SAN FRANCISCO (01/25/2000) - Talk about short life spans. Apple Computer Inc.
(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. 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.
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.
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.