iMacs Get Faster, Cooler

Demonstrating once again the ability to extend the power of the now venerable iMac, plus its lust for colorful new plastics, today at Macworld Expo Tokyo Apple updated its iMac line by adding a 600MHz G3 processor, internal CD-RW drive, and two new psychedelic colors.

The iMac line-up is now divided into three: At the low-end coming in at just $899 is a 400MHz G3-based version with 64MB of RAM, 10GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, and ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics controller with 8MB of video RAM. The new entry-level configuration continues to offer 10/100BaseT Ethernet, 56K analog modem, two USB and two FireWire ports.

The midrange of the line, also known as the iMac (Apple has done away with the DV and DV Plus nomenclature), comes with a 500MHz G3 processor, 64MB of RAM, and a 20GB internal hard drive. It adds the new higher-performance ATI Rage 128 Ultra graphics controller with 16MB of video RAM and AGP 2X support, and an Apple internal CD-RW drive that can write CD-R discs at 8x speeds, CD-RW discs at 4x, and can read CDs at 24x speeds. The midrange iMac also has a faster processor bus than the low-end model, with 256 Kb on-chip Level 2 cache at full processor speed, or 500MHz. The low-end iMac offers 512 Kb of external backside L2 cache running at only 160MHz.

The midrange configuration sells for $1,199.

At the high-end of the line coming in at $1,499 is the new iMac Special Edition. It bumps the ceiling on iMac CPU speed up to a 600MHz G3 with the same on-chip L2 cache running at 1 to 1 speeds. It also adds to RAM with 128MB, and to internal drive storage with 40GB. It has the new internal CD-RW drive and the same ports as the other two iMacs.

Of course, the most noticeable change in the new iMacs are two new colors: while the low-end configuration is still available only in indigo, the midrange and high-end machines come in a tie-dye-like color scheme called Flower Power, and a spotted blue pattern called Blue Dalmation. This marks the first time Apple has offered patterned color schemes on any of its computers.

For those who are not quite ready to try and work the bold new color schemes into their decor, the midrange iMac is also available in indigo, and the iMac SE continues to be available in graphite.

And, for those of you who collect iMacs like Pokemon cards, the snow, ruby, and sage iMac colors have officially been retired.

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