The Performance Edge: Sonnet Adds Two More Innovative Upgrades For Venerable Old Macs - And We Explore The Price/Performance Equation

Monday, October 30, 2000

Sonnet, which seems to have a G3 or G4 upgrade card for almost every Mac out there, has come out with two more upgrades for the previously non-upgradeable 7200 series of Power Macs. These upgrades fit into one of the PCI slots of your machine and contain 3 memory slots into which you will install memory you previously had installed in the slots on the machine's motherboard (if any). The reason for this is that the upgrade card provides a 66MHz bus between the memory on the card and the processor (the bus on the 7200s run from only 37 - 45MHz, depending on Machine) thus allowing for greater processor speeds. Sonnet calls this piece of technology "Fortissimo". You, however, have to have one DIMM in a motherboard slot to handle the boot process. Both the RAM slots on the upgrade card and the ones on the motherboard can be used, thus allowing you to expand the total amount of memory your machine can carry. All around a pretty clever idea for upgrading and giving new life to the popular 7200 machines - at a price!

Below we explore what performance gain you will see with these cards installed in the machines they are made for. We also take a comparative look at the price/performance equation of each card.

New Prices and the Machines The Cards Are Intended For

Note: This upgrade is due sometime between now and the end of the year - Sonnet was not more specific.

Crescendo 7200-G4/400/200/1MB
Price $599.95

Crescendo 7200-G3/400/200/1MB
Price $499.95

Crescendo 7200-G3/400/133/512K
Price $399.95


Sonnet's Crescendo 7200 G3 upgrade card is compatible with the following Macintosh models:

- Power Mac 7200, 7215
- Workgroup Server 7250
- Power Mac 8200

Previous Sonnet Prices


What kind of performance gain are you getting for the money you'll be shelling out for the various cards?......

Scores marked in Red indicate this information was provided by Sonnet. Scores Marked in Blue indicate that this information was independently verified by MacSpeedZone.

** Note that MacBench does not take advantage of the Velocity Engine (AltiVec instructions) of the G4. For AltiVec accelerated applications you can see a 2 to 4 times performance improvement over the G3, depending on the application and the functions you are trying to perform.

And how much do you pay per performance point (price divided by performance score) ....

Previous Sonnet Price/Performance Numbers

Have questions about these upgrades? Ask our experts below.


Press Release


IRVINE, CALIFORNIA   October 30, 2000. Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide
market share leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh─
computers, announces two additional  configurations to its
recently-announced Crescendo line for the Power Mac 7200. The new  Crescendo
G3 400MHz offers 512K backside cache with a 3:1 cache ratio. The new
Crescendo G4 400 MHz offers 1M backside cache with a 2:1 cache ratio. Now
7200 owners will have a choice among three speeds instead of one.

Once considered impossible to upgrade, the best-selling Power Mac 7200 has a
new future due to the unprecedented achievement of Sonnet's engineering
team. The first product in this new line of  Crescendo upgrades was the
Crescendo G3 400 MHz/1M model announced in September. The new series of
Power Mac 7200 upgrades will boost performance up to thirteen times that of
original system.

Determining where the 7200 upgrade would be installed was one of the great
challenges to this product line. Since the original PowerPC 601 processor in
the 7200 is soldered onto the logic board, there is no available processor
slot. The cache slot in this system does not carry the necessary signals, so
this was not an option either. As a result, the 7200 upgrade card is
installed into an available PCI slot. With the new G3 or G4 processor
working on the PCI bus, truly top-tier performance is attained by adding
local RAM to the same bus. To achieve this, Sonnet has provided 3 DIMM
sockets to the card, where at least 50% of the total available memory must
be located. While one small DIMM must remain on the motherboard to handle
initial start-up duties, the remaining memory can be moved to the Crescendo
card to minimize the need for incremental RAM purchases. In addition, the
combined memory from both the motherboard and the card are fully utilized to
allow greater total RAM capacity than previously possible, so users can opt
for additional or larger DIMMs as desired.

The next hurdle to overcome was to surpass the maximum performance available
on the 7200■s  motherboard, which runs at bus speeds starting at 37.5 MHz.
Sonnet felt it imperative that users be able to upgrade to truly modern
performance levels, and this too has been achieved. Using design elements
from Sonnet■s recently announced Fortissimo─ technology, Sonnet created an
independent bus to run on the new processor card. This bus runs at a speed
of 66 MHz, which allows the Crescendo 7200 to take full advantage of 400 MHz
processors and beyond.

╦We are very pleased to provide options for users who thought that their
systems were impossible to upgrade,Ë says Robert Farnsworth, Sonnet■s
president and CEO. ╦With these new speed options, 7200 owners can choose the
configuration to best suit their budget and computing needs.Ë

Pricing and Availability
The Crescendo G3 and G4 7200 upgrades will be available in November, 2000:

Crescendo G3/7200 400/1M                $499.95
Crescendo G3/7200 400/512K              $399.95

Crescendo G4/7200 400/1M                $599.95

Sonnet■s Crescendo 7200 G3 and G4 upgrade cards are compatible with the
following Macintosh models:
- Power Mac 7200, 7215
- Workgroup Server 7250
- Power Mac 8200        

Mac OS 9 Velocity Engine and Adobe Photoshop AltiVec Compatibility 
Sonnet G4 Enabler fully supports the Apple Velocity Engine─ libraries
included in Mac─ OS 9. Other AltiVec-enabled software titles include Adobe
Photoshop 5.5 AltiVec Plug-ins and After Effects; Apple Computer Final Cut
Pro 1.2; Astarte Software AG Mpack 3.5.1; Casady & Greene Sound JAM;
Connectix Corporation Virtual PC; Deneba Canvas 7; Macromedia Flash,
Dreamweaver, and Director; MetaCreations Kai■s Power Tools and Bryce;
QDesign Qdesign; Sonic Solutions Sonic DVD Fusion, Sonic DVD Transcoder,
Sonic DVD Creator; as well as many other AltiVec-enabled software
applications. Scientific and audio/video authoring applications will benefit
significantly from a Sonnet G4 upgrade.

Simply Fast─
Sonnet products are guaranteed to operate reliably over variations of
machine, time and temperature.   The Sonnet Presto, Crescendo, Encore,
Tempo, and Tango cards work in every compatible Macintosh without the need
for the antiquated methods of configuration. The ability to move an upgrade
card from one machine to another without the need to tweak any jumpers or
control panels is a significant advantage to resellers and organizations
that want to maximize their flexibility, while minimizing the long term
technical support requirements. Sonnet cards have unequaled ease-of
installation and reliability, and are Simply Fast─. 

About Sonnet Technologies, Inc.
Sonnet Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Irvine, California, is the
worldwide market share leader in processor upgrade cards and enhancement
products for Apple Macintosh─ computers. Founded in 1986, Sonnet upgrades
more Macintosh models with processor upgrade cards than any other company.
Sonnet products are easy to install, are backed by a three-year warranty,
include free technical support, and require no jumpers, or control panels.
To locate an authorized reseller or purchase product, visit the Sonnet
Technologies web site at <>, or call the company at
1-800-786-6260 (USA and Canada) or 1-949-587-3500.