New Power Macs Add FireWire 800, AirPort Extreme — Bringing the new connectivity features from the recently enhanced PowerBook line to the desktop, Apple last week released a new set of Power Mac G4s that offer FireWire 800, the 54 Mbps 802.11g-based AirPort Extreme, and integrated Bluetooth wireless networking (with the addition of a $50 internal card that’s reportedly available only when you’re ordering). The three new machines provide the choice of a single 1 GHz PowerPC CPU ($1,500 for a standard configuration), or a pair of PowerPC G4s running at either 1.25 GHz ($2,000) or 1.42 GHz ($2,700 to $3,800), once more pushing up the top speed of Apple’s professional computer line while dropping prices significantly. The two dual-processor Power Macs feature a 167 MHz system bus (133 MHz for the 1 GHz CPU model) and offer either 1 MB L3 cache (the dual 1.25 GHz model) or 2 MB L3 cache (the dual 1.42 GHz model) per processor. You can choose from 60 GB, 80 GB, 120 GB, and 180 GB hard drives, and these Macs can support up to four internal ATA hard drives. For video, the new machines support dual displays, offer ADC and DVI connectors, and have 4x AGP graphics; you can choose among the ATI Radeon 9000, the Nvidia GeForce4 MX, the Nvidia GeForce4 Ti, or the ATI Radeon 9700 video cards. The optical drive has seen improvement too, with faster Combo drives and SuperDrives that can write DVD-R discs at 4x speed. Other specs include up to 2 GB of DDR SDRAM (256 MB or 512 MB installed), four PCI slots, one FireWire 800 and two FireWire 400 ports, two USB 1.1 ports (plus another two on the keyboard), front headphone jack, stereo audio line-in and line out mini jacks, Apple speaker mini jack for connecting to the optional Apple Pro speakers.
One improvement that sounds especially good to our ears is that the new machines are reportedly much quieter than the previous "wind tunnel" Power Mac G4s. Note that, as promised by Apple, these Power Macs cannot boot into Mac OS 9. Classic remains available, of course, and two high-end Mac OS 9-capable Power Macs from the previous generation can still be purchased at the Apple Store. [ACE]