Page 2

By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2003-06-23 Print this article Print

Although the 64-bit PowerPC processor was designed by IBM, Apple itself designed the system controller. In a surprising advancement for the Apple platform, the front-side processor bus runs at a full gigahertz, a significant increase over the 800-MHz front-side bus used by Intel processors. All of the new G5 systems are equipped with AGP 8X and Serial ATA storage connections, and use HyperTransport for internal chip connections. Each system uses PCI-X, rather than PCI, for its add-in card infrastructure. The new systems also include Apples 802.11g AirPort Extreme wireless LAN interface, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and both FireWire 800 and 400 ports. Each new G5 system includes four "cooling" zones which are automatically ventilated by nine computer-controlled fans. By placing the fans exactly where theyre needed, Jobs said, the audible noise produced by the towers dropped to 35 dBA, twice as quiet as the G4 systems, he said.
Demonstrating the "legs" of the architecture, Jobs also promised that the G5 will run at 3-GHz twelve months from now. The G5, believed to be the PowerPC 970, uses 58 million transistors and is fabricated on IBMs 130-nm 8-layer process using copper interconnects on 300-mm wafers, according to John Kelly, senior vice president of IBMs technology groups.
"Weve been waiting for this day a long time," Kelly said. Unlike past system introductions, where Apple had demonstrated the G4s alleged superiority through optimized Photoshop filters, this time Jobs demonstrated the G5s capabilities in several real-world applications, comparing them both against a desktop Pentium 4 as well as a pair of Intel Xeon processors. The G5 systems outperformed Intel processors in Photoshop, a 3D rendering application by startup Luxology, and Wolfram Researchs Mathematica application. Using synthetic SPEC benchmarks, the G5 shines. Using a GCC compiler test administered by Veritest, the G5 scored 836 on the SPECint benchmark but 840 on the SPECfp benchmark, which measures floating-point performance—10 percent slower than the Pentium 4 in integer performance, but 21 percent faster in the floating-point benchmark. But when using a dual-processor configuration, two G5s edged out two 3.06-GHz Xeon DP processors by 3 percent running SPECint, and 41 percent faster under SPECfp, tallying a 15.7 score.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel