the fact that we finally get a professional OpenGL card (my single biggest complaint for years about Apple calling PowerMacs workstations) we now have machines which are MUCH cheaper and in some cases truly more powerful then the competition. (Dull ‘Precision workstation 670 $5500 with 2 single single core Xeons’, IBM ‘Intellistation A Pro’ $7300 with 2 single core Opterons, SGI ‘Fuel’ $8000 with 1Mips processor, SUN ‘Java Workstation W2100z’ at $4700, and HP ‘XW9300’ $5500 for 2 single core processors.)

    Memory bandwidth is on par with the competition and really boost the ability to work with large datasets such as 3D modeling information, and large Scientific models.

    This is awesome, and I for one am starting to save up so that I will be able to buy the top end model with the Quaddro card as my last PPC machine.
    I am not a fan of Intel and do wish Apple had gone AMD instead. (as this is a philosophically more compatible chip, as well as much more powerful today as comparable chips.)
    This will probably be my last normal computer as I am assuming that by the time I get another one computing will have changed drastically.
    (I am on a seven year buying cycle, my present machine being a lovely G3)
    That you are underwelmed by the new machines belies the fact that you obviously don’t understand the changes and really are falling for the good old mainstream FUD that has always plagued consumer computer users.

  9. seabasstin, you make some very good points. I know my dual 2GHz G5 is looking long in the tooth now and I’d love a quad-G5…

    But, since I’m speaking to someone in the know, there is one thing that made me curious. In the old machines, with dual processors, each processor had a connection to the bus running at 1/2 the processor speed. So, for example, on my PowerMac G5, each CPU is fed by a 1GHz bus.

    This appears to be true with the new CPUs, however each CPU now has two processor cores. So if I have a 2GHz Dual-Core CPU, it’s fed by a 1GHz bus. Thus, it would seem to me, that both processors now have half the bandwidth that the old machines had.

    Is this not so? And what effect would that have?

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