Apple Speed Bumps Power Mac G5 — Last week, Apple released upgraded versions of the professional Power Mac G5 models, increasing CPU speeds, adding larger hard drives, providing a faster 16X SuperDrive with double-layer support, and installing 512 MB of RAM for each model. The single-processor 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 remains available for $1,500, but the stock dual-processor models now ship at $2,000 (dual 2.0 GHz PowerPC G5, 160 GB hard disk, ATI Radeon 9600 video card, and 3 PCI slots), $2,500 (dual 2.3 GHz PowerPC G5, 250 GB hard drive, ATI Radeon 9600, 3 PCI-X slots), and $3,000 (dual 2.7 GHz PowerPC G5, 250 GB hard drive, ATI Radeon 9650 with 30-inch Cinema Display support, and 3 PCI-X slots). For comparison, the previous three steps were dual 1.8 GHz, dual 2.0 GHz, and dual 2.5 GHz. Also interesting is the new 16x SuperDrive with double-layer support that enables you to burn up to 8.5 GB on a single double-layer DVD. All the dual-processor systems ship with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
The release date matches fairly well with the trends I identified in "Take Control of Buying a Mac," which indicate that Power Mac revisions tend to appear in the middle and end-of-year time frames. This one comes slightly earlier than previous releases but was undoubtedly affected by the Tiger release schedule. If Apple stays true to form, I’d predict another speed bump toward the end of this year, probably to 3 GHz, and a major upgrade in the middle of 2006 since the Power Mac line tends to go three years between significant changes. [ACE]