All Macs In-Depth Tests
Better Than Blueberry! - Power Macintosh G4/400 Information And Performance Page

Last month, at the Seybold Publishers' Conference in San Francisco, Apple surprised the audience by announcing the immediate availability of their new G4 machines. This announcement came less than one year after the initial release of the blue and white "Yosemite" Power Macs. Many rumor sites had expected delays in the delivery of G4 machines, expecting instead announcements of a new iMac. The new G4 lineup uses the same form factor as the Yosemite G3's, but Apple has graced the G4's with a more refined graphite color scheme that is better suited to a business environment. The first of the new G4's, the G4/400 is actually something of a transitional machine. The G4/400 logic board is a slightly modified version of the Yosemite board. As such, it is missing a few features found on its faster 450MHz and 500MHz counterparts. You won't find an internal FireWire port or an AGP graphics slot for example. For a complete list see our table, "Yosemite" or "Sawtooth" - What's the Difference? These differences aside, at the heart of the machine beats a G4 processor featuring Motorola's new AltiVec instruction set. Click here for more information on AltiVec (called Velocity Engine by Apple) otherwise, suffice it to say that applications optimized for AltiVec show impressive performance gains over those not. Apple includes an AltiVec plugin for Photoshop 5.5 with all of their G4 machines. According to Apple, their G4/500 is roughly 3 times as fast as a 600MHz Pentium III.

In other design areas things remain unchanged. Apple continues its use of the excellent RAGE 128 graphics cards from ATI. In the G4/400 this card occupies a 66MHz PCI slot, in the 450MHz and 500MHz models the ATI card is housed in a high performance 133MHz 2x AGP graphics slot. All cards sport 16MB of SDRAM which should satisfy all but the most demanding gamers. The G4/400's system memory consists of 64MB of PC100 SDRAM (3.3-volt, unbuffered, 64-bit-wide, 168-pin, running at 100 MHz) and can be upgraded to 1GB using the 4 provided memory slots. The G4/450 and G4/500 Sport 128MB and 256MB respectively and support up to 1.5GB RAM although Apple warns that you cannot allocate more than 999MB to any one application!

Inside all G4's you will find 3 PCI (64 -bit) slots running at 33Mhz. The 66MHz PCI slot in the G4/400 is filled with the ATI card as mentioned above. There are three 3.5" hard drive expansion bays including the one used by the installed ATA drive. As before, there is no built in SCSI bus. If you want to add SCSI devices you will have to do so through a PCI card using up one of your slots. The new Power Macintosh G4s come standard with a built-in slot to accommodate an internal 56K modem that supports both the K56 flex and V.90 standards. All machines come with 10/100BaseT Ethernet. 

The G4/400 sports two 400Mbps FireWire ports (for connecting high-speed peripherals such as drives and video) and two 12Mbps USB ports for connecting low speed devices (such as keyboards, mice etc). In these two areas the split between the 400MHz once again makes itself felt. The two faster machines sport a third internal FireWire port for hooking up internal drives. The faster machines' USB ports also offer 12Mbps each whereas the G4/400 offers a 12Mbps total between the two.

For connecting monitors these machines continue use of the "PC" VGA port standard. Interestingly, Apple no longer includes a VGA-to-Mac adapter. The ATI RAGE 128 graphics accelerator supports up to 1,920- by 1,200-pixel resolution at 32 bits per pixel (millions of colors)

Yosemite or Sawtooth - What's the Difference?

Before the G4 systems were announced, there was speculation on the web that the first round of G4's would be based on a modified "Yosemite" logic board. The Yosemite board was the one used in the Blue and White G3 Power Macs. It was rumored that full fledged G4 machines would use a logic board named Sawtooth. The rumors turned out to be partially true. The 400MHz G4 lacks a few of the features found on the 450MHz and 500MHz models which use the Sawtooth board. Below we provide you with a summary of the differences.

(450MHz + 500MHz)
Enhanced "Yosemite"
Gone Forever?
  • 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
ADB Port

MacBench 5.0 Scores

Below you will find MacBench 5.0 scores comparing the G4/400 with recent Yosemite G3 machines. MacBench Scores are relative to the Pre-Yosemite G3/300 Power Mac which is assigned a score of 1000. Longer bars are better. Bear in mind that MacBench 5.0 was released well before the G4 processor and AltiVec. MacBench and does not currently test for gains achieved by AltiVec optimization although it is safe to assume future revisions will offer this ability. Click here for more information on MacBench 5.0