General Impressions: Newer had a prototype of their iMac
upgrade up and running at Macworld SF this year. They let
who first signed a non-disclosure agreement, to have a glimpse
of the product in action. (In other words if we published
any information on the upgrade until Newer gave the go ahead,
they assured us we'd be swimming with the fishes!) We were
pretty impressed that Newer had been able to pull off such
| Supported Models
Apple:iMac 233, 266 & 333. Revisions A-D
Mac OS 7.1.2 to OS 9 supported
When we first received a running model, we rushed a first
look at the upgrade onto the pages of our web site, along
with some comments from Newer. Now we take a more detailed
look at this unique upgrade.
The original iMacs were considered not to be upgradable.
This was not because they are physically incapable of receiving
an upgrade, but because the ROM chips (read only memory -
that contains information required to make your Mac function)
were placed by Apple on the machine's processor card. An upgrade
manufacturer would have to incorporate new Apple ROM chips
into their upgrades to get them to work with an iMac. The
problem is that Apple does not licence their ROM chips. They
would really rather that you buy a new Macintosh than upgrade
your old one ...... they are kind of funny that way.
What Newer did to achieve this coup of coming out with an
iMac upgrade,was to do an end-run around Apple. They somehow
got a supply of original iMac processor daughter cards, removed
the low power processors from the cards (leaving the ROM chips
in place) and refitted them with new 466MHz G3 processors.
Quite clever! An additional benefit of this process is that
the new iMAXpowr card requires no enabling software - just
plug in the card and go.
Newer is probably the only manufacturer that will come out
with an iMac upgrade. This is because there is just not a
pool of unused iMac processor daughter cards lying around
for another manufacturer to obtain and start their own upgrade
program. And it is a "program" that Newer has established.
You are encouraged to send in your old iMac daughter card
for a $200 rebate. Newer will refit it with a new processor
and send out to another iMac user. The whole scheme requires
a steady stream of iMac processor cards flowing in from iMac
owners, as iMAXpowr upgrades flow out.
Intallation: If you have installed memory in your iMac you
will have no problem installing the iMAXpowr in your machine.
The instruction booklet is very good and full of pictures
detailing the installation. The upgrade even comes with a
Video, that more or less walks you through the installation
process. The Video is good for giving you a visual overview
of what the installation process requires (they have a girl
of about 11 perform the upgrade - to show you how easy it
is), but for the actual installation you will want the printed
manual close at hand.
If you have not taken your iMac apart
before and are not comfortable taking machines apart in general,
you might want to spend the thirty bucks it will cost you
to have a professional install your upgrade. But the process,
though involved, is not that difficult. The video shows the
founder of Newer upgrading the iMac in a couple of minutes
- it took us about 10.
To get a $200 rebate you must send in your old card to Newer
within one week. Newer makes this process easy by providing
you with a pre-paid over night shipping slip. The rebate price
goes down if you hold onto your original processor card past
the one week time limit.
Stability And Operation: The first iMAXpowr
card we received from Newer died on us after about 2 weeks.
Newer suggested that this was due to the fact that it had
been one of the first handmade cards. They sent a replacement,
which has been working without incident for about a month
now, in our Rev "B" iMac/233 with 96MB of RAM running
OS 9 .
Again these are quite simple cards requiring no software
to enable the upgrade, thus eliminating that avenue for potential
conflicts with other software and hardware. We experienced
no incompatibility issues during our daily use of the upgraded
Performance: There are three types of people who buy upgrades,
and for whom processor upgrades make sense; those whose work
demands that they have the fastest raw processing power on
hand, those who want to have the fastest raw processing
power on hand (lets call them speed freaks) and those that
can't afford to buy a new machine but still need/want better
performance. The excellent performance of the iMaxpowr will
not disappoint any of these three groups. We saw an almost
doubling of raw processor performance, in most tests, over
our original iMac G3/233. This means if you are doing heavy
graphics work, rendering, web content creation, or running
analytical programs, your upgraded iMac will rip through these
processes at double speed. (If you have an iMac with a 266
or 333 processor you will see an aproximate 70% and 47% performance
improvement, respectively, if you jettison the original processor
in favor of the iMAXpowr.)
On the other hand drive performance is uneffected by this
upgrade and screen display performance only moderately so.
This upgrade will not turn your iMac into a screaming game
machine either, if it wasn't before. For that you need better
graphics performance, something that is currently not upgradable
on the iMacs.
For those that use their Macs for more modest mundane endeavors,
word processing, email, surfing the Web, this upgrade will
not make a whole lot of difference to you. You are more likely
to "sense" that your Mac is faster if you had a
faster hard drive or better graphics performance and for that
you need to buy a faster machine.
Conclusion:This is an excellent innovative upgrade. For those
that need or want better raw processing power they will get
it with this upgrade - although it will come at a premium.
The installation may be a bit daunting for the novice, but
those that have taken Macs apart before should approach this
upgrade with confidence. The iMAXpowr comes with a 2 year
warranty and as always you should buy from someone that has
a liberal return policy, should something go wrong with your
|Product: iMAXpowr G3/466/155/1MB
Hits: Excellent performance. Good stability. Fastest
iMac you can buy!
Misses: Expensive. You lose old processor card if you
take advantage of the rebate and a one week return policy
to get full rebate is rather short, if you have the
card professionally installed.
SRP: $699...........$200 rebate if you return your
old card within one week
MacBench 5.0 Results
"Real World" Tests
(Shorter bars are better scores are expressed as a percentage
of the base machine)
Time to Scroll a 500 page AppleWorks document
from top to bottom.
Using the same document as above we did a
search/replace command to replace the word "the"
with the word" macbench"
PhotoShop 5.5 "Real World" Test
iMAXpowr Card Stats
Variable/Fixed Clock Rate
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