Apple unveils dual-core Power Macs

Apple has updated its Power Mac G5, adding dual-core processors, PCI Express, and DDR2 SDRAM to its workstation line. Single-processor systems with two cores are available now at 2GHz and 2.3GHz, and a dual-processor system with four 2.5GHz cores will apparently ship in three to four weeks. The systems presumably use IBM's PowerPC 970MP, a dual-core version of the PowerPC 970FX with 1MB of L2 cache per core. However, it's unclear whether the new Power Macs take advantage of the 970MP's advanced power saving features, including the chip's ability to shut down one of its cores to save power.

While it's good to see Apple adopting dual-core processors and PCI Express, a few of the new Power Mac's features are a little underwhelming. First, there's the move to DDR2, which is apparently limited to relatively pokey DDR2-533. The new Power Macs are also stuck with only two Serial ATA ports, with no support for 300MB/s transfer rates or RAID. Apple appears to have gone a little overboard with PCI Express, as well, outfitting the new Power Macs with x16, x8, and a pair of x4 slots at the expense of PCI and PCI-X. We're big fans of PCI Express, but given the dearth of PCI-E peripherals, it may be a little early to ditch PCI completely.

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