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November 30, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Apple Computer Inc’s mid-March launch of its new PowerPC RISC-based Macintoshes is beginning to take shape, and MacWeek expects three machines. Apple’s target is said to be at least 125,000 machines to be at dealers in the first three months of sale, with most available on the first day. They are expected to be based on the Quadra architecture and include the Quadra name. All will come with Ethernet and GeoPort ports, with a CD-ROM drive as an option. At the bottom of the line, a machine code-named PDM uses a 60MHz PowerPC 601, and is expected to cost $2,000 with 8Mb and 160Mb disk plus keyboard and colour monitor; keyboard and monitor will be separately priced with the higher models. It is expected to come in a Quadra 610 enclosure with one in-line processor direct slot. The Carl Sagan will come in a Quadra 650 box and have the same slots, will use a 66MHz 601 and cost around $3,000 with 8Mb and a 230Mb disk. The high end machine is the one code-named Cold Fusion, which is expected to have an 80MHz 601 processor with 256Kb Level 2 cache, and to cost $4,000 with 8Mb and a 500Mb disk. The higher two will have built-in video supported by a new high-performance video subsystem, and more video RAM than the comparable 68040 models. With its full complement of video RAM, Carl Sagan should support 16-bit colour on monitors as large as 14 and 8-bit colour on larger monitors; Cold Fusion to support 24-bit colour on up to 16, 16-bit colour on 21 monitors. The paper hears from developers testing 50MHz and 60MHz beta test models of the new Macs that current 68000 software runs acceptably fast under the PowerPC’s 68040 emulator – ranging between that of a 25MHz 68030 LC III or a 25MHz 68040 Quadra 610 depending on the application. Apple is said to have promised that native PowerPC applications should provide two to four times the performance on a PowerPC machine than native 68000 code on a 33MHz 68040 Quadra 950. Current plans call for the initial boxes to ship with some incremental RISC version of System 7.1, the paper hears, with another version, possibly incorporating the new help system, following in as little as 30 days. MacWeek’s gossip column hears a debate is going within the company over the right approach to distribution and pricing of the twin RISC and 68040 version of the operating system: if you buy one, should you automatically get the other?

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