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Moto G4 Plus makes it to latest Power Mac line-up

Drops dual-processor configs for singles

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Updated Apple has decided two brains are no longer better than one and ditched its dual-processor desktop Mac configurations in favour of single-CPU machines - but trade off is that of these computers (well, some of 'em) are based on Motorola's eagerly awaited G4 Plus chip.

As anticipated, the new Power Mac G4 line-up, which was launched today at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, is based on the Apple's UMA 2 motherboard architecture. That means a 133MHz system bus, five add-in slots (four PCI and one AGP 4x), plus the usual FireWire and USB ports (two of each) and gigabit Ethernet. There's also a new audio sub-system comprising a built-in 10W amplifier.

The G4 range also marks Nvidia's entry into the Mac market, with the top-of-the-range models sporting GeForce 2 MX-based AGP graphics cards. The first of the four machines retains the ATI Rage 128 Pro chip used in the previous generation of Power Mac.

The four base models contain 466, 533, 667 and 733MHz processors. The 533MHz version will be offered in multi-processor configurations through Apple's online build-to-order system, so the dual-processor approach hasn't been entirely dropped, but it's certainly been de-emphasised.

Of course, the reason for the move is clear: Motorola can't get enough chips to Apple to make it practical to offer multi-processor configurations. That's why we reckon the 466 and 533MHz machines are regular PowerPC 7400s, with only the top two machines based on the G4 Plus. How can you tell? Only those two are provided with backside L3 cache - which only the G4 Plus supports.

CEO Steve Jobs admitted the 667 and 733MHz versions won't ship until February, and even then in limited volumes, which matches our expectations of true G4 Plus availability - ie. full volume in Q2 2001. Depending on how many chips Motorola can punch out, the 733MHz model isn't going to be easy to get hold of, at least for the immediate future.

In addition to the G4 Plus, the 733MHz Power Mac also sports Pioneer's combo CD-R, DVD-R drive - Apple calls it the SuperDrive - which reads and writes all CD formats and DVD-ROM formats, and writes consumer DVD-compatible discs. Apple is also bundling its newly announced iDVD authoring tool. ®

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