Mac clones get fastest chip, Apple lags behind

Power Computing has announced the availability of a Macintosh clone that will run on the fastest desktop microprocessor to date.

Power Computing has announced the availability of a Macintosh clone that will run on the fastest desktop microprocessor to date. The new PowerTower Pro machines will be the first to be powered by the 225MHz PowerPC 604e microprocessor, the fastest desktop chip on the market, according to a benchmark study done by the newsletter Microprocessor Report. The study pitted Intel's Pentium Pro 200MHz chip against the 225MHz PowerPC 604e, which is jointly manufactured by the Apple, IBM and Motorola.

While Apple itself is slated to release a slew of new Macintoshes next month, analysts aren't confident that it will soon offer machines running the new 225MHz chip. "IBM and Motorola aren't producing sufficient volume of the chips for a vendor as big as Apple," says Kevin Hause, an analyst at International Data, who follows the Macintosh clone market. "More than likely, Apple will release systems with 180- and 200MHz chips," says Hause.

"Apple is going to have to be more aggressive from a technology standpoint, or they will look like fools left in the dust if they can't keep up with Power Computing," says Hause. "But Power Computing also has to remember that if Apple continues to spiral downward, they will take the clone makers with them."

At least one observer, however, sees the announcement in a more positive light. "It's a win-win situation for everybody", from Apple to Power Computing to Macintosh users, says Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Dataquest in San Jose, California.

The Power Computing machines, he says, "are absolutely not going to hurt Apple. In fact, they are an emergency release valve for Apple's technology woes."

The PowerTower Pro will cost US$4995 with 16Mb of RAM, a 2Gb hard drive, an 8X CD-ROM drive and a 8Mbyte Twin Turbo 128-bit graphics accelerator. The PowerTower line also includes 180- and 200MHz machines.

Power Computing can be contacted on the World Wide Web at http://www.powercc.com.

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