By Jeffrey Allen
At first blush, the processor clock speeds offered by these three new machines seem moderately impressive by comparison to the speed of Apples current crop of G4 processors, but not outstanding by comparison to the speeds of regularly advertised machines on the Windows platform. But, there is more to the G-5 than the mere clock speed. In the G-5, Apple offers the first true 64-Bit processor for a personal computer. So, what we have is a 64 Bit processor running at 2.0 GHz that will substantially outperform a 32 Bit processor running at better than 3 GHz. Apple has done some comparative testing and posted the results on its website. I have included an example of the results below. For further results, go to: www.apple.com/powermac/performance/. Apple has set up several “White Papers” detailing the capabilities of the PowerPC G5 Processor and the PowerMac G5 computer that it powers. Those reports include more detailed information comparing performance and features of the G5 both to the G4 processor and to Pentium IV processors running at 3GHz.
So, bottom line, what does all this really mean? Simply put, the 64-bit processor allows the G5 to take bigger gulps of information (kind of like broadband for information processing). That ability allows the computer to process greater quantities of information in less time, even though it may run at a lower nominal clock speed. By way of comparison, if you have a large office full of furniture and you have to move it to a new office a few miles down the road, you will get it there much faster packing it into a large moving van that will travel at 45 miles per hour than you will by trying to move it with a minivan that will travel at 65 miles per hour. The G5 brings more speed and power to desktop computing than desktop computing has ever had before.
Being a practical kind of person, my recommendation for most of you is that you ogle the G5 at your local Apple Store and/or on the Internet at Apple’s On-Line store, but that you defer the purchase of one until at least next year. Why do I say that? First, unless you use a lot of graphics software, you will not likely see a significant improvement over the G4 for a while. Second, Apple has a major renovation of OS X in the works. It should come out during the last quarter of 2003. Some time, relatively shortly after it appears, Apple, if it follows true to form, will include the new system with its new computers and sell the upgrade to everyone else. Third, the G4 computers currently on the market offer considerable power and speed. For the next few years they should work just fine for law office applications. Because of the introduction of the G5 computers, expect further price reductions on the G4 computers. You will quite probably be able to get a really good buy on a G4, so, even if you are thinking about getting a new computer, you might want to save some money and get a new G4.
Jeffrey Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) has a general practice in Oakland, California. His firm, Graves & Allen, emphasizes real estate and business transactions and litigation. He is a frequent speaker and author on technology topics and the Editor-in-Chief of the GPSolo Technology & Practice Guide and the Technology eReport.