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Apple Releases Alluring New PowerBook G3s

Volkswagen is advertising its new Beetle as being reverse-engineered from UFOs, but it may have to give up that claim in the face of Apple’s new PowerBook G3 line. The sleek portables are available in a variety of prices and build-to-order configurations from Apple’s online store. The PowerBooks are the speediest the company has produced, featuring PowerPC 750 processors at 250 MHz and 292 MHz, and a 233 MHz PowerPC 740 chip (the 740 lacks the Level 2 backside cache of the 750, which means performance is slower, but reduces price). Buyers can choose from three displays: a 12.1-inch passive matrix screen capable of displaying thousands of colors, and active-matrix screens measuring 13.3 inches and 14.1 inches (diagonal) that display millions of colors; external monitors of up to 20 inches can also display millions of colors, though video mirroring is unfortunately the only multi-screen option.

The new PowerBook G3 series (which shouldn’t be confused with the short-lived PowerBook G3 that shared the 3400’s frame) also features an S-Video out port on models with the two larger displays, built-in 10Base-T Ethernet, two expansion bays that can hold a floppy drive, a battery (or two batteries using both bays), and a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. (The floppy drive is offered as optional equipment on the least expensive models.) Another major change is the keyboard: a new Function key (marked "fn") makes the full range of 105 keys is available, and the arrow keys are now placed in an inverted-T layout like the PowerBook 2400. This overall boost in features and power is packaged in the curvaceous case design: although the width and length are slightly larger than the 3400 (but still weighing the same 7.7 pounds), the unit is only two inches high when closed. The new PowerBooks are, we dare say, rather sexy in a field of flat rectangles.

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