A scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia has been putting Apple's new G5 Power Macs through their paces. NASA uses computers to calculate fluid dynamics of jets, and pitted the top-of-the range G5 against a 2.66GHz Pentium 4 system running Linux, a dual-1.25GHz G4 and a dual-1GHz Xserve.

The results show that despite there being no compiler yet available to optimize the code for the G5, it performed well - but there’s room for improvement.

The Pentium couldn't be used in all tests, due to some applications relying on AltiVec, or the Velocity Engine as Apple calls it. The G5 was neck-and-neck with the Pentium using a single processor. It was two and a half times faster than the Xserve, both using a single processor.

The results as a whole show a 3GHz Pentium would still have an edge over the G5. However, when a recompiled version of the application software is available this should be more than made up for.

Being a real-world test it is difficult to even the field until the FORTRAN compiler is released. We can expect the results to change in the G5's favour when this is available. Initial results from Adobe Photoshop tests done by Apple showed that optimized applications kicked the Pentium into touch.