G4 Line Gets a Makeover

Talk about short life spans. Apple (800/795-1000, http://www.apple.com ), which last fall introduced a 350MHz Power Mac G4 system featuring a modified version of a G3 logic board, has abandoned that design, replacing it with the same architecture used in the company's 400MHz and 450MHz G4 systems (see Reviews , February 2000). The new architecture, code-named Sawtooth, boosts graphics and disk performance and adds DVD and wireless-networking capabilities.

The new 350MHz G4 configuration–which carries the same $1,599 price as the previous one–features 64MB of RAM, a 10GB Ultra ATA hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive, dual FireWire and USB ports, and a high-speed AGP port with a Rage 128 Pro graphics controller from ATI Technologies. Prices for the 400MHz and 450MHz models remain at $2,499 and $3,499, respectively.

Faster Graphics

The Rage 128 Pro, an enhanced version of the Rage 128, features faster 3-D and DVD-playback performance than its predecessor and includes built-in support for digital flat-panel displays. Apple plans to use the new controller in all new G4 systems and is offering a $99 Rage 128 Pro upgrade kit for users of current AGP-equipped systems. (Apple included AGP in its 400MHz and 450MHz systems, but the 350MHz Power Mac G4 uses a PCI slot for the graphics card.)

Other enhancements in the Sawtooth architecture include faster hard disk connections and a slot for Apple's $99 AirPort wireless-networking card; Apple plans to introduce software that will let you use AirPort-equipped Power Macs as AirPort base stations.

The additions to the G4 line come on the heels of last fall's public-relations nightmare, in which a chip shortage forced Apple to reconfigure the product line with lower-speed versions of the G4 (see News , January 2000).

Along with the new G4 configuration, Apple has introduced a 15-inch all-digital flat-panel LCD monitor. The $1,299 Apple Studio Display boasts a native resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels.

March 2000 page: 26

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