Apple intros dual-core Power Macs, renovates Power Books

Apple today announced what is generally considered the final major overhaul for the firm's desktop computers before the transition to an Intel platform will begin. Apple's new Power Mac desktop family dumps single-core systems in favor of dual-core machines. The lineup consists of three new dual-core models with one model being equipped with two dual-core processors an effectively four physical processor cores.

The attention getter of the renovated product family is the "Power Mac G5 Quad," which is equipped with two dual-core 2.5 GHz G5 processors, 512 MByte DDR2 memory, a 250 GByte harddrive, an Nvidia GeForce 6600 graphics card and a 16x DVD burner. Apple claims that the system will bring performance improvements of about 60 percent in Final Cut Pro, 43 percent in Photoshop, and 69 percent in After Effects when compared to a 2.7 GHz dual-core G5 system.

In anticipation of the switch to an Intel architecture by the third quarter of 2006, Apple chose not to compare the speed improvements to Intel-based systems. The Power Mac G5 Quad is priced from $3300 with high-end version with up to 16 GByte of memory topping $20,000. Apple is expected to introduce the first Intel-based Mac, likely built on Intel's next-gen processor architecture that is code-named "Conroe" for desktop devices, in June of next year.

The cheapest ticket for Apple's dual-core world runs for about $2000 and buys a 2.0 GHz processor, 512 MByte of memory, a 160 GByte harddrive, a Geforce 6600 LE graphics card and a 16x DVD burner.

The company also updated its PowerBook G4 series, which now is available in versions with 12", 15-inc and 17" screens. Every PowerBook now comes with a DVD burner standard. The new devices house 1.5 or 1.67 GHz G4 processors, 80 or 120 GByte harddrives, and dedicated graphic chips from ATI or Nvidia with up to 128 MByte of memory. The basic models are priced at $1500 (12"), $2000 (15") and $2500 (17"). The wave of Apple's announcements was complemented with "Aperture," a professional image post-production tool that enables photographers to directly work with RAW images. According to Apple, photographers and editors can use the software compare and select tools that allow users to quickly "sift through massive photo projects" and identify their final selections. The software will be available in November for $500.