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Apple launches 'world's fastest PC'

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Apple unveiled and began shipping the latest generation Power Mac G3 machine today, which it claimed is the fastest personal computer, offering the best graphics and the best design. The new G3 is based on a 400MHz PowerPC 750 processor using copper technology (Apple is buying chips from both Motorola and IBM) with 1MB of backside-configuration L2 cache. It also ships with 100Mbps Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet is an optional extra) on the motherboard, which also sports ATI's Rage 128 graphics acceleration chipset, making its first appearance in a personal computer. The motherboard contains four PCI slots, three of them 64 bits wide -- the other is a double-speed slot. The machine can take up to 1GB of RAM and 100GB of storage space though three IBM 36GB UltraATA hard drives. CD/DVD-ROM and Zip drives are also included but, as anticipated, Apple is not including a floppy drive. Nor will the new G3 use SCSI as its peripheral connection system -- instead, it contains two FireWire ports, plus USB ports for serial connections. However, Apple intends to offer a cheap SCSI adaptor card to support users' existing SCSI peripherals. Design-wise, the new G3 follows the pattern set by the iMac: lots of curves, plenty of translucent panels and handles. More interesting is the way users access the computer's internals -- one side of the machine is a simple fold-down hatch ("it's called a door", quipped interim CEO Steve Jobs) on which the motherboard is mounted. Prices for the new machine begin at $1599 and rise to $2999, depending on memory, storage and networking configuration. ®

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