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G4 History 101 - Power Macintosh G4/400 & G4/500 Information Page

G4 - Round One: The history of Apple's G4 line is a convoluted one. Announced last August at the Seybold Publishers' Conference in San Francisco, the original lineup consisted of 400MHz, 450MHz and 500MHz models. The low end G4/400 was based on a slightly modified Yosemite (blue and white) logic board code names "Yikes." The 450 and 500MHz models used a new design code named "Sawtooth." The Sawtooth Power Macs sported a number of features not found on the Yikes machine including an internal FireWire port, AGP graphics and an internal AirPort slot for wireless networking. For a list of other differences, see our table below. The promised release date for the 500MHz Power Mac came and went with no sign of the coveted high end machine.

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G4 - Round Two: Citing a short supply of G4 processors from Motorola, Apple lopped 50MHz off the G4 line. The new lineup: a G4/350 with the Yikes board, and two Sawtooth based machines, the G4/400 and G4/450. In spite of the reduced processor speeds, the price point remained the same. This, coupled with the fact that Apple canceled existing orders, generated a wave of bad press for Apple around the web. Apple quickly reversed their position and issued a statement that all orders placed before the speed reduction would be honored at their existing price. Customers that had placed orders for 500MHz machines would have the option of buying a G4/450 at the original price.

G4 - Round Three: Apple finally ditches the "Yikes" board on the low end 350MHz machine in favor of the "Sawtooth" board.

G4 - Round Four: At MacWorld Tokyo this month (February, 2000) Apple announced the immediate availability of the 500MHz G4 Power Mac. Once again, the lineup returns to 400MHz, 450MHz and 500MHz priced at $1,599, $2,499, and $3,499 respectively. Unlike the "round one" G4/400, the current G4/400 uses the Sawtooth board. It also sports a DVD-ROM drive instead of the 32x CD-ROM found in the original G4/400. Unlike the initial G4 launch, early reports indicate that availability is good. MacFixIt readers have also reported that their pending orders have been upgraded at no additional cost.

That is the quick and dirty history of the G4 line. Apple's naming scheme for their products continues to confound and confuse. For example, thanks to the G4 shuffle outlined above, the G4/350 and G4/400 Power Macs can have either the Sawtooth or Yikes logicboard. While references to "Yikes" and "Sawtooth" boards are commonplace on the web you won't find any mention of these terms on Apple's web site or press releases. Instead, the two boards are distinguished by the presence or lack of an AGP graphics slot. With this latest round of G4's the dust appears to be settling. All machines are based on the same logicboard and all sport some form of DVD drive. To check out the differences between the various models check out our specs chart below. A list of highlights common to all machines follows:

  • ATI Rage 128 Pro - on 2x AGP graphics slot with 16MB RAM and support for Apple's 22" Cinema Display.
  • 3 FireWire Ports, 2 external and 1 internal - for connecting high speed peripherals (digital video cameras, scanners, hard drives, CD burners etc.) at speeds up top 400Mbps.
  • 2 independent USB ports, 12Mbps each - for connecting peripherals like keyboards, printers, scanners, digital cameras etc.
  • Three 64 bit, 33MHz PCI slots and one 2x AGP - the AGP slot currently hosts the ATI card but you are free to swap it out for another down the road.
  • DVD drive - either DVD-ROM or DVD-RAM for playing and/or recording DVD software and movie titles.
  • Ultra ATA/66 hard drive - At either 10, 20 or 27GB.
  • Support for up to 1.5 GB PC100 SDRAM - you'll only be able to apply 999MB to any application though! ;-)
  • Slot for AirPort card - antennas are built into the handles. For wireless networking and Internet access.

Logic Boards Compared

"Sawtooth" "Yikes"
  • 3 - 400 Mbps FireWire ports (one internal)
  • 2 - USB ports, 12 Mbps each
  • 1 - 2x AGP graphics slot (filled)
  • Optional AirPort card (antenna in handle) for wireless networking.
  • Ultra ATA/66 hard drive
  • 1.5GB RAM limit
  • Supports 22" Apple Cinema (flat panel) Display
  • EPA EnergyStar compliant
  • 2 - 400 Mbps FireWire ports
  • 2 - USB ports, 12 Mbps total
  • 1 - 66MHz PCI slot, filled
  • No wireless networking option.
  • Ultra ATA/33 hard drive
  • 1GB RAM limit
  • Doesn't support 22" Apple Cinema (flat panel) Display
  • Not EPA EnergyStar compliant


 

Model/MHz Bus Speed
(MHz)
RAM VRAM Expansion
Slots
Storagee  Networking
Modem 
 Additional
Features

G4/5001MB
@250MHz

"Graphite"
Tower

100MHz 256MB
1.5GB Max
16MB SDRAM 3 - 64bit , 33MHz PCI
(free)
1 - AGP 2x slot
(filled w/ATI card)

27GB 7200-rpm Ultra ATA/66

DVD-RAM

Optional AirPort

10/100BaseT

2x AGP ATI RAGE 128 Pro accelerated 2D/3D graphics controller

2 USB Ports
(12 Mbps each)

3 FireWire Ports
(1 internal)

ZIP Drive

G4/4501MB @225MHz

"Graphite"
Tower

100MHz 128MB
1.5GB Max
16MB SDRAM 3 - 64bit , 33MHz PCI
(free)
1 - AGP 2x slot
(filled w/ATI card)

20GB 7200-rpm Ultra ATA/66

DVD-ROM

Optional AirPort

10/100BaseT
56k V.90

2x AGP ATI RAGE 128 Pro accelerated 2D/3D graphics controller

2 USB Ports
(12 Mbps each)

3 FireWire Ports
(1 internal)

ZIP Drive

G4/4001MB @200MHz

"Graphite"
Tower

100MHz

64MB
1.5GB Max

16MB SDRAM

3 - 64bit , 33MHz PCI
(free)
1 - AGP 2x slot
(filled w/ATI card)

 

10GB 7200-rpm Ultra ATA/66

DVD-ROM

Optional AirPort

10/100BaseT
56k V.90

2x AGP ATI RAGE 128 Pro accelerated 2D/3D graphics controller

2 USB Ports
(12 Mbps each)

3 FireWire Ports
(1 internal)

 

Internal Links

  • G4 specifications and features compared to other Macs
  • MacBench 5.0 Comparison Generator - Compare scores on the fly.
  • G4 News and Information Page
  • All about FireWire
  • All about USB
  • External Links

  • Index of all online Macintosh hardware and software reviews
  • MacBench Documentation
  • Model/MHz

    Reviews & Information

    G4/5001MB
    @250MHz

    "Graphite"
    Tower

    MacReviewZone
    EveryMac
    IGM

    LowEndMac
    MacObserver
    MacWorldUK
    Macformat
    PCMagazine

    G4/4501MB @225MHz

    "Graphite"
    Tower

    MacReviewZone
    EveryMac
    IGM

    LowEndMac
    MacObserver
    MacWorldUK

    G4/4001MB @200MHz

    "Graphite"
    Tower

    MacReviewZone
    EveryMac
    IGM

    LowEndMac
    MacObserver
    MacWorldUK
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