Feeds

Apple unwraps ‘desktop supercomputer’

Steve Jobs unveils Power Mac G4

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Steve Jobs, no stranger to the dramatic announcement, introduced the Power Mac G4 yesterday in San Francisco, dubbing it "the first desktop supercomputer" and the fastest PC ever created -- 'PC', you'll note, not 'workstation'. It has a specification and price makes it a very attractive offering, and as it is capable of one Gigaflop (a billion floating point operations per second) it can't be exported to countries like China, Iraq or North Korea. Jobs claimed the machine is 2.94 times faster than a 600MHz Pentium III according to data found on an Intel Web site, but Apple's product spec. more modestly credits it with being 100-200 per cent faster than the fastest PIIIs in CPU and Adobe Photoshop tests. Incidentally, Adobe's John Warnock was on-stage with Jobs to give it his blessing, and he looked much more comfortable than when he shared a platform with Bill Gates at Comdex some years ago. The processor is a Motorola PowerPC 7400, which includes what Apple is calling a 'velocity Engine', but Motorola calls AltiVec, its vector processing module. The velocity engine, the integer unit and the floating point unit all operate independently and simultaneously. Four simultaneous 32-bit data streams can be pre-fetched in each clock cycle. There are 32 128 bit registers - eight times as many as on the PIII. There are three core models at 400MHz ($1599 and available now), 450MHz ($2499, available in mid-September) and 500MHz ($3495, expected to be available in Octobet), with built-to-order options as well. The Power Mac G4 has 1MB of backside L2 cache running at half the speed of the processor, with a 100MHz system bus that allows a 800MBps throughput. The built-in network is 10/100Base-T Ethernet. All three G4s have 128-bit internal memory data paths. Sensibly, the hard disks are either 10GB, 20GB or 27GB, and up to a total of 100GB is possible. The optical drives may be a 32x CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or DVD-RAM (both with video playback). There is a 100MB Zip drive, and support for two internal Ultra ATA-66 drives or three external SCSI drives (with an optional SCSI card). The graphics support consists of the ATI Rage 128 card with 16MB of SDRAM. There is support for 1600 x 1200 pixels at 32 bits per pixel and an 85Hz refresh rate. Up to 1.5GB of SDRAM is possible, with a maximum of 999MB per application. There are four expansion slots, though one of these contains the Rage graphics card. Up to 100 gigabytes of internal hard disc can be supported. Jobs' final turn was to unveil a 22in flat LCD monitor, called the Apple Cinema Display, which he claimed is the largest on the market. It will only be available with a high-end G4, at $3999 exclusively through the Apple Store in mid-October. It can display a 11 x 17in page, which is three-quarters of an inch shorter but half an inch wider than A3 -- and double the non-International standard American 8.5 x 11in page. It is said to be twice as bright as a CRT monitor. The resolution is 1600 x 1024. Apple still sees itself in its traditional niche markets -- "We realise they're not for everyone," said Jobs -- but it looks as though the niches will get bigger, especially in the education sector where students have little in the way of legacy data. Its use in digital video, multimedia and graphics generally should also expand the market further, especially with Apple's Final Cut Pro software. Eat your heart out, Intel. ® Power Mac G4 Coverage Apple's G4: the real Windows challenger?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.