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The older Parallel ATA buss used to connect hard drives has been replaced by two independent Serial ATA busses, supporting a data throughput of up to 1. To increase the rate at which data can be fed to and output from the CPU, the system features a new front side buss that can run at up to 1GHz the two dual-processor models in the range have one for each processor.
Except in the 1. Doesn't NuBus seem such a distant memory now? The connectivity options build on what was available to G4 users, so now we have Firewire as well as Firewire and USB 2. USB 1. Dual-monitor support comes as standard, though you'll need an additional adaptor if you want to use two of Apple's swanky cinema displays. Photo: Mike Cameron In keeping with long-established Apple policy, there are three basic models in the G5 range, although you can choose to vary the specifications using their build-to-order service.
The entry-level G5 has a single 1. We were lent the top-of-the-range dual 2GHz G5 for this review. Unfortunately, deadlines meant that my tests had to be conducted with the older Mac OS The starkly beautiful case is made from aluminium, an extremely good conductor of heat, so the case itself is used to move heat away from hot spots by conduction as well as the more usual fan cooling. Computers have always had a bad reputation for being noisy, especially the silver-door G4s, which whined like a hairdressing salon on a Saturday afternoon, but Apple have made a very serious attempt to keep the G5s quiet, a feat that seems all the more impressive when you realise there are nine fans inside the box!
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The secret is to use intelligent fan speed control so that the fans only turn up the wick when the temperature rises — the rest of the time they swoosh gently around like something out of a Ridley Scott movie. Despite the clean design, the front panel nonetheless manages to conceal the optical drive as well as USB, Firewire and headphone connectors.
Photo: Mike Cameron Access to the innards is via a pull-off side cover that is secured by a recessed latch on the rear panel. Removing the panel reveals a perspex cover, which may be unlatched and lifted out to provide full access through the side of the machine. If you do this when the machine is switched on, the fans rev up to full power like a Matrix hovercraft! The innards of the machine also look sharp and well-organised compared to earlier models and have been designed to allow additional drives and RAM chips to be fitted without the need for any tools at all.
There's space inside to fit one additional hard drive, with cables already fitted, but because the G5 employs the new Serial ATA standard, you can't simply whip a Parallel ATA audio drive out of a G4 and transplant it — and in any event, both the connectors and the drive mounting system are different. If you want to use an older ATA drive with your G5, you'll need to buy an external Firewire drive housing and connect it that way. Rather than fixing into place with four screws, hard drives are installed by sliding pegs on the sides of the drive into plastic guide rails, after which a plastic toggle is rotated to lock the drive into place.
A fan assembly has to be removed to get to the memory slots, but the whole fan assembly simply slides out without the need for tools, so the only time you should need a screwdriver is when fitting the crosshead screws the ones that always fall down into the computer's innards! Two large fan outlets and an IEC mains connector are in evidence, along with sockets for Airport and Bluetooth antennae.
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If this seems a little on the sparse side in some respects, that's because you get a further USB and Firewire connection on the front panel along with a headphone jack. This is very practical for connecting 'visiting' peripherals without having to crawl around the back of the machine with a torch! Both the dual 1. When I turned on the G5 for the first time, I was particularly interested in how noisy it would be in my own studio, as I'd previously only seen them at trade shows where the ambient noise level is fairly high.
I currently use an earlier MHz G4, which is very reasonable in the noise department, despite the horrendous reputation of some later models. The G5 starts with a flurry of fans that immediately settles back into a gentle whisper, leaving the whine of the hard drive as the loudest audible component of the sound. There's still more noise than you would want to share a room with if recording something sensitive, but in most instances, setting the mic up at the other end of the room and pointing it away from the computer should suffice.
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If you stand the computer under your desk rather than next to your ears, the noise level is low enough that it shouldn't prove a distraction when monitoring unless you happen to be monitoring extremely quietly. I've also checked out a couple of other G5 dual-processor machines that seem to be significantly quieter than the one I had for test, so maybe there is some variation in the types of drives fitted?
It turned out that this must be unstuffed using Stuffit Expander version 8 or later — you can unstuff the file in OS 9 using any version of Stuffit Expander, but if you do, OS X sees the file as an unknown document and refuses to play ball with it. So, I spent another hour downloading Stuffit Expander 8, unstuffed the installer on the G5, and everything went swimmingly well.
Most pre-G4 Apple computers had line-level audio input and output at quality that was often surprisingly usable, and this has made a welcome return on the G5.
Mac OS X 10.2.8 (G5)
Apple Computer Inc. First announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple bills the G5 as the "world's fastest personal computer. Apple said they have received over , pre-orders for the Power Mac G5 since its introduction.