Less than a year after unveiling the original Power Mac G5, Apple released a new line of G5 models, each with dual processors and an 8x SuperDrive. As before, the entry level model uses 64-bit PCI slots and only supports up to 4 GB of RAM vs. PCI-X slots and an 8 GB RAM ceiling in the faster G5s.
A headphone jack, a USB 2.0 port, and a FireWire 400 port are located on the front of the G5 for easy access.
The G5 uses an aluminum enclosure that’s vented in the front and back. The case includes four thermal zones and nine fans to handle cooling, each independently controlled for speed. The 2.5 GHz model incorporates a liquid cooling system to keep the CPU from overheating.
Note that the 1.8 GHz model is one of Apple’s entry-level G5s, which means it uses 33 MHz PCI expansion slots instead of 133 MHz PCI-X andhas 4 memory slots instead of 8.
Power Mac G5 Reliability
Reliability ratings are based on statistics compiled by MacInTouch in June 2006, at which time the dual-core Power Mac G5 models had only been on the market for 8 months. Letter grades are based on failure rate: A = 0-6%, B = 7-12%, C = 13-18%, D = 19-24%, and F = 25% or higher. We also note the two components that failed most often.
- G5/1.8 dual (June 2004), D+ (19%, logicboard, optical drive)
- G5/2.0 dual (June 2004), C- (17%, logicboard, hard or optical drive)
- G5/2.5 dual (June 2004), F (26%, logicboard, hard drive)
In each generation, except for the final dual-core one, the fastest model is the least reliable, while the second-fastest is the most reliable. Logicboards are the most expensive component to repair, followed by the power supply. Hard drives, optical drives, video cards, and RAM can be replaced inexpensively using third-party components.
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- introduced 2004.06.09 with 1.8 GHz 256 MB/80 GB at $1,999, 2.0 GHz 512 MB/160 GB at $2,499, and 2.5 GHz 512 MB/160 GB at $2,999; shipped in August; 1.8 GHz single model added 2004.10.19; replaced by 2005 Power Mac G5 on 2005.04.27
- Support Mac OS Versions
- CPU: 1.8/2.0/2.5 GHz PowerPC 970
- Bus: 900 MHz/1.0 GHz/1.25 GHz (half CPU speed)
- Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 2083 (2.5 GHz), 1704 (2.0 GHz), 1553 (1.8 GHz)
- Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 2105 (2.5 GHz), 1688 (2.0 GHz), 1582 (1.8 GHz)
- L2 cache: 512 KB on-chip L2 cache
- L3 cache: none
- RAM, 1.8 GHz: 256 MB, expandable to 4 GB or 8 GB using pairs of 400 MHz PC3200 DDR RAM (4 RAM slots in 1.8 GHz model, 8 in faster ones)
- Video: AGP 8x
- 1.8/2.0 GHz: Nvidia GeForce FX5200 Ultra
- 2.5 GHz: ATI Radeon 9600 XT
- ATI Radeon 9800 XT with 256 MB optional
- VRAM: 64 MB (Nvidia) or 128 MB (Radeon 9600)
- Hard drive bus: 1.5 Gbps SATA I
- Hard drive: 80/160 Serial ATA (SATA) 7200 rpm
- Optical drive bus: ATA/100 bus
- optical drive: 8x SuperDrive on Ultra ATA/100 bus
- 3 33 MHz 64-bit PCI slots on 1.8 GHz model
3 64-bit PCI-X slots on faster models (two 100 MHz, one 133 MHz)
- Modem: internal 56k v.92
- Microphone: standard 3.5mm minijack, compatible with line-level input, not compatible with Apple’s PlainTalk microphone
- FireWire: 2 FW400 ports (1 on front), 1 FW800 port
- USB: 3 USB 2.0 ports (1 on front)
- Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
- WiFi: antenna and connector for 802.11g AirPort Extreme card
- Bluetooth: built in, optional antenna
- PRAM battery: 3V CR2032 lithium
- power supply: 600W 661-2904
- size (HxWxD): 20.1″ x 8.1″ x 18.7″ (51.1 x 20.6 x 47.5 cm)
- Weight: 39.2 lb. (17.8 kg)
- Gestalt ID: n/a
- PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
- Part no.: M9454 (1.8 GHz), M9455 (2.0 GHz), M9457 (2.5 GHz)
Accelerators & Upgrades
- none likely
- Best Power Mac G5 Deals.
- Getting the Most from Your Power Mac G5
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- What’s the Best Version of OS X for My Mac?, Ian R Campbell, The Sensible Mac, 2008.02.28. Which version of Mac OS X is best for your hardware depends on several factors.
