But what does all this mean in terms of performance? Pros need to know if the computer does the job, and when it comes to Photoshop and Adobe apps, you'll still be in emulation. A G5 runs Photoshop way faster than the Intel-based machines, other improvements notwithstanding. We aren't scheduled to see universal Adobe Creative Suite apps until well into 2007.
Universal apps will see a speed boost. Head-to-head tests are just now being performed between a Quad Core G5 and a Quad Core Intel. They are showing a marginal improvement in those processes that are honed for the Intel chips. But not all processes are, and overall, the G5 remains the most solid machine to have.
Moreover, the cost of upgrading your machine will likely be more than just the cost of the box. Looking at various specifications, it seems like graphics cards from the PCI-Express Dual-Core G5 Power Macs will not work in the Mac Pro. Nor will standard Windows PC graphics cards work in the Mac Pro. Also, there is no support for SLI on the Mac Pro.
The costs continue when it comes to the better RAM. The 667MHz ECC PC-5300 buffered SDRAM required for the Mac Pro currently costs around $2,000-2,500 for 8GB. For about the same amount of money, you can set up your Quad-Core G5 with 16GB of ECC memory. So if you need to delve into Photoshop for serious work, or run multiple non-universal apps at the same time, 2x as much memory in a PPC G5 is the clear winner here.
When Apple introduced the "gumdrop" iMac with only USB ports and no planned expansion capability, that was a big leap into the unknown and it paid off handsomely, with amazingly inexpensive and powerful machines. These Intel-based Mac Pro machines are not the bold steps into the future that Apple has taken in the past. But with a whole pro industry counting on their machines to work every day, small steps are just what the doctor ordered.