Price When Reviewed: 1956.60
Pros: Much more powerful than single-core predecessors. Great value compared to DDC AMD-based workstations.
Cons: Few 3D graphics options. Lacks support for SLI and CrossFire.
Apple’s first dual-processor, dual-core (DDC) Mac workstation offers many architecture improvements over its predecessor, and delivers huge leaps in performance. The G5 Quad matches its DDC AMD Opteron-based PC rivals, and in many cases the Mac costs less. Dual-core Intel Xeons haven’t shipped yet.
The dual-core technology now used in this top-end Power Mac G5 puts two processors on one silicon wafer, with each processor allocated 1MB of L2 cache. The result is almost twice the computing power in the same space.
In a DDC machine – which Apple refers to as a quad-processor machine – you’ve got four processors, four 128-bit velocity engines, and eight graphics processing units. The speed increase on any computing work that can be broken up into parallel processing is exponential.
Real-world performance throttles back a bit due to disk I/O, but the increase in speed is immediately noticeable. For example, Final Cut Pro effects applied in real-time to eight video streams barely affects performance. It must have something to do with the total RAM throughput being 8.5Gbps, with the motherboard supporting up to 16GB.
The Power Mac G5 now supports PCI Express, for faster I/O to the graphics card – and other types of cards such as video capture and effects from Blackmagic Design and AJA Video.