Apple iMac G5 (previous generation) review: Apple iMac G5 (previous generation)

Compared to the 1.8GHz iMac G5 we reviewed last year, the 2.0GHz iMac G5 completed CNET Labs' Photoshop CS tests at a clip that was more than 30 percent faster. It took the iMac G5 more than twice as long to finish the test as it took the new dual 2.7GHz Power Mac G5, but the Power Mac has the two processors (each clocked higher), a faster frontside bus, eight times the memory, and a more powerful graphics card. The iMac G5 trailed the Power Mac G5 on our new iTunes test, but it was able to edge an Intel white box with a 3.73GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor. (We suspect iTunes runs more efficiently on the hardware on which it originated.) Lastly, on our new video-encoding test, the iMac couldn't keep pace with the high-end competition, which isn't exactly a fair comparison (to date we've tested only high-end systems, such as the dual-processor Power Mac, and dual-core Intel systems on this benchmark).

The Apple iMac G5 is second to none, however, when it comes to the software bundle. In addition to Mac OS 10.4 Tiger , the iMac G5 ships with the iLife '05 suite, Safari 2.0, Mail 2.0, iChat AV 3.0, AppleWorks, Quicken 2005, the 2005 World Book Multimedia Reference Suite, trial versions of Microsoft Office 2004 and iWork '05, as well as all of the utilities and tools included in Mac OS X 10.4. The only options available are more RAM, a larger hard drive, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an AppleCare Protection Plan.

The iMac G5 benefits from the same one-year limited warranty for defects and 90 days of free telephone support as all Apple hardware does. We'd like more of the latter, but that can be had with the purchase of an AppleCare Protection Plan, which runs $169 but offers a good value. AppleCare extends free telephone support and hardware repairs for three years, and it includes the TechTool Deluxe troubleshooting application from Micromat. Repair support includes prepaid shipping; hardware under warranty can also be taken to any Apple Store for diagnosis and drop-off/pick-up service. In addition, Apple provides extensive knowledge-base articles on its support Web site, as well as online discussion groups.

Apple iTunes 4.7.1.30 MP3-encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Intel dual-core white box (3.2GHz Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz
134 
Intel P4 Extreme Edition white box (3.73GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz)
158 

Sorenson Squeeze 4.0 video-encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Intel P4 Extreme Edition white box (3.73GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz)
212 
Intel dual-core white box (3.2GHz Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz)
240 
System configurations:
Apple iMac G5 (2.0GHz, 17-inch)
PowerPC G5 2.0GHz; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon 9600; Maxtor Serial ATA hard drive; Macintosh OS 10.4

Apple iMac G5 (1.8GHz, 17-inch)
PowerPC G5 1.8GHz; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5200; Maxtor Serial ATA hard drive; Macintosh OS 10.3.5

Apple Mac Mini (1.25GHz)
PowerPC G4 1.25GHz; 256MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; 32MB ATI Radeon 9200; ATA hard drive; Macintosh OS 10.3.7

Apple PowerMac G5 dual 2.7GHz
Dual PowerPC G5 2.7GHz; 4,096MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra AGP; 250GB Maxtor Serial ATA hard drive; Macintosh OS 10.4

Velocity Micro ProMagix DCX
3.2GHz Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 overclocked to 4.0GHz; Intel 955X Express chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon X850 XT PE PCIe; two 74GB Western Digital Serial ATA hard drives in a RAID 0 array; one 400GB Hitachi HDS724040KLSA80 Serial ATA hard drive; Windows XP Professional SP2

3.2GHz Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 white box
3.2GHz Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840; Intel 955X Express chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Sapphire Radeon X850 XT PCIe; 160GB Seagate ST3160827AS Serial ATA hard drive; Windows XP Professional SP2

3.73GHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor Extreme Edition white box
3.73GHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor Extreme Edition; Intel 955X Express chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Sapphire Radeon X850 XT PCIe; 160GB Seagate ST3160827AS Serial ATA hard drive; Windows XP Professional SP2

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Where to Buy

Apple iMac G5 (1.8GHz, 17-inch)

Part Number: M9843LL/A Released: May 3, 2005

MSRP: $1,299.00

This configuration is no longer available. Please see our overview of the current iMac G5 lineup.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 3, 2005
  • Environmental standards EPA Energy Star
  • Graphics Processor ATI Radeon 9600
  • OS Provided Apple MacOS X 10.4
  • Installed Size 512 MB / 2 GB (max)
  • Video Memory 128 MB DDR SDRAM
  • Monitor Type LCD