Apple has upgraded the processor on its latest iMac, but the graphics card remains the same as the last-generation iMac's. With both the 20-inch iMac we tested earlier this year and the new iMac G5 using Nvidia's budget graphics card, the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra, we weren't shocked to see nearly identical 3D performance on our Quake III test. Although the new iMac G5 trailed the 20-inch iMac by a few frames per second (fps), both machines produced frame rates in excess of 60fps, which means Quake III will run smoothly. Keep in mind, however, that Quake III is an older game. Today's games, though not generally available for Macs, will prove too taxing for the iMac. Gamers swayed by the iMac G5's sleek design should keep shopping. The iMac will suit mainstream users, but gamers and power users will require more graphical horsepower.
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To measure 3D gaming performance, we use Quake III Arena for OS X. Although Quake III is an older game, it is still widely used as an industry-standard tool.
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs technician David Gussman
Apple 20-inch iMac
Mac OS X 10.3.2; 1.25GHz PowerPC G4; 256MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5200; 80GB 7,200rpm Ultra ATA/100
Mac OS X 10.3.3; 1.25GHz PowerPC G4; 256MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; 32MB ATI Radeon 9200; 80GB 7,200rpm Ultra ATA/100
Apple iMac G5
Mac OS X 10.3.5; 1.8GHz PowerPC G5; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5200; 80GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Apple Power Mac G5 dual 2.5GHz
Mac OS X 10.3.5; Dual 2.5GHz PowerPC G5; 4096MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon 9800; 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Edited by Matthew Elliott
Additional editing by Nick Hide