PowerMac in the store

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Apple Power Macintosh G4 (Graphite)

The original Power Mac G4 was unveiled at the Seybold conference in San Francisco on August 31st, 1999. Apple originally planned to deliver the 500 MHz configuration in October 1999 but was forced to postpone it due to poor processor performance. Apple solved the performance problem by lowering the processor clock speed in each configuration by 50 MHz (creating options for 350 MHz, 400 MHz and 450 MHz). This move caused some controversy as Apple did not lower the original prices.

Two variants have appeared on sale, officially named Power Mac G4 (AGP graphics) with 400 MHz, 450 MHz, and 500 MHz configurations available, and Power Mac G4 (PCI graphics card) with 350 MHz and 400 MHz configurations.

One of the curiosities about this model was the recognition of PowerMac G4 by the American administration as a „supercomputer.” As a result, US authorities restricted its export to countries deemed by the American government „dangerous.”

Apple used this fact in the first PowerMac ads in a rather humorous way. Commercials suggested that it was such a powerful machine that it had to be defended by the military.

The original Power Mac G4, codenamed „Yikes!” has borrowed a lot from its „blue and white” Power Mac G3. The first PowerMac G4 was called „graphite” due to the housing color similar to the iMac G3 Graphite. The basic design was the same as the G3, including plastic handles and side doors that opened to allow easy access to the machine’s internal components.

There were more borrowings. The 400 MHz (later 350 MHz) PCI-based version used a motherboard identical to Power Macintosh G3 computers, including the Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) processor sockets (without ADB).

The $2499 450 MHz model was downgraded to 400 MHz, and the $3499 500 MHz model was reduced to 450 MHz. The price and all other specifications were the same.

The PCI variant was discontinued in late 1999.

The higher-speed models, codenamed „Sawtooth,” used a significantly modified motherboard design with AGP 2x graphics (replacing the 66MHz PCI slot).

The 500 MHz version was reintroduced on February 16th, 2000, together with the 400 MHz and 450 MHz models. DVD-RAM and Zip drives came in later 450 MHz and 500 MHz versions and were an option at 400 MHz.

The Power Mac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet) model was unveiled at Macworld Expo in New York on July 19th, 2000. The new release included two 450 MHz and 500 MHz processors and a low-end model with a single 400 MHz processor.

Apple Power Macintosh G4 (Graphite)

It was also the first personal computer to come with Gigabit Ethernet as standard. Most people saw this version as a temporary release. G4 with higher clock speeds were not available; the PCI controller (Motorola XPC107) prevented the G4 from reaching clock rates higher than 500 MHz.

The dual 500 MHz model was equipped with DVD-RAM optical drives. Zip drives were optional on all models. The proprietary Apple Display Connector video port has also been introduced on these models.

Size and weight:

The computer’s size did not differ from its predecessor (Power Macintosh G3) and was 17.0 x 8.9 x 18.4 inches (43.2 cm, 22.6 cm, 46.7 cm). The computer weighed approximately 30.0 pounds (13.6 kg), depending on the configuration.


The first model was introduced at $2,499 (M7232LL / A), then the price was increased to $3,499 on October 13, 1999 (M7825LL / A and M7825LL / B) and down again to $2,499 on February 16, 2000 (M7628LL / A) ).

The last model with a 733 MHz processor in the original configuration with a DVD-R / CD-RW „SuperDrive” was priced at $3,499 (M7681LL / A).


The greatest failure of this model is more about change managing. Collecting orders for computers with a 500 MHz clock rate and reducing it (due to technical problems) to 450 MHz had a long impact on the overall rating, even though Apple tried to reward users for this disappointment.


It was one of the shortest production models of desktop computers – 2 years of production, which finally ended on January 9th, 2001.

Although the computer’s capabilities were high, opinions about it were mixed. It was not a failed construction, but the initial problems and high expectations (after Apple’s announcements) caused the computer to sell well below expectations.

Its successor, the PowerMac G4 Quicksilver, presented on July 18th, 2001, was much more enthusiastically received.