The Power of Mac

Old and New

Eric Schwarz - 2002.04.11

It seems that there has always been a Mac for every need (and some that didn't serve a specific purpose at all). But it does seem that some Macs were "reincarnated" in recent years.

1994 was one of the best years to show this. Simply for comparison purposes, we won't mention the Power Macs at that time.

Then: Quadra 840AV
Now: Power Mac G4 (Quicksilver)

These two computers were the powerhouses of their time, offering video editing capabilities, fast processors, and cutting-edge of technology. Both were also quite costly, so only the people who really needed all that power (or expandability) got them.

Then: Quadra 605/Performa 475
Now (well, actually last year): The Cube

These computers were both controversial at their time. Both were space-saving and had almost as much power as the most powerful "pro" desktop (the high-end Quadras and G4, respectively), but they also were less expensive and far less expandable. Of course, many people went with the all-in-ones, since they included a monitor and the price was comparable. The other problem was that these weren't as expandable as people liked, offering limited RAM slots and expansion slots.

Then: 500 series
Now: iMac G3

These two were the consumer systems. You bought the computer, plugged it in, and started working. Everything was in one compact unit, and you could expand it if you needed to. Performance was okay, but not quite as good as the higher-end models.

Then: PowerBook 500 seriesBlackbird
Now: TiBook

The 500 series was the top-of-the-line in 1994. Not only were these expensive, but they were also true desktop replacements. Some built in features were a not-so-mega-wide 9.5" screen, onboard ethernet, a built in modem, and plenty of RAM expandability. Both of these had hinge problems....

Then: PowerBook 150
Now: iceBook

Even though these two seem to have nothing in common, maybe they do. After all, both sold for less than $2,000, provided decent power, and were very durable. Expansion capabilities were less than their high-end counterparts, but these were still workhorses. The iceBook could've also been paired with a Duo for it's small size, but it's about the same size as the PowerBook 150 (only thinner).

Then: Motorola 68040
Now: Motorola PowerPC G4

These were the high-end processors of their time, finding their way into the "pro" desktops and laptops, as well as the consumer desktops later.

Then: Motorola 68030
Now: Motorola PowerPC G3

These had been the high-end a bit earlier, but they were put into the low end when the 68040 and G4 came into power. These are both very comparable to their replacements and stayed in the consumer systems for awhile.

History Repeats

Maybe 8 years from now someone will be comparing the Macs of 2010 to the Macs of 2002. I'm betting the same pattern will follow. Even with different product lines, different CEOs, and different software, Apple's hardware can still be categorized the same. LEM

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