Apple Computer, Inc
|Suggested Retail Price:
Dec 31, 2003
Apple's PowerMac G5 computer is the first 64 bit consumer desktop. It has two super fast processors and super fast subsystems to keep those processors busy. If you want speed, you've got it.
Setting up the G5 is like setting up any other Mac. Plug in the keyboard (the mouse can be pluged into keyboard), attach the monitor (via ADC or DVI; DVI to VGA adapter included), attach the power cord, and start it up. Registration is required, which takes about 5 minutes. After that, the machine is ready to use.Usage:
Before even turning on the machine, you will notice how great it looks. The aluminum alloy case is not only good looking, but practical in the fact that it is perforated to let air flow through the computer. Opening opening the G5, you will notice that the insides look just as good as the outside. It's hard to find a single wire, making this the cleanest looking computer ever. Apple also includes a nice looking keyboard and mouse. The mouse is only one button, which is just not practical, and I completely recommned getting a multi-button mouse. On the other hand, the white keyboard not only looks good, but is a pleasure to use. I like the white keys with black text, as is is much easier to read than white on black. As for the keys, they feel really smooth, and are very quiet.
Of course, the ascetic value isn't why people purchase computers, we buy these machines to get things done. The G5 excels at everything it does. The 64-bit CPUs are extremely fast, but would be useless without the subsystems. Luckily, Apple fixed the biggest problem with the G4 series, slow subsystems. In the G5, there is a 1GHz front side bus, 8X AGP slot, 100MHz and 133MHz PCI-X slots, DDR 3200 RAM, and Serial ATA for the hard drives make this computer a serious speed demon. With the G5, the CPUs will never be starved for data to process.
Of course, with all of these fast components, there will be a lot of heat generated. To handle this, Apple created four thermo zones, where nine (yes 9) fans pull air from the front of the machine, and push it out the back. This type of cooling works very well, and is surprisingly quiet. You may think 9 fans would sound like a vacuum cleaner. However, it's just the opposite. The fans can run very slow, only speeding up when the computer is really working hard, keeping the noise level to a minimum. Unfortunately, the fan on the ATI Radeon 9800 video card spins very fast, and can be heard above all other fans. If it was not for that fan, the machine would be practically silent.
In today's world of technology, everything is always evolving, and therefore computers need to have the ability to be upgraded. The G5 makes upgrading simple, by pulling off the side panel of the computer and the plastic shield behind it, you can get at every upgradable component. It's a simple task to pop in a new video card or PCI card, add some RAM, or add another hard drive. Unfortunately, Apple took a step back in the number of devices that can be added to the G5. There is room for only one optical drive, 2 hard drives, and 3 PCI cards. To offset this reduction in overall devices, there are eight slots for RAM. You may wonder why the G5 has eight slots for RAM. Well, the G5 addresses RAM with a 42 bit address, meaning you can put up to 4 Terabytes (or 4096 Gigabytes) of RAM in this beast (once chips are large enough). Theoretically, you could have more RAM than hard drive space!
Internal expansion is not the only type of expansion however. External expansion is a must, from user input and output devices, to external hard drives, and other devices that must be kept outside the case. With the G5, Apple made sure there are plenty of ports for external expansion. There are three USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, two Firewire 400 ports, analog audio in and out, optical audio in and out, and ADC and DVI video connectors. Plus, Apple has finally done what users have been requesting for years, included ports on the front of the computer. Under the power button, there is a USB 2.0 port, Firewire 400 port, and a headphone jack. This is a great convenience for those devices you don't always need plugged in.
There are some additional features to the G5 which I decided to omit from my machine. First, I got a combo drive instead of the super drive. The combo drive reads CDs and DVDs, as well as writes CDs. The super drive does all of that, plus writes to DVDs. However, I chose the combo drive because the CD writing speed is quite a bit faster. I also didn't get the internal 56k modem, because I just don't need it. Finally, I did not get the Bluetooth module or Airport Extreme card. The Airport Extreme card can be added later, but the Bluetooth module cannot. I wish I would have known this before hand, so I could have included one.
Finally, the G5 costs a lot of money, and you do not want it, or any part of it, walking away on you. Therefore, you will want to secure it in one fashion or another. For the internal components, there is a tab you can pull out which you can attach a cable or small padlock to. This will keep other people from being able to open the G5, and get at the precious innards. To keep the whole computer safe, you may want to invest in a cable/padlock or bike lock. I wrap a bike lock cable around the bottom back handle, and then around a solid object. This will help keep the machine from leaving your room when you don't want it to.Problems:
I have had a problem where the G5 would wake from sleep randomly. This happened a couple times in one night. I restarted, and it has not happened again. I believe this to be an isolated incident.Conclusion:
This is one fine piece of machinery. Not only is is fast, but it looks great too. The PowerMac G5 is the envy of everyone who doesn't own one.