FIRST LOOK: Latest G3 Minitower is fast but lacks room to grow

FIRST LOOK: Latest G3 Minitower is fast but lacks room to grow

It's hard to be all things to all people, and Apple Computer's latest minitower proves the adage to be true. The minitower configuration featuring the G3 300MHz PowerPC excels in performance but lacks expandability.

Though you can pick and choose the components you want because of the minitower's case design and its small logic board, you may find yourself omitting certain components to accommodate others more suited to your needs.

I received the "Best" configuration that comes equipped with features well-suited to high-end graphics work. Unfortunately, rather than including AV features (which came standard with the original minitower configuration), the personality slot is populated with a basic audio in/out minijack component. That basic audio jack means you cannot do digital-video editing and production.

There are notable differences between this version and the original minitower configuration, mainly in the CPU card, an additional video card, and a SCSI disk subsystem. The 300MHz G3 uses 1MB of Level 2 cache, vs the original 512KB, and it runs at 150MHz bus speed. The original 266MHz minitower ran at 133MHz.

You now have the option of either using the two 4GB SCSI hard disks as separate volumes or installing the new SoftRAID software and increase disk performance.

This is particularly handy for disk-intensive work.

In addition to the on-board ATI 3D Rage II Plus 64-bit video, the additional 128-bit video card is a welcome addition for those who use multiple monitors.

I also liked the new 10/100Base-T Ethernet card, which is a great help when using the minitower for prepress work. Although this configuration is fine for high-end graphics work, I missed the AV capabilities and the internal Zip drive.

Nevertheless, I appreciated the big performance boost, and I would highly recommend this minitower for intensive graphics work.

Power Macintosh G3 Configurations

300MHz PowerPC G3

64KB of Level 1 cache

1MB of Level 2 backside cache, accessible at 150 MHz66MHz system bus4MB of ROM128MB of synchronous DRAM, expandable to 384GBTwo 4GB Ultra Wide SCSI drives (includes 'SoftRaid' software)24xATAPI CD-ROM6MB of synchronous graphics RAM8MB of EDO VRAM on 2D/3D PCI-based graphics accelerator card.

10/100Base-T Ethernet PCI card.

Power Macintosh G3

The fastest Power Mac yet, the 300MHz minitower configuration offers nice features. However, it isn't as good a bargain as the first G3-based systems.

Pros: Excellent performance; RAID capabilities;100Base-T support; pre-configured with MacOS 8.1Cons: Limited expandability; omits AV features;priceyPlatforms: Mac OS 8.0 or higherPrice: $6995 as configured(monitor not included)Apple Computer Tel 1300 300 755 Fax (02) 9452

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