Apple bumps Power Mac G5s to 2.7GHz

Apple on Wednesday unveiled upgrades to its line of dual-processor Power Mac G5 desktop computers, raising the top-end system’s processor speed from 2.5 to 2.7GHz. The systems all come equipped with Mac OS X v10.4 “Tiger,” and include 512MB RAM, 16x dual-layer “SuperDrive” optical drives, and other enhancements. Prices remain the same, with Apple’s highest-end Power Mac G5 tipping the scales at US$2,999. All new systems are available worldwide beginning today, according to Apple.

Apple’s Power Mac G5 remains available in an entry-level $1,499 configuration — that’s a 1.8GHz single-processor system equipped with 256MB RAM, three PCI slots, 8x AGP, and 600MHz frontside bus. But today’s improvements to Apple’s Power Mac G5 line are specific to its dual-processor systems.

While the price remains the same at $1,999, Apple’s basic dual-processor system uses processors clocked at 2.0GHz, up from 1.8GHz, with a frontside bus now clocked at 1GHz per processor, up from 900MHz. 512MB RAM is standard (its predecessor shipped with 256MB RAM), and 4GB is the maximum capacity. The system ships with ATI Radeon 9600 graphics equipped with 128MB VRAM; the card features two single-link DVI ports compatible with Apple 20- and 23-inch Cinema and Cinema HD displays. A 160GB hard disk is now standard; twice the capacity of the system the dual 2.0GHz replaces. The dual 2.0GHz system features three 33MHz 64-bit PCI slots.

Apple’s new mid-range Power Mac G5 system is a dual-processor model clocked at 2.3GHz. Its frontside bus is clocked at 1.15GHz per processor, and it ships with 250GB of storage, 512MB RAM expandable to 8GB, and ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card with 128MB VRAM. A 16x SuperDrive is also standard, and for additional expansion, the system includes three open 64-bit PCI-X slots — one is clocked at 133MHz and the others are 100MHz.

Apple’s high-end dual-processor Power Mac G5 configuration is clocked at 2.7GHz with a frontside bus working at 1.35GHz per processor. Again, 512MB RAM is standard and is expandable to 8GB, and this system ships with an ATI Radeon 9650 graphics card equipped with 256MB VRAM. Outfitted with one single-link and one dual-link DVI connector, the graphics card included with the 2.7GHz model can drive one of Apple’s 30-inch Cinema HD displays.

Previous Power Mac G5 systems could only work with the 30-inch display if their graphics cards were upgraded to more expensive models that blocked the PCI slot that lies next to the AGP video card slot on the Power Mac’s motherboard, according to Tom Boger, Apple’s Director of Power Mac product marketing.

“This, combined with the lower prices of our Cinema Displays that we also announced today, offers our customers a better value,” Boger told MacCentral. Apple also announced Wednesday lower prices on its 20- and 23-inch Cinema and Cinema HD displays; the prices have been dropped to $799 and $1,499 — $200 and $300 less than before, respectively. The 30-inch display remains priced at $2,999.

Boger noted that the new Power Mac G5s can also be optionally configured with an internal Bluetooth 2.0 module and antenna. Bluetooth 2.0 is the higher-speed version of the wireless connectivity standard used for cell phones, handheld computers, printers and other peripherals. It made its debut on Apple computers earlier this year with a refresh to Apple's PowerBook G4 line.

A 56K v.92 modem is now standard on the 1.8GHz model, and optional on dual-processor systems. Otherwise, the new Power Mac G5s are the same as the systems that they replace: They’re equipped with a FireWire 800 port, two FireWire 400 ports (one on the front, one on the back), three USB 2.0 ports (two on the back, one of the front), two internal hard drive bays, 10/100/1000baseT Ethernet, AirPort Extreme-ready, optical digital input and output, analog audio input and output, front headphone minijack and speaker.

Updated 9:45 AM 04/27/05: Updated with more details about each system configuration and comments from Apple.
Updated 10:15 PM 04/27/05: Modem configuration info corrected.

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