Apple Updates Dual-Processor Power Macs, Lowers Display Prices

Updated: The latest additions to the Power Mac line include a dual 2.7GHz system, which supports Apple's 30-inch Cinema HD display.

Just in time for the release of Apple Computer Inc.s new Mac OS X "Tiger" operating system, the company announced upgrades to its line of Power Mac workstations Wednesday. And many of the latest enhancements are targeted squarely at Apples creative professional customers.

The latest refresh to the dual-processor Power Mac line increases processor speed and the base amount of memory that the systems ship with, as well as larger hard drives and faster optical storage. In addition, the new 2.7GHz Power Mac includes support for Apples 30-inch cinema display.

Apple has upgraded its top-end dual-processor system with 2.7GHz processors, and has replaced its 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz systems with 2GHz and 2.3GHz configurations. "All of these systems ship with Tiger preinstalled, and are available immediately," said Tom Boger, senior director of desktop product marketing in an interview with Ziff Davis Internet News.

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The three new Power Macs come configured with the new ATI Radeon 9650 graphics adapter, which is compatible with Apples 30-inch Cinema HD display, as standard equipment. Previously, customers needed to purchase the Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra card to use Apples top-of-the-line HD display.

Additionally, all of the new PowerMacs come with 512MB of RAM and a 16X Superdrive with the capability of burning double-layer DVD media, as standard features. The dual-layer capability effectively doubles the potential storage capacity of a single DVD-R.

Apple has also doubled the size of the standard hard drives that ship with dual-processor Power Macs. The new 2.7GHz and 2.3GHz systems both come configured with 250GB serial ATA hard drives as standard; the 2GHz system comes with a 160GB hard drive.

In addition, Apple announced price reductions on its 20-inch Cinema and 23-inch Cinema HD displays. The price of the 20-inch Cinema display has been lowered to $799 from $999, and the high-definition Cinema HD 23-inch display has been lowered in price from $1,799 to $1,499.

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"We consider the Cinema displays to be part of the [Power Mac] line," said Scott Broderick, Apples product marketing manager for displays. "They make the whole Power Mac line more attractive to our professional audience."

The beefed-up Power Mac line comes on the heels of Apples announcement of a number of new software products for video production at the National Association of Broadcasters conference two weeks ago, including the Final Cut Studio video editing suite, Soundtrack Pro audio editing software and Shake 4 visual effects software. The base configurations of the new dual-processor Power Macs meet the system requirements of these applications out of the box, though additional memory is required to produce HD content in Final Cut Studio.

"When you add it all up, all these enhancements make the Power Mac more attractive to our creative professional customers," said David Moody, Apples vice president of worldwide Mac marketing.

Editors Note: This story was corrected to indicate that only the new 2.7GHz Power Mac includes support for Apples 30-inch cinema display.

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