|[9:00 AM] Back To The Future: Apple Announced 500 MHz PowerMac G4s, New Servers
Announced Wednesday morning at MACWORLD Tokyo, Apple has at long last announced a speedbump to the PowerMac G4 product line. The new configurations actually bring the products back in line with what the original targets were when announced at Seybold last fall. The company announced the product line in 400 MHz, 450 MHz, and 500 MHz models, but had to back those off by 50 MHz each when Motorola was unable to fulfill delivery of 500 MHz processor chips. Motorola has apparently fixed those production problems as Apple is again at the original configurations. The company has also announced new server configurations. According to Apple:
Apple® today announced it has increased the performance of its industry-leading Power Mac G4 line with faster processors running at 400-, 450-, and 500 MHz. Pricing remains unchanged, starting at US$1,599.
The Power Mac G4, which features the PowerPC G4 processor with its remarkable Velocity Engine, runs professional applications like Adobe Photoshop over 50 percent faster than 800 MHz Pentium III-based PCs.*
"The Power Mac G4 is the tool of choice for creative professionals," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Not only is it the fastest Mac ever, it's the fastest personal computer ever."
The G4 is available in the following standard configurations:
- Power Mac G4 400 MHz with 1MB level 2 backside cache contains 64MB of SDRAM, ATI RAGE 128 Pro AGP 2X with 16MB video SDRAM, a 10GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, DVD-ROM drive with DVD-Video playback, FireWire® and USB ports, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and a built-in V.90 56K modem;
- Power Mac G4 450 MHz with 1MB level 2 backside cache contains 128MB of SDRAM, ATI RAGE 128 Pro AGP 2X with 16MB video SDRAM, a 20GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive with DVD-Video playback, a ZIP drive, FireWire and USB ports, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and a built-in V.90 56K modem;
- Power Mac G4 500 MHz with 1MB level 2 backside cache contains 256MB of SDRAM, ATI RAGE 128 Pro AGP 2X with 16MB video SDRAM, a 27GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, DVD-RAM drive with DVD-Video playback, a ZIP drive, FireWire and USB ports and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet.
All three G4 models support Apple's revolutionary AirPort wireless networking solution which provides totally untethered Internet access at speeds of up to 11 megabits per second. Apple's AirPort solution includes the AirPort Card, which fits inside Apple's new G4, and the AirPort Base Station, which contains a 56K modem and a 10BASE-T Ethernet port for connecting to a phone line, cable modem, DSL modem or local area network.
In addition, Apple today announced two new Macintosh® Server G4 systems and a new Macintosh Server G4 with Mac® OS X Server software:
- Macintosh Server G4 400 MHz with 1MB level 2 backside cache contains 128MB SDRAM, ATI RAGE 128 Pro AGP 2X with 16MB video SDRAM, 20GB Ultra ATA/66 7,200 rpm hard drive, DVD-ROM drive, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and AppleShare® IP 6.3.1.
- Macintosh Server G4 500 MHz with 1MB level 2 backside contains 256MB SDRAM, cache, ATI RAGE 128 Pro AGP 2X with 16MB video SDRAM, 18GB Ultra2 LVD SCSI 10,000 rpm hard drive, DVD-ROM drive, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and AppleShare IP 6.3.1.
- Macintosh Server G4 with Mac® OS X Server 500 MHz with 1MB level 2 backside cache contains 256MB SDRAM, ATI RAGE 128 Pro AGP 2X with 16MB video SDRAM, 18GB Ultra 2 LVD SCSI 10,000 rpm hard drive, DVD-ROM drive (maximum), 4-port 10/100BASE-T Ethernet controller and Mac OS X Server 1.2 software.
Pricing and Availability
Available immediately through Apple Authorized Resellers and The Apple Store, the Power Mac G4 400 MHz is priced at US$1,599, the Power Mac G4 450 MHz is priced at US$2,499, and the Power Mac G4 500 MHz is priced at US$3,499. Also available now on The Apple Store and through Apple Authorized Resellers, the Macintosh Server G4 400 MHz is priced at US$2,999, the Macintosh Server G4 500 MHz is priced at US$4,199, and the Macintosh Server G4 500 MHz with Mac OS X Server software is priced at US$4,199. The Power Mac G4 is available in more than 25,000 build-to-order (BTO) configurations.
*Based on select tests published by Intel to demonstrate the speed of the 800 MHz Pentium III processor.
The Apple Store is all set with the new G4s, so go check it out.
The Mac Observer Spin: Note that Apple's claims of faster performance than PentiumX computers has backed down considerably. This is because Intel is making up for deficiencies in their crappy chips by kicking Motorola's butt in the MHz wars. Apple used to claim that the G3 was up to twice as fast as the Pentium II, and now claims that specific apps such as Photoshop can run up to 50% faster than an 800 MHz Pentium III. There is a far cry between those two claims, and the newer claim is the more accurate anyway.
It is imperative for the Mac platform that Motorola, and hopefully IBM, be able to kick PowerPC production into a higher gear that it currently has. The G4 is a great processor, but there comes a time when clock speed matters, and that is becoming more of an issue almost every day.
Then there is the public perception issue. People want "fast" and people have been trained to equate clock speed with fast. We can parade around talking about AltiVec (The Velocity Engine) all day, but for the unwashed masses, and even for the masses that bathe once a week, they are weighing 800 MHz against 500 MHz and finding Apple to come up short.
That said, it is encouraging to see that Motorola has been able to overcome the initial problems they were having with 500 MHz G4s and we hope that this bodes well for the future.