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The Apple parade marches on

The Apple parade marches on

On the heels of last week's new iPods, iTunes 6, and the new iMac G5 come a burly new Power Mac G5 and new specs for its G4 PowerBook laptops, announced today at the PhotoPlus Expo 2005 in New York.

The highlight is easily the new Power Mac G5 Quad. Apple's flagship desktop computer now comes with two 2.5GHz dual-core CPUs (each with 1MB of L2 cache), giving the system four processing cores for performance gains of, according to Apple, up to 76 percent compared to the previous generation's dual-core 2.7GHz Power Mac G5. Also of note is the move to PCI Express, embraced more here than on any other platform we've seen to date. Not only does the Power Mac G5 Quad come with the standard x16 PCI Express slot for graphics, you also get two x4 slots and a separate x8 slot, which Apple says lets you include "the latest video I/O, audio DSP, and Fibre Channel expansion cards." Other upgrades include an Intel-esque move to 533MHz of DDR2 memory and SuperDrive DVD burners, as well as support for up to 1TB of hard drive storage between two 500GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA hard drives. Prices start at $3,299 without monitor.

The new PowerBook announcement is less exciting. The only major update is a screen-resolution bump across all models. The 15-incher (now $1,999) goes to 1,440x960 (previously 1,280x854), and the 17-inch model ($2,499) is now 1,680x1,050 (up from 1,440x900). The 12-inch model (now $1,499) doesn't get a new resolution, but it does benefit from a universal screen brightness increase (which, according to Apple, accompanies longer battery life), as well as new PowerBook default specs, which include the SuperDrive DVD burner and dual-link DVI output to support Apple's Cinema HD displays.

The new Power Mac G5 Quad and its four processing threads makes Apple the first consumer desktop vendor to feature such a system and shows real leadership, however imminent quad processing may be. As for the G4 PowerBooks, higher resolutions are nice and all, but come on, Apple! The time for a G5-based laptop is now.