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Ten years in the shadow of the Power Mac G5

Benj Edwards | June 25, 2013
The Power Mac G5 is a workstation with a design that lasted in the Apple's product line for over a decade.

But in between all that G5 cooling apparatus, Apple did find room for a single 5.25-inch bay, two 3.5-inch hard drive bays, and eight DIMM slots for RAM inside the Power Mac's case. For internal expansion, the initial G5s included one 133 MHz 64-bit PCI-X slot and two 100 MHz 64-bit PCI-X slots.

By modern standards, that's a surprisingly inefficient use of space: three bays and three slots in a case that could swallow 36 modern Mac Minis in cubic volume. But such was the price for appeasing the G5 heat monster.

Over the next three years of its lifespan, the Power Macintosh G5 continued on to bigger and hotter heights, increasing clock speed and memory until it maxed out in late 2005 with a model containing two dual core 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP CPUs (four cores total) and a liquid cooling system.

From Power Mac to Mac Pro
By then it was painfully obvious that the PowerPC architecture, which had failed to break the promised 3GHz barrier for over two years, was proving too limiting for Apple. In 2006, Apple unveiled the previously unthinkable: Intel-based Macs.

But even after that switch to Intel, one thing remained the same: Apple's then-new Mac Pro retained the dimensions and general exterior design of the Power Mac G5. Only now, a decade after the G5's introduction, is Apple finally ditching the aluminum beast for a mysterious dark cylinder.

Think about it: Ten years of the same design in Apple-Land is pretty much unheard of. The design must have served Apple very well--as well, at least, as it did the millions of professional users who have used the Power Mac G5 and its spiritual descendants over the previous decade. Happy birthday, G5.


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