Power Mac G5 (Late 2004)

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-processor sibling while matching it in almost every specification. The only significant difference, besides a single CPU, is the use of a 600 MHz memory bus vs. 900 MHz on the dual processor model.

Power Mac G5This 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 1.8 GHz iMac G5 and 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 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 new model was 1-4% slower than last year’s model.

Note that this is one of Apple’s entry-level G5s, which means it uses 33 MHz PCI slots instead of 133 MHz PCI-X and has 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 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.

  • Got a G3, G4, or G5 Power Mac? Join G-List.
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  • Our Tiger Group and Tiger Forum are for those using Mac OS X 10.4.
  • Our Leopard Forum is for those using Mac OS X 10.5.
  • Our Leopard Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6.


  • introduced 2004.10.19 with 256 MB RAM, 80 GB hard drive at $1,499; discontinued 2005.06.20
  • Supported Mac OS Versions
  • CPU: 1.8 GHz PowerPC 970
  • Bus: 600 MHz (one-third CPU speed)
  • Performance:
    • 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 Rev. 1
  • 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
  • power supply: 450W 661-2903
  • 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

Online Resources

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