Macworld Lab Exclusive: New 400MHz G3 Rocks!

We were as surprised as everyone else by the new look of the G3 Power Macintosh systems from Apple. However, beneath that beautiful skin lies a performance powerhouse, as shown by our early tests with MacBench 5.0.

It may have taken us until day three of the Expo, but we were finally able to peel the throngs of people away from a 400MHz system ($2,999 ESP as tested) in Apple's booth and do some on-the-floor testing.

The results couldn't be better: Compared to the previous beige 300MHz G3 model, the MacBench processor score went up 30 percent, right in line with what we'd expect from the new system's specs: both processor and bus speed are one-third faster than the old system.

However, we were blown away with the new graphics board, and it's ATI RAGE 128 chip, which came in at nearly twice the speed of the on-board graphics in the older G3/300 system (both systems were configured for 1024 x 768 pixels at millions of colors).

Disk scores were great as well on the new G3/400. The 9GB drive installed in the $2,999 configuration we tested was 52% faster than the 4GB drive in the older 300 (both drives were connected to the standard Apple-supplied SCSI card and disk cache was set to Mac OS 8.5.1 defaults for each system configured as sold by Apple).

Thus far, the early results look impressive. We'll have to hold out on the final verdict until we can get machines into Macworld Lab for more exhaustive and controlled tests.

For now, the performance looks great–and the price even better.

MacBench 5.0 Results–Old G3/300 vs. New G3/400
  CPU Disk Graphics
G3/300 989 940 1391
G3/400 1289 1428 2718
% Faster 30% 52% 95%

Compare this new system to your old one: Get a copy of MacBench 5.0 for free from http://www.macbench.com to order a copy mailed to you for a nominal handling charge.

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