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Apple unveils faster iMacs, Power Mac G4s

Pro line goes up to 867MHz. Gosh

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Updated Apple CEO Steve Jobs didn't unveil a completely new iMac, as some observers had expected, but he did announce a speed bump to the existing family.

However, he did update the Power Mac G4 line with faster CPUs and a new (ish) enclosure, dubbed Quicksilver.

There are no new iMac colours - the line as announced centres on revived transparent Indigo, Graphite and Snow colour-schemes (good riddance Flower Power and Blue Dalmation. Speeds now come in at 500MHz, 600MHz and 700MHz - the CPUs are all G3 class sporting 256KB of on-die L2 cache - with RAM at 128MB or 256MB, and hard disk capacity 20-60GB. All iMacs ship with CD-RW drives and ATI Rage 128 graphics. The frontside bus is 100MHz; the graphics bus AGP 2x.

The 500MHz and 600MHz models are available straight away, said Jobs, at $999 and $1299, respectively. The 700MHz machine will ship next month at $1499.

The 733MHz G4 now becomes the bottom end of the family, below an 867MHz model and a dual 800MHz machine. Each has 256KB of on-die L2 cache, while the top two models also ship with 2MB of backside L3 cache per processor. All three Macs are based on a 133MHz frontside bus, AGP 4x and come with the usual dual USB and dual FireWire ports, and Gigabit Ethernet connector.

The Quicksilver enclosure is a minor modification on the existing graphite shell - it's now iBook-style silver instead of dark grey - and a redesigned front panel. Inside it are 40, 60 and 80GB of Ultra ATA-66 hard disk space, depending on configuration, 128-256MB of RAM, low-end 32MB GeForce 2 MX cards on the 733MHz and 867MHz machines and a "dual display card" on the dual-CPU box, which is a 64MB GeForce 2 MX card with an ADC and VGA ports. GeForce 3 cards are available through Apple's build-to-order online store. There's a CD-RW drive in the 733MHz G4 and DVD-writing SuperDrives in the 867MHz and dual-processor versions.

Prices come in at $1699, $2499 and $3499. As per the iMac line, the bottom two models are available now, but the top-end unit will ship in August. ®

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