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Apple's 300MHz G3 keeps graphics lead
--------------------------------------------------------- By Herb Bethoney, PC Week Labs

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The latest Power Macintosh G3 workstation takes advantage of Motorola Corp.'s 300MHz 750 PowerPC chip to deliver better graphics performance than a desktop system based on Intel Corp.'s new 400MHz Pentium II processor.

The 300MHz Power Mac G3, which Apple Computer Inc. began shipping last month for a list price of $4,869, led in three out of four of PC Week Labs' graphics tests (download an Excel file of the benchmark results) against Compaq Computer Corp.'s 400MHz Pentium II-based Deskpro EN Model 6400X, which has an estimated street price of $3,150 with 128MB of RAM. (See PC Week Labs' review of the first 400MHz and 350MHz Pentium II-based desktop PCs.)

The most powerful Apple system yet, the 300MHz G3 is admirably suited for publishing and graphics professionals who need the high performance, but graphics isn't the only area in which the G3 shines. Microsoft Corp.'s Office 98 applications ran uniformly faster on the new Power Mac than on the previous models, both when we opened and saved large documents and in processing PowerPoint presentations.

The system we tested came in a midsized tower case with Mac OS 8.1, 128MB of RAM, two 4.2GB Ultra Wide SCSI hard drives and a 24-speed CD-ROM drive.

Apple includes Conley Corp.'s SoftRAID application for those who want to take advantage of RAID 0 striping to improve applications performance or RAID 1 mirroring for fault tolerance.

The G3 has a 128-bit two-dimensional/three-dimensional graphics accelerator card with 8MB of video RAM, combined with 6MB of video RAM on the motherboard.

Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., can be reached at (408) 996-1010 or www.apple.com.

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