The original iMac G5 with an Apple Wireless Mouse.
|Release date||August 31, 2004 (original models), May 3, 2005 (Ambient Light Sensor model), and October 12, 2005 (iSight model)|
|Discontinued||January 10, 2006 (17"), and March 20, 2006 (20")|
|CPU||PowerPC G5, 1.6–2.1 GHz|
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The iMac G5 was a series of desktop Macintosh computers designed and built by Apple Inc. using the PowerPC chip architecture. It was the last line of iMac computers that used a PowerPC chip, making it the last of the iMacs that could natively run Mac OS 9 (Classic) applications.
In August 2004, the iMac design was overhauled. By this time, the PowerPC 970 chip had been released and was being used in the Power Mac G5 line. Famously, the Power Mac G5 needed multiple fans in a large casing because of the larger heat output from the PowerPC 970.
Apple's new iMac design managed to incorporate the PowerPC 970 into an all-in-one design with a distinctive form factor. The new design of the iMac used the same 17 and 20-inch widescreen LCDs, with all of the main logic board and optical drive mounted directly behind the LCD panel; this gave the appearance of a thickened desktop LCD monitor.
The iMac G5 was first released in August 2004 (known as Rev A) as a 1.8 GHz 20-inch model, along with the simultaneously introduced 17-inch 1.6 GHz and 1.8 GHz models. All featured a revolutionary integrated all-in-one enclosure approximately two inches deep with an advanced cooling system controlled by the operating system. At low CPU loads this rendered the iMac G5 virtually silent.
The iMac G5 was updated in March 2005 (Rev B) with the model called the Ambient Light Sensor or ALS iMac G5. It replaced the first generation iMac G5 and has a handful of configuration differences - more RAM, a larger hard drive, improved graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, and standard AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.
The iMac G5 was updated again in October 2005 (Rev C), adding an iSight webcam mounted above the LCD, and Apple's Front Row media interface. Improvements included faster processors, more RAM, a larger hard drive, and improved graphics. Notably this became the first Apple computer to use the PCI Express expansion bus and DDR2 SDRAM, adding these features shortly before they were incorporated into the Power Mac G5. This version had a slightly bowed back and lacked the VESA Flat Display Mounting Interface of the earlier iMac G5s.
Although this iMac G5 looked like the two previous revisions, in fact it had a completely new and thinner case which allowed detailed design improvements including cooling and performance increases. This case, unlike the previous models, opened only from the front and requires the LCD screen to be removed before internal components can be accessed.
Apple recommend no user serviceable items other than RAM which is accessible through a small door in the base edge of the iMac, however, in the intervening years many excellent guides and videos have been posted on the internet to support replacing some internals including the HDD and optical drives, but doing so would void any remaining Apple warranty.
The iSight iMac G5 has few reported issues although a potential problem exists with the optical drive - some brands of writable optical media (which are a little thicker than standard) can catch on the outer (iMac case) bezel resulting either in the CD/DVD reappearing on the desktop (a few seconds after the eject command/button), or in extreme cases 'popping' out completely onto the desktop as the force of the eject mechanism overcomes the disc catching on the bezel. The solution to this is to isolate those brands of disc and not use them.
The iSight iMac G5 PPC was caught in Apple's early 2006 scramble onto Intel and was replaced with the Intel-based iMac on January 10, 2006, beginning the 6 month transition of Apple's entire line of computers to Intel based motherboards.
|Component||iMac G5||iMac G5 (Ambient Light Sensor)||iMac G5 (iSight)|
|17" matte display, 1440 x 900|
|20" matte display, 1680 x 1050|
|Processor||1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz PowerPC 970fx (G5)||1.8 GHz or 2.0 GHz PowerPC 970fx (G5)||1.9 GHz or 2.1 GHz PowerPC 970fx (G5)|
|Cache||64 KB (instruction), 32 KB (data) L1, 512 KB L2 (1:1)|
|Front side bus||533Mhz or 600Mhz (3:1)||600Mhz or 667Mhz (3:1)||633Mhz or 700Mhz (3:1)|
|Memory||256 MB of 400 MHz DDR SDRAM
Expandable to 2 GB
|512 MB of 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Expandable to 2.5 GB
|Graphics||nVidia GeForce FX 5200 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
nVidia GeForce 4 MX graphics processor with 32MB of DDR SDRAM (Education Only)
|ATI Radeon 9600 graphics processor with 128MB of DDR SDRAM
|ATI Radeon X600 Pro or ATI Radeon X600 XT graphics processor with 128MB of DDR SDRAM
|Hard drive||80 GB or 160 GB Serial ATA Drive||160 GB or 250 GB Serial ATA Drive|
|AirPort Extreme||Optional 802.11b/g||Standard 802.11b/g|
|Bluetooth||Optional Bluetooth 1.1||Standard Bluetooth 2.0+EDR|
