It's Like Godot Showed Up (6/9/04)

Well, all we can say is that it's about freakin' time. First, faithful viewer mrmgraphics reported a truly bizarre sight this morning: a full-blown Power Mac G5 ad on, of all places, CNET's home page. Then Nicolas Grison noticed that the Apple Store was down. And finally, faithful viewer Ian Evans informed us that, yes, Virginia, there are speed-bumped Power Macs. They may not be everything you'd hoped for, but they'll do, Pig; they'll do.

So here's what we've got, ladles and germs: first of all, as several people had predicted, Apple has gone back to an all-dual line-up. The low end moves from a single 1.6 GHz processor to dual 1.8 GHz ones. The new mid-range model boasts twin 2.0 GHz chips like the high-end model used to-- in fact, the only real differences between the two specs-wise are a faster SuperDrive and a GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics card instead of the RADEON 9600 Pro. And at the top of the heap, there's a new dual 2.5 GHz config. Nothing exactly stunning, especially to people who've been following the rumors since last December, but it's solid as far as interim speed-bumps go.

One slight bummer is that the cost of entry for a current G5 system has just bounced back up to its original $1,999-- the up side, however, is that you get a dual-1.8 GHz model for that price, which cost $2,499 just yesterday. Well, not exactly; according to Apple's press release, the new 1.8 GHz config has half the RAM and hard drive space of yesterday's version, and PCI slots instead of PCI-X, but at least your SuperDrive will be 8x, not 4x. And if you prefer buying your own aftermarket RAM and disks anyway (as many pros probably do) and you don't have a need for high-speed expansion slots, you get to save 500 clams off the previous dual 1.8 GHz model. In any case, it blows the single-processor 1.6 GHz unit out of the water, right? And at least the new mid-range and high-end models cost the same as the old ones.

Meanwhile, the only other big difference in the high-end model is that apparently four discrete thermal zones and nine fans weren't enough to keep those two 2.5 GHz processors from going all Chernobyl; Apple had to add in an honest-to-goshness liquid cooling system as well. So to recap, the difference between $2,999 yesterday and today is that today it gets you an extra 25% clock speed, twice the graphics RAM, twice the SuperDrive speed, and a Mac that sloshes when you shake it. Sounds like a good deal to us.

If you've been holding off replacing your aging desktop system until the Next Big Thing™ this is it. Go buy some. Oh, and we should probably mention that, in classic Apple fashion, the 2.5 GHz config won't ship until next month-- but preorders are what Mac users do best.

SceneLink (4745)
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The above scene was taken from the 6/9/04 episode:

June 9, 2004: Well, whaddaya know? Apple finally bumped the Power Mac up to 2.5 GHz. Meanwhile, the company confesses that it won't squeeze the G5 to 3 GHz by Steve's self-imposed deadline, and the Beatles are considering licensing their song catalog to music download services-- but will iTunes be left out in the cold?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4746: Apple: "Abandon All Hope" (6/9/04)   Yes, there are finally faster Power Macs; that's the good news. The bad news, of course, is that the G5s inside them top out at 2.5 GHz, which most of us had hoped for three to five months ago, and since the Worldwide Developers Conference and its long-awaited Stevenote are less than three weeks away, the chances of Fearless Leader announcing another Power Mac update at that time are, shall we say, remote...

  • 4747: Too Much Monkey Business (6/9/04)   Enough with the Mac angst: on with the music angst! Now that the downloadable music ecosystem is more varied than ever and bigger players like Napster and Sony Connect are trying to carve out their respective chunks of the market, is the iTunes Music Store still keeping its momentum?...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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