Power Mac G4 Gets Gigahertz Speed Bump -- Apple today introduced faster versions of the Power Mac G4, putting some distance between the company's professional line of machines and the surprisingly powerful iMac (Flat Panel). The top of the line model, at $3,000, features dual 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, each assisted by dedicated 2 MB L3 cache chips running at up to 500 MHz. It also comes with a 256K L2 cache, 512 MB of RAM, and an 80 GB hard disk. The mid-range configuration, at $2,300, features a 933 MHz processor with the same L3 and L2 caches, 256 MB of RAM, and a 60 GB hard disk. Both setups also include a SuperDrive and an Nvidia GeForce4 MX graphics processor with 64 MB of memory. The new low end of the lineup is actually $100 lower than Apple's previous entry-level Power Mac: the $1,600 model runs on an 800 MHz processor, 256K L2 cache, 256 MB of RAM, a 40 GB hard disk, a CD-RW drive, and an ATI Radeon 7500 graphics chip. A DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive is also available as a build-to-order option.
In addition to the standard suite of Apple software - including iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie - the new Power Macs feature an intriguing compilation of third party Mac OS X software, including Lemke Software's GraphicConverter, Ambrosia Software's Snapz Pro X, Caffeine Software's PixelNhance, Omni Group's OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner, PCalc 2 from James Thompson, and Art Director's Toolkit (ADT) from Code Line Communications. It's obvious that Apple is targeting the new Power Macs at the professional graphics market, but it's also great to see some useful utilities like GraphicConverter being shown to environments where big programs like Photoshop are in abundance. The new Power Macs are expected to become available in February. [JLC]