Best Buy
  • Price: 1701

  • Company: Apple

  • Pros: Superb 2D graphics performance coupled with excellent value for money makes this the ultimate desktop Mac.

  • Cons: It’s not flexible enough to upgrade for 3D work, and the base supplied RAM is far too small. Supplied mouse still has only one button.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Apple’s new G5 isn’t nearly as groundbreaking as some of the new Windows PCs covered in our workstation group test in Digit 88, but it’s still an extremely impressive machine that can more than match all but the newest of its rivals. It offers excellent value-for-money, too.

 border=0 />This Mac doesn’t just boast a faster processor – the old line maxed out at 2.5GHz – it gains a 1.35GHz frontside bus for faster information transfer to and from the processors and RAM (compared to the Xeon’s 800MHz, for example).
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These combine to deliver great performance. In our processing test, this Mac equalled both the fastest Xeon (3.6GHz) and Opteron processors (2.6GHz). These were in much more expensive workstations, but a large part of the price of those units are costly workstation graphics cards that don’t have equivalents on the Mac. In our estimation, in an equally costing system, this G5 would have a slight edge.
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The G5 loses out because you don’t have the option of dual-core chips. These are currently very expensive, being so new, but prices will drop – and they’re pushing down the cost of single core PC chips, shaving the G5’s value for money. <BR>
The base 512MB of RAM is paltry – 1.5GB should be minimum to complement the 2.7GHz chips – but this is how you should buy it from Apple. Then add RAM from Crucial, giving you a 1.5GB total for the same price (under £60) as 1GB from the Apple Store, or 2.5GB for much less than 2GB (£142 versus £203).
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The Radeon 9650 graphics chip’s performance was average in our Cinebench tests, but it will run Apple’s 30-inch display and it’s fine for 2D work. The £300 NVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL card looks interesting, but the lack of PCI Express support and workstation cards limits the Mac’s 3D appeal.
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<b>Tiger in the tank</b>
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