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Monday, April 12, 2004, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Sources provide details surrounding Power Mac G5 delays

Apple fans are in a frenzy, but this time its due to a lack of 'insanely great' products emerging from Cupertino in the first quarter of 2004. Since January's Macworld Expo, the computer company has failed to produce a single new hardware offering and has run into problems delivering those products that were announced during the first days of the year.

Both Apple enthusiasts and analysts have raised some concerns, especially when it comes to the Power Mac G5 product line — a major source of fanfare and revenue for the company.

This past June, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed that Power Mac G5 speeds would reach 3GHz "by next summer," a promise that he repeated in September at Apple Expo Paris. With the summer deadline a mere 5 months away and Power Mac speeds still clinging to the 2GHz mark, many are wondering how Apple plans to reach the milestone and keep its promise.

Previous reports indicated that Apple had planned to attain the 3GHz mark via a pair of Power Mac G5 revisions in early and mid-2004. The first of the two revisions has reportedly fallen months behind schedule, and sources are now attributing the delays to temperature control and chip supply issues.

According to a reliable source, Apple was recently forced to completely rework the internal temperature sensors inside the current G5 case design to accommodate the new 90 nanometer G5 processors. Apparently, the new 90nm daughter cards have a different profile and seat position than the cards included in the initial Power Mac G5.

"The sensors were reading an incorrect temperature coming off of the heat-sinks and this would throw the fans into a frenzy," one source said. "The fans would spin up to an intolerably noisy speed and then the machine would shut itself down to prevent damaging the processors even though the internal temperature of the processors remained well below 27-degrees Celsius."

Apple engineers have reportedly resolved the sensor issue, though sources say that low processor supplies may have acted to compounded the delays. Reportedly, IBM's Power PC G5 970FX chip has failed to yield even the baseline 2.0 GHz mark on a consistent basis, preventing Apple from introducing faster machines.

Compelling evidence implies that the first set of Power Mac G5 revisions were to take place prior to the 15th of March. According to reliable sources, the Mac OS X development team had completed the Mac OS X build train for the first Power Mac G5 revision prior to the release of Mac OS X 10.3.3. The build train, which was internally referenced by the '7E' milestone of Mac OS X Panther development, is curiously missing from a listing of Mac OS X builds on Apple's information pages.

"This is further evidence, that Apple originally wanted the G5 bump to ship between the release of Mac OS X 10.3.2 in December, and the release of Mac OS 10.3.3 in March," a second source told AppleInsider. According to the source, the build train was either canned or integrated into 7F milestone, which ultimately became the shipping version of Mac OS X 10.3.3.