High-end Power Mac uses liquid cooling

Apple Computer has launched new Power Mac systems featuring the 64-bit G5 processor, including a model that uses liquid cooling...

Apple Computer has launched new Power Mac systems featuring the 64-bit G5 processor, including a model that uses liquid cooling technology.

One of the G5 systems is Apple's first Power Mac with IBM's new 90-nanometer PowerPC 970FX chip, which runs at 2.5GHz and features a 1.25GHz front-side bus.

A total of three dual-processor configurations are available for order through Apple's website or the company's retail stores; the other two configurations use older PowerPC processors.

The high-end 2.5GHz Power Mac system features liquid cooling to remove heat from the processor. All PCs use some type of cooling technology, but most use a fan. Liquid cooling technology is generally found in high-end gaming PCs or special systems for high-performance computing or scientific applications.

The new 970FX processor is much smaller than its 0.13-micron predecessor, which means the heat from the central processing unit is more concentrated, said Tom Boger, senior director of product marketing for Apple.

The new chip is consuming roughly the same amount of power as the older chip, and a more sophisticated system is needed to remove the heat from the processor die.

Apple is using a closed-loop liquid cooling system comprising water with some propylene glycol, Boger said. It is transparent to the user and maintenance-free.

Apple first used the PowerPC 970FX processor in an update to its XServe servers. It had hoped to ship those systems by the end of February, but did not get them out of the door until March and blamed IBM for the delay on Apple's first-quarter earnings conference call.

The dual 2.5GHz Power Macs will not ship until next month, although the dual 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz models are available immediately.

The 2.5GHz system comes with two processors, 512Mbytes of PC3200 (400MHz) DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 160Gbyte hard drive, a Radeon 9600 XT graphics card from ATI Technologies with 128M bytes of DDR video memory, and a DVD-R/CD-RW optical drive for $2,999.

The 2.0GHz was formerly the top of Apple's Power Mac line, and now sells for $500 less with a list price of $2,499. It comes with dual PowerPC 970 processors, the 0.13-micron version of the G5 processor. It also features 512Mbytes of PC3200 DDR SDRAM, a 160Gbyte hard drive, a GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics card from Nvidia with 64Mbytes of DDR video memory, and a DVD-R/CD-RW drive.

The 1.8GHz model also features the 0.13-micron PowerPC 970. It comes with dual processors, 256M bytes of PC3200 DDR SDRAM, a 80Gbyte hard drive, a GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics card with 64Mbytes of video memory, and a DVD-R/CD-RW drive.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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