|[3:15 PM] Apple Revs Up The PowerMac G4 Line, Making The 350 MHz Unit Attractive (For The First Time)
Apple has bumped up the PowerMac G4 line with a new video card and is now using the Sawtooth architecture across the entire line. In addition, Apple is including DVD drives on the low end 350 MHz product. According to Apple:
Apple® today announced that it has enhanced its entire Power Mac G4 line to include the new Rage 128 Pro graphics card, featuring up to a 40 percent increase in 3D graphics performance and a digital video interface which supports Apple's new digitally-driven LCD displays. In addition, the 350 MHz configuration has been upgraded to the same architecture used in the 400 MHz and 450 MHz configurations, and now comes with a DVD-ROM drive, AGP graphics and support for Apple's AirPort wireless networking (optional $99 card required). The three new Power Mac G4 configurations are available immediately at the same prices as their predecessors.
The new Power Mac G4 configurations offer significantly higher graphics performance and bring breakthrough features, like Airport, across the entire G4 product line, said Phil Schiller, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.
Apple also unveiled a 15-inch all-digital flat panel LCD display to complement its already-announced 22-inch flat panel Cinema Display. Both displays feature digital video interfaces that are compatible with all configurations of the G4 line and deliver razor-sharp, distortion-free images. The new 15-inch display supports 16.7 million true colors and has a native resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels.
Apple also announced that it will offer a new Rage 128 Pro card kit to customers with existing AGP-based Power Mac G4 systems.
The Power Mac G4 is available in the following standard configurations:
- Power Mac G4 350 MHz contains 64MB SDRAM, 1MB level 2 backside cache, Rage 128 Pro 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 400 MHz contains 128MB SDRAM, 1MB level 2 backside cache, Rage 128 Pro 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 450 MHz contains 256MB SDRAM, 1MB level 2 backside cache, Rage 128 Pro 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.
The Rage 128 Pro card kit will be available early next year for a suggested retail price of US$99 for customers with existing AGP-based Power Mac G4 systems.
Apple says that these options are now available immediately at the Apple Store. Pricing for the product line remains the same with the 350 MHz model priced at US$1599, the 400 MHz model priced at US$2499, and the 450 MHz model priced at US$3499. The company has priced the 15" Apple Studio Display at US$1299 and expects to ship the product before the end of the year.
The Mac Observer Spin: Hooray for Apple! These changes to the product line are welcome indeed. The Yikes motherboard may have been necessary for supply reasons, but its absence will not be missed. Having the 350 MHz model use the Sawtooth architecture makes it an appealing product for the first time.
It was also smart of Apple to offer a lower end alternative to the Cinema Display which still is not shipping and will probably be limited for many months to come. Those wanting a high quality flat panel monitor can satiate their desires sooner, rather than later.