Power Macintosh G5/1.8 Single
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Has Apple heard our pleas for a lower-cost modular Mac? The single processor 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 knocks US$500 from the price of it's dual-CPU sibling while matching it in almost every specification. The only significant difference, besides a single CPU, is the use of a 600 MHz bus vs. 900 MHz on the dual processor model.
This Power Mac uses the same one-third CPU speed bus found on the iMac G5, which also shares GeForce 5200 Ultra video. With the 17" 1.8 GHz SuperDrive iMac G5 selling for the same price, it will be interesting to see how this Power Mac fares against it. Points of comparison:
- Apple's cheapest Cinema Display, the 20" model, adds $1,299 to the price, but the Power Mac can be used with a conventional CRT display or third-party flat panel display.
- The Power Mac supports dual monitors, but the iMac can only mirror what's on the built-in display.
- The Power Mac has an 8x DVD burner, vs. 4x on the iMac G5.
- The Power Mac has three PCI slots and room for additional internal hard drives; this expansion is lacking in the iMac.
- The Power Mac has FireWire 800, while the iMac is limited to FireWire 400.
In terms of performance, the iMac G5/1.8 and Power Mac G5/1.8 Single should be nearly identical, so it comes down to expandability and display flexibility vs. the convenience of having everything in a slim case.
Macworld also compared performance of this single CPU 1.8 GHz model with last year's 1.8 GHz single processor G5 using the same hard drive and graphics card from the new model to determine how system bus speed impacts performance. In every test but one, the 2004 model was 1-4% slower.
Note that this is one of Apple's entry-level G5s, which means it uses 33 MHz PCI slots instead of 100/133 MHz PCI-X, has 4 memory slots instead of 8, and uses a 450W power supply instead of 600W.
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 single (June 2003), D+ (19%, logicboard, video card)
- 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)
- G5/1.8 single (Oct. 2004), D+ (19%, hard drive, logicboard)
- G5/2.3 dual (April 2005), B- (11%, logicboard, power supply)
- G5/2.7 dual (April 2005), D (22%, logicboard, power supply)
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.
- 1.8 GHz single 256/80 introduced 2004.10.19 at $1,499; discontinued 2005.06.20
- requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later
- CPU: 1.8 GHz PowerPC 970
- bus: 600 MHz (one-third CPU speed)
- Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 1049
- Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 1089
- RAM: 256 MB, expandable to 4 GB using pairs of 400 MHz PC3200 RAM, 4 RAM slots
- L2 cache: 512 KB on-chip L2 cache
- L3 cache: none
- Video: AGP 8x
- Nvidia GeForce FX5200 Ultra, 64 MB, standard
- Optional: ATI Radeon 9600 XT, 128 MB; ATI Radeon 9800 XT, 256 MB; Nvidia GeForce FX6800 Ultra, 64 MB
- VRAM: 64 MB (Nvidia) or 128 MB (Radeon 9600)
- hard drive bus: 1.5 Gbps SATA I
- hard drive: 80 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
- 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
- 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
- model number: M9454
- PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
Accelerators & Upgrades
- none likely
- Best Power Mac G5 deals.
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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.
- 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, Mac 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.
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- The future of PowerPC Macs and software as 'Snow Leopard' approaches, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2008.11.13. Apple phased out Classic Mode and G3 support with 'Leopard' last year, and next year's OS X 10.6 won't support any PowerPC Macs. Will other developers abandon PowerPC as well?
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- 'Snow Leopard' and the death of PowerPC support, Carl Nygren, Classic Macs in the Intel Age, 2008.06.23. It looks like Mac OS X 10.6 will only support Intel Macs - and possibly only 64-bit ones at that. Should G4 and G5 owners start looking at Linux?
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- 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