Product Watch: Have An Older Mac?
RapidFire From PowerLogix
When Apple axed beige from their product line it also sounded the death knell for several "legacy" technologies. Among those on Apple's (read Steve Jobs') hit list: ADB, SCSI, serial and, of course, the floppy.
With these losses came a couple of noteworthy gains, namely the addition of USB and FireWire ports for connecting peripherals. USB is aimed at low to mid speed devices like keyboards, mice, joysticks, printers and scanners to name a few. FireWire is intended for peripherals that demand more throughput: hard drives, DV cameras, CD burners etc. All of Apple's currently shipping machines (with the exception of the iBook which lacks FireWire) sport both interfaces. Both technologies are hot pluggable and auto-configuring. In other words no more messing with SCSI ID numbers or powering down your machine to plug in external devices... The number of USB and FireWire devices continues to grow. You can find a list at Apple's web site.
These improvements are well and good, but they leave us owners of older Macs in the proverbial dust. PowerLogix has stepped up to the plate with a solution for PCI based Macs. Their recently announced RapidFire card sports three FireWire ports and two USB ports all on one PCI card, handy for owners machines with only three PCI slots.
"The RapidFire card is a great option for older Macs upgraded with G3 or G4 cards. Now, users can get the same processor, FireWire support, and USB support of the newest Macs and use only one PCI slot," said Robin Sharp, Marketing Manager. "The RapidFire is the best upgrade option. Getting two cards in one is the best option, especially for PowerMacs that have only two or three PCI slots."
The RapidFire card was announced at MacWorld Tokyo last month but apparently hasn't hit the stores yet. PowerLogix has not provided an ETA or any pricing information on their site yet. If you don't want to wait, you might want to consider MeltDown Systems' RocketFire card which is currently available for around $180. Unlike the PowerLogix card though, RocketFire has only 4 ports total, 2 FireWire and 2 USB.
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