Apple Releases Power Mac G5

The Power Mac G5 was introduced with three models, sharing the same physical case, but differing in features and performance.

The 1.6 GHz model shipped with 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, and could employ a maximum of 4 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia Geforce 5200 Graphics Card with 64Mb Vram with one ADC output and one DVI output. The 1.8 and dual-processor and 2.0 GHz models shipped with 512 MB of RAM, and could employ a maximum of 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. The dual-processor model also included an ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card.

Steve Jobs stated during his keynote presentation that the Power Mac G5 would reach 3 GHz "within 12 months." This would never come to pass; after three years, the G5 only reached 2.7 GHz (or dual-core at 2.5 GHz) before being replaced by the Intel Xeon-based Mac Pro, which included processors with speeds of up to 3 GHz, and after three years is presently at 3.2 GHz.

During the presentation Apple also showed Virginia Tech's Mac OS X computer cluster supercomputer (a.k.a. supercluster) known as System X, consisting of 1100 Power Mac G5s operating as processing nodes. The supercomputer managed to become one of the top 5 supercomputers that year. The computer was soon dismantled and replaced with a new cluster made of an equal number of Xserve G5 rack-mounted servers, which also use the G5 chip running at 2.3 GHz.

The Power Mac G5 was introduced on June 23, 2003 - the same day Intel officially unveiled the 3.2 GHz Pentium4. In terms of clock speed
, that means Intel had a 6.7% speed bump the same day that Apple announced a 40% improvement (from 1.42 GHz to 2.0 GHz).

Specs are those "accidentally leaked" on Apple's site the previous Thursday. Apple is using the 64-bit PowerPC 970 processor from IBM, since Motorola abandoned their G5 development plans long ago. The PPC 970 is based on the same core as IBM's supercomputers.