I’ve owned Macs since the first 128k machine back in early 1984. You name it, I’ve probably had it. My kids get hand-me-down Macs. Their friends get hand-me-down Macs. I get the new toys.
The dual 2.5 ghz PowerMac G5 was welcome relief. We’re moving a dual 2.0 G5 machine to be our main web server, replacing a dependable eMac (you get what you pay for; the G5 screams in comparison, the eMac did the job, though; 24/7, with not a complaint.
As you’d expect with all things Apple, the PowerMac comes in the same black box, tightly packed styrofoam, and white plastic surrounding the G5 body.
The out-of-the-box experience is always pleasant, no matter how many of these I’ve done. The keyboard and mouse are still wrapped tightly in clear plastic.
If you don’t have a G5 yet, the first thing to note is the size. This is a big computer and notably larger than the previous G4 model. The design is similar though, handles at the top which become legs at the bottom.
The word is “elegance” with this machine. But don’t get me wrong, the PowerMac G5 is all business. After all, last fall it was part of the 3rd fastest supercomputer on the planet.
I took a few minutes to set the PowerMac on a table and take a few shots so you could see the inside. It varies a bit from previous PowerMac G5s, but not much.
The G5 chips and liquid cooling system are encased (the dual G5 logos). The 8 banks of RAM are located to the left, PCI slots above, extra hard drives above that.
For my installation, I had to remove an Airport Extreme card from another PowerMac and place it inside the dual 2.5 ghz G5, then install an Adaptec DuoConnect USB/Firewire combo card (three extra Firewire ports, two extra USB 2.0 ports).
You can never have enough of those.
The PowerMac just “feels” like a powerful Mac. Fit and finish is probably the best in the industry (we also have a Sony Vaio; no comparison).
The front of the case pulls off with a single lever. Behind that is a clear plastic covering which aids air flow. That drops off easily, too.
Behind the clear pastic is the guts of the PowerMac. Two cooling fans are easily removed to get at RAM slots.
All in all, this is one nice machine.
Of course, it’s a machine designed to do a bunch of jobs, so I slapped the doors back on (after getting a RAM upgrade, installing Airport Extreme, and the Adaptec card), and moved the PowerMac under the desk.
Connections are easy. The back of the machine has (now) plenty of USB ports, Firewire ports, and an 800 mhz Firewire port which we use on an external Firewire drive from TransInternational. Their clear plastic Firewire/USB case is the best available.
Then it was time to fire up this puppy.
A few moments later the Apple logo hit the screen, then I walked through the new Mac setup screens. All this is comfortable but tedious territory. Once the setup was done, Mac OS X took over; then the desktop, then the Dock, finally the Finder.
Then, nothing. Nothing as in Mouse Does Not Work nothing.
It was plugged into the USB pport of the keyboard, so I tried Command-Tab. There wasn’t much to tab to. The keyboard worked OK.
Yeeesh. This was a brand new, top-of-the-line PowerMac G5, straight out of the box. And it didn’t work. The mouse was dead as a doornail (what the hey is a “door nail” anyway? I unplugged the mouse, then plugged it in again.
Nothing. No mouse.
Again. Same result. There’s an old saying somewhere about doing the same thing over and over again and always getting the same result. I tried a different USB port. Nothing. No mouse.
Have you ever had a revelation hit you like a windstorm? There’s this little pause, then woooosh. You know what the problem is and you’re absolutely certain of the solution?
I looked down at my mouse. That’s the problem. I was certain of it.
It’s a Microsoft mouse.
My fingers did a quick trip to the keyboard and I hit the power key. The dialog box popped up and asked if I wanted to Restart or shut down. I did a shut down. Then a reboot.
All is good again. Even the Microsoft mouse is working fine.
The PowerMac G5? Wooooosh. What a sweet machine. If there’s heat coming from it, I don’t know where it is. It’s a cool machine in every respect.
But watch out for the off-brand mouse.
Amazingly, we’ll be using a dual CPU PowerMac G5 to power our web site. It replaces an eMac. Yes, an eMac. There’s remarkably little difference between the $4,300 of the PowerMac G5 with new 20” Cinema Display, and a $799 eMac. One’s faster and more expandable. One looks like the Michelin man burped something onto your desk.
They both work.
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Power to burn, baby. Apple gives you power at the high end (supercomputers use Mac G5s) and the low end (eMac for $799 drives a web site).