Apple has upgraded its pro desktops, ushering in the first quad-processor Power Mac G5.

The Power Mac G5 Quad carries two 2.5 GHz dual-core PowerPC G5 processors. All Power Macs now feature dual-core processors, a new PCI Express architecture and higher performance graphics options including nVidia's Quadro FX 4500, the industry standard for workstation graphics that is now on Macs.

"The Power Mac G5 Quad delivers the workstation performance our creative and scientific customers demand," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

"With quad-core processing, a new PCI Express architecture, and the fastest workstation card from nVidia, the new Power Mac G5 Quad is the most powerful system we've ever made," he said.

Apple claims performance breakthrough

The delivery of 2.5 GHz dual-core processors, each with 1MB of L2 cache, promises incredible performance for the most demanding applications, Apple claims, citing the following claims (compared with dual processor 2.7GHz Power Mac G5s):

Final Cut Pro 5 encodes SD video content up to 60 per cent faster on the new Power Mac G5 Quad when compared with dual processor 2.7GHz Power Mac G5s.

Adobe Photoshop runs a series of 45 commonly used filters and actions 43 per cent faster on the new Power Mac G5 Quad.

Adobe After Effects renders video effects up to 69 per cent faster. LightWave 3D renders animation up to 59 per cent faster.

The scientific benchmark Bioinformatics Benchmark System (BBS version 3) completes a comparison of genomic sequences up to 39 per cent faster.

Expansion out-the-box

The range offers four expansion slots to support high-performance video and audio devices and multiple standard graphics cards to drive an array of up to eight displays. The Power Mac G5 delivers up to 16GB of 533 MHz memory and carries two Gigabit Ethernet ports.

All Power Mac G5s include: one FireWire 800 port, two FireWire 400 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 1.1 ports, optical and digital audio input and output, and built-in support for AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. The new Power Macs ship with Apple's new Mighty Mouse as standard.

Hungry for graphics

Power Macs ship with either the nVidia GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of video memory or the nVidia GeForce 6660 with 256MB of video memory. Both provide support for dual-displays and Apple's breakthrough 30-inch Cinema HD Display, which now costs £1,799 (including VAT).

The nVidia GeForce 7800 GT with 256MB of video memory and the nVidia Quadro FX 4500 with 512MB of video memory are both available as build-to-order options. The Quadro FX 4500 can drive up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays and includes a stereo 3D port to connect goggles for stereo-in-a-window applications.

The 2.0 GHz and 2.3 GHz Power Mac G5 Dual are available now and the 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5 Quad will be available in early November.

Features run-down

The Power Mac G5 Dual costs £1,399:

It hosts a dual-core 2.0GHz PowerPC G5 processor;
512MB of memory expandable up to 16GB;
160GB hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
nVidia GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM;
Three open PCI Express expansion slots: two 4-lane slots and one 8-lane slot;
Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports;
16x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW).

The £1,749 Power Mac G5 Dual features:

A dual-core 2.3GHz PowerPC G5 processor;
512MB of memory expandable up to 16GB;
250GB hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
nVidia GeForce 6600 with 256MB of GDDR SDRAM
Three open PCI Express expansion slots: two 4-lane slots and one 8-lane slot;
Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports;
16x SuperDrive with double-layer support.

The super-powerful Power Mac G5 Quad costs £2,299. It includes:

Two dual-core 2.5GHz PowerPC G5 processors;
512MB of memory expandable up to 16GB;
250GB hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
nVidia GeForce 6600 with 256MB of GDDR SDRAM
Three open PCI Express expansion slots: two 4-lane slots and one 8-lane slot;
Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports;
16x SuperDrive with double-layer support.

A wide selection of build-to-order options are available. All prices include VAT.