Apple upgrades G4 Power Macs

Adds a new motherboard in low-end models and faster graphics cards in all. Also unveils a new flat-panel monitor.

Apple upgraded the low end of its Power Mac G4 line on Thursday by replacing the motherboard on new 350-MHz G4 models with a more advanced design. The company also added a faster graphics card in all of its G4 models and unveiled a new, 15-inch flat-panel LCD monitor.

The upgraded 350-MHz G4 effectively ends the brief life of Apple's motherboard design code-named "Yikes." The hybrid design had allowed Apple to use components from its older G3 line in low-end G4s, but now all G4 models will use the newer Sawtooth motherboard design -- bringing support for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) AirPort wireless networking card to 350-MHz models. The 350-MHz model also features a DVD-ROM drive for the first time.

Apple announced the model changes in a statement on its Web site. The upgraded models are available now at the same prices as their predecessors, the company said.

Big 3D graphics boost
Apple said the new Rage 128 Pro graphics card added to all G4 models will deliver a 40 percent increase in 3D graphics performance. The company also said it will offer a new Rage 128 Pro card kit ($99) to customers with existing AGP-based Power Mac G4s.

Apple said its new 15-inch flat-panel Apple Studio Display matches the features in its already-announced 22-inch flat-panel Cinema Display. The 15-inch monitor supports 16.7 million colors and has a native resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. It will sell for $1,299, and Apple said it is expected to ship before the end of the year.

The new 350-MHz Power Mac G4 sells for $1,599 and includes 64MB of synchronous dynamic RAM, 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, the Rage 128 Pro graphics card with 16MB of video SDRAM, a 10GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive with DVD-Video playback, FireWire and USB ports, 10/100Base-T Ethernet, and a built-in V.90 56K modem.

The new 400-MHz G4 sells for $2,499 and includes 128MB of SDRAM, 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, the Rage 128 Pro card with 16MB of 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.

The new 450-MHz G4 sells for $3,499 and includes 256MB of SDRAM, 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, the Rage 128 Pro card with 16MB of 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.

Slowly reaching retailers
At least one new Power Mac G4 model is shipping to retailers now, and all three G4 models are shipping within seven days when ordered through the online Apple Store, a saleswoman there said Thursday.

New G4s started arriving Thursday at Computer Town, a six-store chain based in Salem, N.H. "We got a shipment of the 400-MHz Power Mac G4 models today, which have Mac OS 9 installed," said Salem assistant store manager Wayne Coco. The store does not yet have estimated arrival dates for the 350- and 450-MHz G4 models, or the new 15-inch flat-panel monitor due late this month, Coco said.

A salesman at the CompUSA store in Birmingham, Ala., said Thursday the new G4s are going to "slowly come into the market." CompUSA has more than 200 stores in the United States.

The new G4 hardware does not show up in the ordering system yet and there is no estimated availability date for it at New York's J&R Electronics Inc., a mail-order salesman there said Thursday.

Geoff Westerfield, director of merchandising at ComputerWare, a 10-store Mac-only chain in the San Francisco Bay area, said arrival dates for the new hardware are not yet available. However, Westerfield added, "Some 400-MHz Power Mac G4 systems are at distributors" such as Pinacor and Ingram.

Online reseller MacWarehouse does not yet have either the new PowerMac G4 models or an estimated availabilty date for them, a salesman said Thursday.

Apple upgraded the low end of its Power Mac G4 line on Thursday by replacing the motherboard on new 350-MHz G4 models with a more advanced design. The company also added a faster graphics card in all of its G4 models and unveiled a new, 15-inch flat-panel LCD monitor.

The upgraded 350-MHz G4 effectively ends the brief life of Apple's motherboard design code-named "Yikes." The hybrid design had allowed Apple to use components from its older G3 line in low-end G4s, but now all G4 models will use the newer Sawtooth motherboard design -- bringing support for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) AirPort wireless networking card to 350-MHz models. The 350-MHz model also features a DVD-ROM drive for the first time.

Apple announced the model changes in a statement on its Web site. The upgraded models are available now at the same prices as their predecessors, the company said.

Big 3D graphics boost
Apple said the new Rage 128 Pro graphics card added to all G4 models will deliver a 40 percent increase in 3D graphics performance. The company also said it will offer a new Rage 128 Pro card kit ($99) to customers with existing AGP-based Power Mac G4s.

Apple said its new 15-inch flat-panel Apple Studio Display matches the features in its already-announced 22-inch flat-panel Cinema Display. The 15-inch monitor supports 16.7 million colors and has a native resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. It will sell for $1,299, and Apple said it is expected to ship before the end of the year.

The new 350-MHz Power Mac G4 sells for $1,599 and includes 64MB of synchronous dynamic RAM, 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, the Rage 128 Pro graphics card with 16MB of video SDRAM, a 10GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive with DVD-Video playback, FireWire and USB ports, 10/100Base-T Ethernet, and a built-in V.90 56K modem.

The new 400-MHz G4 sells for $2,499 and includes 128MB of SDRAM, 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, the Rage 128 Pro card with 16MB of 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.

The new 450-MHz G4 sells for $3,499 and includes 256MB of SDRAM, 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, the Rage 128 Pro card with 16MB of 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.

Slowly reaching retailers
At least one new Power Mac G4 model is shipping to retailers now, and all three G4 models are shipping within seven days when ordered through the online Apple Store, a saleswoman there said Thursday.

New G4s started arriving Thursday at Computer Town, a six-store chain based in Salem, N.H. "We got a shipment of the 400-MHz Power Mac G4 models today, which have Mac OS 9 installed," said Salem assistant store manager Wayne Coco. The store does not yet have estimated arrival dates for the 350- and 450-MHz G4 models, or the new 15-inch flat-panel monitor due late this month, Coco said.

A salesman at the CompUSA store in Birmingham, Ala., said Thursday the new G4s are going to "slowly come into the market." CompUSA has more than 200 stores in the United States.

The new G4 hardware does not show up in the ordering system yet and there is no estimated availability date for it at New York's J&R Electronics Inc., a mail-order salesman there said Thursday.

Geoff Westerfield, director of merchandising at ComputerWare, a 10-store Mac-only chain in the San Francisco Bay area, said arrival dates for the new hardware are not yet available. However, Westerfield added, "Some 400-MHz Power Mac G4 systems are at distributors" such as Pinacor and Ingram.

Online reseller MacWarehouse does not yet have either the new PowerMac G4 models or an estimated availabilty date for them, a salesman said Thursday.