- How Fast Is Classic Mode on a Power Mac G5?, Dan Knight, Mac Daniel, 2014.08.21. We run several benchmark tests from the Classic Mac OS era on a dual 2.3 GHz Power Mac G5 to see how well Classic Mode fares.
- Know Your Mac’s Upgrade Options, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.08.26. Any Mac can be upgraded, but it’s a question of what can be upgraded – RAM, hard drive, video, CPU – and how far it can be upgraded.
- The ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Guide to Installing Mac OS X Updates, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.16. Most users encounter no problems using Software Update, but some preflight work and using the Combo updater means far less chance of trouble.
- Why You Should Partition Your Mac’s Hard Drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ’emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- The Future of Up-to-Date Browsers for PowerPC Macs, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.08.31. With Intel-only “Snow Leopard” shipping, software support for PPC Macs will continue its decline. Also, a look at SeaMonkey 2 and Camino 1.6.9.
- Optimized Software Builds Bring Out the Best in Your Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac’s Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.30. Applications compiled for your Mac’s CPU can load more quickly and run faster than ones compiled for universal use.
- Tips for Installing or Reinstalling Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2009.06.10. Mac OS X 10.4 uses less memory than Leopard, supports Classic Mode on PowerPC Macs, and, unlike Leopard, is supported on G3 Macs.
- Choosing My Next Low-end Desktop Mac, John Hatchett, Recycled Computing, 2009.05.19. The recently deceased iBook G4 was going to take up desktop duty. Now the options are a G4 iMac, 17″ PowerBook, Power Mac G4, and Power Mac G5.
- PowerPC Architecture Was Not a Failure, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.02.16. CNET’s Brooke Crothers calls PowerPC a failed architecture, but 12 years of PowerPC Macs, IBM’s blade servers, and three game consoles tell a different story.
- Will Snow Leopard Support Some PowerPC Macs?, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.11.26. It just doesn’t make sense that Apple would ship a new OS that won’t support Macs sold less than three years ago.
- The Long Term Value of a High End Mac, Andrew J Fishkin, Best Tools for the Job, 2008.11.21. Low-end Macs are more affordable up front, but the flexibility and upgrade options of a top-end Mac can make it the better value in the long run.
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- Mac Pro overclocking, Windependence with Darwine, Blu-ray for Macs, and more, Mac News Review, 2008.07.04. Also more on running Leopard on non-Apple hardware, Ubuntu on a Mac mini, the first autofocus webcam with Zeiss optics for Macs, and more.
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- Safari 3.1 will be ‘crazy fast’, OS X 10.5.2 update, 20x SuperDrive from $35, and more, Mac News Review, 2008.02.15. Also Security Update for Tiger, Graphics Update for Leopard, Mac mini “as powerful as a larger desktop”, TechTool Deluxe update, and more.
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- APG Card Compatibility, The Mac Elite, 2007.08.09. Guide to which ATI and Nvidia AGP video cards are compatible with which AGP Power Macs.
- Allegro USB 2.0 a great way to add several USB 2.0 ports to your Power Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Reviews, 2007.03.28. You can never have too many USB ports. Whether your Power Mac has no USB 2.0 ports or too few, this $30 card is a great way to add the ports you need.
- 11 No Cost Tips for Optimizing Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Performance, Ed Eubanks Jr, The Efficient Mac User, 2007.03.12. If your Mac is getting sluggish, here are 11 tips that can help restore its original performance.
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- Macs take away Microsoft pain, Macs revive James Bond, iMac king of all media, iWoofer, and more, Mac News Review, 2006.06.16. Also Windows users guide to switching to the Mac, Bluetooth firmware update for PPC Macs, universal USB 2.0 drive adapter, waterproof case for video iPod, and more.
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- Power Mac G5 Uniprocessor Firmware Update, Apple, 2004.09.13. “The Power Mac G5 Uniprocessor Firmware Update improves general system reliability and restores sleep functionality.”
- The June 2004 Power Mac G5 value equation, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2004.06.09. The newest G5s offer better values than the old ones, but which one comes in as the best value just might surprise you.
- Sonata SD, Sonnet Tech, 2004.06.01. First new PCI video card for the Mac in ages sells for just US$99, supports OS 7.5.3 and later plus OS X 10.1.5 and later, works with VGA or old Mac monitors, 16 MB VRAM. Also compatible with PCI-X slots in G5.
- Apple Specs: Power Macintosh G5
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