More than 100,000 Power Mac G5s have been ordered since it was jointly introduced by IBM and Apple at the end of June, said the latter in a statement on Monday.
The rush has encouraged the firm to start shipping two versions – 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz single-processor models – ahead of schedule.
The Power Mac G5 uses 64-bit processing technology, which refers to the amount of data a computer chip can process. Although servers already use 64-bit processors – made by rival firm Intel – personal computers normally use 32-bit chips.
The arrival of the 64-bit G5 – promising more realistic looking games and smoother video playback – has caused a stir in computer circles. The New York Times hailed it as “a new era in computing”, adding users would see “remarkable improvements in audio and visual effects”.
But claims the G5 is the fastest desktop machine to date may be exaggerated. According to Microprocessor Report, a computer industry newsletter, specially designed desktop computers with streamlined functions reached 64-bit power in the mid-1990s.
And critics claim Apple has downplayed the power of rival Intel’s Pentium IV chip. The 3.0 GHz Pentium that Apple compared its chip against has been superceded by a 3.2 GHz Pentium.
Nevertheless, Apple will be hoping the G5, which costs between $2,000 and $3,000, will boost recently sluggish sales. In the last three months, the US-based company sold 156,000 Power Macs, down from 211,000 a year earlier.
But Apple’s advantage may not last long; chip manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices is reportedly bringing out a 64-bit processor for Windows PCs in September.