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Early Speed Test Results
G5/2.5GHz MP Power Mac

Originally posted August 10th, 2004, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
with the assistance of "remote mad scientists."
Updated September 14th, 2004 with Quake3 Results and new conclusions

We only have 3D graphics results for the G5/2.5GHz MP Power Mac with a stock Radeon 9600XT. We hope to have results for the Radeon 9800XT and GeForceFX 6800 in the near future.

LEGEND for graphics card abbreviations:
GeF6800 = GeForceFX 6800 (Dual Link DVI, 256MB, Apple OEM)
Rad9600XT = Radeon 9600 XT (128MB, Apple OEM)
Rad9800SE = Radeon 9800 Pro "Special Mac Edition" (256MB, retail)
Rad9800 = Radeon 9800 Pro (128MB, Apple OEM)
Rad9800R = Radeon 9800 Pro "Mac Edition" (128MB, retail)
Rad9600 = Radeon 9600 Pro (64MB, Apple OEM)


1. The Graphics Card matters more than it used to. There was a time when Mac professionals that use Final Cut Pro , Photoshop and other high end applications would gain little from high end graphics cards. That's because Quartz 2D and Quartz Extreme functions were handled by the main CPU(s). The "un-initiated" often mistakenly assumed that a fast graphics card would make all graphics applications render faster. In reality, only 3D gamers and animators were benefiting from high end graphics card's power.

"The times, they are a changin'." (Bob Dylan)

Apple has figured out how to hand off rendering functions to graphics cards. The first application to highlight this ability is MOTION, which makes heavy use of pixel and vertex shaders in its effects. We found, for example, that a G5/2.0GHz MP with a Radeon 9800 Pro SE will render RAM PREVIEWS 150% faster than the same Mac with a GeForceFX 5200.

A technology called CORE IMAGE will be included in the next release of Mac OS X (called "Tiger") that will enable programmers to utilize the processing power of high end graphics cards in just about any application.

So if you want maximum efficiency now and in the future, get the best graphics card you can afford -- especially if you have a G5 Power Mac.

2. If you are a hard-core 3D gamer buying a new G5 and have the extra "century notes," you'll benefit by getting the optional Radeon 9800 XT or GeForceFX 6800 graphics card. However, both cards "eat" up one of your PCI-X slots (big heatsink). If you don't want to lose a PCI-X slot, but want the fastest possible 3D performance, then I recommend the retail ATI Radeon 9800 Pro "Special Mac Edition."

3. If you already have a G5 Power Mac with either a GeForceFX 5200 or Radeon 9600 and want to upgrade, the Radeon 9800 XT isn't available in a kit but the GeForceFX 6800 is available in a kit for $599. But the retail Radeon 9800 Pro "Special Mac Edition" is a better buy (for as little as $339).



June 24th, 2004 -- G5 Graphics Cards At "Sane" 3D Game Settings.

June 9th, 2004 -- Radeon 9800 Pro Special 256MB Mac Edition versus other Radeon AGP graphics cards -- at "Extreme" 3D Game Settings.

If you are looking to buy a G5 Power Mac for yourself, check with the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Store near you, local Apple dealer, and/or Small Dog Electronics.

If you are looking to get the 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro "Special Mac Edition," it is available from the following vendors:
Other World Computing

Small Dog Electronics (qualifies for $10 off coupon and free shipping)

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2004 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist