Product Watch: XLR8 Joins the 500MHz G3 Fray and Announces a G4 Trade Up Program
Following on the heels of Sonnet's recent announcement, XLR8 announced 500 MHz G3 Upgrades for G3 and PCI Power Macs. XLR8, expecting to ship their 500MHz cards by mid October, also announced price cuts on their entire line of G3 upgrade cards. See table below for old and new prices. The 500MHz speed on both sets of cards is achieved by taking advantage of the 10x multiplier built into IBM's latest Power PC G3 processors. The previous G3 cards were limited to an 8x multiplier. Previous G3 cards from XLR8 and others topped out at 466MHz. Unlike Sonnet's cards, which are fixed at 500MHz, XLR8 allows you to adjust processor and cache speeds to find the perfect performance/stability balance. Cards from both manufacturers sport a full 1MB backside cache.
Fall Into G4: XLR8 also recently announced their "fall Into G4" promotion. No doubt the appeal of G3 upgrades (even 500 MHz ones) has been greatly reduced since the G4's were announced. XLR8's Fall Into G4 promotion hopes to tip the scales back in the G3's favor until G4 upgrades are available. The promotion lets you buy a G3 carrier card upgrade now and buy a G4 processor for the carrier in January for as little as $500. In their press release, XLR8 made the following two statements:
"For the next 90 days, Motorola's G4 CPU design is undergoing manufacturing revisions with a variety of errata and unusual requirements" -- Gary Daily, Director of Marketing
"[The Fall Into G4 Promotion] offers the user an added financial benefit to immediately upgrade to a fast and mature processor without the premium price or early adopter caveats," explains Jack Kolk, General Manager of XLR8. "General application comparisons between G3 and G4 processors have shown equal speed, with the exception of AltiVec enabled software. Until the software is optimized, this promotion offers equal speed at a lower price with lower risk." -- Jack Kolk, General Manager of XLR8
While we are not privy to planned design changes to the G4 processor, it is fairly common knowledge that the G4 truly shines with applications that have been optimized for the AltiVec instruction set, aka Velocity Engine. Are G3 upgrades still worthwhile or will you hold out for a (no doubt higher priced) G4 upgrade? Swing by our discussion board and let us know!
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