|Optical drive||8x DVD read, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW recording, 8x DVD±R read Combo drive or 8x DVD±R read, 8x DVD±R writes, 4x DVD±RW writes or 2.4x DVD±R writes, 24x CD read, 24x CD-R, and 16x CD-RW recording SuperDrive||8x DVD read, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW recording Combo drive or 8x DVD±R read, 4x DVD±R writes or 2x DVD±RW writes, 24x CD read, 16x CD-R, and 8x CD-RW recording SuperDrive|
|Standard Features||3 Built-in USB 2.0 and 2 Firewire 400 ports, Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone, audio input, audio output, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, Built-in modem, Mini-VGA Port||3 Built-in USB 2.0 and 2 Firewire 400 ports, Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone, audio input, audio output, Built-in modem, Gigabit Ethernet, Mini-VGA Port, Ambient Light Sensor||3 Built-in USB 2.0 and 2 Firewire 400 ports, Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in iSight Camera, Built-in microphone, Audio Input, Audio Output, Gigabit Ethernet, Mini-VGA port, Built-in IR receiver|
|Maximum Operating System||Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard"|
|Weight||18.5 pounds / 8.4 kg (17"), 25.2 lbs. / 11.4 kg (20")||15.5 lbs. / 7 kg (17"), 22 lbs. / 10 kg (20")|
- August 1, 2004 — Apple releases an all-new iMac line, with both the LCD screen (17 or 20-inch widescreen) and computer (including power supply) contained in a 2-inch-thick (51 mm) flat-panel housing. Its specifications include:
- A PowerPC G5 processor at 1.6 or 1.8 GHz
- Serial ATA hard drive (ATA in the Education Model)
- An nVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra GPU
- USB 2.0 and FireWire 400
- 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port
- A V.92 modem
- A video-out port, an analogue audio-in jack, and a combination analogue/mini-TOSLINK audio-out jack (like the one in the AirPort Express units)
The enclosure is suspended above the desk by an aluminum arm that can be replaced by a VESA mounting plate, allowing the unit to be mounted using any VESA-standard mount. Apple boasted that it was the slimmest desktop computer on the market. The iMac G5 was available in three retail models (17-inch, 1.6 GHz is M9248LL/A; 17-inch, 1.8 GHz is M9249LL/A; 20-inch, 1.8 GHz is M9250LL/A) plus one education-only model that had no optical drive, no modem, and a more modest GeForce MX4000 graphics system. It shipped with OS X v10.3 Panther.
Here was the ad campaign.
iMac G5 (Ambient Light Sensor)
- May 3, 2005 — Apple releases "Rev. B", or the "Ambient Light Sensor" line (the name refers to a new light sensor on the bottom of the iMac that adjusts the glow intensity of the white pulsating sleep indicator light according to the ambient light).
- The entry model is now 17-inch, 1.8 GHz (M9843LL/A).
- The mid-model is 17-inch, 2.0 GHz (M9844LL/A).
- The top model is 20-inch, 2.0 GHz (M9845LL/A). All models utilized the PowerPC 970FX, re-fabricated at 90 nm.
- All models now feature 512MB of DDR-400 RAM standard;
- The hard drive capacity is increased to 250GB on the top model, with an option of 400GB.
- Optional upgrades did include a double-layered 8× SuperDrive. All models now feature AirPort Extreme wireless, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, and an ATI Radeon 9600 graphics chip with 128MB of VRAM as standard. Also the 10/100 Ethernet network interface has been upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet. All models shipped with iLife '05 and Apple's then-new Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger.
iMac G5 (iSight)
- October 12, 2005 — At the "One More Thing" event, Apple released new iMac G5s (the "Rev. C", or the "iSight" line); a 17-inch display running at 1.9 GHz (MA063L/A) and 20-inch display model running at 2.1 GHz (MA064L/A) with:
- A built-in USB 2.0 iSight camera
- A remote control called Apple Remote
- Horizontal input ports rather than vertical configuration.
- Thinner 1.5-inch (3.8-cm) flat panel housing with a curved back
- 512 MB PC2-4200 (533 MHz) DDR2; expandable to 2.5GB total memory
- Slot-loading 8x; double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
- Mighty Mouse
- A PCI-Express ATI Radeon X600 (Pro for the 17-inch model and XT for the 20-inch model) graphics chip with 128MB DDR VRAM
- Built-in media center software called Front Row
- Note: the built-in V.92 modem was removed and is now offered as the optional Apple USB Modem. The USB modem is available on the Apple Store website and also in Apple retail stores.
The iMac G5 (iSight) also used a slightly slimmer case that would be used until August 7, 2007 when Apple used the same shape but used an aluminum and glass aesthetic. A downside of this case compared to its predecessor is that the stand can no longer be replaced with a VESA mount.
The iMac G5 (iSight) is harder to open (to see and work inside the computer) than the previous models.
The iMac G5 was declared "The Gold Standard of desktop PCs" by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal.
Timeline of iMac models
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