G5, endangered species

So, when Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” appears in the next couple weeks or so, my Power Mac G5 (dual 2.3ghz), which I bought in the late fall of 2005, will not be able to run it. As is well known, Apple has decided to make 10.6 “Intel Only” and not “Universal” (viable for both PowerPC and Intel, as Leopard has been). This move was completely expected and has generated something of a yawn in the press I’ve been reading. But I wanted to take a moment to note that the my G5 has been a marvelous machine and one which has been in constant use since I bought it. In fact, there’s something intangibly solid about this system — I don’t get nearly as many pinwheels of death as I do on the Intel machines I’ve used, and the thing rarely if ever crashes. I would consider the PowerMac G5 to be my best computer investment ever.

This particular machine was among the last generation of G5 towers made by Apple and remains the second fastest G5 ever produced, superseded only by the quad-core 2.5 with liquid cooling.1 (The liquid cooling system had gotten bad press when I was buying the machine, so I stayed away, a wise move in the end.) I recently once more (and presumably for the last time) upgraded the hard drives and RAM and added a refurbished 30in HD Cinema Display (a good deal considering the longevity of the design), all of which has pushed my PowerMac G5 to the top of its game. Something in me just feels that the G5 era was a kind of golden age for Mac desktops. I remember being very influenced in my purchase by this article by John Siracusa of Ars Technica, and by the more technical explanation by his colleague Jon Stokes (author of the excellent Inside the Machine).

Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk. I guess I can always hope the Apple-Intel relationship goes sour and Apple returns to the PPC design for its chips. After all, IBM is still making the Cell Processor for the PS3. Also, fwiw, here’s a similarly reminiscent post by John Nack at Adobe; see also his comments on the next version of the Adobe Creative suite being Intel-only.

1 The model number is M9591LL/A. Here’s the Apple Support article on my G5. I have the notion (perhaps unjustified) that this 2.3ghz model was faster in toto than the previous generation’s 2.7ghz model (M9749LL/A).