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Apple ships first Power Mac G5s

100,000-plus pre-ordered

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Apple has begun shipping Power Mac G5s to pre-ordering punters, the Mac maker said today.

Over 100,000 of the machines have been ordered since CEO Steve Jobs unwrapped the aluminium-clad beauties on 23 June. Jobs promised that the 64-bit systems would go out in August, and ship in August they have.

Initially, only the single-processor boxes, based on 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz IBM PowerPC 970 chips, have begun shipping - dual 2GHz systems will be dispatched "late this month".

Each machine's frontside bus clocked at half the CPU frequency. The 1.6GHz machine uses 333MHz DDR SDRAM, while the other boxes use 400MHz DDR. The low-end system can support up to 4GB of memory, the 1.8GHz and dual-2GHz systems up to 8GB, with DIMMs installed in pairs.

The top-two models ship with 160GB Serial ATA drives, the 1.6GHz model with 80GB of Serial ATA hard disk storage. All machines ship with a DVD-R/CD-RW 'superdrive'. Their AGP 8x Pro slots are filled with an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra-64MB DDR card (1.6GHz and 1.8GHz), ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 64MB DDR (dual 2GHz) or Radeon 9800 Pro (build-to-order models only).

All three systems will ship with Mac OS X 10.2.7, a 32-bit version of the operating system optimised for the new CPU. Despite the availability of up to 8GB of memory, individual apps will only be able to access up to 4GB.

Apple is still calling the 970, the first 64-bit desktop processor, despite evidence to the contrary in the form of AMD's Opteron 100 series, and - even earlier - an Alpha chip that made its way into desktop systems. True, neither chip was designed for desktops systems, but Apple isn't claiming its chip as the 'first 64-bit processor designed for desktop systems'. ®

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