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Apple ships PPC7440-based 667MHz PowerBook G4

Old version upped to 550MHz, both get slot-load CD-RW drives

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Apple has just introduced upgraded Titanium PowerBook G4s, as we predicted.

Two models are on offer, running at 550MHz and 667MHz, respectively. Apple's tech specs aren't exactly forthcoming with precise chip data, but we can say the first machine has a 100MHz system bus, while the 667MHz model's bus runs at 133MHz. Both have 256KB of on-die L2 cache.

The bus speeds suggests to us the second model may indeed be based on the Motorola PowerPC 7440, the low-power version of the PPC7450 that currently powers Apple's desktop Power Macs. The 550MHz machine is, like previous PowerBooks, based on the PowerPC 7410, the low-power version of the first generation of G4 processor, the 7400.

Interestingly, Apple's tech specs refer to the 550MHz machine as a 500MHz box. Since Motorola doesn't ship the 7410 at 500MHz, we wonder if the 550MHz PowerBook G4 is simply an overclocked version of the previous 500MHz model. The PPC7440 is offered at 600MHz and 700MHz, so again we suspect some overclocking is going on here.

We originally anticipated Apple would ship a 700MHz PowerBook G4, but presumably decided not to because of the increased power consumption and heat generation of the 7440. Apple employees are invited to let us know exactly how the choice was made.

Apple wins marks for finally getting a slot-load CD-RW drive into the PowerBook G4's shell, though as yet this is only being offered through the company's build-to-order channel - or will be when it gets the AppleStore back on line. Points are also awarded for the gigabit Ethernet support.

Hard disk space has been upped to 30GB (20GB in the 550MHz model), with a 48GB option available through build-to-order. The 667MHz model comes with Apple's AirPort wireless networking card as standard, and about time it too. The graphics are driven by ATI's Mobility Radeon chip.

The 550MHz model will ship with 128MB of PC100 SDRAM; the 667MHz portable with 256MB of PC133 SDRAM. Both can take a maximum of 1GB of memory.

The 550MHz G4 costs £1599 (exc. VAT); the 667MHz version costs £2199 (exc. VAT). ®

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