Apple updates the eMac with faster speed, lower price

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday updated its consumer-level all-in-one eMac computer. The new eMac sports a faster processor -- a 1.25GHz PowerPC G4, faster memory -- 333MHz DDR RAM, faster ATI Radeon graphics -- the Radeon 9200 graphics chip, and USB 2.0 connectivity. The motherboard speed has been increased as well, from 133MHz to 167MHz. Optional is an internal Bluetooth module.

"The integrated graphics that you see on the PCs really pale in comparison to what we provide with the Radeon 9200 and dedicated video memory," Greg Joswiak, Apple's Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing told MacCentral.

Also updated is the eMac's price scheme. The entry-level model still sports a CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive for US$799, but the SuperDrive-equipped higher-end model has a lower price -- $999. Apple has also introduced a new configuration without an optical drive for educational customers.

Compared to previous models

The two previous configurations of the eMac sold for $799 and $1,099. The low-end model came equipped with a 1GHz PowerPC G4, 128MB SDRAM, a 40GB Ultra ATA drive and a Combo drive.

The $1,099 high-end eMac model had a 1GHz PowerPC G4, 256MB SDRAM, an 80GB Ultra ATA drive and a SuperDrive.

Both systems came equipped with ATI Radeon 7500 graphics, SDRAM, and USB 1.1 peripheral interfaces.

The History

The eMac, which was first introduced two-years ago this month, was targeted and for sale only to Apple's education customers. Priced at $999 at introduction, Apple was soon under pressure from consumers to release a version of the inexpensive all-in-one computer for them. Just over a month later, Apple released the eMac for everyone.

With the eMac available for education and consumers, there was only one thing missing from the machine: a DVD-R/RW SuperDrive. Anxious consumers turned to third-party companies to install SuperDrives for them, even though it voided the warranty. One company, Zettabyte Solutions, offered a SuperDrive equipped Mac and said the response was overwhelming.

Two months later, Apple released its first SuperDrive-equipped eMac.

"One of the things we designed the eMac to be is compact and durable for places that kids are, whether it's in the home or in school, said Joswiak. "Education has always been the primary customer for the eMac and it does very well in that market. It's the computer for the most value-minded Mac customer."

This story, "Apple updates the eMac with faster speed, lower price" was originally published by PCWorld.

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