Power Mac G4 Letters,

By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2002-09-03 Print this article Print

Page 3"> Power Mac G4 Letters, Page 3

Nice to see an all-dual-processor line, but I am disappointed in the mild bump up in speed. Im also somewhat disappointed about the lack of USB 2.0, although I understand that Apple does not want to sabotage the next generation of FireWire. This model, I think, is the Band-Aid for the next model, which I anticipate in July 2003, not January.
Tyrone Vias
Ive been watching the new Power Macs for about a year, and I still havent found a release compelling enough to step up. The PPC processors dont just hinder the new systems, they cripple them. With AMD advancing HyperTransport and Wintel getting up to 3GHz (even though their instruction sets are a mile long), the masses go for raw numbers—and theyve been trained in gigahertz, not gigaflops. If the modified Power4 was to be implemented, I would buy the day the machines were released. But right now, the Power Mac line is a little too wimpy for the money. Daniel Mann

Am I ready to shell out for a new Mac? No; Im coasting along quite well personally with my G4 Cube at 450MHz. That aside, I anxiously await the arrival of new Apple hardware at the first sniff that theyre due to materialize. Im glad there are some architectural improvements in the latest crop of Macs, but it seems more like a stop-gap measure than anything to get super-excited about. The Mac rumor mill had been churning away like gangbusters since January. Partnerships with nVidia and industry alliances with AMD were spun into fabulous rumors that Macs would soon adopt an nForce-like motherboard strategy, or move to a new, high-speed architecture fueled by HyperTransport. Neither materialized. Frankly, I think Apple spun things well by not subjecting this relatively ho-hum announcement to the electron microscope of an official Apple Event, but I was disappointed anyway. Ill start getting excited about Macs again when: 1. Apple adopts CPUs that can take advantage of high bus speeds and DDR timings (for memory and for other system processes). [PowerPC] 7470s, 7500s ... Bring em on. 1b. Bandwidth must get wider and megahertz must increase, even if its only for bragging rights. The new 64-bit PowerPC IBMs announcing seems like an excellent candidate to fulfill 1 and 1b, and HyperTransport neatly ties into the widely bandied 6.4GB/s figure. I cant imagine that it would be that hard to recompile certain Altivec operations to support the new SIMD extensions. Heck, IBM might even just put Altivec-on-steroids in there if they want Apples business. 2. Macs have got to become more price-competitive. Its amazing Macs are as inexpensive as they are, considering the company makes the OS and the hardware—but I think industrial design is kind of "over" now. I suspect if Jonathan Ive could come up with rugged case designs made of galvanized aluminum instead of polycarbonate, use recycled IBM Selectric keyboard mechanisms (solid as a rock!) and Apple was willing to follow a dollar-per-megahertz pricing strategy (instead of almost double that), theyd shift a lot more units. Call it the Mac Front Line, a series of low-cost, indestructible Soviet Chic portables and slimtops painted in a silvery winter-camouflage motif, or even just left with the natural mottling of the galvanizing process. Oh and a big red ... Apple. Theyd be heavy, sure, but revolutionary :) 2b. Apples use of low-watt processors is commendable for environmental reasons as well as practical ones—and the ever-shrinking die process of the PowerPC means they are, megahertz-for- megahertz, cooler running than Intel or AMD chips—but they could lower the price yet again (and boost their price/performance perception) by going for higher-wattage, larger-process (or alternative-process, like BiCMOS - remember Exponentials X704?), ultra-high-speed PPCs. 3. Apple lowers the price of iPods by $150 across the board. 4. Apple buys a really good PC/PS2 game studio and gets them to crank out games for OS X. (I suggest Level 5, who make the lovely RPG/Action Dark Cloud series.) AJ Kandy
Design coordinator
Interstar Technologies Inc.

Online News Editor
Matthew has been associated with Ziff Davis' news efforts for more than a decade, including an eight-year run with the print and online versions of MacWEEK. He also helped run the news and opinion operations at ZDNet and CNet. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.


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