The Performance Edge: iMac Clone vs The Real Thing - A Performance Evaluation

You have probably heard by now of the Future Power iMac knock off Called the E-Power that was on show at the recent PC Expo. Slated to be for sale in early fall, the E-Power will sport an Intel Celeron processor and run Windows 98.

In looks the computer is almost a complete copy of the iMac and Future Power is hoping to ride the iMac's popularity to profitability by offering its look-alike at a lower price point. We don't think this will happen however since Apple will most likely sue the company before they get the first E-Power machine out the door. Future Power is hanging their hopes on the fact that the inclusion of a floppy drive in the E-Power will provide enough of a differentiation from the iMac that they won't face legal problems - good luck!

Though we don't think that the E-Power will see the light of day, we thought it would be fun to look at what the performance difference between it and the current iMac would be. For the E-Power's configuration we choose the configuration they have posted on their web site, which they say may not be the configuration that ships in the fall and may not be the exact configuration they showed off at PC Expo.



Processor G3/333Mhz Celeron 400Mhz
Hard Drive 6GB UDMA 6.4GB UDMA
Floppy None Yes
Graphics 6MB ATI Rage Pro 4MB SGRAM 3D AGP
CD-ROM 24X 40X ?
Modem 56K 56K
Ethernet 10/100 10/100
Ports 2 USB 2 USB
Monitor 15"


Cost $1199 $799

The limited benchmarks below are based on SPEC95, the industry standard for measuring processor performance. These benchmarks are a little speculative because it is unknown what the L2 cache scheme is on the E-Power machine. They are, however, the published benchmarks for these processors, at their given speeds from the manufacturer's web sites. We provide a range of Mhz results so that you can speculate about what the iMac vs E-Machine match-up, hypothetically, might look like in the early fall, when the Mhz ratings for both machines might be different than they are today.


In the end, whereas the iMac was conceived and developed with a sense of craftmanship and artistry, the E-Power's sole purpose is to make a quick buck with the minimal amount of effort. To this end our guess is that Future Power will use cheap plastics, have a cheesy monitor and lack the attention to aesthetic detail, which is the hallmark of the iMac. We have not seen the machine, but this would be in keeping with most of the rest of the cheap PC clone industry which, in aesthetics and quality, strives hard not to rise above the clunky, pre-glasnost feeling, operating system that runs on their machines.

What is Apple to do about the situation - "sue baby sue"

Question: What do you think of the E-Power machine? Will it actually make it to market and if so will it be a threat to Apple? Should Apple come out with a lower cost version of the iMac. Share your thoughts with the MacSpeedZone community.

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