How An Old PowerMac G5 Compares To Modern Intel CPUs
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 14 February 2017 at 07:52 AM EST. 40 Comments
With Debian and Ubuntu dropping 32-bit PowerPC support in their future releases, you may be curious how the older PowerPC hardware compares to Intel's modern x86 processors if you are wishing to switchover. Here are some benchmarks.

A Phoronix reader has provided comparison benchmarks of his PowerMac G5 to our recent Intel Kabylake CPU benchmarks and other recent x86 CPU tests. His PowerMac G5 v2 with the PPC970 is dual-core and clocks up to 2.0GHz. This Apple computer has 2GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics, and was running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.4 kernel and GCC 5.4 compiler.

I, unfortunately, have no physical access to any PowerPC hardware at all. Fortunately, thanks to Phoronix reader Alexandre Couture we have these comparison data points to my recent Intel Linux CPU tests. With all of the tests done via the Phoronix Test Suite and centralized on, it makes for easy independent yet reproducible and automated comparisons.

The PowerMac G5 performance is incredibly poor compared to modern Intel x86 CPUs.

This PowerMac7,2 model dates back to 2004 and was great back in the day... Now it won't even work with future Ubuntu/Debian releases.

So even switching over to a $40 Kabylake Celeron CPU will be a huge upgrade in performance.

Or a sub-$100 Pentium CPU is also a big upgrade if not wanting to switch to a Core CPU.

Thanks to Alexandre for sending in these results showing how far performance has come since ~2004 with Apple PowerPC hardware. Unfortunately with no access to any PowerPC hardware, I'm not able to deliver any results showing how modern POWER hardware is performing. Those wishing to see more of these older PowerMac comparison results to Intel x86 CPUs can visit this result file.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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