Apple is boasting that its brand new Power Mac G5 is: "the world's fastest personal computer". It features a 64bit processor and 1GHz front-side bus, can address up to 8GB of memory and offers processor speeds of up to 2GHz, so we're sure both Intel and AMD would beg to differ on the question of whose processors are faster.

But Apple claims that in Spec CPU 2000 benchtests, the new machines easily beat Intel's fastest Pentium 4 and dual Xeon-based PC systems available. But, as ever, it shied away from pitting itself against PC Advisor chart-topper, the AMD Athlon processor.

The systems incorporate 400MHz 128bit DDR SDRAM, one 133MHz and two 100MHz 64bit PCI-X expansion slots and AGP 8x Pro graphics slots. The processors and their 1GHz front side bus can handle 16GBps (gigabytes per second) of bandwidth, according to Apple.

The new Power Macs get a facelift, too - they sport a striking new aluminium case design that incorporates nine separate fans and a computer-controlled cooling system to manage the heat output from the new motherboard architecture.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told attendees at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that despite the number of fans, the new aluminium enclosure actually operates more quietly than the previous generation of Power Mac G4 systems did - 30dBA at normal room temperature, according to Jobs.

The heart of the new Power Macs is the PowerPC G5 processor, developed by IBM. The 64bit microprocessor features full support for 32bit applications, and sports a massively parallel architecture that can handle 215 simultaneous in-flight instructions, features two double-precision floating point units and an optimised Velocity Engine. The chips are also designed for full support of symmetric multi-processing (SMP) - a key point in Apple's claim of "fastest personal computer".

The new systems are also equipped with dual 1.5Gbps (gigabits per second) serial ATA interfaces and standard nVidia GeForceFX 5200 or ATI Radeon 9600 Pro graphics cards (the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro is also available as a build-to-order option).

What's more, the new Power Mac Pro desktop systems come equipped with gigabit ethernet, FireWire 800, two FireWire 400 ports and, for the first time on the Macintosh, three USB 2.0 ports. In another first, optical digital audio input and output is included as well. There's analogue audio input and output and a headphone jack too, and AirPort Extreme wireless networking is supported. The new machines are also Bluetooth-ready.

Apple's new Power Mac G5s will be available in three configurations:

  • A £1,549 1.6Hz single-processor model, featuring 800MHz front-side bus; 256MB DDR RAM; 80GB serial ATA hard drive; nVidia GeForceFX 5200 Ultra with 64MB DDR; three PCI slots and quad-speed SuperDrive.

  • A £1,849 1.8GHz single-processor model; 900MHz front-side bus; 512MB DDR RAM; 160GB serial ATA hard drive; nVidia GeForce 5200 Ultra with 64MB DDR; three PCI-X slots and quad-speed SuperDrive.

  • A £2,299 dual 2GHz system; dual independent 1GHz front-side buses; 512MB DDR RAM; 160GB serial ATA hard drive; ATI Radeon 9600 Pro with 64MB DDR; three PCI-X slots and a quad-speed SuperDrive.

    All systems will ship in August and will come equipped with Mac OS X 10.2, 'Jaguar', you can pre-order from the Apple store.